Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Speed Dating at the Library

Shawn Aveningo

—Shawn Aveningo, Rescue

I’m entranced.
The world beyond our flesh
Green iris all but vanishes,
my pupil
on a single drop of

I witness its birth
emerging from hairline,
its adolescence
as it travels
from forehead
to the tip of your nose,
its escape,
leap to my cheek
where it rolls
softly as I turn my head,
interrupting its passage
to taste the salt
of your love.


Thanks, Shawn! Shawn Aveningo grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, but has lived throughout various areas of the United States and Germany. For the past 14 years she has called Rescue, CA her home where she and her husband have raised their three children, a son and identical twin daughters now all in college. Through the years she has enjoyed diverse careers in software development, consulting, sales and real estate, as well as volunteered in the local schools and her community. Most recently her muse has been inspired by the experience of donating a kidney to her father.

Shawn was recently voted one of the Best Poets in the 2009 Sacramento News & Review Reader Poll. You can see more of her work in Rattlesnake Review, WTF, PoetryNow, Survivor’s Review, POETZ, Medusa’s Kitchen, or catch her at Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café and various featured performances throughout the state. She has also published three collections of poetry: She Has Something to Say, Stripped and Because Red Is Your Favorite Color. See "Chow for the Noodle" over on Medusa's bulletin board for more info about ordering Shawn's latest book, and see Poet-to-Poet for her website.

Speed Dating at the Library!

•••Tues. (2/16), 6:30-7:45 PM: Library Speed Dating at Sac. Public Library Franklin Branch, 10055 Franklin High Rd., Elk Grove! Looking for a literate love interest? Tired of meeting bozos at bars? Try Speed Dating with a twist: bring a book you love or hate as a talking point for your 5-minute speed dates. Join us for this free dating meet-up for ages 18 and up. Free, but registration required at ow.ly/WbMn; limited to 15 men and 15 women. Info: sacramento365.com/event/detail/43243/Library+Speed+Dating or 916-264-2920. [See also the article in today's Sacramento Bee.]

A similar event for same-sex meetings will be held at the Tsakopolous Galleria West Meeting Room on Saturday, Feb. 13 from 7-9 PM; 818 I St., Sacramento, limited to 20 men and 20 women. Must be 21 or older. To register: ow.ly/TtIn

I don't know why, but the concept of speed dating fascinates me: the way it relies so heavily on first impressions, instant connections, "love" at first sight. Let's make that the Valentine's Day Seed of the Week: Speed Dating. Too tough? Expand it then to the whole courtship process: asking for dates, first dates, blind dates, broken dates. Send the fruits of your love-labors to kathykieth@hotmail.com. No deadline on SOWs.

Coming up at Matrix Arts:

•••Friday (Feb. 12, 26) MatrixArts Review: A series of stand-alone workshops on every aspect of arts and fine craft– drawing, painting, altered art, assemblage, BookArts, collage, mixed media, mono-prints, doll making, puppetry, sculpture, and jewelry. Just drop in. We provide all the materials, some suggestions on how to use them, and you create work that can go straight up on our walls. Or you can bring art supplies from home or purchase one of our art kits. Different theme announced in advance for each session or you could do your own thing. $15/10 MatrixArts members.

•••Saturday (2/13): Second Saturday Reception: Pop-Up Gallery @R25, Collected Works and Jewelery Show: Every month we feature emerging and established regional, national or international artists. March is Poems-for-All, hosted by Richard Hansen. April will be New Works/New Voices. If you’re interested in participating, contact us at matrixarts@comcast.net.

•••Sunday (2/14) 1 PM: THE THREEPENNY OPERA: Mack the Knife & Jenny Diver show you what happens when the Banks get richer and the poor get poorer in this 1928 Musical by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. $12 group tickets through MatrixArts for this performance. We’ll meet at 1 PM for some bubbly and snacks.

