Calendar of Coming Features

03/26/2018  Grace Marie Grafton hosted by Gary 

Grace Marie Grafton is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently 'Jester' from Hip Pocket Press. Her themes range from lyrical sonnets to sestinas to experimental prose poems, with a concentration on response to fine art. Her poems have won honors from The Bellingham Review, Sycamore Review, Keats Soul Making contest, The National Womens Book Association, and Poetic Matrix Press. Poems recently appear in Fifth Wednesday, The Cortland Review, Ambush Review, Sin Fronteras, Basalt, Mezzo Cammin and Canary, among others. Through her work with CA Poets in the Schools and the CA Arts Council, she has taught thousands of children to write poetry.

The knell of winter

At 4 pm on a Tuesday, air almost bite-able,

you think maybe you could play with it, invisible

man-of-air or un-see-able woman singing her

sharp cold note, tickles you down your neck. You

wish you knew the words in the dark colors pulled

up out of the pit where the days are stored. The

draftsman of the future down there, drawing the plans

in his blind state, feeling his way, trained from his

birth to do this each year as the light grows

wan and the chill undresses the trees, the waters

forget their underground ancestors boiled

by fundamental lava. The future's plans all there

in his unreadable notebooks. And now the council

of the creators will spend ninety long nights

arguing about details and which of them must

roll naked in the snow to bring the future into being.

For Roy De Forest, 'Dogcart From Hell'

How black is the jest,

how red-wheeled the cart,

earth-brown the driver who doesn't

know right from wrong but,

like a passionate pilgrim, drives on

smiling ignorantly, just happy

to have a job and a dog to help.

If help is what this trip can be called.

Do we want to call it anything?

Can labels do any good?

The tree, passed by, is in disguise

as a famous actor, the Devil presents

a facsimile moon as prize to

the acting-tree who, we know,

has sold his soul. It's a reunion

of sorts: the beans of life sorted

to one side (the right, the wrong?),

the stones of death to the other.

They talk, the driver, the acting-tree

and the Devil with the moon prize

but they can neither be heard nor


04/02/2018 Maria Rosales hosted by Jan

Maria Rosales was born in London, and lived in Europe, North Africa, Canada, and Hawaii before settling in California. Her poems have appeared in Meridian Anthology,  Byline, Poetry Depth Quarterly, Poetalk,  the Nashville Newsletter, The Dirty Napkin Online Magazine, The Contra Costa Times, Medusa’s Kitchen, Brevities, The Art of Awe  and several Anthologies.  Her book “Time to Fly” was published with Small Poetry Press.  She has received many Awards from the Ina Coolbrith Circle, Artists Embassy International, and contests sponsored by Benicia Historical Museum, City of Pleasanton and Livermore Arts.   Maria hosted the successful PrimoPoets series for several years, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Ina Coolbrith Circle since 2007.   She currently hosts the Writing in Paradise salon in her home in Paradise, California.

A Pantoum

“Even puddles touch the sky”
he said, “Despair is not the end…”
His cigarette burned, but the ash did not fall.
She watched transfixed.

He said despair is not the end, but
she held her breath anyway,
watching transfixed, as something between them
detached in slow motion…

Anyway, she held her breath
because suddenly there was no air…
oxygen molecules detached in slow motion.
The sidewalk became a cliff.                                                                                                  

Suddenly there was no air beneath
the tightrope of silence strung
across the sidewalk cliffs --
the chasm of fear widening.

Silence.  The tightrope strung
between his words sagged. She exhaled --
saw the ash fall finally, land at her feet in a puddle.
Sure enough, ripples reflected the sky.

                                                                        Maria Rosales  ted by Jan
04/09/2018  Sharon Metzler-Dow hosted by Jim

Sharon Metzler-Dow is an internationally published and read poet and writer.  Her poetry was published in the 2017 release of the anthology Eternal Snow on world tour, 2017-2018.  Based on her research in France, her poem “Beyond the Cave Wall,” was published in 2016 for international readership on The Leakey Foundation website, a major global anthropology organization.  She was the 2014 Conference Poet for the annual International Conference for Women's Reproductive Health.  Her poems have been featured in Bay Area Generations and The Berkely Daily Planet.  Her story, “Banda! in Kathmandu” published in the memoir anthology Subject to Change.  She performed her short story, “Wait 'Til You See What's Next!” at San Francisco's Book Passage.  Retired October 2017 as a project manager for a global biotech company, Sharon lives in Oakland, and says, “My neighborhood is Eureka to Carmel, and San Francisco to Sacramento."                     

