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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Prayer to the Earth Goddess by Kirk Lumpkin

You, who give us life
         and embrace us
in death,
You, of the endless cycle
         of giving and receiving,
You, who are the life force
         flowing through all living beings,
You, the infinitely bountiful,
the infinitely beautiful,
who we have disfigured
as though your beauty
was not good enough
for us,
You, who are forever young,
         who we have made to appear
         old and withered,
Please forgive and bless us,
         be merciful,
and help save us
from ourselves
and help save
the many other beings
whose survival
we threaten;
help us grow up,
as a species
         and quit being
         your ungrateful, destructive
Please rise up,
         and help us,
heal us,
heal yourself—
You have enough power:
To roll the highways up
         like giant tongues
         and let the soil
         laugh in flowers
To send pulses of energy surging
through city after city
across the grid
blowing out
their electrical systems
like candles on a planet-sized birthday cake,
blowing out
the dams holding back
immense waves of gleaming night
that will come rolling in
carrying dancing stars
and darkness,
the darkness
we are still afraid of,
To drown our minds in dream-time waters
         of forgetfulness
         where we forget our greed for consumer goods,
         where we forget our culture,
         and remember our dreams
remember our bodies,
         and the holiness
of your body,
To make the American delusion  
         of infinitely expanding material wealth
         that has infected the whole world
         and drives the global economy
         to suddenly
         leaving only a shadow
         like someone walking down the street
         in Hiroshima
on that fateful day,
To focus a lightning storm of spiritual energy
         crackling through the world wide web
         melting down all the computers
         and leaving people connected
         to each other and the ecosystem
         by a humming glowing
mycorrhizal network
of shared consciousness,
To bring back
the flickering shadows
of the ghost dancers,
         renewing their bodies
followed by
swaying crowds
         of all the creatures driven into extinction
by man,
         all rising up
and living again.
Yes, I know your power
is as great as this,
         but I also know
         that much
of what I’ve written here
is only a poetic conceit,
merely my imaginings
and this is not the way
you work,
         this is not the way
you move.
Your mode
         is the magic of photosynthesis
         flowing through countless loops
of green power cords
energizing the gentle
and fierce strength
of animal life,
the continuation of the
caterpillar-cocoon-butterfly circle,
the transformation
from rot to fertility,
the climaxes of sex,
the miracles
of birth and death,
         the changes of the seasons,
         and your slower
         deeper movement
that was
the creation of life
on this planet
and is
But you also move
with the rapidity of wildfire
and with global warming going viral
we could soon be lost
in the conflagration,
first our culture
and then our species
going up in smoke
like the weedy brush
of exotic invasive plants
in a Redwood Forest
where the spiritual fire has been suppressed,  
and the old growth trees
are licked by flames,
but still live on.
While we live
like aliens
in your world,
standing cynically apart
unwilling to join
in your dance,
but please give us
another chance
and maybe we
could make a come back
like the native plants
underneath those great
Redwood trees
to our own
you have offered us
a relationship
with you
that embodies
motherly love
and the orgasmic ecstatic energy of bliss,
and we should have held you close
like our Mother,
and we should have held you close
like a lover,
and we should have walked in your ways
as constantly
as the course of the moon,
but we have been too
with our machines, computers, and television,
with our highways, cars, and cities,
and what we think we can control
and in our refusal
to fully accept
your love
we have grown estranged
from you
and your other species.
The changes we need to make
         to bring us back into balance
         with the rest of your creation
         we know you can’t make for us.
And we have already
set in motion
wars, plagues, droughts, and famines
         as we slide toward the edge
         like an iceberg on a hot tin roof.
And even as I ask
for your mercy
I cannot say for sure
we deserve it.
But like every other species
the seeds of fire inside us
that we received from you
keep tenaciously calling us
to continue living
in your world.
Please do not let us
         burn up
burn up our arrogant controlling madness,
         burn up our greedy need to own everything,
burn up the straight jackets of our cultural mindsets,
burn up our compulsion to populate
every inch of the planet with humans,
burn up our overpowered egos
with our own internal combustion;
Reawaken in us our spirit flames
with a spark from your molten heart,
help a new kind of hero
grow in us,
let us meet whatever comes
with our inner spiritual fires
         that have in them
the dancing power
         of  love,
         and co-creation
         of a reborn world
         weaving itself
         together again.

