Tuesday, December 18, 2018

No Poetry Express Xmas Eve, New Year's Eve

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

1/7/19 Adel Mendelson host Jim

Monday, December 17, 2018

Holidays 12/24/18, 12/31/18 NO P.E.

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

Monday, December 10, 2018

12/17/2018 Barbara West & Grace Loescher hosted by bruce

12/17/2018 Barbara West & Grace Loescher hosted by bruce

Barbara West and Grace Loescher began collaborating last year, when they were 50 and 25 years old respectively.  Barbara works part-time as a nurse, while Grace is a full-time activist for social justice issues in general, homeless youth in particular, and cultivating the arts in all of us.  When Barbara published a book, Grace put out a spoken word CD and enjoyed live audience and social media success, accompanying herself on piano and guitar.  Dec. 17th in Berkeley will be their fifth collaborative performance.  They expect to start off with a lively voice/guitar/washboard duet and then mix it up with a combination of solo and joint pieces.  Topics range from preventing/mourning suicide to an unusual request by a hospice patient, and will include love and other activities of body, mind and spirit.  

Barbara West is the only parent of a 21-year-old son and works as a Wound/Ostomy/Continence Nurse, with prior work in Hospice.  Previous publications include Full of Crow, Brevities, Medusa’s Kitchen, Sacramento Voices, and Davis Shambhala Center Newsletter.  Her first book "...and I felt the simple sweetness of me" was published last year by Cold River Press.  She is currently working on a memoir “Hunger to Help: Sorting Extraordinary Legacies”which explores the tension between Christian/Buddhist directives to “help others” and 12-step Recovery work which directs her to “focus on yourself.”  Thanks to a background in theater, and some time singing with a band, Barbara often recites from memory, usually without a mic, since her voice is plenty loud. She also enjoys windsurfing.


Fly flew
at my

then swerved
past my left
ear like

on his home

including me
the thrill.

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Rest in Peace, Julia Vinograd

Please check https://www.berkeleyside.com/2018/12/05/julia-vinograd-the-berkeley-poet-known-as-the-bubble-lady-dies-at-75

Below is a picture from one of her books. She published one a year and many were read to us at Poetry Express.
Julia, you will be missed.
Poetry Express will arrange a memorial reading in the near future.

Monday, December 3, 2018

12/10/2018 Chris Chandler hosted by Jim

12/10/2018 Chris Chandler hosted by Jim

Celebrating 30 years on the road! Few musicians can claim "on-the roadisms" the way Chris Chandler can. He is a true veteran of the road, traveling across The United States of Generica for many years. His anthology of road tales transforms into a flock of doves beneath the musical high-wire act. He has worked with everyone from Allen Ginsberg to Ani DiFranco and Pete Seeger to Mojo Nixon.  Utah Phillips says, "Chris Chandler is the best performance poet I have ever seen."
Originally from Stone Mountain, Georgia the son of a Baptist minister, Chris has been on or around the stage his whole life. As a teen-ager he was in the bars and on the road working as a roadie for bands like the Georgia Satellites. He graduated from the North Carolina School of the Performing Arts in 1988. That summer - which was supposed to be a "summer away from college" he hit the road as a street performer to fund his way to audition as a lighting designer in Theaters across America. He actually landed a job on Broadway no-less but turned it down to become a performer in his own right. He has been on the road ever since.
For the first few years he was living in his car and stopping in every town from Bangor to San Ysidro where he opened his guitar case and waxed the manifesto electric sporting a sign that read "Stranded Musician Needs Gas Out of Town." Eventually he hooked up with a group of performers busking in Harvard Square where he joined a commune of other traveling street musicians. These nomadic experiences naturally fed him into the world of activism. Since then he has performed at thousands of festivals, colleges, and bar rooms across the US and Canada.

Poetry Express is proud to be able to present Chris as a featured poet/performer. 

Paradise Found

By Chris Chandler
Oakland, CA
Thanksgiving, 2018

as we walk through the streets of San Francisco,
Oakland, Sacramento...Berkeley...
complaining that the elastic band
on our N-95 masks fits too tight...
... then remembering the lives that have been more severely impacted than our own.