The White Blouse

The poet sits in workshop in a big white blouse. Classic white button-down. The poet, a slender reed,  a flute for song. The blouse,  a billowing white cloud.

Words sliding from its folds.


This simple white blouse.

The attention of a crisp collar.

Sleeves, long and full.

Cuffs folded once.

This is Paris. Pristine simplicity.

In Berkeley’s urban fashion -- the shocking extravagance of  a white blouse. Voluminous fabric of 1940's Dior gowns.The White Blouse

Caravaggio's white blouse of the lute player. Rembrandt's white sail

in the tumultuous "Storm at Sea of Galilee."

Poets puzzle the chiaroscuro of poetry in this brown-shingle bungalow. In this poets' circle  in this 1930's Craftsman house of ruby red walls and redwood panels, dark oak tables, this white blouse.

                                                                    Sharon Metzler Dow    ©  2017
04/16/18 Michael Hoerman hosted by Bruce 
(Need a prompt? "Not of my class" -- as in any use or thought of it -- you don't have to use those words.)

Born and raised in the Ozarks and now residing in Fayetteville, Michael's award-winning poetry embodies the bone-deep passion he feels for our rural culture and his reverence for the power of imagination. Michael is listed in A Readers' Map of Arkansas for his groundbreaking cultivation of Fayetteville's literary landscape. In 1995 he co-founded Arkansas's first National Poetry Slam team. In 1997 he edited a Frank Stanford feature entitled "Death in the Cool Evening" that brought renewed critical attention to the legendary poet.

Michael is touring to share a selection of earlier and never-heard-before poems in his new chapbook, Disoriented Fascination, featuring three poems nominated and now under consideration for Pushcart Prizes.
A poet active since 1985, Michael's publication history and critical recognitions include a Massachusetts Artists Fellowship in the category of Poetry, Bad Rotten, his debut chapbook published by Pudding House Publications, inclusion in Lavender Ink's 2012 anthology entitled Fuck Poems and four other anthologies, journals including Arkansas Literary Forum and Eureka Literary Magazine, and residencies at Spiva Center for the Arts and Sedona Summer Colony among many others.

Born into rural poverty in the Ozarks, Michael is a survivor. Though living in poverty, disabled by PTSD, a formerly incarcerated person, with only a GED, Michael's poetry has broken through barriers that have too long kept the poor, the disabled, the uncredentialed and the formerly incarcerated out in the cold. His story will empower others like him, and challenge those who would keep them down and out in the communities where they are integral.

04/23/2018  Paradise     hosted by Gary 

More info coming to this space

04/30/2018 PoetryExpressed Mag poets read from their work published in the mag hosted by Gary 

05/07/2018  Richard Loranger  hosted by Jan

05/14/2018  Marilyn Flower    hosted by Gary

Marilyn Floweris an active member of Alameda Island Poets even though she lives in Oakland.   Her passion for drama improv translates into a love for performing her poetry out loud in front of audiences.   Hence, her poems are meant to be read out loud!!!!   When not writing, reading, or leading workshops, she spends her time taking classes at Stagebridge school for performing arts, writing the great American political satirical novel, and being the change she wishes to see in the soul of our country.

Southern Magic

She sits on the porch eating watermelon
and when she goes to spit the seeds,
flocks of birds fly out of her mouth —
tiny green-winged hummingbirds —
with tear-shaped spots on ruby breasts,
praising the sun with iridescence.

she rarely talks,
but when she does…
poems stand up and salute.

05/21/2018 Marty Williams hosted by bruce

05/28/2018 Memorial Day  NO PE

06/04/2018  TBA  hosted by Gary

06/11/2018  Nancy Schimmel hosted by Jim


In the juncture between two narrow roads
The last fragment of a once-great circle of trunk still stands
Shaggy redbrown bark worn down
The tallest part upthrust higher than a person’s head
But not by much
Around the tip of this finger of wood
Someone has wrapped a telephone line

A redwood must be even slower to anger than I am
But as I stand in the road
It is clear to me which finger
It holds up

06/18/2018  Tongo Eisen-Martin hosted by bruce

Originally from San Francisco, Tongo Eisen-Martin is a poet, movement worker and educator. His book titled, "Someone's Dead Already" was nominated for a California Book Award. His latest book of poems “Heaven Is All Goodbyes” was published in the City Lights Pocket Poets Series.

