Prior Features at Poetry Express





09/17/2018 Clyde Always hosted by bruce


Clyde Always (the Bard of the Lower Haight), being the All-American tall-talesman and dime-a-rhyme vaudevillian that he is, has successfully provided audiences, both at home and abroad, with the refreshing splash of laughter and the snug comfort of joy; to inspire creativity is his primary objective here on planet Earth.  You can catch his act any Friday evening at Cafe International where he serves the community fostering new talents as host and ringleader of the weekly open-mic showcase. His writings and artwork have recently been accepted to exclusive publications: Poetalk, The Broke Bohemian, 17 Very Funny Very Short Stories and others.  Melanie Bell and the Story Salon, the bard’s debut novel, published by Rational Malarkey Inc, placed as a semifinalist in the Faulkner Society’s William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition in 2017.  He lives in San Francisco with his wife Haylee the Ukulele.

Bloodbath!




What ruthless warrior am I,
to cause this crimson flood?
Remorseful now, I stand and cry
above a sea of blood.
Oh, slaughterhouses everywhere
will crumble down in shame;
and Tarantino’s kiddie fare
seems infantile—tame.
The Chupacabra’s drank a sip
compared to all this swill.
Count Dracula would curl his lip
and call it ‘overkill.’
Was Gettysburg a lousy joke?
Were Spartans rarely rough?
Felt Caesar but a measly poke?
Was Patton just a puff?
Attila’s savagery’s now moot,
that tender, gentle Hun…
and Genghis Kahn would lick my boot
to see such horrors done!
            Perhaps a tiny trickle fell
            from Christ upon the cross,
            but none have raise such gruesome Hell
            as I, who’s tried to floss.

9/10/2018 Truly Edison hosted by Jim






Truly Edison is a senior at Alameda Community Learning Center, and the current poet laureate of her school. She lives in Alameda with her parents, her three siblings, and her pet dog. She has been writing poetry since middle school, and is very active within her school's poetry club. She describes her writing as a form of dreaming while awake; a method of processing outside images and sensation through words.


"BODYWORDZ"

My heart is no organ of fire
Because I'm much too shy
It's more of a deer at the side of the highway
Wandering the dying grass with headlight eyes

It lives only at dusk and dawn
Creeping into the light when all others lay still 
Decaying in the shallow end of sleep

In my mind I conjured up a collage of you
Eyes and ears and tongues disconnected 
Out of context
But what finally did it was
A single strand of my hair on your bathroom counter
And the fraud of intimacy
It so coyly implied
08/27/2018  Clive Matson hosted by Gary 




Clive Matson hung with the Beats in New York City in the early 1960s and he reconnected when he performed “Hello, Paradise. Paradise, Good-bye” at the European Beat Studies Network in 2017 in Paris. The passionate intensity that runs through us all emerged on a backpacking trip in the southern Sierra when he saw trees and mountains and smoke from a wild fire – and began that poem. He won the 2003 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles National Literary Award and the City of Berkeley Lifetime Achievement award in poetry for 2012. Visit him at matsonpoet.com or wikipedia.

09/03/2018 Labor Day, NO PE, BAPC Picnic instead, see Bay Area Poets Coalition for details.



08/20/2018  Judy Bebelaar Reads from Her Book About the Children of Jonestown.
hosted by bruce


Of the 918 Americans who died in the shocking murder-suicides of November 18, 1978 in Jonestown and Georgetown, Guyana, one-third were under eighteen; more than half in their twenties or younger. And Then They Were Gone: Teenagers of Peoples Temple from High School to Jonestown begins in San Francisco, at the small school where Reverend Jim Jones enrolled the teens of his Peoples Temple church in 1976. Within nine months, most had been sent—many disappearing over that summer —to what Jones described as a jungle paradise.


A Bay Area Writing Project Teacher Consultant, Judy Bebelaar’s poetry has been published widely in magazines and in three anthologies. Walking Across the Pacific, a chapbookwas published in 2014 by Finishing Line Press. She and Ron Cabral are co-authors of And Then They Were Gone: Teenagers of Peoples Temple from High School to Jonestown.
Ron Cabral, a teacher and administrator in the San Francisco Unified School District for 35 years, served in the Reserve programs of the Navy and Coast Guard. He contributed writing and photography to the Coast Guard magazine and is the author of Country Joe and Me, about his friendship with Joe.

08/13/2018 Avotcja hosted by Jim

Poet/Playwright/Multi-Percussionist/Photographer/Teacher  




Avotcja has been published in English & Spanish in the USA, Mexico & Europe, and in more Anthologies than she remembers. She is an award winning Poet & multi-instrumentalist who has opened for Betty Carter in New York City, Peru's Susana Bacaat San Francisco’s Encuentro Popular & Cuba’s Gema y Pável, played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Bobi & Luis Cespedes, John Handy, Sonido Afro Latina, Dimensions Dance Theater, Black Poets With Attitudes, Bombarengue, Nikki Giovanni, Los Angeles' Build An Ark, Dwight Trible, Diamano Coura West African Dance Co., Terry Garthwaite, Big Black, The Bay Area Blues Society & Caribeana Etc. Shared stages with Sonia Sanchez, Piri Thomas, Janice Mirikitani, Diane DiPrima, Michael Franti, Jayne Cortez, & with Jose Montoya's Royal Chicano Air Force & is a Bay Area icon with her group Avotcja & Modúpue.  Avotcja was the opening act for the legendary Poet Pat Parker the last three years of her life. She both composed & performed the film score for the Danish documentary MuNu. Her Poetry &/or music has been recorded by Piri Thomas, Famoudou Don Moyé (of The Art Ensemble Of Chicago), Bobby Matos Latin Jazz Ensemble, & performed by The Purple Moon Dance Project, and was the 1st Poetry performed by New York's Dance Mobile. She's appeared at The Lorraine Hansberry Theater in S. F., The Asian-American Jazz Festival in Chicago, as well as The Asian-American Jazz Festival in San Francisco.  She's been featured 5 times at Afro-Solo, twice at San Francisco's Carnival, The Scottish Rite Temple & Yoshi's in Oakland & San Francisco, Jose Castellar's play "Man From San Juan", Club Le Monmartre in Copenhagen Denmark, Stanford University, at San Francisco’s Brava Theater For The Arts with Cine Acción, New York's Henry Street Settlement Theater and The Women On The Way Festival in San Francisco. Avotcja a is popular Bay Area DeeJay & Radio Personality, and the founder/Director of "The Clean Scene Theater Project (AKA) Proyecto Teatral De La Escena Sobria". She continues to teach Creative Writing, Storytelling & Drama in Public Schools & thanks to the California Arts Council she was also an Artist in Residence at the Milestones Project & San Francisco Penal System. Avotcja is a proud member of DAMO (Disability Advocates Of Minorities  Organization), PEN Oakland, California Poets In The Schools,  IWWG & is an  ASCAP recording artist.

07/23/2018  Coleen McKee  hosted by Gary 



Colleen McKee is the author of five collections of memoir, poetry, and fiction. Her latest book is called The Kingdom of Roly-Polys (Pedestrian Press). http://thepedestrianpress.weebly.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html For upcoming appearances, visit http://colleenmckee.blogspot.com/.

 GIRAFFES

When I was little, a wild hill girl
of sun-scratched prairie
and shadowy woods cool
with the breath of the river,
I would spend hours in the tall tick-filled grass
just thinking about giraffes,
the mahogany and pale gold fur,
the arch of their necks bisecting the sun,
their elegant limbs listing and loping—
I’d dream of the giants of Africa
and play with the critters of Missouri,
walking sticks looking with paranoid eyes
at the tiny brown twig of my finger,
dizzy at being lifted
a mere two inches
from the dark grass.

                                                                                                

Solace is a Small Gray Stone


Solace is a small gray stone
at rest in the palm of your hand.

It is smooth. Curl your fingers
around it, but slowly. How solid

it is. Unlike sorrow, the stone
is finite. It can be weighed.

Feel the way
it carries the sun

even in the shade
of your thumb.


07/30/2018 StoryTelling / Flash Fiction Night hosted by Jim






08/06/2018   Steve Arntson & Loie Johnson  hosted by Jan



Steve Arntson came to writing after musical studies at the University of Washington - he became interested in poetry as read at some of the open mics in San Francisco in the 80s and 90s while he would always love to read poetry before, it was only after hearing others share their work at places like Cafe Babar and the Old Spaghetti Factory and myriad other open mics around town that he committed to writing himself he believes in writing each day if possible and cites journaling as a way to realize that end

Lately he's enjoyed the experience of writing short stories as well and finds them fun to do after the stricter demands of imagery and metaphor

Over time he's narrowed the scope of the writing to geography, especially the Oregon coast and the open spaces of Nevada where the Burning Man Arts Festival is

He's grateful to many friends and writers who have influenced and also continues to study music

Loie Johnson is a local Bay Area poet who lives in Palo Alto.  She has been a writer and 
an artist beginning in childhood.
Loie has been published internationally, and in many Bay Area anthologies.
She was a Feature at Kepler's in Menlo Park, and did a special Poetry Feature with a
 Shinto Art Presentation at the Waverly Writers after a visit to Japan.
She has also been a Feature at other Bay Area venues.
She and Elyse Garlock, a theatrical Mime, collaborated for many years, doing performances in
 Palo Alto, and Santa Monica.


07/16/2018 David Zeltzer hosted by bruce



   I started writing poems in grade school and I've never stopped. My writing continued but slowed down in grad school, and during my years in Boston working on human/computer interface design.   I’ve returned to the Bay Area, writing at full speed, and reading everywhere I can.


