Monday, February 08, 2010

Get You Anything?

What can I get you folks?

—Paul Lojeski, Port Jefferson, NY

It’s like any steakhouse: dark woods,
low light, leather booths, smell of burning
meat. Waitress in green skirt, white blouse,
bored smile, tapping pad with pencil, what
can I get you folks? Early Bird Special, please.

Place packed with slow shuffling rustle of last
waltz dancers from Sun City where Apaches
once rode now golf and basket weaving
for fading pharmacists, teachers, and salesmen
just wanting to die warm, snug as bugs in a rug.


This week's NorCal poetry menu:

(for a more complete listing, go to

•••Monday (2/8), 6 & 7:30 PM: Yuyutsu RD Sharma presents A Himalayan Poem Workshop (6-7:30 PM) and a reading at 7:30 PM. Workshop and reading are free. Sacramento Poetry Center, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento. Info: [See last Friday's post for bio.]

•••Tuesday (2/9), 12:30-2 PM: Yuyutsu RD Sharma will give a reading and a Poetry and Photography Workshop on the UCD campus, 126 Voorhies. Reading and workshop are free.

•••Tues. (2/9), 6 PM: Second Tuesday Poetry Series at the Barkin’ Dog Grill, 940 11th St., Modesto (come early for dinner), featuring Gerald Fleming and Tom Myers. Gerald Fleming has had work appear in many literary magazine over the past 30 years. The recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, from 1995 to 2000 he edited and published the literary magazine, Barnabe Mountain Review. A recently retired teacher from the San Francisco public school system, Gerald has written three books for teachers. He is also the author of Swimmer Climbing onto Shore (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2005) and the forthcoming Night of Pure Breathing (Hanging Loose Press, 2011). Tom Myers has long been active in the Modesto poetry scene. Much of his poetry is inspired by the natural landscapes of the Central Valley. He has had poems published in hardpan, Quercus Review, Rattlesnake Review, California Federation of Chapparal Poets, and Stanislaus Connections, and is the author of the chapbook, The Lost Language of Birds. Open mic (sign-ups that night): Read work of your own or work you love that’s by someone else. Info:

•••Tues. (2/9), 1:30 PM: Finals for the El Dorado County Poetry Out Loud competition will be held at Imagination Theater on the El Dorado County Fairgrounds, 100 Placerville Dr. in Placerville. Info: Moira at or the El Dorado Arts Council at To learn more about Poetry Out Loud, go to

•••Tues. (2/9), 6:30-8:30 PM: S.O.S. (Slam-or-Stage) Open Mic at Empresso Coffeehouse, 1825 Pacific Avenue, Stockton. Info: or or 209-941-0782.

•••Weds. (2/10), 7:30 PM: The Snake salutes the Tiger: Tiger's Eye Press will visit The Book Collector in Sacramento; Co-Editors Colette Jonopulos and JoAn Osborne will read, and the Tiger will release a new chapbook by Kathy Kieth (Emily and the High Cost of Living). That's 7:30 PM, 1008 24th St., Sacramento. Be there!

•••Wednesday (2/10), 12:30-2:30 PM: Yuyutsu RD Sharma Reading from 12:30-1 PM, and a Travel Poem Workshop from 1-2:30 PM in the Summit Room, 3rd Floor, University Union, Cal State University, Sacramento.

•••Weds. (2/10): Deadline for early registration for Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness. Split This Rock (March 10-13) invites poets, writers, artists, activists, dreamers, and all concerned world citizens to Washington, DC, for poetry, community building, and creative transformation as our country continues to grapple with two wars, a crippling economic crisis, and other social and environmental ills. The festival will feature readings, workshops, panel discussions, youth programming, film, parties, and activists—opportunities to speak out, make common cause, imagine a way forward, and celebrate the many ways that poetry can act as an agent for social change. Featuring these visionary voices and many others: Chris Abani, Lillian Allen, Sinan Antoon, Francisco Aragón, Jan Beatty, Martha Collins, Cornelius Eady, Martín Espada, Andrea Gibson, Allison Hedge Coke, Natalie Illum, Fady Joudah, Toni Asante Lightfoot, Richard McCann, Jeffrey McDaniel, Lenelle Moïse, Nancy Morejón, Mark Nowak, Wang Ping, Patricia Smith, Arthur Sze, Quincy Troupe, and Bruce Weigl. Register today! Rates rise February 10. Details at

