Monday, February 26, 2018

03/05/2018 Bruce Fessenden

03/05/2018 Bruce Fessenden hosted by Jan

Bruce lives in Berkeley and is co-owner of Fessenden Firewood with his partner Christine.  He has been deeply immersed in the natural world his entire life through the activities of backpacking, climbing and skiing.  A book of his poems —“Crimson Coat” — was published in 2014 by Goldenstone Press.  Pieces of Bruce’s writings have appeared in a MoonShine Star Co. anthology called “What is Love”, and also in Richard Grossinger’s book “2013”.  A second volumne of poems, titled “Bones” will be published shortly.


People are sick these days
    you can hear it in the coughing
    at the coffee house, behind the words
    you can hear the phlegm
    from rushing around too fast
    chasing after what they already have.
Inside lung and organ tissue, inside marrow of bone
    unseen surfaces, stairways, hidden windows
    are already here in the world
    patiently waiting to be found.

It’s not that I’m rough all the time
    it’s something else, something that doesn’t quite fit
    or is a little too silent
    some part of me a little awkward
    a little alien; never feel quite right
    in the light of the everyday world.

I’m not a misfit, not a stranger
    I fit in, in a different sort of way
    like a crystal, opaque and transparent simultaneous
    almost black, but inward, not glowing
    more like an emphasizing
    the innerness of the stone
    a soft radiance, like an animal
    attentive, alive to its world
    just noticing, nothing more.

My darkness is the glade
    on the western side of the ridge
    where nobody goes.
Or the wild desert, a land of extremes
    harsh at high noon; yet crystalline purity
    with the early morning light.
Caravansari of old brought a human exchange
    all the remains is the sand, the dunes
    nights littered with stars.
What is exchanged now?  Where there is only wind
    and endless quiet, where footprints
    are erased in an instant.

What is my last day?
    Is it the holly tree, with its deep greens
    and reds; luscious growth and a steady joy?
Or is it the aurora borealis, with crackling mystery
    and otherworldly colors: lime, magenta, pink?
What have I released back to the
    ground, to matter, to the mother
    to the innerness of all things?
What gesture was I making inside
    the arc of my days, that others may have noticed
    which I could never see.
But love is not for understanding
    love is an activity; love moves.
Ashes to ashes, the course of my days
    a hollowing, for innerness
    a hallowing, full circle, the shape that
    holds the sacred, like a garden
    sifting, reflecting, dreaming

    then releasing.

Monday, February 19, 2018

02/26/2018 Chris Warren Smith

02/26/2018 Chris Warren Smith hosted by Gary  

Chris Warren Smith has been a featured writer for Steve Arnston, Gina Goldblatt, Paul Corman Roberts, Bay Area Generations and Charise Sowells Malouf(Lake Lady)
He has been published in the Oakland Review, and East Fork Press. He first kid's book: A Tennis Lesson can be found in the Magic Blox children's library.
You can find more of his writing at his blog on

Human Nature is smiling, holding out a closed fist.

Inside is a coin.

On one side is love and the other is fear.

Until she opens her hand the coin is two sided, representing duality.

It is in a state of superposition.

Only when she opens her hand will you witness your truth.

And you will see either fear or love.

Because observing the system changes the system.

What will you change today?

The Earth gave you your path to walk.
The World put in a toll booth.
The Earth created beautiful women.
The World made you shy.
The Earth gave you a mind to be free.
The World gave you an ego to be it’s slave.
The Earth gave you a voice to speak your truth.
The World gave you an ear the didn’t want to hear.
The Earth gave you eyes to see your vision.
The World gave you rules to keep it at bay.
The Earth gave you a beautiful child.
The World took him back.
You say “ you’ve had enough of this life”.
And I say to you “You don’t belong to yourself.
You belong to the Earth and you belong to the World”.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Andrena Zawinski features Feb. 19th, 2018, 7pm

02/19/2018 Andrena Zawinski hosted by Bruce  Jim

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 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Alameda Students "The Mighty Pens" Monday, Feb 12th

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.