Monday, October 12, 2009

With Tea & Khayyam

Photo by Stephani Schaefer, Los Molinos

(For Henry J. Odum, d. Sept. 4, 1972)
—Cynthia Linville, Sacramento

You taught me how to clean a fish
(and let me play with the bait);
you taught me to love eggs and Southern grits
(but oysters would have to wait).
One time you held me way up high
and showed me the Easter Bunny out the window
(Look! See him? There he goes!)
reinforcing my belief
by sneaking home during church
to hide the baskets of treats.
We had a good six years together.

After you died in that boating accident
I kept thinking you had come back
especially when I saw your old blue Chevy truck
or heard a man jingling coins and
laughing your laugh.
For a while we thought you were haunting us
especially in the predawn hush
when you habitually returned from fishing
but perhaps that was just us wishing
to hear your footsteps
to feel you drawing near.

Many years later
you did come back to visit me
(I think)
as I cried softly
in those predawn hours
over the depths to which I'd caused my life to sink.
In the stillness of the room
the rocking chair creaked
and I felt sure
you (whom I hadn't thought about in years)
were here.


—Cynthia Linville

barefoot, long legs stretched beside me
you cross your toes with a sigh

a smile quirks at the corner of your mouth
eyes alight, hotter blue than the sky

expansive, your arms reach wide
your mask, a cheshire grin

your hands are birds in flight
inviting me to catch them

your three-day stubble
invites my hand, my cheek

my tongue invited by
the slight gap between your teeth

my fingers itch to caress your scars
your knee, your side, your chin

flying, arms spread
I lean into you, as into a strong wind


Thanks, Steph and Cynthia, and thanks to Pat Pashby and Chrys Mollett for the octos (see below)! Thus concludes our octo give-away, and thanks to those who participated.

This weekend in NorCal poetry:

•••Tonight (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 7:30PM. The show starts at 8 PM sharp with a short film plus poems 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.

Coming next Monday (10/19) to SPC: Kate Greenstreet and Brian Teare

•••Tuesdays, 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.

•••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/

•••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.

•••Friday (10/16 and every third Friday, except summer), 7:30 PM: The Other Voice (sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis) presents Patricia Hickerson and Susan Wolbarst. 27074 Patwin Rd., Davis, in the church library. Pat Hickerson, who was born in New York City, was a Warner Brothers dancer and also a Barnard graduate. She worked as a teacher, copy editor and Penthouse fiction writer. Her poems have been published in Passager, Echoes, Choices, Medusa’s Kitchen, Rattlesnake Review, WTF, Convergence, Poetry Now, and Yolo Crow. A broadside, At Grail Castle Hotel, was published recently by Rattlesnake Review. Susan Wolbarst, who lives in Davis with her husband and teenage son, is a native of New Hampshire. Her writing background includes community journalism and advertising. She has also worked in video production, as well as published hundreds of articles and a cookbook. Though poetry writing is relatively new, she received an honorable mention in this year's annual Sacramento Poetry Center contest, and her poem, "Diagnosis", won First Prize in last year's contest. Open Mike and refreshments follow the reading, so bring along a poem to share.

•••Friday (10/16), 7-8:30 PM: Poetry at the Vox in a new midtown Sacramento location, 1931 H Street (at 20th), featuring the best and brightest SacTown poets in a diverse, intimate reading. Newbies and veterans, students and cowboys, slam poets and professors all share the stage in a fast-paced evening with no one person reading for more than 20 minutes at a time. Readers: Tim Kahl, Albert Garcia, Scott Evans, Stephanie Low, and Megan Eaton. Hosted by Cynthia Linville.

•••Saturday (10/17), 7-9 PM: Black Men Expressing Tour, Underground Books, 2814 35th St., Sacramento (off 35th and Broadway). Ladies, we heard you have grown tired of the club-dude machismo. That's why we've put together an event with some sensitive-guy melancholy-type gentlemen. Get ready for your ears to be intellectually and poetically massaged, ladies. You asked for it again and you deserve it again!!! Relationship, parenting, and cultural social happenings discussion. $3 General Admission. Info: (916) 208-POET.

•••Saturday (10/17), 7-10 PM: A poetry reading celebrating the release of AD WinansNo Room for Buddha and BL Kennedy’s The Neurosonnets from Polymer Grove Press. Refreshments provided. California Stage, 2509 R St., Sacramento.

•••Sat. (and every 3rd Sat.), 10 AM: Writers of the New Sun/Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol potluck meetings at La Raza Galeria Posada, 1024 22nd St., Sacramento. Members of all levels support each other via readings, exercises, critiques and info, plus open mic; writing in Spanish, English or both. Call ahead to confirm: 916-456-5323.

•••Sat. (and every 3rd Sat.), 7 PM: Celebration of Word, Sound and Paint at Carol’s Books, 1913 Del Paso, Sacramento.

•••Sun. (10/18), 11AM-3 PM: The Davis Cemetery, 820 Pole Line Road, Davis, is hosting a free art event, open to the public. Both visual and performance art will be featured. Info: 530-756-7807 or

•••Sun. (and every 3rd Sun.): 3rd Sunday Poetry Workshop. Info: Rebecca Morrison or Nancy W. at

•••Sun. (and every 3rd Sun.), 7 PM: Poetry Readings at Time Tested Books, 1114 21st St., $5 donation requested. Info:


Have trouble pronouncing the names of things?

Have a pet peeve about how people mispronounce your town or famous relative? Recently I heard of, and it's just what it says—a site where you can find the pronunciation of proper names and add some of your own. Check it out!


—Patricia Pashby, Sacramento

Cool, cloudy day—a little rain;
so strangely dark around the den.
Sun and poet both in hiding,
she, wrapped in a robe of soft lamb,
tucked away with tea and Khayyam,
sun and poet both in hiding.
So strangely dark around the den;
cool, cloudy day—a little rain.


—Chrys Mollett, Angels Camp

Who's Queen and who's little girl now?
There's never been room for but one
In matriarchal dynasty.
She turned ninety. I took the car.
Fortunate burden: She's not far.
In matriarchal dynasty
There's never been room for but one.
Who's Queen and who's little girl now?


—Chrys Mollett

The glow of old kisses is gone.
Does he weep for me? Does he pine?
There are just a few things I miss:
The road to him in snow and spring.
Adamant—He knew everything.
There are just a few things I miss:
Does he wait for me? Does he pine?
The glow of old kisses is gone.


—Raymond Carver

Woke up early this morning and from my bed
looked far across the Strait to see
a small boat moving through the choppy water,
a single running light on. Remembered
my friend who used to shout
his dead wife's name from hilltops
around Perugia. Who set a plate
for her at his simple table long after
she was gone. And opened the windows
so she could have fresh air. Such display
I found embarrassing. So did his other
friends. I couldn't see it.
Not until this morning.


Today's LittleNip:

AWAKE! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light.

—Omar Khayyam



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.