Featured Reader, July 2016

We have much to thank Barbara Saxton for. A wonderful poet (one time featured reader here at Willow Glen!), she brought us, all the way from Texas, our July featured reader, Loretta Diane Walker.  She introduced her with these words:

Like most of you, I love poetry, and while I try to give everything a chance, there are poets who affect me more than others — touch me deeply, made me understand things I didn’t know (or appreciate) before, help me go forward in the complex challenge of life. For me, Loretta Diane Walker has always been such a poet.

I’ve been Loretta’s friend and an enthusiastic admirer of her amazing body of work for quite some time; I was beyond honored when she asked me to write a jacket “blurb” for her second full book of poetry, In This House:

Loretta’s emails always close with the postscript “Life is a poem waiting to be written.” And, oh, what a life hers has been! Providing many generations of young children with the music education (and love) they crave and deserve, creating and sharing her own amazing poetry, standing up against injustice and prejudice, as well as supporting her family, friends, and even herself through bad times and health challenges! In her own words, Loretta dares not “run from love, power, time or magic.”

Loretta has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize, has published two full length poetry collections (which are available for purchase after this reading!), and her poetry has appeared in many, many anthologies and journals (including HER TEXAS, which featured 60 Texas women poets.) Loretta (for IN THIS HOUSE) is also this year’s winner of the prestigious Wheatley Award for poetry by African-American authors.

A few more accolades: “Loretta Diane Walker writes with compassionate wisdom and insight. Her poems restore humanity.” –Naomi Shihab Nye

“(Loretta’s) talent as a musician infuses her lines with a haunting musicality which compliments her mastery of image and diction. Walker’s poems glow on the page like candles in the darkness.”   —Larry D. Thomas, 2008 Texas Poet Laureate

By all means, let’s stop listening to me and allow Loretta’s poetic candles set this room alight for us. It gives me such pleasure to introduce my friend and fellow poet from Odessa, Texas–Loretta Diane Walker!


Open-Mic Readers, July 2016

A transcendent mid-summer night of poetry.

Deborah LeFalle “Revisioning 71”
Karen Franzenburg “We Will Remember”
Joel Katz Translation of Ingmar Heytze’s “So long as you don’t write hymns of praise”
Lesa Medley “Driftwood”
Janet Trenchard “Smoke”
Dennis Noren “There are not two sides to every story”
Diane Moomey “Expecting Poetry”
Vicki L. Harvey “Heart Song”
Amy Meier “Living without Fear in the USA”
Dave Eisbach “Obituaries”
Jeffrey Leonard “Thank you for your service”
Renée Schell “Spelling Inventory”
Nick Butterfield “Sure Advice”
Pushpa MacFarlane “Not of a Feather”
Erin Redfern “What Makes Some Small Thoughts Stick”
Mike McGee “Dear Neil Armstrong”
Dana Grover “Pantoum”
Bill Cozzini “Blooming”
Larry Hollist “Electroechocardiogram”
Sathvik Nair “Go Bears!”
Barbara Saxton “Fossil Heart”
Joan Marx “Old Ladies”
Dennis Richardson “Of Grandparents”
Jessica Sauceda “Paradise”
Jerry Dyer “On Watching Arthur Rhodes dust off the Tigers, August 9, 1993”
Jim Russo “My Day”

If you see errors above in the names of the poets or poems, please write to us at willowglenpoetry@gmail.com with the corrected information.

Revisioning 71

— Deborah LeFalle

Rejoice with me while I am still alive
Let there be merriment beyond the end
Announce to friend and foe that I do thrive
Delighting in the good that bright days send
And as you read my written words do this
Of me think dearly as I think of you
Let fleeting thoughts of me bring you sheer bliss
And celebrate our bond we know is true.
Recite this verse as oft you open doors
Fain come and dance and sing with me a while
Call out my name and I will echo yours
Then show me love through your enchanting smile
Invite the world inside your caring heart
So they can too rejoice ‘fore I depart.


