Presented for your enjoyment, this 15-second excerpt is read by the author.   Presented for your approval – PRECOGNITION.

The complete book is available for purchase at DEERBROOK EDITION.



That time I read at GATSBY BOOKS!


Sunday, November 5, 2017…There was, you see, a reading–a poetry reading at Gatsby’s Bookstore in Long Beach, CA.

It was free. Not a penny did it cost to hear poetry.  And, for me, it was not just another reading (though I don’t do many). It was a huge event.  There may have been an audience of 10 or 12, I didn’t count.

Just out of a 3-week stay at the hospital–a life-defining experience–and scared I wouldn’t be able to stay on my feet for the duration, I was given the gift of a most wonderful experience and it feels really important for me to acknowledge it.

Thank you, first, to Gatsby’s Books, whose support and enthusiasm and love for the arts absolutely surpasses any I’ve seen anywhere.



Thank you, most extraordinary poet, Rick Lupert, for generously agreeing to read with me. Your work is so alive, so electric and I am huge fan. It was a privilege to share a podium with you and I could have listened forever.



hat-lady-anthony-masterjosephThank you, my dear friend, Meg Kalvy, constant throughout all these years — sometimes as my conscience, always as my friend. To see you walk through that door on Sunday was my guarantee that I could stand up and read.



Beautiful Janis, whose last name I don’t know, in your phenomenal hat, thank you for your focus, your attention, your tears, your smile, and –yes–the very important purchase of my books. I will see you again at Gatsby’s and I will get your last name and another series of your warm hugs and whispered kindnesses.


couples-seated (1).jpg

Dear Couple in the Front Row, you beautiful young smiling poets, thank you for your attention, your kind words, your obvious understanding and your love of poetry.

I know I will see you again and look forward to hearing something you have written.


Poetry lives!  POETRY LIVES! and it is alive and running and walking the streets of Los Angeles and its environs right now.

I was reminded of a wonderful lyric by Joni Mitchell which always rings a chime in my head to remind me what poetry is about.

I slept last night in a good hotel
I went shopping today for jewels
The wind rushed around in the dirty town
And the children let out from the schools
I was standing on a noisy corner
Waiting for the walking green
Across the street he stood
And he played real good
On his clarinet, for free
Now me I play for fortunes
And those velvet curtain calls
I’ve got a black limousine
And two gentlemen
Escorting me to the halls
And I play if you have the money
Or if you’re a friend to me
But the one man band
By the quick lunch stand
He was playing real good, for free
Nobody stopped to hear him
Though he played so sweet and high
They knew he had never
Been on their T.V.
So they passed his music by
I meant to go over and ask for a song
Maybe put on a harmony…
I heard his refrain
As the signal changed
He was playing real good, for free.
Songwriters: JONI MITCHELL
For Free lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Crazy Crow Music / Siquomb Music Publishing
poetry lives.jpg


I’m not sure how many of you know that my family were Polish Jews. We lost cousins, aunts, uncles to the Nazi camps. Nearly all died, some lived to tell about it. Their stories never went away. They were told and re-told so that none of us would forget how easily and quickly evil moves in and takes over a person, a nation.

Image result for polish jewsThe stories were always similar: good people, kind people, neighbors, families laughed and joked and respected each other’s differences of opinion, turned their heads while part of their populace was marched down the streets to the waiting trains, turned their heads while their country warred,  rotted and died before their eyes.

They said, “It’s just politics.”
They said, “Don’t worry. You’re taking it all too seriously.”
They said “Disagreement and opposing ideas are good for the country.”
…and they said and they said and they said while Hitler and his gunsels turned their lives, their nation, inside out and took them and their neighbors to the death camps.

donald trump is doing what a cockroach does, what an asp does, what a monster does.

This government–trump and his minions–has gone way beyond politics or ideals or clashes in philosophy.

It is no longer what the trumproach does, what the asp does, what the monster does, it is about what WE do and What WE are.

Those who voted for this administration (and I have to believe, or die of a broken heart, that there are some good, kind, giving, caring people out there who did) have got to stand up and admit that they were wrong, that they were duped, that what they thought politically and philosophically was a far cry from what trump is and what he is doing to what is still their country.

Image result for NAZI Rally

The gaping fissures which have developed between families and family members and friends can be healed, but only if those who supported the ongoing evil we see in front of us will step away from it and declare their mistake and their willingness to fight what they see is going on. Loud, proud, and repeatedly…

Those who are fighting trump’s march toward Nazism need to know that their friends and families do not support this regime. They need to know that this was NOT what their friends and families thought would happen and that those same friends and families are withdrawing their support of evil and vowing to fight it.  Ego, pride must be put aside to save our country.

There is great courage in saying, I did not see the evil then when I cast my vote for trump. I do see it now. I want this creature who sits contentedly in the White House through my support to be gone and his policies and cronies and devastating actions which are bringing down my country to be gone for good.

No one will fault you or say, “I told you so.

I cannot, and will not withdraw my love or my belief in the people I have loved and known for more years than I can count. I believe in those from whom I have received love and kindness and generosity. I believe that you are good and honest and that you care when you see evil around you. I have seen you protect your children from it. I have seen you help those who need your help. I will not believe that you will let this horror continue without stepping forward. I beg you to step forward and denounce what you have to know is wrong, evil, dangerous–without justification, without explanation–just denounce it and keep denouncing it until it is erased. This is not about politics. It is about who we are/what we are.


It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood–A Rant of Sorts

Artists/Writers who don’t have extensive CVs or friends in high places or  well-known names are desperate for an audience.

Everything I say here, by the way, is the same for sculptors, potters, paper makers, jewelry creators, etc etc etc. You know who you are.


Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of negative posts on Facebook regarding the requests for friendship as a way of introducing an artist’s work. In other words. someone asks someone to be friends and, if the friendship is accepted, the requester presents a page to be liked or a book promotion or the publishing of some work in a lit mag, or a group of photographs or a portfolio of paintings. It appears that, among some, this is considered very UNCOOL.

I don’t get it.

If we are not “friends” on social media, how are you supposed to draw my attention to your work?

It doesn’t matter how you happened upon my name; maybe you enjoy my work. Maybe you’ve seen me on one or another posts about writing or art and you want to introduce me to YOUR work. You’re not sure if you’d like to be my buddy, but you would like me to recognize and maybe even buy something and, even better, talk about it to others.  But, to some, this is a kind of irritant or a symbol that you are just not COOL.


Well, I’ve never been real comfortable with what’s COOL or UNCOOL. It seems to me that garnering an audience in the /literature game is really tough.

Most can’t afford the fees of PR businesses and, unless your book is being published by Random House or Black Sparrow Press or your paintings/photos are featured in a gallery or are part of a book of prints.

you can figure that you–the artist–is the only one bringing that work to the world.

All we have is each other.

The “life raft” that is the well-known, widely-read writer, or the artist who actually sells, is that person or persons we look to as a source of support. One good word from a big name or even a medium-size name can make a huge difference in a writer’s book sales/readership or in the sale of a painting or a photograph.

Note to those who are offended by such requests:
No one is trying to offend important writers and artists and artisans. No one is trying to be your best friend–you probably have plenty of those.

Most are not even trying to be a significant event in your lives. We’re all  just trying to get a fucking foothold in the cold world of art and literature. We’d be incredibly grateful if you’d just take a look at what we do. We just really want to get your attention somehow.  Didn’t you ever want that for your own stories and poems and pictures?  We’re just hoping that MAYBE you MIGHT buy one of our books from the small, independent publisher who had 6 ounces of faith in a few of us and published us, or that you like the painting you see on our pages enough to ask about it, find out its price. None of that is about COOL or UNCOOL. It’s about support–any way, any kind.

Really, it’s as simple as ignoring the request if it offends you.

So, here is my note to artists:  if you want me, Martina, to take special notice of what you do and you request “friendship” of me in the hope that I’ll do that, that’s fine. I’ll take a look at your work, your page, your pictures. If I like your work, I’ll tell others. If I have some money to spend, I’ll buy something. If it’s not for me, I’ll say nothing. But you are more than welcome to “friend” me and guide me to your page, to ask me to “like” that page or like you, or have a look at your work.

The world needs its artists.  COOL or UNCOOL, you can buzz me. I’ll definitely have a look.



This morning the coffee is so strong it’s almost fertile. It is a morning in which words stick together easily, as if magnetized, drawn to each other, performing as one, in order to bring to pen/paper the headaches, tears, and mourning for what was once a great country–our America.

Misunderstanding and degradation blooms on hedge, bush, and tree. The green lawns and the farmers’ fields are now only baize*; they smell of fascism and carrion. We walk on shale knowing it will never stand the strain; it never does. It appears that some god somewhere has left us to drown in our own reckoning. Our angels and patron saints appear to be vacationing in a place far away.

