Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Desert Blossoms

Snake Birthday Party, Two Years Ago

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

She opened the front door and walked
out of her old life—sisters
fidgeting the blinds, afraid of light;
mother with fingers clenched
against the testimony of a breeze.

She locked her car at the end
of pavement. Decades and canyons
later, hikers found her bones, a diary
penciled with desert sunsets
and flights of ravens.

Where could she have found
water? Did wild ripe strawberries
hide among dry rocks?
How did she blossom there
out of her mind?


We're talking about the desert this week; send your desert poems (or any other kind) to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs.

And join us tonight for the Sixth Annual Snake Birthday Bash for cake and libations, a reading by Carol Frith from her new full-length collection, two for a journey (from David Robert Books) and an Earth Week Open Mic—bring 1-3 poems of your own or somebody else's. That's 7:30pm at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento.

Pat Hickerson writes to say she was hit by nostalgia at seeing that Jack Hirschman will be reading in Sacramento next week (see the B-Board at the right), since they used to read together now and then in San Francisco back in the '80's. She also says: I recently did a review for Amazon on Wendy Barker's Nothing Between Us, an 88-page prose poem about her experience as a teacher in a totally wild junior high school in Berkeley during the late '60s. I highly recommend this page-turner to Medusa readers. And Berkeley poet Judy Wells, whose poem "Night at the Musee Dorsay" (or something like that) you published online and in one of the Rattlesnake Reviews—her book just out from Beatitude Press—I Dream of Circus Characters, A Berkeley Chronicle, a fun collection that really gets to the heart of Berkeley.

And Snakepal and Rattlechapper Bill Gainer, who is recovering nicely from his heart attack, sends us a couple of "heart attack poems". So glad for your smooth recovery, BG!

Voices of Lincoln Poetry Contest:

The sixth annual VOL Poetry contest (presented by the Poets Club of Lincoln and sponsored by the Lincoln Library and Friends of the Lincoln Library) has a deadline of Saturday, July 31—all poems must be received by that date. This contest also has a Young Poets division (18 and under). Info:

Tomorrow night in Davis:

•••Thurs. (4/15), 7-8:30pm: John Natsoulas Gallery (521 First St., Davis) presents a book release reading and party for Indigo Moor’s Through the Stonecutter’s Window (winner of the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Prize in Poetry), featuring Indigo Moor, Marilyn Nelson (Former Poet Laureate of Connecticut), Bryan Tso Jones, and music by The Toni Passerell Trio with Modern Dancer Robert H. Johnson. Info: 530-756-3938 or or


—William S. Gainer, Grass Valley

I’ve been seeing things
out of the corner
of my left eye,
blurry things,
can’t really make them out,
figures, people maybe?

The other night
the cat rubbed up
against me.
We don’t have a cat.

And the dog’s
been talking—
yelling, “hey, hey

Nothing unusual—

I guess
I’m okay...


—William S. Gainer

I was in the hospital
something to do
with my heart,
probably broken again,
it happens a lot...

That’s when you came in,
but you weren’t you,
you were something else,
a rabbit,
not a huge one,
but a big one,
maybe three feet long.

You had this white fur,
with caramel colored patches,
The inside of your ears
were very pink,
your nose too.

You cuddled beside me,
under my arm,
your whiskers tickled,
I could feel your

The doctor came in
said it was time
for you to leave.
You smiled.
I didn’t know
rabbits could smile,
but you smiled...

It was a nice dream,
I’m glad
you were in it...


—Alice Walker

I am so thankful I have seen
The Desert
And the creatures in The Desert
And the desert Itself.

The Desert has its own moon
Which I have seen
With my own eye

There is no flag on it.

Trees of the desert have arms
All of which are always up
That is because the moon is up
The sun is up
Also the sky
The stars
None with flags.

If there were flags, I doubt
The trees would point.
Would you?

Photo by Bob Dreizler, Sacramento

Today's LittleNip:

Everything in the desert either stings, stabs, stinks or sticks. You will find the flora here as venomous, hooked, barbed, thorny, prickly, needled, saw-toothed, hairy, stickered, mean, bitter, sharp, wiry and fierce as the animals.

—Edward Abbey