Thursday, June 2, 2022

Poets in the Garden - Charlene Mason Gallego and Maja Trochimczyk's "Bright Skies" - June 26, 2022 at 4:30pm on Zoom


Iris in Descanso Gardens, Photo by Maja Trochimczyk
Video from this reading on YouTube:
Maja Trochimczyk reads poems from "Bright Skies" 

Village Poets of Sunland Tujunga are pleased to present two poets writing from their non-toxic gardens, full of wildlife and healthy plants.   Charlene Mason Gallego will present her artwork and poetry, and Maja Trochimczyk will read poems and show photos from her newest collection, "Bright Skies."  The reading will be on Sunday, June 26, 2022 at 4:30 pm on Zoom. Send request for link to  

Charlene Mason Gallego

Charlene Mason Gallego writes: "I consider myself a California girl, having lived all over this beautiful state.  I spent time in the Monterey Peninsula where I took up photography and art making.  After a brief stint as a flight attendant, I recommitted myself to the creative life, and attended California College of the Arts in San Francisco.  I graduated with a BFA in Drawing and Painting.  While in art school I took several creative writing classes which exposed me to new authors and poets. I have been an avid journal writer my whole life and have a deep love of words as a way  to process my experiences.  While I have been a writer to an audience of one,  recently I have been compelled to share it with the world, or at least my intimate circles.  I write to find myself, to explore the unknowables, to follow my fascination points, to connect with wonder and beauty.  And most of all to fully embody this life. In addition to writing, drawing, painting, and photography, I am a wildlife gardener.  I create space for the wild beings, with native plants, and nesting sites, and water sources.  My wild garden is a place of solace and renewal, magic and connection.  My creative process is about the personal as universal, and exploring the beauty of our interconnectivity and diversity."  

On June 25, 2022 from 3pm to 8pm she is hosting an open house at her studio and garden, at 11525 Mt. Gleason Avenue, Tujunga CA91042.


My body is designed for beautiful things.
Like the sunrise happening as I write this.
It is ever shifting, ever changing,
and never the same.
It is me as a witness, at this moment,
With these eyes and these body feels.
That is the miracle, turning my mountain
a dusty kind of pink.
The kind of pink you find in an old woman’s
house, upon her worn velvet sofa.
The kind of pink worn on that same
woman’s lips, that discontinued shade
of Estee Lauder lipstick.
It is her at this moment, a blending of early
morning rays, through moisture laden clouds,
landing on the browns and tans of
those easterly slopes,
that forgotten shade has been reinvented,
reignited for my pleasure again.
And it triggers a feeling of nostalgia,
Back when the action was at the department
stores, in the malls, at the food courts.
Us, Lauder, Clinique, and Lancome girls,
playing with our beauty, only slightly
understanding it’s power and becoming
aware of it’s dangers.
Us, with our soft, full painted lips,
Laughing together and admiring each other’s
feminine allure.
Us, applying a new shade of pink
to replace the old one for that woman
seated in our chair awaiting her makeover,
Her transformation.
Applying a bandaid to all the
disappointments of life,
that have sagged the smile and
frowned the eyes.
We were baby alchemists.
It was the era of artificial excess,
Tortured tresses, contoured cheeks
And sexy eyebrows.
What kind of magic pill were we selling?
Youth in a bottle That perfect shade of
It would be years later that the
underpinnings of this artificial environment
would begin to crack.
My eyes would see through the
crumbling remains, that my
talents were not meant for selling
a manmade idea of beauty,
But for reveling in the source
of beauty herself.
And there is no selling beauty, not ever...
Beauty simply exists.
Beauty is that dusty shade of pink
upon my mountain,
That shade of pink that grins forth
from that old woman’s lips. 


We are coming into the days of long shadows.
The sunrise is noticeably changed as it now rises
to the south of Camelback Peak.
The browns of the brush have a well cooked aura.
The large Red Harvester Ants are busy gathering their stores.
The granite collects the heat to release it out into the
evening. Our home does the same.
Whenever I come back from a long trip, I notice a staleness to
the air as I open the front door.
This time I left the house to husband and daughter,
And I know without asking that they did not throw open the
windows as I do.
To let in the fresh morning whispers.
My home missed me as much as I missed her.
This early morning air has it’s own unique flavor,
that does not show itself at any other moment.
It would be a pity to miss these shy hours,
for they hold the key to the day’s unfolding.
I have cultivated a practice of participation that allows
a blessed insight into the becoming,
That will be this sunrise,
This high noon,
This sunset.
This turning as I plant my feel into Mother and witness
the miracle of
a day,
a night,
a season,
a life.

