Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year 2012!

The Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga wish everyone everywhere, especially all the poets and poetry lovers, a wonderful and creative New Year 2012. This is the year of "Black Water Dragon" according to the Chinese calendar. It is also the year that the end of the world is supposed to come, if you want to believe the prophecies.

For some, it will be the end, for others, a new beginning. In any case, enjoy the poetry from our group and we hope to see you at the Village Poets readings at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga (on Commerce Avenue, hard to miss!) The next reading is on January 22, 2012, at 4:30 p.m., featuring our very own, whimsical and surprising Justin Kibbe. More information will follow next week.

New Years Eve

One new minute - just cause
to go off to meet another, a minute
murmuring ‘happy new moment’,
yes, but too quickly for my ear.
All those moments flying by
since Time was declared. Time,
moments that fell into the labeled
rhythm of hours and ages.
We wish “happy” to the new year,
happy party, happy cheers!
Happy kisses, happy years!
happy new, happy hope...
Year light, year bright,
I wish the wish I wish this night.
I wish I may, I wish I might
have the wish I wish tonight.

© 2001 by Marlene Hitt (12/22/01)

New Year’s Eve 2012

Midnight -

All eyes watch the clock
as fireworks fill the skies,
and bells ring, crowds sing
“Auld Lang Syne.”
Some, eager to start anew,
others are wistful or blue,
yet each finds a space,
with a kiss or embrace to
welcome in the New Year!

© Copyright 2011 by D. Skiles (December 27, 2011)

A Joyous New Year

Did the sun look any different
When you rose to turn the page
Of the callous book of time
That tends to promise a new age?
Did the tolling of one midnight
Pardon any prior sin
That the spirit could attest to
When the dawn was ushered in?
Did the glass reflect an image
Not unlike the day before
Or refine the soul’s complexion
Not considering the core?
For the coming of the solstice
Alters nothing from within,
And with only introspection
Can new countenance begin.
While a dropping crystal ball
May prove an elegant display
Can it equal any moment --
Any hour of the day,
We both welcome and avail
Ourselves to summon love’s increase
That each morn will spring anew
So New Year’s growth will never cease.

Joe DeCenzo

New Year 1997

A new year greets at the dawn of the day.
Midnight tolling has faded away.

A gate has opened, a door is closed.
Hope has cheered the nighttime woes.

Yet rain still falls on city streets,
I’ve breakfast dishes, wrinkled sheets,

and what is new? And what’s the fuss?
The party’s over. It was tedious!

No new years come, there are only nows
as moments come along to browse.

But. When a midnight kiss comes stealing by
I’ll shout the words. I will comply.

Each raindrop is new, not yet tried out.
Blessed each drop our garden has caught

Happy new year. Let’s promise anew
to try to resolve a thing or two.

© 1997 by Marlene Hitt

A Haiku for 2012

black water dragon

in a nimbus of danger

we laugh to freedom

© 2011 by Maja Trochimczyk

New Year

A new palette, blue-white,
fresh brushes with no tint

That long season,
that whole year
blanketed itself
over the backs of colors.
Those were the yesterdays,
even over days of grey.

A child’s red dress
stitched by great-grandmother
shimmered on her skin
beside the greens of Maui’s sea
and lavender hills of sunset,
mixed up to something odd.

Tubes of paint lie fresh
not yet opened

you were dressed in black
smart and slim
every day of the year,
and now I wonder
what your face would say
if I would give you
a sun-yellow sweater
edged in gold.

The new season has begun,
bright, clear and golden.
These are the days to remember.

Burnt umber is a fine beginning.
Over that a springtime tree.

© 1999 by Marlene Hitt (12-99)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

A year of Village Poets' readings has come to a close and we would like to thank all the participants and featured poets for spending their time with poetry at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga. It has been a busy year and we have another year full of poetry ahead of us. The year 2012 will see the selection of a new Poet-Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga and a whole series of wonderful readings. Mark your calendars for: January 22 (Justin Kibbe), February 26 (Sharon Rizk with Radomir Luza), March 25 (Village Poets Extravaganza), April 15 (Passing of the Laurels Ceremony at McGroarty Arts Center), and more. As we look back with gratitude and forward with anticipation, we would like to share some holiday poems with you.

Eastward Rising

by Dorothy Skiles

The shepherd
and his sheep find
shelter in a cave
carved in the side
of a mountain;
a hollow place
in the rock
where his
lambs rest
without fear
from predators.

It’s a long journey
ahead, beyond
the hills towards the
town of Bethlehem.
Early night,
at once clear
and bright,
blankets the
cliffs and ridges
with stars.

At its eastward
rising, one star
more brilliant,
more blazing,
the shepherd
and his flock!

They follow.

Children in the Wilderness

By Dorothy Skiles

The homeless;
nomads of the streets.
Some have wandered
forty years, some
for forty days.
L.A. can be nasty amid
December’s cheer -

Few subway stations
to hide from the cold,
and unforgiving winds
batter cardboard tents
on city blocks and
Ignorant eyes stare
in puzzlement,
or disgust,
thinking God helps
only those who
help themselves.

Festive lights garnish
merchant windows,
But where is the manna?
Where is the land of promise?
And where are the inns
to shelter the homeless
on this holy night?

In Reverie This Christmas

by Marlene Hitt

A fire, and some China cups.
The taste of tea upon the lips
flavored by lovely moments that cling
to Time's delicious sips.

Christmas dreams, so many pass,
join chain-like into long thought strings,
chains linked up to smile and song
tearstained, circled, like table rings.

A fir tree always centers here
beside the sofa and this chair.
Circles of light in green and red
mingle with the scented air.

The oldest grandma sat right there
dressed in a home-sewn skirt.
Grandfather's pipe, unlit, unsmoked
spilled ash-brown leaf upon his shirt.

And now some little slippered toes
step on those ghostly feet,
those memories of time gone by,
of life in slow retreat.

Here, dreaming at the fireside,
mixing sad with cinnamon,
all the Christmas remembering
blends and mixes and steeps till done.

I was asked to read some poems at a party and realized that I have not written my annual Christmas poem yet. It came to me in the rain, when I could barely see the road ahead and the sky was heavy with darkness. I paired it up with my Christmas poem from two years ago and posted them on my blogs.