             While I was living in Eugene, Oregon, I co-founded the editorial collective that published 10 Point 5: A Magazine of the ArtsWe published 7 issues from 1976-78, including poetry, images, and interviews with local filmmakers, dancers, Robert Bly, and the novelist Ursula Le Guin. My poems have appeared in Troubador Anthology, The Goodly Company, Mr. Cogito, Echo, 10 Point 5, Uut Poetry and Fur-lined Ghettos. You can get my digital chapbook, Realtime Babies, from iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and amazon -- you can hear me read all the poems in that volume at www.realtimebabies.net.   On May 30, 2016, I was the featured poet in the San Francisco Open Mic Poetry Podcast TV Show on youtube, in the segment hotsted by Clara Hsu.

melt the poured titanium

overgrown life has graves

growing normal pilots in paris

i can’t find trees inside us

to reach molybdenum anywhere

or salvage the ancient robot wheatfield violin dances

there’s not enough mustard gas

in the student aircraft wires

to guide us through the stalingrad meteors

i talked to her this week so please rescue us

and start over

tiny little machines listen to my favorite dying hole

the laser found my hot

stellar tape will say my name

and push the wrong button under the green bushes

i like to think i have no friend to meet

someday all my radios will sing stillness

stop the microscope satellite

under small trees

and marry the silent deathbed

gathered in dark mountain gunshots

— san jose

may 2015

07/9/2018 Leticia Garcia Bradford hosted by Jim


Leticia Garcia Bradford is a poet, playwright and publisher. In 2014 she founded B Street Writers Collective (BSWC), Hayward, CA- a community of writers both amateur and professional. Her poems and stories have been published in local and national journals. She edited BSWC’s anthology FLY WITH ME which she is, also, the publisher for MoonShine Star Co. BSWC’s new anthology WHAT IS LOVE debuted this spring for which she is also editor and publisher. In 2017, Leticia toured around the entire SF Bay Area with her poetry and stories at open mics and readings. Check out her blogs: MY NEW ADVENTURE, living without a place to call home at leticiagarciabradford.blogspot.com, and LETICIA’S BLOG at lgbradford.blogspot.com has her poems and other stories.


Poem for Christopher
(and Kason)

I want to be alone
Life outside heavy and hardening
Driving streets freeway and stoplights with
fears of bumper to bumper
A terrifying scream from way down deep
Easier to sit inside
Inside I have my cat, my Lazyboy
My blanket which to hide beneath
My pillow where my lover rested his head
Alone I am safe and free

Safe and free

I want to be free
Escaping a past that haunts me
Nightmares of the restraints coupling my wrists
Cutting deep chafing my unprotected skin
Painfully reminding me that the release remains
elusive at the same time comforting
Letting go of the ills of my shallow heart

Shallow heart

I want to be a heart
blood pooling coursing to and fro
Dripping via veins arteries capillaries
Threat of vulnerability bearing down
Combined with insecurity of touch
Trusting you my friend
I’ve been here before
the rhythm the pounding
bathed in warmth 
Capture a dandelion, unpredictable wish

Unpredictable wish

I want to be a dandelion
Wisps of fuzz and seeds hidden in my wallet
A part of you I don’t know why
The night my nephew had had enough of this world
I found myself walking the neighborhood
Searching for soothing moonlight

Moon  Light 

I want to be the moon
With cows and cheese
Teasing stars with
tickles and butterfly kisses
Tears sprouting laughter
The man’s luminescent teeth hearty
like a lover on the horizon

the horizon

I want to be loved
Know that I am worthy
Quirkiness and all
Companionship
Independence
Respect for the life giving muscle
Transversing between time with patience and perseverance 
To find I’m alone

Leticia Garcia Bradford
© February 2018

07/02/2018  Roopa Ramamoorthi hosted by Jan



 Roopa is a biotech scientist and poet who grew up in India and calls Berkeley home. She was a finalist for the National Poetry Series in 2011 and her work has appeared in the anthologies, 'She is Such a Geek', 'Dismantle' and 'Red Skirt Blue Jeans' and on Perspectives on NPR and in  India Currents, Berkeley Daily Planet, Khabar, Ursa Minor, Spectrum and other venues. 





Family Tree
By Roopa Ramamoorthi

Few weeks ago I spent two days in Mendocino 

tucked away on California’s northern coast 

Heard the waves lashing the rocks, saw a red-breasted robin 

ready to take flight, a young seal on the rocks 

sunning itself, then setting out for a swim 

When I hiked in fern canyon  

I touched the trunk 

Of one sturdy redwood tree 

Climbing the narrow trails, inhaling the misty air 

I saw nobody else out there this Tuesday 

Only those ancient pteridophytes  

Layers upon layers of green 

Beckoning and bewitching from the other side of time 


I descended back to pygmy forest 

Nature’s bonsai of acorn and cypress 

Stunted trees adapted to the saline soil 

five hundred thousand years old 

The landscape here became more stark, less serene 

I stood transported to a different tree, a different time 

A photocopy in charcoal black, empty white and shades of gray 

From five full years ago. It could have been  

a Japanese artist’s ink brush drawing  

A single tree standing on a winter’s night, severe and still 

Or a botanist’s sketch of a new species 

with nodules narrowing four branches 

But no, it was my mother’s arteries 

Captured from her angiography 

In Jaslok hospital, Mumbai 

soon after her heart attack 


I took that image—consulted cardiologists  

In Palo Alto and San Francisco 

A month later she became ashes sprinkled in the Godavari River 

Traveling to where the Arabian sea kisses the star-studded sky 

Becoming engulfed in the universe’s eternal canopy 

A black and white sketch that still breathes in a cardboard box of mine 

Along with the torn black book of her recipes and her childhood photos 

One of her sitting in her chubby frock at one 

Another of her watering young saplings 

as a girl of eleven 

One more at twenty-four 

Holding her newborn baby 

standing next to a budding jasmine tree 

This poem was published in http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2008-12-23/article/31888?headline=Family-Tree 
                                                                                                                     
06/25/2018  Sandra Anfang  hosted by Jan 



Sandra Anfang is a Northern California teacher, poet, and visual artist. She is the author of four poetry collections and several chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Poetalk, San Francisco Peace and Hope, two Healdsburg Literary Guild anthologies, Unbroken Literary Journal, Rattle, and Spillway. Her chapbook, Looking Glass Heart, was published by Finishing Line Press in early 2016. Road Worrier, her new chapbook, is due in March, 2018. She was nominated for a Best Short Fictions in 2016 and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Sandra is founder and host of the monthly poetry series, Rivertown Poets, in Petaluma, and a California Poet/Teacher in the Schools. To write, for her, is to breathe.

Board of Directors

The first one I'd appoint is Rain, for humility.
I'd taste my tears, bled from the mask
as they roll down to court heaven's effluence
watch as both commingle in a stormy sea.

Next, I'd seat the Moon, for mystery
who rules my dreams and guides my pen.
I want to climb inside her iridescent skin
to die before I parse her essence
into tiny, measurable things.

Finally, I'd invite the Sun, for kindness and for love
the warmth of his beneficence
the way he enters me, encircles grief
melts the ice-glass curtain of the heart.

These three would be
the only guests I'd need
my pantheon
my holy trinity.


Sandra Anfang --Author of Looking Glass Heart, a poetry chapbook, published by Finishing Line Press © 2016. Available at finishinglinepress.com and Amazon.com. My new chapbook, Road Worrier: Poems of the Inner and Outer Landscape, is forthcoming from the same publisher. Pre-order by January 26, 2018, at a discounted rate:  https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/road-worrier-poems-of-the-inner-and-outer-landscape-by-sandra-anfang/
06/18/2018  Tongo Eisen-Martin hosted by bruce



Originally from San Francisco, Tongo Eisen-Martin is a poet, movement worker and educator. His book titled, "Someone's Dead Already" was nominated for a California Book Award. His latest book of poems “Heaven Is All Goodbyes” was published in the City Lights Pocket Poets Series.












06/11/2018  Nancy Schimmel hosted by Jim



Civilization

In the juncture between two narrow roads
The last fragment of a once-great circle of trunk still stands
Shaggy redbrown bark worn down
The tallest part upthrust higher than a person’s head
But not by much
Around the tip of this finger of wood
Someone has wrapped a telephone line

A redwood must be even slower to anger than I am
But as I stand in the road
It is clear to me which finger
It holds up


05/28/2018 Memorial Day  NO PE

06/04/2018  Ken Risling   hosted by Gary







Bay Area singer-songwriter Ken Risling has been having a love affair with music since childhood: singing before he could talk, learning his tribe’s traditional dances, and playing instruments -- piano, trumpet, French horn, guitar, bass -- at every chance he could grab. But it was grief that broke the dam and released the songs within him. He was 40 before he finished his first testimonial to loss, “Down To Jonestown”; it's critical acclaim signaled the emergence of his voice from the ocean of silence, and so began the gentle rain of songs. There are many, now, in all manner of style and subject. It is the delicate pas de deux between words and music that fuels his enthusiasm for the art; and it is the connection with the audience through songs that feeds his love for performing.





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.
 THE CLEARING (FOR MY FATHER)

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.

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.

Needles
she rarely talks,
but when she does…
poems stand up and salute.


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 www.richardloranger.com.


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.


04/30/2018 PoetryExpressed Mag poets read from their work published in the mag hosted by Gary 


04/16/2018 Jeanne Lupton hosted by Bruce


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  



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:

www.trueviberecords.com






Beloved

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!

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.

                   Nightswimming


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.
Nightswimming
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

04/02/2018 Maria Rosales hosted by Jan


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


Attachment
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.

                                                                        Maria Rosales
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

understood.


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.







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.




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.











                                   Rough-Cut

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.

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 Poeticous.com












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”.


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 PoetryMagazine.com.

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:  
http://www.poetrymagazine.com/movies/singing_bird_haibun_andrena_zawinski.mp4

Andrena Zawinski:

Rafts
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 



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.

