Poetry & Prose Contributed by Robert Lyons
Contributed by Marilyn Bennett
Banned the Book, the Roman Catholics did Control of thought, we are never rid On an European tarmac, ideas sacked, fires lit Biting the bit, we observe powers vanity Know that we aren't to be told, be bold, Read moldy books as the liars fold, your knowledge gold Surpassing the old. Do not hide in the cold refuge of ignorance Enjoy the suspense! Break down every sentence and reissue an order, “Do as your told,” these masters say because they have nothing We are already free, Jesus made us to be, so listen to me! Books are to be read! Red, my eyes see as I deform into Hyde Hiding the past? A blast comes fast as we are up to the task. Fought Fascist thought police since the days of Pope One, We will never be done so keep the ammo in the guns and read for fun And read different thoughts, different talk about stuff you don't see, it will alleviate the loneliness When surrounded by stupidity Be aware, the Good Samaritan was holier than those who chose not to see The Samaritan didn't even believe But was closer to God than he who dropped to knee daily in reverence for power As they let hours pass before right was done. Don't be won over by those who don't let you see the whole picture, it won't fix your soul to be ignorant and conniving, Only denying the blinding temptation to sin, given knowledge of it is power Awareness through experience, can we fight censorship of thought Read all the books you can until you have bought yourself enlightenment And off I excitedly went knowing I did God's work because I heard that seeking is all that's needed considering where all the roads are leading.
First fly There he is He's wondering where he is I'm wondering why he's here Just flying in lazy circles Unaware of the danger Where did he come from? Hatched from some dark corner Perhaps an egg his mom had laid Between the wall and floor A tiny crack no one noticed Now he awakes this frosty morn
The snow is melting more each day But it is - This Little Fly That tells me with no doubt at all That spring has come Awaking life another year It brings me joy To watch him fly Around in lazy circles And know that he In his short life Brought realization That spring is truly here What joy That first fly
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Contributed by JF
Bitter unrequited will, undone by their desires Stop to taste the berries but get caught up in the briars Too much too soon can burn the ground
Those who do not plant the ground Or plan around the seasons Will always come up short except for Being long on reasons As to why their ground is dry No hive to keep the bees in Who’s around to till the ground But he who puts the seed in The quickest path from a to b Is always a straight line And if you want to plow a row
You must learn to set your eyes On the other side, something distant As your guide Yet all that you’ve accomplished Was only moving towards the prize Some who don’t accomplish much And also those who do Both find out that all their doubts Can turn out to be true Still the ones who do much more But know before they do Are less let down, into the ground When their days are through
Those who don’t accomplish much and some of those who do Think their only turn of luck is to somehow turn the screw On some undeserving schmuck So they too should pay their dues And learn to not accomplish much But somehow think they do
Like too much fertilizer And when there is no fruit to bear These are none the wiser:
Matanuska Electric Association (MEA) Charitable Foundation Alaska Animal Advocates www.alaskaanimaladvocates.com (907) 841-3173 Alaska Animal Advocates is a non-profit group of dedicated volunteers who are devoted to enriching the lives of companion animals in Alaska. In order to do this, we will place homeless pets in loving environments, address medical concerns, spay or neuter, microchip, vaccinate, and offer training as is needed. We believe that every animal deserves a loving home, for his/her entire life and Alaska Animal Advocates will provide the resources to make this happen. In order to make this mission possible, we need the help of volunteers and foster homes.
Connect Palmer Inc. www.ConnectPalmer.org (907) 746-9675 Connect Palmer is a Christ Centered Training Center and Housing for Women located in downtown Palmer. Connect Palmer’s two primary programs are God’s Work Design, and LIFE Connect. We also have Sarah’s House, which a Safe and Caring place for ladies, without homes, to live while they participate in our back to work and life skills programs. We also offer different community assistant programs, such as The Locker, to provide personal care and basic house hold cleaning items and Scarlet Tapestries which offers basic sewing skills instruction. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
Denali Family Services
291 East Swanson Ave. Wasilla, AK 907-222-2331 or email@example.com Denali Family Services provides therapeutic foster care to Alaskan children with mental health needs. If you are committed to working with a team, receiving training and implementing positive interventions to school-age children and teens, we need your talents and skills. We are in search of professional, therapeutic foster parents who are willing to make a commitment to the children of Alaska by providing a stable home environment. For more information, please call or email our Foster Care Recruiter, Ernestina D. Olivares, at 907222-2331 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
www.mea.coop/mea-in-the-community/round-up email@example.com 907-761-9300 Since 2011, the MEA Charitable Foundation has given grants to fund projects impacting libraries, playgrounds, seniors, veterans, recycling, at-risk youth, and much more. In 2019, MEA Charitable Foundation reached over $1,000,000 in contributions to the community with Operation RoundUp® Program! Organizational grants are capped at $10,000. Please remember to check our website for requirements and submit your completed application — including financials! For meeting and reviewing grants, MEACF operates on a quarterly cycle.
