Featured Reader, October 2016

Lesa Medley introduced our featured reader, Vinod Narayan, with these words:

 

Tonight’s featured reader is one very engaged, active and versatile writer. Born in India, living in the Bay Area since 2002 and writing poetry since 2004,  Vinod Narayan enthusiastically describes himself in this manner: Content Addict, Blogger, Poet, Flash Fiction Enthusiast, Liberal, Movie Freak, Human who pays bills by implementing large enterprise level content management systems.

Wow! No question, Vinod is a man of conviction. He believes it is essential to be vocal about things that should be discussed and debated.  Look at his blog posts about critical considerations of current events. He sets tough personal challenges for himself as shown in his commitment to write not only a poem each day of poetry month, but also to translate a poem of an international poet into his native Malayalam language. Vinod is also a man of deep feelings and introspection. Read his poems about his father to see his loving tribute. And to know his humility and  gift for introspection,  read his essay, Reflecting On Oneself and Making Changes, in which he outlines the 7 specific ways he is working on being a force for good in this world while staying true to himself.

He has published 2 books of poetry, and a third one is in the works. He believes that “ the power of the pen is not the color of ink it spills, but the power of the word it spells.”

Please welcome Vinod Narayan.

Open-Mic Readers, October 2016

Larry Hollist “”My Coffee Table”
Clysta Seney “Dog’s Day Dream”
G.W. Devon Pack “Suburb Speak”
Lee Rossi “The Hooker at the Bookfair”
Eike Waltz “The Whisper of a German Lullaby”
Dave Eisbach “My Brother”
Diane Moomey “Time Share on the Coast”
Jerry Dyer “downwinders”
Peter Neil Carroll “The Widow’s Tale”; “Watching Momma”
Usha Vinod “Life is So Unfair”
Barbara Saxton “Butoh Dancer”
Jim Russo “Make Your Move”
Andrew Reynolds “decision”
Sandip Bhattacharya “Why We Smile”
Dana Grover “haiku”
Bill Barnhart “The Accomplice”
Bonnie George “Eureka!”
Floi Baker “Untitled,” by Jackie Kennedy
Bill Cozzini “Age”
Lesa Medley “Cheerios,” by Billy Collins

My Coffee Table

— Larry T. Hollist
-this poem is dedicated to all the poets I know.

On my coffee table among the Legos, candles,
And the predictable coffee table books
Sits a stack of poetry books.

Every book has scraps of paper hanging
Out the top. Many are old receipts torn to make
More markers. Other markers include:
A piece of an old photograph that was cropped off
So the photo would fit on a school project,
A church program, a piece of junk
Mail, a school flyer, a piece of a paper bag, an actual
Book marker advertising a poetry festival
Or whatever was handy at that time.

Some makers mark a poem that I will put in my
Personal poetry anthology. Other mark lines and
Passages that I will borrow for my own writing. All
Have a marker to show where I last stopped reading.

Most of the poets in my stack I know and call them
By their first name. Most will be never called Laureate
Of anything. Most could not fill up an auditorium for
One of their readings. All have tugged at my heart strings,
Inspired me and left me in awe of their words. None need
To be ashamed if they stood next to:

Bob[i],
Bobby,
or
Billy;

Maggie,
Emily,
or
Wilily;

Lizzy,
Donny,
or
Henry;

Anne,
Al,
or
Alice;

Lucy,
Louise,
Or
Langston;

Walt,
Edna,
or
Gwen;

Pablo,
Maya,
Sylvia,
Or any other poet you may know.

 

The Whisper of a German Lullaby

— Eike Waltz

Sleep…
Baby…
Sleep…
Your daddy is in Afghanistan.
Your mummy
works 3 jobs
if she can.
Your sister
sweet 16
not at school
but an addict on the street…
Sleep…
My Baby…
Sleep…

Sleep
Baby
Sleep
Your country is in need…
Sleep
Sweet baby
Sleep…
Your mummy is a Democrat…
Your daddy is a Trumpolini man…
Your sister …got the Bern…
Burnt out…
In a flash …
Now stoned…
Hugging a tree…
…Poor she…
…Vote…
Sweet
Baby
…Vote…
Your country is in need
And you…..
…our only…
…hope…
…So was I…once…
…Hope…
…A long time ago…
Sleep
Sweet baby…
Sleep…
Sleep tight
Sweet dreams…
Kiss kiss
…Love you…
Good night
…And so a German Lullaby …whispers …once again

 

Time Share on the Coast

— Diane L. Moomey

Ball slices into the rough,
too rough: Smell of wet
cat, rustle of leaves, snick
of a snapping twig.
I leave my white ball where it lies
and take another.