02/05/2018 Ralph Dranow hosted by Jan


Ralph Dranow's widely published poems focus on exploring our common humanity and the poetry and beauty of everyday life. His most recent books are A New Life and Love in Unexpected Places, a limited edition letterpress book. He works as a freelance editor and ghostwriter.
Trees
They never market themselves,
Post of Facebook
Or tweet on Twitter.
Yet day after day,
Like alchemists,
These majestic beings
Take in carbon dioxide
And breathe out oxygen.
Their sturdy trunks, strong roots
Are barriers to soil erosion, floods.
Leaves provide shade,
Bark valuable medicines,
Branches sweet fruits.
Communal creatures,
Inspiring role models,
Trees share water and nutrients with each other.
And like Jesus,
They die for our sins,
Not only for houses, furniture, paper
But the insatiable, fanged maw
Of profit.
I nominate trees for the Nobel Peace Prize.



Ralph Dranow 
Editing, Ghostwriting, & Writing-Coaching Services

Author ~
A NEW LIFE: POEMS, by Ralph Dranow
$14.95 / print edition
The 76 vivid poems in this book offer a unique and compassionate view of what it is to be human. "Ralph's poetry is tender and honest and bittersweet, like sweet-sour candy melting on the tongue. His poems nestle into the heart in a genuinely comforting way." ~ Shonen Bressler 

01/29/2018 HA HA night--bring your humorous work hosted by Gary

01/22/2018 Mare' Simonet  hosted by Gary 
Need a prompt tonight? Pick one from the words & images in Mare’s poem.

           


Mare’ Simonet is a poet and multi-media artist, living in Berkeley, CA. Her series of essays, Confessions of a Dopamine Addict,  as well as her first poetry book, The Poet Next Door, are due to be released in early 2018.  Both works include many humorous references that reveal aspects of life with Parkinson’ s Disease.

While Ms. Simonet has said she dislikes being labeled as a disabled artist, living with Parkinson’s Disease has influenced her choices of
subject matter and the desire to create a mythology with a  message .

Mare’ has said that poetry is  “ without linear parameters .. One can disregard, recreate, bend, flex, or falsify time in a poem.”

After she presented a poem written two days after her husband passed away, a recent reviewer had this to say :

… I heard the writings of a friend (of his) who had lost a loved one recently, and her words, like a gale, swept powerfully through the room but exited gently and with such raw elegance that it left me wishing I knew how to write.

During the program, Mare’ will read excerpts from her essays and book, as well as new works dedicated to her late husband .

Untitled



my mind is inoperably bound to memory 
I try to hold on when the ascent is threatened
try to stay calm, find a portable bridge
to negotiate that rotten crevasse

filled with the carcasses of lost phrases,
today's to-do list, yesterday's memos

sometimes the tightly wrapped package
becomes unbound
the flow of remembered occurrences 
stretched out in one long straight line


coyly teasing the telomeres, trying to outrace them
01/15/18 Fred Dodsworth hosted by Bruce 
(Need a prompt? "The name I don't call myself" -- as in any use or thought of it -- you don't have to use those words.)



Fred Dodsworth As a 30 year publishing professional Fred Dodsworth has launched and or edited or published more than a dozen magazines and newspapers and three books on California Indians. Six years ago he decided to go to college, graduating magna cum laude from SFSU in 2013 with a bachelors in Creative Writing (concentration in Gender Studies). He earned his Masters in Poetry from SFSU in 2017 and is now pursuing an MFA in Fiction.

Formerly a high-school drop out, front-page daily columnist (SF Examiner), award winning art director, sandal maker, and truck driver (not in that order), in his professional career Fred was fortunate enough to work with renown designer Roger Black and to publish work by Alan Ginsberg, June Jordon, Kim Addonizio, Amy Wallace, Garrison Keillor, Corby Kummer, Ginu Kamani and many other accomplished and beginning writers.

Co-host of the 8th 9th & 10th Annual SF Beat Poetry Festival, board member of the 20th Annual Watershed Ecological Poetry Festival, co-organizer of the Northern California Book Awards, collective member of the Beast Crawl Collective for 5 years (now retired), founding board member of Bay Area Generations—A Reading Series For The Ages (now retired), for the last six years Fred Dodsworth has worked with Sharon Coleman producing Milvia Street, the venerable Peralta Colleges literary magazine. He is also publications advisor to Joyce Jenkins of Poetry Flash.

Fred has been a featured reader at the 2014 Annual Berkeley Poetry Festival, East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest, Art of the Muse, Broken Concrete, Literary Speakeasy, Red Light at the Battery, Pandemonium Press at the Spice Monkey, Moe’s Books, Writing Without Walls, the MFA Reading Series, Velvet Revolution, Rolling Writers, Nomadic Press, riverbabble, Red Light Lit, the Aesthetic Union, The Battery, XYZ at the Stork, the SF Beat Poetry Festival, Rolling Writers, Heart of the Muse, Black Health Matters, Naked Bulb, and many other reading series events. 

His stories and poems have been published in Red Light Lit, Rag Mag, Troop, Oakland Review #3, riverbabble, Transfer, Milvia Street, Bay Area Generations, Writing Without Walls, Saturday Night Special, Something Worth Revising, US Represented, 11-9 the Fall of Democracy, RISE!, and others. He’s currently finishing a book of poems, a book of short stories, and his first novel.



01/8/18 Julia Vinograd hosted by Jim





Julia Vinograd is a Berkeley street poet.  She has published over 59 books of poetry and won the American Book Award of the Before Columbus Foundation. She has a B.A. from UC Berkeley and a M.F.A. from the University of Iowa.  A Pushcart Prize winner for "The Young Men Who Died of AIDS," she has a Poetry Lifetime Achievement Award from the City of Berkeley and is one of the editors of the anthology New American Poetry Vol. I: The Babarians of San Francisco -- Poets from Hell. Her latest chapbook "Look Out"has just been published in October, 2016

12/25/2017 NO PE H A P P Y    H O L I D A Y S !


01/01/2018  NO PE -- H A P P Y    H O L I D A Y S !


12/18/2017 Michael Caylo-Baradi​ hosted by Bruce
(Need a prompt? "Outer" -- as in any use or thought of it -- you don't have to use those words.)




Michael Caylo-Baradi's work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Galway Review, Blue Fifth ReviewBlue Print ReviewThe Common (online)Eclecticaelimae, Eunoia ReviewFORTHGalatea ResurrectsInk Sweat & TearsLocal NomadMiPOesiasOtolithsOur Own VoicepoeticdiversityPhilippines Free PressPoetry PacificPrick of the Spindle, and elsewhere.  An alumnus of The Writers’ Institute at The Graduate Center (CUNY), he has also written reviews and essays for New Pages, PopMatters, and The Latin American Review of Books. 


http://mcaylo.blogspot.com/p/poetry.html



How to purify the air

Re-align the universe in the direction of your gaze. This is
breathing unhinged from dysfunction, clawed with need,
panting for Narcissus.

A bedroom is an occlusion that sharpens visions drooling for its
prey crucified in surrender. The howling beyond the yard
intensifies the season,

feasting on rituals that clarifies the philosophy of fangs. Wings
fluttering by the window are prayers, searching for
maps away from the city,

now submerged in bodies of lights illuminating an aftermath,
of hands intertwined, gasping for morsels of God,
to resuscitate the air.


Poem URL at OTOLITHS 43: 

12/4/2017 Clark Kent hosted by Jan 12/11/2017
(Need a prompt?Is Superman a Golem? A golem is an animated anthropomorphic being that is magically created entirely from inanimate matter (specifically clay or mud). -- you don't have to use those words.)




Clark Kent claims to have been forever maligned by the myth of Superman when in fact he has just been another bat in the belfry of life, seeking justice and peace in this troubled world. The comics who rule have long gotten Clark wrong, presuming Kryptonite to be his Achilles heel when in fact that radiant mineral is found within every person he meets.  That singular force travels the short divide from them to him, dispelling the dark forces of narcissism, rendering Clark human, vulnerable, and capable of poetic expression.

Longing For Kryptonite

Zarathustra hides in a polar ice castle,
flies to the moon, leers at women with his X-ray eyes.
He is stuck in a rut waiting for earthquakes, sinking ships,
meteors on course to destroy the woman he avoids.
Each wood-pulped, flattened day he is summoned,
pulls phone booths out of thin air,
strips to pectoral splendor.
His speedo modestly bulges
as he rescues Lois Lane yet again,
again, again, again.
Old pages yellow and crack
until he longs to be a real Clark Kent,
Kryptonated, unbound,
a nakedly human man.




12/11/2017 Mary Mackey hosted by Jim
(Need a prompt? "Fame" or for that matter, "defame"-- as in any use or thought of it -- you don't have to use those words.)





Mary Mackey is a bestselling author who has written fourteen novels some of which have appeared on the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller Lists. She is also the author of seven volumes of poetry including Sugar Zone winner of the 2012 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence. Mackey’s novels have been translated into twelve languages including Japanese, Russian, Hebrew, Greek, and Finnish. Her poems have been praised by Wendell Berry, Jane Hirshfield, Marge Piercy, and Dennis Nurkse for their beauty, precision, originality, and extraordinary range. Garrison Keillor has featured her poetry four times on The Writer’s Almanac. Also a screenwriter, she has sold feature-length scripts to Warner Brothers as well as to independent film companies. Mackey sometimes writes comedy under her pen name “Kate Clemens.” She has a B.A. from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from The University of Michigan and is related through her father’s family to Mark Twain. At present, she lives in northern California with her husband Angus Wright. ” Lowenstein Associates recently published her novel The Village of Bones, a prequel to her bestselling Earthsong Series.