Did you know?

Some Christmases are rainy
Tears fall from overcast sky
On lonely crowds in hospitals
And prison yards

Sometimes Christmas is icy
Frozen under the pale moon
Changing faces into lifeless
Shadows at night

Some Christmases are scarlet
And green like fir garlands and hearts
Warmed by barszcz and hot chocolate,
Evenings by the fire

Sometimes Christmas is white
Snowflakes melt on my gloves
The thin wafer of opłatek we break
Shelters us in good wishes

Some Christmases are sparkly
With the tinsel of laughter
Giggling children unwrap gifts
Magic in the morning

My Christmas is golden
Like that first star of Wigilia,
Warm kisses with kompot and kutia
Blessings under the tree

© 2011 by Maja Trochimczyk

I paired this poem with a photo I took this October at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. I liked the open window, looking out through the multitude of shapes and colors onto a simpler, luminous world.

The picture became the cover of my Christmas card, and I paired it with the collage for the poem of "Rosa Mystica" - already posted here, but included below in the image pages. I also reprinted my last year's holiday poem, "Rules for Happy Holy Days" as a reminder about the importance of holidays. This poem was written for my last year's Christmas wishes. These Rules are timeless.

Rules for Happy Holy Days

Don’t play Christmas carols
at the airport. Amidst the roar
of jet engines, they will spread
a blanket of loneliness
over the weary, huddled masses,
trying not to cry out for home.

Don’t put Christmas light on a poplar.
With branches swathed in white
galaxies, under yellow leaves, the tree
will become foreign, like the skeleton
of an electric fish, deep in the ocean.

Clean the windows from the ashes
of last year’s fires. Glue the wings
of a torn paper angel. Brighten
your home with the fresh scent
of pine needles and rosemary.

Take a break from chopping almonds
to brush the cheek of your beloved
with the back of your hand,
just once, gently. Smile and say:
“You look so nice, dear,
you look so nice.”

© 2009 by Maja Trochimczyk


Children in the Wilderness by Dorothy Skiles first appeared in Ear to Earth by D. Skiles, 1996. Revised 12/15/11 © All rights reserved 2011. Used by permission.

Eastward Rising
by Dorothy Skiles first appeared in Riddle in the Rain, by M. Hitt and D. Skiles, 2003. © 2001 by D. Skiles, revised in 2011. Used by permission.

Photos of the Big Tujunga Wash, Christmas decorations, roses, berries, and the stained-glass window at Notre Dame, Paris, © 2011 by Maja Trochimczyk

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fall, Christmas and the New Year

We are delighted with the quality of our Featured Poets in 2011 that includes guests from near and far, poets from our community and from across the continent. As Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga I have brought many fascinating and talented poets to our monthly readings. During 2011, we have welcomed to Bolton Hall:

  • poets from Sunland-Tujunga: Kathleen Travers, Alice Pero, Dorothy Skiles, and Maja Trochimczyk

  • Poets from Los Angeles County: Millicent Borges Accardi, Lois P. Jones, Georgia Jones-Davis, Rick Lupert, Cindy Rinne, Susan Rogers, Mari Werner, Kathabela and Rick Wilson

  • Poets from the Great Beyond: Ruth Nolan (Palm Springs), John Z. Guzlowski (Illino

We have found a dedicated and interesting group of open mike readers and enjoyed the refreshments prepared by Marlene Hitt. We collected donations for the Bolton Hall Museum and bought some poetic rocks.

In the early 2012 we will be getting ready for the elections of the next Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga. The Passing the Laurels Ceremony is scheduled for April 15, 2012. We also will enjoy the poetry of Sharon Rizk and Radomir Luza in January, and Justin Kibbe in February 2012.

With gratitude for the past enjoyable afternoons of poetry and friendship, we are looking forward to an even more exciting season in the spring of 2012. Details will be posted as they become available.


Rick Lupert at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga.

Poets at Rick Lupert's Reading on November 20, 2011


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rick Lupert on November 20, 2011

Village Poets of Sunland Tujunga are pleased to announce that the next Monthly Reading, on November 20, 2011 (Sunday), at 4:30 p.m. will feature Rick Lupert, poet, teacher, publisher of Poetry Super Highway and host of weekly readings at the Cobalt Cafe in Canoga Park. The reading will take place at the Bolton Hall Museum, on Commerce Avenue in Tujunga, California.

RICK LUPERT has been involved in the Los Angeles poetry community since 1990. He served for two years as a co-director of the Valley Contemporary Poets, a non-profit organization which produces readings and publications out of the San Fernando Valley. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, including The Los Angeles Times, Rattle, Chiron Review, Zuzu's Petals, Caffeine Magazine, Blue Satellite and others.

He edited A Poet’s Haggadah: Passover through the Eyes of Poets anthology and is the author of thirteen books: Sinzibuckwud!, We Put Things In Our Mouths, Paris: It’s The Cheese, I Am My Own Orange County, Mowing Fargo, I'm a Jew. Are You?, Feeding Holy Cats, Stolen Mummies, I’d Like to Bake Your Goods, A Man With No Teeth Serves Us Breakfast (Ain’t Got No Press), Lizard King of the Laundromat, Brendan Constantine is My Kind of Town (Inevitable Press) and Up Liberty’s Skirt (Cassowary Press). He has hosted the long running Cobalt Café reading series in Canoga Park since 1994 and is regularly featured at venues throughout Southern California.

Rick created and maintains the Poetry Super Highway, a major internet resource for poets. (

Currently Rick works as a music teacher at synagogues in Southern California and as a graphic and web designer for and for anyone who would like to help pay his mortgage.


Animal Hospitality

by Rick Lupert

I can tell which cat is walking through my house
by the sounds its paws make as they come
into contact with the wood floors.

At one in the morning when I finally arrive at my bed
Cleo walks in. She is the oldest cat. Not in the world,
just in the house. You can barely hear her since we took her claws
nine years ago. She propels herself to the bed
like a kite. No sound. No bounce. She makes herself.
comfortable. At five in the morning she will purr.

