Friday, October 09, 2009

Alice Redux

Alice Redux: Still Lizard-Hunting

—William S. Gainer, Grass Valley

From my work window
I watched a yellow
bounce around
the backyard,
finally landing
on a little pink flower
she planted
the year before.

Later that evening
I thanked her.
She wanted to know
for what?

I told her
it was between me,
a little pink flower
and a yellow butterfly.


Thanks, Bill! Some of you may remember our feature on Alice, Bill Gainer's Lizard Queen of Grass Valley (see photo above). She was hugely popular with readers; we even considered setting up a Website and a Twitter account for her. Well, now she has an entire volume of poetry dedicated to her: Rattlesnake LittleBook #3, Joining the Demented by William S. Gainer. Come hear Bill read and get your copy this coming Wednesday, October 14 at The Book Collector, 7:30 PM.

The octo give-away continues; keep counting those syllables ver-r-r-y carefully: eight lines; eight syllables each; rhyme lines 4 and 5; lines 6,7,8 repeat lines 1,2,3, except in reverse order. (See the fine examples below, or previous posts this week. Chrys Mollett of Angels Camp was actually seized by "octo-fever", so you'll see plenty of the little devils from thataway.] Send your octos to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726 by midnight, Sunday, Oct. 11 and I'll send you a free copy of Susan Finkleman's new rattlechap, Mirror, Mirror.

Here's a little ditty by Michelle Kunert, inspired by the impressive octopus on last Wednesday's post:

It should be "beware the Ides of October..."
because it is the fall rather than spring
One can feel, as the Beatles song goes,
"I'd like to be under the sea
in an Octopus’s garden in the shade..."
But in reality one cannot live in such a forever summer
For the days of relishing the sun are done
A woman could wish to be like eight-armed goddess, Lakshmi
to get all the end-of-the-year holiday chores done
if not to save the world from destruction
Instead a woman can feel instead like a sea kraken
who must take down a ship
but how else shall she "awaken the dead"
who otherwise have become zombies?

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


This weekend in NorCal poetry:

•••Friday (10/9): John Amen of North Carolina will present a workshop and a reading in Modesto. He founded and continues to edit The Pedestal Magazine ( These events will take place at the Horizon Room, Homewood Village Mobile Home Park, 2000 Mable Ave., Modesto. (209) 522-1412.

The workshop is limited to 20 participants. The cost is $20 and includes a copy of his new collection, At the Threshold of Alchemy [see Medusa’s Thursday, Sept. 24 post for a review by B.L. Kennedy]. For a registration form, call Cleo Griffith at 209-543-1776 or write to her at


SOCIAL TIME: 8:00-8:30 PM, followed by an open mike session as time permits. Light refreshments will be served and Mr. Amen’s book will be available for purchase and signing.

•••Sat. (10/10), 2 PM: Citrus Heights Area Poets Open Mic at Citrus Heights Barnes & Noble, Sunrise Blvd., Citrus Heights.

•••Sat. (10/10 and every 2nd and 4th Sat.), 10-11:30 AM: Sacramento Poetry Center 2nd and 4th Sat. workshop with Emmanuel Sigauke and Frank Dixon Graham. South Natomas Community Center (next door to S. Natomas Library), 2921 Truxel Rd., Sacramento. Bring ten copies of your one-page poem to read/critique. Info:

•••Sat. (10/10), Wordslingers 2009 will feature Ethan Canin, bestselling author of America America and The Palace Thief, at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley. Writing Wrokshop from 10:30AM-12 PM, Van Gogh Room ($30), bring your own bag lunch with Ethan. Wine Reception at 6 PM, Reading and Interview w/local author Kim Culbertson at 7:30 PM ($20/advance, $25 at the door). Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley. For advance tickets: or 530-274-8384, ext. 14.