ISBN 978-1-945938-49-8, color paperback
ISBN 978-1-945938-52-8, eBook in ePub format
US Trade (6 x 9 in / 152 x 229 mm), 184 Pages
85 poems, 162 color photographs, 6 portraits

Maja Trochimczyk dedicated this collection of poems, “Bright Skies,” to her children and grand-children, asking them to read and enjoy her verse “when they grow up.” The volume features 85 poems written in 2009-2022 and organized into five sections – Spring, Summer, Babie Lato, Autumn and Winter. The seasons of poetry include reflections on nature, beauty, love, life, and spirituality. The focus is on positive emotions, learning to be calm and content, full of compassion and wisdom. It is a life-long quest, and these poems are an invitation. 

The poems are illustrated with 160 photographs taken in the poet’s neighborhood – Big Tujunga Wash, Angeles National Forest, Descanso Gardens, and Oxnard Beach. The surprising “Coda” brings a set of recipes for old-fashioned Polish dishes mentioned in poems. Bringing together favorite memories of her Polish childhood – making and flying kites, plays with soap bubbles – and the delights of sunny Southern California gardens, parks, and beaches, the book includes lessons how to seek and find the daily dose of domestic bliss. This book is a legacy from a well-lived life, and a companion to "Into Light: Poems and Incantations" - another collection of positive, inspirational poetry illustrated with photos.

Maja Trochimczyk with grandson Adam, Facebook Profile Picture by Maria Kubal

Maja Trochimczyk, PhD, is a Polish American poet, music historian, photographer, and non-profit director. She is the author/editor of eight books on music and Polish culture, five poetry volumes and four anthologies, including most recently We Are Here: Village Poets Anthology co-edited with Marlene Hitt to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Village Poets readings (2020). A former Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga in 2010-2012, since 2019 she has served as the President of the California State Poetry Society, and, since 2018, as the President of the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club, promoting Polish culture in California. 

Her poetry books include Rose Always, Miriam’s Iris, Slicing the Bread, Into Light, and The Rainy Bread. Hundreds of Trochimczyk’s poems appeared in English, Polish, as well as in German, French, Chinese, Spanish and Serbian translations in such journals as: The Loch Raven Review, Epiphany Magazine, Lily Review, Ekphrasis Journal, Quill and Parchment, Magnapoets, SGVGPQ, Pirene's Fountain, Cosmopolitan Review, The Scream Online, The Original Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology, Clockwise Cat, Lummox Journal, Phantom Seed, Colorado Boulevard, Spectrum, Poezja Dzisiaj, OccuPoetry, as well as many anthologies. She is the host of Village Poets Monthly Readings, Managing Editor of the California Quarterly and Editor of the CSPS Poetry Letter, promoting poetry worldwide. 

Interview by VoyageLA website, 15 October 2021,

Interview by Shoutout LA website, March 1, 2021:

Matka Boska Zielna

~ for Mother of God of the Herbs (August 15)

Look at the greening hill slopes charred by last year’s wildfire—

that’s magic. Look at the mountain sunflower that grew

at the edge of the asphalt on Oro Vista road, it already blooms

out of nowhere—that’s magic, too. The postcard-size garden

by the old, wooden house, a shack, really—fills with flowers

every spring. Fruit appears on orange trees after bees collect pollen.


The scent of sweetness, the cheerful noise of bee wings—

is it not far more miraculous, a thousand, a million times

more delightful than the 100 floors of steel-metal-glass

of skyscrapers proudly pointing at the sky? Incomparable

with a patch of weeds, nature’s miracles of renewal.


How proud we are of our empty metallic constructions

that will rust in the jungle, abandoned, like stone pyramids

of the Mayas, shrouded by vibrant green of leaves and

branches. Thousands of years of human fame obliterated

by the steady, living, fertile abundance, the overflowing

force of life, of matter, our Mother.


Roots, shoots and tendrils spread out, germinate,

flow through the soil in search of water, nutrients,

life, more life, ever growing, ever richer, dancing,

singing the abundance of being—the song of creation

we are— we are —we are—we are all —

we are one—one—one—

(C) 2022 by Maja Trochimczyk, first published in Quill  & Parchment, May 2022

Arbor Cosmica

                             ~ for my children


No fear, no hate, not even a mild dislike*—

we leave our heavy burdens, shards of memories

broken, all too broken, at the bottom of crystal stairs

beneath clouds of white camellias, petals swirling

through air like the snow of forgetfulness


Perfect symmetry of blossoms

points the way—up, up, always up

rainbow crystal stairs, revealed

one by one as we ascend—inwards,

outwards—dancing spirals of our DNA


We get to know this place—these depths,

these heights—for once, for all lifetimes


With each step, pure notes resonate

and expand into clear, spacious chords—

the music of the spheres rings out, wave by wave

expanding from our open hearts


Each chord—harmonious, different—

each melody in this vast symphony

sweetly twines around another, and another

until all are One Song, One Wisdom—

of stem and flower, of leaf and root

in this Cosmic Tree of humanity


Arbor Cosmica—


We have been here

all along without knowing

First published in the California Quarterly 46:4, 2020.

More information about this book: