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 calendar of events.
Proceeds from our bookstores benefit the San Francisco Public Library
This Thursday, July 14th, we are excited to have Devereaux Baker & Sharon Doubiago read!
Sharon Doubiago, a native of Southern California, was first moved to poetry by Jack Hirschman in the mid 60s, through a close friend of his, her Cal State/LA professor, Peter Marin. She experienced two readings by Jack that impacted her. Still, it was ten years before she became friends with Jack, by way of a significant poetry event in Point Arena, California. She has published many poetry and prose books since, Hard Country, The Book of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes, South America Mi Hija, Psyche Drives The Coast, Body and Soul, Love on the Streets —those from the University of Pittsburgh perhaps the most significant. Currently she is working on five books, all ten years so far in process. She and Devreaux Baker have been near life-long poet sisters.
Devreaux Baker is a 2011 recipient of the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Poetry Award, a 2012 Hawaii Council on Humanities International Poetry Award and the Women’s Global Leadership Poetry Award. She is a 2014 recipient of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Poetry Prize for her poem, In The Year Of The Drone. She has received fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, Hawthornden Castle, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. She has taught poetry in the schools and produced The Voyagers Radio Program of original student writing for public radio. She has led writing workshops in the United States, France and Mexico. Her books of poetry include Light at the Edge, Beyond the Circumstance of Sight, Red Willow People, and out of the bones of earth.
Loving Her At Last: The Girl
By Sharon Doubiago
My fifteen year old self, naked
walked into the room awhile ago
here on 64 Elgin Park, San Francisco
She just came in, moved around, then sat on the edge of the bed,
the first time I’ve seen her since back then.
I didn’t move for fear she’d disappear
though she was so ominous
that seemed impossible
Eidolon, her breasts
were blue-veined beneath white marble.
I smelled her. I could have touched her blue-veined muscled thigh.
I was breathing inside her. I was
I saw for the first time that she was beautiful.
She who had made me so miserable, a spectacle, a freak
her body her thoughts her heart her presence
I’ve fled ever since
I had not realized my impoverished self, the state
of my soul until she walked into this room.
I had not realized how much I had aged
but in she walked, o my
in perfect preservation
just hiding all this time.
Moved around for my observation
as if she’d never left
(for Sharon Lura Edens, for all young women)
By Sharon Doubiago
I dream the boy again.
He lies on his back on the blanketed ground
in a tent west of Julian in that convoluted land
Vulcan, Mesa Grande, mountains
erupting, ravines splitting open
I’m kneeling at your head, my family
gathered behind me, watching to make sure
you take your last breath. I note
the slight bulge in your white pants
and when you die I touch you. Very lightly
your left arm. And come awake
in grief, shock, dread, in sex, my body
exploding our collective sorrow, but the horror too
suffered separately by each of us who’s ever loved
this procession of ridges that twist and turn
an adolescent boy, a boy I don’t recognize. A boy
I’ve dreamed ever since. The first boy I loved, the boy
I am, the boy I deserted
dead at the bottom of the ravine
filled to the top now with all the boys and girls
every boy’s required divorce from love
to become a man
though in the rock paintings
an erection on a body lying on the battlefield means
the boy comes back to life
* (for Ryan, for all young men)
Recipe For Peace
By Devreaux Baker
Bare your feet, roll up your sleeves
oil the immigrant’s bowl.
Open the doors and windows of your house
invite in the neighbors, invite in strangers off the street.
Roll out the dough, add the spices for a good life;
cardamom and soul, cumin and tears.
Stir in sesame and sorrow, a dash of salt
pink as new hope.
Rub marjoram and thyme, lemon grass and holy basil
on your fingers and pat the dough.
Bless the table, bless the bread,
bless your hands and feet.
Bless the neighbors and strangers
off the street.
Bake the bread for a century or more
on a moderate heat
under the olive trees in your back yard
or on the sun-filled stones of Syria.
In the white rocks of Beirut
or behind the walls of Jerusalem.
In the mountains of Afghanistan
and in the sky scrapers of New York.
Feast with all the migrant tongues
until your mouth understands
the taste of many different homes
and your belly is full so you fall asleep
cradled in the skirts of the world
curled in the lap of peace.
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