I’d tell you the name of my next cat is Tigger,
but then you would judge me.
He walks in like a pony wearing tap shoes.
If I make even the slightest audible sound or motion
he will rush to the bed and lick any visible skin
of mine he can find. I am okay with this.

Our third cat is larger than a moose. He’d come to
the bed but he can’t find room. His breathing is
louder than the president’s helicopter.

He will cry for his breakfast with the imperative
of Vietnam. You’re running a zoo my friend once said
to which I replied. Let me show you the Chinese

water dragon and the frog. Did I tell you I tried to keep
a bird alive that I’d found outside? It didn’t make it.
Did I tell you about the caterpillar I killed?



You may see the photos from our past readings in the Photo Album of Village Poets of Sunland Tujunga, posted on Picasa Web Albums, in the following location:

After Ruth Nolan's Reading, L to R: Maja Trochimczyk, Elsa Frausto, Dorothy Skiles, Taura Scott, Brian Story, Vanessa Marsot, Kathleen Travers, Joe DeCenzo, and Sharon Rizk. Seated, L to R: Rick and Kathabela Wilson, Ruth Nolan and Marlene Hitt.

The most recent featured poet, Ruth Nolan, read from her recent publications, the journal of desert poetry, "Phantom Seed" and a fragment of a new project, written in a persona of a Native American woman of a strange and traumatic history.

Ruth Nolan and Maja Trochimczyk with Ruth's books.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ruth Nolan from Mojave Desert, October 23, 2011

On Sunday, October 23, 2011 at 4:30 p.m. Village Poets present Ruth Nolan as the Featured Poet of the Monthly Open Reading at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga.

Ruth Nolan is a Mojave Desert poet, writer, scholar, adventurer, and protector. She is a native of the Mojave Desert in the Apple Valley area and Associate Professor of English College of the Desert near Palm Springs, California. For two summer seasons, 1986-87, she worked for the BLM as a helicopter hotshot and engine crew firefighter in the California Desert District, and has extensively hiked, traveled, and embraced the essence of her desert homeland.

She is editor of the new anthology, No Place for a Puritan: the literature of California’s deserts, published by Heyday Books. She was awarded a Joshua Tree National Park Affiliate Writers Residency for 2008-09, and recently collaborated on a film about the park with the UCR/California Museum of Photography. Her poetry has appeared in many literary publications, including Inlandia: a Literary Journey Through Southern California’s Inland Empire, Poemeleon, Askew, Pacific Review, Epicenter, Mosaic, Southern California Haiku Journal, and San Diego Poetry Annual.

She co-edits Phantom Seed, a bi-annual literary magazine dedicated to the nuances of the California desert, and is advisor to the College of the Desert literary/visual arts magazine, Solstice. Her poetry collections include Wild Wash Road (1996) and Dry Waterfall (2008.) She lectures and speaks widely on desert literature and related topics, such as desert conservation and California Indian culture.

Ruth Nolan writes poetry and prose pieces about her life and journeys throughout the desert, and also posts her original desert photography on her blog, Phantom Seedlings, at:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Village Poets present Dorothy Skiles on Sunday, 9/25/2011

On Sunday, September 25, 2011, the Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga present the group's President, Dorothy Skiles, as featured poet of the Monthly Poetry Reading at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga. The reading will start at 4:30 p.m. and will include an Open Mike for guest poets (2 poems or 4 minutes). Light refreshments will be provided. A cowboy hat will be passed around for donations to the Bolton Hall Museum.

“Poetry has always been in my blood,” claims Dorothy who has been writing poetry since her teenage years. The first poem she wrote was about her grandmother who died when Dorothy was fourteen years old. In 1970, Dorothy graduated from San Fernando Valley State College earning a B.A. in English. That same year she started her career with the County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Social Services, and retired after 34 years of public service.

While married, raising twin boys, and managing a career, Dorothy published her first chapbook entitled The Sidewalk Gallery (1979). Other chapbooks followed including Ear to Earth (1996), Spine Flower Blues (1999) - a collaborative effort with fellow members of the Chuparosa Writers of Sunland-Tujunga, and Riddle in the Rain (2003) - a joint venture with Marlene Hitt, former Sunland-Tujunga Poet Laureate. Over the last 15 years Dorothy has read her poetry in coffee shops, book stores, and other venues including special church services. Also, her poems have appeared in various community publications.

Dorothy is currently the President of the Village Poets Planning Committee and is an active member of the Chuparosa Writers. She is also an active member of SAGE, which offers continuous learning for seniors and operates under the sponsorship of the Tseng College at CSUN and the Lutheran Church in the Foothills located in La Canada.



Early Autumn calls…

and Santa Ana winds whirl and bend

the half-barren white birch trees

before early dawn when

first day’s light dances among

Sunland-Tujunga’s old oaks.

Early Autumn calls…

Winds howl through the San Gabriels

until late afternoon brings calm,

and the promise of

the red hawk’s tranquil flight

above the Wash before dusk falls.

Deep in My Dreams

Deep in my dreams

In the middle of the forest
there is a house,
unafraid, I walk in.

Deep in my dreams

Weariness enfolds me
bringing me to my knees,
I lay by the cold, stone fireplace.

Deep in my dreams

God’s Spirit is translucent.
I am transparent, for
Her Truth is very near.

Deep in my dreams

I awaken, unafraid,
to a house with
no windows, no doors.


Poetry (c) 2011 by Dorothy Skiles

Nature photos (c) 2011 by Maja Trochimczyk (Big Tujunga Wash, Sunland grass, Sunland-Tujunga - view towards northwest)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Georgia Jones-Davis (8/28) and Dorothy Skiles (9/25)

On Sunday, August 28, 2011, the multi-talented Georgia Jones-Davis has delighted her audience at Bolton Hall Museum with a selection of wistful, insightful, and inspiring poems, including a sample from her recent chapbook, Blue Poodle (Finishing Line Press, 2011). The publication party for the book took place on August 14, and Georgia was also featured at Cafe Alibi's monthly reading managed by Alex M. Frankel. In 2010 she was declared an "emerging poet" and recognized by the Los Angeles Public Library's ALOUD series, Beyond Baroque and other poetry organizations.

Georgia started her reading with her contribution to the anthology "Chopin with Cherries" (Moonrise Press, 2010). The genesis of the piece was quite interesting. It turned out that her poem was created during a traffic jam on the 405 and therefore belongs to the genre I created and keep promoting, that of "freeway poetry." She pulled over to write it down, so it was not entirely committed to memory and recorded in writing only after the arrival home - as a true "freeway poem" should be. Leaving the technicalities aside, we particularly enjoyed Georgia's tributes to other creative spirits, mostly poets that she favors, like John Keats and Anne Sexton.

The listeners included poets who came to present their work and to hear the featured poet live - it is always a treat to hear poetry in the poet's own voice. The hall was filled with talent, young and old, and we documented the evening with a couple of group pictures.

Poets L to R: Russell Solomon, Georgia Jones-Davis, Mari Werner, Mira Mataric, and Jaimie Pritchard (seated); Dorothy Skiles, Jim Gibson, Pam Shea, Barbara Briodin, Don Krotser, Marcia Behar, Judith Terzi, Lois P. Jones, Neva Wallace, Maja Trochimczyk, Joe DeCenzo, Mary Terragosa, Isaac Montoya (standing).


The next Village Poets Reading at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga will feature one of the Village Poets, Dorothy Skiles, and will take place on September 25, 2011 at 4:30 p.m. More information about Dorothy's poetry and a sample of her work will be posted here in the coming weeks.


Photos: 1) Georgia Jones-Davis with her Blue Poodle and cherries, and Maja Trochimczyk with Chopin with Cherries; 2) group photo of some poets at the reading; 3) Bolton Hall Museum, Commerce Avenue, Tujunga, CA.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Village Poets at the Watermelon Festival

The Magnificent Four, or the Village Poets of Sunland Tujunga: Joe DeCenzo, Marlene Hitt, Dorothy Skiles and Maja Trochimczyk, created and managed a new element at the 50th Annual Watermelon Festival, held at Sunland Park on Saturday, August 13, 2011, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Poetry Corner presented new, original poetry for children along with well-known classics by Shel Silverstein, A.A. Milne, and Rudyard Kipling (The Tale of Elephant Child). We recited English and Polish tongue-twisters and sang humorous rhyming children's songs. The model of a home-setting with children's chairs on a giant comforter, scattered with zebra pillows and stuffed animals, was created at a poetry event for the Puppetry Festival at McGroarty Art Center last year. See the photos from that event: Maja and Friends - Poetry Corner.

Each of the four poets contributed something: Joe brought the baloons and comforter, Dorothy donated the gifts, Marlene lent us a mike, and I had signs, books, and more comforters and stuffed animals that I cared to carry from my car... Our fifth member, Barry Ira Geller, did not make it, though contributed to advance publicity of the event.

Children came with their parents to rest for 10 - 15 minutes from the hectic pace and excitement of the festival. They sat quietly, listened, read poems from the books provided by poets, and picked up their prizes - colorful balloons and little toys. We planned on two hours, but filled out three - due to the constant ebb and flow of the audience it was hard to find a good time to pack up and go. We are happy that Beverly Collins once again brought her poetry to share in Sunland.

I do not write for children and certainly do not write in rhyme, so I was especially pleased that Joe DeCenzo read from his Ballad of a Hawk and twice recited a very amusing, brand-new poem-game, helping children to learn the names of body parts in English. In his poem, the last word of each couplet is missing and children have to guess what it is..."head" or "chin" or "shin." I noticed quite a few children who were English learners and this was a very good lesson for them.

We also had a couple of older children reading from our stack of books - picking poems they found funny. My contribution included poems "What I love in Sunland" and "On the Beach" for Father's Day, as well as two New Year's Haiku about the Year of the Rabbit. I also sang about The Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly and recited tongue-twisters about the winsome woodchuck and the warbling warbler, and, my favorite, a Polish beetle rustling in the rushes:

W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie
a w Trzemiesznie straszy jeszcze postrach oczu strzyg!

Next year? More poets, and some limericks, I think... the G-rated ones, of course. The photo album is posted on Flickr: Poetry Corner at Watermelon Festival.



On Sunday, August 28, at 4:30 p.m., the next Village Poets Open Reading will feature Georgia Jones Davis. For more information see the previous issue of this blog.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Georgia Jones-Davis, August 28, 2011

The Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga present Georgia Jones-Davis as Featured Poet at the Poetry Reading at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga on Sunday, August 28, 2011, at 4:30 p.m. The Village Poets Reading also includes an Open Mike for guest poets and refreshments. A hat is passed around to collect donations for the Bolton Hall Museum.

Georgia Jones-Davis is a former book review editor at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the Los Angeles Times Book Review. She has published poetry in "Westwind," "The California Quarterly," "The Bicycle Review," "Brevities," Sam Hamill's website "Poets Against War," "Voices From the Valley," "poeticdiversity" and "South Bank Poetry" (London), among other publications. She is also one of the contributors to the "Chopin with Cherries" anthology. Georgia serves as a co-director of Valley Contemporary Poets and the founder of The Jewish Home for the Aged poetry club. She was honored as one of the Newer Poets 2010 by the Los Angeles Poetry Festival, Beyond Baroque and the Los Angeles Public Library ALOUD series.

Georgia wrote and published poetry while a student at UCLA, but avoided poets and poetry during her more than twenty years in literary journalism. After leaving the newspaper world, poetry came back like a long lost, muddy dog. It took some coaxing and a lot of grooming to get back into the poetry show ring, she says.



She wore the thin
leather boots bought in Haight-
Ashbury. On the ride
back to Krakow
a disturbance crept up on her,
a disturbance she could not recognize.

Joseph, her great-grandfather,
arrived in one of the last transports,
never left.

Does blood murmur to its own
through ash that still dirties the air,
bone whisper to its own
through dust piled beneath the soles?

In this place where the dead survive
did Joseph's fire-digested eyes
know Emily on sight,
the daughter of his daughter's daughter,
a link in the dying chain

miraculously alive.


When I was eighteen I traveled to Hawaii
with a tribe of old and holy women from the Midwest.

