Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Memorial Day Celebration with RG Cantalupo's "Remembrances" May 22, 2022, 4:30pm, Zoom

Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga will celebrate the Veterans in a Memorial-Day-themed reading by poet RG Cantalupo who will present a new book, "Remembrances" on Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 4:30 pm on Zoom. The reading's open mic section will include poets from the California Quarterly vol. 48 no. 1, spring 2022, edited by Maja Trochimczyk.


rg cantalupo is a poet, playwright, filmmaker, novelist, and director. His work has been published widely in literary journals in the United States, England, and Australia.

            He graduated from UC Santa Cruz where he studied under such luminaries as George Hitchcock, editor of Kayak, Gregory Bateson, and Norman O. Brown, and received his MFA in Poetry and Non-Fiction from Vermont College of the Fine Arts.

            His books of poetry include Involving Residence, No Thanks, Walking Water On Earth, The Art of Naming, Remembrances, and The Endurance: Journey To Worlds End, (a lyric novel).

            He is also the author of You Don’t Know Me, (a five book young adult series), The Light Where Shadows End, and The Shadows In Which We Rise, memoirs, American Patriot, Surviving Covid, and a number of plays and stage adaptations including the musical versions of The Giving Tree and Where The Wild Things Are. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of Stages in Santa Monica, a performing arts center.

            He served in the 25th Infantry Division as an RTO, radio operator, for an infantry company from 1968-69 and received three purple hearts and a Bronze Star with a Combat V for Valor Under Fire.

            His books can be purchased through New World Publishers or through the author at



rg cantalupo (aka Ross Canton)

Links to YouTube Videos of RG Cantalupo's poetry:




Baby San wanted horses

mostly, Mustangs and

Appaloosas, a small ranch

outside Tucson with a good

woman and a few sons.


Devil wanted his girlfriend

to take this morning’s letter

back, for it to be the way

it was that last night 

when she called out his name—


”Demond!”—Demond, the name 

he had before he left The 

World. I wanted to finish 

school and write about

our days here, this day 


and the ones before, us 

simmering Spaghetti C’s 

over heat tabs and drinking 

our six free beers in the bunker’s 

dusty shade, the crackle of 


green bullets igniting the air 

outside—far away now as we 

sat and drank and lied and 

killed the day, each of us 

wanting what we knew 


we couldn’t have, till it was 

time to go and one by one 

we stood up and stepped

through the blinding doorway,

and disappeared into the light.


The poet provided the following description about his new book Remembrances (4/29/2022): "Some memories never die. Some memories are indelibly imprinted on our lives—moments of love, moments of overwhelming grief, of terror, of intense pain, of breathtaking happiness. And some moments change our lives forever.  This is a book of such moments, remembered as best I can, shared in the only way I know. They are the moments that make up the story of my life." 

Here are a few excerpts from the book: 

From “Remembrances”

“If I could fill this body that each day ferries me through this world with only the moments I love, these would be among them. For my life isn’t like a boat, or a river, but these memories I carry inside me as I tread upstream or downstream toward tomorrow—these remembrances I cherish more than the traumatic ones that each day I must endeavor to forget.”

From “Prisoner of War”

“The night terrors ended—one night, or maybe over many nights—bleeding out till there was nothing left but fragments like the shrapnel that kept rising to the surface of my skin. Even the names—Lonny, Devil, Spike, Lee—faded into echoes, and then were gone. 

I pressed them onto rice paper at The Wall once, and put them between the pages of a book like dead flowers, but they’re gone too, lost, along with the book, sometime during the days when I kept moving to forget where I’d been.”

From “Listening Post, December 23rd, 1968”

“Out here, gazing up at a trillion flickering stars, I could be anyone.

I could be who I was ten months ago, lying under a sycamore in Monterey, Janice snuggled beside me, just us, us and the stars, and the moon. 

But no, I’m here, my head pressed against a rice paddy dike, my face blackened, my eyes staring through a starlight scope. 