06/25/2018  Sandra Anfang  hosted by Jan 

Sandra Anfang is a Northern California teacher, poet, and visual artist. She is the author of four poetry collections and several chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Poetalk, San Francisco Peace and Hope, two Healdsburg Literary Guild anthologies, Unbroken Literary Journal, Rattle, and Spillway. Her chapbook, Looking Glass Heart, was published by Finishing Line Press in early 2016. Road Worrier, her new chapbook, is due in March, 2018. She was nominated for a Best Short Fictions in 2016 and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Sandra is founder and host of the monthly poetry series, Rivertown Poets, in Petaluma, and a California Poet/Teacher in the Schools. To write, for her, is to breathe.

Board of Directors

The first one I'd appoint is Rain, for humility.
I'd taste my tears, bled from the mask
as they roll down to court heaven's effluence
watch as both commingle in a stormy sea.

Next, I'd seat the Moon, for mystery
who rules my dreams and guides my pen.
I want to climb inside her iridescent skin
to die before I parse her essence
into tiny, measurable things.

Finally, I'd invite the Sun, for kindness and for love
the warmth of his beneficence
the way he enters me, encircles grief
melts the ice-glass curtain of the heart.

These three would be
the only guests I'd need
my pantheon
my holy trinity.

Sandra Anfang --Author of Looking Glass Heart, a poetry chapbook, published by Finishing Line Press © 2016. Available at and My new chapbook, Road Worrier: Poems of the Inner and Outer Landscape, is forthcoming from the same publisher. Pre-order by January 26, 2018, at a discounted rate:

07/02/2018  Roopa Ramamoorthi hosted by Jan

 Roopa is a biotech scientist and poet who grew up in India and calls Berkeley home. She was a finalist for the National Poetry Series in 2011 and her work has appeared in the anthologies, 'She is Such a Geek', 'Dismantle' and 'Red Skirt Blue Jeans' and on Perspectives on NPR and in  India Currents, Berkeley Daily Planet, Khabar, Ursa Minor, Spectrum and other venues. 

Family Tree
By Roopa Ramamoorthi

Few weeks ago I spent two days in Mendocino 

tucked away on California’s northern coast 

Heard the waves lashing the rocks, saw a red-breasted robin 

ready to take flight, a young seal on the rocks 

sunning itself, then setting out for a swim 

When I hiked in fern canyon  

I touched the trunk 

Of one sturdy redwood tree 

Climbing the narrow trails, inhaling the misty air 

I saw nobody else out there this Tuesday 

Only those ancient pteridophytes  

Layers upon layers of green 

Beckoning and bewitching from the other side of time 

I descended back to pygmy forest 

Nature’s bonsai of acorn and cypress 

Stunted trees adapted to the saline soil 

five hundred thousand years old 

The landscape here became more stark, less serene 

I stood transported to a different tree, a different time 

A photocopy in charcoal black, empty white and shades of gray 

From five full years ago. It could have been  

a Japanese artist’s ink brush drawing  

A single tree standing on a winter’s night, severe and still 

Or a botanist’s sketch of a new species 

with nodules narrowing four branches 

But no, it was my mother’s arteries 

Captured from her angiography 

In Jaslok hospital, Mumbai 

soon after her heart attack 

I took that image—consulted cardiologists  

In Palo Alto and San Francisco 

A month later she became ashes sprinkled in the Godavari River 

Traveling to where the Arabian sea kisses the star-studded sky 

Becoming engulfed in the universe’s eternal canopy 

A black and white sketch that still breathes in a cardboard box of mine 

Along with the torn black book of her recipes and her childhood photos 

One of her sitting in her chubby frock at one 

Another of her watering young saplings 

as a girl of eleven 

One more at twenty-four 

Holding her newborn baby 

standing next to a budding jasmine tree 

This poem was published in 

07/9/2018 Nadine Lockart hosted by Jim

Nadine Lockhart received her MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University; she is currently earning her PhD in Literature from the same university. She received the Lattie and Elva Coor Fellowship for Building Communities toward research on her dissertation. Along with Rosemarie Dombrowski, she co-founded/co-hosts the Phoenix Poetry Series. She spent the last four years absorbing the intensity of the San Francisco/East Bay Poetry scene, including working for Poetry Flash. She splits her time between California and the American Southwest, and loves an orange cat named Badger.

