Thursday, March 2, 2023


 Note: Please click on photos to enlarge for better viewing. 

Back in September of 2022, I blogged about guest hosting the Poetry Bread Presents radio show on 89.1 Silver City. The show was inspired by another program and the group of poets I had listened to on that show. The program was The Poet and the Poem hosted by Grace Cavalieri. The group of poets was and still is known as Collective Voices, and includes Sylvia “Ladi Di” Beverly, André Brenardo Taylor, and Sistah Joy Alford, a triumvirate of distinguished poets from Maryland and Washington DC in the US.

Well, this Saturday, March 4, at 8:00 PM eastern time US, Collective Voices will appear on Quintessential Listening: Poetry Online Radio hosted by Dr Michael Anthony Ingram to celebrate their 25th anniversary. If you know me you know the tremendous respect I have for Michael and the show that brings us as diverse a group of poetic artists as you’re likely to find anywhere.

I call the poets who constitute Collective Voices “message poets” because in addition to superb craft, they deliver poignant and timely messages through their work. If you haven’t heard them yet, Saturday would be as good a time as any.

Sunday, February 12, 2023


Those who are close to me have surely heard me gripe about life as it is and what I perceive to be humanity's tragic trajectory. But I hope they've also heard me express my overwhelming gratitude for my life experiences and most importantly the incredible people with whom I’ve shared those experiences.

JC Wayne
Just two months ago I was fortunate to share one of those invaluable, treasure trove life experiences with JC Wayne and Hiram Larew, as we collaborated with a group of talented artists and poets to raise funds for Feed the Children.
I’m not sure how much attention you paid to those two individuals who have been real forces for “good” for decades, but I hope you’ll indulge me and take a moment to pay attention to what they are up to now.

Always responsive to those in need, JC Wayne has brought her creative genius to bear with the earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria in mind:

There is a backstory to every piece of art created, and JC is one artist who is ever willing to share the backstory of her work: For that as well I am grateful.

And although there is no such thing as “finally” with JC, there is for me, so finally, here is a peek at her most recent solo art exhibit at the Pierson Library in Shelburne, Vermont: I wish I could be in that space soaking in the vibrancy of these works, but alas…

Although in a different vein, soon, I expect to be asking you to turn your attention to Hiram’s upcoming contribution to the world of poetry, his newest collection: Patchy Ways. Hiram’s singular style is as evident as ever in this upcoming creation.

For those who are following our medical saga, Stephanie is currently at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico in Las Cruces, NM and is likely to be there at least through the end of this
week. She expresses great appreciation for the staff at the facility as she has for the staff at the University Medical Center of El Paso, where we both underwent surgical procedures.

I have had the extremely good fortune of having renowned potter Kate Brown host me in as special a community as I’ve found, and whose members have provided me as enriching a refuge for healing as I could possibly ask for! Former nurse Susan Malter has been extremely generous with her time and energy, dropping by to change my dressings daily, and other community members have provided both physical and psycho-emotional nourishment to facilitate healing.

Our cups of gratitude runneth over!


Tuesday, January 10, 2023


For some time, I’ve considered the art of managing the ups and downs, the joyous and agonizing waves of life to be like surfing. I’ve called it life surfing- riding the waves of life. I mentioned this to JC Wayne, and she sent me a drawing she had done. The idea for the video came to me during an interaction with Jeanett Molemohi, my "adopted" lil sis from Lesotho, in southern Africa. Thanks Jeanett!🙏The following emerged:



Life, you fragile microscopic giant

looming over every breath

each moment grasped or passed

My gaze cannot encompass you

my arms fail in feeble embrace

my words garble

when I seek to speak

your essence

my senses shimmy

as your seasons change

as your tides chase the moon

I yearn to learn

to surf the sand

as well as sea

to ride waves

in roiling

or placid mood

How your curl of power

captivates my tremble

abates my cautious stumble

sends me soaring

before the landing


Friday, December 30, 2022


Note: Please click on photos to enlarge or better viewing. Blue font = link.

