Monday, November 09, 2009

Big Week!

Photo by Jane Blue, Sacramento

—Patricia Wellingham-Jones, Tehama

She says she’s not a gambler
but look at her life:
Divorces her first ‘practice’ husband,
takes off across country.

Spreads a sleeping bag on the range,
startled by cowboys on horseback at dawn.
Explores the dating life in San Francisco,
escapes cars more than once.

Marries again, and again, and again,
gets lucky twice.
Bears, loves and gives away a son,
watches him come back home.

Takes her education
around the world on others’ money.
Invests in stocks, rides the market,
buys green bananas.

Jumps in, if it feels important,
jumps away if she feels cornered.

Discovers cancer, has it chopped out,
stops treatment.
Drinks champagne ten years later
with her friends.

Lives low key, enjoys each day,
eyes gleaming at what comes next.


Thanks to Jane Blue for the last rose of summer, and to Patricia Wellingham-Jones and Richard Zimmer for the poems today. Lots going on!—

Congrats to local and semi-local poets who won prizes at last Saturday’s Ina Coolbrith luncheon in Orinda: Elsie Whitlow Feliz, Allegra Silberstein, Frances Yordan, Ellaraine Lockie (three money prizes!); Katy Brown and Carol Frith. And Nancy Wahl has won two Honorable Mentions in the New Millennium Writings contest.

Looking for inspiration to write? Check out Tiger’s Eye Co-Editor Colette Jonopulos’ new blog at

And get a load of this week's calendar!!

•••Monday (11/9), 7:30 PM: The Farallon Review will host a creative prose reading at the Sacramento Poetry Center. Gathering at 7, reading 7:30-8:30. Sacramento Poetry Center, HQ for the Arts, 1719 25th Street (at R St.) in midtown Sacramento. Featuring Jodi Angel, Valerie Fioravanti, Joey Garcia, Paul Mann, Lynka Adams. Free admission, with copies of the new issue of The Farallon Review for sale! Info:

Coming Up at SPC:
Next Monday, Nov. 16: RD Armstrong and Bill Gainer

•••Tues. (11/10), 6 PM: The Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission honors Mary Zeppa for her lifetime of valuable contributions and accomplishments in the field of poetry, including her outstanding work to bring poetry to the Sacramento community. A resolution will be presented to Mary in a brief ceremony by the City Council Tuesday at 6 PM in their chambers at 915 I St., Sacramento.

•••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.

•••Tues. (11/10 and every 2nd Tues.), 6:30 PM: Open mic at the Empresso Coffeehouse off the Miracle Mile, 1826 Pacific Ave. Stockton. Chinetana 'Nana' Phounsavath and Donald Anderson would like to welcome everyone to enjoy an evening of poetry, essays, music and more.

•••Wed. (11/11), 7:30 PM: Rattlesnake Press presents a new chapbook from Dawn DiBartolo (Secrets of a Violet Sky); Rattlesnake Reprint #2 from frank andrick (PariScope: A Triptyche); plus our 2010 calendar from Katy Brown (Wind in the Yarrow)! That's 7:30 PM at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento.

•••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/

•••Thurs. (11/12), 12 Noon: Poetry in the Arboretum series presents Kel Munger, writer for SN&R, and Sandra Gilbert, UCD Professor Emeritus, editor of the Norton Anthology of Women's Literature. UC Davis Campus, Wyatt Deck.

•••Thurs. (11/12), 7 PM: Julia Connor’s poetry workshop, Straw into Gold, reads its work at the Hart Center, 27th and J Sts., Sacramento. Refreshments will be on hand and many wonderful voices.

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

•••Thurs. (11/12)-Sun. (11/15): 15th Annual Cowpoke Fall Gathering at the Blue Goose Fruit Shed, 3550 Taylor Rd., Loomis. Featuring Bigtime Cowboy Poet Baxter Black, plus Pat Richardson, Rod Erickson, Jeff Severson, Kimberly Hess, Chanda Eubanks. Also opening reception ($30), free Open Mic on Sat. AM and free Cowboy Church Sunday AM. Tickets now on sale for reception, Sat. matinee and other events at Blue Goose Produce, at Foothill Feed and Gift, or at Main Drug in Loomis. Info/schedule: or or call 916-652-4480. Sponsored by Loomis Basin Vet Clinic and High-Hand Nursery to benefit the So. Placer Heritage Foundation and the Blue Goose Fruit Shed Renovation Project.

•••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 (11/13), 6-11 PM: Word: Sacramento Poetry Festival hosted by Terry Moore at Guild Theater, 2828 35th St., Sacramento. Five hours of poetry readers as diverse as Kathleen Lynch, Bob Stanley, B.L. Kennedy and Supernova (and many others, with music in the middle). Sponsored by Sacramento Poetry Center and The Center for Fathers and Families. $2 admission. Info: or

•••Sat. (11/14), 2 PM: Citrus Heights Area Poets presents Bob (Pinky) Nielsen at Barnes & Noble Books on Sunrise Avenue in Citrus Heights. Bob will read some of his poems and bring copies of his two books: A Wanderer’s Star and Imagination’s Journey. Bob lives in Roseville and writes under the name of R. S. Pinky Nielsen. He inherited his father’s red hair and light complexion, as well as his nickname “Pinky”. As a young “Air Force brat” he lived on different military bases in California, Washington, and on the beautiful Isle of Bermuda. During his senior year of high school, he enlisted in the Naval Air Reserves and was assigned to Whidbey N.A.S. in northwestern Washington. He and his wife enjoy their two grown children who have blessed them with seven grandchildren. Open mic will follow; read your own poems or just listen.

