Clap for Tinkerbell

— Amy Meier

Poor and black becomes drug addicted criminal,

young male refugee becomes terrorist recruit.

self-fulfilling prophesy becomes reality,

also called the Tinkerbell Effect for extra irony.

Yet I have heard there’s never been an audience that

sat on its cynical hands to watch poisoned Tinkerbell die.

The audience always claps, Tink is always saved, and we know why.

Have you ever seen a young child cry

just because another child was crying?

Ever caught an infectious laugh?

We are all born attached. We remain connected,

continue to hope for understanding by at least

one other person, continue to wish for happy endings.

These days, with fairy dust in short supply, Tinkerbell

weakened by that slick old trick, divide and conquer,

it’s tempting to allow our disconnect to widen the divide.

Threat or promise, if self-fulfilling prophesy comes true

because we expect it to, for my part, I promise

to find people whose understanding is so far from mine,

I hesitate to share even the same air as though it might be poisoned.

I promise to take a deep breath, open the dialogue,

keep the conversation going, rediscover

how underneath the attitudes, the insults and the rhetoric,

we are deeply and irrevocably connected each to the other.


Note: Self-fulfilling prophesy Urban Dictionary definition:Causing something to happen by believing it will come true.


A Poem Will Do

— Nick Butterfield

He said, I’m grateful for the kindness of a stranger

who’s quick action cleared my airway from a gristled

piece of meat when nothing else had worked.

Now, 100 years old, he said, I am not always happy,

It’s about 50/50 now. I am happy when I can get it out,

what’s inside of me. Memories that lay heavy, in need a

Heimlich maneuver.

He said when I was a kid, I listened to Franklin Roosevelt

on our banister after dinner. He said, he had no fear of war

and was always a bit larger then life.

Listening to someone now is like listening to Jazz, or a

foreign language, or a ‘Sunday in Purgatory.’

What saves my life  isn’t my poems, its the kindness of strangers

who know how to listen.

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 with the corrected information.

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.

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 with the corrected information.


— 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.

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

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”

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 with the corrected information.

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 with the corrected information.

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.

If my flowers could speak
They would tell me to sit
Down and have a chat.

I have spoken to them
Many times pouring out
My heart as I tend to
Their care.

Do you ever wonder
Where the saying comes
From “Stop and smell the

They know the magic
Of taking time to
Recognize the beauty.

They do not feel that
The world is broken,
Only want to share
Their beauty.

I am inspired by many
Healing them on paper,
Healing the world on


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.”


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.


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 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.

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”

Open Mic Readers, April 2016

Willow Glen Public Library was the scene of the yearly tribute to National Poetry Month. True to the tradition of the Willow Glen Poetry Project’s celebration of Poetry Month, all of the participating poets read a poem of their own and a poem by a poet they admire.

As usual, corrections are welcome

Dennis Richardson “Bodhisattva,” by Sarah Arnio and “Something New For Spring”
Andre Reynolds “The Author to Her Book,” by Anne Bradstreet, and “Summernight”
Joel Katz “Double View of the Adirondacks,” by Major Jackson, and “Concert”
Jim Russo “The World is a Beautiful Place,” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and “Don’t Shoot”
Dave Eisbach “Touch Me,” by Stanley Kunitz, and “An Act of Kindness”
Casey FitzSimons “Sacrifice,” by Joseph Zaccardi, and “Bee, Bowl, Box, Boat”
Jerry Dyer “Empty Cathedral,” by Franz Wright, and “One Bell”
Diane Moomey “Sonnet 43,” by Edna St. Vincent Millay, and “Sonnet 43 and a half”
Steven Rodgers “Life: Part I,” by Emily Dickinson, and “Dust Machines”
Judith Schallberger “Los Ninos,” by Cecilia Woloch, and “Monarch Butterfly”
Renée Schell “won’t you celebrate with me,” by Lucille Clifton, and “Sparrows”
Jeffrey Leonard “When Father Played Baseball,” by Edgar Guest, and “Peasant Dance,” by Laurence Snydal
Sandip Bhattacharya “The Lesson of the Moth,” by Don Marquis, and his translation of a poem by Gulzar
Larry Hollist “Eletelephony,” by Laura E. Richards, and “My Beloved Sister Nancy”
Valerie Kochelman “In Praise of My Sister,” by Wanda Symborska, and “Another Morning, Another Day”
Pushpa MacFarlane “Wind in the Box,” by Terence Hayes, and “Porchlight”
Charles Albert “Mist of the Morning,” by Baudelaire, and “LA Dawn”
Karen Franzenburg “Haiku,” by Basho, and “Ice Plants Dress the Cliff”
Nick Butterfield “Border Bus,” by Juan Felipe Herrera, and “Saving Lives”
Christine Richardson “Saturday at the Border,” by Hayden Carruth, and “Wanting to Write a Villanelle for my Father”


Open-Mic Readers, March 2016


Nancy Meyer “Dear Moma, my Weathervane”
Vicki Harvey Untitled
Lesa Medley “Uncle Jerry”
Leslie Hoffman “Rudy Bridge”
Andrew Reynolds “I Must Go to the Sea”
Janet Trenchard “The Two Things”
Stephanie Pressman “Hawk”
Jeffrey Leonard two 19th C. Irish poets: John Boyle O’Reilly and W.B. Yeats
Barbara Saxton “Refugees”
Peter Carroll “March Madness”
Katherine Wilson “Ultimatum”
Pushpa MacFarlane “The Labyrinth”
Dave Eisbach “Tap, tap, tap”
Doug Nelson “Predation”
Karen Franzenburg “Irish”
Larry Hollist “Spring and Fall”
Amy Meier “Preserve the Nation”
Clysta Seney “Japanese Flower Arrangement,” by June Hayashi
Dennis Richardson “Nature and Regrets”
Tim Callan “Puppet Show”
Renée Schell “To My Red-Haired Mother”
Sathvik Nair “Double Identity”
Richard Burns “I Want to Hear You”
Tim Rimel “Grace”
Christine Richardson “When Nouns Are Forced to Flee”

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


— Doug Nelson

As I did when I was younger,
I checked my equipment, its condition and its operation,
the deception of choice was chosen
and I ran through the checklist of the skills I’d not used in five years.

I carefully tied a hook with feathers bound and glued to it
Onto a gossamer spider’s thread
With not just any knot, but the right improved clinch knot
And with a twitch of the wispy rod’s tip
I sent it out onto the water.

False casts are when you tilt the rod back in your wrist, and
let the line elongate behind you
and with just the right motion (it’s all in the wrist)
You send it out away from you, as many times as you need
to place it ever so gently
atop the surface tension and floating pollen.

When my dad’s friend, Alston, taught me how to fish,
he laughed as I flailed around with my whole arm.
He said, “Do this, keep your elbow down on your knee and just use your wrist.

As I sat at the army’s radio or filled sandbags,
as I fished in my in my near sleep
I used just my wrist.

Today, drifting with the tide in a johnboat on a creek off the Chickahominy
I placed the fly, every time, right by the log, right in the little pool, sliding it off the lily pad.

The breeze on my face like her kiss,
the darting of swallows low over the water,
the clarinet trill of a redwing blackbird
and the fecund scent of the mud of marshes
brought me up short.

I am alive.

I left the bream, the bass who eats them, and the catfish who eats everything else
to feed, to spawn, to swim and to live
In peace.
I reeled in my line and put the rod down on the boat seats.
I was done.