Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Cholla Needles Joins the "Zoom" Party!



Cholla Needles Presents Featured Poets Live On-Line

You will need access to Zoom 
(free - no personal information required)

-->Sign-on information:<--
-->Meeting ID 967 131 0782<--
-->Password QKFv65<--

1/2 hour a week! All Free, All Fun! 

Celebrate the continued publication 
of Cholla Needles during these "sheltered times"

Mark your calendar for 
every Sunday online at 3PM 
till Covid retires!

1st week: Meet & Greet Aug 2 3-3:30
2nd week: Cynthia Anderson Aug 9 3-3:30
3rd week: John Brantingham Aug 16 3-3:30
4th week: Miriam Sagan Aug 23 3-3:30
5th week: Peter Jastermsky Aug 30 3-3:30
6th week: John Sierpinski Sept 6 3-3:30
7th week: Romaine Washington Sept 13 3-3:30
8th Week:  TBA  Sept 20 3-3:30
9th Week: Francene Kaplan Sept 27 3-3:30

More To Come!!



  In time of crisis, we summon up our strength.
  Then, if we are lucky, we are able to call every resource, every forgotten image that can leap to our quickening, every memory that can make us know our power. And this luck is more than it seems to be: it depends on the long preparation of the self to be used.
  In time of the crises of the spirit, we are aware of all our need, our need for each other and our need for our selves. We call up, with all the strength of summoning we have, our fullness. And then we trun, for it is a turning that we have prepared; and act. The time of the turning may be very long. It may hardly exist. Muriel Rukeyser, The Life Of Poetry (1949)






Sunday, August 2, 2020

New Book! Star Gazing by Miriam Sagan


Frankly I’m getting
a little worn out
comparing things all day
and then
in my dreams. 

- Miriam Sagan


Miriam Sagan is a U.S. poet, as well as an essayist, memoirist and teacher. She is the author of over twenty-five books, and lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is a founding member of the collaborative press Tres Chicas Books.

A graduate of Harvard with an M.A. in creative writing from Boston University, Miriam was one of the editors of the Boston area-based Aspect Magazine with Ed Hogan. In 1980 Ed shut Aspect down and he, Miriam and others founded Zephyr Press. In 1982 Miriam moved from the Boston area to first San Francisco and then Santa Fe, where Miriam has made her home since 1984.





Saturday, August 1, 2020

August Issue Released - Cholla Needles 44!



Cover art by Zara Kand

Poetry, stories, art, and photography by:

L. I. Henley
Zara Kand
Kaylee Harper
Ellie Kobaly
Erika Saunders
R. Gurley
Dave Maresh
Edward L. Canavan
Kelsey Bryan-Swick
Dave Benson
Lucila Godoy y Alcayaga
Michael G. Vail

Thursday, July 2, 2020

July Shelter-In-Place Open Readings (Page 5)

It's July!!! This is Page Five of our exciting Cholla Needles Open Readings while sheltering-in-place. Each preceding page has approx 20 great videos.

Click here to visit our first page 
AND click here to visit page two 
AND click here to visit page three
AND click here to visit page four 

YOU are welcome to submit your video to this page. As the videos come in, I will add them to this page and update it. If you are a poet who wishes to have your work added to this page, send a link of yourself reading to editor(at)chollaneedles.com - replace the (at) with the symbol @. This keeps the robotic spam out of my email box. Thanks!

GREAT NEWS: Space Cowboy Books in Joshua Tree has shelter-in-place readings posted also!!! Click here to see them all.


Peter Jastermsky reading "Three Poems"


Susan Abbott reading "A Celebration"


Tobi Alfier reading "Guardian"


Anum Sattar reading “You See Through Me, I See Through You”


PJ Peery reading "Highway 15 Party Car"


Bruno Talerico reading "Desert Dragon"


Doreen Oberg reading from "Mile Markers"


Alex O'Meara reading from "Uganda"


Mark T. Evans reading "Repairs Of The Heart"


Tobi Alfier reading "The Language of Women"


Zola reading "Just A City Girl"


Bruno Talerico reading "Two Poems"


Tobi Alfier reading "High Tea"


Carrie Miller reads an "On The Road" story




New Book! Mother Wheel by Tim Robbins


Manmade Drifts

I whisper to myself. It’s more effective
than talking. Stripping away the vowels,
reducing verbal music to a fit of breaths is
often the only hopeful choice. At 3:00
a.m. a snow clearer warns me: Not all
voiceless utterances are soft. In an Oscar
winner I saw last Wednesday, a boy, with
violence surprising from such skinny arms,
blocked his mother’s hate-fueled screams
with a sliding glass door. Boy and viewers
— though we weren’t lip- readers — easily
read faggot! I wake and see my husband’s
mouth doing, as usual, the work of his
nose. I doze and rouse to his breath on my
eyes. It’s been so long, the kiss surprises
like an expletive, scrapes like a plough,
exposes where we are, clears the way for
where we’ll go.

Bio:
Timothy Robbins grew up in a small town with little diversity. He has spent much of his life making up for this lack: living all over the U.S., studying abroad, making a career teaching ESL, and settling down with a Vietnamese husband. He has been a regular contributor to Hanging Loose since 1980. His previous poetry collections are Denny’s Arbor Vitae (2017), and Carrying Bodies (2018). He and his husband live in Kenosha, Wisconsin.


Click here to purchase your copy on-line!


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

July Issue Released - Cholla Needles 43!


Cover art by Nancy Brizendine

Poetry and stories by:

Adélia Prado
Zara Kand
Ann Pedone
Lara Dolphin
Dave Maresh
Timothy Robbins
Michael Brownstein
Ernest Alois
Alan Catlin
Michael G. Vail
Mark T. Evans


We encourage our local readers 
to purchase a copy at 
Rainbow Stew in Yucca Valley
Space Cowboy in Joshua Tree
Raven's in 29 Palms
& JT Coffee in Joshua Tree
Support our local distributors!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

New Book! Hopeless Romance by Laurie Byro


from: The Pig’s Wife at Forty

I let the wolf in while my husband was out making
our fortune. He chased me for a while, I could tell
by his mournful gold eyes it was inevitable what
would happen next. If I wanted a romp, he would

be the one—his sleek silver body, his skillful mouth.
But I am older, wiser to the ways of wolves.
I have read enough fairy tales to know, not all
end happily despite their promises. We got

dirty like he predicted. I luxuriated in a filthy froth.
But, in the end, he wanted to turn me into a silk
purse. He wanted to gobble me up. Turn me into
bacon. Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin.


Author Bio:

Laurie Byro has been facilitating "Circle of Voices" poetry discussion in New Jersey Libraries for over twenty years. Her work has been published widely in University Presses and she has been included in several anthologies. Laurie has won fifty-five InterBoard Poetry Community awards. Laurie has recently received two New Jersey Poet's Prizes and a Poet's and Writer's Grant. Laurie is currently Poet in Residence at the West Milford Township Library where "Circle of Voices" continues to meet. She is married to the artist Michael Byro who has graced the covers of her books.


Monday, June 1, 2020

June Issue Released - Cholla Needles 42!


We will get through this,
we just need to be kind.
Hysteria is the enemy.
– Mark Evans


Cover art by Susan Abbott


Poetry and stories by:

Judith & Ayaz Nielsen
Timothy Robbins
Jeffrey Alfier
Ernest Alois
Dave Maresh
Mitchell K. Grabois
Roger G. Singer
Bory Thach
Yiannis Ritsos
Kathrynn Axton-Roosevelt
Jonathan B. Ferrini


We encourage our local readers 
to purchase a copy at 
Rainbow Stew in Yucca Valley
Space Cowboy in Joshua Tree
Raven's in 29 Palms
& JT Coffee in Joshua Tree
Support our local distributors!



Monday, May 25, 2020

Open Readings while sheltering in place 4

This is Page Four of our exciting Cholla Needles Open Readings while sheltering-in-place. Click here to visit our first page which has over 20 other great videos. AND click here to visit page two AND click here to visit page 3 after visiting what we have in store for you below.

Our poets are finding ways to communicate since we are unable to hold open-air readings yet. As the videos come in, I will add them to this page and update it. If you are a poet who wishes to have your work added to this page, send a link of yourself reading to editor(at)chollaneedles.com - replace the (at) with the symbol @. This keeps the robotic spam out of my email box. Thanks!

GREAT NEWS: Space Cowboy Books In Joshua Tree has shelter-in-place readings posted also!!! Click here to see them all.



Richard C. Rutherford reading "Perseids"


Susan Abbott reading two poems by Muriel Rukeyser




Tim Robbins performing "Surfer Boy"
Happy Pride Month!!!




Francene Kaplan reading The Girl In The Box At The Dump
videography by Bill Almas





Greg Gilbert reading "Justice Is My Momma"




Mike Vail reading "History In The Making"


Maura Atwood reading
"Watching the Battle Reenactment"


Starflower Thomson presents
"Ladybug Alights On A Cholla Needle"
a single-cell video


Brenda Morisse reading "traffic of our ululations"


Dave Benson reading "El Dorado"


John Sierpinski reading "Night, Venice Beach, California"


Joe Garcia performing My Dear Virgil 


Mark T. Evans reading "This Day On Earth"




Maura Atwood reading "cellphone"


Laurie Byro reads Three Poems








r soos performs "All That Time"


Gram & Emmylou perform Don & Phil


Gram & Emmylou perform The Angels Rejoiced Last Night


Gram & Emmylou perform In My Hour Of Darkness



Emmylou performs Sweet Old World


Tom Russell Performs Joshua Tree




Sunday, May 24, 2020

Tobi Alfier - I Really Want a Pastrami Sandwich



Three things happened this past week:

  1. Two different publishers told me they weren’t getting enough submissions from women,

  1. A Facebook friend told me she felt guilty writing when so many bad things are happening to so many good people, and

  1. I sat down to write my blog post and wrote a poem instead.
Believe it or not, these all tie in to each other.

It’s not just women who are now stuck at home. Men are too. And yes, there’s home schooling, baking bread, jigsaw puzzles bigger than your house, and if you’re like me, piles of books and magazines all over, just waiting to be read. And there are the regular things we have too: animals to be walked, art, music, writing, and so on. Oh yeah…laundry.

Even though not everyone is a submitting poet, especially now it seems like women are submitting less than before. The two publishers I spoke with publish two very different journals, so it’s fair to say across the board, that women aren’t submitting as much. Don’t forget about including this in your day. It’s true that universities are closed, and publishers seem to take longer with reduced staffs, but not every one of the 23,000 journals out there are published by universities. Submissions are being read every day!

Even university journals are reading electronically but it’s hard to know when they’ll be publishing.

You may feel the same as my Facebook friend. So many bad things are happening to good people—she feels she doesn’t deserve to be worried about a “silly acceptance or rejection”. But she does. We all do. I really think we are all trying to do as much as we can, and think about it – someone sees your name in a journal and they like your work, so they buy the journal online from the local independent bookstore…

That helps pay the light bill, the rent, the taxes.  By us NOT putting our lives on hold, we continue to help, without even knowing.

I have no excuse for writing a poem instead of working on this blog post. I’d only written two poems in May but I wrote five in April, and that’s not the point. When poems want to come out, they have to. I keep up with the news, but I’ve made a point to avoid it for poems. I personally cannot write a political poem without it sounding like a news article, and I won’t do it. So a poem called “Church and Plums”??? Pray God it gets published someday and I’ll be able to post it here.

I Really Want a Pastrami Sandwich

Years ago, our power went out and my son mentioned he had an essay due in school.

Was the laptop charged?

Yes

Well why don’t you write the essay on your laptop?

No.

Wrong answer. He was mad at me, but I said just open to a new page and write “my mom is making me write this and I don’t want to”, and see what comes out. He started writing. And writing. And writing. And even though he was still mad at me, he wrote his essay.

Flash forward ten or fifteen years. We were talking the other day and he said “mom, I still start off all my writing assignments the same exact way”.

Really? By saying my mom is making me do this?

No. I open to a new document and type “I really want a pastrami sandwich”

Whatever works. He’s a better writer than I am and he gets good grades; let him eat all the pastrami he wants!!

With the park open and the start of Memorial Day weekend, I hope some of you are getting in some safe walks, fresh air, and inspiration. You are allowed to be kind to yourself. I know that writing a poem, a piece of flash, doing art worthy of journal covers (see Susan Abbott’s covers on Cholla Needles #40 & #42), and submissions worthy of publication (see Jeff’s poems and the others in issue #42 as well) does not take away from the concerns and good works we are doing for others in these terrible times.

Not every creative piece has to be about the pandemic. A poem can be about “Church and Plums”. Rich just completed Page 3 of online poetry readings (each page is two hours - Page 4 starts this week). Check them out on the Cholla Needles website and add one of your own, on any subject! If you are a submitting writer, submit your work. It’s okay. It’s necessary. It will help the journals, the publishers, all down the line. And if your local deli is open for takeout and you’re not a vegetarian? Grab a pastrami sandwich! xo

- - - -


Tobi Alfier's most recent collection of poetry is Slices Of Alice. She is also co-editor with Jeff Alfier of the San Pedro River Review. Don't miss Tobi's columns on the craft of poetry: insert your email address in the "Follow By Email" box to the right of this article and you'll be notified every time a new article appears.


Monday, May 18, 2020

Open Readings while sheltering in place 3

This is Page Three of our exciting Cholla Needles Open Readings while sheltering-in-place. Click here to visit our first page which has over 20 other great videos. AND click here to visit page two after enjoying page 3 below=:-)

Our poets are finding ways to communicate since we are unable to hold open air readings yet. As they come in, I will add them to this page and update it. If you are a poet who wishes to have your work added to this page, send a link of yourself reading to editor(at)chollaneedles.com - replace the (at) with the symbol @. This keeps the robotic spam out of my email box. Thanks!









Dawn Davis interviews Zara Kand











M. T. Evans reading "The New Pandemic"


Tamara Hattis reading "False Hope" (with help from Emily)


Isabela Olson-Morales reading "Waiting"


Brenda Morisse reading "on the street where I live"


Laurie Byro reading three poems









as a beautiful example of art
created while in isolation


Phog Masheeen Live on ZOOM 05-17-20
Mark Soden and Francene Kaplan
Francene also reads from her new book: 






The listeners interview Dawn Davis, host of Desert Lady Diaries


- - - -

We hope you are enjoying Open Readings while sheltering in place Page Three as much as we are. We will continue to add to this page as long as folks are interested in submitting material. In the meantime:

Click here to visit Open Readings while sheltering in place Page One

Click here to visit Open Readings while sheltering in place Page Two



Sunday, May 17, 2020

Brenda Littleton - Breakfast and Bukowski

Water Dream by Brenda Littleton
May 4, 2020

            “Understand me. I’m not like an ordinary world. I have my madness. I live in another dimension and I do not have time for things that have no soul.” Charles Bukowski.
           
            Bukowski lived around the corner from a breakfast cafe, where I'd often spend my mornings eating huevos rancheros and drinking boiled espresso. San Pedro in the '80s was still edgy with a thriving dock life, grunge bars, Slavonic bakeries, and a milieu of other Mexican, Greek, Sushi, English Pubs and Beach eateries. The Waters Club was cheap rehearsal space for local bands by day, and at night the South Bay's best let fly an incubated rock frenzy, the kind of lineage of Mad Max meets Nirvana meets Fleetwood Mac: Sensuous hard rock on the water, the kind you'd play on the backside of Catalina Island holding a bottle of tequila close for the night.


            There was a flavor of Gaffey Street, 5th & 6th Avenue. Frame shops, art and antique galleries, tattoo parlors and the Army Surplus lived at the hem of the port town. The smell of piss, fog, sake, hot cinnamon buns, and fish lingered well after dawn. Along the esplanade, the Merchant Marine retirement home welcomed men from an earlier way, where the life-miles of these seafarers were logged in with weigh points, knots, datum notes, and types of water visibility. I fell in love with a blues guitarist in Sacred Grounds coffee club. Across the street was the Warner Grand Theatre, where I once danced as a ten-year-old ballerina. Lee Michaels, the rock-blues organist (Stormy Monday), had bought the venue as his private residence, and hibernated inside like the phantom of the opera.

            Somehow during this time, the Warner Grand showed newly released feature films, and Charles Bukowski would go and watch them. I'd imagine him sloughed down into the red velvet seats, smelling of vanilla tobacco and stubble. The next morning, he would hang a chalkboard out of his second story, cream clapboard apartment window, with his rating of the film. Ten was the best, as was an exclamation mark. Most films came in with a three or a four. I always took heed of his critiques. I'd look for them, and I know my decision to eat at that cafe was based on being close to Bukowski. So, when I'd get out of my car early morning, into the receding fog, wearing flip flops and a hoodie, I'd look up to just catch a glimpse of his hand tossing the board out of his window. It was attached by an old lanyard, something off the docks. I often saw his hand moving from one world back into his private reality. I remember thinking of the metaphors that swam around him in my mind: of him giving me a 'hand-out'. I learned to understand his gestures: if he haphazardly tossed the chalkboard out where it clapped against the side, then I knew the rating was low. If he carefully positioned the board in a quiet way, the rating was high.

            His life of soul and madness and writing lingers in me as I remember not only my life in San Pedro, but today's anniversary of Kent State, of the golden era of L. A. music, of a time of innocence.

- - -


The artwork, Water Dream is an original piece by Brenda LittletonWriter, poet, professor, literacy of place, Jungian archetypal psychology, equine psychology, alchemy, dream-tending, community, meaning-making, working with gold, silver threads and silk. Born the backside of Vancouver Island; renewed on the black beach of Santorni; risen from ashes in Aguanga; tenderly unfolded in Topanga, busting wide high with inner sky in Joshua Tree.