Friday, February 05, 2010

Today is a Work Day

Punxsutawney Phil

—Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento

Punxsutawney Phil
observes his vivid shadow . . .
six more weeks of cold,
frostbitten toes, runny nose.
Frozen hearts crave spring meltdown.


Thanks, Pat Pashby, who writes: Since "Phil" seemed to be neglected on the Kitchen, I have this to offer the snakes. They would probably spit him out, but back East he is a great big deal! It is a Tanka in his honor.

Yes, Medusa neglected Phil this year, but at least he got the job done anyway. Thanks to Charles Mariano and D.R. Wagner for today's other offerings. While you're cruising the Kitchen, check out more new links and other tidbits here and there, plus our new Poet-to-Poet box for looking in on poets around the area.

This weekend in NorCal poetry:

(for a more complete calendar listing, go to

•••Friday (2/5), 7-10 PM: NSAA and FoShang poetry/jazz performance at Carol's Books, 1913 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento. $5 Advance Tickets, $8 Door. Buy tickets online: or or

•••Friday (2/5), 7-10 PM: Sacramento Area Youth Speaks open Mic Poetry at the Sol Collective, 2574 21st Street, Sacramento. Info:

•••Sat. (2/6), 3-5 PM: Bay Area Poets Coalition Maggi H. Meyer Memorial Contest 30 Celebration and open reading at Strawberry Creek Lodge, 1320 Addison St., Berkeley. (Addison is one block south of and parallel to University Ave. between Acton & Bonar St. Parking on the street—NOT in the S.C.L. parking lot. Please try to arrive at least 5-10 minutes early, so we can start promptly at 3:00. Check in at the front desk and you will be directed to the elevator/stairs; go to the 4th floor movie room.) Congrats to contest winners Al Averbach, Diana Bilovsky, Janet Butler, Steven Gray, Stephen Kopel, Ellaraine Lockie, Mary Loughran, Ross Plovnick, Allegra Silberstein, Jeanine Stevens, Nancy Wakeman, Cherise Wyneken; detailed winners’ list is posted on the BAPC website (

3-4 PM (approx.): All contest winning poems will be read. Winners present will be invited to read their own poems. Awards will be presented at the event (or mailed to absentee poets).

4-5 PM: Informal open reading (up to 3 minutes per poet, please, this month).

After the reading, join us for dinner if you'd like at nearby Your Place Thai Cuisine, 1267 University Ave., Berkeley.

•••Sunday (2/7), 5 PM: Wendy Barker will read from her new book, Nothing Between Us: The Berkeley Years, at the Avid Reader, 617 2nd St., Davis. [See last Monday's post for a bio.]

•••Sunday (2/7), 4 PM: The Essential Leaves of Grass: The Poetry of Walt Whitman featuring readers Shawn Aveningo, Richard Hansen, Susan Kelly-DeWitt, Danielle Metzinger, Sage Reagan, Stuart L. Canton, James Lee Jobe, Cynthia Linville, Rebecca Morrison, Bob Stanley at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento. Free. Info: or 530-750-3514.

•••Monday (2/8), 6 & 7:30 PM: Yuyutsu RD Sharma presents A Himalayan Poem Workshop from 6-7:30 PM and a reading at 7:30 PM. Workshop and reading are free. Sacramento Poetry Center, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento. Yuyutsu RD Sharma (Ram Dass) A widely traveled major Nepali/Indian writer was born at Nakodar, Punjab and grew up in Nakodar and later at Nangal Township of Shivalik ranges of Mahabharata Hills where his father, Madan Lal, worked. Yuyutsu grew up in a very religious atmosphere with his mother, Shanti Devi and at the age of nine became a shaman as he was thought to be possessed by a serpent spirit, his family deity. Later he came under the impression of Naga ascetics whom his father revered. But after finishing his Bachelor's degree in KRM DAV College in Nakodar, Yuyutsu went to Baring Union Christan College, Batala and received his Master's Degree in English Literature. Later he received his M Phil at the University of Rajasthan where he met American poet David Ray. Yuyutsu remained active in the literary circles of Rajasthan and acted in plays by Shakespeare, Bertolt Brecht, Harold Pinter, and Edward Albee.

Sharma is the recipient of fellowships and grants from The Rockefeller Foundation, Ireland Literature Exchange, Trubar Foundation, Slovenia, The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature and The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature, Yuyutsu RD Sharma is a distinguished poet and translator. He has published eight poetry collections, including Space Cake, Amsterdam, & Other Poems from Europe and America (Howling Dog Press, Colorado, 2009); Annapurna Poems (Nirala, New Delhi 2008); Everest Failures (White Lotus Book Shop, Kathmandu, 2008); A Photographic and Poetic Journey to the Foot of Everest (Epsilonmedia, Germany, 2006 with German photographer Andreas Stimm), and a translation of Irish poet Cathal O’Searcaigh. He has translated and edited several anthologies of contemporary Nepali poetry in English and launched a literary movement, Kathyakayakalp (Content Metamorphosis) along with Shailendra Sakar, in Nepali poetry. A collection of his poems in Slovenian translation, entitled Jezero Fewa in Konj, came out from the Sodobnost International Press, Ljubljana. A collection of his poems in French, entitled, Poemes de l’ Himalayas, has just appeared from Harmattan, Paris. Yuyutsu’s own work has been translated into German, French, Italian, Slovenian, Hebrew, Spanish and Dutch. Currently, he edits Pratik, A Magazine of Contemporary Writing and contributes literary columns to Nepal’s leading daily, The Himalayan Times and The Kathmandu Post. Info:

•••Tuesday (2/9), 12:30-2 PM: Yuyutsu RD Sharma will also give a reading and a Poetry and Photography Workshop on the UCD campus, 126 Voorhies. Reading and workshop are free.

•••Wednesday (2/10), 12:30-2:30 PM: Yuyutsu RD Sharma Reading from 12:30-1 PM, and a Travel Poem Workshop from 1-2:30 in the Summit Room, 3rd Floor, University Union, Cal State University Sacramento.


—Charles Mariano, Sacramento

today i plan
to vacuum
because i’ve fooled myself
into believing
the reason
for this stifling drag
in the dust, lint and crud
of this crowded room

wheeled the machine
to center
in all its
shiny, red splendor
then plugged to life

loud, whirring, whooshing,
silence shaken
sucked mightily
dust, dirt,
hardened food

amid the loud
incessant whir,
face twisted
eyeballs, half-popped
i laughed triumphantly
then screamed,

nevermore! nevermore!

sucked to the core,

full bag


—Charles Mariano

it’s today’s
freezing cold
because my teeth ache

didn’t hurt yesterday
didn’t hurt
last month

maybe it’s one of those
unknown, unexpected
“old things”
that creeps up
snaggles and twists
my parts

it’s teeth
last week,
i don’t know,



—Charles Mariano

this morning,
while mired
in the depths
my latest despair

i wrote angrily,
too much darkness
too much dying

the forecast is rain
all week
ominous clouds

i leapt from my chair
turned on every light
cast off
every defective page
and screamed,

To The Death!!

the lights flickered
the rains came,

i pressed on

Enhanced Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

Today's LittleNip:

—Charles Mariano

is a work day


a i-didn’t-write-shit