I wore a tight yellow sheath, tasted papaya for the first time.
My roommate slept in curlers, studied bible before bed.

Midnight I was on the beach, stepping into the heartbreaking
breakers that rolled beneath a yellow ukulele moon.

Those steamy nights in Oahu how Don Ho filled the churchy, starchy hearts
of the sturdy wahinis from the islands of Iowa, Indiana, Illinois

with naughty hulas and pineapple dreams. The lingering aloooooha
of Don Ho was what the fat, widowed, moo-moo'd belles took home

to deep lakes and wide rivers, corn and wheat fields of the Sandburg prairie
that rolled like an ocean beneath a yellow ukulele moon.



Georgia Jones-Davis's first book of poetry, The Blue Poodle, will be unveiled on August 14, 2011 at 3 p.m.

The poems in "Blue Poodle," the debut collection by emerging poet Georgia Jones-Davis, have been described as ripe and plumy, as the "liquid poetry of roller skating, snow and blood." "Keep knives hidden," Georgia writes, but she doesn't! These poems are sometimes lyrical or humorous or tough -- sometimes all three at once -- yet "easy listening" poems that will go on playing a tune in your head, as Suzanne Lummis described them. Ghosts of beloved writers, murdered ancestors, mothers, daughters and the vanishings all around us abound in the familiar yet original stories these poems tell.

Blue Poodle by Georgia Jones-Davis
ISBN: 1-59924-772-0
published by Finishing Line Press
Post Office Box 1626
Georgetown Ky 40324
$14 (paperback)
To order online:
click on "New Releases"

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Millicent Borges Accardi - July 24, 2011

After a lovely, lively, and whimsical reading by Alice Pero (assisted in one section by a fellow poet and editor of her delightful book, Thawed Stars, Russell Salamon), we were getting ready to hear Georgia Jones-Davis in July and Millicent Borges Accardi in August. We already sent Georgia's biography to The Voice of the Village when it turned out that she has to postpone her appearance by a month. Thus we will enjoy the presence of Millicent a month earlier, on July 24, at 4:30 p.m. As all Village Poets Readings, this one will take place on a Sunday afternoon, in the enchanting interior of the Bolton Hall Museum, at 10110 Commerce Avenue, Tujunga, CA 91042. The reading will include open mike sections before and after the feature (accomodating up to 18 poets) and light refreshments will be served, courtesy of the Bolton Hall Museum staff.

Millicent Borges Accardi, a Portuguese-American poet, is the author of three books: Injuring Eternity (World Nouveau), Woman on a Shaky Bridge (Finishing Line Press chapbook), and Only More So (forthcoming Salmon Press, Ireland 2012). The beautiful covers of her books are reproductions of paintings by her husband, Charles Accardi (his website is:

She has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the arts (NEA), the California Arts Council, Barbara Deming Foundation, Canto Mundo, and Formby at the Special Collections Library at Texas Tech (researching writer-activist Kay Boyle). Her work has also received three Pushcart Prize nominations.

Accardi’s poetry has appeared in over 50 publications, including Nimrod, Tampa Review, New Letters and Wallace Stevens Journal as well as in Boomer Girls (Iowa Press) and Chopin with Cherries (Moonrise Press) anthologies.

Her theater and book reviews can be found in print and online at The Topanga Messenger. Past artist residencies include Yaddo, Jentel, Vermont Studio, Fundación Valparaíso in Mojacar, Milkwood in Cesky Krumlov and Disquiet in Lisbon, Portugal.

She received degrees in English and writing from Califortnia State University Long Beach and holds a Masters in Professional Writing degree from the University of Southern California. She works as a freelance writer (theater reviews, grant writing and instructional design); this type of work leaves her with time to create and travel to poetry residences around the world. More information may be found on her website: Millicent Borges Accardi.


About Injuring Eternity :

Millicent has an amazingly intimate way of writing that makes you feel as though you are going through the pages of her life alongside her.
~ Gabe Sachs, Writer/Producer 90210

In Injuring Eternity Millicent Borges Accardi gives the reader a day’s worth of character poems in three parts, morning, noon, and evening. These sketches are fun to pick up and read one or two at a time and think about. Sitting down and reading them all at once can seem a little too much, but perhaps that’s the introvert in me. The collection is of mostly free form poems, well shaped and with excellent use of interesting and specific details, with the title coming from a quote from Henry Thoreau “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity”. The overall poem though, goes beyond the person, into capturing a statement about relationships and life... Many will find something of value just by randomly opening pages and selecting something new: births, deaths, lovers, children, snooping, guns, the down side of Las Vegas, soap operas and birthdays.
~ The Compulsive Reader by Sheri Harper

The work addresses family, love, politics, art, and religion. It tackles current events, popular culture, and spares a few asides for Miles Davis. It's an ambitious collection that takes a lot of risks.
~ from a review published in Chamber Four


Mourning Doves

Have such soulful
Eyes, their gray suit
Of feathers blurs and sinks
Them into the background
Like a creature in hiding.
They hover below the wild
Bird feeder set up for the finches
And harvest the shells, the thistle
Seed casings and what drops after
The finches and faux robins and phoebes
Have feasted. The mourning
Doves huddle and nest in the mountains
Of seed shells and dirt and make circles
With their small bird bodies turning
Into the ground digging a place around
Them as if they were under a shrub with only
The black drops of ink from their tail feathers
Visible. In a group, they lie in wait, their dear gray
Eyes gloomy and sullen and innocent and they want
What the world desires, to be fed and comfortable
And consummated and happy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Alice Pero - Featured Poet on June 26, 2011

The next monthly Village Poets Reading at Bolton Hall Museum, Tujunga, on June 26, 2011 at 4:30 p.m. will feature our wonderful neighbor, poet and musician, Alice Pero. A co-founder and host of Moonday Poetry readings at Pacific Palisades, she recently started Moonday East in nearby La Canada Flintridge, but she is our neighbor in Sunland.

Alice Pero was born in New York City, the child of an electrical engineer and a housewife/editor. She graduated from Putney School in Vermont and The Manhattan School of Music in New York City. She received dance training at the Martha Graham School in New York and from many private teachers and studied flute with Harold Bennett. While a student she played with the National Orchestral Association in New York City and currently she is playing chamber music concerts, after a long hiatus from the flute. She is a member of the California Poets in the Schools, and was a workshop leader for the New York City Ballet Education Department Poetry Project for many years. Pero is also a teacher of poetry to grade school children and she has developed a unique curriculum that utilizes her experience with music. In October 2002, Pero founded a poetry reading, Moonday, at Village Books in Pacific Palisades, California, which she co-produces with Lois P. Jones. She recently inaugurated the Moonday East series at the newly constructed Flintridge Bookstore in La Cañada, while continuing the popular Pacific Palisades readings.

Pero discovered poetry after studying rhythm with the music educator, Jamie Faunt, and has been writing poetry seriously for 29 years. She has done many featured readings in New York and Los Angeles and has been published in over 60 small magazines and anthologies, including: North American Review, 13th Moon, The Alembic, North Dakota Quarterly, RiverSedge, New Delta Review, The Distillery, Lullwater Review, Poet Lore, River Oak Review, The Cape Rock, Fox Cry Review, The Griffin, G.W. Review, Main Street Rag, Quercus Review, Oregon East, The Pikeville Review, Xavier Review, Studio One, Three Mile Harbor, Salonika, San Gabriel Valley Quarterly, Soundings East, Spillway, Sulphur River Literary Review, Minnetonka Review, Word Thursday, Très diverse-city, Valley Contemporary Poetry Anthology, Albatross, Lummox, Bayou, Carquinez Poetry Review, Cadillac Cicatrix, California Quarterly, Cairn, The Old Red Kimono, and Sanskrit.

Her first book of poetry, Thawed Stars, published in 1999, was hailed by Kenneth Koch as having “clarity and surprises.”

Lyn Lifshin has said: "Alice Pero's poems are deliciously open, brimming with leaps, twists and surprises, often joyful and fizzy as a fireworks display." The book is available on
Thawed Stars.

“The romance of discovery, the radiant brilliance, the surprise and laughter are all here in Alice Pero's deeply intelligent insights into the edge of things." ~The Book Reader~


They say that soon
the sun will be swept
into the sea
The moon will visit me
and tell me
how to rescue the sun

but I know these are only rumors

The sea keeps secrets in violent waves
and leaves me wondering

The sun burns alone
in scorching silence

but only I live to dream

from Thawed Stars

© 2011 Alice Pero


The monthly Village Poets readings at the Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga have been blessed with a number of impressive guest poets and regular visitors reading their work at the Open Mike segments. We are looking forward to hearing Alice's poetry next month.

Cindy Rinne's recent reading at Bolton Hall (May 22) was a popular success, not only because of the beauty and inspiration of her poetry, with a deeply personal, reflective tone, focusing on the beauty of nature. Cindy brought and shared with us a set of wonderful fiber art pieces, that she designed and made from pieces of fabric, embroidery, inscriptions of poems, etc. I particularly loved the beautiful blue piece with small houses on it, and the story about her house that burned down. We live in the wildfire zone, close to the mountains that are as beautiful as they are dangerous...

At the end of Cindy's "Earth Voices" presentation of her poetry and fiber art, the audience "dressed up" in her artwork and posed together. She wrote about this experience on her blog: FiberVerse. I took a couple of photos; here's a group shot of all poets holding Cindy's fiber artwork. Thank you, Cindy!

L to R: Jim Gibson, Dorothy Skiles, Marlene Hitt, Lloyd Hitt, Joe DeCenzo, xx, Lois P. Jones, Russell Salamon, Beverly Collins, Marcia Behar, Mari Werner, Deborah Marlow, and (seated) Maja Trochimczyk, xx, Barbara Brolin, Cindy Rinne and Mira Mataric.

Monday, April 25, 2011

"Earth Voices" by Cindy Rinne - May 22, 2011

Our next Featured Poet, on May 22, 2011, at 4:30 p.m., will be Cindy Rinne, a fiber artist and poet. An open mike reading will precede and follow the featured poet. The reading will take place, as always, at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga.

Cindy Rinne grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She has lived in San Bernardino over 25 years. Cindy is a fiber artist who enjoys stitching together stories. She has exhibited her artwork internationally. Cindy is a poet. She coordinates mixed-media poetry events, is featured in solo poetry events, lectures and teaches visual poetry workshops.

Cindy has a poem in the chapbook for the Art VULUPS Project of Riverside County and gave a lecture at Cal State University San Bernardino about her Collaborations of Art and the Spoken Word. She has been published several Poets on Site Chapbooks including one about her art work. Cindy's poetry appeared in Phantom Seed and the Solstice Literary Magazine of the College of the Desert. She also took part in a part of the Award-winning Poetry Audio Tour of the Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena. Cindy has given solo presentations of her poetry and art in Chinatown (LA), Pasadena, La Canada Flintridge, and Claremont.


Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga will present the poetry of Millicent Borges Accardi in June and of Alice Pero in September. Other notices will be posted in the future.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

John Z. Guzlowski at Bolton Hall on April 17, 2011

JOHN GUZLOWSKI is the author of Lightning and Ashes, a book of poems about his parents’ experiences in Nazi concentration camps; a portion of which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. His stories and poems appear in such national journals as Ontario Review, Chattahoochee Review, Atlanta Review, Nimrod, Crab Orchard Review, and Marge, and in the anthology Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust. Garrison Keillor read Guzlowski’s poem “What My Father Believed” on his program, The Writers’ Almanac. Czeslaw Milosz said that Guzlowski’s poems about his parents are “astonishing.” He blogs about his parents at

Asked about a personal statement about his poetry, John sent the following:

"I was born in a refugee camp in Germany after World War II, and came with my parents Jan and Tekla and my sister Donna to the United States as Displaced Persons in 1951. My Polish Catholic parents had been slave laborers in Nazi Germany. Growing up in the immigrant and DP neighborhoods around Humboldt Park in Chicago, I met Jewish hardware store clerks with Auschwitz tattoos on their wrists, Polish cavalry officers who still mourned for their dead horses, and women who walked from Siberia to Iran to escape the Russians. My poems try to remember them and their voices."

