Open-Mic Readers, February 2017

Bill Cozzini “Little Clam”
Jessica Sauceda “I am”
Jerry Dyer “God in the Vulgate”
Mary Lou Taylor “The Restless Sea”
Jade Bradbury “Ocean Park Dreamscapes”
Lee Rossi “Apply Topically”
Diane Moomey “Water Above, Water Below”
Stephanie Pressman “To Sleep Here”
Eike Waltz “Ombra Anna”
Peter Carroll “Finance”
Robin Lysne “Form Follows Thought”
Barbara Saxton “Reflections on a Swan”
Casey FitzSimons untitled
Jeffrey Leonard John O’Donohue’s “Where Nothing Unravels”
Dennis Richardson “CRS”
Leslie Hoffman “On Being a Fox”
Jenny Luu “My Precious”
Laura Brown “Credo”
Jeanne Watson “Christmas Eve, 2016”
Pushpa McFarlane “The Silent Poets”
Doug Nelson “Bent Nails”
Sandip Bhattacharya K. Daruwalla’s “The Guaghra in Spate”
Amy Meier “Borderland”
Renée Schell “February: The First Year of Teaching”
Larry Hollist “Walking the Dog”
Juliane Tran “Morality in the Trump Era”
Christine Richardson Rita Dove’s “Heart to Heart”

Featured Reader, January 2017

Christine Richardson, the co-host of Willow Glen Poetry, introduced January’s featured reader, Tamam Kahn with these words:

Welcome to the start of another year for the Third Thursday Willow Glen Poetry Readings. Throughout the years of presentations we have tried to honor the primary purpose for our existence: to hold a caring community space for the many rich poetic voices from here and afar. Tonight we are so pleased to have a poet return to us who exemplifies our goal of inclusiveness. With her first book, Untold, A History of the Wives of Prophet Mohammad, our featured reader, Tamam Kahn informed and delighted us.  Again we will be enriched by Tamam’s work as she has brought us her new book Fatima’s Touch, Poems and Stories of the Prophet’s Daughter.

Tamam has traveled and read in many cities in the Middle East, India, and North Africa and well as here in the United States. She has devoted many years doing extensive research into early Islamic history. How fitting that as women across this continent prepare to make their voices heard, we will learn about the life of a strong, vibrant woman of the 7th century relayed to us through the voice of a strong, vibrant and charming woman of the 21st century. Please join me in welcoming back Tamam Kahn.  

Open-Mic Readers, January 2017

Jerry Dyer “Poetry Works”
Clysta Seney “Old Pond”
Keith Emmons “Moon Drift Reverie”
Barbara Saxton “Aftermath”
Dennis Noren “Building Blocks”
Karl Kadie “How Much”
Diane Moomey “Black Friday at the Ocean”
Eike Waltz “The Great American Lullaby”
Amy Meier “Clap for Tinkerbell”
Bill Costley Trumpolini
Karen Franzenburg History
Judith Schallberger Tanka
Dennis Richardson “On Naming the Animals”
Larry Hollist “The Cellist”
Dave Eisbach “The Spare Tee”
Nick Butterfield “Just a Poem”
Dana Grover “haiku”
Taylor Bailes “Boots”
Christine Richardson

Open-Mic Readers, December 2016

Light verse for dark times:

Nick Butterfield “Birth”
Karen Franzenburg “Shine”
Larry Hollist “The Seeker of Truth”
Doug Nelson “a dream after a war”
Eike Waltz “Slit-Fit-Chair”
Dennis Richardson “My Christmas Gift”
Leslie Hoffman “Today, a Son of Africa”
Jerry Dyer “How to be Saved”
Dave Eisbach “Another Christmas”
Hank Millstein “An Expostulation to My Daughter”
Dana Grover a few haiku
Maya Nair “An Image of Beatific”
Jeffrey Leonard “There Will Never Be Another You”
Charles Albert “My Uncle Has a Loony Bent”
Floi Baker “Tribute”
Christine Richardson “Who Waits,” and “Caroling for the Season

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.

Seeker of Truth

— Larry T. Hollist

The very night the sign appeared in the sky
Navid son of Paiman son of Rahim son of Kir
Made his final preparations.

As he said goodbye to everyone in his small village,
Each person would touch their eyes and lips
Then would touch his eyes and his lips.
Now his words would be their words
And his eyes would be their eyes.

Lastly Navid knelt at his father’s feet.
Paiman anointed Navid’s head with
The sacred oil and blessed him.
Then they embraced; both thinking
This might be the last time they saw each other.

As Navid was about to mount his camel
Paiman handed his son a small bag of gold
Plus a small amount of frankincense and myrrh
For a love offering.

