Calendar of Coming Features



8/21/2017 Cassandra Dallett hosted by Bruce


(Need a prompt? "Skin" -- you don't have to use that word.)



Cassandra Dallett lives in Oakland, CA. Cassandra is a two-time Pushcart nominee and Literary Death Match winner. She has been published online and in many print magazines, such as Slip Stream, Sparkle and Blink, Chiron Review, Stone Boat Review, and Great Weather For Media and reads often around the San Francisco Bay Area. A full-length book of poetry Wet Reckless was released on Manic D Press May 2014. In 2015 she authored Bad Sandy (Lucky Bastard Press), Pearl Tongue (Be About It Press), The Water Wars (Pedestrian Poets Series), On Sunday, A Finch (Nomadic Press) which was nominated for a California Book Award, and most recently Armadillo Heart (Paper Press) with MK Chavez.


8/28/2017 Georgette Howington  hosted by J.D.
(Need a prompt? "Long Hair " -- you don't have to use those words.)



Georgette Howington is a closet poet and short story writer who came out three years ago.  Her poems are published in Iodine, Sleet and Poeming Pigeons, among others.  Several poems won Honorable Mentions at the North American Women’s Music Festival and Ina Coolbrith Poetry Contest in 2016.  As a naturalist and horticulturist, her niche is Backyard Habitat and secondary-cavity nesters.  She is a County Coordinator and Assistant State Program Director for the California Bluebird Recovery Program and an activist in the conservation community in the SF Bay Area for over 30 years.  Georgette is also a published garden and environmental writer.  

If a Homing Pigeon Were My Lover


Fluffed and preened on the shelf
I could not help but notice
your bobbing head and piercing eyes
twisting and turning to see if I was
looking at you the way you looked at
me in that wanting way as if my
human form was a pigeon too.
How unlike me it would be to take
off into the sky, fly across the expanse
in circles feeling the wind, gliding on
our wings, not arguing about who did
not fold the laundry, or if I am too tired
to have sex tonight or being pressed
to spend time with family I don’t like
and living from moment to moment
dining on seed offerings from the keeper
moving aside to let him do all the
cleaning and arranging of our coop
while all you and I do is fly, eat, and
think about making baby pigeons…

**** Published in Poeming Pigeons, “Poems about Birds”, 2015



9/4 NO PE, Bay Area Poets Coalition Picnic 
http://www.bayareapoetscoalition.org/

9/11/2017 Tureeda Mikell hosted by Jim
(Need a prompt? "Lower Case  " -- you don't have to use those words.)

9/18/2017 Lenore Weiss  hosted by Bruce
(Need a prompt? Use some English words that are not common anymore, examples "jargogles," "apricity, "monsterful," or look up some of your own -- you don't have to use those words.)





Lenore Weiss is enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts Program at San Francisco State University. Her poetry has been published in many journals including WovenTales, Midwood Press, Maple Leaf Review, Kindred, San Francisco Peace and Hope, Cactus Heart, Ghost Town, Poetica, Carbon Culture, BlinkInk, The Portland Review, La Más Tequila Review, Digital Americana, The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Nimrod International Journal, Copper Nickel, The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Feminist Studies in Religion, and Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal. Her books include Cutting Down the Last Tree on Easter Island (West End Press, 2012) and Two Places (Kelsay Books, 2014).  Her blog resides at www.lenoreweiss.com.


9/25/2017 Dave Holt hosted by J.D
(Need a prompt? "Outer limits" -- you don't have to use those words.)




Dave Holt, relocated to the Bay Area from Toronto, Canada, his place of birth, to follow his dream of becoming a successful songwriter. He is English/Irish and Anishinaabe/Ojibwe (Chippewa) Indian from his mother’s side and he volunteered to serve the American Indian community in California for several years. Dave graduated from S.F. State University’s Creative Writing program (M.A., 1995). He is a winner of several poetry prizes including the Thomas Merton Foundation’s Poetry of the Sacred prize and a Literary/Cultural Arts award for his book Voyages to Ancestral Islands. In 2016, he was published in Red Indian Road West, an anthology of Native American Poetry from California.



Straddling the High Beams of Anderson Bridge


Looking into the moral chasm I escaped,
drugs, drinking, and nights of cruelty,
staring down into murky water,
run, River, run past the damage done,

with you, Rob, my too easy-going friend,
eaten alive by the emptiness.
Someone had to cut your wasted body down,
devoured by the void while I escaped.

Got away by following my angels,
just as I’d done since childhood,
out of the trash-filled alleyways,
where one forgotten flower bloomed.

Partnering with someone, Rob,
loving, being loved, that’s what saved me
from the end of the rope.

I walked through this abyss with you, remember?
You dared me to cross over the unfinished bridge
across Oakville’s river, to walk the concrete beams
and steel bars, looking down between our feet
from that height to fast water below,
nothing between us and the moving current
but our nerve and our quick-beating hearts.

I’d be afraid to do it now.
Back then we were practicing courage.
I used it to break away from there,
but you, who dared me traverse
the half-completed span,
you didn’t make the crossing.




10/2/2017 hosted by Jan

10/09/2017 hosted by Jim

10/16/2017 Alan Harris hosted by Bruce
(Need a prompt? "Man handle " -- you don't have to use those words.)




Alan Harris has been an actor and a stand-up comedian, which might explain why his "poetry" sounds like it does.  He has lived in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and would someday like to live in Cranky Corner, Louisiana.



COSMIC ORPHAN

I dreamed that I stood naked before Fred and Ethel Mertz
Who told me to stop watching so much TV
And listen more to the noise of the holiday methadone-addled poor
And see if I can catch a glimpse of a glimmer of a glint of a shard of a fragment of a sliver of
       hope
 Amidst the jostling for position of Jesus wannabes dipping their fingers in bowls of digital holy 
       water
While their collective flickering morality intermittently illuminates the compulsive saluting of
       Napoleonic beat cops who are just doing the job they were hired to do
Which apparently includes hassling the ever-multiplying numbers of cosmic orphans
Who can only stare blankly at the overrated reality of mega-mall fascism and masturbatory
       politeness
 Their ears ringing with the hipster lingo of the day-glo soccer mom
And the demands of infants to be taken off speakerphone
Their to-do lists awash in reminders to update their self-destruction
Before returning to their refrigerated apartments
Where Fred and Ethel Mertz await
Somewhere in the world

Every second of the day


10/23/2017 Melinda Clemmons hosted by J.D
(Need a prompt? "fish cry" -- you don't have to use those words. Comes from Thoreau -- "Who hears the fishes when they cry")




Melinda Clemmons lives in Oakland. Her stories and poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Cimarron Review, Kindred, Daphne Magazine, West Trestle Review, Eclipse, 300 Days of SunCavalier, and The Monthly.  She worked for over twenty years in programs serving children and youth in foster care, and is now a freelance writer and editor in the child welfare field. She is a frequent contributor to the online child welfare and juvenile justice news site, The Chronicle of Social Change


               

Walking Out
This is how you greet a field of corn: quietly,
tilting your head to listen before stepping in between the rows,
lightly brushing against the silks as you pass.
You’ll want to head toward the center
where the corn grows tall and strong,
much taller than you, crazily taller than it looks from the road.
Even if it’s your first time standing in a cornfield,
you’ll feel at home.  Beneath you, soil; above you, sky.
Perhaps you’ve brought a grocery sack your grandfather
(back at the car, having a smoke) handed you at the edge of the field.
Twist off however much you came for, plus a few extras.
Maybe someone’s got a pot of water set to boil back at home,
a pinch of sugar, a dish of butter beginning to melt.
Take what you need. Remember to breathe deeply
because this is the best air there is. 
You can learn a lot from a field of corn so take your time.
Here’s something: the stalks in the center are the ones that thrive,
fed by pollen drifting from those around them.  Those on the edges
don’t amount to much.
Besides each other, all corn stalks need is: sun, soil, water, and time.
Now turn around carefully and walk out the way you came in,
being sure to listen as you go because they say you can hear corn grow,
and it’s true.