•••Sat. (11/14 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. (11/14 and every 2nd Sat.), 3 PM: “Poetic License” meets at Books ‘n’ Bears, 6211-A Pleasant Valley Rd., El Dorado. 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. (11/14 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.

•••Sat. (11/14), 10 AM-7 PM: Joe Finkleman and other local artists will be at the Fine Artists and Contemporary Craftspeople Show at Giovanni Hall, 58th & M Sts., Sacramento. Proceeds benefit children/programs of St. Mary School; admission $3 in advance, $5 at the door (kids under 12 free). Info: 916-451-1100 or, or their facebook page: search for “Fine Art and Craft Show”.

•••Sat. (11/14), 1:30 PM: Modesto Poet Laureate Ed Bearden will be one of those reading at the Song of the San Joaquin reading at the McHenry Museum, 1402 “I” Street, Modesto, (209) 577-5366. Free. Open Mike to follow. Light refreshments. Info: Cleo Griffith, or (209) 543-1776. And Song of the San Joaquin is accepting poetry through December 15 for the Winter Issue. Info: Cleo Griffith, (209) 543-1776,

•••Sat. (11/14), 12-9 PM: Tenth Anniversary Celebration of WORDS Performances will be held in Yosemite National Park. All past performers are cordially invited to attend and share again. Please rsvp early, as James Downs would like to set up a schedule of performances ( This will be an all-day coffee house with a formal celebration segment in the evening. Bring your poems, songs, tales, short stories or novel excerpts to share.

•••Sunday (11/15), 7 PM: Mary Mackey and Francisco X. Alarcón read at Time Tested Books, 1114 21st St., Sacramento. The event is free, however a donation—which goes to the poets—is requested. Mary Mackey is related through her father's family to Mark Twain. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. During her twenties, she lived in the rain forests of Costa Rica. In the ‘90s she served as Chair of PEN American Center, West. She is a fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and has recently served on the Governing Board of PEN Oakland. Mackey is a Professor of English and Writer in Residence at California State University where she teaches creative writing and film. She is the author of many volumes of poetry and novels, including her most recent book, The Widow’s War.

Francisco X. Alarcón is an acclaimed poet and educator, author of ten volumes of poetry. Alarcón is the recipient of 1993 American Book Award, the 1993 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award, and the 1984 Chicano Literary Prize. In April 2002 he received the Fred Cody Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association (BABRA). He was one of the three finalists nominated for the state poet laureate of California. Alarcón's books include Sonnets to Madness and Other Misfortunes / Sonetos a la locura y otras penas (Berkeley: Creative Arts Book Company 2001) and From the Other Side of Night / Del otro lado de la noche: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press 2002). He currently teaches at the University of California, Davis.

•••Deadline is November 15 for Rattlesnake Review #24: 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.


—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

There was a sense of doom,
a deep felt cloud of gloom.
Blair sat in his darkened room,
and felt the need to say,
Help is on the way…

There came a knocking on his door,
A noisome rapping he could not ignore.
He crept across the bare wood floor,
With a hopeful voice, he did say,
Help is on the way…

A dark stranger had come Blair’s way
that bitter cold October day…
a dark clad man with face an ashen gray.
It was the Devil himself, who did say,
Blair…you have a debt to pay.

Blair’s eyes grew wide, he began to shake,
Wondering if his life was at stake,
he asked what payment he must make,
then felt forced to say,
Help is on the way…

The Devil, with a fearful grin,
gave an answer Blair found no comfort in.
With doomsday voice, the Devil did say,
It’s your lost soul I’ll take today…
Help is not on the way…


—Patricia Wellingham-Jones

Kneeling on the concrete
she wonders how she got there.
Pushes her hands against
the gritty sidewalk,
urges her body to rise.
The body says no and falls over.
She flops on her side, blinks
at lights red, blue and blurry.
Decides maybe she’ll stay, maybe
someone will tell her what’s wrong.



I walk to Dad’s room to say good morning
and that monster on the wall goes pop
then hisses at me with wild blue flames.

All my four feet leave the ground at the same time.
I can’t help it, I yip and run away,
hide behind the couch.

Off and on, day and night,
that monster jumps its voice at me
and I run.

Seems I’m always on the wrong
side of it for where I want to go.
These winters sure feel long.

*by Petunia Abigail Jones, the Chihuahua


Today's LittleNip:

Well-washed and well-combed domestic pets grow dull; they miss the stimulus of fleas.

—Francis Galton, British Scientist (1822-1911)



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


RR23 is now available free at The Book Collector,
and contributor and subscription copies
have gone into the mail—you should've received yours;
let me know if you haven't.
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 likelihoodof 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!


Now available at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento:
A new chapbook from Brad Buchanan (The War Groom)
and a new Rattlesnake LittleBook from
William S. Gainer: Joining the Demented.

Now available from SPC or at The Book Collector:
Our new 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 30-year history.

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 was Oct. 15;
it'll be released at Luna's on Thursday, Nov. 19.
Next deadline (for Issue #5) is Jan. 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


Join us on Wednesday, November 11
for a new chapbook from Dawn DiBartolo
(Secrets of a Violet Sky)
Rattlesnake Reprint #2 from frank andrick
(PariScope: A Triptyche)
plus our 2010 calendar from Katy Brown
(Wind in the Yarrow)!
That's 7:30 PM at The Book Collector. 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.