It was not much, but his poor village had sacrificed
For three generations to accumulate this small amount.

Soon Navid meet other Seekers of Truth also following
The sign in the heavens. As they traveled westward, most stayed,
But a few left as the journey got harder and their faith got weaker.

With each village or city The Seekers stopped at, they told their story.
Those who believed add to their love offering or gave traveling
Supplies to The Seekers. Most went about their days as if
There was nothing special about The Seekers or their message.

To the poor The Seekers would impart what they could,
Sometimes doing without to give to those of lesser means.
The Seekers would leave a blessing of hope to anyone who would hear.

As they neared their destination they paid respect to the king of the land.
The king after conferring with his wise advisers sent The Seekers
To a nearby suburb and said, “When you have found the truth
Come and tell me that I too might also worship the truth.”

The closer the Seekers approached their final destination,
The brighter the sign got in the heavens.
By the time they had reached the little suburb,
The sign could be seen at day.

Soon the sign was shining over a small house.
The Seekers found a young child and his mother at home.
She invited them in and said pointing to her son,
“This is the truth that you seek come and meet him.”

Each Seeker came one by one, knelt before the child,
And gave her or his love offering to the child.

That night they all were warned in a dream not to
Return to the King of the land,
So by twos or by threes,
The Seekers left in different directions,
Telling anyone who would hear of the good news.

Whenever Navid meet someone who believed
He would touch his eyes and his ears
Then would touch their eyes and ears
Saying, “You have seen what I’ve seen
And heard what I’ve heard”
Lastly he would embrace them
So they could be embraced by someone
Who embraced the truth, the Christ Child.

Kir means: far sighted.
Rahi means: Show mercy
Paiman means: promise or covenant
Navid means: Bringing good news
The Magi call themselves, “Seekers of Truth.”

 

How to be Saved

— Jerry Dyer

 

Light a candle in the alto clef.
Listen as it burns its way to the bass.
Blow gently on the flame.

Frame every instant of what you see:
align your head and heart
before you blink your eyes.

Believe just half of what you hear,
and even less of what you say.

Spin simple cotton khadi
for half an hour each day.
Don’t expect the mahdi to arrive.

Pull that middle-aged woodshed into shards.
Hammer out and straighten all the nails.
Build, rung by rung, a ladder to the moon.

An Expostulation to My Daughter, Concerning Mathematics

Henry Millstein

Kristen, you’re right to hate
mathematics. There are too many
answers, and not enough questions.

Still, sometimes even numbers
have their truth, fierce as mountain lions
in the hills that ring the city. Only

one must not let oneself be hemmed in
by them, not even when they come at you,
jaws agape, battening on their own

fury. You can make yourself bigger
than they, even without
counting. It’s a matter of zeroes

singing over and over in the drought-
ridden landscape. Even the trees
sing it, desperate for moisture.

Pity you can’t write the real answers
on any exam. There are never enough
zeroes to go around. Too many right answers

and none that are wrong, and true.

 

 

Featured Reader, November 2016

Christine Richardson, the co-host of Willow Glen Poetry, introduced November’s featured reader, Deborah Kennedy with these words:

 

Make the universe your companion, always bearing in mind the true nature of things, mountains and rivers, trees and grasses, and humanity – and enjoy the falling blossoms and scattering leaves.”  So says Basho, the 17th century Japanese poet who showed us the interdependency of everything. The concept of his book, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, a poetic travelogue, written nearly 350 years ago, has strong parallels to the recent book of our featured reader, Deborah Kennedy, Nature Speaks: Art and Poetry for the Earth. In which Deborah invites us to travel with her listening to the world we live in and forging together pathways for healing our earth and ourselves.

Because Deborah has planned a magnificent multimedia presentation for us tonight I want to keep my remarks short. Her many accomplishments, exhibitions of her art, accolades for her poetry are will described on our PCSJ website. If you haven’t had a chance to read them, I encourage you to do so. They are many.

Again, Basho.

   Awake, butterfly
   It’s late. We’ve miles
  To go together

 

We are thrilled and honored tonight to have Deborah as our guide.

Please join me in welcoming our own beautiful Willow Glen poet, Deborah Kennedy.

Open-Mic Readers, November 2016

Deborah Kennedy presented an amazing show, combining intricate art and delicate poetry.  The open mic readers followed in this sequence:

Joel Katz “Night”
Larry Hollist “Horse”
Keith Emmons “Looking for the Sweater Draped Over My Shoulders”
Dave Eisbach “The Moons of 2016”
Diane Moomey “The Friendly Skies”
Dennis Richardson “Numbers”
Eike Waltz “Allen Ginsberg on my Bagel”
Andrew Reynolds “The Leaf”
Jerry Dyer “Ende Eines Sommers,” by Gunter Eich
Jeffrey Leonard on Mose Allison, Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell
Pushpa MacFarlane “Constant Video”
Doug Nelson “Arthritis”
Amy Meier “Note to Self”
Dana Grover “Reginald”
Richard Burns “Lies Incorporated”
Floi Baker “November Moon”
Christine Richardson “Making the Best of It”

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.

