Monday, August 31, 2009

A Small Shack Labeled, You

Pachypodium namaquanam
Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

—JoAnn Anglin, Sacramento

Not clumsy wildflowers laid on the roadside berm,
but the wrecked leavings of an unsought transition.
A family of modern Joads lightened the load, fleeing
some catastrophe, dropped or abandoned the pathetic
Treasures; what they had valued no longer adheres.
Old ambitions of cleanliness show in the cracked
dish pan, pieces of vacuum cleaner, Swiffer duster.
Nothing is whole, as if some scavenger dragged off the
meat of an easy kill, leaving behind the useless parts.
See the soiled plaid dog bed with cloacae-like stuffing
adorned with bristly curlers—pink, blue, green.
So there must have been a dog. And children:
a stained doll landed on broken head, legs splayed;
a plastic turtle shell, devoid of turtle, riding atop
an unshaded lamp. Beyond them, a masonite boom
box, a broken rocker, seem to be emerging, like
tombstones, or old roots rising out of damp earth.


Thanks, JoAnn, for your thoughts on What Remains. See more about JoAnn Anglin on Sacramento Poet Laureate Bob Stanley's Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Council's web page at; at the bottom of the SMAC entry, there is a link to the archives to see the previous five Sacramento poets.

There are quite a few weekly poetry events that I haven't listed on Medusa's Kitchen in the past because ya never know when a weekly which doesn't send out regular notices is going to take a week off and not tell anyone; I wouldn't want to lead the readers astray. But I decided that it's kind of a disservice to leave all these wonderful events off our calendar. So from now on, I'll include them, but the caveat is that you might want to check before you go to make sure any event is really going to happen.

And today, after the calendar, some Frank O'Hara (with a few monkeys) and a dollop of Russell Edson. You can always tell when my life is getting too strait-jackety—I post some Edson...

This week in NorCal poetry:

•••Mon. (8/31), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Rob Lozano and Garland Thompson for a BYOBlanket in Fremont Park (downtown Sacramento between 15th and 16th and P and Q Sts.). Garland Thompson, Jr., is a poet, an actor, playwright and producer whose career spans the left and right coasts. For more than 20 years as a poet and spoken word artist, Garland has toured the U.S and Europe. Locally, Garland has performed at First Night Monterey, the Carmel Performing Arts Festival, and The Austin International Poetry Festival, and he recently appeared in Carmel's Pacific Repertory Theater production of Man of La Mancha. For the last seven and a half years he has produced and hosted the weekly Rubber Chicken Poetry Slam & Open Mic at the East Village Coffee Lounge in Downtown Monterey. He has been featured at, hosted and produced poetry readings and slams across the nation, and is known as the creator and producer of the West Coast Championship Poetry Slam, an annual event that was held in Big Sur at the Henry Miller Memorial Library from 1998 through 2007. You can find his work in Spoken Word from Lollapalooza 94, Manic D Press, and, most recently, in Sometimes in the Open: Poems from California’s Poets Laureates. Rob Lozano was born in Quezon City, Philippines, educated at University of Utah, with a BS in Anthropology. He has “cawwed” poems as a crow and was very active in the Sacto. poetry scene through the '90's as Editor/Publisher of Say Yes magazine and small press, where he published books of poems for Gene Bloom, B.L. Kennedy and several other broadsides for poets gone and traveled. He hosted the first poetry slams in Sacto in '96 and '97. He has been on radio and heard and seen live at Sacramento, Yosemite, Fresno, San Francisco and Chico. He was part of ZRAIL artist collective with Vincent Kobelt, Mario Ellis Hill, Phil Goldvarg, Samuel Iniguez, Yaya Porras, Angelo Williams, Guy Ollison and a number of other freestyle 'anti-injustice' poets. His latest interest in Antonin Artaud is lodged solidly in the sense that, as Nietzsche wrote of the death of God, Artaud wrote of the death of poetry. Rob Lozano's collaborations with Gilberto Rodriguez call attention, through Artaud and his doppelgangers, to how psychologically-emasculated poetry has become in this society. This has resulted in the authentic mythic quality of poetry drifting to the banal which has forced it to be transformed into a mere conceptual and easily digested palatable anti-poetic pablum. Fortunately, the demise of one kind of poetry often leads to a new poetry poised to take its place.

•••Tues. (9/1, and every Tuesday), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center Workshop at the Hart Center, 27th & J Sts., Sacramento. Free; bring 13 copies of your one-page poem to be read/critiqued. Info: Danyen Powell at 530-756-6228.

