Friday, May 21, 2010

Slap It To The Wall!

Flower Being
Photo Enhancement by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

See more of D.R.'s work in the new
which is now available for free at The Book Collector—

or send me two bux and I'll mail you one.

—Charles Mariano, Sacramento

got this theory
where every damn thing
coming outta my head,
gets written,

fire up a page
throw it wildly at the wall,
and if it sticks
thassa good’un

never been
properly book-taught
and i sure as hell
can’t take
steamy studio pics
with come-hither glances,

so i deal in
volume spaghetti
that is,
blind luck
my meat an' potatoes

the rule is,
write everything
take those awkward,
improper phrasings,
flawed meter counts,
bad spellin’s,

and slap it to the wall
see if it sticks

sometimes i get lucky

this one’s a slider


This weekend in NorCal poetry:

•••Fri. (5/21), 10am: Gillian Wegener writes: If you have a chance to listen between 10 and 11am today, please tune in to KXJZ/KUOP 91.3FM ( to listen to Molly Fisk, Jeff Knorr, Julia Levine and me (Gillian) talk about The Place That Inhabits Us, the anthology from Sixteen Rivers Press. We are going to be interviewed by Jeffrey Callison on his Capital Public Radio show, Insight. Molly, Jeff, and Julia will read their fantastic poems, and I will discuss how the anthology came together. If you can't listen live, you can pick up the podcast later in the afternoon for your listening pleasure. The Place That Inhabits Us is #1 on Small Press Distribution's April bestseller list. I have a few copies left if you are interested; email me at

•••Friday (5/21), 8-10:30pm: Special Event: The Blackout Spoken Word Battle. The poet in Northern California with the best spoken word poems for the night goes home with $100 cash! Come see this first annual Spoken Word War!!!! Poets sign up now by e-mailing Inside the upper level VIP lounge inside Fitness Systems Healthclub, 26 Massie Ct., Sacramento.

•••Fri. (5/21), 7:30pm: The Other Voice (sponsored by the UU Church of Davis) features two of the younger poets of Davis, Dorine Jennette and Matthew Chenoweth Wright, in the library of the church located at 27074 Patwin Rd. in Davis. This is the last program until September. Open mike and refreshments follow the reading, so bring along a poem or two to share. [See the b-bd for more about the poets.]

•••Sat. (5/22): Patricia Wellingham-Jones will be talking about ‘healing writing’ and reading her poems at 2pm and 3pm at HeartFelt Design Gallery, 623 Main St., Red Bluff. The event is part of a day-long and downtown-wide celebration, the Well-Being Faire, with many stores featuring discounts and hosting more than 50 practitioners, healers, artists, candidates, and others. The day ends with a wine tasting and the movie, Mamma Mia, at the State Theatre.

•••Sat. (5/22), 2-4pm: Former Sacramento Resident Patricia D’Alessandro will be celebrating the release of her latest poetry collection, Pax Vobiscum: Anti-War Poetry Collection (Pacific Copy&Print, 2010) at Underground Books, 35th & Broadway, Sacramento (

•••Sat. (5/22), 12-6pm: La Raza Galeria Posada presents Malo, featuring Jorge Santana plus arts, poetry, dance, food and special guests. Cesar Chavez Plaza, 9th and I Sts., Sacramento. Advance tickets $10; see

•••Sat. (5/22), 8pm and Sun. (5/23), 3pm: As part of their last performance of the season, the Sacramento Master Singers will present I, Too, Sing America: A Celebration of American Poets and Composers to be held at the First United Methodist Church at 21st & J Sts., Sacramento. Poets represented will be e.e. cummings and Dorothy Parker, whose works have been set to music by Eric Whitacre, Clifford Shockney, and Carol Barnett. Click on Dorothy Parker's pic (over on the b-bd at the right) for last Sunday's Sac. Bee article by Edward Ortiz; go to for tickets.

