Monday, June 07, 2010

Surrounded by Enchantments

Killdeer chick
Photo by Stephani Schaefer, Los Molinos,
who says this chick wandered into the shot
that Steph was setting up otherwise...

—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

Greetings and welcome, newborn babe,
to endless opportunities,
where dreaming possibilities
makes them happen right away.

If you’re hungry or just upset,
a cry will bring you relief.
Others will shield you from grief, so
you will just have a nice day.

There are plenty of folks to help:
parents, teachers, and sponsors,
agents, handlers, and lawyers.
All want your dreams to come true.

But do be somewhat careful
whom you pick for your friends, as
some use good means for unjustified ends.
Of course, it’s all about you.


This week in NorCal poetry:

•••Mon. (6/7), 7:30pm: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Catie Rosemurgy and Martha Ann Blackman at R25, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento. Catie Rosemurgy is the author of the poetry collections, The Stranger Manual and My Favorite Apocalypse, both from Graywolf Press. Her work has appeared in the American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and Best American Poetry. She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and teaches at The College of New Jersey. [See Medusa's b-bd for more about Catie.]

Martha Ann Blackman has been writing poetry since the 70's. She co-edited a number of poetry collections, including Watching From the Sky (co-editor, Ann Menebroker). She has had poems published in numerous collections, most recently in Rattlesnake Review, Medusa's Kitchen, and Poems-For-All. She has performed (poetry/songs) at numerous UCD Whole Earth Festivals, Earth Day Events at Marin County and the State Capitol, Friends of the River Events, KVMR Radio (Nevada City), KVIE-6, and KXTV-10. She was also an Artist in the Schools through the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, where she worked with young students on Earth-friendly poetry and projects.

•••Tues. (6/8), 6pm: The Second Tuesday Poetry Series at Barkin’ Dog Grill (940 11th St., Modesto, is going to be a year old on June 8! Our featured readers of the evening are the most excellent poets Sam Pierstorff and Chad Sokolovsky. Sam Pierstorff received his MFA in poetry from CSU Long Beach and has since been teaching at Modesto Junior College. He hosts SLaM on RyE, Modesto's Monthly Poetry Slam, and served as Modesto's Poet Laureate from 2004-2008. He's the editor of Quercus Review, and his debut collection, Growing Up in Someone Else's Shoes, was recently published by World Parade Books. Chad Sokolovsky has been writing, publishing, and performing poetry since 2001. He competed in the National Poetry Slam Finals in 2005 as a member of the Modesto team. Since then, he has featured as both a solo performer and as a member of the team collaboration, "Comma Sutra". His work has been published in Quercus Review, Stanislaus Connections, Penumbra and Song of the San Joaquin, among others.

•••Weds. (6/9), 7:30pm: Rattlesnake Press presents Richard Hansen hosting Which Side Are You On? Songs and Poetry of Labor and Protest. Bring your own on-topic poems and songs and join us in a relaxed setting, with drinks and food, as we celebrate the dissident spirit! Featuring Abe Sass, Manny Gale, Mary Zeppa, Bob Stanley, Richard Hansen and YOU! That's at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento.

•••Thurs. (6/10), 8pm: Geoffrey Neill hosts as Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café features frank andrick in a set of his own (old/new/collaborations), plus a free program/broadside to the first 50 people who come to the show. Also: Singer/songwriter Russ Tolman (Russ Tolman solo projects and of course TRUE WEST) will join frank onstage to collaborate, and Russ will treat us all to a few solo tunes and some songs from the True West catalog. Prior to the official starting time, frank will try a ‘Baudelarian experiment’, a 'café’ reading like those done by the French Poet Charles Baudelaire in 1862 in Paris: frank will sit on stage at a table and recreate the reading in spirit, including some poems read in French. This will all be prior to the event, so come early please to check that out and grab a program too.

