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.

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