LITERARY LATTE

Fifth Anniversary 2017

 

 

 

Marin Poetry Center was founded in 1981 by a dedicated group of Northern California poets as a non-profit organization designed to nurture an environment for the enjoyment of poetry and the spoken word.

Based at San Rafael's Falkirk Cultural Center we welcome new poets, established writers, as well as anyone interested in the art of the spoken word. marinpoetrycenter.org

LATTÉS, Lunch, Books and mags here! View the Book Passage writer events on their website

51 Tamal Vista Blvd. Corte Madera, CA
415-927-0960
 7 days 9 to 9 PM  

 

142 Throckmorton Theatre

Stage Shows, Music & Comedy

"Uniting our Community through the Power of the Arts"

You can buy tickets or at our box office. Call (415) 383-9600 or stop by 142 Throckmorton Ave Mill Valley, Hours: 2pm-6pm, Mon-Sat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The prolific Don Anawalt in Novato, CA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MillValleyLit

HOME | THE LITERARY LATTÉ - Stories & Poems | ON MY NIGHTSTAND - Books reviewed |THE SCENE - Lit Events | REVIEW - Writing and Arts|SALON - Interviews, Submission, Contacts

This issue we are presenting our favorite beverage - literally. Get comfy and let the LITERARY LATTÉ stimulate your intellect and emotions:

Don Anawalt - in Story & Verse

                    

   

Poetville

I missed my turn in the fog.
Then I saw the sign: Poetville, population 2,237.
I asked the man at the hotel desk for a room.
He said, "She walks in beauty, like the night,
Of cloudless climes and starry skies."

Where am I?

I ran outside and saw a huge tent in the distance.
Inside the tent people were standing with their arms raised.
A man with disheveled hair and rumpled coat was speaking:
"Too many fall from great and good for you to doubt the likelihood,
but if predestined to die late, make up your mind to die in state."

I walked to a building down the street.
The sign above the door read: "Poets Anonymous."
I stood at the podium and said:
"I'm a poet. I confess. I've been writing poetry for years.
I got off the wagon for awhile, but you know how it goes.
First one, then two, and before long,
you're writing as many as ever."

A woman in a paisley dress gave rise to the moment:
"A poem should be wordless as the flight of birds! . . .
motionless in time as the moon climbs . . . "

I need help!

I saw a red neon sign next to the hotel blinking off and on:
Poem Bar . . . Poem Bar . . . Poem Bar.
Inside, the room was full of people,
men staring with that E. E. Cummings glint in their eyes.

One woman had the soft look of Emily Dickinson,
another had the long nose and intelligent smile of Edith Sitwell.
I ask the bartender for a drink and he said:
"I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
and with old woes, new wail, my dear times waste!"

I looked for my car. The light of dawn was upon me.
I asked the parking attendant how to get out of town.
He said, "When I greet the morning beam,
or lay me down at night to dream;
I hear my bones within me say: another night, another day."

Finally, I was on my way home.
A roadside café was illuminated in the morning sun.
"Erma's Good Eats . . . Just Plain Cookin."

With considerable caution I said:
"I would like two eggs up, a side of bacon with a waffle."
To my relief she answered, "Comin right up."

Returning, she said. "You ain't from around these parts are ya?
So what-a-ya do for a livin, if I might ask?"
Again, with caution,
and fumbling in the moment for words, I said:

"I'm a poet."

"Well ain't that jus ducky!"
For some ineffable reason,
her voice was music to my ears.

 

Poetry Chess With A Wizard

Some dreams are prophetic, others are frivolous.

There is a small category I call comically stupid,

dreams that make one wonder about the unruly subconscious,

unlocking the door as I lay prostrate in innocent sleep.

 

Across form me was a wizard.

I knew this because he had a long white beard and pointed hat,

a seedy old robe, sandals and rosy cheeks.

You see, look how quickly my point is proven.

This is stupid, a dumb stereotype, hard to believe actually.

But there he was, smiling at me.

I say "go . . . out!" But he would not leave.

 

"My God! The chess board has 30 x 30 squares.

