Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Let The Games Begin!

—William Bronk

Games are to say what is it, what it is,
who I. We play games because
we don't know. We play to know. What
we play is games. We play knowingly.

Feeling (in the dark, maybe) what is it,
we still don't know what it is: this is it.
It must be. We have a sense of I.
Shall we go outside a minute? Shall we leave the game?


Our Seed of the Week is Games: board games, sports, the head games we play on ourselves and others. Let the games begin!

Coming up this weekend in NorCal poetry:

•••Sunday (3/14), 3-5pm: Dozens of poets from across the state will gather at the Sacramento Poetry Center (1719 25th St., Sacramento) for a celebration of the 45th anniversary of California Poets in the Schools (CPITS). It's a great opportunity to learn about poetry happening in town and throughout California among people of all ages. The year Bruce Springsteen released "Born to Run," color TV began transmitting in Australia, "Saturday Night Live" debuted, and the Vietnam War ended, a group of San Francisco poets who believed in children's creativity started California Poets in the Schools (CPITS), which is still going strong.

Please join 20 CPITS poets and a Poetry Out Loud 2010 winner for an afternoon of innovative poetry from the 45th anniversary anthology, What the World Hears. Free! All ages welcome.

•••Sunday (3/14), 3-5pm: The Poets Club of Lincoln proudly presents member Margaret Bell as guest poet in the Willow Room of the Twelve Bridges Library in Lincoln, sponsored by Friends of the Lincoln Library and Poets Club of Lincoln. Her poetry has appeared on several websites, including the Ghazal Page, Placer County Arts and Medusa’s Kitchen. She has also been published by Brevities, Sacramento Bee, Rattlesnake Review and Poetsespresso. Margaret has had winning poetry entries in the 2008 Voices of Lincoln Poetry Contest, California Federation of Chaparral Poets, Inc. and Bylines Magazine. She hosts a monthly open mic event at the Citrus Heights Barnes & Noble bookstore each 2nd Saturday from 2-3pm (including this Saturday). Open mic to follow; all poets are welcome to read up to three poems. Free.

Two Workshops—

•••Saturday (3/13), 10am-5pm: The Writer As Shaman: Words as a Portal to the Soul, a workshop to be held in Oakland. This is not your ordinary writing class! We won't critique your writing, or do typical writing prompts. Rather, we will practice ways to touch our toes into—or actually bathe in!—the amazing wellspring of creativity that lives in all of us. Exercises throughout the day are designed to open new doorways to contact with yourself and your words—and heal whatever might get in the way of doing so. So, whether you just enjoy writing for yourself, or are a professional writer, this day will open you, inspire you, and rejuvenate you... while also bringing you into community with others who value learning and sharing at this level.

This day will be especially valuable for you:
… If you’re suffering from “writer’s block”…
… If you find yourself struggling with a harsh inner critic or censor…
… If you’re constantly planning to write, but never quite getting to it…
… If you feel stuck on a particular poem, story, essay or other writing project…
… Or if you’d like to use writing as a tool for accessing inner wisdom!

Workshop fee: $75-95, sliding scale; partial scholarships may be available. Please register at www.meetup.com/the-conscious-creator (or call 510/472-4542, or email Ruthpoet@aol.com with questions or to be put on the mailing list for future workshops).

About the Instructor: Ruth L. Schwartz is the author of four award-winning books of poems and a memoir. She publishes frequently in The Sun, is on the faculty of the low-residency M.F.A. program at Ashland University, and has won over a dozen national grants and prizes, including an National Endowment for the Arts Grant, and an Astraea Foundation Award. In addition to her life as a "professional writer," Ruth is also a lifelong explorer of consciousness and healing, with many years of training in shamanism and other wisdom traditions. She has a private practice in psychospiritual healing (www.heartmindintegration.com) and teaches The Writer As Shaman and other workshops nationwide.

•••Thurs. (3/25), 7:30pm: Poetry as a Healing Art: A writing workshop with John Fox. $25. Pre-register with bobstanley@sbcglobal.net/. At the Pop-Up Gallery, 25th and R Sts., Sacramento, matrixarts.blogspot.com

"Poetic Spirit" gathering June 11-13 in Surprise Valley:

Ray and Barbara March write: We are now taking reservations by either e-mail or by calling us at (530) 279-2099. If there are questions you have after giving us a visit at www.surprisevalleywritersconf.blogspot.com, either fire back by e-mail (ramarch@frontiernet.net), call or post a comment.