Ninth hole. I scoop
this ball from the cup,
still dewy. A tuft of tawny hair
sticks to its pebbled surface.

Sand trap, your scat. This morning
you were seen upon the green.

The rough again— eyes, you waiting
for dusk, for dark, waiting for me
to pack my clubs, cross the last green,
slam the car door. You, patiently
waiting your turn.

 

Butoh Dancer

— Barbara Saxton

Clothed in little but tattoos, dusky faint

beneath white powder, like continents

viewed from above through swirls of cloud,

wrapped in penitent’s brown burlap,

beige codpiece held in place by braided rope,

the butoh figure crouched — feline, intent —

just listening and preening, while bowed gongs,

twirling teacups on taut drum skins, sonorous bells

called him to dance.
His restless, hairless body, double-dusted

in white paint and powder, one scarlet smudge

of paint over his open mouth, slowly stood upright.

Lines drawn around his eyes grew darker

as the orbs themselves rolled back. Wide holes

where earlobes used to be formed question marks

on either side of his bald head.
Would merely watching him

provide much-needed answers?
Eyes beg him to dance closer, while lips

warn mutely: Keep your distance.

He is the dead and living, or something in between,

defined by music’s power to transform.

Everyone who loved and left us has returned

in this seductive, writhing package.
We’re safest when he’s seated on the floor,

pale legs akimbo, arms and fingers wrapped

around his head, trapping love and terror in,

reflecting nothing back at us.
Eventually, the so-called music stops.

Our dancer leaves. Outside the hushed room,

a door latch quietly clicks shut.

 

Make Your Move

— Jim Russo

In the fifties and sixties he was a T.V. cowboy
He would show up on “The Virginian”, “Cheyenne”, “Bonanza”, “Wagon Train” or “Have Gun Will Travel”
He starred as Billy the Kid in his TV series “The Tall Men” with Pat Garrett played by Barry Sullivan
After many, many years of work as an actor and director in major films, Indy films and TV playing cowboys, Dads, detectives and bad guys
Twelve anxious actors were seated on metal folding chairs in a huge warehouse in downtown industrial LA
Clu Gulager was to have these dozen actors for six weeks, he offered an on- camera and on-location workshop, we had all been interviewed for admittance
We were facing a newly built wooden loft with bedroom and study up top and wide wooden stairs on the right coming down against the concrete wall, kitch-en, bath, laundry and office were on the ground floor
Clu entered from behind us and sits in a chair facing us, saying nothing, he gets up moves toward the stairs, stops, turns, swings around a post a few times, turns around again, goes up the stairs about four steps, stops and runs down to the bottom, runs to the top, runs half way down, back to the top and to the bottom, turns to caress a post wrapping around it like it’s a woman, stops and throws himself against the concrete wall, face flat pressing the surface, spread eagle, stretching arms high, he stops and turns and as he’s headed for that post again
That’s when I knew what was next
He was going to ask one of us to do exactly what he had done
And that someone was going to be me
He looked right at me and asked, “Were you paying attention? Then do it.”
I thought I did it ok
I wanted to be perfect but all he said was, “Not bad, a little dyslexic”
I might have missed one or two hunches against the wall but not much more
Or so I thought
After I finished, everyone applauded
A few nights later we all went to downtown L.A, to First Street; Angelinos didn’t go to First Street at night
We were to perform rehearsed scenes, six couples, some in costume
We were told to come during the day and choose our locations
All walking together to the next location, in front of a dive bar and then asked to leave by the intoxicated patrons, then onto the park, drug deals going on all around us
Clu fearlessly leading the way
Earlier that afternoon at French’s Book Store on Sunset
I was looking for another scene from any play to perform for Clu
My jacket was open and my T-shirt was readable and
Mr. Spock was grinning from across the room
Lenard Nimoy grinning at my black T-shirt with large white print that read “FUCK OFF and DIE” You knew he was a poet, right?
I smiled back, zipped up my leather jacket, got on my 650, went home and wrote a scene for two guys
Called what’s his name, we rehearsed it a few times and we were ready for Clu’s camera
The scene was a hostage situation; a neighborhood kid doing another stupid thing
He kidnapped circus people traveling through town, the sword swallower, the bearded lady and the lion tamer, he has a gun
I play the character of the detective called out at three-thirty in the morning because he knows the kid
The detective is shot and killed because I wanted to play a death scene
I fall into a pile of plastic chairs and they scatter everywhere
Clu created menacing shadows by twisting a chair in front of the floor lights
My knees buckle, fighting to stand up, fall to the floor, while trying to dig two bullets out of my chest, using my fingers, shouting No! No! No!
I die in disbelief