That's 900 square total. You can't play on a board like that!"

"You need that many for poetry chess," he responded.

"Poetry what?" I said in a state of bewilderment.

He began sweeping up tiny black particles with a soft brush.

"That's all the punctuation from the last game," he said.

 

"But wait, there is no king or queen?"

"No, no," he said. "That's your subject, you know, nouns and verbs.

You are going to need those as we play."

The front line was nothing more than conjunctions and pronouns.

I was helplessly taken in,

suddenly sucked into his silly game.

 

I would not be defeated by this old buzzard.

To my left I had imagery, metaphor, personification.

On my right I had symbol, allegory and various musical devices.

I moved my pieces carefully across the board.

He countered each move with a knowing smile.

 

"Do you really mean this?" he said.

"Do you believe in what you are saying?

Look at all those redundant words; do you need those?

Do you love this poem, or are you telling me how smart you are.

Do you know poetry is a labor of love,

and most of your poems will live in the darkness of a desk drawer?"

 

He moved his piece into a position I could not counter and said,

"Poetry Mate."

Come on . . . I said to myself, how trite can you be?

I was happy to awaken.

What a dumb dream, almost embarrassing, stupid, stupid, stupid.

I had a cup of coffee and read yesterday's poem.

 

"Do you really mean this?

Am I willing to write as a labor of love?

 

That old wizard . . . who was he, anyway?"

 

 

 

A short story

Word Trouble by Don Anawalt

A few years ago I discovered an unusual word. It was different than other words. I thought of leaving it for another day, but it appeared as if it needed use, that I should not let it slip away. If I did, I might never come back to it. So I accepted it. And, as it were, took it with me. Soon it made itself known; living in my mind, suddenly present on a blank page, even coming to life at my fingertips as I typed. It was so prevalent, so persistent, that I began wondering why I had accepted it. Oddly, it was not in the dictionary; yet, it seemed to have numerous meanings. It was sometimes symbolic, full of divisive connotations. It appeared as a synonym, then an antonym, full of alliterations.

After a period of time I would forget its meaning, or its meaning was altered so I never had it quite correct. I would often misspell it, forgetting it had only one r and two l's. I kept looking in the dictionary, but it was never there. One day it appeared, as if it had been there all the time, hiding between the lines with other words, in a strange, allusive, lexis hide and seek.

            I confess: I began to dislike this word. I was sorry I ever let it into my life. Sometimes it had a French pronunciation I could never get right. Then there was always a silent "e" and "a" might have an "ah" sound, then an "uh," and occasionally a disturbing "aa." sound. It would have a prefix, then suddenly dropping the prefix and adding a suffix. It was a long word and difficult to spell. One might think after seeing it enough times, it could be spelled correctly, which I did. But then, I would slip up. Was that ie or ei? Then saying to myself, are you stupid? This word was driving me crazy. I began to dream about it. I would lay on my bed in the late afternoon and fantasize about it.

            Yes, I've got to get rid of this word. But how? My thoughts became intense. I will grab it by the neck and strangle it to death. That should do it. But then . . . it persisted. My anger piqued. It caused a sting, a chaffing, like a rash under my skin with no antidote in sight. I took more extreme measures. I put it on a board and beat it furiously with a hammer until it was nothing more than a smudge of black ink driven into the pitch and moist fibrous grain of the wood. Yet, it persisted, appearing the next day on a clean white sheet of paper as I began writing.

            Certainly there must be other things I can do to eliminate this mercurial little monster. I tied it to a post and shot it with my rifle; then buried it deep in the earth with a gravestone that read,

            "Here Lies A Troublesome Word."

            The next day it was back again.

            I ground it into mineral and put into a pottery glaze, and fired it to 3200 degrees. Fusion should work. It will never escape. The next day it sprang out of the top of a vessel as I pulled off the lid. It  was back again. I ground it in my coffee grinder and baked it in my bread. If I ate it and digested it and then, well yes, excreted it and flushed it down the toilet, that certainly would be the end. It appeared the next day unscathed. Now the condition was even worse. I had digested it. It was a part of me, cursing through my veins, finding its way into parts of my body I didn't know existed. To make maters worse, the doctor said my blood pressure was going up.

