Whatcom WRITES! this Sunday

I read.  I write.  I write and read.  With much prompting from two supportive writing groups, I finally began to send out entries.


Last year, 2012, I began to read my work at open mics.  Finally, by November, I cast away some of the blue butterflies that caught in my throat.  And I sent out to submissions that seemed to call for what I wrote.

I was delighted when I was accepted to the Whatcom WRITES! call for submissions on the subject of “loyalty.”  I’ve never written about loyalty, was my first thought.  Then I cruised through my poems.  Of course I had.  I sent one in.

Today’s Bellingham Herald had this announcement in TakeFive:

Winners of the Whatcom WRITES! Contest, a part of the recent countywide What READS! program, will share their entries at a free event at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 3rd at Village Books, 1200 11th Street. 

The contest theme this year was “loyalties.” Among the readers are Robin Barker, Tim Pilgrim, Susan J. Erickson, Nicole Olivers, Betty Scott, C.J. Cj Prince and Heather Williams.
Bellingham Herald 2.28.13

So, if you’re around, stop by Village Books on Sunday.  A chapbook has been published with the entries.  I am eager to see it.  

Tomorrow I will facilitate my monthly writing group, First Friday Writers.  That’s the secret.  Just to keep writing.  Editing comes but first we must write.

Chasing Ginger Baker

1968     I own a head shop/record store, The Groove Company.  Rock ‘n’ roll plays over big speakers.  Musicians and fans frequent the shop.  I overhear a conversation as I re-arrange the water pipes.  “Ginger Baker is the best f-*@king drummer of all time,” the long haired stoner says.  Profound.  I put on a Cream record and agree.


1994   I work for a newspaper and am interviewing an artist in Parker, Colorado.  She introduces me to Karen, the current wife of Ginger Baker.  I want to interview him, get a phone number.  Leave messages.  Actually talk ever so briefly to him one time when he says he can’t talk.  It is clear he doesn’t want to talk about Eric Clapton.  Of course I do but still I covet the interview.  I’d be happy to interview him about the new jazz trio.  It never happens.

2013     “Beware of Mr. Baker”, a documentary film comes to the Pickford Film Center in Bellingham, Washington.  I sit in the best mid row seat, mesmerized.  No wonder I never got that interview.  But it would have rocked.


Other interviews that never came to be:  David Crosby (who I interviewed when we were in college together and he was playing his guitar and singing at coffee houses in Santa Barbara, California.)  Bare Naked Ladies…one of them was supposed to have lived in Kiowa, Colorado.  I really wanted that interview too.  Perhaps.  Someday.  In the meantime, I have a great collection of CDs.  (I got rid of all the 78s.)

Rant When You Least Expect It

When it seems a blur…

and opinions mar the sunshine…


Nearly puritanical rolls right into politics like a tank.  Runs right up the Supreme Court steps, aiming to crush any past legislation dealing with the vagina.

It roars up a governor’s sleeve and almost makes her vice president.  It incubates in puddles, waiting to hop a ride on the next band wagon of discontent.  It pickets on street corners, lifts its nose to snub in church, supercilious.

Nearly puritanical drops its adverb, grabs a microphone, pounds the pavement, rolls into any crowd waiting to be swayed by its own austere roots.  Puritanical is stitched into long hemlines and heavy stockings, wants to order the whole world to its image.

No sex before marriage.  No marriage if you’re gay.  Treatment for the aberration of same sex activity, no birth control.  no abortion, no matter the circumstance.  Puritanical will put you in the stocks of social judgment and denial.  Puritanical grins when you squirm, watches for every misbehavior with a close cut fingernail and whispers behind your back.

The results, the goal:  upset the apple cart of personal freedoms, tidy up the alleys of so called indecency, keep your knees together no matter what.  If you think you can avoid religion and politics, you think you can ignore the puritanical–but no.

Ever present, every ready with a rumor to dismiss logic, to demean the greatest and the least of your sloth, to show you your own wasteful ways.  Shunned, you walk the tightrope of fear, wondering if you are a woman without a country, a person with her tongue tied down and her throat chakra red with mis-use.

Step out of the time machine that thrusts little minds into patriarchal madness.  Today, make a choice to be true to your inner light, to leave the little minds to compost until they can sprout with strength to honor all peoples on the planet.

 I am honored to be reading two poems at SpeakEasy 10 with the Shy Chi-ters, an all star cast: Michael Eugene Berg, Pam Weil, Barbara GobusMary Haslam, Ann Ohren, Julie Turner and Linda Hirsh! Join us Sunday, February 17th at the Amadeus Project on Cornwall at 7 PM!!! This is poetry out of the box…promising a one of a kind evening!!!
I will also be reading a poem with Jim Milstead (I get to be a tapeworm!!!) and another poem with Nancy Canyon.
Photo: MARK YOUR CALENDAR!!!  I am honored to be reading two poems at SpeakEasy 10 with an all star cast:  Michael Eugene Berg, Pam Weil, Barbara Gobus, Mary Haslam, Ann Ohren, Julie Turner and Linda Hirsh!  Join us Sunday, February 17th at the Amadeus Project on Cornwall at 7 PM!!!  This is poetry out of the box...promising a one of a kind evening!!!