 

Featured Reader, September 2016

Christine Richardson, introduced the featured poet, Erin Redfern, with these words:

 

Picture ocean swells as, “ribbons of candy trails”, the sea with “its throat of salt and blue, the setting sun casting, “its blister of light against the ocean’s rim” and be amazed as I was to see these original and vivid images all within a single stanza of a single poem, “Gidget Builds an Igloo”. This unique gift of imagery resides in tonight’s featured reader, Erin Redfern.  Of course for those of you who have heard Erin share her poems here at this podium, or have read her poetry in workshops or other settings already know that what I say is true.

Others outside of our poetry community have recognized Erin’s talent as well. Surely the editors of the many online and print journals who have published her work for over a decade can attest. One of the judges for the Poetry Society of America for which Erin is the recipient of the 2016 Robert H. Weiner Memorial Award, said, “I found Erin Redfern’s vibrant and protean poems, packed with telling details, immediately engaging: they’re acrobatic, dynamic, richly populated – a rightful heir to C.K. Williams’ roving and inclusive work in Tar.”

Not only is Erin generous to the reader in her poetry, she has been generous to our PCSJ community with her time and expertise: graciously subbed for me as host at this reading; co-edited the 2015 edition of Caesura, and lead groups at Poets at Play.

Erin’s chapbook entitled, Spellbreaking and Other Life Skills will be published in November. The poems in this chapbook have been described as emanating  “lyrical brilliance in a compact collection.”

We do have to wait until then to actually hold this volume in our hands, but tonight we are fortunate to perhaps get a preview of some of those poems and others from the head and heart of this talented poet.

Please welcome Erin Redfern.

Open-Mic Readers, September 2016

Fall is near, and a tone of elegy was frequently present

Jerry Dyer “Allusions”
Casey FitzSimons “Love Story”
Barbara Saxton “Harbinger,” by Ilyse Kusnetz
Vicki Harvey “Momma and Snowball”
Lesa Medley “”Prudence”
Leslie Hoffman “Hereafter”
Diane Moomey “When I am old”
Al Nightingale “untitled”
Eike Waltz “The Coronation of the DADA Donald”
Deborah Kennedy “Impute Salute”
Dave Eisbach “Freedom,” by Tien Nguyen
Dennis Noren “Ode to the Sensors at Street Lights”
Jeffrey Leonard “Tribute”
Jim Russo “A Day at the Races”
Dennis Richardson “The Coming and Going (for Maxwell)”
Pushpa MacFarlane “Kitchen Encounters”
Maria Bagphy “End”
Larry Hollist “Haiku”
Nick Butterfield “They Thought the Truth No Longer Lay”
Richard Burns “Letter Left Behind”
Amy Meier “Support the Troops,” by Jacob George
Floi Baker “untitled”
Juliane Tran “Medication”
Bonnie George “Thunder Chicken”
Christine Richardson “No More Tears”

Prudence

—Lesa Medley

She’s tall, thin and very old
but not frail.
Long black lacy dress,
Victorian
buttoned-up,
old, pointed high heeled shoes,
black,
buttoned up.
Snow white hair in a tight bun
at the nape of her long, thin
wrinkled neck,
penetrating steely blue eyes,
pursed, thin, tight lips,
painted red,
long fingernails, tapered,
painted red.
In her left hand is a lit cigarette
held between two bony fingers by a long holder,
slender, tortoise shell.
Looking over my shoulder,
she takes a puff, points at me and,
blowing blue smoke in my face,
she says in her deep raspy voice,
“Oh no dear, you mustn’t write about that,
it isn’t nice or ladylike.