Kin

We were related to everybody in Crittenden County
literally everybody
judges and lawyers and county clerks
and barbers and druggists and soda jerks
and moonshiners and farmers and ferry boat captains
and the rich people in the big white houses
and the poor people down by the slough

Total strangers would come up
as soon as they saw you on the street
throw their arms around you and say
my great grandma is buried next to your great grandma
or I'm your cousin 17 times removed on your third uncle’s side

or
my   my   my   you look just like your daddy
has he ever got out of prison?


                  Mary Mackey

                  from The Jaguars That Prowl Our Dreams (coming in 2018 from Marsh Hawk Press)Elizabeth Alford Features Nov 27


11/27/2017  Elizabeth Alford  hosted by J. D.
(Need a prompt? "The light in the basement" -- as in any use or thought of it -- you don't have to use those words.)



A longtime fan of short poetry, Elizabeth Alford (Hayward, CA) usually writes on her laptop, but in its absence will settle for her cell phone. Her work has recently appeared in print in POETALK, and various online venues such as brass bell: a haiku journalhaikuniverse, and the cherita: your storybook journal. Please visit her author page @ Facebook.com/ElizabethAlfordPoetry



Heaven is My Mother’s Apple Pie
by Elizabeth Alford

Once a year 
(and only under the best 
possible circumstances) 
my mother makes 
her apple pie, and that first 
bite—oh! how buttery 
and crumbly the crust, how 
spicy the forbidden fruit 
filling still warm from the oven 
and swirls of cinnamon, 
sweet and tang waltzing to flavor 
on the ballroom floor 
of my tongue—is almost enough 
to make me sing praise 
to a god I don’t believe in, 
even though I know 
deep in my heart 
and in my stomach 
that if there is an afterlife, 
it is after Thanksgiving dinner 
and that my mother 
is a god of gods 
who can bake the whole 
of the universe 
into a pie.

11/20/2017 Phyllis Meshulam,  hosted by Bruce
(Need a prompt? "Capture" -- as in any use or thought of it -- you don't have to use those words.)


Phyllis Meshulam first went to Italy, where her father had been stationed during World War II, at not quite five. Threads of those journeys are woven into her newly-released book of poems, Land of My Father’s War, from Cherry Grove Collections. Joy Harjo, winner of the 2017 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, said of Meshulam’s book, an “urgency of spirit has emerged eloquently here in these poems of perception and even prophecy….” Meshulam is also the author of Doll, Moon (Finishing Line Press), Doors (War and Peace Press) and Valley of Moon (d-Press). She is a veteran teacher for California Poets in the Schools and coordinator for Poetry Out Loud, and has been a presenter at the nation-wide writing conferences, AWP and Split this Rock Her work has appeared in magazines from Earth’s Daughters and Phoebe to Teachers & Writers and Tikkun.  Meshulam has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. For CPitS’s 50th anniversary, she edited, Poetry Crossing, which Poetry Flash called “a truly joyful collection of lessons, inspirations, and children's poems.”

Southeast Asian Rain
The breathing space within the gallery
is sliced by fifty-eight thousand fine strands,
(not the usual chains). Each current
makes pendant metal tags glint,

ringing each other like a wind harp,
or sun-scattered rain on the roof
of a Quonset hut. What’s
in a dog tag? Name, blood type. A small mirror.

Each is labeled. B positive,
or be excluded or dead. O for negative,
or zero. O for other. Each belief

system reduced to one of a few
graced faiths. P for protestor. C,
 for catharsis. J for jungle. An identity –
forgotten tiger, lamb, or forest fire.

11/13/2017 Yuyutsu Sharma hosted by Jim
(Need a prompt? How do you explain your position on the planet? -- you don't have to use those words.)



Yuyutsu R D Sharma has  published nine poetry collections including, A Blizzard in my Bones: New York Poems (Nirala, 2016).  He has translated Irish poet Cathal O’ Searcaigh and Hebrew poet Ronny Someck into Nepali.  Eternal SnowA Worldwide Anthology of One Hundred Twenty-Five Poetic Intersections with Himalayan Poet Yuyutsu RD Sharma is his most recent publication.  Yuyutsu’s work has been translated into German, French, Italian, Slovenian, Hebrew, Spanish and Dutch.  Yuyutsu is the Visiting Poet at Columbia University, New York and has just returned from China where he had gone to read at Beijing International Book Fair.

Mules                           by Yuyutsu Sharma

On the great Tibetan
salt route they meet me again

old forsaken friends ...

On their faces
fatigue of a drunken sleep

their lives worn out,
their legs twisted, shaking

from carrying
illustrious flags of bleeding ascents.

Age long bells clinging
to them like festering wounds

beating notes
of a slavery modernism brings:

cartons of Iceberg, mineral water bottles,
solar heaters, Chinese tiles, tin cans, carom boards

sacks of rice
and iodized salt from the plains of Nepal Terai.

Butterflies of 
the terraced fields know their names.

Singing brooks tempests
of their breathless climbs.

Traffic alert
and time-tested, they climb

carrying
dreams of posh peacocks

pamphlets
of a secret religious war

filth
of an ecologist's sterile semen

entire kitchen
for a cocktail party at the base camp

defunct development
agenda of guilty donors

the West's weird visions
lusting for an instant purge.

Stone steps
of the mountains embossed

on their drugged brains,
like lines of aborted love

scratched
on the historic rocks of waterspouts.

Starry skies
of the dozing valleys know

the ache
of their secret sweat.

Sunny days
along the crystal rivers

taste
of their bleeding eyes.

Greatest fiction
of the struggling lives lost,

like real mules
clattering their hooves on the flagstones,

in circling
the cruel grandeur

of blood thirsty
mule paths around the glaciers of Annapurnas.
11/6/2017 Charlie McCauley hosted by Jan
(Need a prompt? "Heavy upon" -- as in any use or thought of it -- you don't have to use those words.)




C O McCauley is a retired naval aviator, has fronted a rockabilly band and performed in community theater.  His songs and poetry about growing up southern, the Viet Nam War, and  Native American culture have appeared in The Tule Review, California QuarterlyThe Aurorean, Blue Unicorn, and Soundzine.  He resides in Martinez, California.
10/30/2017  Maverick Night  Epiphany, Destruction & recreation 
-- Poets bring poems. 
They are drawn out of a hat by other poets.

 As quickly as possible the receiving poet writes an alternate conclusion/epiphany within the format of the poem; endings can be one or more lines.  

The person who altered the poem then reads the poem with either the original ending or the altered ending, and then reads the other ending. 

The audience, excluding the original poet, guesses which ending was the original ending and which was the altered ending. 


Objective -- try to fool us! Is your revision accepted as the original?  hosted by Bruce

10/23/2017 Melinda Clemmons hosted by J.D
(Need a prompt? "fish cry" -- you don't have to use those words. Comes from Thoreau -- "Who hears the fishes when they cry")




Melinda Clemmons lives in Oakland. Her stories and poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Cimarron Review, Kindred, Daphne Magazine, West Trestle Review, Eclipse, 300 Days of SunCavalier, and The Monthly.  She worked for over twenty years in programs serving children and youth in foster care, and is now a freelance writer and editor in the child welfare field. She is a frequent contributor to the online child welfare and juvenile justice news site, The Chronicle of Social Change


               

Walking Out
This is how you greet a field of corn: quietly,
tilting your head to listen before stepping in between the rows,
lightly brushing against the silks as you pass.
You’ll want to head toward the center
where the corn grows tall and strong,
much taller than you, crazily taller than it looks from the road.
Even if it’s your first time standing in a cornfield,
you’ll feel at home.  Beneath you, soil; above you, sky.
Perhaps you’ve brought a grocery sack your grandfather
(back at the car, having a smoke) handed you at the edge of the field.
Twist off however much you came for, plus a few extras.
Maybe someone’s got a pot of water set to boil back at home,
a pinch of sugar, a dish of butter beginning to melt.
Take what you need. Remember to breathe deeply
because this is the best air there is. 
You can learn a lot from a field of corn so take your time.
Here’s something: the stalks in the center are the ones that thrive,
fed by pollen drifting from those around them.  Those on the edges
don’t amount to much.
Besides each other, all corn stalks need is: sun, soil, water, and time.
Now turn around carefully and walk out the way you came in,
being sure to listen as you go because they say you can hear corn grow,
and it’s true.

First published in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of Kindred from Anchor & Plume Press
10/16/2017 Alan Harris hosted by Bruce
(Need a prompt? "Man handle " -- you don't have to use those words.)




Alan Harris has been an actor and a stand-up comedian, which might explain why his "poetry" sounds like it does.  He has lived in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and would someday like to live in Cranky Corner, Louisiana.



COSMIC ORPHAN

I dreamed that I stood naked before Fred and Ethel Mertz
Who told me to stop watching so much TV
And listen more to the noise of the holiday methadone-addled poor
And see if I can catch a glimpse of a glimmer of a glint of a shard of a fragment of a sliver of
       hope
 Amidst the jostling for position of Jesus wannabes dipping their fingers in bowls of digital holy 
       water
While their collective flickering morality intermittently illuminates the compulsive saluting of
       Napoleonic beat cops who are just doing the job they were hired to do
Which apparently includes hassling the ever-multiplying numbers of cosmic orphans
Who can only stare blankly at the overrated reality of mega-mall fascism and masturbatory
       politeness
 Their ears ringing with the hipster lingo of the day-glo soccer mom
And the demands of infants to be taken off speakerphone
Their to-do lists awash in reminders to update their self-destruction
Before returning to their refrigerated apartments
Where Fred and Ethel Mertz await
Somewhere in the world

Every second of the day



10/09/2017 Britt Peter hosted by Jim
(Need a prompt? What do you pretend not to know?-- you don't have to use those words.)



