Monday, July 8, 2019

7/15/19 Robert Coats features

7/15/19 Robert Coats  hosted by Bruce

Robert Coats has been writing poetry for 40 years.  His work as an environmental scientist takes him outdoors and sometimes provides inspiration and material.  He is drawn to poetry rooted in the West and reflecting a strong sense of place. A native Californian by birth (his great-grandparents having come by covered wagon in 1859), he spent part of his youth in the deciduous forests of Maryland, and the mountains of northeastern Nevada. His poems have appeared in OrionWindfallCanarySong of the San Joaquin, the Pudding House anthology Fresh Water and a full-length book—The Harsh Green World—published in 2015 by Sugartown Publishing.  Awards include first and third prizes in Menlo College’s “Wallace Stevens Where Are You” contest (1998), first prize in the 1994 contest of the American Society on Aging, and first prize in Word Worth’s 2010 poetry contest.  Details of his professional work can be found at


Go to Rock Lake, Plumas country.
Before sunrise, stand
on the slate ledge that juts the lake.
Look to the western shore,
watch sunlight creep down
the red bank of schist.

Now turn east, look up
to the canyon rim
where Jacob’s ladders converge
at a dark hemlock
against the bright sky.

In the moment before
the sun crests the wall
the entire tree--bole,
branches, foliage--
will flash
into silver filigree.

Then the orb’s leading edge
will clear the jagged ridge, shooting
gold deep into liquid indigo
warming your face
flooding you
with light.

Monday, July 1, 2019

7/8/19 Barbara Atkinson features

7/8/19 Barbara Atkinson hosted by Jim
Barbara Atkinson identifies as a  bicoastal writer and performer, transplanted a few times between Bucks County PA and Berkeley CA. She is also a scientist, social organizer, and dance enthusiast. After teaching herself to read, she earned a Bachelor of Rhymes degree from kindergarten, her most prized diploma. In the many intervening years, she has written numerous poems (rhyming, metered, both, and neither), short stories, cartoons, songs & song lyrics, tributes in verse, and paraphrases of popular classics. Sometimes this erupts into spoken word, with venues ranging from summer camps to PTA benefits to soccer team family picnics to holiday parties at her workplace and more. 

Barbara's poetry has been occasionally published, beginning with the Nutshell literary magazine of Moorestown Senior High School in New Jersey, then the Penn Women's Literary Magazine in Philadelphia, and a chapbook entitled "Poets in the Pews" by the First Unitarian Church of Oakland, and most recently in Turning Point Journal, Elders Action Network Spring Issue on Earth Relations. Ms. Atkinson volunteered in Nicaragua from the 1980s through 2000s on solar energy projects, traveled and worked in Central and South America, and composed a few of her poems in Spanish. Her current labor of love is being full-time mom of a teenage daughter, some of whose multiple talents are writing and drama. "Poetry is when the family reunion in your head stops and it's just you talking..."

Solar Benediction

            we are           
                        gasping for comfort
                                                             of warmth and motion
                        we have burned our ancestors
                                     spilled poisons in the waters
                                     cracked earthquakes underground
                                     squeezed the last drops from the sands

As the majestic icebergs melt
    and tempests violently toss the air
           roaring louder

We look upward to the sun
            burning out more slowly than any
            generating winds
                        and tides
                                     and green food

Lunches are never free           still
            humble            desperate
                        we raise our arms
                                     trying to catch
                                                 the loaves and the fishes

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

D.L. Lange Features July 1st

7/1/19 D.L Lange hosted by Elaine 
We are back at Himalayan Flavors back room, 1585 University Ave.

D.L. Lang is Poet Laureate of Vallejo, California. She has authored eleven books, one spoken word album, and is the editor of Verses, Voices & Visions of Vallejo. 

Lang has been a featured act at numerous events in Vallejo and poetry shows around the bay area. Her writings are a blend of memory, history, imagination, reality, politics, and spirituality. Her poems have been transformed into songs, liturgy, and used as a means to advocate for causes. Her website is:

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

6/24 Kitty Costello features. Note Venue location.

 6/24 We will be at 1800 University ave, berkeley, 
Due to remodeling at Himalayan Flavors.
Doors to side room slide apart, do not swing open. 

6/24/19 Kitty Costello hosted by Gary

Kitty Costello's recent poetry collection, Upon Waking, is gathered from writing done during the 40 years she has lived in the Bay Area. She's a tai chi teacher and psychotherapist, and she worked for decades for the public library. She has served for nearly 30 years on the editorial board of Freedom Voices, whose mission is to publish works that speak to and from communities on the margins. She is currently coediting a collection called Muslim American Writers at Home.