What will people think?
What will people say?
What will your Mother say?
Oh no, that will not do,
tsk tsk”.
Another puff and blue smoke.
“Will not do, at all.
Honestly, dear,
I just don’t know why you even bother,
you know you really don’t have
anything worthwhile to say anyway.
You certainly haven’t any talent to speak of.
Surely, you must know that. ”
The very next time she shows up,
(and she will)
I want to say…
no, I will say, this:
“You may be right, but for now,
no, I do not know that,
so thank you for sharing darling,
but, if you don’t mind,
I think I will keep trying anyway.
Now, please, put out that cigarette
and be quiet or go away,
I’m writing.”

Hereafter

— Leslie Hoffman

I’m meeting him in Vasona Park
my friend shrieked
–isn’t life wonderful!

My musings temporarily interrupted
of the plot in Madronia Cemetery

I’d inherited by default

where “notable individuals” are interred
such as Thomas Kinkade
and the second wife
of the Abolitionist John Brown

and my sister

our plots under a gnarly oak
where over half a century ago
we stifled giggles while dancing
on the ground above
where we had no idea
we’d be spending eternity

side by side

non-notably

I’m sure I’ll be a noisy love-maker
she said, while posing for a selfie
–you know, like when you’re at a funeral
and can’t stop giggling.

When I am old

— Diane Lee Moomey

I will live in the redwoods
in mist and deep green shade. My lover
will live with me: two ancients,
we will build a treehouse
of woven bark. Bats

will hang, head down,
in the shadows above.

Or, when I am old,
I will live by the southern ocean
in a round house with seagrass
for a door. I’ll build it myself.

I shall eat kelp.

A gray cat will live with me,
a very old gray cat. He will be indifferent
to the seabirds that walk on my skin.

I shall lie by the water’s edge each day,
and mark the new year
by the return of gray whales
from the north

 

The Coronation of the DADA Donald

— Eike Waltz

Dodo is long dada
long live dadody…
What do we da have
100 dadadadadadas later?
Give us
da T
Give us
da R
Give us
dad U
Give me
da M for M M Meeeeee
Relieve me
of da yellowy, da smelloy, da spewy… Pee
Gone in da flash
Cesspool splash
Dada, one hundad dada dad?
Ohhhh… nada, nada…nada
Dad means da Dodo
Long live ….dada da daa
Haddy …Baddy …DADA
Kiss da Donald
On da Trumpolini
Gone ….da blabber lightweight joker
kicking ….da Christian lawyer liar
DADA o DADA why o whya
I like da punch you in da face
Bore me again ….as you only won Ohia
O yeah… America… the press saw me comin
The best clown in town
USA…USA…
Build da Mexican wall
high and higher
deport da gangsters all
[is he really paying for that all???]
What can da loose?
Choose…choose…choose
Me…me…me…me…meeeeeee
Brilliant Putin is tutin:
Hey badddy…Nukes are for hire
Load da trumpet with fire
Da dara dara da da da daaaaaa
Da dara darata tata taaaa
….Sch>>>>>it… happens
Donald breath… breath…
Just dooooo…. what you say
You do it… anyway….
Our goldie locks
Our commander….
Heil da King …Brag-a-Lot
Don’t mess with da messsssss…sssiah
Titler…Trumpler…Tralala
….Ha’ Ha’……………..
And…and… I see…
What remains
…Of… Me

Haiku

— Larry T. Hollist

1.
雪降るそ
ハイク停まらない
汗をかく

Yuki furu so
Haiku tomara-nai
Ase o kaku

Looks like it will snow
the hike cannot be stopped.
I’m dripping with sweat

2.
Making love midair
Dragonflies are the porn stars
Of the insect world

3.
The house is still warm
Black dog panting in my face
Sleep will not be found

4.
Sweetness, joy, peace, love
Was Emily Ann’s essence.
A morning bird sings
Sweetly of joy, peace & love.
Yet gone, she lives, she lives still.

 

They Thought the Truth No Longer Lay

— Nick Butterfield

 

They thought the truth no longer lay

inside stone walls of a church –

So they dusted off the Bible and

left the serpent above the entry way.

Soon  to rest their heads against a bulk-head

for a pillow and crossed a blusterous sea.

They gave thanks when Massoit the Indian

helped them plant seeds that soon would grow a nation,

a nation careful about their freedom.