The Birth of Beauty: A Haibun

To everything—a toast! Because no one thing is any more than anything else. A feather,
some birds, a wild star called the Sun. These three awake each morning on the ridge.
Pageantry. Who knows whose feather, one here, another near the trail’s edge. The quail family runs for cover under a split fence and dry brush. Above, a red-tailed hawk circles on thermals,
a graceful flap, the rise, then out of range. In the parking lot below, turkeys . . . thirteen or fourteen . . . peck at the side doors of a shiny black SUV. They peck their own reflections.
Their own beauty. Any truth to it? Tonight, the sunset, a violent orange through tree leaves. Tomorrow, an eclipse, end of summer.

in the beginning
a leaf, a feather, morning air
the way it carries
--Nadine Lockhart

07/16/2018 TBA hosted by bruce

07/23/2018  Coleen McKee  hosted by Gary 

Colleen McKee is the author of five collections of memoir, poetry, and fiction. Her latest book is called The Kingdom of Roly-Polys (Pedestrian Press). For upcoming appearances, visit


When I was little, a wild hill girl
of sun-scratched prairie
and shadowy woods cool
with the breath of the river,
I would spend hours in the tall tick-filled grass
just thinking about giraffes,
the mahogany and pale gold fur,
the arch of their necks bisecting the sun,
their elegant limbs listing and loping—
I’d dream of the giants of Africa
and play with the critters of Missouri,
walking sticks looking with paranoid eyes
at the tiny brown twig of my finger,
dizzy at being lifted
a mere two inches
from the dark grass.


Solace is a Small Gray Stone

Solace is a small gray stone
at rest in the palm of your hand.

It is smooth. Curl your fingers
around it, but slowly. How solid

it is. Unlike sorrow, the stone
is finite. It can be weighed.

Feel the way
it carries the sun

even in the shade
of your thumb.

07/30/2018 StoryTelling / Flash Fiction Night hosted by Jim

08/06/2018   TBA  hosted by Jan
08/13/2018 Avotcja hosted by Jim


Avotcja has been published in English & Spanish in the USA, Mexico & Europe, and in more Anthologies than she remembers. She is an award winning Poet & multi-instrumentalist who has opened for Betty Carter in New York City, Peru's Susana Bacaat San Francisco’s Encuentro Popular & Cuba’s Gema y Pável, played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Bobi & Luis Cespedes, John Handy, Sonido Afro Latina, Dimensions Dance Theater, Black Poets With Attitudes, Bombarengue, Nikki Giovanni, Los Angeles' Build An Ark, Dwight Trible, Diamano Coura West African Dance Co., Terry Garthwaite, Big Black, The Bay Area Blues Society & Caribeana Etc. Shared stages with Sonia Sanchez, Piri Thomas, Janice Mirikitani, Diane DiPrima, Michael Franti, Jayne Cortez, & with Jose Montoya's Royal Chicano Air Force & is a Bay Area icon with her group Avotcja & Modúpue.  Avotcja was the opening act for the legendary Poet Pat Parker the last three years of her life. She both composed & performed the film score for the Danish documentary MuNu. Her Poetry &/or music has been recorded by Piri Thomas, Famoudou Don Moyé (of The Art Ensemble Of Chicago), Bobby Matos Latin Jazz Ensemble, & performed by The Purple Moon Dance Project, and was the 1st Poetry performed by New York's Dance Mobile. She's appeared at The Lorraine Hansberry Theater in S. F., The Asian-American Jazz Festival in Chicago, as well as The Asian-American Jazz Festival in San Francisco.  She's been featured 5 times at Afro-Solo, twice at San Francisco's Carnival, The Scottish Rite Temple & Yoshi's in Oakland & San Francisco, Jose Castellar's play "Man From San Juan", Club Le Monmartre in Copenhagen Denmark, Stanford University, at San Francisco’s Brava Theater For The Arts with Cine Acción, New York's Henry Street Settlement Theater and The Women On The Way Festival in San Francisco. Avotcja a is popular Bay Area DeeJay & Radio Personality, and the founder/Director of "The Clean Scene Theater Project (AKA) Proyecto Teatral De La Escena Sobria". She continues to teach Creative Writing, Storytelling & Drama in Public Schools & thanks to the California Arts Council she was also an Artist in Residence at the Milestones Project & San Francisco Penal System. Avotcja is a proud member of DAMO (Disability Advocates Of Minorities  Organization), PEN Oakland, California Poets In The Schools,  IWWG & is an  ASCAP recording artist.