First published in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of Kindred from Anchor & Plume Press



10/30/2017  Maverick Night hosted by Bruce, subject TBA
11/6/2017 Charlie McCauley hosted by Jan
11/13/2017 hosted by Jim
11/20/2017 Phyllis Meshulam,  hosted by Bruce




Phyllis Meshulam first went to Italy, where her father had been stationed during World War II, at not quite five. Threads of those journeys are woven into her newly-released book of poems, Land of My Father’s War, from Cherry Grove Collections. Joy Harjo, winner of the 2017 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, said of Meshulam’s book, an “urgency of spirit has emerged eloquently here in these poems of perception and even prophecy….” Meshulam is also the author of Doll, Moon (Finishing Line Press), Doors (War and Peace Press) and Valley of Moon (d-Press). She is a veteran teacher for California Poets in the Schools and coordinator for Poetry Out Loud, and has been a presenter at the nation-wide writing conferences, AWP and Split this Rock Her work has appeared in magazines from Earth’s Daughters and Phoebe to Teachers & Writers and Tikkun.  Meshulam has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. For CPitS’s 50th anniversary, she edited, Poetry Crossing, which Poetry Flash called “a truly joyful collection of lessons, inspirations, and children's poems.”

Southeast Asian Rain
The breathing space within the gallery
is sliced by fifty-eight thousand fine strands,
(not the usual chains). Each current
makes pendant metal tags glint,

ringing each other like a wind harp,
or sun-scattered rain on the roof
of a Quonset hut. What’s
in a dog tag? Name, blood type. A small mirror.

Each is labeled. B positive,
or be excluded or dead. O for negative,
or zero. O for other. Each belief

system reduced to one of a few
graced faiths. P for protestor. C,
 for catharsis. J for jungle. An identity –
forgotten tiger, lamb, or forest fire.



11/27/2017  Elizabeth Alford  hosted by J. D.
12/4/2017 Clark Kent hosted by Jan 12/11/2017




Clark Kent claims to have been forever maligned by the myth of Superman when in fact he has just been another bat in the belfry of life, seeking justice and peace in this troubled world. The comics who rule have long gotten Clark wrong, presuming Kryptonite to be his Achilles heel when in fact that radiant mineral is found within every person he meets.  That singular force travels the short divide from them to him, dispelling the dark forces of narcissism, rendering Clark human, vulnerable, and capable of poetic expression.

Longing For Kryptonite

Zarathustra hides in a polar ice castle,
flies to the moon, leers at women with his X-ray eyes.
He is stuck in a rut waiting for earthquakes, sinking ships,
meteors on course to destroy the woman he avoids.
Each wood-pulped, flattened day he is summoned,
pulls phone booths out of thin air,
strips to pectoral splendor.
His speedo modestly bulges
as he rescues Lois Lane yet again,
again, again, again.
Old pages yellow and crack
until he longs to be a real Clark Kent,
Kryptonated, unbound,
a nakedly human man.




12/11/2017 hosted by Jim

12/18/2017 Michael Caylo-Baradi​ hosted by Bruce





Michael Caylo-Baradi's work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Galway Review, Blue Fifth ReviewBlue Print ReviewThe Common (online)Eclecticaelimae, Eunoia ReviewFORTHGalatea ResurrectsInk Sweat & TearsLocal NomadMiPOesiasOtolithsOur Own VoicepoeticdiversityPhilippines Free PressPoetry PacificPrick of the Spindle, and elsewhere.  An alumnus of The Writers’ Institute at The Graduate Center (CUNY), he has also written reviews and essays for New Pages, PopMatters, and The Latin American Review of Books. 


http://mcaylo.blogspot.com/p/poetry.html



How to purify the air

Re-align the universe in the direction of your gaze. This is
breathing unhinged from dysfunction, clawed with need,
panting for Narcissus.

A bedroom is an occlusion that sharpens visions drooling for its
prey crucified in surrender. The howling beyond the yard
intensifies the season,

feasting on rituals that clarifies the philosophy of fangs. Wings
fluttering by the window are prayers, searching for
maps away from the city,

now submerged in bodies of lights illuminating an aftermath,
of hands intertwined, gasping for morsels of God,
to resuscitate the air.


Poem URL at OTOLITHS 43: 

12/25/2017 NO PE H A P P Y    H O L I D A Y S !

01/01/2018  NO PE -- H A P P Y    H O L I D A Y S !


01/8/18

01/15/18 Fred Dodsworth hosted by Bruce 

3/19/18 Naomi Quinonez hosted by Bruce




04/16/18 Michael Hoerman hosted by Bruce 

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.

05/21/18 MAYBE sUSAN KELLY-DEWITT hosted by Bruce 

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