Featured Reader, August 2016

Poet Christine Richardson, who co-hosts the WGPP readings with her husband Dennis Richardson,  introduced the featured reader, Arlene Biala, with these words:

Tonight we are thrilled to present the fourth poet laureate of Santa Clara County, Arlene Biala, a Filipina poet and performance artist. Supervisor Dave Cortese said, “The poet laureate serves as ambassador to the poetic arts in our community.” Perhaps no poet is better qualified to continue this legacy. Arlene has devoted her adult life to public service and community involvement, working since 1996 as an arts education and grants manager for the city of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs. She has collaborated with writers, dancers, musicians and other artists in many creative endeavors, most notably, appearing with former California, now U. S. Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera at a presentation in March of 2016 at the National Photo Gallery in Washington D.C. He has praised Arlene and her poetry by telling us, “Arlene Biala chants and dances at the center of inner-outer sacred lakes, her texts move at the incredible heights of Pele, the ancient Goddess.”

Arlene discovered poetry as a young person when she found a copy of e.e. Cummings poems in her brother’s backpack. Encouraged my her mother, a drama and English teacher, Arlene has continued to write, at first in a journal in which she wrote poetry to vent negative feelings and then later to witness the challenges and issues that confront us working through words to solutions.

Arlene has published three volumes of poetry. Her most recent work, her beckoning hands, was the winner of the American Book Award in 2015.

Her poems have been described as “ lovely, lush poems grounded in ritual object and ritual practice, mantras that resonate with the body and plant the body firmly in the world.”

Prepare now to enter the fascinating and evocative world of Arlene Biala.

Open-Mic Readers, August 2016

A late summer night, full of song and verse.

Casey FitzSimons “Back in a Time”
Joe Navarro “From Momentary Peace”
Nick Butterfield “Stain”
Amy Meier “Hunger”
Eike Waltz “”Traditional X”
Leslie Hoffman “Haiku XVII”
Diane Moomey “Pilgrimage”
Jim Russo “Barbara Lee”
Jerry Dyer “Cafe Lonely”
Dave Eisbach ” An Ode to Odin”
Janet Trenchard “What Women are Wearing”
Deborah Kennedy “Two Rivers at Hill’s End”
Jeffrey Leonard “Do not Ridicule the Small”
Al Nightingale untitled
Jessica Sauceda “Pulse”
Dennis Noren “Quake Perception”
Pushpa MacFarlane “Bound to Earth”
Dennis Richardson “At Tartines Corner Bakery Cafe in San Francisco”
Richard Burns “The Little Joys of Life”
Mike McGee “Sleepwalker”
Charles Albert “Your Obituary”
Sandip Bhattacharya untitled
Lorenz Dumuk untitled
Larry Hollist “The Snake River Stampede”
Christine Richardson “Little Poem,” in response to W.S. Merlin’s “After the Dragonflies”

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.

From Momentary Peace

— Joe Navarro

She rose from her frigid dreams
As warmth, bright and yellow
Began to peek over the
Shadows of slumber
Ice daggers slowly
Melted the from her
Torso and limbs as
One fist rises and declines
Head weaving and bobbing
Words flowing like a raging river
Bundled in numbing cold vapors
Carrying each word
As the sun rises slowly
She argues, intensely, passionately
As she does every morning
When she is severed
From her momentary peace
Nestled in unconsciousness
All that she is
Unleashed in a fury of expletives
Sung in sorrowful prose
She curses the neglect and instability
That rules her life
Against the officials, the neighbors
Who want her invisible
Against the empty warm spaces
That she cannot occupy
Against the unwillingness
To see her and offer
Her a warm bed
With a roof over her head
She argues furiously
With what she has left
Of herself
Until she can argue no more

 

Barbara Lee

— Jim Russo

August in Greenville outside Jackson Mississippi
A still, windless, hot, thick afternoon in the south
A pretty barefoot teenage girl swings in a tire
Humming a tune, dreaming of someplace else
When she should be cleaning the barn
She clicks her heels and lands in North Beach
Who’s the new cute ticket girl at the Palace Theatre?
She looks like Doris Day and talks funny
A big pretty smile and light blue eyes
On a dare she tried out for Miss North Beach, swim suit pictures and all
Then she found the one, a tall local blond blue eyed Sicilian
He was paralyzed by her southern cooking and her southern charm
They were a team, five kids and seven decades
Her houses, her farms, her trees, her pampered gardens
Grandchildren close
Hands that never stopped once, always someone’s baby on her hip
You had to love her cynicism and colorful language, her front door was always open
Many, many people enjoyed and raved about her cooking and baking
Outside her kitchen window a tire swung from an apple tree