Calendar of Coming Features

4/22/19 Judy Wells hosted by Gary

JUDY WELLS was born in San Francisco and raised in Martinez, California.  She received her B.A. from Stanford and her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Judy has 12 poetry books to her credit. Her latest collection, Dear Phebe: The Dickinson Sisters Go West is a memoir/novella in poetry and prose about her New England-to-California Dickinson ancestors in the 1860s. She was thrilled to have access to real letters her Dickinson ancestors sent each other.
Her eleventh poetry collection, The Glass Ship, completes her trilogy of Irish-themed works, including Everything Irish and Call Home. Other works includeLittle Lulu Talks with Vincent Van Gogh and I Dream of Circus Characters: A Berkeley Chronicle.
Judy taught creative writing, women’s poetry, composition, and literature at various Bay Area colleges, before a career as an academic counselor and faculty member at Saint Mary’s College of California, working with adults returning to school.  Now a full-time poet, she lives with her husband, avant-garde poet Dale Jensen, in Berkeley. Her website is  


Last week at Whole Foods
as I was reaching
into the refrigerated shelves
for the coldest tofu
with the most future
expiration date
a yellow gloved hand
from the other side
laid itself on mine.
I nearly jumped a mile.
"Oh sorry!" said a woman's voice
from the other side.
A man behind me laughed.

This week as I walked by
the same tofu
I heard a disembodied voice
from the other side say,
"I needed you,
and you have never
been there
for me once."
“Yes, I have,”
I wanted to protest.
“Last week!”

From I Dream of Circus Characters: A Berkeley Chronicle
Beatitude Press  

4/29/19 Maverick Night:  host  Gary   Other People's Poems  Guess who wrote it? hosted by 
Bring 2 poems printed out with out your name on them. We will put in a bag or box or hat and other people will draw out, read. Then we will attempt to identify the poet who wrote the poem.  We have been doing this once a year for years and it is great fun.

5/6/19 Jan Dederick  host tba

Jan came out of the poetry closet at Poetry Express just a few years ago. Well, maybe more than a few by now…Since then she has found many voices she had no idea she had. Her work varies from rant to rave, from ode to lyric, from sacred to profane, from humorous to brainiac science-headed.   
Her work is inspired by nature, both human and the rest, healing, science, the Big Questions, the usual suspects. 
She’s earned a number of prizes in local contests, but doesn’t seem too interested in ‘getting her work out there’, i.e. the publishing thing. Or maybe just not organized enough.
She has self- published 2 chapbooks,  Ear to the Rail  and  Between a Rock and a Soft Place, and a full length memoir in poetry, Hammer It Into Horseshoes.  She is incubating another book,The Anatomy Poetry Book.

Jan was for several years a co-host of Poetry Express, and is on the editorial board of Poetalk, journal of the Bay Area Poets’ Coalition.

Cinquaine series:
my breath
the in the out
I sit to notice it
cool coming in, warm going out.
to sit
to watch and wait
how long will this itch last?
nothing lasts forever, nor this.
the high and low
there lies the middle road
Buddha recommended this route:.
Good luck!

5/13/19 John Garry hosted by Jim

John R. Garry has made his way across 9 countries by train, plane, automobile and by foot. His poetry is informed by his travels and his work as a licensed clinical psychologist in the community, with our military and in our prison system.
His published works include: 2009’s “Regalos de la Isla: Gifts from the island”, and 2015’s “Lean In: Live from Everywhere”.
His performances are a melodic blend of emotion and deep reflection that will make you think, feel and leave you wanting more.


I literally have a jar marked golf money filled with the wishbones of rotisserie chickens going back to 2015. I carried these from apartment to apartment, across state lines. They sat in storage for 10 months while I traveled the globe. It's a jar full of unused wishes, bones for conjuring new ways to fight off patterns that are ever present.

There is a 4-by-2 bin full of poems next to my bed; a pile of notebooks that, boiled down, are just ink and papyrus, emotional hand cramp manifestos. It's a tupperware bucket of unicorn ideas, flightless thoughts tied down with time and self-deprecation.

There are #revolutionarystew mind dumps on Instagram. It's an exercise in public masturbation that we have allowed as normal – all in the internet ether, the globe's electronic closet – full of porn, socks without matches and shit that no longer fits, but isn't thrown away.