This event is a first for the Modoc Forum and promises to be exceptional. We invite both writers of poetry and prose to join us in an unusual "cross-over" of genres, communal meals and fireside stories under a full moon.

For those of you who may not know where Surprise Valley is, we invite you take a look at www.modocforum.org where you will find a map and information on our other gathering, the Surprise Valley Writers Conference, Sept. 16-19, 2010.

DADs DESK: A new journal in large type:

Carol Louise Moon is proud to announce the release of Vol. 2 of DADs DESK, an invitation-only journal that is small in size but large in print. Copies will be available at The Book Collector beginning tomorrow night, March 10. Check it out!—and thanks to CLM for a "why" poem:

—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

I asked the man,
Why are you lying on the floor
in this tiny closet?

He said, Because my bones
fit so nicely here.

I asked the man,
Why are you lying on the floor
ion this tiny closet?

He said, To see if
my bones fit nicely here.

I asked the man,
Why are you lying on the floor
of this closet?

Because my wife told me
I had to, and besides
my bones fit nicely.

I asked him again—Why?
He said he thought everyone
had to do what their wife
and their mother told them to do.

I asked the man
why he though his bones
fit so nicely there.

He replied, Don't they?


—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

Sweet-scented lilacs
a wandering bee
tastes of its nectar

A spray of small violets
under an oak tree
a butterfly dances

One frog croaks
then two—then three—
twenty more join
mud-puddle harmony

A stream of black ants
go where they please
a sudden spring rain
takes casualties

A cricket steps out
into the night—ecstatic
chirps for his mate
feeling romantic


—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

We get the message
almost daily, non-stop,
that the cream will rise up
all the way to the top.

Upward mobile,
we strive to be:
that beacon of light
for all to see.

But when we are tested
to donate our blood,
that iron must sink
like boots in soft mud.

So as sure as Summer
will be followed by Autumn,
to be cream of the crop
means your iron hits bottom.


—Carl Bernard Schwartz

My grown kids sit near
with babes in their arms,
all of us fidgeting, squirming,

They know that the first,
and the second,
and the third doctor
all agreed I have just a month to live.

So here we are,
talking about end of life.
Money is not an issue,
certainly not where I’m going.
What can I tell them?

Hearses annoy me:
With all that power under the hood
they should soar, not crawl.
Paint mine bright red and add flame decals.
Pedal to the metal!

Flowers insult me:
they so quickly become garbage.
I’d prefer that someone put a book on my grave.

There’s a treasure of classics
sitting on the shelves
begging to be read
by my children and theirs.

Who are we to presuppose
that we know all that transpires
in the final chapter?

We should open up all the books
and discuss their myriad of facts and opinions
to genuinely elevate our intelligence,
rather than stand them up together and number them
to proudly display their collective spines,
like a stinky fisherman who’s caught the limit.

Give me this one last wish:
Don’t park me in the garage
while my engine is still running.


—David Heiser, Carmichael

In 1927 my parents were married
They bought a house in Wauwatosa
It was the schools my mother said
And hoped that I would exceed 8th grade.

In 1933 my Father lost his job
There was no market for large heavy cranes
The dams and heavy machine shops were all built
The factories were all shutting down.

Mr. Daly, president of our local bank
And the head usher in our church
Said the mortgage payments still had to be paid
“What are we going to do?” my Mother said

The Government was the hero of the day
The house and family was saved by the HOLC
The economy picked up by 1935
And I graduated from kindergarten and was on my way

I contacted an old high school classmate through Facebook
I asked him what was happening this depression cycle
“Wauwatosa schools are fine, Universities doing rather well” he said
“Milwaukee schools, poor scores, poor retention and crisis budget”

I thought to myself, how different this depression is
The foreclosure now comes from, a remote, impersonal entity
No factories open now to employ workers
And California education is all shutting down.


Today's LittleNip:

Look not for the donkey you are sitting on.

—Dao Yuan


—Medusa (with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's blossoms, and here's hoping his stolen car gets recovered!)

Photo by D.R. Wagner