Looking for the Sweater Draped Over My Shoulders

Keith Emmons

The young go searching.
It’s what they’re supposed to do.
If only we had discovered something
to tell the young!

I watched a friend die.
With tubes up her nose.
It took her years.
She was a great poet.
“We’re all going to die,”
and other Buddhist homilies.

I searched too.
I took every step
of the journey of a thousand miles.
And returned to the market place.
Only much older.
“This is it!” and other Zen clichés.

My pegs still carry me.
I still push a pen.
I know the spirit rises
with the eyes’ intercourse,
the ears, the nose, taste,
touch, and yes, thought.

Rises and dances,
as the dawn each day rises
and kisses every dew-tipped blade.
And shakes more dust on the old.

Horse

— Larry T. Hollist

Date: A Sunday in Oct, Nov, or Dec 1907
Place: Layman, Idaho
At a neighbor’s house of
John T. and Martha A. Hollist
(Parents to Orson LeRoy Hollist)

 Mama-Mama-Mama-Mama-Mama-Mama

 Slow down girl; what is it?

 The Hollists have a new horse.

 Your Pa said Mr. Hollist wanted to get a new draft horse.

 No, no, no, no. Their new baby is Horse, they named him Horse.

 You must have heard it wrong, maybe it was Hoss.

 No, when they brought the baby to the front at church

They said his name would be Horse.

 Are you sure?

 I heard it right, they called him Horsey Roy Hollist

 Ok, ok, get my basket down so we can call on the Hollists.

I will never hear the end of this until we hear it from them

Numbers

— Dennis Richardson

In the real world,
As in the Real number system,
There are the Rationals and the Irrationals:
Those numbers that follow the rules set by time,
March in formations of fractions and decimals,
Salute equations and formulas in the mathematics parade,
And then the other ones, the ones that refuse to be square,
Go on and on about the roots of their problems,
Make it difficult to get a finite answer
When you really need one.

Enter the complex world,
And the Complex number system
Consisting of the Real and Imaginary numbers
Where mathematicians have created the benign number “i”
Which allows them to do mysterious things
Like take the square root of a negative number,
Not allowed in the Reals
But apparently, like poets, occur naturally in our universe,
Nonetheless.

Since time began and numbers started counting,
mathematics, being somehow wed to the universe,
spirals through our star studded galaxies and into our lives
where, like variables in an algorithm, we go on our half-walks,
between the limits of birth and death,
toward another infinity, possibly with strings attached,
hoping against hope that our poems will be remembered,
in spite of the numbers
against us.

Allen Ginsberg on my Bagel

— Eike Waltz

Let me talk about our so cherished …Freedom.
According to the World Bank Governance Indicator our
Land of the Free is ranking #…41 on this planet.
40 countries appear to enjoy a higher level of Freedom.
What our freedom of the press is concerned, we are ranking # 46….

So… I took that sharp kitchen knife and schmear Alan Ginsberg all over my free…toasted…bagel – here we go:

An incomplete breath of American Freedom in no particular order:
Freedom to let the National Freedom Day… in silence… slide by… Why…
Freedom of speech – equals Freedom to silence speech – equals Freedom of complacency.
Freedom for America to kick plenty ass*
Freedom to be macho, to be number one*
Freedom to out-source and shut off the life-line of dreams
Freedom to protect politicians health and retirement needs
Freedom to deny care and entitlements for the everyone else
Freedom to peddle pills for all the illnesses they want us to have
Freedom to buy judges!*
Freedom to subvert justice when it’s all about winning a case
Freedom to rage war on children’s lemonade stands
Freedom for war! A fight for what peace?
Freedom to turn collateral damage into profit
Freedom for overt…covert…war sleaze*
Freedom to carpet bomb evil empires into the oblivious
Freedom to call the “are you with me – or – are you against me” patriot bluff

Freedom to whitewash hypocrisy
Freedom to claim that only adversaries are corrupt
Freedom to claim democracy …even we are not
Freedom to education with a price tag to ruin
Freedom for the police and guys with guns*
to shoot what is not white
the target…always the center of the heart
Freedom to squirt mace in little boy’s face*
Freedom to influence network news*
Freedom to revive imperialism…. Hail the fascists Camelot
Freedom to abandon Latin Human Rights*
Freedom to break human right agreements
Freedom to create the international court …but not comply
Freedom to burn the Koran by the fanatical Christian right
Freedom to claim that blond… blue eyed Jesus… was born in Texas
Freedom to claim that god wrote the constitution
Freedom to commingle church with state
Freedom to preach religious bigotry with plenty of mea culpa on site
Freedom to demand “tear down that Berlin Wall”
Freedom to build that Mexican Wall …extra tall

