Monday, November 23, 2009

Once, Again

—Philip A. Waterhouse, Sonoma

Always playing it wild.
Doesn't have a suit.
No importe
to Joker
so flashy in straights and flushes.

Has no objection
to being thought as masculine,
to lording it over aces.

Kings, queens, jayboys,
called face cards,
Joker's mug—
can be animal, bird, clown.
Joker laughs.

Loves to come out of hiding,
firing, one shot does it.
Always fits
somebody's hand.

enrich a man, a woman,
a quick bundle of joy.

No. #53.
Up a sleeve.
What a card!


Thanks, Philip! About himself, Philip Waterhouse says: "exnewshound, print, radio, nothing bigtime, then irrespectable times as conman doing publicity, political campaign 'management' ... laughed a lot, then ... and now ... news and politics—irrascible bedmates ... somewhere in there did common labor to put bread in belly basket ...

This week in NorCal poetry:

•••Mon. (11/23), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Lee Herrick and Michael Medrano at HQ for the Arts at 1719 25th St., Sacramento. [See last Friday's post for bios.]

•••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.

•••Weds. (11/25), 6-7 PM: Upstairs Poetry reading at The Upstairs Art Gallery, 420 Main St (2nd floor), Placerville. It's a poetry open-mike read-around, so bring your own poems or those of a favorite poet to share, or just come to listen. No charge.

•••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.

•••Fri. (11/27), 8-10:30 PM: TheBlackOutPoetrySeries inside The Upper Level VIP Lounge, 26 Massic Ct., Sacramento (located inside of Fitness Systems Healthclub by Cal State Skating Rink; exit Mack Road East to Stockton Blvd and then make a left on Massie, right past Motel 6 plus open mic. $5.00. Features Singers Willie Whitlock, Ghetto Romeo, Kendra and Mouthpeace, dancer Brandon Jackson and poets He Spit Fire plus Anna Sprowl. Info: 916-208-POET or Take advantage of 2-people-for-the-price-of-one this month; to get your 2-for-1 passes just call (916) 208-POET.

•••Sat. (11/28 and every 2nd and 4th Sat.), 10-11:30 AM: Sacramento Poetry Center 2nd and 4th Sat. Workshop hosted by 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:

Coming Up NEXT week at SPC:

•••Mon. (11/30), 7:30 PM: Lucy Lang Day, Tom Miner and Dianna Henning
•••Weds. (12/2), 6-8 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center Annual Fundraiser at the home of Mimi & Burnett Miller, 1224 40th St., Sacramento. Poetry by Theresa Vinciguerra and Danyen Powell, music by the American River College Vocal Jazz Quartet. Hors d’oeuvres and libations. Your $30 donation benefits SPC. RSVP 916-979-9706 or, or just pay at the door.


—Philip A. Waterhouse

A revered Black Pearl of Polynesia
in its natural state would be a wondrous
rarity now that angling and ocean pollution
have drastically reduced the harboring
shellfish's availability to archaic pearl-diving;
thus the oyster or mussel remains mostly
unmolested while an irritating parasite
or mysterious bone fragment becomes
lodged in one of their shells—protest to
the intrusion is natural formation of a gem
in the native state believed to pre-date
earliest humanity. Alternative generation
comes now by insertion of an irritant
by human hand into a captured mollusk,
or by concoction of chemicals in a
laboratory dish, the resultant synthetics
advertised as 'cultured' pearls, a term
of appeal in human societies where
the fashion is to ignore the reality of
simple industrial 'farming', and though
the results are the beauteous stones
adored by dames and damsels of many
cultures, make mine a Natural, pronto,
a Grande Dame is in-waiting.


—Philip A. Waterhouse

—Can't resist ... what must it be like to be
looking down at the ragland oval, watch losers
winning first moonlight savings time debate ...

—never forget to remember down drinking
tall earth glasses of wine dry, one by one ...

—to map—dead black Milky Ways, satellite
mesas, chaparral, blind-end catch canyons ...

—organize a society for developing pleasures,
to share, elaborate, informal,
altitude, solitude, cousins that don't kiss? ...

—photos of cave carvings of Mother Earth—
Father Time first couplings, smuggled them
on board ...

—design a new earth icon—snapping turtle ...

—silver spoon desserts, unlimited quantity,
pre-frozen ...

—everywhere, someone, down there, can be
lyre, piccolo‚ cymbals up here ...

—respectfully, first solo spacer,
eyes going star to make-believe star, famous—
(smuggle, my lithe lady) ...


—Philip A. Waterhouse

Local pub, not chi-chi,
the watering hole
natural to small communities,
attended by ancients,
scruffy fledglings,
hounds, and foxes,
and extrovert
never lets us finish
without joining in
the soulful toast
just before last call—

To great moments,
like right now,
passing us by —Bottoms!


Today's LittleNip:

—Alice Walker

Once again simple
Once again childlike
The poem opening out
into the grass.



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!


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)!

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


The Thread of Dreams,
a new chapbook from
Carol Frith,
will be premiered at
The Book Collector on
December 9, 7:30 PM,
along with the new issue of
Rattlesnake Review.
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.