Thursday, April 08, 2010

Footprint in the Moon


—Janet Pantoja, Woodinville, WA

elderly father with one—only child
young father with three—twins plus another
both headed in the same direction . . .
. . . the same destination

they decline bit by bit—
one from an unbelievable age of nearly a century
one from an unbelievable and unthinkable disease.

How it will end?
the thought of it . . . too much to bear
the emotion of it . . . too hard to face

One will journey onward before the other—
Which one will it be?

Woe to us—the family—who witness, wonder, wait, weep . . .

Author's father passed on at age 99-1/2, November 23, 2008.
Author's son-in-law continues his battle with melanoma, since 2003.


Thanks to Janet Pantoja for a poem based on our Seed of the Week: Cliffhangers, and to Katy Brown and Charles Bernard Schwartz for the coincidental kitty photos at the bottom of this post, wherein the little demons are both stalking gophers, "cliffhanging" at the edge of holes. Thanks also to Dawn Di Bartolo for a fine set of poems today, as well.

Paul Fericano writes that The Broadsider (An Annual Magazine of Rescued Poems) is now available; see

Did you know that Sacramento has a haiku club? The Central Valley Haiku Club certainly keeps a low profile, but they do meet six times a year, and they have a lovely website with links to all the major haiku magazines. Their next meeting, open to the public, is at the Eastern Empire restaurant, 460 Howe Av., Sacramento, on Saturday, April 17 at 12 noon. Info/map:

Woo-ee-dogies! Lookee all them workshops for you to sharpen up your pencils on! Scroll down to Danyen on the Bulletin Board and check ‘em out! Note that tomorrow (Friday) is the last day to register for the Cosumnes Writers Conference on April 24 (916-808-5462) and for the Pleasanton Poetry, Prose and Arts Festival, to be held April 17-18. Go to for info on the latter. (That’s the same weekend as the Sac. Poetry Center Writing Conference, by the way.)

More workshops:

•••Tuesdays, April 20 to June 8, 6-9:15pm: Poetry Writing and Translation Workshop with William O'Daly, UCD Extension, at the Sutter Square Galleria, 2901 K St., Sacramento. The course will focus on the generating and constructive critiquing of participants’ poetry, supported by readings in the anthology, A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry, edited by Czeslaw Milosz, and in The Art of the Poetic Line, by James Longenbach. Info: U.C. Davis Extension website, click on “Poetry and Translation Workshop” for a course description and other information:

•••Jane Hirschfield: Entering the Mind of Poetry will be the last workshop in Rae Gouirand's 2010 Writer-in-Residence series at Cache Creek Nature Preserve. Rae writes: This group will consider not just Hirschfield's poems but also her writings on poetry, and examine the truth behind her statement that "No matter how carefully we read or how much attention we bring to bear, a good poem can never be completely entered, completely known. If it is the harvest of true concentration, it will know more than can be said in any other way." While we'll be observing the same organizing principles we usually do (the first hour of class devoted to discussion, the second hour to independent work on the Preserve site), there will be official homework and reading between class sessions (some of which will be self-assigned by the participants). This ten-week workshop will meet Thursday mornings 10am-noon, April 22-June 24, in the gorgeous outdoor classroom at Cache Creek Nature Preserve in northwest Woodland. Registrants are asked to make a donation in support of the workshop to the Preserve at the first week of class, and will need to purchase a copy of Hirschfield's Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry (additional purchase of her individual volumes of poetry is recommended though not required). To register: email with your name, contact email, and phone number. Early registration is strongly advised.

•••Creative Nonfiction is Rae Gouirand's year-round writing workshop open to writers working in all genres and at all levels of experience: Here we examine the lessons of contemporary essaying for what they have to teach us about voice, story, investigation, and truth. As a group we read a variety of nonfiction sources. We talk about craft, structure, and process. We lend encouragement to one another's individual projects, whether those are singular essays or growing book-length works. This workshop is designed to inspire new thinking, new approaches, and ongoing efforts; I am very proud that it has become a centralizing and stabilizing force for many area writers' creative lives, and that this group draws such a diverse pool of talents. The summer session meets Sunday nights 7-9pm (there will be a second section from 4-6pm if overenrollment is an issue), May 2-August 29, and will meet in private homes in Davis. This is a much longer session than usual (18 weeks) and will allow for real immersion, a broader reading list, and more flexibility in the workshop schedule. Course fee $300 before April 18th, $325 after. The reading list for the session will be finalized in the next couple of weeks, but will draw from Mark Doty's memoir, Heaven's Coast, Jo Ann Beard's collection, The Boys of My Youth, Annie Dillard's For The Time Being, Brenda Miller's collection, The Blessing of the Animals, Margaret Atwood's book of fictional essays, The Tent, and one or more travel narratives TBD. If you'd like to register, email Rae at and she'll forward you the official registration form to fill out and return. Early registration is strongly advised.


what a girl wants
—Dawn Di Bartolo, Citrus Heights

if I caught you
by the small hairs of your desire
and spun you ‘round my
skillful fingers…

or by the wisp of a secret
whispered from the tip
of liquored tongue,

I did offer you
seduction on the cusp
of an auburn sunset and
kissed you with longing lips.

if I caught you
by the promise of
subtle presumption,
forgive me;

desire is a moment,
but I’ve a lifetime
of want.


what do you see?
—Dawn Di Bartolo

once bare trees
in opposing degrees of bloom

dying grasses
awkwardly reborn

birds perched
at every high peak, singing

pink, yellow and deep reds ~
roses awakening

blue sky bruising
the image of cement streets

look again…

painted toes, skirts and
exposed flesh,

skin’s inclination
toward sweat, sex

reparations for
unforgiving storms

unashamed sprinkler-
mist dancing

in the nakedness of spring…

and now…what do you see?

dandelions and poppies
emulating the sun

bees and other flying things happily
praising the change in season

windows open,
allowing the breeze

white tipped wings
kited above the treetops

smiles and neighborly waves
shedding the briskness of winter

I see again,
the tangle of time repeating…


—Dawn Di Bartolo

my horoscope told me that
I might be a wee-bit too attached to

some “idea”…some “gadget”…some

but I’m still wearing
his scent…

he is…all of that…he is

a means to a
contented end…

I am attached
to the concept of…

like too much wine…

and not enough…
any drug; I am

the ecstasy of …

that I make

when full…
the body

can be so,
and soul-empty

…like…all of that…


running full speed in slow motion
—Dawn Di Bartolo

being “busy”
as an excuse for thinness…

when you’ve spread yourself so,
and what will make you full again?

as every woman does,
we exist in full sprint;

this race is not won
by posturing, but

by the standard/consistency in which
you reach each checkpoint.

my dear, we all run,
and arrive in equal levels

of fatigue. so, I say,
without the weight of

demonizing the breeze
as your own personal hell,

make time to feel…
the wind whip by,

your hair in racing stripes
behind you.


no one said a word
—Dawn Di Bartolo

my father talked of stars
rather than brave the human

my mother always talked around me
as if I were not there…
a reflection of her indiscretions;

gramps talked of knowing
one’s specific place in the sky,
while grandma spoke only
the language of yes ~

I heard her finally breathing
after gramps passed on.

but I never heard stories
about the trees; no one told me
they had arms, high and low
branches to snag in my nappy hair ~
I found that out on my own.


Today's LittleNip:

I can see my footprint in the moon like fine grainy particles.

—Neil Armstrong



(top photo by Katy Brown, bottom by Carl Bernard Schwartz)