Join us every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in our Readers Bookstore Fort Mason for our weekly FREE poetry series! Browse books while listening to internationally acclaimed poets and artists such as Jonathan Richman, David Meltzer, Diane di Prima and California Poet Laureate Al Young. The series is curated by Friends’ Resident Poet Jack Hirschman. For a full line-up and more information please visit our website at www.friendssfpl.org.
Proceeds from our bookstores benefit the San Francisco Public Library
This Thursday, May 26th, we are excited to have Patti Trimble & Fred Norman read!
Patti Trimble‘s poetry is widely published and she performs her lyric poems in the USA and Europe. She lives in Sicily part-time, works with translations, and thinks often about the tower of Babel. She will read about Greek tragedy/myth, and will be reading some in Italian. You can find out more about Patti here.
Fred Norman served in the Marines and Air Force for 10 years and now is a member of Veterans For Peace, with the emphasis on Peace. He has a BA in Chinese Studies from SFSU and an MA in Writing from USF. What he calls his “sweeter” work of the past has been published in numerous local publications and in England, but he now writes almost exclusively on antiwar themes in the hope that he might someday write the words that would motivate others to try to put an end to war.
I SHOULD TELL YOU
By Patti Trimble
The jay was waiting this morning
for his breakfast as though I’d tamed him.
My country is falling apart, pulling down
decency and order, into a pile of sticks.
On the most peaceful of mornings
it is good to sweep the floor in bare feet.
When I am afraid, please put your face close
to mine and tell me a story with an animal in it.
It is story for you as well
and I hope you are listening.
A world of sticks is kindling for conflagration:
a match is a small thing and cheap.
Peace is a hummingbird a wide sky,
and small things are not so small.
Can’t You Hear the Children?
By Fred Norman
A year old, maybe. Not two, but big for a year.
He’s sitting in the dirt in a cleared space
in the middle of a bombed-out city of rubble.
No clothes. Screaming. Face wet with tears.
Maaaaa! he screams, calling for his mother
in that ancient universal plea for help, gulps
the air, spittle drooling from his mouth, sobs
bubbling from his saliva-webbed lips, words
soon to be too quiet to hear — Maama, he begs.
Can you see him?
Can you hear him calling you?
Where is he and where are you and where are we?
Where, for most of us, of course, depends on when,
on what specific day and date, on the holiday de jour,
on the war date we’re celebrating, on the flags we’re flying.
It could be Hiroshima. Nagasaki. Dresden. Falujah, Vietnam.
It could be a little girl running down a country road, naked,
mouth open in a howl, the heat of napalm closing in behind.
It could be any place that we destroyed, any family we killed.
It could be any day in any year in the history of the human race
but it is, in fact, right now, and it is, in fact, close, right here,
Can’t you hear the children screaming?