I “met” Bébé La La on author Mary Dezember’s Creatives in Conversation in April of 2022, and it was an introduction I’ll cherish indefinitely. Mary provides all that you would want to know about Bébé La La, including her very unique review, here. Me? I just want to share my experience of Bébé La La with you.

Alicia Ultan and Maryse Lapierre are Bébé La La, a multi-talented, multi-instrumental, musical duo based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They celebrated their second and most recent CD release, A Curious Series of Unexpected Events, in November of 2021, and it certainly is worthy of celebration!

A Curious Series of Unexpected Events opens

and closes with In Media Res and its Reprise, respectively, featuring Alicia’s weeping, swelling viola sound, Maryse’s haunting harmonium and the voices of Bébé La La plucking at heart strings- those voices that ride the waves of life, lifting you high into fantasy skies and crashing you down to reality.

They don’t hesitate to let you know right off the bat that they are not merely magical musicians but conscious beings as well. The second track, Step Back, tells you that these artists are “Gonna take a step back” to “figure it out” and “turn the world inside out.” 

It is a call to pay attention to what we’re doing to the planet, to make smarter choices. Musically, after delivering the meat of the message, midway through the track, there’s a pregnant pause (for thought?) with Claudio Tolousse’s sitar as backdrop for planet sounds. Then the tempo picks up again after the pause, but the message remains the same. 

 The harmonic resonance Maryse and Alicia share is on vivid display in Rosie, a languid but uplifting folk ballad which was inspired by a real live meeting with a young girl on a mountain hike. The strings of Micky Patten’s bass and guitar, and Jacqueline Ultan’s cello provide enriching depth, nuance, and contours to this track. I’m obviously not the only one who cradles this cut close to the bosom, because Alicia took home a 2022 New Mexico Music Award in the Singer-Songwriter category for writing it!

Ah, and then the tempo gets a charge on the group’s namesake track Bébé La La. It opens with Carlos “Kalin” Noboa’s zampoñas  (pan pipes in English and calling to mind native wooden flutes), and Joseph Altamirano’s charango, a traditional South American 10-stringer about the size of a ukulele. Talk about diversity! We’ve got instruments from various parts of the world with French lyrics delivering a message that I cannot decipher…at least cognitively. But Bébé La La reminds us that the meaning in music is so often a feeling thing more than a thinking thing. Is this a celebration of life, a cry of longing? Feels like both and more. Maryse takes the vocal lead on this one, showing her range, while Alicia offers the perfect harmonic complement.

The CD then takes me home. One Minute at a Time opens its wings with steel-pan sounds from Frank Leto and speaks with a reggae, island lilt that takes you to the tropics lyrically and musically. It’s a statement about our times including references to Covid: “Wearing masks and gloves and fear” Yeah! Clearly Alicia is also a poet. Pick up the Lyric Book with lyrics to all the songs from both their CDs (High Wire being the other) and you'll see what I mean. This track is a nod to nostalgia, a call for a different future, while painting an idyllic picture to match the island sounds.

Rumpelstiltskin’s Secret revives the up tempo, reminding me of flower children dancing in the park, trials and tribulations trampled beneath their prancing feet. Alicia’s acoustic chops may be most evident on this track and the ever-present harmony between these symbiotic artists continues to be the thread that ties this enriching sound experience together.

Is there an album worth its salt that doesn’t deliver a love song? I’m not sure that the musicians would call Magic Hour a love song, but if it sounds like a love song, feels like a love song, doggone it, it must be a love song! And what a beautiful love song it is. Alicia’s voice-magic takes me back to adolescent years when Carly Simon sent me dreaming. And when these two artists put their voices together love is definitely in the air. “If I come to you in a magic hour would you cast a spell on me?” Well, turn about is fair play and since Bébé La La cast a spell on me from the opening cut, I think it’s only fair that I answer, “Hell yes!” to that question. If only I had warlock powers...

