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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Calaveras Poetry for Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)


Calaveras (literally, sugar skulls,) are traditional satirical Mexican poems published on and around the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos). The celebration of the day of the dead predates the independence of the countries in North America. Something native here, this idea of the dead living amongst the human. B-waaaaaahhh. Below you can read a calavera in Spanish about Donald Trump, everyone's favorite meerkat. Feel free to add your calavera here!

The Calaca of a Vaquera
(The Skeleton of the Cowgirl)


Not a tequila swilling,
sombrero wearing,
bandelero brandishing,
pistol-poppin dama,

but something pre-Columbian,
both creator and destroyer.
A molcajete grinding,
horseback riding Calaca.

Hot the pepper,
cool the salt,
when she licks the dust
from your bones.

Maria Garcia Teutsch


Calavera for Thelonious Monk

Play asymmetrical swing
with hands
hep to the jive.
Cherubim don't let fly
Maybe Bird and Dizzy
Can take it high.

River Atwood Tabor


Below you can read a calavera in Spanish with a loose English translation. It’s from here. It’s making fun of that pro-choice, tree hugging candidate we all know and love, (that's also a joke, remember when we wrote stuff and made fun of each other?) yeah, that's a calavera.

Donald Trump te lo aseguro
Le dijo la calavera
Que no vas a hacer el muro
Porque una hirviente caldera
Rebosante de cianuro
En el infierno te espera.
Y por lo tanto, te auguro,
Que todo buen mexicano
Predecirá tu futuro
Que allá en un lugar lejano
Por tu discurso tan duro
Se te va a podrir el: anillo periférico.

Donald Trump I assure you
He told the skull
You will not make the wall
Because a seething cauldron
Brimming with cyanide
In hell awaits.
And therefore, I predict,
Every good Mexican
It will predict your future
That there in a faraway place
For your speech so hard
You're going to rot on: beltway.


Calavera for Kauai

The ancients speak through Pele’s children,
scarlet roosters who reprimand pushy Nene geese,
chase tiny mourning doves into hibiscus groves.
The jagged silhouette of a sleeping giant
lifts volcanic hills, sprouts ghostly plumeria.
Steep Na Pali coastline protects royal bones.
Kauai sneezes silver rain,
scatters battalions of wandering banyan.
Poetry spills from belligerent clouds.

Jennifer Lagier-Fellguth


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

3rd Annual Speech is not Free Festival!

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October 1st, 2016 at The Henry Miller Memorial Library

7:30 PM



Come join us in a benefit for Big Sur’s own literary press: Ping-Pong Free Press, published by the Henry Miller Memorial Library. The evening will feature a poetry reading by Brenda Coultas; a staged reading of Henry Miller and Anais Nin’s more salacious writing entitled Miller Out Loud! featuring local actors portraying the roles of Henry, June, Anais and Rimbaud. Chicago musician and Library friend extraordinaire, Al Rose, who just dropped a critically acclaimed CD entitled, Spin Spin Dizzy will close out the evening with a musical set featuring songs that put the free in free speech. Please join us in this celebration, because we believe that without free speech there can be no human rights. Doors open at 6:30, program begins at 7:30.

Poetry Reading by Brenda Coultas

Miller Out Loud! staged reading

Al Rose in performance


Brenda Coultas is the author of four poetry collections, including The Tatters (Wesleyan University Press, 2014), The Marvelous Bones of Time (Coffee House Press, 2008), and A Handmade Museum (Coffee House Press, 2003). Her honors include a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship and residencies from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice, Italy, and the Millay Colony for the Arts.

Al Rose is a striking songwriter and musician with a unique and powerful vision that continues with his seventh and latest release (2016), “Spin Spin Dizzy”. His previous albums have received extensive airplay on AAA and Americana stations throughout the US along with a bevy of critical praise. He is a mesmerizing transformer when performing live as a solo or with any number of his band, The Transcendos, in any configuration. This drives the songs each night, but the songs have always been what drives the musicians in what The Chicago Tribune has called “one audaciously entertaining ride”.

Ron Genauer is an optometrist who has been involved in community theatre for many years. Some of his favorite roles have been Gelman, in Arthur Miller’s “Broken Glass”, the Player, in Tom Stoppard’s  “Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead”, and Charley, in David Mamet’s “Speed the Plow.”

