Open-Mic Readers, January 2017

Jerry Dyer “Poetry Works”
Clysta Seney “Old Pond”
Keith Emmons “Moondrifter 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

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.

 

Aftermath

— 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 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.