Moon Drifter Reader

Keith Emmons

Long morning. We are on the edge
of the long morning. We are only a few
who see the dawn; our voices rise
as the great round ball of fire,
the great warming yellow globe,
caring not
for our small follies, caring not
if we aid one another
if we feed one another,
feed off one another,
if we eat each other.
For the sun rises and falls, as the tides
rising and falling,
bring the sea toward the shore,
then draw it back into itself,
the light revolving with the darkness.

If we love one another,
if we hate one other, nothing cares,
for there is nothing to care,
nothing to care,
the curlew peeps in the air,
the slow worm presses the dumb sod aside,
the crab scuttles sideways
inside his bony world.

The curlew peeps. The pilings
imperceptibly crumble into the mud.
Day by day the sea anemone
swaying their ghost-white arms, their jelly-tube hair,
waving as the moon sighs high, as the heron
swoops down on silent gray arms, as deer
nervously sniffle the air,
wondering if they dare trespass from the hills,
past land-humans in square-eyed boxes,

down to the bayside tule,
startling the heron
standing with his still silhouette.

We are the silent dawn unheard in books,
unread in papers, lost in radios,
caring not for wires and gasoline games.

We are a small people, two-legged, four-legged,
with fur feathers and skin;
we are a small and timid folk
on the edge of a huge and “civilized” noise.

We are moon-watchers.  Silently
we be unto ourselves, retreating . . . unto ourselves.
Hearing the earth-eating engines approach,
we back off, unto ourselves, sharing eyes, side-looks,
with ourselves, backing amongst ourselves,
we who see we mean one another no harm,
who see we mean not to thieve from one another
nor from the Mother we share.

And where we are fools
and crush one another,
we hope to learn a greater wisdom,
a greater gentleness,
that we may know before it’s too late,
if we crush our gentle brother
we crush ourselves.

Here we have the cast-off rubble of things,
in the field of fennel, on the cove,
the hutches, the hovels,
the houseboats and homes, men and women
young, old, but strong and daring –
daring to be themselves! –
daring to raise their children
as they are –
not as the outer world
wants them to be.
We take the cast-off rubble of things,
we take the leavings
that belong to no one –
to no one but Earth, and to those
who live on what Earth freely gives,
and deprives no one when we take it,
like the sunrise we all use
with no lessening for others.

Here again is the teepee sprouting from earth,
the sweat lodge,
the smoking tent for fish
given by the sea.

Here are gardens with the set-in seed,
the magic of pumpkin, squash, and corn,
of green sproutings leaping from Earth,
chickens earnestly scratching,
seeking the white grub under brown leaves,
running in panic before the goat
bleating with a mouthful of ripped-up grass.

The goat gives milk, the chicken
gives the egg, the earth the tomato,
the fish the sea as the horizon
gives us dawn each day.



— Barbara Saxton


How I wish it would rain–
buckets and rivers and seas:
all this confounded sun, this fair air
so unseemly.

Make no mistake: The world changed
overnight. Or maybe trapped rats
started stinking more openly,
our best BandAids overwhelmed
by the pus of long-festering sores. 

Oh, you want “real change,” do you?
You think careless throws
of the dice at casino felt tables
will actually help you? You crave apology,
need compensation…for what grievance, exactly?
Have you been enslaved, unjustly deported,
profiled, perhaps groped by your boss?
Is it our fault you chose to stay on board
leaky ships that were already sinking?

Do you think demi-gods, knights
in rusty brown armor will save you?
I’ve seen you, back-slapping each other
and crowing in red baseball hats.
But guess what? He only wanted to win,
then feather his comb-over cap
with the tears of our children.

God, why doesn’t it rain? Maybe I’ll go out
in the sunlight to plant late fall seedlings.
Sugar peas will shoot up from the soil in a week,
as if nothing has happened.  

My harvest feeds needs
for the simplest solutions. 

The Great American Lullaby

— Eike Waltz

When Rex means King and T is a Trump you may well know …its Tweety what I mean
The Great American Lullaby Tweet Slam
Lullaby…Lullaby…T-Rex will be inaugurated… hush baby… it’s time to lullaby
Lullaby…Lullaby…T-Rex will be inaugurated… some are happy… and some do cry

Lullaby…Lullaby…T-Rex will be inaugurated… hush baby… it’s time to lullaby
Lullaby…Lullaby…T-Rex will be inaugurated… you bet… the American dream is finally dead

Lullaby…Lullaby…T-Rex will be inaugurated… hush baby… it’s time to lullaby
Lullaby…Lullaby…T-Rex will be inaugurated… oh God…a swamp monster American… Camelot

Lullaby…Lullaby…T-Rex will be inaugurated… hush baby… it’s time to lullaby
Lullaby…Lullaby…T-Rex will be inaugurated… all done… the king will grab your pussy… oh what fun

Lullaby…Lullaby…T-Rex will be inaugurated… hush baby… it’s time to lullaby
Lullaby…Lullaby…T-Rex will be inaugurated… big breasted mum… keep pumping milk… the king needs every warrior son
Lullaby…Lullaby…T-Rex will be inaugurated… hush baby… it’s time to lullaby
Lullaby…Lullaby…T-Rex will be inaugurated… his twitter will make America so Great Again

Lullaby…Lullaby…T-Rex will be inaugurated… hush baby… it’s time to lullaby
Lullaby…Lullaby…T-Rex will be inaugurated… great… for the Great T… God on his knees serving
his royal T… as he will tweet… coming days… of infamy

Lullaby…Lullaby…T-Rex will be inaugurated… hush baby… it’s time to lullaby
Lullaby…Lullaby…T-Rex will be inaugurated… and just in case… he’d like da punch you in da face

Lullaby…Lullaby…T-Rex has been inaugurated… hold your breath… after all… it was constipation day.
Lullaby…Lullaby…T-Rex has been inaugurated… hush my baby… hush… eventually… like all of us… he too has to die… say no more….kiss kiss…bye bye….it was such a bully of a day…….time… to pray…
After all… it’s that annoying persistent… twitter, twitter…tweet, tweet, tweet …and my so boring lullaby repeat
and if I repeat this… one more time…This boring… awful rhyme…will be the most shitty tweet… of mine


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.

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 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.

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

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”

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 with the corrected information.

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 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