Here's what Czeslaw Milosz had to say about Guzlowski's book:

"In [Guzlowski’s] poems the land of his parents and the work camps are always present, although at the same time they are only part of his poetic repertoire. In the volume which I have at hand, there are a lot of completely different poems, completely free of the burden of the past. This slim volume even astonished me with its doubleness. The first part summons precisely the camp images from the life of the author’s parents, who were treated by the Nazis like beasts of burden. Their awkward language, because they were both half-literate, was for the Nazis a language of mules. The second part reveals an enormous ability for grasping reality with some distance." — Czesław Miłosz

An American poet, Lola Haskins, responded to a different aspect of this poignant book:

"Lightning and Ashes chronicles the terrible things that happened to the poet’s parents in the death camps of WW II. Of course, the atrocities perpetrated on the Jews (and others) have not gone unnoticed in our literature, but Guzlowski should join the annals of the great recording angels, not just for his unsparing yet compassionate language but also because he makes clear what is so easy to forget: that no matter how many years pass, such events never do. That what happened in the camps is like his father’s eye, fixed forever open. In Lightning and Ashes, which might as well have been titled Remembrance, Guzlowski shows us how his family might have lived had the war not happened, then describes unforgettably how they did." —Lola Haskins


John is visiting Southern California as a guest of the Modjeska Art and Culture Club which is sponsoring an event dedicated to the poetry of Nobel-Prize-winner Czeslaw Milosz. Called "Milosz in my Life" and held on April 16, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ruskin Art Club (800 S. Plymouth Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90005), this evening of poetry will juxtapose John's work and presence with that of Cecilia Woloch, and actor Marek Probosz. See the Modjeska Club blog for more information.

The Bolton Hall Museum Open Poetry Reading is organized by Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga. More details about the featured poets and dates of readings may be found on the margin of this blog.

Friday, March 11, 2011

March 27 with the Spiritual Quartet - Lois, Susan, Taoli-Ambika, & Maja

The Spiritual Quartet consisting of four female poets - Lois P. Jones, Susan Rogers, Taoli-Ambika Talwar, and Maja Trochimczyk - will be featured at the next Village Poets Reading, scheduled for March 27, at 4:30 p.m., at the Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga. Each poet comes from a different spiritual background, while sharing the focus on compassion, beauty, enlightenment, and a creative expression of positive energy. They weave their poems around themes of light, love, forgiveness, hope, and friendship. They contemplate nature, mountains, birds and gardens, and draw inspiration from the poetry of Rumi, Rilke, and their own spiritual traditions.

LOIS P. JONES’s poetry and photographs have been or will soon be published in American Poetry Journal, Raven Chronicles, Qarrtsiluni, Rose & Thorn, Tiferet, Kyoto Journal, and other print and on-line journals in the U.S. and abroad. She is co-founder of Word Walker Press and a documentarist of Argentina’s wine industry. You can hear her as host on 90.7 KPFK’s Poet’s Cafe (Pacifica Radio) on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month at 8:30 p.m. and see her as co-host of Moonday’s monthly poetry reading in La Canada, California. She is the Associate Poetry Editor of Kyoto Journal and a 2009 and 2010 Pushcart Nominee. In August 2010 her poem “Ouija” was selected as Poem of the Year by judge Dana Goodyear.

"Show what the light gave her

washing warmth into a neck
until it’s dune, a cliffside

that holds a head of surf.
Paint as you would before you awaken,

when sunlight falls like milkweed
and you are an empty silo

letting her grain fill you–
buttery malt and biscuit

for the love of honey."

(From "Ways to Paint a Woman" by Lois P. Jones)

SUSAN ROGERS considers poetry a vehicle for light and a tool for the exchange of positive energy. She is a practitioner of Sukyo Mahikari— a spiritual practice that promotes positive thoughts, words and action. She is also a photographer and a licensed attorney. Her poems were part of the 2010 Valentine Peace Project and have been performed at museums and galleries in Southern California. Her work can be found in the book Chopin and Cherries, numerous journals, anthologies and chapbooks Her work can be heard online or in person as part of the audio tour for the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, California. She was recently interviewed by Lois P. Jones for KPFK’s Poets Café.

"The dove knows the way
follow her.

Your heart knows the way
listen well.

Within your deepest self
are wings of light.

They cover the earth
with waves of love.

Do you remember?
You once knew.

Stand in the warmth
of sunlight and recall.

The origin of the world
is one."

From The Origin is One, a poem dedicated to Kotama Okada and inspired by a painting by Susan Dobay.

Long-time educator, published author, artist, TAOLI-AMBIKA TALWAR has been involved in holistic arts/sciences for many years. Her mission is to be a reflective, gentle and creative change agent. Her film, “Androgyne” won the best script award at a festival in Belgium. She has published two books, Creative Resonance: Poetry¬Elegant Play, Elegant Change (2006) and 4 Stars & 25 Roses (2007) and has two chapbooks from Laguna Press, Words for Hungry Tongues (2000) Songs of the Body. Kyoto Journal published her poem titled, “What the Trees Say” for their biodiversity issue. Taoli-Ambika has also been published in the anthology, Chopin with Cherries, Inkwater Ink, vol. 3 and other collections. Her photographs and paintings have appeared in Tiferet Journal. She teaches English at Cypress College, Cypress. “Because poetry is the bridge to new worlds.”

Where Flowers Wander

cells love it
when we smile
even if worlds break

nothing matters
but the great empty
from which all comes

chalice is passages
for the flow
of the fountain

always traveler
longs for the great empty
flowers grow there

© 2011 Taoli-Ambika Talwar

MAJA TROCHIMCZYK, the Sixth Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, is also a music historian and non-profit director born in Poland, educated in Poland and Canada and residing in Sunland. As an author of four scholarly books and hundreds of articles, she is well established in the music history world, with two main specializations: Polish music of the 19th and 20th centuries, and 20th-century contemporary music. She founded Moonrise Press and published three books of poetry: Rose Always, Miriam's Iris and the Chopin with Cherries anthology. Her poetry and photography appears in such journals as the Epiphany Magazine, Loch Raven Review, The Huston Literary Review, Ekphrasis Journal, Phantom Seed, PoeticDiversity and many anthologies by Poets on Site and others. See:,


you too will find the way into the orchard
where green fruit ripens among late blossoms
I found the path, I'm waiting there already

the birds chirp and frolic among the branches
they fly - cheerful in the orange sun

you too -
the path is not too narrow
the gate too distant

will find -
the most amazing jewel
of deep peace

the way -
will open soon
you will see

into the orchard
of love's riches
you will come

(c) 2008 by Maja Trochimczyk


In the photos 1) Maja and Lois, 2) Maja and Susan, 3) Maja and Taoli-Ambika, 4) Taoli-Ambika, Susan, Lois and Maja.