08/20/2018  Judy Bebelaar hosted by bruce

08/27/2018  Clive Matson hosted by Gary 

09/03/2018 Labor Day, NO PE, BAPC Picnic instead, see Bay Area Poets Coalition for details.
09/10/2018 Jeanne Lupton hosted by Jim
09/17/2018 Clyde Always hosted by bruce
09/24/2018  TBA  hosted by Gary 

10/01/2018  Marvin R. Hiemstra hosted by Jan

Marvin R. Hiemstra appeared a valiant Leo in the Year of the Rabbit and was instructed by a tiny prairie grass frog on his wrist at age three.  Honors Graduate from Iowa Writers Workshop and founding Editor-in-Chief of the Bay Area Poets Seasonal Review with work in Caveat LectorAmsterdam QuarterlyThe SatiristNorth American Review, and elsewhere Marvin publishes and performs around the world. Dana Gioia called the DVD French Kiss Destiny, “superb work.” Shawn Pittard, The Great American Pinup, said, “What I hold closest to my heart is Marvin’s reminder of the importance of human affection in this totally terrifying 21st Century.”  Library Journal reported, “Whimsical poet/humorist Hiemstra shares his thoughts and observations on society: a very agreeable addition to contemporary American literature.”


The last bowl of red cherries
for this year means autumn.
Oops!  One clever cherry escaped
the bowl.  Everyone laughs.

I am carefully arranging wildflowers
in a boat-shaped basket.
Wind hits verandah, twists
arrangement.  It looks better.

Pure wind from the North
transforms a quiet hill of flame
maple brocade into a shimmering
spirit forest, all ablaze.

It’s time to put fresh white paper
on all the shoji.  No more
patches!  Oldest tree in the garden
wears brilliant persimmons.

“Pearls!” shouted Yogi when snow fell
through a ruined thatch roof.
Pearls tumble through our sun yellow
wisteria leaves.  It makes me blue.

10/8/2018  Saswati Das hosted by Jim

Saswati Das, an engineer by profession and a poet by heart, lives in Milpitas, California, and writes poems and fiction in both English and Hindi. She publishes her poetry in local magazines and anthologies. She has recited her verses in cultural and poetry events such as Lit Crawl, 100k poets for change and Oakland Poetry Slam. She has published a poetry book in English captioned “Fragrant Flute of Fire” which is available in Amazon. She maintains a blog at

Struggle for Liberty

Oh listen, listen to the voice,
For there the cuckoo cry-
We'll have to sail through the ocean of blood-
For the deep blue sky.

Here's misery and whips of tyranny,
Pains, pathos outcry-
There the bird of liberty and freedom
Throughout the day fly.

Exploit us they, our feet chained
But amidst darkness, the candle flames-
Every drop of blood that runs through the veins
Sings, Sings and says again-
Thousands of blazes is the demand of the day
Fight we must, die we may.

History of Justice always summons
Sweat, tears and martyrdom
Let’s measure the nights of mourn and sacrifice,
The brilliant sun there arise-
To heel our hearts and charm souls with gaiety
By the songs of love and liberty.

10/15/2018  Constance Mastores hosted by bruce
10/22/2018  TBA hosted by Gary 
10/29/2018 Other People's Poems  Guess who wrote it? hosted by 

11/05/2018   lana Levy   hosted by Jan

11/12/2018 TBA  hosted by Jim
11/19/2018 TBA  hosted by bruce
11/26/2018  TBA hosted by Gary 

12/03/2018  Barbara Saunders  hosted by Jan

12/10/2018 TBA hosted by Jim

12/17/2018 Barbara West hosted by bruce

12/24/2018 NO PE H A P P Y    H O L I D A Y S hosted by Upta Yu

12/31/2018 NO PE H A P P Y    H O L I D A Y S hosted by Upta Yu

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