Calendar of Coming Features

01/22/2018 Mare' Simonet  hosted by Gary 
Need a prompt tonight? Pick one from the words & images in Mare’s poem.


Mare’ Simonet is a poet and multi-media artist, living in Berkeley, CA. Her series of essays, Confessions of a Dopamine Addict,  as well as her first poetry book, The Poet Next Door, are due to be released in early 2018.  Both works include many humorous references that reveal aspects of life with Parkinson’ s Disease.

While Ms. Simonet has said she dislikes being labeled as a disabled artist, living with Parkinson’s Disease has influenced her choices of
subject matter and the desire to create a mythology with a  message .

Mare’ has said that poetry is  “ without linear parameters .. One can disregard, recreate, bend, flex, or falsify time in a poem.”

After she presented a poem written two days after her husband passed away, a recent reviewer had this to say :

… I heard the writings of a friend (of his) who had lost a loved one recently, and her words, like a gale, swept powerfully through the room but exited gently and with such raw elegance that it left me wishing I knew how to write.

During the program, Mare’ will read excerpts from her essays and book, as well as new works dedicated to her late husband .


my mind is inoperably bound to memory 
I try to hold on when the ascent is threatened
try to stay calm, find a portable bridge
to negotiate that rotten crevasse

filled with the carcasses of lost phrases,
today's to-do list, yesterday's memos

sometimes the tightly wrapped package
becomes unbound
the flow of remembered occurrences 
stretched out in one long straight line

coyly teasing the telomeres, trying to outrace them

01/29/2018 HA HA night--bring your humorous work hosted by Gary
02/05/2018 Ralph Dranow hosted by Jan

Ralph Dranow's widely published poems focus on exploring our common humanity and the poetry and beauty of everyday life. His most recent books are A New Life and Love in Unexpected Places, a limited edition letterpress book. He works as a freelance editor and ghostwriter.
They never market themselves,
Post of Facebook
Or tweet on Twitter.
Yet day after day,
Like alchemists,
These majestic beings
Take in carbon dioxide
And breathe out oxygen.
Their sturdy trunks, strong roots
Are barriers to soil erosion, floods.
Leaves provide shade,
Bark valuable medicines,
Branches sweet fruits.
Communal creatures,
Inspiring role models,
Trees share water and nutrients with each other.
And like Jesus,
They die for our sins,
Not only for houses, furniture, paper
But the insatiable, fanged maw
Of profit.
I nominate trees for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Ralph Dranow 
Editing, Ghostwriting, & Writing-Coaching Services

Author ~
A NEW LIFE: POEMS, by Ralph Dranow
$14.95 / print edition
The 76 vivid poems in this book offer a unique and compassionate view of what it is to be human. "Ralph's poetry is tender and honest and bittersweet, like sweet-sour candy melting on the tongue. His poems nestle into the heart in a genuinely comforting way." ~ Shonen Bressler 
02/12/2018 Alameda Students: The Mighty Pens  hosted by Jim

With the hope of sharing a lifelong love of poetry and the exquisite beauty of words, in 2012 Cathy Dana, teacher of Creative Expressions at charter school, Alameda Community Learning Center, founded a school-wide poetry club called The Mighty Pens. The group meets weekly to write and share poetry, culminating each year in a book of student poems, entitled “Wandering Minds, Dancing Words.” Students have read poetry at the Art and Diversity Night, Books, Inc., the Ina Coolbrith Circle, and the Dancing Poetry Festival. Each week, the Mighty Pens choose a “poet of the week” to read a poem to the entire school.  Here are their names:
Gavin Barron, Sophie McCain-Novakowski, Truly Edison, Miranda Rittenbach, Liam Foster, Oxford Lewis, Cayden Lewis-McCabe, Killian Connolly, Tay Lew.

The Ocean Depths
by Liam Foster

I live in a little house on an island in a great black sea.
Every night, I dive into the inky darkness beneath the stars.
I search for the dim lights of the fallen, like dying quasars.
I know not where they come from, nor where they go.
But I bring them to shore, solid rock and a warm glow.
That's enough for me.

02/19/2018 Andrena Zawinski hosted by Bruce 

Photo Credit: Don Dutra

Andrena Zawinski’s latest poetry collection, Landings, is from Kelsay Books (Hemet, CA). She has published two previous full collections of poetry: Something About (Blue Light Press, San Francisco, CA), a PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award recipient, and Traveling in Reflected Light (Pig Iron Press, Youngstown, O), a Kenneth Patchen competition winner. She has also authored four chapbooks and is editor of Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down: An Anthology of Women’s Poetry (Scarlet Tanager Books, Oakland, CA). Her poems have received accolades for free verse, form, lyricism, spirituality, and social concern. She founded and runs the San Francisco Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon and is Features Editor at

In Landings, Zawinski presents poems that embrace, in original ways and with deep-rooted emotional power, the worldwide condition of women, immigrants, and the working class alongside an abiding reverence for the natural world. Of this work, Jan Beatty says Zawinski is the necessary voice of the truth teller, speaking trouble among the beauty. Rebecca Foust lauds the collection as a book that offers wisdom and solace and one you will take comfort in reading again and again. Carolyne Wright goes on to say in these Landings, she embraces the richness of human experience and praises the courage of those who go on ‘living as if they could do anything.’
poem recited with images:

Andrena Zawinski:

Sun spills silver stars of light along rippling summer waves.
A string of pelicans wing the horizon, 
light in flight for all their heft.