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

Workshop in Coloma June 26-27:

•••Sat. (6/26) and Sun. (6/27), 9-11am: Plum Blossoms: Haiku and More in Coloma, led by Brigit Truex. No previous writing experience necessary; open to all ages 12 and up. Sponsored by the American River Conservancy, so cost is $10 for members, $15 for non-members. For specific location and reservations, contact or call 530-621-1224. For more about Brigit, go to


—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

They banded a naked girl
Riding a beautiful star-specked
Horse with the echo of youth
So they might track her
Should she ever return.

Somewhere out there silence
Can be learned as if it were
An alien language or a card game.

See those spinning lights?
They are the ones I spoke of
In my letter. Yes, they are
The children of the deepest
Purest thing we could ever imagine,
But we could not realize them
Happening to us.

Now I don’t know about the rest
Of you but I’m thinking none of this
Is done in vain. This is the world,
Is it not? “We are surrounded by
Enchantments.” Who can judge
Any of this? Moonlight? Lions?

We came here because we must
Come here. We were told this is
The place. Where will love
Go better? Where will anything
Be as innocent as this ever again?

I press my face into her hair
And breathe. They will come
For us soon enough. Don’t
Even think of running. Just
Look at that horse. Unbelievable!
The lovely girl, naked. Her beautiful
Back. Look how we understand this.


—D.R. Wagner

So many voices. A chorus
Speaking together. There is
Grace in the way the words
Form here. We have no idea
What is being said. But there

It is, pure and outlandish
As late June with its
Dreams of water and Summer
Love caught in its loins.

We walk along the sidewalks
On the edges of the park.
The fireflies are just starting
To be seen so we sit and wait
For the dark to consume everything.

I am in love with you, you
The one reading this. I want to
Take you in my arms and touch
You intimately, make love with you
With great ceremony and unbridled lust,
To be a chorus within you, not
Singing at all, but speaking so we
May hear in our core, abandoning gender,
Fine and carnal, pleading another kind
Of Summer, another mouth upon yours
Where speech stops attending us
Where all becomes sensation,
Steam rising from the ocean surface
Even before dawn is aware of it.


—D.R. Wagner

I was looking at some pictures
Of people making love and I wondered
Who they were this morning,
If they had walked along the cliff
Edge near the beach to watch the morning
Ease itself across the water? Did
They smell the seaweed? Did they
Listen to the wave sounds and the
Fog horn's unanswered song as they talked
So beautifully you’d think the
Walls of heaven were being described,
Just by the way they were talking
To each other? Was it the sea
That made them remove their
Clothing and wander into each
Other, wonder into each other
‘Caravans spilling out of their thighs’
And the bones singing of the lovely
Flesh touching like this so
That they wanted to keep some part
In pictures and they did they had
Their talk and were as leaves
And were as faith is so we are told,
So they could return to these images
Wondering who they were then and what
Happened and why did it all look
Like this and who else would see
Them here and float away on the
Images watching the sunlight on
The flesh, the bells of their bodies
Making that sound full of hurrah
And the waves coming back into focus
After a long time? The apple tree
Still in the background, the wonder
Piling up like forests against the sea.
Where is paradise now with its glory,
Its truth, the flames that are their
Flesh, the nobility that lives above
And shines incomparably on all human beings?


—Ann Privateer, Davis

The 62nd Cannes Awards
for anti-everything happened

last year in the wild gardens
of the mind with ballads

of ourselves played for the world
to see under a paper moon party

made of candy with shit, spit,
and Sanskrit, the gist, uncut,

a raw and riveting hero-
comic turned serious.


Children "disappear"
before their birthdays
as fetus or product of conception
not as an unborn baby given a name
We hear how whites "civilized" savages
who ate their enemies' flesh
Yet white men throughout history
were perhaps the world's worst cannibals
even eating their own innocent children
likewise sacrificing them on altars
or feeding them to lions
during which they laughed

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

Photo by D.R. Wagner

Today's LittleNip:

The gardener's rule applies to youth and age:
When young 'sow wild oats', but when old, grow sage.

—H.J. Byron