—Lesa Medley

Years ago
while walking the beach
on the Oregon Coast,
Mom spotted a
large, gnarled
piece of driftwood
she just had to have.
Dad drug that driftwood
for 3 miles down the beach
back to our car
so that it could become
the centerpiece of our
front lawn landscaping.
Fast forward
some forty plus years
to a pleasant,
sunny Monday afternoon,
late August;
my sisters, my Dad,
and I,
parked across from the old house
on Wright Street
in The Dalles.
That same piece of driftwood,
weathered with age…
but still in place.
We began to plan a covert
night time mission
to take it back,
but couldn’t agree
on who should keep it.
In the end, we left it there…
and went to Big Jim’s
for ice cream. ~

Expecting Poetry: a pantoum

— Diane L. Moomey


“New bones for old”, they’d cried aloud—
I’d sleep with knives and staples,
the shaman of titanium—
I’d sleep and dream of verse.


The knives and staples; then the days
I’d fill with paint and paper,
with brush and sleep and dreams of verse,
of sonnet and pantoum.

The hours of paint and paper; days
of water, paper—white.
Of meter:  sonnet and pantoum;
vermilions and umbers.


every page still paper-white
while paragraphs are parsed
(no umbers or vermilions,)
parsed within the femur.

Whole paragraphs are parsed within:
(the knitting of new sinew,
scansion deep within the femur,
purling of new bones.)

The knitting of new sinew. Dactyls
hover out of reach.
The purling of new bones, instead
of metric feet. My pentams

hover out of reach. I sleep
and do not dream of verse
nor of re-growing metric feet
but only of ice cream.

I cannot rhyme, and do not dream
of anything except ice cream.

Heart Song

— Vicki L. Harvey

            The most powerful possession you can own is an open heart.
             The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.
–Carlos Santana

Your words took my hand
And led me to pen and paper.
You spoke of all the
Journeys of your heart.

My heart has also climbed
Many mountains and
Knows of the struggles
Which linger.

You have reminded me
Of the art of letting go,
Reminded me of the state
Of my soul.

I think we heal tired
Hearts, sending sunshine
To all the dark places.

Feel the heat, feel the beat
Of a once again happy heart.


Obituaries I

— Dave Eisbach

As the crescendo of years
piling upon each other mounts,
my anticipated appetite
for obituaries has grown.
Those listed, younger than I
plus those of my age bring
a relieved schadenfreude
along with an almost gleeful
“Thank God it’s not me!”
Age eighty-four stands out,
giving me pause.
Mother, who didn’t take care,
died at eighty-seven; her sister,
who did, reached a hundred five.
I hope to share those genes.
My care lies comfortably between.
Now, I’m beginning to think “yoga.”


Sure Advice

— Nick Butterfield

If you ride a motorcycle,
smile so as not to swallow bugs
Don’t listen to Valedictorians or
the successful.  Listen to whom asks you to
love the unwanted, the unloved, the unseen,
the unsure, the undone, and the underdog.

Always look forward to something and call someone
you forgot to write and if you never
ride a camel or an elephant then ride a bike with a
friend.  Eat the core of an apple so as to appreciate the
sweet things.

Remember to respect what you don’t see, because someday
you will see it–someone smiling at you–someone in the mirror
with squished bugs on teeth.



— Lawrence T Hollist

Lying half naked on my bed
Wishing I was a Greek Adonis;
Then I wouldn’t be lying here
With the girl from the steno pool
Taking notes of my heart.

The heart that no longer beats smoothly

The heart that no longer beats as one.
But a heart that sounds like it is pumping slugs.

So here is your first crush.
Here is where your parents
Taught you to love.
Here is where first met your son
Here is your wedding day.
Here is your love for your wife today.

Ah here, here is the problem
You don’t let go of the hurt
You don’t forgive.