     Britt Peter lives in Richmond, Ca. He has been around artists, musicians, painters and political activists most of his adult life and continues to take delight in poetry, movies, nonviolent resistance, good food and impromptu community. He and his son have put fifty poems of his on You Tube (under the handle: Britt Peter, poet). He has published in The Intransient Voice, Poetalk, Jerry Jazz Musician, The Richmond Anthology, and the Blue Collar Review.  

A Visit
Li Bai rushes to meet me
1300 years
A toppling through
Various dimensions
Entrance stage right
To greet the rising moon
Still luminous
Over the eastern hills
Published in Poetalk (2016—Summer 2017)
10/2/2017 Larry Ruth hosted by Jan
(Need a prompt? Think about the worst thing that didn't happen to you-- you don't have to use those words.)





Larry Ruth was born in Berkeley. In the third grade, in celebration of a certain winter holiday, he wrote a play about elves on strike, which was performed by his class.
He later earned several degrees at the University of California, Berkeley, taught environmental policy, and worked on campus for many years. Publications include articles on federal wildland fire policy, ecosystem sustainability, forest policy in the Sierra Nevada, and adaptive management. Research and professional interests include ecologically sensitive approaches to resource management, climate change adaptation, fire policy, and regulatory effectiveness.



Larry is a consultant in environmental and natural resources policy, and enjoys the remnants of the wild. He lives in Berkeley.
9/25/2017 Dave Holt hosted by J.D
(Need a prompt? "Outer limits" -- you don't have to use those words.)




Dave Holt, relocated to the Bay Area from Toronto, Canada, his place of birth, to follow his dream of becoming a successful songwriter. He is English/Irish and Anishinaabe/Ojibwe (Chippewa) Indian from his mother’s side and he volunteered to serve the American Indian community in California for several years. Dave graduated from S.F. State University’s Creative Writing program (M.A., 1995). He is a winner of several poetry prizes including the Thomas Merton Foundation’s Poetry of the Sacred prize and a Literary/Cultural Arts award for his book Voyages to Ancestral Islands. In 2016, he was published in Red Indian Road West, an anthology of Native American Poetry from California.



Straddling the High Beams of Anderson Bridge


Looking into the moral chasm I escaped,
drugs, drinking, and nights of cruelty,
staring down into murky water,
run, River, run past the damage done,

with you, Rob, my too easy-going friend,
eaten alive by the emptiness.
Someone had to cut your wasted body down,
devoured by the void while I escaped.

Got away by following my angels,
just as I’d done since childhood,
out of the trash-filled alleyways,
where one forgotten flower bloomed.

Partnering with someone, Rob,
loving, being loved, that’s what saved me
from the end of the rope.

I walked through this abyss with you, remember?
You dared me to cross over the unfinished bridge
across Oakville’s river, to walk the concrete beams
and steel bars, looking down between our feet
from that height to fast water below,
nothing between us and the moving current
but our nerve and our quick-beating hearts.

I’d be afraid to do it now.
Back then we were practicing courage.
I used it to break away from there,
but you, who dared me traverse
the half-completed span,
you didn’t make the crossing.



9/11/2017 Tureeda Mikell hosted by Jim
(Need a prompt? "Lower Case  " -- you don't have to use those words.)




Tureeda Mikell Aka Toreadah, Story Medicine Woman, is an award winning poet, called activist for Holism, by Native Palestinian.  South African Professor at Cal State Long Beach called her a Woman Of Truths.  Ngugi wa Thiongo renown author and professor called her the Word Magician.   Published nationally and internationally, audience member said     “ Tureeda is hell bent on asserting life!”  


Excerpts from poem

Poly Tics

Spell a word cast a spel, in the tic toc
Know the roots begin to pursue
The meaning of the lock
Know and see a lustful deed
Of a language and its plots
Begin to understand
What the language commands
In the poly tics against the tokos!!


By Tureeda aka ToReadah,                                  
9/18/2017 Lenore Weiss  hosted by Bruce
(Need a prompt? Use some English words that are not common anymore, examples "jargogles," "apricity, "monsterful," or look up some of your own -- you don't have to use those words.)





Lenore Weiss is enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts Program at San Francisco State University. Her poetry has been published in many journals including WovenTales, Midwood Press, Maple Leaf Review, Kindred, San Francisco Peace and Hope, Cactus Heart, Ghost Town, Poetica, Carbon Culture, BlinkInk, The Portland Review, La Más Tequila Review, Digital Americana, The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Nimrod International Journal, Copper Nickel, The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Feminist Studies in Religion, and Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal. Her books include Cutting Down the Last Tree on Easter Island (West End Press, 2012) and Two Places (Kelsay Books, 2014).  Her blog resides at www.lenoreweiss.com.



9/4/17 WAS: NO PE, Bay Area Poets Coalition Picnic 

http://www.bayareapoetscoalition.org/

8/21/2017 WAS: Cassandra Dallett hosted by Bruce

(Need a prompt? "Skin" -- you don't have to use that word.)



Cassandra Dallett lives in Oakland, CA. Cassandra is a two-time Pushcart nominee and Literary Death Match winner. She has been published online and in many print magazines, such as Slip Stream, Sparkle and Blink, Chiron ReviewStone Boat Review, and Great Weather For Media and reads often around the San Francisco Bay AreaA full-length book of poetry Wet Reckless was released on Manic D Press May 2014. In 2015 she authored Bad Sandy (Lucky Bastard Press), Pearl Tongue (Be About It Press), The Water Wars (Pedestrian Poets Series), On Sunday, A Finch (Nomadic Press) which was nominated for a California Book Award, and most recently Armadillo Heart (Paper Press) with MK Chavez.



8/28/2017 WAS: Georgette Howington  hosted by J.D.
(Need a prompt? "Long Hair " -- you don't have to use those words.)



Georgette Howington is a closet poet and short story writer who came out three years ago.  Her poems are published in Iodine, Sleet and Poeming Pigeons, among others.  Several poems won Honorable Mentions at the North American Women’s Music Festival and Ina Coolbrith Poetry Contest in 2016.  As a naturalist and horticulturist, her niche is Backyard Habitat and secondary-cavity nesters.  She is a County Coordinator and Assistant State Program Director for the California Bluebird Recovery Program and an activist in the conservation community in the SF Bay Area for over 30 years.  Georgette is also a published garden and environmental writer.  

If a Homing Pigeon Were My Lover

Fluffed and preened on the shelf
I could not help but notice
your bobbing head and piercing eyes
twisting and turning to see if I was
looking at you the way you looked at
me in that wanting way as if my
human form was a pigeon too.
How unlike me it would be to take
off into the sky, fly across the expanse
in circles feeling the wind, gliding on
our wings, not arguing about who did
not fold the laundry, or if I am too tired
to have sex tonight or being pressed
to spend time with family I don’t like
and living from moment to moment
dining on seed offerings from the keeper
moving aside to let him do all the
cleaning and arranging of our coop
while all you and I do is fly, eat, and
think about making baby pigeons…

**** Published in Poeming Pigeons, “Poems about Birds”, 2015
8/14/2017 WAS: Avotcja hosted by Jim
(Need a prompt? "Walk around your block " -- you don't have to use those words.)




Avotcja has been published in English & Spanish in the USA, Mexico & Europe, and in more Anthologies than she remembers. She is an award winning Poet & multi-instrumentalist who has opened for Betty Carter in New York City, Peru's Susana Baca at San Francisco’s Encuentro Popular & Cuba’s Gema y Pável, played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Bobi & Luis Cespedes, John Handy, Sonido Afro Latina, Dimensions Dance Theater, Black Poets With Attitudes, Bombarengue, Nikki Giovanni, Los Angeles' Build An Ark, Dwight Trible, Diamano Coura West African Dance Co., Terry Garthwaite, Big Black, The Bay Area Blues Society & Caribeana Etc. Shared stages with Sonia Sanchez, Piri Thomas, Janice Mirikitani, Diane DiPrima, Michael Franti, Jayne Cortez, & with Jose Montoya's Royal Chicano Air Force & is a Bay Area icon with her group Avotcja & Modúpue.  Avotcja was the opening act for the legendary Poet Pat Parker the last three years of her life. She both composed & performed the film score for the Danish documentary MuNu. Her Poetry &/or music has been recorded by Piri Thomas, Famoudou Don Moyé (of The Art Ensemble Of Chicago), Bobby Matos Latin Jazz Ensemble, & performed by The Purple Moon Dance Project, and was the 1st Poetry performed by New York's Dance Mobile. She's appeared at The Lorraine Hansberry Theater in S. F., The Asian-American Jazz Festival in Chicago, as well as The Asian-American Jazz Festival in San Francisco.  She's been featured 5 times at Afro-Solo, twice at San Francisco's Carnival, The Scottish Rite Temple & Yoshi's in Oakland & San Francisco, Jose Castellar's play "Man From San Juan", Club Le Monmartre in Copenhagen Denmark, Stanford University, at San Francisco’s Brava Theater For The Arts with Cine Acción, New York's Henry Street Settlement Theater and The Women On The Way Festival in San Francisco. Avotcja a is popular Bay Area DeeJay & Radio Personality, and the founder/Director of "The Clean Scene Theater Project (AKA) Proyecto Teatral De La Escena Sobria". She continues to teach Creative Writing, Storytelling & Drama in Public Schools & thanks to the California Arts Council she was also an Artist in Residence at the Milestones Project & San Francisco Penal System. Avotcja is a proud member of DAMO (Disability Advocates Of Minorities  Organization), PEN Oakland, California Poets In The Schools,  IWWG & is an  ASCAP recording artist.

8/7/2017 WAS: David Alpaugh hosted by Jan

(Need a prompt? "Spiral or Gyre " -- you don't have to use those words.)