And the universe is so much smaller. It barely reaches beyond the rubber trees around Trang Bang, or our perimeter of claymore mines.”

From The Second Time I Got Wounded”

“—and so, I stood and watched and commanded my frozen body to move, to stop shaking, to take that last step beyond my fear and go into the fire—until it was finally over, the rockets no longer falling, the explosions ended, the ground silent, and all that was left were the moans for “Medic! Medic!”—my body fearless now, my legs unfrozen, the last step into darkness taken—and I ran, ran to the same pit where two weeks later I would stand as another rocket spiraled down, exploding a few feet away, hurling me up into the air, lifting me so high my soul looked down upon me as I lay bleeding, moaning “Medic! Medic!” and praying someone would come…”

From “Peaches”

“One afternoon, her fingers touched mine as they moved over the gauze near my heart, and I clasped them in a lover’s embrace, just for a moment, one quick moment, and gone.

When I left a few weeks later for a hospital in Japan, her eyes moistened as her sad hand waved goodbye.

Every now and then I still see her, her deep, brown eyes studying mine,as I gritted through her pain and my own. 

I saved the letters I wrote in Yokohama.

I never knew where to send them.”

From “Forgiveness”

“I could’ve gone to jail for life to save a life, instead of pulling the trigger for death. Because there was no reason really, no justification for being there, for invading, or searching, or destroying their lives. 

But I didn’t.

I made a choice. 

I obeyed. 

And so, I ask for forgiveness. Not from some indifferent God, nor the blue sky, nor these white walls, nor this heart that beats like a mantra every day inside me. 

But from my friend Teresa, from her and her family, and all the Vietnamese I’ve known…”


For the open mic sections of this reading, we invite poets published in the California Quarterly vol. 48 no. 1, spring 2022, edited by Maja Trochimczyk to join us at this reading and present their poems. 

Table of contents of the issue may be found on CSPS Blog:

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Raphael Block - Featured Poet on April 24, 2022, at 4:30 pm on Zoom

YouTube Video from the Reading:

On Sunday, April 24, 2022, at 4:30 pm, Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga present their Monthly Poetry Reading on Zoom, featuring Northern California Poet, Raphael Block. The links are emailed to our email list by Dorothy Skiles,  

April 22, 1970 was the first Earth Day to celebrate our planet and make sure it stays healthy and whole, by reducing human-caused pollution and damage to our environment and all living beings. Plastics and now, masks, fill the oceans and wash up on the beaches. The groundwaters are full of chemicals in many places. The air was so bad with smog in some areas, people were forced to stay home. Even "environmentally-friendly" wind turbines are massive killers of birds and their huge blades are not recyclable... Mr. Block is keenly interested in these topics, hence he is a great choice for our reading on April 24, 2022.

Raphael's Block's poetry, infused with spirit, speaks to earth's call for a heartfelt response to our ecological crisis. Born on a kibbutz, he spent his boyhood playing on the hills of Haifa. His family returned to London as he turned nine, where learning British English shaped his ear for sound. In 1993 he moved to Northern California with his American wife and their daughter. His wife died from cancer in 2002, and for the following years he feels it was his privilege to raise their child.

Raphael worked with children of all ages for almost 30 years. Since 2008, a life-threatening illness, Crohn's, has played a major role in intensifying his appreciation and gratitude for the moments of each day. 

He is the author of Songs from a Small Universe (2009), Spangling Darkness (2014), Strings of Shining Silence: Earth-Love Poems (2017), and At This Table (2020).
Raphael produces the monthly Earth-Love Newsletter which can be viewed at along with a National Geographic selected 5-minute documentary.

                                  This Table

How amazing is this day!

         The spider's web casts its shadow

      play, lilies sing in sprays, 

               redwoods and broad oaks hold sway.

            Ripe berries for beaks and lips,

             patches of white lace—all set

            on this delicate plate. We,

     at your table, but guests.