If we can meet
and find our own dark treasure,
heal our own dark scars,
our hearts will be mending

cracks in the world.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Fire & Rain book reading by Lucille Lang Day & Diane Frank 6/17/19

6/17/19 Fire & Rain book reading by Lucille Lang Day & Diane Frank hosted by Bruce

VENUE subject to update. Please recheck email/twitter/facebook and prior to event. Most likely we will be at  NATIONS GIANT HAMBURGERS 1800 University Ave, right side room, due to remodeling at Himalayan Flavors. 

Lucille Lang Day’s latest book is Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, an anthology she coedited. She is also the author of ten poetry collections and chapbooks, most recentlyBecoming an Ancestor and Dreaming of Sunflowers: Museum Poems; the coeditor of Red Indian Road West: Native American Poetry from California; and the author of two children’s books, Chain Letter and The Rainbow Zoo, and a memoir, Married at Fourteen: A True Story. Her poems, essays, and short stories have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, and her many honors include the Joseph Henry Jackson Award in Literature, the Blue Light Poetry Prize, two PEN Oakland – Josephine Miles Literary Awards, and nine Pushcart nominations. She is the founder and director of Scarlet Tanager Books.


Rust-colored ladybugs, clustered like grapes,
mate on horsetails that wave by a creek,
where silvery salmon spawn and leap
when the sandbar breaks at the gate to the sea.

The ladybugs have come hundreds of miles,
from valley to coast, for this singles bash.
The females are choosy:  they twiddle the males,
seeking appendages padded with fat.

And all around—high in redwood burls,
on elk-clover leaves, and in the rich soil—
the meaning of life is to stroke and prod
under a humpbacked moon, dissolving in fog.

From Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California (Scarlet Tanager Books, 2018)

Diane Frank is author of seven books of poems, two novels, and a photo memoir of her 400 mile trek in the Nepal Himalayas, Letters from a Sacred Mountain Place (Nirala Publishing, 2018). Her new book of poems, Canon for Bears and Ponderosa Pines, was published by Glass Lyre Press in 2018.Blackberries in the Dream House, her first novel, won the Chelson Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.  Diane lives in SanFrancisco, where she dances, plays cello in the Golden Gate Symphony, and creates her life as an art form. She teaches at San Francisco State University and Dominican University. 

A poem from Fire and Rain:

            In the Mendocino Woodlands

He walks into the forest
where trees are burning
finding his path in the silence.

Woodpecker, memory, larkspur
in the night of burning.

His eyes ask me to wait,
to keep the connection inside
the silent place where I find
pebbles of intuition, rose quartz.

In the morning, lupines on the trail
to the cliff where the giant trillium blooms,
kelp and seals swimming beyond
the tide pools below.

I run through Indian paintbrush,
milk maids, cinquefoil,
climbing the path where he finds me.

And what is love?
A fire walk initiation
from the ocean through a cathedral of trees,
fuchsia, wild grape, sudden
blue streaks on the wing of a moth
stellar jay wanting to fly free.

                        Diane Frank

Monday, June 3, 2019

Lydia Hirsch 6/10

6/10/19 Lydia Hirsch hosted by Jim

6/10/19 VENUE MOVED TO NATIONS GIANT HAMBURGERS 1800 University Ave, right side room, due to remodeling at Himalayan Flavors. Hirsch 6/10

ydia Hirsch is a poet and writer who lives in LA and the Bay Area. She has published journalism, self-published two books of poetry, and is working on a collection of short stories. 
The Sea in Brighton
In anguish I loved you-- but today I love you 
The color of the sea,
The color
Of the sky an hour before sunrise.
The sea in Brighton
On a day in November, seeming almost spring. I miss you
With the sweetness we miss childhood with, Remembering with longing but not pain.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

6/3/19 Bruce Isaacson Plus Julia Vinograd Retrospective  host Elaine

Bruce Isaacson met Julia Vinograd in 1985 during SF’s open reading / spoken word resurgence.  He earned degrees from Claremont McKenna, Dartmouth and Brooklyn College, where he submitted a thesis to noted American poet Allen Ginsberg.  Julia first introduced him to Ginsberg’s work.  Together with Julia and the poet David Lerner, Bruce co-founded Zeitgeist Press, which started as the house press for the infamous Cafe Babar readings, as David Lerner called it, Gladiator School for Poets. Today, Bruce serves as publisher for Zeitgeist, with over 100 poetry titles to date. He has lived in Michoacán, Mexico, New York City, Los Angeles, Berkeley-San Francisco, and Leningrad, Russia.  He lives today in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he was the first Poet Laureate of Clark County, Nevada, a community of two million souls encompassing the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Strip.  His latest book is Crossing Over, which includes stories of Julia, Lerner, and the poet David Gollub.