John Dotson is a writer/producer/director/multi-media artist with Carmel Bay Players. He also works with The Seventh Quarry Drama Group of Swansea, Wales. John’s first acting was in excerpts of Shakespeare directed by Charlotte Perry at Santa Catalina School. He performed at the Forest Theater in The Hollow Crown, directed by Marcia Hovick, and in Robinson Jeffers’ Medea, directed by Nick Zanides. At Cherry Hall in Carmel, John performed Willie in Beckett’s Happy Days, directed by Conrad Selvig. John’s three-act play, It’s Always Something, directed by Nancy Pridemore, was staged in Kingsport, Tennessee, his hometown, in 2001. He then wrote and played the leading role in Without Why, directed by Conrad Selvig. With Lisa Maroski, John has written two plays, Touching Distance and Dearly Departing, performed in the US and at the Dylan Thomas Theatre in Swansea.

Susan Roether Zsigmond (Director) is a writer and film maker. She is a friend of the San Francisco Library; North Beach Citizens: American Film Institute; The Actor’s Studio Playwrights Unit; and the Mecahnics Institute Library and Chess room. Her recent novel “Our Lady of West Hollywood” was listed among “Best of the Independent Press, 2014” by Kirkus Review. Susan is also a member of the board of directors of the Henry Miller Memorial Library.


MariaGarcia Teutsch (Producer) The Revolution Will Have its Sky, won the 2016 Minerva Rising chapbook competition, judge: Heather McHugh. She is a poet, educator and editor. She has published over 20 journals of poetry as editor-in-chief of the Homestead Review, published by Hartnell College in Salinas, and Ping-Pong journal of art and literature, published by the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, California. She teaches poetry and creative writing online as a member of the faculty of Hartnell College. She serves as president of the board of the Henry Miller Memorial Library, and is the founder and EIC of Ping-Pong Free Press.

Deidre Mccauley has been doing theatre for over 50 years. In Philadelphia she began at Old Academy Players following in her mother’s footsteps onto the stage.
She’s performed at Western Stage, Magic Circle Theatre, The Golden Bough, Outdoor Forest Theatre and Carl Cherry Center for the Arts. Recently she starred in a film called “Laces” which debuted at the Monarch Film Festival. She is part of The Actor’s Collective which is a group of actors who love to fly without a net.

Marnie Glazier is a writer, theatre artist and educator. She holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing, and a PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies. She has directed a number of productions – professional and academic – has taught Theatre, Writing, and Communication Studies for more than ten years, and currently serves as Theatre Faculty Lead at Hartnell College in Salinas. Her scholarly writing has been presented at numerous conferences and published in Laconics and the Texas Theatre Journal, and upcoming performances include: Transpiration, at the American Society for Theatre Research Conference this fall in Minneapolis, MN.   Her work is deeply embedded in social practice/physical/visual theatre, ecology, and ecofeminism.

River Atwood Tabor is a poet, photographer, philosopher and other things that begin with the letter “p.” At 20 years of age, he has helped found a press, published a book of poetry, and traveled to 5 countries, and that’s just in the past year.


Monday, February 8, 2016

This is Not a Love Poem (V)


Boxed in Lovers (They Seem so Happy)


1) The quantity of nerve cells in the brain is in direct relation to need.

The sea nettle jellyfish spends
little on the purchase of nerve cells for his brain.
He is bell shaped and bold beauty
lace of tentacles
exquisite in their ability to scoop
passive prey.


2) To hunt active prey you need more nerve cells for your brain.

Consider the flatworm,
following sunlight, humidity,
the warmth of leaves.
His brain weighs data
which triggers the oozing of juice
onto the hapless earthworm,
who is dissolved and consumed.

3) Social animals have larger brains.
Two weeks before death
a honeybee is set free
from currying combs, setting wax.
Now a forager
he fluffs food from purple coneflowers
reads the sundial
times the flower
for nectar signals
and takes note
in a flower diary.
Returns at the precise moment
the petals open for penetration.

4) Survival depends on our ability to learn.

My last boyfriend painted large canvasses.
He’d come to bed smelling
of linseed oil
and turpentine.
Once he’d aroused me
he’d return to his paints.
In the henna of daybreak
I’d consider my naked form,
full moon breasts, burnt sienna hair
thick with the wet oil of color.
One day
I noticed the hair in a painting
was red, yellow, cerulean,
the eyes chartreuse, with teacup breasts,
not like mine.

5) To kill a scorpion you crack its husk. Once you figure this out, you’ve mastered the technique for life.

© Maria Garcia Teutsch
originally published in The Café Review