•••Thursday (2/11), 7:30 PM: “What is This Thing Called Love?” Poetry Fest! In conjunction with exhibition of paintings by Raphael Delgado, featuring poet Hannah Jones, Michael Collet and Electropoetic Coffee. La Raza Galería Posada, 1022-1024 22nd St., Sacramento. Donation: $3. Info: or 916-446-5133.

•••Sat. (2/13), 2 PM: Citrus Heights Area Poets present Bob (“Pinky”) Neilson at Barnes & Noble Bookstore on Sunrise Blvd. in Citrus Heights. Open mic. Free.

•••Sat. (2/13), 1 PM: Song of the San Joaquin Poetry Quarterly (Vol. VII, No. 1) will be read at the McHenry Museum, 1402 “I” St., Modesto. Poets in the book include Carol and Laverne Frith of Sacramento, Don and Elsie Feliz of Sacramento, Modesto Poet Laureate Ed Bearden and Roberta Bearden, nancee kinkaid maya of Patterson, Fredrik Zydek of Omaha, Nebraska, Chad Sokolovsky of Modesto, V.J. Vogelzang of Modesto, Rene Hargrove of New York, Lyn Lifshin of Niskayuna, N.Y. and Virginia, Connie Post, Poet Laureate Emeritus of Livermore, Nancy Fowler of Port Angeles, Washington, plus many more. Free. Open Mike to follow. Light refreshments. Info: Cleo Griffith, or (209) 543-1776.

•••Sunday (2/14), 2-4 PM: Lincoln Poetry Club features members published by ShortReads Press: Jack Fabian, David Anderson, Stephen Sterling, Jacob Williams, Barb Lackovic, Molly Williams, Bonnie Dunlap, Lisa Augustine, Evelyn Stecher, Shirley Russell, Cleo Kocol and Sue Clark. Lincoln Poets Club, the Willow Room, 12 Bridges Library, 485 12 Bridges Dr., Lincoln. Info: 916-434-9226 or Free. Sponsored by the Friends of the Lincoln Library.


—Paul Lojeski

The Ambassador’s cables made clear American Afghan
Policy a disaster but Pres laughed with Generals
And troops rolled for Permanent War new
Mantra of Bankrupt Empire spitting
Blood, falling slowly into red sun.
Another generation Sacrificed
By Predators. A thousand
years of Death shall not
slake their


—Paul Lojeski

I can’t tell time anymore.
It’s the numbers on clocks,
right? See, I don’t get those.
I don’t get the day divided
into numbers; no, back up,

I don’t get the concept
of quantity called day.
Wait, go back more,
7 days designated
into something called

a week, on to 4 of those
defined as a month to 12
of them being a year etc.
And forget about hours,
minutes, and seconds,

speaking of which, I’m
staring at the second hand
of my watch right now,
gliding in its sealed circle,
the circle of time. What?


—Paul Lojeski

Man, pinched face, bearded
wiry scruff clawed
at life.

Cities burned, he packed.
Hair on fire, he moved

Disappointments are legion,
he thought, buildings
in flames.

And the waitress scribbled: two
eggs, whole wheat toast.


—Paul Lojeski

I Elephant stand in lovely sun,
in glory of my old friend’s heat,
in shelter of sky’s blue roof,
in love of family, but, oh, here
come the hunters.

Today's LittleNip:

I have often wondered why music was such an essential part of my life... I cannot live constantly in the scientific realm. I need the change to other approaches offered by music and the other arts. There is a saying, "In the morning I turn from mystery to reality, in the evening I return from reality to mystery." We need such differing approaches—Niels Bohr's complementarity—as we sometimes need to turn to the other side in bed in order to get comfortable.

—Victor Weisskopf