Here is a one page poem from the book:

My Heart When It’s a Whale

after David Gollub

Mostly roaming silent in dark waters
It is as   a thing put steaming
To cool in a tub    darker
Than time,   times to come, that is
Not times past   which are placed
In the afternoon light of memory   like
Family photos   framed on a
Shelf no one looks at,   or a
Cup of wrong coffee,   you look
Knowing it’s yours   while saying aloud
To no one   ‘that’s not mine’   that’s my
Heart holding its breath   in the
Deep, lost, with nowhere to go,   looking up at
Desire like the sun   seen through
Three miles of water,   remembering how
Fabulous it was to be young,   now that
Murder’s at the border   of your
Eyebrows like overgrown bushes
Trimming them’s like   trying to walk a cat, like
“Trying” to save a marriage,   like trying to
Raise a child   when you
Already raised   a monster,  Dreamzilla’s
Little brother    playing with
Firetrucks with an   x,   t-r-u-
Ex-wives and   ex-lovers,   ex-
Communicado’d saints,   shining hopefully at
History   while lost in language,   like
A whale,   who comes to   the surface   and
Blows,   grateful to breathe,   but still
Lost   in the wallows and wonders

of the deep.

We are celebrating the poetry life of Julia Vinograd. 
   Here is a poem appropriate to the moment by Julia:


You must feel loved when you read this.
Lean against the hand
stroking the back of your neck.  Relax.
In the pocket where you once kept marbles
is a small bag full of kisses.
Open it.  Let it go.
Someone's humming in the next room
with a throaty laugh at every missed note
because mistakes don't matter.
No, don't go see.
You don't even have to listen.
You are loved.
There's a warm smell coming from the kitchen
and the puppy's nibbling your slippers
but you're too comfortable to get angry.
There are so many people who want this.
Just this.
Believe me, they are not your enemies.

Monday, May 20, 2019

5/27/19 Zephir O'Meara features

5/27/19 Zephir O'Meara hosted by Gary

Zephir O'Meara is a bay area page poet with many children and pets in his care. His ongoing quest to disrupt and subvert bio blurbs has thus far worked for him. So he's probably gonna keep doing it. It's almost a thing at this point. 



I opened up this email to send you a poem

I was going to copy and paste something

short and sweet nice and neat

Something with some rhythmic grace

some outer space retro vibe

Glimpsing the infinite

but still staying intimate

Here and now you and me our eyes lock briefly

Flicker away in the breeze

We cinder

We smoke

All our lives could matter in one kind passionate word

I lay at your feet a red carpet

dyed in my blood my heart's blood my soul

my word my bond

But I didn't really know how to finish it so I never sent that email

I guess it's saved as a draft somewhere

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Carla Williams-Namboodiri Features 5/20/19

5/20/19   Carla Williams-Namboodiri hosted by Bruce

Carla Williams-Namboodiri is a humanities teacher and former journalist. Carla's manuscript novel, South Side Blues, set in her hometown of Chicago in the 1970's,was recently named a semi-finalist in Hidden River Arts inaugural Tuscarora Award for Historical Fiction. She will be reading from new work, On Bus Line No. 6, a play in three acts, as well as poems (see below)

Tell Me Again

By Carla Williams-Namboodiri

What did you say?
Say what?
Tell me again what you mean
When you say
Make America great again

Do you mean great
Like the buffalo that roamed
the prairies of my heart
Or the once crystal clear
Great Lakes?

Or great like the voice
Of Tecumseh, who warned,
“Brothers, the white men came among us feeble, and now we have made them strong”

No, that doesn't really sound like who or what you mean

Tell me again what you mean,
When you say you want to build a wall
To keep our lives from coming in
Against the laws those great forefathers
Wrote to steal land Fair and Square

Can you explain, in polite terms,
Where and how you made
Was it before the Civil War or after it?
Was it when the Constitution
Settled on counting Africa’s children
As the three-fifths human
Or after blood and terror
Set us free?

Do tell, just once more,
Is your great America lily white,
With small apartheid “black spots”
Reserved for first nations,
“Hispanic-Latinos” and “inner-city blacks”

Or is it a modest version
Of a whitewashed college campus
After rolling back affirmative action
Rolling back to them good old days, ain’t it?

Down at the country club
Or was it the golf club,
With that private spa,
With the black attendant

How fun it was!
How he had to hold the towel,
while you jiggled your pecker,
And how you all called him Charlie Brown, laughing together

Though his name was Charles Brownstone,
After his father the master mason,
Like his fathers before him,
Who worked to buy freedom

Tell me once more,
What you really mean
About “Make America Great Again”
Do you mean like,
The Beach Boys
Or Chuck Berry singing,
“Rock and Roll Music,”
Crisscrossing color lines

When you say America,
It does not sound
Like me saying it

When you say
make it great
It sounds like
Of nuclear bombs
On Hiroshima & Nagasaki

Nothing at all like the greatness
By the truths we hold
To be self-evident
That we are all equally
Endowed with
Certain liberties

The America of which you speak
Was discovered
By Christopher Columbus
Who got lost
Because he thought
The world was flat

Carla Williams-Namboodiri is a writer and humanities teacher working on surviving the next four years.