I have 82 bowties in my closet and still my wardrobe is repetitive. I have maintained my weight only so that I do not have to buy more pants. All my sweaters from high school remain with me and, like them, I too go in and out of fashion regularly.

I am a pile of skin and bones, bowties, poetry and unused wishes. I spend more time thinking about what I have yet to let go of than using what I already have, and wondering who will throw out my things when I die.
All the things.

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.

5/27/19 Zephyr 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

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

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.

6/10/19 Lydia Hirsch hosted by Jim

Lydia 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.

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

6/24/19 Kitty Costello hosted by Gary

7/1/19 host tba

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 most recently in a chapbook entitled "Poets in the Pews" by the First Unitarian Church of Oakland. Retired from a career as an energy-efficiency policy analyst at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, she also published a prolific amount of technical writing. 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..."

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.

                                    --Robert Coats


7/22/19 John Argue hosted by Gary

John Argue taught acting for many years, and in the ‘80s started doing drama therapy with children and with hospitalized adults. He shifted over completely to working with Parkinson’s people in 1985 and continued for 32 years. He retired two years ago and returned to his first love, poetry.

Foregiveness is not
some words you say
to the one who wronged you
Forgiveness is
giving up
your revenge.

7/29/19 Maverick Night host tba

8/5/19 host tba

8/12/19 Lori Lynne Armstrong hosted by Jim

Lori Lynne Armstrong has been a scientist, a counselor, a mental health patient, and a painkiller addict. Her poetry spans these and many other realms with a style sometimes psychological, sometimes irreverent, but always searingly authentic. Her passions include promoting creative treatment options for the mental health and substance abuse recovery communities and promoting poetry availability for all communities. Her work appears in Poetry Expressed, The Abrams Claghorn exhibit "Have You Heard Us Yet?" and her first chapbook, Queen of Cups. She writes about her life and ongoing projects at
She is not what centuries of men expected to find, when they looked, if they looked, beyond softness, curve, survival smile
lines and planes, unrepentant, edged boundaries mark where she begins and ends. Colors of bruised plums, old blood, rich and dark
spots and patterns tell a story in a language no one but her can read— why these markings? why here? why this slanting angle, not one degree more, not one less, what does it mean, the men
wonder as they stand, lamps uplifted, and she does not speak to tell them, nothing, everything, I am not your puzzle to solve

these opaque walls will never lighten to clear quartz crystal  (never again)
8/19/19 Laura Schulkind  hosted by Bruce

8/26/19 Jerry Ratch hosted by Gary

Jerry Ratch published 18 books of poetry, and 7 books of prose including the novel: Wild Dreams of Reality, and the Memoir: A Body Divided, the story of a one-armed boy growing up in a two-fisted world. His work can be purchased through the author’s website: . and as kindle books on 

The Fly on Our Pickle

I think I know that fly
That fly followed us from our apartment
On W. 11th St
When I opened the door he flew right in
And when we left, he flew right out again

Followed us on the subway to Times Square
Took the Shuttle apparently
Followed us all the way through the tunnels
Up the escalator and into Grand Central Station

Then down to Juniors in the food court below
Where he joined us for lunch
The best Chicken Caesar Salad on the planet
So famous, even the flies know about it
We asked the waitress for an additional chair
But he took a seat on our pickle instead

“Oh, don’t worry,” we told her
“We know him. He normally lives
“Down in the Village”

The waitress eyed us suspiciously
“East Village or West?” she asked

“Come on!” we said.
“As if that really matters!”

9/2/19 host tba
9/2/19 NO PE, BAPC Picnic.

9/9/19 hosted by Jim

9/16/2019 Dennis J. Bernstein hosted by Bruce

9/23/19 hosted by Gary

9/30/19 Maverick Night host tba

10/7/19 host tba

10/14/19 hosted by Jim

10/21/2019 Georgette Howington hosted by Bruce

10/28/19 hosted by Gary

11/4/19 host tba

11/11/19 hosted by Jim

11/19/2019 Joyce Young hosted by Bruce

11/25/19 Dave Holt hosted by Gary

12/2/19 host tba

12/9/19 hosted by Jim

12/16/19 hosted by Bruce

12/23/19 hosted by Gary

12/30/19 Maverick Night host tba

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