Event Title:
Point Arena Third Thursday Poetry Series Featuring Berkeley poet, Judy Bebelaar.
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Event Date:
Thursday, September 20, 2012 7:30pm
215 Main Street
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Judy Bebelaar taught English and creative writing—as well as cooking, Native American Studies, math and reading—in San Francisco public high schools for thirty-seven years. Her poetry has been published widely, most recently in "The Louisville Review", "Pearl, Westview", "The Old Red Kimono", "Schuylkill Valley Journal", "Willard and Maple", "The Griffin", "The Squaw Valley Review and Ship of Fools". She has also published several articles about teaching and is currently at work, along with a fellow teacher, Ron Cabral, on a book about their experiences at a small alternative school where Jim Jones sent Peoples Temple teenagers in 1976. Judy is also the co-host of a reading series featuring Bay Area Writing Project teachers in Berkeley, California.

In 2006, Judy tied for first place and won two honorable mentions (of four) in the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council Poetry Prose and Art Festival in California, judged by Lynne Knight. Recently she was a finalist in Flyway's Writing the Wild chapbook contest and won an honorable mention in the San Francisco American Pen Women's Soul-making contest for work forthcoming in a women's anthology, Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down (Scarlet Tanager Press).

We were beginning to stir after Savasana,
the corpse pose, in which one lies supine:
wings of the nose, root of the tongue,
spine and forehead and limbs all soft and easy,
stray thoughts just clouds passing through.

Though sometimes mine are more like bumper-cars,
this time, for a split second, I was breathing with the universe.
stars floating out
and rolling back in, like the tides,
the darkness of space lightening, then deepening,
galaxies sailing gracefully
toward the edge of nothing,
then returning once more to the center.

When I got home I asked my husband,
from the kitchen where I chopped onions and celery,
“Do you know if they’ve decided
whether the universe is expanding or contracting?”
He called out “There’ve been budget cuts; it’s shrinking.”

And then I heard a woman on the radio
who said we take in with each breath
some of the dust of the Gobi Desert,
the Sahara, the Serengeti Plains.
She said that we breathe in the dust of stars
and then, of course, we breathe it out again.

The earth is ever decomposing,
releasing the dust of graves.
We inhale particles of pharaohs and emperors,
motes of slaves and concubines,
of Black Elk on his eagle bier.

But then today at coffee,
I asked a friend what she thought.
She pointed out we don’t seem to breathe in wisdom with the dust.
She thinks perhaps there’s been expansion
ever since the Big Bang.
Which would explain why the gaps are widening
between nations and tribes and factions and sects,
why the divorce rate is high, why families feud,
why so many appear to be eager to gallop toward Apocalypse.

Still, if I lie down in my death,
and take a deep slow breath and close my eyes,
I can see the Milky Way. Judy Bebelaar

Doors open at 7:15 pm & the reading starts at 7:30 pm with an open mic. Live jazz to proceed and follow the reading; dinner available.

This event is supported by Ling-Yen Jones, our generous community and Poets & Writers, Inc. through a grant it has received from The James Irvine Foundation.