Poetry Month


Whether or not you like/don’t like/understand poetry…or not (even we don’t always “get it”), it’s okay to have an annual, albeit arbitrary reminder that poetry exists. So…we start here—somewhat in memory of the Ol’ Mess poetry contests of late—but it’s not where we stop because Topanga and its surroundings harbor poets who dedicate themselves to their art and our pages remain open year-round to the variety of literary forms that, like a wellspring, run through these mountains that we call home. Illustrations are by former Topangan Dan Mazur.


In Her Name

The ninety-year-old woman in 2A

is having an out-of-body day.

The nurses can’t stop her

from undressing and crying

for big, fat fig leaves

to cover her tree-bark skin.

When the caretakers

grab their patient,

her white hair turns black,

and her skin grows supple,

as if possessing powers

to become an early version of herself.

But this woman is Eve.

She’s not young, old, naked or dressed.

No longer attached to a self,

she belongs to future generations

who’ll spend eons punishing women

in her name.

—Jean Colonomos




On the day

the past

flies out of him

he slides his body

into mine

and I hear

breath unmeasured

feel air depart

in momentary


and then reenter

in shapeless

yet stirring genesis

I am no longer myself

He is no longer himself

Neither are we

each other

His heart beats

within mine

strong rhythmic twaps

and it is good

—Ellen Reich



Topanga Nomad

I see her only

Once or twice a year

Is she real?

A tall, skirted figure

Striding forward

Kerchiefed head

Layered tops

Taut backpack

A modern Gleaner

An urban nomad

Always near the woods

Never a sideways glance

She goes her way

Seems to have a destination

Appears and disappears

Like a migratory bird

Did fate push her

Force a choice to either

Scrabble along freeways

And hide in vacant lots

Or wrest dignity from humiliation

Defy cruel reality

Follow a vagabond path

Of mendicant solitude

In a woodland hermitage

—Judy Brow

A friend is someone who teaches you


—William, a grandson


it was never my life

and you were never my dog.

we were both penned by,

belonged to, another hand,

the I Am hand.


I Am, afoot in the cosmos,

gnarling us with a verse,

twisting out the pattern

of promise, heaving us,

bleating and barking,

onto the road.


you were never mine,

but you, friend, filled my blanks,

scored a ring, a duty into me.


I Am turns the cosmos

with syllables death could never

tarnish, with light death

could never erase.


I Am brings us, through dust

and bramble, to that intimacy

where flower and flesh fuse,

where we all, canine and human

remember, paw to petal to hand, 

where we, finally, can love enough

—Ann Buxie


As Prepared for Delivery

(“Erasure” poem of Presidential Inauguration Speech 2017)

 Because today we are not,

for too long, a small group,

the citizens of our country.

That all changes –

Everyone gathered here,

this, is your country.

What truly matters is

the forgotten,

the tens of millions

of Americans

across the landscape of our country,

of so much potential.

We share

the oath, an oath of


subsidized for the very sad


One by one,

the past.

Now, looking

in every city



our jobs, our borders, our dreams.

When you open your heart to


we must, but always,

there should be no fear –

The time for empty talk is over.

Now arrives

the heart of America:

voice, hopes, dreams, destiny.

Love will forever guide us,


—Millicent Borges Accardi


Erasure poems offer a way to take existing text and pull forth poetry. The ERASE-TRANSFORM Poetry Project is a platform for transforming the language issuing from the White House in the hopes that it will encourage and inspire other transformative actions.Erasure is a form of found poetry or found art created by erasing words from an existing text in prose or verse and framing the result on the page as a poem (Wikipedia). Mary Ruefle is probably one of the most well-known contemporary erasure poets. One of the tenants is that you need to erase more than 50% of the original text, to re-invent the work (otherwise it would be plagiarism).

This poem was part of The Erase-Transform Poetry Project: erase-transform.ink/blog/2017/03/19/as-prepared-for-delivery/


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