David Alpaugh has been a booster of Bay Area poetry for many years as a publisher, poetry reading host, and publications director for the Ina Coolbrith Poetry Circle. He is a popular performer, noted for his with and humor and has been featured at northern California venues more than 150 times. His first collection, Counterpoint, won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry prize from Story Line Press. Journals that have published his poetry include Able Muse, American Journal of Poetry, Berkeley Poetry Review, Evergreen Review, Exquisite Corpse, Light, Mudlark, Poetry, Rattle, Runes, Spillway, Wisconsin Review, and Zyzzyva. His controversial essays on “Po-Biz” have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Poets & Writers, Rattle, and Scene4. He is one of the 50 contemporary poets included by Dana Gioia in the Heyday Press anthology California Poetry from the Gold Rush to the Present and he has been a finalist for Poet Laureate of California. He teaches literature and writing at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) and for the UCB Extension.
7/31/2017 WAS:  Maverick Night  hosted by Jan 

OPPS (Other People's PoemS)   




Bring 2 of your poems, we mix all up in a bag, grab one blind, everyone tries to guess whose it is.   Always fun.


7/24/2017 WAS: Elaine Brown    hosted by J.D
(Need a prompt? "Key" -- you don't have to use that word.)


Elaine Brown – “E Spoken”

I have been writing ever since my Mother and siblings taught me how to hold a pen. I grew up listening to the stories my Grandmother and Mother would tell me about my family and their struggles wondering how I could change things. So, history and writing became my passion. I have been writing Free Style Poetry for almost 30 years combining past and present issues that affect our daily lives; motivating people to change their mindsets.

GOING FISHING

I feel like it’s Easter Sunday
The way we have gathered here today
So Please  allow me to take you to Church
I mean I do believe that one day
Black lives will matter
But the fact of the matter
When the word Nigger
Has more status then God
Then we need to do more than just march
Concerned with all the negative
Allowing media to raise our kids
And hate has become the foundation of our lives
The truth is the farthest thing from our minds
We’re so quick to defend the lies
And our future is hooked on these lines
That we have cast out!

So I’m Going Fishing!

7/17/2017 WAS:  Rose Mark hosted by Bruce 

(Need a prompt? Explore how the sunset farts -- you don't have to use those words.)




Rose Mark’s curiosity has led her into many worlds.  Food, travel, behavioral shaping, interior design and erotica are just some of topics she has explored in her writing. In her book “Tasting Life”, published by Redhead Press, readers can enter into her love life with food through stories, poems and recipes. Her poems have been included in “Oakland Neighborhoods” and “Dirty Old Women”. Her latest book, “Interior Design for Small Dwellings” published by Routledge is slated to be on the shelf in 2018.  



7/10/2017 Was: Nadine Lockhart   hosted by Jim

(Need a prompt? "Steep Drive " -- you don't have to use those words.)


Nadine Lockhart received her MA and MFA from Arizona State University. She is currently working toward her PhD; for which she received the Lattie and Elva Coor Fellowship for Building Communities toward her research on the ability of poetry to transform into continued relevancy through hybridity and cultural relativism. This is serious stuff. Lockhart is an editorial assistant for Poetry Flash, a Berkeley-based literary review and calendar.

Self-Portrait with Shakespeare

 When you come for me I’m at the bottom
of a steep drive that I will climb each day
for the next year. And I’m mouthing your name
because I can’t hold it. You don’t want me
to hold it, don’t know it’s somewhere inside
like a pattern, a template from which you
rise—your voice, you love to hear how your sound
cuts across the air, pushes all other
conversation from the room, bench-presses
my world, throws it over the balcony
where I stand in heels tossing rotten food
onto treetops while reciting Shakespeare’s
better lines, “He who steals my purse, steals trash.”


                                                --Nadine Lockhart


7/3/2017 WAS: Connie Post  hosted by Jan
(Need a prompt? "Cold Mountain" -- you don't have to use those words.)



Connie Post served as Poet Laureate of Livermore, California  (2005 to 2009). Her work has appeared dozens of journals, including  Calyx, Comstock Review,Cold Mountain Review  Slipstream,Spillway Spoon River Poetry Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review and Verse Daily. She has written seven books of poetry.   Her first full length Book “Floodwater” (Glass Lyre Press 2014) won the Lyrebird Award.  Her other awards include the Caesura Award and the 2016 Crab Creek Review Poetry Award.


6/26/2017 WAS: Johanna Ely hosted by  hosted by J. D. 
(Need a prompt? "The Lower" -- you don't have to use those words.)



Johanna Ely is a retired teacher who has been published in several anthologies and online journals including, 



After the Storm

Sunlight,
wind,
children’s voices
in the alley.
Everything outside is
sharp and clear again,
a new lens with which to
look through and view
the silent green mountain
as close as my hand.
All the swollen grey clouds
blown off the surface of sky,
the wind’s breath really
a giant sigh of relief
to see blue again,
the promise that nothing
lasts forever-
not the rain,
not sorrow.


Johanna Ely



6/19/2017  WAS: Jeanne Lupton hosted by Bruce
(Need a prompt? Write Tanka)


JeannieLupton.jpg








6/12/2017 WAS: Penelope Thompson hosted by Jim
(Need a prompt? "Barrel " -- you don't have to use that word.)


Penelope Barnes Thompson hails from New York  by way of  a 39 year stint in Los Angeles and has recently relocated to Oakland. She is a retired clinical psychologist, now a Buddhist chaplain . She has published a book of poetry, Deconstructing the Nest and Other Poems and is finishing a manuscript for her second book. Her poems have been published in several journals and she has been a featured poet in Tiger's Eye Journal. One of her favorite activities is learning new words and checking our their origins. She is known to have been lost for days.


If I Waited
               For Ariadne

So many times I have opened this door
to kiss her sleep sweet cheek
and pull her reluctant from the dream wet place.
Perhaps I should have let her rest in this inner world
a longer while,
until she had garnered all she needed
from the soil of sleep,
so when she woke at last,
she could bring with her the gathered fruits
from the garden of herself.



Penelope Thompson

6/5/2017 WAS: Jan Steckel   hosted by Jan
(Need a prompt? Use a license plate or bumper sticker on a car to start your thoughs -- you don't have to use those words.)




Why They Got Deported

Because he had a tattoo of a heart
with the name of his birthplace in Mexico.
Because she used a Social Security number
she had made up. Because he had one DUI
ten years ago. Because she overstayed
her visa when she was seven. Because
he didn’t sound like he’d been born in Lansing.
Because it took her an extra three months to save
the $495 to renew her work permit.
Because 20 years ago he bought a car
that had expired registration. Because she gave
a hand job to an undercover cop. Because she
took food stamps to feed her three kids
while she worked cleaning hotel rooms.
Because he had a joint on him twelve years ago.
Because fire is hungry and famine
walks the land. Because the night is dark
and full of terrors. Because we don’t want
you to play with us. Because it’s ours. 
Because we can.

Jan Steckel

First appeared in Poets Reading the News (poetsreadingthenews.com)




5/22/2017 Jeremy Cantor   
 hosted by J. D. 
(Need a prompt? Read Jeremy's poem below and riff on it..)




Jeremy Cantor began writing shortly before retiring from a career in laboratory chemistry.  He has made and tested engine oil additives, detergents and pharmaceuticals, driven a forklift, worked in a full-body acid-proof hazmat suit, tried to keep his fingers working in a walk-in freezer at -40°F and worked behind radiation shielding. He prefers writing.

His debut collection, Wisteria From Seed, with a foreword by former Boston Globe Arts/Classical Music correspondent Michael Manning, was published in 2015 by Kelsey Books.  He is currently working on his second volume of poetry.

Jeremy's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in ISLE (Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment, published in conjunction with Oxford University Press), The Naugatuck River Review, Glassworks, The Bicycle Review, Pirene's Fountain, Poetalk, and other journals. His poem "The Nietzsche Contrapositive," was awarded first prize in the Grey Sparrow Journal's 2014 Poetry and Flash Competition and appeared in Grey Sparrow's annual, Snow Jewel.   He was a semi-finalist in the competition for the 2016 Dartmouth Poet in Residence at The Frost Place in Franconia, New Hampshire.

​Wisteria from Seed

"Almost no one grows wisteria from seed,"
I told my sons.
"This one has a healthy set of leaves
so it ought to flower
in about ten years."

I'm sixty now.

A botany professor showed our class
a bamboo plant.  He said,
"This flowers every forty years.
I won't be here to finish the experiments
I might start now.
If any of you are planning graduate studies,
please see me after class.
I've got some ideas I'd like to try."

I never thought myself a man of faith
yet I grow wisteria from seed
while others study bamboo,
plant vineyards,
grow olives,
raise children.

© 2013 by Jeremy Cantor

All rights reserved



5/15/2017 Joyce E. Young hosted by Jim
(Need a prompt? Convey a meaning without saying it; use imagry instead -- you don't have to use those words.)



Joyce E. Young currently lives and writes in Berkeley, California. She has read at venues as diverse as The M.H. de Young Museum, Intersection for the Arts, La Peña Cultural Center, Art & Soul Oakland, and Smith College, just to name a few. She has taught with California Poets in the Schools, The Museum of Children’s Art, The Oakland Museum of California, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Youth Speaks. She was also an English teacher for the Mills College Upward Bound Program for 3 years. She is the founder and facilitator of Write in Peace. She has received grants from the California Arts Council and the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation. She was awarded a Writers on Site residency through Poets & Writers, Inc. and has also been awarded writing residencies at Hedgebrook, Soapstone and Vermont Studio Center. Her work has most recently appeared in riverbabble, New Voices of the American West, and Temba Tupu! (Walking Naked): The Africana Woman’s Self-Portrait. She works privately as a writing consultant and with student writers at John F. Kennedy University. She is currently writing Parallel Journey, a novel, essays and poetry with her muse, President Cindy.

