POETRY READING: Passing, by Paul O’Donnell

Performed by Allison Kampf

Passing, by Paul O’Donnell

So much is broken
I despair
he says passing out from lack of air
It was no more than a passing dream to think
the passing of a law could mean passing through the past
The inciting incident, the protagonist’s resolve to repair
ignorance fear and anger living side by side in liminal space stretched.
Searching for the prophylactic fountain to wash away despair
But passing laws passed through the fragile membrane made of the
dreams of gilded fossils giving
no more than a passing glance
with few words passing between them.
How could it not be broken?
Only the words Black Lives Matter, matter
No forgiveness can be asked. Forgiving is an act of power bestowed
granted by the weak with feelings of remorse
Atone is at and one
there the difference lies.


POETRY READING: Gritty, dangerous doll, by Kirsten Warner

Performed by Allison Kampf

Gritty, dangerous doll, by Kirsten Warner

I forage for her, the doll of my disappointment

a spray of brittle twigs
a faggot of fallen fronds
crusty sticks with lesions of lichen

crouched over, calling up my ancient sister.

Then it is only a matter of seeing and she takes shape.

A forked branch and spindly legs start running,
over-wide arm-span
shock of invisible fingers
guts hanging out
circulation unspooled
half a skirt of flax flowers,
all bundled together
leaving a strong stick where her head will go.

Overnight she stands sentinel,
my doll of disappointment,
through my sleepless 4 AM and discarded novels.
My insides agitate like giant kelp in a blowhole.
Somewhere a strange crying
but each time I get up the whimpering stops.

In the morning the pillow is wet.
I’m flimsy yet my ache weighs heavy on the bathroom scales.
I count my losses in the vanity’s distorting mirror.
It feels like something died. Like I never had a chance.

I craft her head from crumpled cellophane
and glinting, spooky transparency,
attach a savage halo
consider lengths of yarn the violent red of secobarbital
but she’s done. I nurse the day

while she fossicks in the underneaths
grubbing out contagion,
cursing humbug and sideshow
drowning out the comfort of friends
muttering spells to turn my gaze away
daubing herself with horse manure
full of grass seed that will eventually sprout green.

POETRY READING: Black Night Sky, by Paula Shaffer

Performed by Allison Kampf

black night sky {genre: fear}
paula shaffer

there is a fear my son will die today
because his skin is black as night

black night sky

that darker fear that whites so dread;
how dare my son dare to breathe,
dare to live

reach for the sky

play by the rules so self-confined;
the “talk” is clear as constant rain,
that reminder of fear each time you leave
your brown skin marked as sin

auto-rejected from the day of birth
your dark skin the color of Earth

i grieve for you with constant fear,
i cry for you when you leave,
i apologize for those ugly clouds
that rue your day, existence’s theme

racism so deep, it never bends
its darkness cast because of skin

i grieve for sons who won’t come home,
laid to rest in a pit of degrade

civil unrest because of skin
unleashes fear you won’t obey

and one more black boy dies today

his last words: i can’t breathe

POETRY READING: Leopard Club Love, by Franco D’Alessandro

Performed by Allison Kampf


by Franco D’Alessandro

I’ve loved you like a leopard cub from the day

You stalked into my classroom -flip-flopping

Around the circle of desks- staring at me,

Wondering aloud: “who the hell is this guy?”

You were a problem child I wanted to solve;

So I picked you up and carried you in my gritted teeth,

Slapped you around with a tender paw until you fell into line.

You were just like a lost leopard cub, separated from family,

The one that had a twin but needed to be on his own.

We’re leopards, you and me -social, secretive, and solitary.

But when I spotted you alone,

Laid out -paralyzed- on the ground,

I lept down from my classroom tree

And roared onto the field, to protect you, my cub,

Who, somehow, unreasonably, seemed a part of me.

You crashed like a meteor, at 14, into my life

On that too-hot September day and began to wreak your happy havoc

In a stagnant place that unknowingly longed for you.