Freedom to declare that money is free speech
Freedom for big banks not to fail
Freedom to screw…you… and never go to jail
Freedom to dwell in that tax free offshore stash
Freedom to hide inside the Panama Papers wash
Freedom to go to jail… if you …forgot to declare your dime
Freedom to steal your home …from that corrupted government loan
Freedom to commit a little loophole perjury
Freedom to profit from your misery

Freedom to leak to the press what’s good for the 1% America,
Freedom to keep you in that eternal feed-back loop**
Freedom not to check what’s not true and who really said what
Freedom to the notion that democracy means:…ignorance is just as good as your knowledge
Freedom to suppress and character assassinate the whistle blower
Freedom to jail without charge in jails without jurisdiction
Freedom to run secret prisons with no over sight
Freedom to be the #1 profitable incarcerated nation
Freedom to use a skate board, paddle board, surf board and water board torture
Freedom to bust you for grass if you please*

Freedom to buy elections, or by decision of the partisan Supreme Court
Freedom to overturn the peoples vote
Freedom to suppress the people to vote
Freedom to turn an election into a national freak show
Freedom to normalize political lying and smearing…the bias fuck checkers only happily approve
Freedom to make state of the union promises…
Freedom to suffocate in political and small print morass
Freedom to choose what is always the same**
Freedom to be transformed into commodity
Freedom to sell your personality to the highest bidder
Freedom to put GMO, hormones and antibiotics into our food
Freedom to poison entitlements such as clean air and water
Freedom to take our country back…back to what?…slavery…women can’t vote??
Freedom to make America great again…. great for whom?
Freedom to choose Freedom over what version of Freedom
Freedom to point my finger at the nobody’s… when I have everything

Let me tell you:
The American …“Land of the Free”… is loophole value curriculum… an outdated term of the bizarre.
Freedom is not a reality show.
Freedom is a living compromise measured by democratically elected rational voters. Even so ….a democracy… is inherently faulty.

Freedom… is a tolerant you…the precious one …of the few….
Freedom is my poem of deep rooted fears …of my past
Freedom to withdraw… in soggy tears
Only thoughts are really free…as nobody can argue …what they see

And I am told: Shut the fuck up…dude…get it…you just said it all…
We are the only nation on this planet …blessed with such an abundance of Freedom…. What you want more…. God bless America

Well…. this is what you get …when you squeeze Allen Ginsberg

…Now…let me eat my bagel…
As I love …. my America…

 

Arthritis

— Doug Nelson

All I did was walk every day on vacation.
Now my good doctor tells me I have arthritis in my knee.
Walking, you know, bipedal locomotion?
I had a hominid ancestor who could do that
It was a late Miocene development, so he and I been walking for 6.5 million years.

Well, they say rheumatoid arthritis is my immune system turning on me.
Layers of bone and cartilage built up by my mother’s good cooking,
the bread that built strong bodies twelve ways, boys and girls, and sugar Frosted Flakes,
are sloughing off.
I thought that hiking with a 40-pound pack on the Pacific Crest Trail, and jogging a few miles a week, might be how I could spend my retirement.
Not to be.

The good health I enjoyed for nearly seven decades now
Has just gotten on a Greyhound bus to go back to wherever it came from.
I see a hominid that looks something like me, in my twenties when I stopped shaving for a while,
Looking out the window and grinning at me as the bus drives away,
An opposable thumbs up,
To tell me there’s more to life at my age than walking all day or carrying a backpack.
I’ll try walking shorter distances with a limp.

I’ll recite my rants about aging to my friends,
And they’ll treat me as if its poetry.

Note to Self

— Amy Meier

If the 2016 election process felt as though
a proctologist was reaming through
the dark and fearful places of our country
and ourselves, if you have begun to question
whether an 18 month colonoscopy is really
necessary for our form of democracy,
may I suggest you step outside
where black spotted yellow butterflies
ride highways of air currents through the sky,
where migrating swallows fly a strobe
of light and shadow.
While you accepted voluntary thrall
to 24 hour news do you recall if
you had any direct contact with
the gradual and subtle dawn,
or sunset reflected in a pool,
perhaps, moonlight
on a silent street at night?
Note to self:
the focused lens magnifies
both ugliness and beauty.
There is always a choice.
Choose beauty.

 

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.