Slow down & listen
with Alicia on viola demands that you close your eyes and open your ears to the viola hovering above the signature harmony. It commands you to listen to the lyrics prescribing good medicine for living in today's world:  

“Slow down and listen, you’re going to crash if you keep going so fast

Slow down and listen, you’re going to hit a brick wall from your past

In another song for our times, Remember stems from the George Floyd incident. Can a tragic dirge be beautiful? Well, when Bébé La La sings and plays one, it can. It is. Heavy and beautiful, beautiful and heavy, the poignant lyrics include, “This systemic pandemic of hatred will end” and tells the departed Floyd that “Change will come, we’ll have you to thank.” The way Jacqueline Ultan’s cello laments and complements the lyrics makes this one of my favorite tracks. The lyrics are musical; the music is poetic, and Arnaldo Acosta’s snare work is a brilliant touch on this cut.

From where I sit, A Curious Series of Unexpected Events is an album for our times, of times past, and it seeks to will us into a more magical future.  

Bébé La La’s website:

Bébé La La on Facebook/Meta:

Bébé La La music video:

Bébé La La YouTube Channel:

Terrific live concert at the Community Coffee House in Albuquerque, NM where the duo is based

Thursday, December 29, 2022


Note: Please click on photos to enlarge for better viewing. Blue font = link

As I tell folks repeatedly, despite their insistence, I don’t do reviews, but I do respond in writing at times to works that move me. You’d be hard pressed not to be moved by Scot Young's All Around Cowboy…well, at least I’d have been hard pressed. Fortunately, I don’t fight the feeling.

I can’t write like Scot, but I gave it my best shot to at least offer a tiny tribute to his style. I hope it seems like I got it Scot.

Here’s what wriggled out in the aftermath of All Around Cowboy:

the dark
was creeping round the curtain

i set all around cowboy down
beside me
on the billowy down
like the golden goose
with a broken wing
eyes closed
cradling the vastness
behind lids

i lay there
eyes shut
mind open
letting scots breezes blow
thru the gray matter 
i’ve got left
thru the
how do you congeal this
into butter

i ain’t that smooth

i still don't know if the gurgling
was food related
or because I'd chugged the pages
like that first shot of jack
after coming in
from a sandstorm
but the rumble filled 
the big little space

talk about lonesome
all around cowboy does plenty a that

and in this cell sized space of cozy
i knew hank willie and johnny
didn't have nothin on me
when it came to da blues
even if I can't play a lick
and my singing
ain't for shit

our bones might remember
what our brains leak out
like a
done sat too long in the weather
water barrel
or distant revving of a rusty truck
that wouldn't pull

talk to me scot
of boys and girls 
on moonlit hills
still green enough 
    for expectations
ripe enough 
    for doubts
    and dashed hopes
    and friends
buried in redneck dirt

talk to me
of those friends 
gone by
who left their mark
some twiggy and fragile
some like oak

marks left
between the eyes
and ribs
popcorn memories
with hard kernels
others melting
even before chewing
the thick mud 
of nostalgia
you can wade through
crystal stream like
in spring

but even crystal streams hide
jagged rocks that cut
your soul to ribbons
streaming salt stain tracks
trapped in ridges
not even dreamt of
when nostalgia was still
a word
you had to look up

talk to me
of retrospectives
of disguised loves
tripping over pain
we try to hurdle
in bottles and cans
with banter and harsh

but then
cowboys don’t speak of love
except in the whistling
of a hank williams tune
after hitting a rusty can
at ten paces
with a brown stream

so many lost
but found 
in these pages
so many found
when lost 
in thought

stetsons and chevys
honky tonks and blues
loose women
with tight asses
but mostly
mom and dad
the long sad lonesome

heard tell you gotta
dance with the one
that brung ya

Scot’s bio from All Around Cowboy:

“Scot Young lives with the woman of his dreams on a ridge top farm in the Missouri Ozarks. He is widely published online and in numerous print anthologies and chapbooks. His first chap Brautigan Meets Bukowski is out of print with a copy residing in the Brautigan Library. He also co-authored with John Dorsey Head On. He is the editor of the Rusty Truck and Deuce Coupe. He and his wife Rosanna are publishers at Rusty Truck Press."