Fossil Heart

— Barbara Saxton

for Angel

We take hands, move to music
both ancient and new. In the crowd,
many friends, some just known
by the feel of their hands–
smooth as baby bird heads
or calloused as deer hooves;
warm as fresh applesauce,
cold as night stars.

Social media told me that Angel
had died, and I tried to remember:
what did her hands feel like?
Had I hugged her that last time,
or rushed to my car, saying nothing at all?

My heart is a fossil, with imprints
of lovers or friends who once graced
its clay surface. I join in life’s dance,
but my hands sometimes grasp empty air.
My mind reads sheet music with dissonant notes,
and my feet mimic pieces of stone.


On Watching Arthur Rhodes Dust Off the Tigers, August 9th, 1993

— Jerry Dyer

the million motions
honed to a stylus,
the pitcher’s stencil–

the head nodding
like a car-dashboard bobble-dummy,
holding the runner on second–

owling the head homeward,
hurling with a snap of sinew and bone,
the whole game contained,
concentrated in the tips
of the fingers–
and the instant of release,
the ball like a seed
pumped into the center
of attentiveness
and rapt receptivity.

And all of it done
over and over and
over again, the loom of evening
weaving win or loss.

And the baseball moon
lofts inexorably
over the bullpen,
into the left field of heaven.


Officer Joe (My Day)

— Jim Russo

Let me tell you about my day

I usually walk for about two hours each day to get away from my computer

Today I decided to walk in the forest

I decided to take some new trails and yes I got lost

So four and a half hours later I was back at my car and boy do my feet hurt

I wanted to find the old growth redwoods in the forest

Wide trails became narrow trails used by horses but I did find five old growth redwood trees

All I could say when taking in their majesty was Magnifico, Magnifico, Magnifico

Something the early Spaniards might have said when first seeing these giant trees

The tops were way above the canopy showing new yellow green growth from our wet winter

The forest floor is covered with ferns, thick with green healthy ferns

I took a few new growth leaves from the base of the redwood

I crushed them in my fingers, putting my fingers under my nose, closing my eyes listening to the silence, the quiet, trying to put out of my mind the bad news of the last few weeks, the killings, being still only hearing the satin waters rolling and falling over smooth rocks far below

Smelling the redwoods vanes, the new life with eyes closed I remembered a friend I use to read with in San Francisco, a poet named Carlos Ramirez

One night when it was his turn to read, he said instead of reading a poem, he wanted to tell us about his day

Carlos was a teacher of young people and that day he was assigned playground supervisor, which he wasn’t particularly happy about

He noticed an older man hanging out in the school yard, so he went over to introduce himself

It turned out the old man was a retired SFPD, Officer Joe a man who never had a family, a man who was the beat-cop for thirty-five years in that neighborhood

He knew all the kids, their parents, their grandparents and all the merchants; he had walked those neighborhood streets and lived in the neighborhood for years

He was telling Carlos that he had bought and donated all the athletic equipment the kids were playing with in the playground and he came every afternoon to show the kids how to shoot a hook shot or how to play tetherball or pushed the little girls on the swings

Carlos was tearing up as he told this story reminding us of the good policemen in our lives, Officer Joe

While standing there in the forest listening to the silence, smelling those young redwood leaves

A thought occurred to me, which I want to assign to all of you listening to me right now, each day I ask you to; in conversations, in emails use the word PEACE three times each day

Thank you and the late Carlos thanks you too



Featured Reader, June 2016

Parthenia Hicks introduced our June featured reader, Ziggy Rendler-Bregman. Before that, however, Leslie Hoffman wrote the following insightful words about Ziggy, and we use these to introduce her to our blog readers:

Ziggy Rendler-Bregman has lived in Santa Cruz for more than 40 years. She is an alumna of UCSC, with a degree in Aesthetic Studies and an emphasis on arts education. As a student, she co­ founded the children’s literary and art magazine, STONE SOUP, a widely circulated print magazine which includes writing and art by children ages 8­-13.

