Friday, January 10, 2020

Joyce Futa and Jackie Chou Feature on January 26, 2020

San Francisco Marina. Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

On behalf of Village Poets of Sunland Tujunga and California State Poetry Society, we are please to invite poets and poetry lovers to the first Village Poets reading of the year 2020 and of the entire '20s decade on Sunday, January 26, 2020, at 4:30 pm. at Bolton Hall Museum (10110 Commerce Avenue, Tujunga, CA 91042).  Village Poets  will present two poets associated with the Tanka and Haiku groups in Southern California, members of Poets on Site and Southern California Haiku Study Group. The reading will include two open mike segments. Refreshments will be served and $3 donations collected for the cost of the venue, the second historical landmark in the City of Los Angeles, that celebrated its centennial in 2013.  The Museum is managed by the Little Landers Historical Society.

We would also like to remind all Village Poets - featured poets and regular participants that the deadline for submissions to our anthology is January 31, 2020 and the deadline for applications for the position of Poet Laureate is on February 2, 2020 (222020):

This presentation is partly sponsored by the Dignity Health Foundation, through a grant for "Close to Nature" Project for Phoenix Houses of Los Angeles, with the California State Poetry Society  as one of the collaborating partners. 


Joyce Futa has been writing poetry since she retired in 2001.  Her book “Lit Windows: A Book of Haibun and Tanka Prose” from which she will read today was published in 2017.  She lives happily in Altadena, a dramatic change from the city life of San Francisco, where she lived for 50 years.  She has recently discovered a new creative passion: ceramics, the process of which in some ways is not that different from writing poetry - an openess to whatever might be unconsciously evolving, attention to detail, and patient revising and refining.

 Ginkgo tree in Descanso Gardens, by Maja Trochimczyk

Her Death

It wasn’t an answer, it was a question.  
It wasn’t simple, but dark and teeming.
Like tv detectives, we thought about it, 
reconstructed timelines, conversations, events.
The  links were there, 
everything and nothing made any sense.  
Our thoughts ranged wildly depending on the hour, 
whether it was gray or bright as the tropics,
what friend we just talked to and whether we wept.  
Who could have stopped her vision of fate.
How the seed grew to take over her mind.  

Sometimes it seemed simple: it was just too much.  

But it wasn’t simple, never an answer.
The question echoes as it moves into the past.

lost in caves
we tunnel through grief
trying to remember your light
those days in the years
you walked with us

Kumquat Marmalade

My sister and I slice a huge mound of kumquats for marmalade, a tedious, time consuming task; each tiny fruit has seeds we must tease out with the tip of a knife.  One could go nuts doing this alone, but we pass the time chatting about friends, sons, the awful daily news.   Twelve jars of orange jellies with little bright haloes of rind will be our reward.

We start to talk about movies.  Suddenly we are caught in the familiar senior struggle to remember someone’s name, this time an actress we have loved in many roles.  We catalog facts we know about her – she played an artist in that movie with whatshisname … and X’s sister in a film set in San Francisco – was she nominated for that?  Finally, my sister says she gives up and rinses her hands to google.  When she returns with the name, we slap our numbskulls.

slippery seeds of memory
we leave drama behind
and enter the age of comedy


Jackie Chou writes free verses, rhyming poems, and Japanese short form poetry.  Her work has been published in JOMP Dear Mr. President anthology, Lummox, Creative Talents Unleashed anthologies, and others.  She was nominated for a Best of the Net in 2017 by Hidden Constellation.  

Hills at Cajon Pass, December 24, 2019 by Maja Trochimczyk

Ode to Insomniacs

When you're up with the owls and moon people,
I'm in a cozy slumber, deep in dreams.

You can do so much;
String together stars,

Enough to feed a whole village

Come morning.

Your eyelids droop with weariness.
You remind me of mama and papa

Who worked till their bones broke,
While I lay indolent, on a couch,
Embarrassed by their smelly armpits

Urged them to eat well, sleep well,
And bathe daily. To no avail, my voice 
was smaller than their American dream.

They both died young,
And you and your sleepless nights,
Traumatize me all over again.

Snow at the Grapevine, Maja Trochimczyk


My mother clad me in pink,
and later in my teens, lavender.
But the blue was always there,
underneath the pastel colors.
It was in my genes,
blue with its melancholia
and myriad synonyms,
azure and cerulean.
My mood is a spectrum
of different shades of blue,
including royal and navy.
The sky and the sea are blue,
with every variation in between,
turquoise and indigo.
Blue is behind my strawberry colored smile.
San Francisco Marina, Photo by Maja Trochimczyk


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