•••Sat. (10/10), 3 PM: “Poetic License” meets at Books ‘n’ Bears, 6211-A Pleasant Valley Rd., El Dorado. This month you are invited to write a poem on the subject of “succulent”. Poems may be long or short, rhymed or prose, amateur or pro, or anything in between. Listeners welcome! Info: Mari Dunn, 530-621-1766 or

•••Sat. (10/10) and every 2nd Sat., 1 PM: Writer’s Bloc, a creative writing group, meets in the El Dorado County Main Library, 345 Fair Lane, Placerville. Bring your favorite writing paraphernalia and get your creative juices flowing with a writing session to share, critique and support each other. Creative writing professor Debora Larry-Kearney facilitates. Free, sponsored by Friends of the Library. Teens and adults only. Info: Main Library, 530-621-5540.

•••Sunday (10/11), 3-5 PM: Poets Club of Lincoln presents 2009 Voices of Lincoln Poetry Contest Winners, Twelve Bridges Library, Willow Room, 485 Twelve Bridges Drive, Lincoln. Refreshments will be provided. This event features 24 winners, including 7 under the age of 16, who will read their poems for us. Just take I-80 east to the 65 exit and keep driving until you get to Twelve Bridges Drive. Stay right and The Library is just a short distance away. Follow the signs (right around the building) to a parking area. The Voices Of Lincoln Poetry Contest is sponsored by The Lincoln Library and Friends Of The Lincoln Library. Free.

•••Monday (10/12), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents frank andrick, David Houston & Strings, Christopher Fairman, Wendy Rivara, and Josh Fernandez at HQ for the Arts, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento, for a presentation of Poetry, Prose, Story Telling, Song, Music, Pre-recorded Sounds and Noise, Silent and not-so-silent films, cine-poems, all hosted by Sacramento's Poet Laureate Bob Stanley. Come early for refreshments and a poetic meet-and-greet at 7:30 PM. The show starts at 8:00 PM sharp with a short film plus poem and songs by Chris Fairman. Segue into a set by frank andrick reading/performing poems interpolated with films by Man Ray, Stan Brakage, etc. with an additional few poems with Wendy Rivara on theramin and frank on vox. Then the stage is set for David Houston and Strings, with the wonderful wordwork and imagery and voice of David Houston set to "Strings" his working string section. Free, but donations gladly accepted.



an invisible alchemist
begins to layer greens in gold
burgundy, then oranges and reds
Daily, he gently plies brushes
To paint life with tender touches—
Burgundy, then oranges and reds
Begins to layer greens in gold—
an invisible alchemist.

—Margaret Ellis Hill, Fair Oaks


—Chrys Mollett, Angels Camp

What's this? I've always been healthy.
But there's new pain in old places.
Age, the silver fog, is coming.
Fats / carbs and sugars: Count them how?
Faithfully exercising now.
Age, the silver fog, is coming.
But there's new pain in old places.
What's this? I've always been healthy.



—Chrys Mollett

My big gorgeous wolf dog, Clancy
Fifteen sweet years of grace, restraint
My friends called you 'the Canine Saint'.
I still feel the warmth of your fur.
And eight months gone—it's been a blur.
My friends called you 'the Canine Saint'.
Fifteen years of grace, restraint
My big gorgeous wolf dog, Clancy.


—Chrys Mollett

Up early enough for something—
So I spread some new soil around.
These compacted plants work so hard.
I've wakened to peach/salmon streaks.
Then blue over trees, hills and peaks
These compacted plants work so hard.
So I spread some new soil around.
Up early enough for something.


Today's LittleNip:

The difference between the right word and the nearly right word is the same as that between lightning and the lightning bug.

—Mark Twain



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


RR23 is now available at The Book Collector, and contributor and subscription copies will go into the mail in the next two weeks.
You may also order a copy through

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!


On Wednesday, Oct. 14, Rattlesnake Press will release
a new chapbook from Brad Buchanan (The War Groom)
and a new Rattlesnake LittleBook from
William S. Gainer: Joining the Demented.
That's 7:30 PM at The Book Collector.

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

Then gear up the flivver for a ROAD TRIP on Monday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 PM
as we all travel over to HQ for the Arts, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento
for Rattlesnake Press's release of the new SPC anthology,
Keepers of the Flame: The First 30 Years of the Sacramento Poetry Center.
Editor-in-Chief Mary Zeppa and her helpers have put together
many, many documents and photos
from SPC's history, and the resulting anthology (and SPC's 30th anniversary!)
will be celebrated that night. Be there!


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.