Loss of life...
loss of family..
loss of home...
loss of community...

Big Picture stuff...

But every big picture is composed of many smaller ones.

Smaller ones that depict lives impacted in ways we don't even think of...
can't even think of...
even though... it is the smaller picture that depicts the greater reality.

The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs.

In Paradise California,
before the fire...
like in any community...
everyday dramas were being played out on a routine Sunday morning sidewalk basis.

"Ya know what pisses me off - is that they do the trash pickups on Mondays - and almost every Month has a Monday holiday.  Veterans day... No Trash Pick up?  Whats up with that?
Do you think they will ever fix the potholes?
"Hey, did you see the Paradise Adventist Academy had advanced to the Northern California Semi-Finals?"

"Paradise Adventist?  Really?  Do they even have a football team?"

Girls Volleyball."

Before the fire
these were the buzzes of front porch
morning coffee neighborhood chit chat.
The stories on the local AM radio station,
the front pages of the local newspaper
"The Paradise Post"
that is now in ashes.

And although in ashes The Paradise Post - through the help of her sister paper The Chico Enterprise-Record continues to publish as they had...
Now there is no town to deliver to, so they deliver... to the evacuation centers.

we all know...
what happened...
over a two day period...

What started as a small brush fire well west of the town...
swelled into a bonfire...
that turned Paradise...
into Hades...
in a matter of hours.

Potholes  and Volleyball are no longer on anyone's mind.

Grab your family and escape...

But not all of the pre fire drama
of Paradise's "Refuse to Die Community"
was turned into floating ash
that settled on to your car windshield
in Berkeley.

There are twelve players on
The Paradise Adventist Academy Girls Varsity Volley Ball Squad... (GO COUGARS!)

They and their families all made it out alive...

Eight of them
and their families
had lost their homes.
Lost everything.

They were all spread out - staying in shelters or with relatives
from Shasta to Stockton.

How could there be a Volley Ball game?

But, this is the semi finals.

No sport in the school's long history
had ever made it that far.

Their opponent...
The Forest Lake Lady Falcons assumed that the team would have to forfeit, and the Falcons began preparing for their next opponent.

But the Cougars refused to be defeated!

The Cougars had no equipment,
no uniforms,
no place to practice.
No Homes.

But these girls?  Now, that is a different story.

Thank god, on Thanksgiving that they don't see things
like you and me.


under-estimate the power of young women.
These girls took to social media and they let it be known that THEY needed the game to go on!

In Solidarity, the Lady Falcons agreed to host...

The Lady Cougars...
their lives in total chaos...
arranged for transportation from points unknown to...
Auburn, California....
Home of the Forest Lake Christian School.

The twelve girls
met in a parking lot for the first time since the fire...
they linked arms.... United.  Defiant.

Together, they marched into the opposing team's gym....

There they were met with something that few "visiting teams" receive when they walk into an opposing teams' home:
They were met with a standing ovation.

They were also met with much more...

Within 24 hours of the devastating fire,
the Forest Lake Falcons had collected donations of $16,000

Laid out on the visiting bench...
were new knee pads,
and most impressively...
new  uniforms.
Each matched with the players' number and name on the back.....
matched perfectly
with what they would have worn
if the fire had not happened.

Instrumental in this act of generosity was Forest Lake coach Travis Smith
who had recently retired from coaching...
but was asked to return for one more season.  Initially, he was ambivalent, but his wife had had a premonition that he needed to do this.
So he agreed - for this - his final season.

When he
was asked to address the crowd...

the applause calmed into an appreciative hush.

"I had been looking for a reason to have returned as coach this year... and I think this...
this moment right here...
is it.

The Paradise Lady Cougars went on to win that game against the Forest Lake Falcons.
They won the game, but not the match.

But in truth, they won much more
than any volleyball squad could.

They are the champions of my heart!

It would be poetic to say that the Lady Cougars went on to win the state championship
but in a way they did.

Instead, (sorry for the pun)
Paradise Lost.

They had to...

because, my friends,
this is not Hollywood.

This is Paradise.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

12/03/2018 Barbara Saunders

12/03/2018  Barbara Saunders  hosted by Jan 

Barbara Saunders is a poet and solo performer from Westchester, NY. She followed the Grateful Dead to California and stayed. Her work explores themes of family, biography, and identity. Barbara has featured recently at the Last Word and Saturday Night Special poetry series, That Really Happened storytelling series, and Monday Night Marsh. 


Ripened on the tree
The apple drops at her feet
Juicy bites bring joy

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Joyce Young features 11/19/2018

11/19/2018 Joyce Young  hosted by bruce

Joyce E. Young currently lives and writes in Berkeley, California. She has read and performed at venues as diverse as The M.H. de Young Museum, Intersection for the Arts, La Peña Cultural Center, Art & Soul Oakland, Mills College, and Smith College, and elsewhere. She has taught with California Poets in the Schools, The Museum of Children’s Art, The Oakland Museum of California, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Youth Speaks. She was an English teacher for Mills College Upward Bound for 3 years. She is founder and facilitator of Write in Peace. She has received a California Arts Council Artist in Communities grant. She was awarded aWriters on Site residency through Poets & Writers, Inc. and has also been awarded writing residencies at Hedgebrook, Soapstone and the Vermont Studio Center. Her work has most recently appeared in riverbabble, The New Voices of the American West, Temba Tupu! (Walking Naked): The Africana Woman’s Self-Portrait, The Berkeley Daily Planet, Paint Dreams on Wallsvoicesinwartime.org and Her Mark Gallery Datebook. She currently serves as a writing consultant at John F. Kennedy University, teaches privately and is at work onParallel Journey, a novel.

 Her poetry chapbook, How it Happens is forthcoming from Nomadic Press in September 2018.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Sophia Moore features 11/12/2018

11/12/2018 Sophia Moore  hosted by Jim

Sophia Moore is 20 years old and attends UC Berkeley for English and Gender and Women's Studies. In high school, she sat on the Alameda Island Poets Board and served as the Poet Laureate at her school, Alameda Community Learning Center. Additionally, she interned at the Dancing Poetry Festival and performed in a number of the dances at Palace of the Legion of Honor. 
The Possibilities of Half a Tank of Gas and Two Healing Hearts

There might be beauty in the way she cries,
In the way blood leaks between ribs from her breaking heart.
There might be beauty in the security of a setting sun.
One golden horizon intertwines at the top of their fishbowl
With the deep blue of another skyline,
But when she looks up, she only sees his eyes.
Oncoming armies melt away into the fickle clouds.
There might be beauty in the way the dawn lifts the twilit dew into a burning night.
The ghost of an undetermined future sits in the driver’s seat of a motionless car.
The passenger closes her eyes, bathing in each pulse of electricity,
Clinging as if the beat of her heart relies on every shock.
A fog climbs down the mountain in waterfall determination,
While calloused memories slip down the rocky slope in a bubble of giggles.
There might be beauty in the silence of their conversation.
Every spoken phrase already known between them:
“Hide your eyes so they don’t know this is private property.”
There might be beauty in the way she wishes on shooting stars,
There might be beauty in the way she falls deeper into her own heart with each breath,
There might be--
There might be--
There might be beauty in the way she cries,
But it might be the glimpse of a dream-- intangible as the burning sky.
There is beauty in the way she falls asleep alone, asking still for tomorrow’s blessing.
Next time these piggybacking fictions hop from one island of light to another,
I promise not to leave the stitching between their hearts so unfinished.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

11/5/2018 Elana Levy Features

11/05/2018  Elana Levy   hosted by Jan

elana levy Nov 5,2018

11/05/2018  elana levy   hosted by Jan

elana levy is a recent transplant to the land of her daughter, of avocados and redwoods from the northeast, of snow lakes and green. Legacies and Heresies with blessings is her latest collection. She has also translated from the German the much heralded 20th century Jewish poet Rose Asländer. Elana taught math a community college for two decades. She was firs photographed by the FBI in 1959. Student and teacher of Jewish meditation and Kabbala; factory worker, social justice activist, radio producer, video director; embraces silence one month yearly. Still studying hard, knowing there are no easy answers. She doesn’t Capitalize her name.