Children squeal and squirm inside their plastic inflatable.
One slips over the side, feigns drowning, splashing and kicking, 
holding onto his crying sister, jumps back in to tickle her side–– 
all of them then swimming in giggles and smiles in frolic and fun, 
family picnicking at the shore, waving from bright beach towels.

Other children, roped onto rafts in flimsy life jackets, float in 
from Aleppo across the Aegean away from bombs and bullets 
to find a way out, forge a way in, whole families cattled 
by smugglers, squeezed in dozens deep. But those who slip 
into this dark sea cannot be rescued with innocent teasing and mirth.

A three-year-old washes up onto the beach face down on the sand,
limp body leaden in his father’s arms, 
water lapping the wounded shore.

Publication Credit: 
Reunion Dallas Review, Vol 6, 2017. Univ. of Texas, Dallas, TX 

02/26/2018  hosted by Gary  

03/05/2018 hosted by Jan

03/12/2018 Cathy Dana hosted by Jim

Cathy Dana, President of Alameda Island Poets, just became Alameda's new Poet Laureate.  She founded and runs The Mighty Pens poetry club and high school poet laureate program at Alameda Community Learning Center.  2014 Dancing Poetry Grand Prize winner and first prize winner of the 2013 Benicia Love Poetry Contest, it's no surprise Cathy titled her first book of poems "My Dad Believed in Love." 

Empty Nest
Still Not Ready to Say Goodbye
The morning after her son left home for college far away
she noticed a crying baby had taken up residence
in her heart.
Everywhere she went in the house
she found remnants of him:
the sprouted-wheat bagels he’d introduced her to
the carton of eggs he scrambled for breakfast
the lonely hook where his egg-frying pan had hung
the heavy whipping cream he put in his coffee
the green-leaf houseplant from his room
now seated by her picture window.
Not to mention his disheveled but vacant room.
She already missed his deep bass voice, ordinarily so logical, so rational,
so full of facts and theories and techie tidbits,
but surprisingly soft and teasing when he would come up the stairs
in that certain mood, saying,
“Where’s that boy-o?  Where’s that kitty?  Where’s that boy-o?”
He would find Raffi, scoop him up,
cradle him upside down like a baby,
start rubbing his tummy
and bring him to her, holding Raffi so she could
stroke his head, ears, neck—all his favorite spots.
Her son would become the voice of Raffi feigning resistance.
“No.  Stop.  Don’t,” the voice protested in mock indignance,
even as the cat closed his eyes dreamily and purred.
Continuing to stroke Raffi’s tummy
her son would assume Raffi’s voice:
 “I’ll give you an hour to stop that and put me down.”
Trying to hold back giggles,
they would stand cuddling their kitty in the kitchen.
The morning after her son left home for college
she slipped into her bedroom to begin her morning ritual,
straightening the covers and pillows,
opening the curtains to let the light in.
Every day, she gathered up from her husband’s nightstand
the stuffed animals she placed together on the bed:
her son’s long-ago toy, a tall cloth doll Pinocchio
and, on either side of him, a mama and papa teddy bear
to watch over him.
But this day, as she looked toward the nightstand,
there, for the first time in Raffi’s three-year life--
the first time ever--
she saw their kitty lying on top of the nightstand
snuggled up with Pinocchio and the teddy bears.
She stood there looking, shaking her head,
leaving the stuffed animals where they were.
Then she leaned in close.
“Make sure he’s safe,” she whispered to Raffi.
“Make sure he’s okay.  He’s our boy-o.”
3/19/18 Naomi Quinonez hosted by Bruce
(Need a prompt? "If I were frozen" -- as in any use or thought of it -- you don't have to use those words.)

03/26/2018  hosted by Gary 

04/02/2018hosted 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 

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

05/07/2018hosted by Jan
05/14/2018hosted by Jim
05/21/2018hosted by bruce
(Need a prompt? "Fence?" -- you don't have to use those words.)
05/28/2018 Memorial Day  NO PE

06/04/2018hosted by Jan
06/11/2018hosted by Jim
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 Gary 

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. 

07/9/2018hosted by Jim
07/16/2018hosted by bruce
07/23/2018   hosted by Gary 
07/30/2018 StoryTelling / Flash Fiction Night hosted by Jim

08/06/2018hosted by Jan
08/13/2018hosted by Jim
08/20/2018hosted by bruce
08/27/2018   hosted by Gary 

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

10/01/2018hosted by Jan
10/8/2018hosted by Jim
10/15/2018hosted by bruce
10/22/2018   hosted by Gary 
10/29/2018 Other People's Poems  Guess who wrote it? hosted by 

11/05/2018hosted by Jan
11/12/2018hosted by Jim
11/19/2018hosted by bruce
11/26/2018   hosted by Gary 

12/03/2018hosted by Jan
12/10/2018hosted by Jim
12/17/2018hosted 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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