In the late 90’s, Ziggy was a key leader in helping to restore music and arts education for children in the Santa Cruz public schools. A community activist, she was also a key leader in helping to form The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. As an artist, she has participated in Open Studios for many years and exhibited her prints and paintings widely. Her poems have appeared in several journals and anthologies. With her husband, Jesse, she has raised three children. Her poems draw inspiration from family, home, garden and travel. Ziggy’s self­-published collection titled: The Gate of Our Coming and Going was just released in December 2015.

The Gate of Our Coming and Going is a beautiful collection of both poems and prints created by Ziggy. She selected more than a dozen of her poems to be accompanied by a mono print created and hand­pulled in her studio. As both a poet and artist, Ziggy celebrates the way in which the language of the visual arts complements the beauty of her poems. There are poems which speak of her growing up in a family of nine children and poems which bring to light her own mothering, her home, garden, and love for the California landscape.

Open-Mic Readers, June 2016

June’s Willow Glen poets heard poems that ranged the world, from Work to the Hereafter.

Dennis Noren “Work”
Jim Russo “Laura”
Mary Pacifico Curtis “Together Now”
Parthenia Hicks “Arguing in the Women’s Bathroom”
Joel Katz “Worry”
Tiffany Oallesma Galicia “Flicker”
Nancy Fowler “Sulter Buttes Snow Geese”
Larry Hollist untitled
Doug Nelson “Anchors”
Valerie Kockelman “Despair, Somebody Take Notice”
Karen Llewellyn “Rabaul Bay”
Dana Grover 3 or 4 Haiku
Alexey Romanovskiy “Hangar Desert 2”
Leslie Hoffman “Hereafter”

If you see errors above in the names of the poets or poems, please write to us at willowglenpoetry@gmail.com with the corrected information.


— Doug Nelson

Old boat anchors, in neat rows, laid end-to-end
Rust-encrusted, on a sand dune, among wildflowers
On the Algarve, coastal Portugal, just before the Atlantic becomes the Mediterranean
A logical place for boats and anchors, but why like this?

I wanted to know so I asked and found out
That this area was known for tuna fishing
And the fishermen and their families lived in rows of neat white-painted cottages,
And their boats were drawn up onto the beach
And they mended their nets before they went out again.

Now the main industries here are salt from ponds as the salt water dries out
And tourism, taking denizens of damp, foggy northern European cities to the sandbar in boats
Where they go to lie naked in the sun
Looking like pink walruses.

Why do the tuna boats not go out any more, no longer to cast out their nets
and draw them in
so that the strong young men can jump into the teeming mass of huge desperate fish and,
gaffing them behind the head, fling them into their boats?
Did the fish stop their migration, or were so many of them caught by more modern means,
that it makes no sense to take the boats out anymore?

As it makes no sense in my country to make cars any more,
Because other people do it better and cheaper.

But I think rows of anchors in the sand make a better monument
Than derelict factory buildings.
Rust is somehow less mocking than graffiti.

untitled: Words of Muhammad Ali

— Lawrence T Hollist

Words of Muhammad Ali:

I float like a butterfly,
sting like a bee.
His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see. 


I’m so fast that last night
I turned off the light
Quicker than a spark
I was in bed before the room was dark.

For this fight, I’ve wrestled with alligators,
I’ve tussled with a whale.
I done handcuffed lightning
And thrown thunder in jail.
You know I’m bad.
just last week, I murdered a rock,
Injured a stone, hospitalized a brick.
I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.
I’m so fast, man,
I can run through a hurricane and don’t get wet.
When George Foreman meets me,
He’ll pay his debt.
I can drown the drink of water, and kill a dead tree.
Wait till you see Muhammad Ali.


The man who views the world at 50
the same as he did at 20
has wasted 30 years of his life.

