Friday, March 05, 2010

Of Magic Mists & Our Downtown Crows

Photo by Mary Mills, Kingwood, WV

—Mary Mills

creeping, seeping
clinging, swinging
crawling, sprawling

from the top
down to the
bottom branch.

magic mist:
soft, airy
spanish moss.


—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

The puzzles of this world
Lead me to respond

A never answered question
Hinted at in parts

All throughout my life
This question sings its song

I sit here and wonder
If I am just weird

The only answer when I ask
That seems to echo back is
Why not?


Jim Powell and Heidi Steidlmayer at Sacramento Poetry Center:

•••Monday (3/8), 7:30pm: SPC presents Jim Powell and Heidi Steidlmayer at HQ for the Arts at 1719 25th St., Sacramento. Jim Powell is the author of two collections of poetry: Substrate, just published by Pantheon Books, and It Was Fever That Made The World (University of Chicago Press), and he is the translator of The Poetry Of Sappho (Oxford University Press) and Catullan Revenants (Booklyn). His poems and translations are included in the Paris Review Anthology; the Norton Introduction to Literature; the Oxford Anthology of Classical Verse In English Translation; California Poetry From the Gold Rush To the Present; and the Addison Street Anthology. His honors include the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines Younger Poets Prize, the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association Translation Prize and a MacArthur Fellowship. He held the Sherry Poet lectureship at the University of Chicago in Fall 2005. He is a native and resident of Northern California.

Born in Chicago, Heidi Steidlmayer is a graduate of Northwestern University and of Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers. In 2007, she was a recipient of the J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize from Poetry magazine, and in 2009 she was awarded a Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award for emerging women writers. Her poems have appeared in TriQuarterly, Ploughshares, Poetry, Michigan Quarterly Review, Literary Imagination and Calyx, among others. Her work is also included in Poems, Poets, Poetry: An Introduction and Anthology, Second Edition, by Helen Vendler. Of Steidlmayer’s work, Poetry magazine editor Christian Wiman wrote to The Sacramento Bee in September 2009: “She is a remarkable poet (who) writes poems of great compactness and density, as technically accomplished as they are emotionally devastating. This is an age of irony and sprawl, and she’s going—bravely and with great success—her own way. People may not know much about her work now, but they will soon.”

Coming Up at SPC:

March 14 (Sunday), 3-5pm: California Poets in the Schools reading
March 15 (Monday), 7:30pm: Women's History Month Reading: Jane Blue, Felicia Martinez, Lytton Bell, Yang Her, JoAnn Anglin, Shevonna Blackshire


—Charles Mariano, Sacramento

heater’s broke
and it’s freezing

so cold
my moustache
after the shower

clicked the wall-thing
left, then right


it’s march
and it’s been raining
alleycats and mutts
all week

up in the hills
to the neck

and by the time
i fix
this damn heater
it’ll be spring

so i throw on
a thicker sweater
rewrap my stumps
take a snort,

hunker down


(downtown sac)
—Charles Mariano

early morning darkness
before the streets
to overflow

i parked,
looked up
and there they were

evil black crows
of winter
fierce warriors
in the trees
waiting, watching
by the thousands

the familiar rattle
that builds
to a deafening,
thunderous roar

terror from above
death-defying bombers

cars, sidewalks,
bald heads
all of us,
prime targets
marked for…Splattt

i’m hit!
i’m hit!!


—Charles Mariano, Sacramento

doing it again
taking a breather
from writing,
to read

before long
the chapters fly by
and i’ve passed
the point of no return

characters, plots,
victims, tragic heroes
assaults my senses
inside my skin

warn myself
don’t go there, kills the day
turns me into a zombie

my hands shake
as i slip deeper
into the killer’s
deranged mind,

“he stuck the blade
between her ribs
let her dance on the tip,
until she bled out…”

wait! wait!
just one more page!

on a dark, ominous
rainy day in march,
my writing succumbed
from its wounds

…in cold blood


Today's LittleNip:

Did you hear about the guy who sent ten puns to different friends, hoping to make them laugh? No pun in ten did.