Mat-Su Health Foundation healthymatsu.org (907) 352-2863 The mission of the Mat-Su Health Foundation is to improve the health and wellness of Alaskans living in the Mat-Su. The tools we use include grantmaking, convening of local partners, and policy change. We have generated significant improvements in systems that support the health of Mat-Su residents in areas such as behavioral health, child welfare, crisis response, community connections, workforce development, transportation, housing, and senior services. Visit healthymatsu.org to learn about
scholarship and funding opportunities.
Mat-Su Health Services, Inc. www.mshsak.org (907) 376-2411 Dedicated to improving the health of our community, one person at a time – through affordable medical, dental and behavioral health care.The clinic is a Federally qualified Health Care Center and we accept Medicare, Medicaid, and most other third-party insurances. For those who qualify, there is a sliding scale payment, based on household income. We offer early morning and evening appointments appointment. You can also contact our 24/7 behavioral crisis intervention line by calling the main number: 376-2411.
Mat-Su Regional Adult Basic Education (Nine Star) MatsuAdultEd@ninestar.com (907) 373-7833 Mat-Su ABE provides basic education in math, language arts and English as a second language (ESL), aiming to raise student skills beyond the high-school level in order to pass tests like the GED, enter training programs or college, and advance on the job. Enrollment is open to all adult residents of
Alaska, year-round. Youth Employment for ages 16-24 not in school -- get a job, keep a job, advance on the job. Nine Star 300 N Willow 373-3006 (in the MYHouse building)
Mat-Su Youth Housing (MY HOUSE) myhousematsu.org (907) 373-4357 MY House is a homeless youth drop in center with two for-profit businesses that train and employ homeless youth. Gathering Grounds Cafe is a coffee shop with homemade soups, sandwiches, salads and baked goods. Steamdriven is a trendy thrift shop featuring Steampunk items made from repurposed donations by our youth designers. Fiend2Clean and Young People in Recovery offer support for substance abuse recovery with activities and events. We offer transitional housing for qualified 18-24 year olds, Outreach services to connect homeless youth, organizations and groups to services, and access to Public Health and NineStar job/education services on site.
Valley Arts Alliance www.ValleyArtsAlliance.com Valley Arts Alliance, bringing the community together through the arts... We are a place for both new and established artists of all types—painters, sculptors, musicians, and those involved in the performing arts—to network and to experiment with new ideas and media. We work with local libraries, schools, museums, art councils, and music and art groups to create more venues for the arts, and to help promote art related events. Join us at our informal weekly meetings, every Thursday @ 11 at Sophia’s Cafe, 9191 E Frontage Road, Palmer-Wasilla Hwy. Check out our archives www.ValleyArtsAlliance.com
Valley Charities, Inc. www.valleycharities.org Valley Charities, Inc. has proudly served the Mat-Su Valley Community for over sixty years. Our purpose continues to be “Connecting those who need help with the help they need” specifically and directly within the Mat-Su Valley. We provided community services through our turn-A-leaf thrift store, medical equipment loans, Housing and Safety Grant Programs. We have expanded our services and partnerships to reach additional families in the Mat-Su needing support beyond clothing vouchers and Medical Equipment loans when an unexpected crisis arises.
Valley Community for Recycling Solutions www.valleyrecycling.org (907) 745-5544 RECYCLING: Be part of the solution. DROP OFF: The community recycling center is located at 9465 E Chanlyut Circle, next to the MSB Animal Shelter at the Central Landfill. Follow the smells. NEW HOURS: Drive through drop-off open Tues – Fri 9:30 - 5:00 and Sat 8:00 to 5:00. Recycle cardboard, aluminum cans, magazines, this newspaper and more. Remember to REDUCE, REUSE, and then RECYCLE! ONLINE: Visit our website for more details, follow us on FaceBook and Instagram. To learn more, visit our classroom. Volunteer opportunities available. Make a difference in your community!
Valley Interfaith Action (VIA) www.valleyinterfaithaction.org (907) 230-1006 To address quality of life issues for all residents of the Mat-Su Borough, utilizing the faith values of our members, developing community-wide interest and mobilization around quality of life issues. Through training, leaders address community problems by providing forums for discussion, researching alternative solutions, and working as facilitators with residents and leaders for institutional change.
Wasilla Homeless-Committee www.wasillahomeless-committee.org (907) 521-2949 Wasilla Homeless-Committee is a 100% volunteer organization funded by private donations and regular fundraising events. Our sole purpose is to assist the homeless, those at risk of homelessness, and others who do not meet the criteria for help that is required by other advocacy agencies in the valley. Wasilla Homeless-Committee provides case management, housing search assistance, move in assistance, job search assistance, clothing, furniture, help with transportation, and resource guidance for homeless and disenfranchised in the Mat-Su Valley. Visit our website for application, or call 907-5212949. Find us on Facebook facebook.com/wasillahomelesscommitteepage
Contributed by Judy Vars We want you to create some recycled/up-cycled yard art. Valley Community for Recycling Solutions (VCRS) and the Alaska State Fair (ASF) are sponsoring the annual “Recycled Yard Art Contest”. Your creations will be displayed during the fair at the VCRS Recycling Education Booth on the purple Miners Loop trail just beyond the pony rides. The criteria for entry is: - Made entirely of recycled previously-used materials - Can be easily moved for display purposes - Limited by height/width and length for purposed of movability - Weather worthy and/or anchored to make it so it will withstand the rain and wind during the fair - Self-supported or anchored to make it so
This year entries will be accepted at the Alaska State Fair August 14th and 15th at the Hoskins building.
