Monday, November 16, 2009

Things To Hold On To

Photo by Bob Dreizler, Sacramento

—William S. Gainer, Grass Valley

I don’t know these people,
they want to send
a Luxury Ink Pen—
what’s a Luxury Ink Pen?

Is it like a luxury
does it have Corinthian
a six-speaker
sound system,
heated mirrors
and cruise control?
Will it write my poems
for me?

Do they want something
in exchange,
maybe all the shavings
from all the pencils
I’ve ever sharpened?
I didn’t save them.

Maybe it’s a scam
run by the government,
trying to catch me
at something?

I’m not giving out
my address
or phone number,
but if you should
hear from them—again,
you might mention,
I am interested
in the Luxury Ink Pen.


Thanks to Bob Dreizler for the photo, and to Bill Gainer for today's poems. Bill has published three publications for Rattlesnake Press: a littlesnake broadside, Invitations from the Jukebox (2005); a Rattlechaps Chapbook, To Run With The Savages (2005) and his recent Rattlesnake LittleBook, Joining the Demented (2009). Bill will be reading with R.D. Armstrong tonight at Sacramento Poetry Center; see below for details.

This week in NorCal poetry:

•••Monday (11/16), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents two of the West Coast Literary Scene’s most legendary contributors, poets Bill Gainer and R.D. Armstrong. Admission is free! Refreshments and open-mic included, at the Sacramento Poetry Center, 1719 25th Street. Info: (916) 979-9706. [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.

•••Wed. (11/18 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

•••Wed. (11/18, and every 3rd Weds.), 7:30 PM: Our House Art Gallery Poetry Night. Sign up for open mic by 7 PM. Located at 1004 White Rock Rd., Suite 400 (corner of Latrobe & White Rock Rds. in the Montano El Dorado Shopping Center), El Dorado Hills. Free. Info: or 916-933-4278.

•••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 (11/20), 7:30 PM: The Other Voice sponsored by the UU Church of Davis presents Deborah Thomas and Ron Lane who will read their poems in the library of the church located at 27074 Patwin Rd., Davis. Deborah Thomas Neal lives in Cape Meares, Oregon with her husband, Mike Neal, and a revolving entourage of children and grandchildren. Her poetry focuses on the everyday challenges of being human. Though she rarely submits her poetry, her work has been published in many fine journals such as Poetry Northwest, The Seneca Review, Red Sky, and others. A chapbook titled The Light in the Refrigerator was published through Lulu Press in 2007.

Ronald Edwin Lane has worked for the past 18 years at UC Davis managing greenhouses and the ornamental gardens for the Environmental Horticulture program. He lives with his wife of 30 years in a house they built in Colfax and began writing poetry in 2006 a couple of months before his 47th birthday. Since then he has written hundreds of poems, a children's book titled Avina's Song, several short stories and is currently working on 3 novels. Over the past 3 years Lane has published more than 37 poems, short stories and books, and is a frequent contributor to Rattlesnake Review and Medusa’s Kitchen. Refreshments and Open Mike follow the reading, so bring along a poem to share.

•••Sat. (11/21), 10 AM-4 PM: Rae Gourirand of Davis writes: Just a brief note to invite you to a craft show I’m participating in at the Village Homes Community Center (close to Osteria Fasulo and the Applegate Dance Studio, at 2661 Portage Bay East, in Davis) next Saturday. I’ll be selling hardback writing journals made of amazing Japanese chiyogami papers, silk/linen spinecloth, and cream Italian text block paper, and a smaller supply of Thai momi paper stab-bound notebooks. (Completely unrelated to these bound objects, I’ll also have a wall of handknit scarves that want to find their owners before it officially becomes winter!) All sales, as ever, fund the startup costs of One By One, my micro poetry press (which I anticipate will be up and running by the summer). I started the Open Books project last year as a way to join my passion for bookbinding and my vision for the press— which is dedicated to encouraging us all to savor stolen moments. I’ll be at the show until everything sells out, which might be quite fast (I am only offering about 40 books for sale this year) but would love to see you and talk with you all about how the vision of the press has evolved over the last year. Lots of other local artists will be showing ceramics, jewelry, knits, wreaths, prints, paintings, and more at this event, and I hear there will be live music and refreshments.

•••Saturday (11/21), 8 PM: Saturday Night @ Luna’s!! A special event w/Beth Lisick, Michelle Tea, Tara Jepsen, Rachel Leibrock, Barbara Noble, Becca Costello, and The Women’s Collective from “Stop Being a Fucking Creep” aka “Take Back Midtown”, followed by sounds, text and vox by Ross Hammond, Ruben Reveles, Josh Fernandez, and frank andrick. And guest poets too! Only $10 at the door. Stories, prose, poetry, drama, skits, improvisation, music, sampling, songs, free chapbooks & broadsides. A Whole Lotta FUN ! (This event sponsored by Poets & Writers Inc. from a generous donation by the James Irvine Foundation.)

•••Sat. (11/21 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. (11/21 and every 3rd Sat.), 7 PM: Celebration of Word, Sound and Paint at Carol’s Books, 1913 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento.



screams its threat,
three wind chimes
play the songs
of the damned;
the base,
the flutes,
the rain,
the roll
of the thunder.
The conductor
dares the

the morning
the orchestra
at rest.

—William S. Gainer


—William S. Gainer

They say
I should love the river.
I don’t.

Not that I mean it
any harm.
It’s just that
I like things
with bones.
The river has no

It wiggles

down the mountain,
across the flatlands,
into the bay,
the ocean,
always finding its way
to the biggest puddle—
of uncertainty,

nothing to hold on to,
no bones,
and I like things
with bones...


—William S. Gainer

The last time
it was
the suggestion box.
I thought
it would be a good idea
to have reserved
for Jesus—
just in case
he showed up.
They thought
I was nuts…


Today's LittleNip:

—William S. Gainer

Just pick a god
and start talking.
Then wait for the miracle.
With luck
and a good imagination
one might find you.
If not,
pick another



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.