Monday, July 1, 2013

Poets in the 4th of July Parade and Mina Kirby and Beverly Collins on July 28

The Poets Convertible, July 2013

Happy Fourth of July! Poets Laureate of Sunland Tujunga will ride in a Parade in a specially decorated Poetry Convertible. Dorothy Skiles, the 7th Poet Laureate of ST will be the star, accompanied by Marlene Hitt, the first Poet Laureate, Maja Trochimczyk, the sixth, and Joe DeCenzo, the fourth who will serve as the driver.

Look for us along the Foothill Blvd., from Mt. Gleason to Sunland Park. The Parade starts at 10 a.m. Rain or Shine! See some pictures from the previous parades:

Dorothy Skiles, Poet Laureate, 2012


This Fourth of July -
Let’s give a cheer
our town’s
parade is here!
Marching bands,
horseback riders,
carriages, classic cars,
and cycles
all making their way
down the boulevard.
Neighbors greeting,
friends meeting,
flags waving high!
Children giving chase
as fire trucks go by,
spraying the crowds,
cooling them down.
that’s our town!
Star-spangled skies
will surely be alight
for this town will shine
in celebration tonight!
Young folks’, old folks’, all folks’ 
eyes watching darkened skies
for the sights and sounds
of fireworks on jubilant display
on this our nation’s birth holiday!

Dorothy Skiles
©Copyright 2013 by D. Skiles

(Written for Sunland-Tujunga’s 2013 Fourth of July Parade.)

Dorothy Skiles and Joe DeCenzo, Fourth of July, 2012

Who has more stars on the hat? Maja or a donkey?
Marlene Hitt - Poet Laureate of 1999, has ridden with the Little Landers Society and the Bolton Hall Museum volunteers. This is the first year she's riding in the Poets Laureate Convertible. Here's her Fourth of July poem:

America the Beautiful

Purple mountain majesties,ridges lines with houses,
windows on fire with the sun,
plains fruited with lawns, 
beds with all the world's flowers,
strip malls.
Spacious haz-ed skiesdrop onto hillsides.
Ten thousand worlds spin
on city streets
and broken pathways.
Beliefs are slippery 
as brookside moss,
and all the laws begin
to slide downhill
into canyons below.
God shed
with brotherhood...
Death passes freely
through red signals,
killing is for fun
or for initiation.
All the genders dance
to piercing sound
making bird song silent.
Blades of eyes
thrust out in condemnation
as new legends are sung,
the old myths lost somewhere.
Changed words question
the Constitution.
Amber waves of grainstill wave, Wind
still blows, confused,
whirl, oceans warm.
Fractal gods rule in chaos
while the people
hide behind locked doors
or in empty cathedrals
from sea to shining sea.

Marlene Hitt 

Marlene Hitt and Maja Trochimczyk decorate the car for the Fourth of July, 2013.



On July 28, 2013, the last Sunday of the first month of the summer, we will celebrate poetic voices at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga (10110 Commerce Avenue) with two Featured Poets: Mina Kirby and Beverly M. Collins. Both poets have been seen and heard at Village Poets readings and we are looking forward to their presentations. Two segments of Open Mike and Refreshments in a lovely, historic home for poetry in the foothills...


Beverly M. Collins grew up in Westfield, New Jersey, loves amusement parks, music and traveling. Collins applies lessons she learned from Songwriter Guild of America and the National Association of Record Industry Professionals to her poetry. She is the author of the book, "Quiet Observations," and one of the 2012 prize winners for the California State Poetry Society.

Her work has appeared in the California Quarterly, Poetry Speaks! Year of Great Poems and Poets Calendar. (Sourcebooks, Inc.). Beverly Collins often attends many readings around town, has worked with "Poets on Site" and has featured at the Cobalt Cafe, The Talking Stick, "Unbuckled" NoHo Poetry. She is a regular at Barnes and Noble Burbank monthly readings, as well as at The VillagePoets of Sunland-Tujunga Monthly poetry Reading Series.


by Beverly M. Collins

From the tip-top of January
to the bottom of every December,
life is a continuum.
May we remember to remember.

There are no platforms on which we
halt. No arrivals at which we are landing.
There is only continuous movement.
Blend motion into all planning.

Next is a good four letter word that dances
on the tongue and illuminates the playgrounds
of our minds. Next can call loudly or soft
and subtle when it chimes.

Within the cold of winter remember next comes
fragrant flowers of spring. Next reminds us
there is no be-all or end-all to anything.

When riding a high tide or if low tide has one
feeling sadness or perplexed, know true muscle
can be found in how well we just say...Next!

Beverly M. Collins


Mina Kirby is a retired mathematics professor. She has survived a broken washing machine, a broken back and a broken heart, all of which provide rich material for writing poetry and stories. She has for many years been a folk singer and sometimes songwriter. Plagued with health problems in recent years, her writing is part of coming back to life. Mina is the author of several books, including Mathematical Dreams: Songs about Mathematics, a cookbook, and eight chap books. Her poetry has been included in Red Lights (tanka), The San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, and Poetry and Cookies. She has presented her poetry at a number of venues, including Pasadena Art Talk. She lives in Altadena with her husband, daughter, two cats, a pet rat, and too many spiders.

When I Was Me *

by Mina Kirby

When I was me
in bow ribbons
and kittens
and ice cream
I saw spring melt
into a buttercup
and heard symphonies
in wind-wafted trees

When I was me
in turquoise
and breezes
and cartwheels
I ran up the mountain
the sun warm on my face
and caught sparkles
in a flowing brook

When I was me
and pink
and vibrant
I was in love
wanting togetherness
for every minute
and for all time

Where did I go
that long-haired
idealistic girl
who thought
she could absorb
all the tastes
in the universe

What prickly troubles
put obstacles
in my path
changed starry-eyed into ordinary
or did I
caught in whispers
of shifting clouds
just let me slip away

Perhaps one day
when soft rains turn to sunshine
and flowing water
pours over hard rocks
in a small place inside myself
I will find clothed with soft smooth silk
in purple and crimson and gold
the new me

and learn to love her too

A Special Place

by Mina Kirby

It is warm here
Golden rays of sunshine
brighten green fields
fragrant with yellow flowers
The air sparkles
with hums of bees
and chirps of soaring birds
A gentle breeze ruffles my hair
In the distance
are sounds of an ocean’s roar
as it splashes against rocks

I could be here
and today
I could be here in the sun
and the softly falling rain
in the cheerful daylight
and in the velvety darkness

I could be here with you
feel the warmth of your hand in mine
talk until the moon goes down
and stars sparkle in the night sky
We could walk
for miles and miles
absorbing the beauty
surrounding us

I could be here alone
a little sadder
but content
as perhaps
some day
I will
cloaked in sunshine
remembering you

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