•••Wednesday (9/2), 5:30-7:30 PM: The Sacramento Poetry Center and the Sacramento Room of the Central Library present Sacramento’s Favorite Poem Reading, 2009. This FPP event, which will take place in the Sacramento Room of the Central Library, 828 I St., will be the first of a series of SPC First Wednesday readings in the Sacramento Room. The Favorite Poem Reading will be free and open to the public. This month's readers include Carlos Alcala, Sacramento Bee; Jeffrey Callison, KXJZ; Marcus Crowder, Sacramento Bee; Clare Ellis, The Sacramento Room; Richard Hansen, The Book Collector; Muriel Johnson, California Arts Council; Sheree Meyer, Chair, CSUS English Dep’t; Don Nottoli, County Board of Supervisors; Suzette Riddle, California Lectures and Ray Tatar, California Stage. [See last Tuesday's post for more details.]

•••Wednesdays, 9 PM: Mahogany Urban Poetry Series at Queen Sheba's Restaurant, 1704 Broadway (17th and Broadway), Sacramento. $5 cover, all ages.

•••Wednesdays, 5 PM: Dr. Andy’s Technology and Poetry Hour, KDVS radio station (90.3 FM) or http://www/

•••Wed. (9/2 and every 1st and 3rd Weds.), 9 PM: Featured reader plus open mic at 10 PM at Bistro 33, 3rd and F Sts. in Davis. Free. Hosted by Andy Jones and Brad Henderson. Info: or 530-756-4556 or; schedule at

•••Thurs. (9/3): Sacramento’s Past Poet Laureate, Julia Connor, will lead a free poetry workshop for ten weeks beginning Thursday, Sept. 3 at the Hart Senior Workshop, funded by a National Endowment for the Arts grant. Info: Hart Center, 916-808-5462. [This workshop will meet in the afternoon; check info for time.]

•••Thurs. (9/3), 10 AM: Local poet and Sacramento Poetry Center Board Member Tim Kahl will be appearing on Capitol Public Radio’s “Insight” with Jeffrey Callison on KXJZ (90.9 FM) to talk about his new book, Possessing Yourself. The program will also be streaming at Tim Kahl’s work has been published in Prairie Schooner, American Letters & Commentary, Berkeley Poetry Review, Caliban, Connecticut Review, Fourteen Hills, George Washington Review, Illuminations, Indiana Review, The Journal, Limestone, Nimrod, Ninth Letter, Notre Dame Review, Parthenon West Review, South Dakota Quarterly, The Spoon River Poetry Review, The Texas Review, and many other journals in the U.S. He has translated German poet Rolf Haufs, Austrian avant-gardist, Friederike Mayröcker; Brazilian poets, Lêdo Ivo and Marly de Oliveira; and the poems of the Portuguese language’s only Nobel Laureate, José Saramago. He also appears as Victor Schnickelfritz at the poetry and poetics blog, The Great American Pinup ( Additionally, he is also the editor for Bald Trickster Press. He can also be found online at

•••Thursdays, 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café, 1414 16th St., Sacramento. Featured readers, with open mic before and after.

•••Thursdays, 7 PM: “Life Sentence” reading at The Coffee Garden, 2904 Franklin Blvd., Sacramento. Open mic.

•••Thursdays, 10-11 AM (replayed Sundays 10-11 AM): Mountain Mama’s Earth Music with Nancy Bodily on 95.7 FM. Music/poetry woven around a central theme deeply tied to mountains/earth.

•••Sat. (9/4 and every 1st Sat.): Rhythm and Rhyme readings at Butch N’ Nellies near 19th & I Sts., Sacramento. Televised music, open mic. Info:


—Frank O'Hara

Think of all the flowers you've ever seen
and remember me to my mother, or be kind

to some white-haired blue-eyed old lady
who might remind me of Grandaunt Elizabeth

were I with you. When you go down West
Fourteenth Street think of Africa and me,

why don't you? and be careful crossing
streets. Keep photographing the instant

so that in my hysteria I will know what
it is like there; and while my teeth rot and

my eyes seem incapable of the images I'd
hoped, I will know you are at least all right.

While I write this eleven windows stare,
clothes hanging on the wall stir testily.

The ceiling's miles away. I'm sitting on
the floor. Since I last saw you things

are worse. What can I do without love,
without honor, without fame? Can you see

me? It is evening. Other people's lights
are going on, I think. But not your friend's.