Like Odysseus readily recognized his long lost Telemachus,

We knew our souls knew each other.

I still don’t know why I chose you -and you, me-

To let in.

When you asked me to “bring it in”… I held you for that first hug,

I suddenly knew that what life, loss, and lost love

Had long denied me, destiny had laughingly fulfilled.

You were a missing piece I pretended wasn’t necessary.

You accepted my almost barren, childless heart -I thought unworthy of a son’s love.

But answered prayers have a way of walking into

Our empty rooms so quietly.

Your trust I’ve cherished holding;

Pieces of you I carry like secret treasures unfolding.

You -not of my flesh but of my soul;

That silent prayer that -in being answered-

Made me whole.

POETRY READING: Turning the wheel, by Melissa Chaconas

Performed by Allison Kampf

Turning the wheel, by Melissa Chaconas

we are close our car doors
in anger

we shop in frustrations

we give up hope all the time

we remember in primordial love

We run around in

costumes, masks,

we are stuck

we walk hard

we clean hard
to make the pain
dwell in a
in the bottom.

POETRY READING: Mantra Of A Bridge Builder, Lucinda J. Clark

Performed by Allison Kampf

Mantra of a Bridge Builder

I am a bridge builder.
I build based upon where I travel

I build on happy days and sad days:
I have built during times I felt I could not— and possibly should not—go on.

My bridge building is based on following a road;
a dominant thought
changes in my worldview.

Added to each bridges structure are things I have seen,
things I have heard,
things I have read.

Ideas I have opened and closed my eyes, heart and mind to.

The length and strenght of some of these bridges are undetermined and,
much too far away
for my mind’s eye to reach

only the passage of time will determine.

Each bridges purpose is to open new gateways,
and give opportunity,

to those who are and are not like me.
To enrich all just by having come this way.

just maybe,
when my bridge building days are done, what has been built
(even as I lapses into dust)
lives on

@Lucinda J. Clark

POETRY READING: 9/11 Attacks, by Janelle Barker

Performed by Allison Kampf

9/11 Attacks, by Janelle Barker

The day began like any other r
The sun rose, scattering to work,
Settling into their day, with a smirk.
8.46am thousands of lives, would change,
North Twin Tower was hit by a plane,
People thought, NO, that’s insane.
News came to those, yes it was true,
Some knew and others didn’t have a clue.
Terror attacks was announced
Disbelief from civilians, on the ground.
9.03am, no, not again
The South Tower was hit, oh Amen.
Survivors running for their lives,
Passing the dead, that, they did dread.
Parts of bodies everywhere,
We had no time, to stop to care.
We had to get out, as fast as we could,
Everyone knew, that was understood.

People jumping from the towers,
Things happened in minutes,
Which seem liked hours.
Flights hijacked, 93,77 and 175
All the passengers, tried their best
To stay alive.
Life that day, was out of control,
When the buildings were demolished
It left, a great big hole.
90 countries, lost loved ones,
Firefighters, military
And police,
are many of the rescue Workers,
that now rest in peace.
Estimated up to 19,000
In the towers upon attack,
So hard to believe
That this maybe fact.
Years later, people still dying,
To the families, related this
Is terrifying.
Exposed toxins from ground zero,
Pregnancy losses, cancers
No one can find answers.
A memorial was made
For all to see,
A reminder of life,
No one would disagree.
Pay your respect, for those we lost,
And say a prayer,
For no extra cost.
This moment in history,
the world will remember,
Let’s come together,
United we stand,
Hand in hand,
Let’s show the world what we can withstand

POETRY Reading: ABANDON LOVE, by Joanne Rowe

Performed by Allison Kampf


So rich man you think you’re gonna survive?
Leaving the rest of us to die.
Buy your ticket to outer space,
watch the rest of us spinning in space.
You measure time by your own insignificant place

Mother Earth is starting to wake
We can feel her moving – Under our feet
Dancing but nobody is watching

She is screaming in the whirlpools of abandon love,
Drowning in the pools of blood,
Crying in the dirty rain,
In the clamour of the wind and rain,
how many lives have fallen?

We have rend her garments –
Emptying out her oceans
leaving her in disgrace,
and just plain destroyed this place.

With our lust for power and greed to have ever more,
Lies and deceit riding on the backs of the poor,
leaving them to eat dirt while
using our abandoned pets as live bait.

Oh all for the good life,
for we are gonna have a good time.
No one’s manning spaceship earth
to busy fighting and dying
while we are spinning out of control.

Oh sweet love divine
where do we go from here
oh sweet love divine
where do we go from here.
You seem to have abandon this place

For why complain –
we are riding on the crest of sensation,
oh for we all have a good life,
oh sweet love divine

Gaia is opening up the book of change
bringing forth massive amounts of
anger, sadness and despair
For we have abandoned her
Now chaos sets the order of the day.

And when the morning sun has risen –
I will walk outside this world of dust
Mother Earth shed
her garment of expression,
awakening the deep strata of my soul
and sets it dancing with my shadow wondering,
where we will go from here?

After the tears – a gentle rain falls
One can sense a presence
to a life’s sustaining ocean
of a love that is freely given,
not bound to any one person or thing

Asking mankind to wear a coat of compassion
To hold on to what is good, —- All you need is love
For All Life!


Performed by Allison Kampf


Suddenly she hadn’t the heart to quarrel.
‘He’s faithless and won’t change’
and with that thought was freed.
After he had gone out, she packed
and put her suitcase by the door.
A last look before leaving.
The rug chosen together in Istanbul,
chess set lovingly given him.
‘Three years and nothing.’

She walked towards the traffic and hailed a taxi,
in her raised hand the black queen.

POETRY READING: A Giant Moment, by Jean Buschmann

Performed by Allison Kampf


BORED in San Jose, our home in the South Bay, we ventured to The City that day.
– It wasn’t ordinary, no way!
Sunny and bright, not a cloud in sight.
– For the foggy City By The Bay, that’s rare for May, let alone April Fools’ Day!
But it was no joke, so we were seriously stoked at the thought of some fun in the sun.
The grand opening of PacBell Park was our mark – an exhibition game between the
Yankees and Giants. Otherwise known as “The Spankees,” to their defiants.
As a native New Yorker raised in Queens, it was The Mets for whom I placed all bets.
But as if to put our love to the test, my Nor-Cal man loved The Bronx Bombers best.
– And no, that’s not jest.
So that was the original aim of our quest, but before long we’d learn it might not be best.
– Since such seemed the goal of all the rest.
And so, with slightly deflated hearts, we parked by The Palace of Fine Arts.
– Far far away from where we’d hoped to spend that day.
We then began to stroll around, stopping at every fascinating sight we found.
– Talking and laughing along the way, we could hardly believe we’d walked to the Bay!
Not ’til we saw my blistered feet, were we finally ready to take a seat.
That’s when we noticed something funny – all the ATMs were out of money!
“Uh-oh” we said to one another, ‘cuz neither of us had stashed cash for the other.
Hungry, with nearly no money at all, there was not even a cab for us to call.
That’s when something inside me said, “It’s time to get up and keep moving ahead!”
To that, my hubby scratched his head, not at all sure how I’d endure.
But despite my feet, I wasn’t ready to admit defeat.
As we neared the revered new stadium, out of my mouth came a strange shout…
“When we turn the corner, we’ll get tickets to the game!” – To which my man jokingly retorted,
“Are you insane?”
Then to his shock, I locked eyes on a smiling stranger, who waved me over to his Range Rover.
“I’ve got two tickets, if you need ’em.” He said. “That’d be great…if you can wait.” And so, I explained
our twisted fate.
The stranger stepped right up to the plate. Without so much as a pause, as if completely compelled
by our cause.
When he jotted down his address, I knew that we’d been truly blessed. Then I noticed his wife was
So I smiled reassuringly, as if to say – “The check will soon be on the way.”
…And that’s the true story of that April 1st day!

A poetic memory by