Apple blossoms photo (c) by Maja Trochimczyk.

Poetry fragments (C) by the poets, used by permission.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Poetry of Mari Werner and a Birthday

On February 27, 2011, when the eyes of the world were turned to the parade of sparkly designer dresses on the red carpet of the Oscars, poets gathered at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga to hear Mari Werner and to share their work. In fact, so many poets gathered, that the time allotted to one reader shrunk over the course of the afternoon from three poems and/or five minutes, whichever is shorter, to two poems and or three minutes, to one poem and one minute. The job of the MC, Maja Trochimczyk, was certainly challenging.

Our featured poet, the wonderful and witty Mari Werner, "makes her living" - as she says - "as a writer of technical materials, but lately makes her life as a writer of poetry and humor. She grew up in Santa Barbara, California, came to the Los Angeles area in the mid-70s, and now lives in Altadena. her work has been published in a number of local publications including the Los Angeles Daily News, The Latest, and the Valley Star."

Mari Werner amused, educated, and inspired her audience with the following poems and prose pieces: Fire and Friendship, Confessions of a Tree Hugger, For My Father, Warmth, Two Eyes Looking, Scarcity, Miranda for Civilization, Keep on Singing, Night Falling, Fighting, Napping, Squirrel haiku, Moorpark Park, Cops and Seat Belts, Finding the Holy Grail, Penguin Power, and Consciousness.

We previously quoted here Mari's lyrical piece about the Crescent Moon. Here are two humorous poems:

Squirrel haiku

Squirrels foraging
Just two operating speeds
Overdrive and stop

Moorpark Park

On the corner of Laurel Canyon Boulevard
and Moorpark Street is a park
called Moorpark Park.
It doesn't have a parking lot.
but if it did, it would be called
Moorpark Park Parking Lot.

Before and after Mari's poetry, we heard a variety of poetic voices, from local poets and guests, some of whom came from very far away. Sharon Chmielarz from Minneapolis, visiting California on a tour of readings, definitely was the one to get the "long distance" prize. We arranged her visit having been forewarned of her arrival. She is one of the poets published in the anthology "Chopin with Cherries" (edited by Maja Trochimczyk). Sharon read "Burning" from her new book Calling. See her website, for more information. Her friend, Mary Kay Rummel of Ventura read a poem named after and based on one of Stephen Linsteadt's paintings: "Feminine Restitution."

We also had guests from Ventura, Santa Barbara, Monrovia, Pasadena, and Palm Springs. Kathabela Wilson, the leader of Poets on Site, sketched them in her notebook! She also organized a wonderful birthday celebration of a Palm Springs painter and poet, Stephen Lindsteadt, by asking "open mike" poets to read their work they contributed to her upcoming anthology of ekphrastic poetry dedicated to and inspired by his paintings.

The book, called Art and Alchemy, will be published by Poets on Site and available through online bookstores. Poets Mira Mataric, Kathabela Wilson, Maria Elena Boekemeyer (Stephen's wife and editor of the "Badlands" journal), and Maja Trochimczyk read their work, inspired by different pieces from the Lindsteadt collection. Rick Wilson accompanied some poets on a flute, creating a wonderful mood... For images of Stephen's paintings visit his website:


The next feature at the Village Poets reading, scheduled for March 27, at 4:30 p.m., will be the Spiritual Quartet, consisting of Lois P. Jones, Susan Rogers, Taoli-Ambika Talwar, and Maja Trochimczyk.

The Spiritual Quartet, formed in May 2010, consists of four women representing different spiritual traditions, while sharing the focus on positive values of compassion, inspiration, hope, illumination, creativity, and love. More information about the reading and the readers will follow!


On April 17, at 4:30 p.m., Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga will present the work of Dr. John Z. Guzlowski, visiting California as a guest of the Modjeska Art and Culture Club, in honor of the "Milosz Year" - celebrating the anniversary of Polish Nobel-Prize winning poet, Czeslaw Milosz, who spent half of his life in Berkeley, California. Dr. Guzlowski's blog about his parents' ordeal in Buchenwald is published as: He also maintains a "clearing house" for all matters pertaining to Polish American writing, at:

One of the "open mike" readers from our February event, Mina Kirby will soon appear at Boston Court Theater in Pasadena, featuring in Pasadena ARTTalk. On Saturday, March 12 at 1 p.m., she will present some of her poetry and songs. For more information see:

Another "open mike" reader, Mira Mataric, previously featured at Village Poets (in November 2010), will co-feature with Taoli-Ambika Talwar at Moonday Poetry in Pacific Palisades. The Moonday series is held at Village Books of Pacific Palisades, Mira and Taoli-Ambika will appear on March 14, 2011, at 7:30 p.m.


In the top picture (L to R): Dorothy Skiles, Rick Dutton, Pauli Dutton, Joe DeCenzo, Rick Wilson, Kathabela Wilson, Mira Mataric, Sharon Chmielarz, Cindy Rinne, Mari Werner, Maria Elena Boekemeyer, Stephen Linsteadt, and Maja Trochimczyk.

In the middle picture (L to R): Rick Dutton, Pauli Dutton, Kathabela and Rick Wilson, Cindy Rinne, Maria Elena Boekemeyer, Stephen Linsteadt, and seated Mira Mataric, Mari Werner, and Maja Trochimczyk.

The sketch from Kathabela's notebook includes faces of open mike readers surrounding Mari Werner wearing a halo!

In the fourth picture (L to R): Taoli-Ambika Talwar, Susan Rogers, Lois P. Jones, and Maja Trochimczyk.