—Frank O'Hara

The crowd is assembled in decorous rows
like flowers outside a rich zoo. He
strides from the wings, the black aviator,
sits down and bats out a Concert Adagio
and Rondo! flailing octaves in a great
grill of black crosshatches across
the proscenium. Monkeys appear and
clamber seriously up this trellis of
atonal spears. Like tin-hatted hydrogen
workers, they clap, the dopy audience,
but he's not through. With a fierce glance
of irrelevance he jams his elbow up
the sounding box's warm dessert: a soprano
from his childhood screams with child
and dashes her brains out against
the sole of his foot that's pedalling
madly up hill! And while millions of
rosebuds fall from our pianist's aching
hammers nobody thinks of anything but
those clattering bleeding teeth.


In the pearly green light
of early morning when dread
of day and some distant event
is just breaking off my head

of dreams and the security
of nightmares where a note
of myself is always throbbing
its characteristic rote

of personal anxiety, I wake
to real fears of war and chance
and, worse, of duty to the dead.
Yet I never wholly fear the romance

of my interior self no matter
how asleep I am, how nearly dead.

—Frank O'Hara


A face over a book
and then parting.

The green roofs,
the stone lions,

a simple sentence
lingers on the streets

as snow comes
to the hushed ear.

Where am I?
A windowpane shatters;

the sun has never
come out for me,

and my books
turn red with air.

—Frank O'Hara


Today's LittleNip:

—Russell Edson

Out of nothing there comes a time called childhood, which is simply a path leading through an archway called adolescence. A small town there, past the arch called youth.

Soon, down the road, where one almost misses the life lived beyond the flower, is a small shack labeled, you.

And it is here the future lives in the several postures of arm on windowsill, cheek on this; elbows on knees, face in the hands; sometimes the head thrown back, eyes staring into the ceiling...This into nothing down the long day's arc...



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


Now available: two new chapbooks from Joyce Odam:
Peripherals: Prose Poems
(illustrated by Charlotte Vincent)
and Rattlesnake LittleBook #2 (Noir Love).

That’s at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento.

WTF!!: The third issue of WTF, the free quarterly journal from
Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe that is edited by frank andrick,
is now available at The Book Collector,
or send me two bux and I'll mail you one.

Deadline for Issue #4 will be Oct. 15.
Submission guidelines are the same as for the Snake, but send your poems, photos, smallish art or prose pieces (500 words or less) to (attachments preferred) or, if you’re snailing,
to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726 (clearly marked for WTF).

And be forewarned: this publication is for adults only, so you must be
over 18 years of age to submit. (More info at

RATTLESNAKE REVIEW: Issue #22 is now available (free) at The Book Collector, or send me four bux and I'll mail you one. Or you can order copies of current or past issues through
Issue #23 will be available at The Book Collector the night of Sept. 9.
Deadline is November 15 for RR24: send 3-5 poems, smallish art pieces and/or photos (no bio, no cover letter, no simultaneous submissions or previously-published poems) to or

P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. E-mail attachments are preferred, but be sure to add all contact info, including snail address. Meanwhile, the snakes of the on-going Medusa are always hungry; keep that poetry comin', rain or shine!
Just let us know if your submission is for the Review or for Medusa, or for either one, and please—only one submission packet per issue of the quarterly Review.
(More info at

Also available (free): littlesnake broadside #46: Snake Secrets: Getting Your Poetry Published in Rattlesnake Press (and lots of other places, besides!): A compendium of ideas for brushing up on your submissions process so as to make editors everywhere more happy, thereby increasing the likelihood of getting your poetry published. Pick up a copy at The Book Collector or write to me (include snail address) and I'll send you one. Free!


Join us at The Book Collector Wednesday, September 9 at 7:30 PM
for the release of a new chapbook by
Susan Finkleman
(Mirror, Mirror: Poems Of The Mother-Daughter Relationship, illustrated by Joseph Finkleman);
plus a new HandyStuff blank journal from Katy Brown (A Capital Affair);
a littlesnake broadside from Marie Reynolds (Late Harvest);
and a brand new issue of Rattlesnake Review (#23)!


Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their POETRY, PHOTOS and ART, as well as announcements of Northern California poetry events, to (or snail ‘em to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726) for posting on this daily Snake blog. Rights remain with the poets. Previously-published poems are okay for Medusa’s Kitchen, as long as you own the rights. (Please cite publication.) Medusa cannot vouch for the moral fiber of other publications, contests, etc. that she lists, however, so submit to them at your own risk. For more info about the Snake Empire, including guidelines for submitting to or obtaining our publications, click on the link to the right of this column: Rattlesnake Press ( And be sure to sign up for Snakebytes, our monthly e-newsletter that will keep you up-to-date on all our ophidian chicanery.