When this administration has moved on to wound and defile other places, other times, it will be eons before we can “get ourselves back to the garden” (thank you Joni Mitchell). Hell! It will be eons before we ever rediscover the Carolinas, Oregon, the Rockies, or even Poughkeepsie. They are one in the same now.

All, all are punished. All are punished.** 

Dear readers, you may have noticed that the center, the core of humanity is refusing to hold. The Beast slouched past Bethlehem long ago, did command performances all over this planet and has now taken up residence on Pennsylvania Avenue. Too many citizens ignored what he is and was and put him there in what was once a place of honor. America is wearing mis-matched socks, jack boots, Parteiadler*** Cuff links, and Hugo Boss designs.

So, I sit down to write poems that are meant to resist Evil and to support other keyboard warriors who, like myself, can only pray, light candles, perform rituals, and write in the hope that poetry–its anger, its bliss, its love, its sexuality and sensuality, its warnings and its ability to find beauty–can still move the heart/mind/soul and mean something.

Write on!



*baizeGreen cloth covering billiard/card tables
**Romeo and Juliet: Act 5, Scene 3, William Shakespeare, 1597
***Parteiadlerthe emblem of the Nazi Party

Prayer to the Divine Feminine

Beloved mothers of Humanity …
We thank you for watching over us and
for nourishing our souls with kindness and mercy …Mary Queen of Heaven

Thank you for showing us ways that lead to the
You are Mystic Roses of the world’s gardens;
You are precious waters cooling the deserts.
Your presence purifies everything.
You are the mothers who protect us,
who help us to heal the wounds and scarsHindu Goddess
this false world brings to us.
Thank you, Divine Mothers, for the ancient wisdom and
the clarity your love offers us.
Ladies of Peace,

Ladies of Meditation and Prayer,
Mothers of this world and the one beyond,
grant us grace, peace, the willingness to forgive.
Ladies of the Rainbow, of the Angels, of the Lotus,
shine on us the rays of the Creator’s love that we
might warm this frigid world.
Spread over us the Divine Cloak of your endless love.
Calm us that we may calm the fearful.
Warm us that we may warm those who are cold.
Feed us that we may feed the hungry.
Forgive us that we may forgive all humankind.
Jewels of Heaven, continue to love us though
we rarely deserve it. Show us humanity through Muslim female saint
your eyes. Continue, please, to plead
for us, to place our vulnerable souls and our
human needs before the Creator.

Shanti.   Amen.   Amin.  
Om Mane Padme Hum.   Hallelujah.


I first read “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” when I was just out of high school.  My father was an ardent Socialist, Union Organizer, free thinker, blue collar philosopher, lover of “real people,” etc.  You get the picture.

I browsed the public library then as if it were a buffet table and I was starving.  It was not unusual for me to be in there from opening to closing.  My parents never had to worry about my whereabouts.  The library is where I could always be found. After library hours, I was in my room, reading.
I found the book by chance, sat down at a table and began to read.  I checked that book out more times than anyone the library had ever seen.  I bought it for myself, finally, when I was 20 years old and married.
What I saw in those pages was the assurance that no one, anywhere, understands anything until they’ve lived it.  Poverty, hunger, lack of education, lack of choices, abuse—all of it, any of it—it is not understood until it is experienced.
I learned from that book that my suspicions that my peers didn’t understand my life were well-founded.  My mother HAD to sew my clothes.  My father was often on strike, sometimes injured in picket lines, always worked like a slave in the steel mill for every cent and, only through the union were his efforts rewarded.
I learned in those pages that the government lies.  It lies to cover up its willingness to ignore the poor and uneducated.  It lies to keep the poverty-stricken poverty stricken and the uneducated uneducated.  It lies so that the general populace can feel good about itself.  It lies so that it can build its capitalist sties on the backs of working people and will hire writers and photographers to further those lies..

James Agee and Walker Evans were like my father. They refused to lie.

Those pages gave me pride in my own father’s work ethic, his truth, his unwillingness to ever be anything more or less than he was.  It made me ashamed to sit back and not try to help the impoverished.  It made me want to shake the world out of its drowsy complacency, wring its neck a little.
I could not, in those early years, think of what to do, so I began to write.  And that is still what I do. Besides the little money I can give, aside from the little help I can offer as an individual, I can write what I see.  So I do.
I have gone back to that book a hundred times.  No exaggeration. I’ve read it at least that many times.  It changes me with each reading. At this time of year especially, I urge anyone to buy this book, see what it does to you, to anyone who is fortunate enough to read it.