Monday, May 14, 2018

Marty Williams features 05/21/2018

05/21/2018 Marty Williams hosted by bruce

Oakland poet, Marty Williams's work appears most recently in Atlanta ReviewThe Heron Tree and Poetry East, as well as in anthologies, Bearing WitnessPoetry By Teachers About Teaching and Winged: New Writing About Bees. With the Bay Area Writing Project and Amherst Writers and Artists, Marty leads writing workshops through Room to Write for writers of all ages. She also co-coordinates the monthly Bay Area Writing Project reading series, Teachers Write – Writers Teach. Marty is currently working on a manuscript, The Forest Within, poems about hometown Oakland, California, and her homeground, Alaska.

That year, well before thaw, he cleared

a path through scrub alder and spruce,
halted where the slope flattened out,
drove a stake into the hard ground.

He sunk pilings for a foundation and returned

to build a cabin on the bog. Alone, foot stopped
on the shovel, he heard a loon. Knew the raunch
of bear nearby, outside the circle of light.
Season after season, he left his work in town,
went there to that clearing. Peeled back the trees
with his axe, salted the bog with gravel
from the lakebed. There were summers
full of sawdust and hammers,
wheelbarrow handles cleaved to his palm.

Warm in the snug, square cabin he dreamed a garden

full of flowers and daisies gleamed
bold and white in the evening. Made a home
for themselves there. In the face of the mountain,
on the shore of the lake.

In the afternoon, all wood smoke and gin, he watches

the young birches grow, block the lake from
his view. He sits there, still, into evening,
waiting for the loon or the bear to return.
Gravel sinks, the woodpile falls out of its rows.
Trees creep back into the clearing.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

05/14/2018 Marilyn Flower

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.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

05/07/2018 Richard Loranger

05/07/2018  Richard Loranger  hosted by Jan

Richard Loranger is a writer, performer, visual artist, and all around squeaky wheel, currently residing in Oakland, CA. His recent book of flash prose, Sudden Windows (Zeitgeist Press, 2016), has been warmly received. He is also the author of the Poems for TeethThe Orange Book, and nine chapbooks. Other recent work can be found in Oakland Review #2, Overthrowing Capitalism vol. 2 (Revolutionary Poets Brigade), and the new anthology The Careless Embrace of the Boneshaker (great weather for MEDIA). You can find more about his work and scandals at

Excerpts from Sudden Windows

And clouds roll in and I am glad, for autumn rain smells like the start of everything. And darksome days are time for all the dust to settle, sweet sweet the air and safe to open chest to amity. When trees drink clouds and dry ground soaks and we can sense effulgence down the road, how can we not enjoy the dropping of all things and the sleek sweep of pungent breeze? I’d like to lie down in the street and shine.

*          *          *

Early plum is bitter, early rose is tart, April light roves from sharp to glow as the month matures. Fleeting rain pelts the windows, then lifts infused with jasmine and fresh grass. Bougainvillea stuns. Clouds break, and the softest breeze strokes the arms and face. All the air sublime. Sometimes we need profundity, and sometimes just a lavender day.

*          *          *

I take myself to task, and find a tisane in the tin shack mine. The method to divine adumbra of the swale’s lost path is simply one of sniffing rasped grass. We are never truly lost until we find ourselves bereft of cause – no green, under air, dry as dirty docks. And even then the thirst might eek us out, the rancid grain slake need for friction so the loose shoot may flail. May tendril on. We soar on tin lid sleds and take the dawn. And in the meantime, watching from our table the adept bright rain, we take to task, wrap hands around sweet steam.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Poetry Expressed Magazine Poets read their work 4/30/2018

04/30/2018 PoetryExpressed Mag poets read from their work published in the mag hosted by Gary 
Note That due to the number of poets who may read, open mic time may not be available.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

04/23/2018 Paradise

04/23/2018  Paradise     hosted by Gary 

Paradise the Poet of a thousand poems is president of the International Black Writers & Artists, and was recently honored by the City of Oakland with his own day, Paradise Day, October 6, for his many years of community service in the local arts and poetry scene. He competed with the Berkeley team that finished 12th in the nation in Seattle. He is currently starring in his one man show, How to Be a Black Man in America, which includes him singing, dancing, playing the people and sharing his art. He has been called the Muhammad Ali and Michael Jackson of the performing arts! And is known for such classics as, Beloved: A Love Letter to the Goddess in Every Woman, You Should be Concerned that it Takes  Team of Scientists to Make Your French Fries, A Woman is Made of Love, I Love Everything About You, But You, Everybody Needs a New Name, and Why Oakland Has No Record Stores. 

His work, called JazzFunkHipHoPoetry, has inspired the establishment of a new record company:


I remember before you were born
There was no sunshine, no light
You are the reason the Sun comes up
In the morning and the Stars come out at night
You are the reason God said
"Let there be light!!!"
So he could feature you
And be inspired to writes uni
Verses across the skies at night for you!
So while others dream of Heaven
Heaven dreams of you
And although you are God's gift
To himself - it's true!
God so loved the world
He gave us....YOU!

Paradise features 4/23

04/23/2018  Paradise     hosted by Gary 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Jeanne Lupton features 4/16

Jeanne Lupton is a writer and poet living in Berkeley.  She has hosted Frank Bette Center for the Arts Second Saturdays poetry series for eleven years and leads a weekly memoir writing group at the North Berkeley Senior Center.  She is delighted to feature again at Poetry Express. 

73rd spring

honeybees wild
in yellow blossoms
i was born
for growing old  

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

04/09/2018 Sharon Metzler-Dow

04/09/2018  Sharon Metzler-Dow hosted by Jim

Sharon Metzler-Dow is an internationally published poet and writer.  Her poetry was published in 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 published in Bay Area Generations chapbook 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. Sharon is collecting her poems and short stories for book publication about her adventures in South Korea, China, India, Nepal, France, and Amsterdam.  She lives in Oakland.  

At age 15 Lynne Cox swam across the English Channel and shattered the men’s and women’s world records swimming from England to France in 9 hours, 57 minutes.


It’s another year
and time to swim the English Channel.
Safety boats at distance follow 
but not near.  At anytime a shark
can mistake us for a seal and devour
our whole estate for his next…
we wonder what’s nipping at our heels.
Higher, lower, faster, slower, 
night’s tides test our willpower.

We navigate by watching moving sign-posts 
in the black firmament above and below
and by currents pushing our back
then our toes
for good or detriment.
Hold onto the stars to avoid vertigo!

Liquid laps our skin, enfolds us.
Phosporescence scintillates.
Neon prosecco. Firefly fish.
Blue tears and blue comets.
from Dover to Calais
treacherous and luminous.

A lot can happen
swimming to another continent.
40,000 armstrokes.
It’s all in the mind.

                                                                   Sharon Metzler Dow    ©  2018

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

04/02/2018 Maria Rosales

04/02/2018 Maria Rosales hosted by Jan

Maria Rosales was born in London, and lived in EuropeNorth 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.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

03/26/2018 Grace Marie Grafton

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


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

3/19/18 Naomi Quinonez

3/19/18 Naomi Quinonez hosted by Bruce

Naomi Helena Quiñonez is a poet, educator and activist.   She is the
author of three collections of poetry, Hummingbird Dream/Sueño de
Colibri, The Smoking Mirror and The Exiled Moon.  She co edited
Invocation L.A: Urban Multicultural Poetry which received the
American Book Award.  Among her achievements are the American
Book Award, the Rockefeller Fellowship and the California Arts
Council Award.  Her poems and essays have appeared in many
journals and publications such as the Colorado Review, Paper
Dance: Latino Writing in the U.S. and Infinite Divisions.

Monday, March 5, 2018

03/12/2018 Cathy Dana hosted by Jim With a Mini-Feature by Bruce Isaacson

03/12/2018 Cathy Dana hosted by Jim With a Mini-Feature by Bruce Isaacson

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.”

3/12 Mini-Feature Bruce Isaacson:

Bruce Isaacson is a poet and publisher of Zeitgeist Press, with over a hundred poetry titles to date. He’s known in the Bay Area from the Cafe Babar 1980s poetry community.  He earned degrees at Claremont McKenna, Dartmouth, and Brooklyn College, where he submitted a thesis to noted American poet Allen Ginsberg. More recently, he was the first Poet Laureate of Clark County, Nevada-- a community of two million souls that includes the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Strip.  

From: The Last LieZeitgeist Press, 2017
Unnatural Selection

One poet after another
up to the mike we're like penguins
waddling to the edge of the ice
Like dice thrown against night sky
Like a transistor radio in a demolition zone
It's hard to hear your true voice
As cars screech & crunch on Flamingo
As people cope with treatable diseases
in the bathroom of the public library
As if we needed metaphors for suffering
As if Crete were an island
We humans are made to love truth
and tell lies. 

Ode to a Diet Cherry Coke

O dark, fizzy syrup—
bonded to clear water.
O faintly fruity eau—
You explode on my tongue
with taste, a virtual
bomb of refreshment.
You darling of the Coca
corporation, made rich with billions of
momentary satisfactions, like little mini
taste-gasms leaving syrup to rust in
the machinery of my body.  Yet how I
love you, fizzing in front of me I
sharply realize that you are
master and I indentured to
your momentary pleasure. 
My stomach lining gets a
hole the size of a dime, my energy
sapped for hours after fix of fizz,
but I do not blame you,
brown and bubbling beverage,
whatever my body is, it was made to
live, die, drink.