All programs held at MatrixArts@R25, the arts and cultural center in Midtown Sacramento, 1719 25th Sts., between Q and R. For more information contact: matrixarts@comcast.net, matrixarts.blogspot.com, or 916-454-4988, 916-768-6077. Drop-ins welcome. All programs are stand-alone. R.S.V.P.’s encouraged but not required. Many programs are suitable for mature teens. We accept cash, checks, MC, VISA, AMEX.

New from Lummox Press:

Publisher R.D. Armstrong writes: I'm pleased to announce that the first book out of the chute in 2010 is DRIVE BY — Shards & Poems by John Bennett. If you are at all familiar with John's "shards" then you'll be pleased to know that this is the largest selection that has been printed to date; nearly 140 pages worth! Not to mention all the kick-ass poetry. You can order a copy of DRIVE BY through lummoxpress.com for $15 plus shipping. If you'd like to get a signed copy, you must order it through Lummox. It will be available on Amazon soon. While you’re looking at Lummox, by the way, check out the online Lummox Journal, especially lummoxpress.com/journal/j003/wellingham-jones.php for a fine interview of Snake Pal and Rattlechapper Patricia Wellingham-Jones.

Make Valentines and Poetry!

Step back in time February 1 through 28 with the Sacramento History Museum! Experience the wonders of Sacramento's past while making your very own Victorian-style Valentine Card & Poem. All weekend craft activities are free with admission to the museum: Members FREE; Adults (18+) $5; Youth (6-17) $4; Children (0-5) FREE. Sacramento History Museum, 101 I St., Sacramento. Hours: Wed-Sun 10 AM-4:30 PM. Info: 916-808-7059 or sachistorymuseum.org


—Shawn Aveningo

I could feel him all around
the room. I could practically see
him, just as clearly as I saw my
grandmother, weeks, years
after her passing, standing at
the foot of my bed, whispering
her wisdom in my ear.

I could detect the scent of
grass, moist from the morning
dew on a cool spring dawn,
just as clearly as I could
smell her signature scent,
spritz of Youth Dew mixed
with Aqua Net securing her
blue bun in place.

I could hear his words echo
from the pages parading on
bookshelves, louder than
his contemporaries, shouting
his musings, his beliefs,
his fears, his longing, the same
way I could hear her tales
growing up as a gypsy.

I could feel his electricity,
pulsing through my veins
alongside my blood, red
and identical to his, my neighbor
and stranger. It felt as strong,
as warm as her tender embrace
the last time she remembered
my name.

Yes, Walt Whitman, your spirit
indeed swirls among us, just the
way you intended it to be.


—Shawn Aveningo

Merely a name
on a long,
long list.
No tally of trespassings,
mistakes made,
record of kindnesses rendered.
Naughty or nice
not applicable, here.
Vitals, prognosis, risk,
factors that value
one life over another,
victims of circumstance,
happen chance,
and disease.

Reaper pealing chimes of death.
Faceless hero claiming his wings.
Mercy bestowed in grace,
an unselfish gift from the grave
to a stranger.

We wait. We wait.
Our hearts heavy
for the mourners,
as our brother rises
one notch higher on the list,
one death closer
to life.


—Shawn Aveningo

(inspired by article about a man
and his daughter reunited,
Sac. Bee, Jan. 29, 2010)

He’s like a tiny ship,
a scrolled message
a sea, trapped in
the confines of a glass
bottle, and now his only
companion. Over rocks,
his soul stirred, shaken,

Absinthe or rye, pick
your poison to propel
the pattern of pain, numb,
pain, numb, the pain, numb
the pain, ‘til no one

Every last bit of hope,
dignity, desire, drive
gone. One
hand of a stranger
upon his shoulder,
reaching out offering
a warm embrace, warm
food, and a warm place
to rest the tired bones
of the forgotten.

One stranger setting
the ship a sail, uncorking
the bottle, answering
the S.O.S. One man
opening the door
for another, the door
to a new tomorrow,
the door back to his
daughter, back
to his life.


Today's LittleNip:

—A.R. Ammons

How does the pot pray:
wash me, so I gleam?

prays, crack my enamel:
let the rust in.