•••Sat. (5/22), 7-11pm: The Social-Poetry Slam hosted by Khiry Malik at Sol Collective, 2574 21st St. (Broadway and 19th Sts.), Sacramento, 916-476-3628,

•••Sun. (5/23), 2pm: Ina Coolbrith Circle presents Kathleen Lynch at the San Ramon Library, 100 Montgomery St., San Ramon. Bring a poem to read at the open mic and you will have a chance to see it appear on "The Po-Bowl." More about Kathleen at

•••Sun. (5/23), 2-4:30pm: A Starry Night Poetry Series in Lodi, featuring Wallace Condon, plus open mic. At the Lodi Library, 201 West Locust St., Lodi. Info: Co-sponsored by the Lodi Library.

•••Mon. (5/24), 7:30pm: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Christopher Buckley and C.E. Chaffin at R25, 1719 25th St. (at 25th and R), Sacramento. Christopher Buckley’s Rolling the Bones won the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry last year—his 17th book of poetry. Buckley was raised in Santa Barbara in the 1950s, and he currently teaches in the Creative Writing Department at the University of California, Riverside. His poetry has appeared widely in periodicals including The New Yorker, Antaeus, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, The Sewanee Review, Prairie Schooner and Poetry. He is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, two NEA grants, a Fulbright Award to Yugoslavia, four Pushcart Prizes, the James Dickey Prize from Five Points magazine, and two Gertrude B. Claytor Memorial Awards from the Poetry Society of America.

C.E. Chaffin, M.D., FAAFP (Fellow of American Academy of Physicians), is a contributing editor for Umbrella. He published The Melic Review for eight years. His new volume, Unexpected Light, was released by Diminuendo Press in 2009. He also teaches an online poetry tutorial. Inquiries can be made at He has never been published in Poetry, Ploughshares or The Paris Review, though he has appeared in other journals that start with 'P': The Pedestal, The Philadelphia Inquirer Book Review, Plum Ruby Review, Poetry Tonight, Poetry SZ, Poetry Magazine, Poets' Canvas, Poetry Superhighway, Poetry Cafe, Poetry Exchange, and PIF. (If he listed credits for more letters, this would be an insufferable bio.) A retired family physician, CE lives in Northern California with his wife and editor, Kathleen, two cats and a dog. He considers himself a Classicist in art, a Lutheran in religion and a Libertarian in politics. Shoe size: same as mouth.

(for a more complete listing of workshops and events, go to


—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

Aurora, the goddess of dawn
was attracted to mortal men,
who, unlike gods, can die.

When Tithonus, a mortal,
became her lover, she went to
the Goddess Juno for help.

Juno granted Tithonus eternal
life, but, mistakenly didn't grant
the poor man eternal youth.

Things went well for years,
then Tithonus' hair turned
to an old man's white.

Aurora began to lose interest
in him. Tithonus grew weaker and
weaker and could no longer walk.

Not wanting to see him age,
Aurora changed the unlucky
man into a large grasshopper.

So if one day you see something
moving in your garden that
gives you a start—remember...

It may be smoke, a mysterious
shadow, or just a large green
grasshopper named Tithonus.


—Richard Zimmer

Kelly was an avid book reader. He’d say,
Books think for me. If he were in trouble,
he’d go to the library to fix any problem.
Kelly had a bad temper. He went and got
some books on Zen and Eastern Thought.

He hoped they would help control his anger.
He studied the books a while and then stood
in front of a mirror and recited a mantra…
My soul be gentle, my soul be kind,
may all the anger leave my mind.

To Kelly’s horror, the face he saw in the mirror
was filled with rage...features distorted into a
malevolent, devilish grin. Fearing he must have
a very bad karma, and needed further study, he
went back to the library to get some more books.


—Charles Mariano

on an otherwise
lifeless day
i stumbled sleepily
to the table
and stared
at my gloomy
plate of words

delicious and glorious
last night
just lays there,

a carcass
in oily

through the corner
of my eye,
it moved…

i whipped out
my mighty pen,
still stained
from last night’s epic battle
and stabbed it

“die! die! worthless scum!”

there’s no glory
in bad writing,
only death

to the victor
go the spoils


Today's LittleNip:

—Langston Hughes

Folks, I'm telling you,
birthing is hard
and dying is mean—
so get yourself
a little loving
in between.



Bird of Paradise
Photo by D.R. Wagner