Poet Laureate’s News

November 2019

Keeping Your Strength 

Maya Khosla

Thank you Irma Vega Bijou, Jabez Churchill, Terry Ehret, Forrest Gander, John Johnson, Phyllis Meshulam and her student poets, Katie Numi Usher and all of you who contributed such moving poems at the Poetry of Remembrance gathering on the evening of October 18. One of the poems, “A Case of Realism,” by William Greenwood, is featured below.
Even as many of us stand by or prepare for evacuations, I’m including a reminder about the Rising from the Ashes poetry reading, scheduled for Sunday, November 10, 2-4 pm at Sebastopol Center for the Arts, and want to thank all at Sebastopol Arts for hosting and offering the lovely space for our gathering (the first reading of its kind was held after the 2017 fires). The event will feature many Sonoma poets and students – please plan to attend. Refreshments will be served.
Take care.

P.S. Researchers say there are two groups of enzymes in the liver that assist the body with detoxification after exposure to smoke. Berrries, grapes, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, seeds of coriander, dill, and caraway stimulate the phase I enzymes. Cloves of garlic and turmeric cooked with black pepper stimulate the phase II enzymes.

autumn leaves


A Case of Realism
by William Greenwood
                 in memoriam for Tereso Morales, 1977
The night returns through oncoming headlights,
the sweaty meeting returns with these men,
for generations their families
burned by the crops.
We sharpened our deposition for weeks
in defense of the facts.
A spy for the plaintiffs cruises the house.
Tracks run down the street fighting the driver
out of the cold storage district.
The bare floor passes around the room.
Our words are measured into the air of solidarity
and conditional victory, into a haze
of cigarettes respectfully lit for each other
by hands stained with the lean fruit this year.
We plan the winter upon us.
We speak into the night.
The cloud of one crushed this fall by a tractor
We make vows to ourselves.
And we measure our patience
for the spring of justice
to open like sunlight.
Un Caso de Realismo
William Greenwood

               in memoriam para Tereso Morales, 1977
Regresa la noche por los faros de los coches venideros.
Regresa la sudada reunión de estos hombres,
por generaciones sus familias
quemadas por cultivos.
Afinamos nuestra declaración para la corte
en defensa de los hechos.
Un espía de los demandantes
pasa vigilando la casa.
La vía ferrea corre por la calle
peleándole control del timón
hacia afuera del barrio de los procesadores.
El piso desnudo circula por la sala.
Nuestras palabras se miden al aire solidario
de victoria condicional en una bruma de cigarros
respetuosamente prendidos unos para otros
con manos teñidas por la cosecha delgada este año.
Planificamos el invierno encima.
Hablamos hasta entrada la noche.
La nube de uno muerto
bajo un tractor Caterpila
Consigo mismo cada uno jura
y pulsa su aguante
para una primavera de justicia
abrirse como al amanecer.


Maya Khosla
Sonoma Poet Laureate (2018-2020)


Archives of previous Poet Laureate columns may be found here for 2012,  2013, 2014,  20152016-2017 and 2018-2019.


Sonoma County Literary Update logo

%d bloggers like this: