Thursday, April 22, 2010


Photo Courtesy of Katy Brown, Davis

—John Joseph Bowman, Roseville

She watched it all from her kitchen window.
First, the robin, plump and determined,
gathering things for the nest—dry weeds,
leaves, twigs to put in the boxwood.

Then the eggs—three—perfect, robin egg blue.
The next day, the snake, green-striped and thin, coiled
in the boxwood atop the nest of eggs,
warming them for dinner.


Welcome to the Kitchen to newcomer John Bowman for his rather ominous contribution, ophidian though it is, and thanks to Bill Gainer for introducing John to Medusa. We’re celebrating Earth Week with a give-away—send me a Seed of the Week poem about Fruits of the Earth and I'll send you a copy of Emily and the High Cost of Living by Kathy Kieth from Tiger's Eye Press—or any rattlechap of your choosing from Rattlesnake Press—free. Send 'em to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. There's a deadline on this SOW though: postmarked or e-mailed by midnight, Sunday, April 25.

This is the official Earth Day in the middle of what we've been calling Earth Week, and the day is packed/packed/packed with readings:

•••Taylor Graham will be reading at Folsom Lake College today with Jennifer Pickering O'Neill, Tim McHargue, and Tom Goff. That's 1-2:20pm in the El Dorado Center Library.

•••Also today (4/22), 5-7:30pm: Way Cool, Daddy-O! Coffeehouse Poetry: in Celebration of Earth Day! Poets from the Sacramento area (NSAA, Bill Gainer, Alexa Mergen, Bob Stanley, Martha Ann Blackman, Robert Grossklaus, and JoAnn Anglin) will read environmental poetry at The Buzz Café, CSUS Student Union. Additionally, CSUS students will also read at this event. Event is co-hosted by the CSUS Environmental Student Organization and the Sacramento Poetry Center.

•••At 7:30pm: A Night of Poetry with Andrea Gibson, winner of the 2008 "Women of the World Poetry Slam", plus special opening guest Buddy Wakefield, plus open mic. CSUS, University Union Ballroom. Free. Co-sponsored by the PRIDE Center, the University Union UNIQUE Programs and ASI. This event is in support of PRIDE Week. All ages permitted. However, some content might not be suitable for children. No alcohol sold or permitted at venue.

•••Then at 8pm, head over to Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café, 1414 16th St., Sacramento, for BL Kennedy’s last night of hosting that venue as he presents Ed Mycue, Nancy Keane, and Todd Cirillo. [Is it true, what I hear, about 60 open mic readers scheduled?]

•••OR, from 8-11pm: Flatmancrooked's Annual Reading Thingy sponsored by the Davis Cultural Action Committee. Free drink to the first 100 guests, second free drink with the purchase of any Flatmancrooked book. Readers from the FMC Anthology, Not About Vampires, include Andy Dugas, N.A. Jong & Kevin Walsh (recipient of the 2009 FMC Fiction Prize), and from the FMC Slim Volume of Contemporary Poetics: Julia Halprin Jackson, Shideh Etaat, Chris 'Whitey' Erickson & Andy Jones w/a special tribute to Atlanta, GA from Executive Editor Elijah Jenkins (open mic to follow). John Natsoulas Gallery, 521 1st St., Davis (


—Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento

Leaning on stakes,
bare root saplings
weather seasons
of winter storms
and summer sizzle—
nursed and nurtured
to a harvest of succulent
mellow yellow apricots
and deep purple plums.


—Patricia A. Pashby

Soften into the artistry around me,
breathe in the fullness of spring—
the flowering branches, the fragrance,
the blush of each blooming thing.

There is no place for words to go
but to sketch a heartfelt poem.
I’ll wrap it up in eight lines or so—
a quatrain, and bring it home.


—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

of the old pretend
I know
where you go
when the moonlight
in the trees
and the trees come alive
in the night.
I followed you
and saw
old branches
lift and gesture
in a winter-dance
in that forgotten

your sly smile
lit the dark
where no life grieves
and the music
its broken-fingered
and you, an acrobat,
in such a hungry
that old lucent ghosts
of fruit
fell ripely down
to taste
your laughter.

(First appeared in The Goodly Co.)


—Joyce Odam

Gathering up the old fruit of those
delicious trees . . . Scattering
the bird shadows before they form
their own starvations around us . . .
Hunger is not the only message here.

(First appeared in The Lilliput Review)


—Joyce Odam

The trees were so full of fruit this year that
you had boards to hold the branches up and
still the limbs broke with the weight and
bent their leaves to the ground and the
birds came droving and you cursed
the birds: those goddam birds, you
said, and there was so much
fruit we could not eat it all
nor give that much


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

Our patio tomato crop
has cropped up like a bumper;
the little spheres refuse to stop,
but come in plump and plumper.

They’re Nora’s triumph, born of twelve
well-nurtured tiny seedlings.
These wonders we must eat or shelve
sprang up with little wheedling.

But oh, alas, our Tippy’s loose,
our cockapoo fruit-stealer.
She leaps upon the vines and chews
(tomatoes are no squealers)

in silence, gobbling one by one.
Our bumper pool, reduced.
Before their green’s turned red, she’s done:
her mouth grass-stained with juice.

Abundance isn’t fruition
if it's finished off by attrition.


Today's LittleNip:

One must ask children and birds how strawberries and cherries taste.



—Medusa (with thanks to Pat Pashby for Today's LittleNip)

Photo by Art Beck, San Francisco