Scot is also responsible for The RustyTyper- a monthly online flash fiction publication that is the “little brother of the Rusty Truck, second cousin to the Deuce Coupe.”

Thanks for stopping by...T. A.

Monday, December 12, 2022


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Just five days to go till the close of the Art Auction and Donation Campaign to Alleviate Hunger and benefit Feed the Children. We've had some new bidders pushing us a smidge closer to our $2500 goal but we could sure use your help to cross the finish line and fill a few more empty bellies.

Diane Mezzanotte joined the bidding for Waiting by Elaine Weiner Reed, but Heidi Asundi seems truly determined not to let this masterpiece escape her grasp. As soon as Diane’s bid came in, Heidi outbid her. I can understand why. Both the painting and the poem by Abha Das Sarma are gems! Waiting is now the third highest leading bid in the auction.

I am so moved by the artists and poets who have participated in this venture to bolster Feed the Children’s efforts. Randy Weber’s 
Abandoned Playground, Claunch, NM is now the item with the second highest bid of all items and the leading bidder is none other than the poet, Lisa Reynolds, whose poem I’m Hungry inspired Randy to submit his work for auction. How cool is that! Lisa’s bid outstripped Both Robert Taylor’s and Paul Kapular’s generous offers.

Doze Butler’s
  QUITCH: QUIlting To Combat Hunger still holds top honors thanks to the generous bid of André Brenardo Taylor. Dish Calling Cosmos, also by Randy Weber and inspired by Zimbabwe’s Brian Tawanda Manyati’s Imma be cool crooning alway, has moved up the bidding charts, and  is just behind Devas de los Hambrientos by JC Wayne, which holds the fourth highest leading bid- thanks to Krishna Asundi- as of this writing. 

By the time I post this, I suspect we may already have surpassed our goal, but I hope that won't stop you from shining your generosity on Feed the Children! Thanks for stopping by...T. A.

Saturday, December 10, 2022


It’s been one week since the launch of the Art Auction to Alleviate Hunger so let's catch up. Before jumping in, thanks again to all who are making this effort a successful one!

Hiram Larew founder of Poetry X Hunger and JC Wayne, founder of The Poartry Project, and Elle Dooley, one of the contributing artists, will join James Bryant, SpoFest Poetry and Prose founder, in a post auction launch interview live on Facebook today at 1pm CST USA. I’m thinking Elle must have founded something at some point to be in all this “founder company.” If you didn’t catch James’ pre-launch interview with Hiram and me, you can check it out here.

As for the fundraising campaign itself, factoring in leading bids as of yesterday (12/9), the auction has raised $1,660 and the donation campaign has raised approximately $400 with one week to go. We’re creeping up on the $2,500 goal, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could blow by that goal by next Saturday (12/17), when the auction ends, and feed some more hungry people?

Anyway, the leading bids have changed hands a tad since we last reported, but the Asundis still seem determined to hang some JC Wayne creations on their walls. The Asundis are seven days away from claiming Devas de los Hambrientos, Slakes with Sol’s Sustenance, and Memory of Lineage, all crafted by JC Wayne, and Waiting, a delightful painting by Elaine Weiner Reed. E. Lynn Alexander is giving Heidi Asundi a run for her money on Memory though. Thanks for getting in on the action Lynn.

Warwick Jones of the UK has inched ahead of Angela Dale for Skyler Dagucon’s Starving Night, one of my personal favorites, but Angela still holds the leading bid for JC’s Starvation is not food insecurity. 

Other leading bidders include André Taylor for QUITCH: QUIlting To Combat HungerLinda Dickman for Foretells the Moon’s Hunger, another favorite of mine for personal reasons; Lisa Jones for Abandoned Playground, Claunch, NMLis Mcloughlin for Chocolate velvet drapes the soul to sleep in peaceChip Williford for Tears of Hunger; and Linda Burby for Winds of Harvest.

Ok, gotta get this posted while there's still a little time before the interview. Until next....T. A.


  Note: Please click on photos to enlarge for better viewing.  Back in September of 2022, I blogged about guest hosting the Poetry Bread Pr...