So this is  most important to me:

Friendship is a priceless gift that cannot be bought nor sold,
but its value is far greater than a mountain made of gold;
for gold is cold & lifeless – it can neither see nor hear,
in time of trouble its powerless to cheer —
it has no ears to listen, no heart to understand,
it cannot bring you comfort or reach out a helping hand.
So when you ask God for a gift, be thankful if He sends
not diamonds, pearls or riches but the love of real true friends.


— Tiffany Oallesma Galicia

the tabby doesn’t belong to him
she lives in one of the white stucco houses down the street
but she purrs as she circles him
she’s affectionate and familiar
even though he knows nothing about her

hey, how are you
his hands follow the curve of the woman’s back
he feels the rise and fall of her chest against his
he kisses her neck, inhaling the scent of orchids and honeysuckle
he gazes into her eyes
and sees longing and vulnerability
the sunset and sunrise
the flicker of fiery embers
I can’t, she says
as his lips touch hers

she never did belong to him
so when she stopped showing up
he stopped looking
the flicker of light extinguished at sunset.



—Jim Russo

Are you waiting for me to find you?

I haven’t seen you since the bombs

Bombs that killed people we knew all our lives

Where are you I don’t know, are you hurt I don’t know?

Searching hallways and lobbies, trying not to stare at the wounded

Are you waiting for me to find you?

Looking  for a familiar fabric, a color from home

Laura, oh Laura where are you my darling, please be safe?

It’s been hours since I saw you, so many bombs, so many bombs

There’s no home to go home to my darling

Our house is gone, our street is gone


Featured Reader, May 2016

Christine Richardson introduced the featured reader, Tim J. Myers, with these words:


If you read the bio in the PCSJ’s announcement for tonight’s featured reader, Tim J. Myers, you may have been as curious as I was to learn more about Tim and researched his website as I did and subsequently be equally as impressed with his interests and accomplishments. Eldest of 11 children, Tim began writing poetry in 6th grade. Also at an early age his songwriting and musical abilities began to be explored and have continued to evolve and deepen throughout his life. Tim has 2 published volumes of adult poetry, a chapbook, and over 130 published poems in a variety of journals. His non-fiction writing includes the award winning book, “Glad to Be a Dad: A Call to Fatherhood”. He has also published 15 outstanding books for children. Enriching and informing his creative outputs as well as his skill as a storyteller are his many experiences living and teaching in 3 continents, and in over a half-dozen states.  Tim is currently working on the first in a series of fantasy novels for young adults. Oh, and I must mention, he is a pictorial artist as well. His website displays a charming set of unique abstracts. Tim has placed a lovely Rilke quote introducing himself and, I imagine, his philosophical grounding. Rilke writes:

“Oh, speak poet, what do you do?

So tonight we say, “Speak, oh Poet. You praise. We listen”

Please welcome Tim J Myers.

Open-Mic Readers, May 2016


Nick Butterfield “You Had Me at Goodbye,” and “Cowboy Love”
Renée Schell “At the Aquarium”
Nancy Meyer “What If I Go?”
Amy Meier “Some Things Change”
Laura Sylvan “Vigil”
Deborah Kennedy “Wandering Communities”
Diane Moomey “Robe”
Dennis Richardson “Naming the Animals”
Jerry Dyer “Sowbelly and Moonlight”
Bill Cozzini “On Time”
Leslie Hoffman “Carousel Spins”
Janet Trenchard “Spirits”
Dave Eisbach “Marbles”
Al Nightingale “Knights of the Roundtable”
Jim Russo “Fill Out the Form”
Pushpa MacFarlane “The Verandah”
Larry Hollist “Guarding Steph Curry”
Valerie Kochelman “A Snow White Egret Appeared to Me: Was it a Sign?”
Tim Callan “The Note”
Nadine Thomas “Open Letter to My Mother”
Tiffany Oallesma Galicia “Garden Path”
Karen Franzenburg “The Price They Paid”
Richard Burns “TV is Somethin'”
Christine Richardson “Jim Harrison and I”