            I noticed in my pursuit to destroy this word, it became stronger, appearing now in mysterious forms. One day, at the top of my page, it turned into a caterpillar with an undulating orange and black furry body supported by prickly little legs of vowels and consonants, one proceeding the other in perfect unison. The next day there was a cocoon hanging from my computer screen. Ah, finally, metamorphosis has come to my rescue. It will turn into a butterfly and be gone with all the Monarchs, disappearing into the tropics of the southern hemisphere. Not so. It appeared the next week flying through my study, accelerating its wings then gliding with a perfect delicacy and landing at the top of my page. Once again, it persisted. Although it had no voice, I imagined if it could speak, it would say,

            "I feed a hungry hoard of writers, that know not who I am."

            It would then look down at me, with twitching antenna and bright beady little eyes, taunting me to do it in.

            I decided to try a more reasonable approach. I would court it, be kind to it, make love to it. I would take it to concerts, out to dinner, buy it nice clothes, take it to the science museum. In truth, if I could not destroy it, at least I could make it a better word, something I could be proud of. I wrote a song for it:

            "Oh, Lovely Lexicon."

            My scheme backfired. Eventually we were at odds again. I yelled at it.

            "I have never given so much of myself and got so little in return!"

            Again it persisted. It appeared at the top of my page with no change at all. If fact, I had made matters worse. Now it seemed to be accusing me of some wrong, turning everything around so all that I had done to eliminate it was now my fault. I began to think this word is not well. It might be bipolar. It could even be a psychopath. Not a being that robs banks and murders people, but a psychological psychopath that turns everything upside-down, so instead of being innocent you are guilty. One day it is your friend, the next day your enemy. It seemed to forget all the destructive things it had done and now walked blithely across my page in total innocence.

            Again, I lay on my bed in the late afternoon. Taking a mid-day nap was now filled with angst. What could I do to make peace with this mysterious word. I began to think it was not a word at all, but something hiding behind a mask, like the tragedy-comedy mask one sees in the theatre, a manifestation that could hide in the dictionary and never found. Perhaps forgiveness was the answer. But I don't believe in forgiveness. I always thought that forgiveness had to be earned, then through understanding, forgiveness does happen. Was not this true with my word? We had been through a lot together.

            And then there is prayer. I don't believe in that either; with the exception that prayer in nothing more than a paradigm shift in the mind that tells you there is no need to pray for what is already given. You just have to see it.

            Fortified with these thoughts, I imagined myself speaking to the word. It was poised at the top on my page the next morning as usual. I simply said:

            "I forgive you."

            I swear, there was a moment, brief, but bright as the morning sun shinning through my window. It seemed to hang its tiny lexicon head in a subtle state of retribution.

            "My God, could it be, my word has a heart?"

            Suddenly it was "my" word. We were not separate anymore. I opened the dictionary and it seemed to me it glided down and nestled in the open pages, the dictionary inviting it in. It turned, as if to say,

            "There are more of us you know."

            Just before closing the cover I said,

            "Yes . . . Yes I know. But considering all that has happened, I'll have to think about that."

 

The End

 

About the author: Don Anawalt has had an unusually varied career. He studied art and architecture at the University of Oregon, receiving his BS degree. After his MFA degree from the Washington State University, he stayed on, teaching ceramics and architecture until 1973. He moved to Sacramento to establish his own business, Anawalt Architectural Ceramics Inc. After selling the business in 2002, he fluctuated between architecture, music, painting, ceramics and writing. He began writing more seriously. He learned early that humor would often bring people into the poem, or story, so he could get his message across with more ease.

His books: Breaking Ground - To Build A Shrine Of Spirit - (a novel), The Dust Of Thought - Selected Poems, Tapestry of Thought - Selected Stories, Aromatic Blend - Poems and Stories about coffee. E-Mail: donanawalt@sonic.net                               Web: www.ee-house.com  (featuring: architecture & writing)   

 

 

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Authors bio photos from the authors.

uncredited photos by J. Macon King.

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