And if we are not worthy
of anything more
         please at least allow
a few grimy humans
to crawl out of the ashes
of the apocalypse
and be let back
into the dance
with You.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Stars Shine in Healdsburg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 7:00 p.m. Reading from Digging Our Poetic Roots — Poems from Sonoma County (edited by Katherine Hastings). Free. Anthologies will be on sale. At Healdsburg Center for the Arts, 130 Plaza Street, Healdsburg. For more information about the event, go to and click on the WordTemple Poetry Series tab. For venue information, go to

Wednesday Night Readers

David Beckman
Fran Carbonaro
Andrea Granahan
Katherine Hastings
Carol Keig
David Madgalene
Gary McLaughlin
Rebecca Patrascu
Gregory Randall
Clara Rosemarda
Lisa Shulman
George Stenger
Amy Trussell
Julia Vose
Kay Webb
Susan Weinstein
Mimi Whittaker
Thomas Ziemer

Third Sunday Salon, Oct. 18, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Featuring writers from the Sons of Noir
The Bean Affair, Healdsburg
The Healdsburg Literary Guild is pleased to announce its October Third Sunday Salon, set for Oct. 18 from 1:30-3:30 p.m., featuring the Sons of Noir.

Bring on the night! Bring on the guns! Bring on the cigarettes! And booze! The fedoras! Bring on the bad cops, the hotel dicks and the Commies! We ain’t afraid! Bring on the dangerous curves! (And I ain’t talking about those on the highway, baby.) Yeah, I mean bring on the dolls! And bring on the guys! Bring on the Sons of Noir!

Waights Taylor Jr., a native Alabaman, released his latest book (and first novel), the murder mystery Kiss of Salvation, in August 2014. Reviewers say this noir-style mystery reminds them of Mickey Spillane, Walter Mosley, and James Lee Burke.

Pat Nolan is the author of over a dozen poetry selections and chapbooks, and two novels. His latest selection of poetry, Your Name Here: New Poems, is now available from Nualláin House Publishers.

Jonah Raskin taught film noir at Sonoma State University. In his book In My Search for B. Traven, Raskin stalks the mysterious man who achieved fame as the author of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

David Madgalene is currently developing a dramatic ensemble performance based on his book Call Down the Angel. He is the author of two novels, a book of short stories, and four books of poetry.

David Beckman writes, “As a kid I mainlined the words, plots and characters of Bram Stoker, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and John D. Macdonald. My story, ‘In the Mission,’ is as close to that world as I’ll ever get.”

The readings are held at The Bean Affair at 1270 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg. Following the featured readers, there will be an open mic. Open mic sign-ups begin at 1 p.m. The afternoon also includes a raffle and book sales.

For more information, see the flyer at this link,
( or go to the Healdsburg Literary Guild website at

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Call Down the Angel at the Berkeley Fellowship Hall, Saturday, July 18, 2015 2 pm to 5 pm

Saturday, July 18, 2015. CALL DOWN THE ANGEL (Readers Theater with Music). Featuring Susan Mashiyama, Kirk Lumpkin, Ed Coletti, Justin Coletti, Steve Shain and David Madgalene. Suggested Donation: $15 (No one turned away). The Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, 1924 Cedar Street, Berkeley (at Bonita Avenue). 2:00 to 5:00 PM.


Produced by David James Randolph
Directed by David Madgalene
Book, words and music by David Madgalene

Sponsored by the Social Justice Committee


Libretto author/director David Madgalene writes:

Straight-up thanks to New Way Media Fest, David James Randolph, who can’t be with us Saturday but he’s praying for us, the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, the Social Justice Commitee, Holly Harwood, Gene, Elane, Vic Sadot, Deborah Hamouris, Susan Macke, David Yandle, our Sound Man, Cynthia Johnson, all the good people that helped us, I want to thank Judy Irwin for doing the video and a million other things…

And as for our CALL DOWN THE ANGEL presenters, let me put it this way…not all talented people are brave, and not all not brave people are talented. Very few people are both talented and brave.

Now I don’t want to say about myself because I’m the crazy guy who wrote this and it comes with the territory. Being crazy and spouting off at the mouth, I mean.

But for Kirk Lumpkin, and Ed Coletti, and Justin Coletti, and Steve Shain and Susan Mashiyama, that they’re very talented is evident to all who know them, but I also think you will agree with me that it takes a certain kind of courage to take on this kind of material, and so they are not only talented, but brave.

Because, for one thing, there’s no plot to CALL DOWN THE ANGEL. If you’re looking for a plot. And, as matter of fact, I don’t know if there’s even any logic to it since we’re talking about religion.

But the milieu, that is to say the time and place, the atmosphere, that informed these songs, poems and stories is that basically 25-30 years ago I was a nontraditional student attending a state college in a small town in the Bible Belt, that’s when essentially all of this material was generated (not including a couple of obvious New York flashbacks). And I wrote these things one at a time when I was inspired to do so. And I’ve read them at poetry readings off and on these past 25-30 years sometimes by myself and more recently often with Steve Shain, but it wasn’t until a few years that I got the idea to get some friends together and try to do a production such as this one.

So, instead of looking for a plot, let’s just say it’s as if the Bible Belt were our prism, and we’ll hold it up to the light, and look at the different rainbow variations. Or maybe it’s a jigsaw puzzle, and we’ll see if we can put these pieces together to form a picture of the Bible Belt, of Jesus, even, that makes sense. Maybe. Maybe not.

And another problem besides not having a plot is that we don’t have any real characters. Most of the time when I write something I try to write from a voice or speaker or a POV that’s special and unique to that piece itself. I mean like that they’re telling their story or maybe the story of someone else and it’s a one-time shot, usually. Something like maybe Spoon River Anthology. Each poem has its own speaker. So you could think of it that way every time one of our presenters gets up Saturday, they’re a different person telling their own unique story. But even so, I thought it might to helpful to at least give our presenters similar kinds of things to do so that we could say that if they’re not quite full-blown characters, they’re at least channeling a certain kind of energy.

For example, with Ed Coletti, as you’re about to see and hear, he’s got this big booming voice, and I thought to myself that’s the voice in the wilderness. The voice of John the Baptist or one of the Prophets. A Patriarch. Now I know the Patriarchy’s been taking a real beating lately, but we’re not trying to join on that or any other wagon. We’re hoping to do some of the yin-yang thing on all of this. Like I said, to try to see what it looks like from different angles and perspectives.

Now because I’m the guy who wrote this, so, of course, I’m going to present myself in the best light as I can. So I’m channeling the Good Guy, the Seeker after Truth. You might even call me Everyman.

So I guess that makes Kirk Lumpkin my evil twin. And you know how it is with evil twins, sometimes you can’t tell who’s the good one and who’s the evil one. And, as much as I hate to confess it, since it isn’t very Christian of me, I admit that I gave Kirk a lot of the hard ones to do.

And, as for Susan Mashiyama, well, let’s see. She has a heavenly singing voice and she plays the harp. So you do the math!

Like I said I got these ideas and I wrote them down as I walked around at night in a small southern town. But, for me, it often felt like I was in a desert in broad daylight. And I was lonely. And I was hungry and thirsty. And I was sick and I was wounded. And I’m lost and I’m wandering around in the desert. That’s what it felt like. And there’s nobody around. I never see anybody. And I feel like I can’t go on anymore. I’m ready to just about lay down and die. And, then that’s when I hear a voice crying out in the heart of the wilderness…

Ed Coletti is a poet, painter, and fiction writer born during the noir war year of 1944. Coletti currently hides under fedora and trench coat on the mean streets of Santa Rosa, California and frequently plays chess at So Co Coffee where he investigates various nefarious types. Recent work has appeared in his books When Hearts Outlive Minds (2011), Germs, Viruses, and Catechisms (2013), and The Problem With Breathing (2015) as well as in fiction journals and anthologies including Crucible (prize winner), Noir Nation, and Romance Magazine. Poetry has been lately published by ZYZZYVA, North American Review, and So It Goes: The Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. Ed also is editor of the longstanding online site No Money In Poetry.

Justin Coletti, born and raised in Sonoma County, California, is an avid outdoorsman and musician. While away from his duties of being a financial and accounting manager at an alternative health clinic, Justin spends most of his time fishing, kayaking, and doing an assortment of extreme sports. Most of all, he enjoys singing, playing guitar, and performing with his roots reggae band, Dubtown Dread, which can be seen at some of the popular local venues around the Bay Area.

Kirk Lumpkin is a poet, performer, lyricist, environmentalist, cultural worker, and event organizer. He is the author of two books of poetry, In Deep and Co-Hearing. He has released two poetry/music CDs, The Word-Music Continuum and Sound Poems.He’s done featured performances of his poetry all around the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California, in Los Angeles, New York City, Colorado; Toronto, Canada and readings in England (under the auspices of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament). He has been featured on KPFA radio’s Cover to Cover – Open Book. He is on the Board of PEN Oakland. He hosted the Café International Series in San Francisco when it was voted “Best Spoken Word Open Mic” by Bay Guardian readers and has been a pirate radio DJ.

Susan T. Mashiyama is a Bay Area harp player and singer/songwriter whose pieces have nature and mythological themes that are influenced by traditional and Celtic music. She was trained classically in piano and violin, and later became introduced to Irish music and the Celtic harp. Her debut CD of harp and song "Dance of the Fairies" is a collection of original pieces about fairies, elves, and selkies, as well as some classic songs such as "Ave Maria" and "Danny Boy." Susan has played for a number of years in Bay Area churches and local venues and hopes her music will bring some feelings of peacefulness to people.

Steve Shain  has been playing the string bass since 1963 in Chicago Heights, Illinois.  Currently freelancing with poets, dancers, jazzers, and improvisers in the Bay Area, Steve was a founding member of the Rohnert Park Symphony. He and David Madgalene have been working together since 2009. Currently Steve can be heard at