Year of the Snake

I lived with Ruby for a while–over there on 14th and Lafayette on Capitol Hill in Denver.  Ruby was stunning.  She stopped people in the street with her graceful curves and ease of demeanor.

Ruby was a six foot boa constrictor.  I fell in love with her at first sight.  I was in a show that called for a snake.  Not a single slithering being showed up for auditions.  The snake was to be my stage partner.  So I went in search of a well trained snake.

My previous snake, a bull snake named Phaedro, was left in my care when my son’s interests went elsewhere.  Phaedro and I lived in a no-pets apartment complex.  When Phaedro escaped, I could hardly call management and ask for help in retrieving him.  I wished him well.

You’d think a snake would be easy to find in a city as big as Denver.  I kept looking and finally found Ruby lounging behind glass in a pet shop out in Lakewood.  I was in an unsettled phase of my life and hardly able to consider buying her loveliness.  So, I bartered.  Ruby would be the star of the show (she was) and we would give the pet shop a full page ad in the program.  Deal.

I wondered if it would be a problem that Ruby had never performed before.  I had to make sure she was comfortable around people.  I stopped jogging and took up walking…walking with a six foot boa around my neck as I wandered down Colfax and along Broadway.  Now as beautiful as she was, she did not charm everyone.  Ten year old girls screamed and ran away from me.  But the boys, oh, the boys, any age, came to her like magic.  She never flinched or flashed a tongue.  She was totally accepting of their adoration.

Ruby was with me for some time before the performance.  She got hungry.  I can’t remember for sure what tasty morsel I finally procured.  Phaedro ate live mice from the science lab at the college.  They were no longer doing those experiments.  I went to a pet shop.  They were out of mice and hamsters.  I think Ruby ate a guinea pig.  OMG, she had this huge bulge in her slinky body.  She did not want to be touched during digestion…which went on for days.  I was afraid she’d bomb on opening night. 

Fortunately she completed the process by showtime.  I hung in a half moon forty feet over the stage with Ruby curled contentedly in my lap.  We made quite an entrance when the moon was lowered to the stage.

What memories does the Year of the Snake bring for you?



Talking Race

By Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor

In 2006, I wrote the poem “The Politics of Beauty” in response to a Filipino friend’s lament that her young daughter had been told she was lucky because of her light skin and hair. As a mother of Euro-Filipino children, I too was horrified that someone, even in a well-meaning way, would teach a child such a racist viewpoint. As the poem developed, however, I began to realize that the poem was really for all women of color, especially Pinays, who still believed that their bodies—short, dark, flat-nosed, slanted-eyed—marked them as less desirable, less intelligent.

Time and again, I have heard the stories of Pinays having their eyelids altered so they would appear more round-eyed. Skin-lightening creams are popular both in the US and in the Philippines. As a child, I was told never to play in the sun so my skin wouldn’t darken any further. In…

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OK, so I went on Facebook and there was an icon for San Francisco.  Oh, yes.  I clicked and shared.  I love San Francisco.  We did street performance there back in the ’80s.  Oh, wait.  Football.  That’s okay.  I liked San Francisco in the playoffs too.

You may have guessed.  I’m am not a football fanatic.  I haven’t watched a game in thirty plus years.  But there I was in a Boston hotel room a few weeks ago and the game was on.  You can’t watch a game and not pick a team, right?  So, I picked the Ravens.  I love ravens.  They squawk and talk to me in the garden all the time.

A few days later, I was in a brownstone in Brooklyn and the game was on.  San Francisco.  Cool.  Like I said, I love the city.  I picked a team.

I forgot about all that rivalry when I got back to Bellingham.  Then, the reminder today. This time I don’t have to think about picking a team.  One of my teams is playing.  San Francisco.  So I re-post it.  People like it.

Then I talked to my son and happen to ask who San Francisco is playing.  (See what I mean.  I really don’t pay much attention to this brutal game.)  OH NO.  They’re playing the Ravens?  No way.  I have to pick a team.  How do I un-pick San Francisco.  I have to pick the Ravens or those black beauties in my garden will really scold me.  Of course I pick the Ravens.

But I couldn’t find an icon on Facebook to support them.  Only some non-sanctioned pages.  My friends will think I’m schizophrenic.  This team.  That team.  Go figure.  It’s out of my hands.  I obviously have great skill at picking a winning team.

My son also told me the game was tomorrow.  Oh.  I have tickets to go to the theatre.  So, keep an eye on those Ravens for me