Monday, September 20, 2010

Peeking/Peaking at Halloween

the last winter
—charles mariano, sacramento

talked to this
older lady
her last winter

the pain
in her voice,
her eyes,
echoed loneliness

she asked me,
“have you seen
my only daughter?
have you spoken?”

her big house
so impressively grand
in sadness

forty years ago
her daughter
under a hail
of angry words,
walked out

“forty years
of damned
suffering heartache,”
she said bitterly,

it’s just me,
and this big ass
lonely house”


Thanks, cm, and the rest of today's contributors. SnakePals Patricia Hickerson and Catfish McDaris have been having a conversation. Go to to see what she’s been telling him.

Residents of the Valley Floor tend to flock to Camino and Apple Hill in record numbers during the Fall. A word to the wise: the crowds peak at Halloween. This weekend was relatively light (the traffic can be AWFUL). So I’d advise you to get up here in the next week or two (weekdays are much better, too), if you’re inclined toward the apple:

A Starry Night Poetry Series in Lodi is doing some interesting things—especially their youth offerings for the next two months—and their website has advice for poets of all ages about how to present poetry in public. Go to and click on “Advice” up in the menu at the top, and then scroll down their website for info about youth readings in Oct. and Nov.

Workshops coming up:

•••Mon. 9/27, 7-9pm: “In the Body” Poems: Writing Poems About Our Body’s Response to the World We Live In, taught by Connie Post, Sebastopol Center/Arts, $15. 707-829-4797
•••Starts Weds. 9/29, 6-7pm, 10 sessions: New Voices (free poetry writing workshop) with Past Sac. Poet Laureate Julia Connor at S. Natomas Library, Sac. Free, but must register:

And submissions:

•••The Tiger’s Eye editors write: We are currently reading submissions for issue #20 of Tiger's Eye. 10 years!! The next deadline is February 28, 2011. We are offering a Fall special, a read-through of your chapbook with comments and suggestions that will make it submission-ready, for $50. Contact us at or visit us at
•••Bay Area Poets Coalition presents its 31st annual Maggi H. Meyer Memorial Poetry Contest. Go to and download the info. Deadline is November 15.
•••Another deadline, more imminent: Sept. 21 (tomorrow!) to submit poems for The Jack Kerouac Poetry Prize:

I hope you scrolled down to the veryveryveryvery bottom of Medusa’s skinny blue b-board box and saw D.R. Wagner’s arresting photo. Here’s a fitting poem:

—Isak Dinesen

The eagle’s shadow runs across the plain,
Towards the distant, nameless, air-blue mountains.
But the shadows of the round young Zebra
Sit close between their delicate hoofs all day,
where they stand immovable,
And wait for the evening, wait to stretch out, blue,
Upon a plain, painted brick-red by the sunset,
And to wander to the water-hole.


quick draw
—charles mariano

nudged my keyboard
slightly to the side
and found pieces,
under it
and thought,

pounded these keys
so fast, so hard,
knocked the skin
clean off!”

typed this note
at my usual
blinding blur,

then checked again


—William S. Gainer, Grass Valley

They carry their knives
for other reasons—
leave scars
in passing—
it's a thing
they just
like to do,
like carving,
"I love you"
in a picnic table,
with a little more


—William S. Gainer

The only thing
he carries,
a pillow—
as if with
defends it
as if it has
a porch, doorbell,
a lawn
to mow...


—William S. Gainer

I want the comment
on my headstone
to simple read:
“Beat Ya”

I want it to read:
“Beat Ya—now fuck off”

But I’m not sure
the stonecutter
has the balls
to go done
in immortality
with me
like that...

so, maybe
we should just put
fuck off...


—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

If you ever want to get shot down
just greet someone with the warm
expression, “You look good
today!” Often as not, the suddenly
glum recipient will act as if you had
said “You look good toady!”

Instead of gracefully accepting
that they radiate an air of
pleasant perception, they will
brashly interrogate you as to your
ulterior motives, rudely question
your position to make such a
judgment, and force the issue
“Compared to what?”

That’s why some people stay away
from other people and just surround
themselves with household pets.
When you compliment any of your
pets by saying, “You look good
today” their singular response will
be, ”That reminds me, it’s time to eat!”


Today's LittleNip:

Riches are over-estimated in the Old Testament: the good and successful man received too many animals, wives, apes, she-goats and peacocks.

—Margot Asquith



Alice Gainer
Photo by Bill Gainer