President Cindy’s Counter-offer 2017 (Excerpt)

Why worry my spleen, my mad?
I deserve a better gig
than holding these cinders

Fire has a purpose, but
not one I am always
able to understand.

I love to hold a torch,
which is not the same
as carrying a torch.

My mind swirls orange, red,
yellow, flame-like.
30 mph winds sweep through.

Fire’s wake requires tearing down
or rebuilding. Your choice.
I’ll wait; hold a cup of water.

Drink it slowly as you consider
my offer. Your hair is gray,
You don’t have much time.

Let me help you.




5/8/2017 WAS: Juan Sequeira & Son Juan Carlos Sequeira 
hosted by Jim

(Need a prompt? "Over Troubled Waters" -- you don't have to use those words.)




Juan R. Sequeira M.D. was born in Nicaragua. He was raised in the Mission District of San Francisco. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of San Francisco and obtained a Medical degree from the University of California at San Francisco. He is a practicing Physician. He has a lifelong interest in poetry. His work  appeared in Alive, Black Bear Review, Blue Unicorn,

California Poets, Carquinez Poetry, Mobius, Poet Talk, San Fernando Poetry, ZYZZYVA among others. Two collections, Marimba Dreams 1999, and Jaguar Footsteps 2006. 2017 1st place BAPC contest 2nd place Poets Dinner.


A Memory

My mother worked
behind a splintered counter
under the volcano breath
of the gold brushed sun

her thorn pierced hands
poured water into glasses
shaved melting ice blocks
served tropic fruit drinks
to sweat painted shoppers

lullaby nights by candlelight
raised me from crib playground
to the spring nest of her arms
kissed the leaves of my feet and

rocked me to the rosebud of sleep
  Juan Carlos Sequeira is a 13 year old boy who has been writing poetry for 3 years. He is a resident of Pleasant Hill and attends Christ the King Catholic School where he currently stands as a 7th grade student. He has been influenced to write poetry by his father and has been taught by him ever since he heard his first poem. He says he goes outside, inhales, and feels the breeze enter and escape his lungs. After that, he sits down, and looks around for a few minutes to absorb and observe the world’s beauty. Then will he be able to write poetry to express the world and his great love for it. Poetry has always seemed simple for him, as long as he is exposed to the great outdoors, in the presence of God’s creation.  


My Night Light


Your light dances around my shelter room

my heart feels protected under your cotton shade

happiness fills me as I look up

to glistening mirrors shining on my star

your metallic structured light

spilling on my barrier windows

I look to see the moon past my shudders 



and I realize it is safe to close my eyes 


5/1/2017 WAS:  Selene Steese hosted by Jan
(Need a prompt? "My Last Ten Passwords" -- you don't have to use those words.)


Selene Steese started writing poetry from the moment she learned to write. The first piece she penned was a short poem containing the line "Sorry sir, sorry sir." To this day she listens for the music of alliteration and onomatopoeia whenever she embarks on a journey across a blank page. She invites you to listen for the music in the words.

4/24/2017 WAS: REMEMBERING LARRY CHRISPYN hosted by J. D. 

Larry Chrispyn passed away Feb 19, 2017 We will salute the Poet and honor his memory with readings from his works.  Dedicate a poem, share a memory, tell a Larry story, say farewell.... Remember Larry Chrispyn.


I started writing poetry in graduate school, the same hour that I started Zen meditation. I am fanatic about fitness and have been exercising daily for over 31 years. I have studied the healing uses of herbs for 43 years and taught private classes in Maui and San Diego.
Two of my poems were translated into Ukrainian and twice into Russian. This is not a big deal as it might sound. 

I taught Humanistic and Existential Psychology at a university in New Jersey for two years. I am very happy to have taken early retirement from the  US Post Service where I worked with computers and as a General Expediter.  Now I am a full time poet.
My themes include: humor, animals, my dad, growing up in Indiana, nature, runners, infatuations and lost love. 
I have traveled:  four continents, 31 countries, 49 states and crossed the USA 61 times.  


Christina Hutchins is my mentor and she has influenced my poetry more than any poet, living or dead.


This poem was translated into Ukrainian, and into Russian twice.  The first translation was part of a University project in Ukraine.





   Your  Mona  Lisa  Smile 

I have seen the Mona Lisa hanging in the Louvre
I have viewed the Sistine chapel and EPrado too
and I know for certain 
no work of art compares
to the work   of art    of  God
to the loveliness       of  you

Larry  A  Chrispyn


4/17/2017 Was: Tom Odegard hosted by Jan
(Need a prompt? "On an Island"  -- you don't have to use those words.) 

Tom Odegard (aka Tom/Ms.G) arrived in the Bay Area from Portland when he was eight, in 1948.  When he was 12 he set about writing a science book but soon discovered that he only knew enough to write the introduction at

which point he switched to poetry.  Since then he’s lived in many places in multiple states of mind, and written too many pages of words some of which he’s read at venues around the Bay or put into chapbooks.  He’s published two books: Friends Well Met – a collection of poems - and Past Lives Led – a poetic memoir both from Beatitude Press in Berkeley. He shuttles back and forth between Friday Harbor Washington and Oakland spending four months in California where he reads and writes and polishes his nest eggs. His poems have been published in a number of collections including, Spasso’s, Sacred Grounds, and Living in the Land of the Dead a production of Faithful Fools. In 2005 he discovered he was intersex and came out as a “Two Spirit”, Tom/Ms.G. He takes great delight in sharing his double gendered points of view with anyone who’ll listen.  Mark States favorably compared his poetry to e.e. cummings, to which accolade he remarked, “Yikes!”


“nothing but a deck of cards, you’re”

We were just 21 in a casino in Tahoe
knew everything and nothing as one does.
Long, long time later, truncated journals
would abbreviate echoes of the known world
city strife, foreign interventions, fanatic idealism
boiled down to twitter feed and sound bites;
but right there, at the black jack table,
in 1961 a drunk playing keno taught us how
to play if not win at black jack. He said,
“you gotta be drunk enough not to care”
at which point he won another keno jackpot
and opined, “See what I mean?”

Indigenous

We were all indigenous in Africa way back when
and the next chapter took us on long walk abouts
as drought set in

and we spread out and spread out and the meats
were sweet like lamb and we filled up the land
with bones we wouldn’t see again.

We were few on the ground,  particular as well,
claimed some territory ours, and sent visitors to hell,
cause now we were indigenous.

The land was ours; we spread out, we spread out,
ran buffalo over cliffs, counted coup on walk abouts,
bones to the brim, yes,yes, bones to the rim…

The land was ours ‘til strangers came on horseback
the Aryan horde, the Spaniard horde, on horseback
on sailing ships, again, again, again and again…

for land, slaves, treasure, and proof of might, proof of right
a place to waste, a place to destroy, keeping inflation down,
turning the middle into the poor while the wealth rode up.

Now the winds increase, oceans rise, tornados blast,
earth quakes,  bones pile up, the hunting is done
the fish are gone… ‘cause now we are indigenous
everywhere indigenous...

4/10/2017 WAS: Victor James Smith hosted by Jim


Victor Smith is [a poet and artist] newly transplanted to Oakland. [He] spent the past several years living amid sagebrush and dust devils. [His] work [is seeming] to reproduce that elemental sparseness and turbulence. [He] invites [you] to see what [you] think.

POEM (No title, call it AN INTERIOR DESERT if you want to)
An interior desert, a desert inside, the land, the border, an alien, a wind blowing in dust storm, blowing in cold, absent, no, presence of mind, mind on fire, no, mind empty blowing in dust storm, absorbent sieve adsorbent sorbet a mouthful of sand coarse grit grief anger in dessert. A huge sky cerebral, an open land trying to understand dormant cactus waking into bloom a wind overturning your soft shape inspiring travel setting down to take new root to grow anew to seed again to birth to decay to become elemental maybe rock maybe air space maybe me or you or the space between.



4/3/2017 WAS Founders Night – Mark States returned to feature!  Chris Chandler Co-featured.  Please contribute to his airfare with a donation during any of our sessions.  This session was held at Monkey House so as to accommodate more people1638 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94703



3/27/2017  WAS: All Poets published in January 2017 PoetryExpressed.com  Magazine read as co-features. hosted by J.D.
(Need a prompt? "There May Not Be Time" -- you don't have to use those words.)

3/20/17 Leila Rae  hosted by Bruce
(Need a prompt? "Hot Water"  -- you don't have to use those words.)

Leila Rae is the editor/publisher at Pandemonium Press, located in Berkeley, CA. She edits and publishes three (3) online journals: riverbabble, Doorknobs & BodyPaint , and Day w/o Art . She also publish poetry small editions of monographs, chapbooks, and anthologies.  Forthcoming this summer Lulu & Ramón, her latest poetry collection.  Leila received her MA in English and Creative Writing from CSUEB. She has lived in Berkeley, CA since 1956.




3/13/2017 WAS: G. Macias Gusman hosted by Jim
(Need a prompt?"Spandex"  -- you don't have to use that exact word.)



G. Macias Gusman is a factory dog, a backhoe for the sun, a champion for splinters and blisters looking for homes on working hands: A Poet growing organically. G. Macias belongs to Davenport Iowa but as given his soul over to Oakland Ca. G Macias Gusman has been a feature reader at Bay Area Generations, Get Lit, Passages on the Lake, Saturday Night Special an east bay open mic, Write from the Gut, and read in the first leg of 2016 Beast Crawl Lit Festival (let’s be truthful if there’s an open mic you’ll find G. Macias) and has been publish in The Borfski Press Magazine, Red Fez, BayAreaGenerations. 

Cost of living 
The last thing I got me was an Aqualung before I quit my day job. 
It only cost 23 hours under the sun at a landscapers pay rate. The 
screen that’s holding in my atmosphere last 3 days before a red 
dwarf star tittering on super nova implodes in my right writing 
hand, burning bigger holes completely through it. I use a left palm 
readers’ influence every other odd day turning into S, but like a 
leap year birthday I rarely break even. Reminiscent of a hole in the 
heart, screens don't burn evenly; they will smolder away entirely; 
eventually. A brass screen is a necessary obsidian evil like sea 
green cash and, existing ain’t cheap when you’re not cheapening 
your existence. I wish things we needed came for free but the stuff 
that's free, costs a great living; still, I sold my soul to the words on 
credit. You see I like being broke but unbroken, untethered and 
free to roam around like a good life recorder should; record-play                           
are we rolling?                                                                                                
Life yielded a pink slip, hand-job, a little bit of dough, and told me 
good luck out there. We parted ways on friendly terms. We’re both 
wild cards unable to work together. Sometimes though I hate to 
admit, I miss that 12.50 an hour my bad back and simple sweat 
brought in when “A Living” sends the red wolf to the black door 
and I don’t have that umber rake or tuscan sun shovel to save me 
no more as I try to write these poems to the cost of life.  


3/6/2017 WAS:  Rose Black    hosted by Jan
(Need a prompt? "Drink Coupon"  -- you don't have to use those words.)

Rose Black lives and works by the railroad tracks in East Oakland. With their mountain dogs, 
Basho and Dante, she and her husband operate Renaissance Stone, a studio and supply source 
for stone sculptors. Rose's poetry has been widely published, and she is the author of three books,
Clearing, Winter Light, and Green Field. Her first two books, Clearing and Winter 
Light, are included in Yale's Beinecke Library for the Yale Collection of American Literature.

Rose currently teaches poetry at Salinas Valley State Prison. Her extensive article about the poetry
workshop there, nominated for a Pushcart Prize, is featured in Red Wheelbarrow, 2015, literary

magazine.



Silver Spring             

When the rains come in early spring, water seeps up through the basement floor, murky and foul. It creeps into corners, flows under the washing machine, under the old gas stove, across the mud sill into the plant room, and under the crooked door that leads outside.

The old woman hobbles down to the basement with a long-handled mop. She mops the floor, wrings the water into buckets, then pours it all down the cast iron sink.

She cannot keep up. Soon the water is to her ankles. Outside,  the water swells into little rivers. At its lowest point, the yard itself begins to fill, and a pond appears, then slowly spreads across the grass.

Underneath it all, the silver spring, for which her neighborhood is named, will continue to wind its way under everyone's floors and basements, rising and falling like the breath of the earth and its oceans.

Her neighbors try to divert the unwanted water this way and that, away from themselves. The old woman rests her mop against the wall, opens her arms, says, Come. 
                                                                                 Rose Black 


2/27/17 WAS:  Camille Miller   hosted by J.D.
(Need a prompt? Look at Camille's poem and riff off it)


Camille Miller is a poet who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has been active in the open mic scene for three years.  Her favorite poets are Maya Angelo and Langston Hughes. She enjoys entertaining a crowd with lyrical and thought provoking verse .  She is an active part of the Valona Poetry community in Crockett.
                                                                          I lost my toenail
                                                                        Running a marathon
But it was worth it
'Cause it will grow back
But I lost my youth
Worrying about the future
And that is part of my life
I'll never see again
(Except in my memories)
So attack each day 
With a sense of passion
'Cause age will come
And it will crash in
So keep on living
Until you die
And try
Not to lose a toenail.

2/20/2017 WAS: Hollie Hardy hosted by Bruce
(Need a prompt? Look at Hollie's poem and riff off it)


Hollie Hardy is the author of How to Take a Bullet, And Other Survival Poems (Punk Hostage Press, 2014), winner of the 2016 Annual Poetry Center Book Award. She teaches writing classes at the SF Creative Writing Institute, SFSU, and Berkeley City College. She hosts Saturday Night Special, An East Bay Open Mic, curates Litquake’s Flight of Poets, and is a founder and core producer of Oakland’s Beast Crawl Literary Festival. Her website is www.holliehardy.com

HOW TO FEND OFF A SHARK

Wet fists in your eyes. The thump of undrumming
A figure in your peripheral vision

Here is the rind of night. Facing off on a rock of ice
Nightgown whipping, ragged around your thighs

Because silence is an expression of fear
Unwave that flag, unsmoke that cigarette
Unfuck that friend
These desperate little fistfuls of defiance

This jazz song does not belong to you
Warm, the sensation of sleep. Threadbare
The quality of wishing

Because police are at the door again
This wrecking ball in your bedroom
This fresh fountain of silver in your hair

Blue, the function of smoke. Rumpled
The flavor of resistance

There are things that vanish unexpectedly
The stone talisman you carried for luck
Photographs burned in a fire
Bewildered, the pillow of regret

Because our experiences overlap. Bodies at rest
Hoarding dreams like stolen rainwater

HOW TO SURVIVE IF YOU ARE BURIED ALIVE

Sit down by the window’s heartbeat

to listen for rain

fingertips brush the body as Braille

seeking cracks in the façade

or an egress

from this book of wind

breath recurs often

brazen as the north star

a test of endurance

through layers of weather

how many stones are required

to collapse a lung



or a desire


2/13/2017  WAS:  Richard Loranger  hosted by Jim
(Need a prompt? Try "Fresh Out Of Luck"  -- you don't have to use those words.) 


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 www.richardloranger.com.


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.

2/6/2017 WAS: Deborah Lee Fruchey  hosted by Jan
(Need a prompt? Look at Deborah's bio and riff off it)
PHOTO BY RONNA LEON

Deborah Fruchey was born. It wasn't her idea. After that she spent too much time in churches, mental hospitals, and 12 Step Groups, in that order. Finally she graduated to poetry readings, where she lurks to this day. She also writes books once in a while, and one of them even won an award, but let's not mention that. Deborah is hiding out in suburbia, but she only hangs out with writers and musicians, so any hopes of reform are obviously misguided. She studies Shamanism, and daydreams of a cult following and a flat stomach, but is considered unarmed and mostly harmless.
1/30/2017 WAS:   Leah Steinberg hosted by Jan



Leah Steinberg has been writing poetry for decades and recently published a non-fiction book, Raised in the Shadow of the Bomb: Children of the Manhattan Project.  She is the daughter and niece of scientists that worked at the University of Chicago Metallurgical (Met) Lab a branch of the Manhattan Project during WWII, the secret project that researched and developed the first atomic weapons.  The book is part memoir, interviews, history, with some poetry as well.  She will read from her new book.  Leah is a published poet, a nature photographer, and music lover.





1/23/2017 WAS: Lori Lynne Armstrong hosted by J.D. 
(Need a prompt? Look at Lori's poem and riff off it)



Lori Lynne Armstrong has been a scientist, a counselor, a drug addict, a singer, a home teacher, and a mental patient. Her passions include promoting integrative treatment options for the dual diagnosis community. She began writing Not This Song, a blog on the subject, to reach out and encourage others. A few years ago, an important essay got stuck in her throat and would not budge until she coughed it out in the form of the first poem she’d written in twenty years. There was no going back. Her thoughts on poetry and creativity can be found at her writing site, Not My Last Words.

The Mirror
                           
I was not born naked
It took long years to know
I was not born naked
I was clothed within the womb

Clothed in expectation
Adorned with brute conception
Afloat in some past toxin
I was supposed to bear

Now my mirror shows 
The beaded fear designs
Stitched into my skin
By some experienced hand


Now my mirror shows
My cheeks are smeared with red
Red tribal paint with meanings
I must break rules to see.


1/16/2017 WAS: MK Chavez hosted by Bruce






MK Chavez is the author of several chapbooks, including Mothermorphosis, her full-length collection, Dear Animal, will be released by Nomadic Press in October 2016. Her writing has been published in many online and print journals. Her most recent publications can be found in Story Magazine, Jam Tarts Literary Journal and Rivet. Chavez is co-founder of the reading series Lyrics & Dirges, and co-director of the Berkeley Poetry Festival, and recipient of a 2016 Alameda County Arts Leadership Award.
12/26 Holiday, No meeting. H A P P Y    H O L I D A Y S !

1/2/2017 No meeting    H A P P Y    H O L I D A Y S !

1/9/2017  WAS: Sharon Elliot hosted by Jim


Sharon Elliott has been a poet activist over several decades in national and international social justice concerns, especially the rights of women and girls.  Her activism began in the anti-war and civil rights movements in the 1960s and 70s, and she spent four years working with women and teenage girls in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua and Ecuador, especially in multicultural women’s issues.  She is a Moderator of Poets Responding to SB1070, and has featured in poetry readings in the San Francisco Bay area. Her work has been published in several anthologies and her poem “Border Crossing” appears in the anthology entitled Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice, Francisco X. Alarcón and Odilia Galván Rodriguez, eds.  She has read it in Los Angeles at AWP and La Pachanga 2016 book launch, in San Francisco and at the Féis Seattle Céiliedh in Port Townsend, WA.  Her chapbook, Jaguar Unfinished, was published by Prickly Pear Press, 2012.  She was an awardee of Best Poem of 2012 by La Bloga, for The Day of Little Comfort.  She loves to mentor young poets and assist them in spreading their creative wings.  She is studying indigenous traditions of Scotland and Norway and is searching for the home of her heart with the guidance of her ancestors.  She is fluent in Spanish and is learning her traditional language of Scots Gaelic.  A true child of the north, she loves cats, stormy blustery days by the sea, and blueberries.

she wears
her morning coffee
like

a tea stained dress

warm

audacious

chimera

fond of peaches

and dark chocolate


Copyright © 2016 Sharon Elliott. All Rights Reserved.