Visit www.alaskastatefair.org and search for “Recycled Yard Art Special Contest 2020”. There you will find all the specifics: judging criteria, specifications and display requirements. The ASF will award 1st, 2nd and 3rd place ribbons. In addition, ALPAR (Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling) has provided corresponding $100, $75 and $50 gift cards from COSTCO. Fairgoers will vote for their favorite yard art during the fair, and the winner will receive a special People’s Choice award ribbon from VCRS. After the fair, entrants are welcome to donate their entries to Valley Community for Recycling Solutions. VCRS will have exclusive rights to display the yard either indoors or on the art/nature trail. We may auction the item off at a future fundraiser. Yes, credit will be given to the creator. Thank you for participating and recycling. 907-745-5544 firstname.lastname@example.org www.valleyrecycling.org www.alaskastatefair.org
Braided River Releases Debut Album, “Directions” The Palmer-based band, Braided River, a crew of past and present educators, including two former principals, plus the head brewer of Bearpaw River Brewing Company, has released its first CD, a collection of four original songs and covers of Josh Ritter and Emmylou Harris. “Directions” is streaming on SoundCloud: www.soundcloud.com/user-545054036 Named for the silty and sultry Matanuska River, Braided River’s originals range from soulful to rambunctious. Weaving vocal harmonies, mandolin chops, fervently fluid guitar leads, and rollicking rhythm, covers trend toward rocksy, bluesy tunes, including the band’s take on Jimi Hendrix, Talking Heads, David Bowe, Lake Street Dive, Leonard Cohen, Grace Potter, plus a dash of Johnny Cash with a Jerry Garcia twist. Among others, Braided River has opened for Eilen Jewell, Clinton Fearon, Great American Taxi and the Denali Cooks.
The band’s most memorable gigs include Salmonfest, the Girdwood Forest Fair, the Anderson Music Festival, the Seward Music and Arts Festival, as well as Alice’s Champaign Palace in Homer, the Linwood in Seldovia, the Fairview Inn in Talkeetna, the Sitzmark in Girdwood, Ivory Jacks and the Boatel in Fairbanks, and with a dancefloor made of ice at the Iditarod checkpoint at Skwentna. Contact Information: email@example.com More info, video clips and photos at: www.facebook.com/BraidedRiverBand
Hello everyone, We wrote and recorded an EP called ‘Miss You’. We certainly miss everyone these days. We think there is a way to come together for a better future through this. Keep loving. We’ll see you soon, - 3000-21 Instagram: @3000.21 3000-21.bandcamp.com P.S. Check out our other project Square Harmonics.
Instagram: @squareharmonics squareharmonics.bandcamp.com
We’re doing a virtual creative video contest! Post a video to our music of your cat, you dancing, anything, and add the hashtag #liveat203! Prizes include $100 bucks, a ton of monopoly money and a mystery prize from 203 Kombucha.
Contributed by Carmen Summerfield We know how the “bug” has temporarily changed our lifestyle here in Alaska, but how has it temporarily changed the world of air travel? I was actually pleased to be assigned a short trip to Japan, as I was getting “cabin fever” after these days of staying home. I thought it might be interesting to share a few “bits and pieces” of that trip to Japan… Friday, May 1st (the feast day of St. Amator), around 3pm in Alaska. I leave home and drive to Anchorage, where I’ll fly (as a passenger) to Seattle to where I will start my scheduled trip to Japan tomorrow. Both terminals were almost empty, and those few passengers all had masks. Only a few food vendors were operating in either terminal, so bring your own snacks!
Saturday, May 2nd (the feast day of St. Athanasius), around noon in Seattle. I report to flight operations and start my trip on an Airbus 330. This is a large plane which normally holds around 300 passengers, but on this trip we only filled about 85 seats with revenue passengers. As per the “new norm”, all the passengers (and all the crew) were wearing masks. Just imagine wearing that mask for 10 hours… Makes our short visits to the grocery wearing a mask seem almost pleasant, doesn’t it? Sunday, May 3rd (Constitution Memorial Day in Japan), around 2pm in Tokyo. Remember, we gained a day by crossing the international dateline! The terminal at Haneda (Tokyo) was very quiet, as well as the streets in downtown Tokyo. Quite a change from the normally frantic congestion of downtown. We normally have a 24 hour “layover” to rest after a long flight, and stay at a large hotel in downtown Tokyo. The ho-
tel was unusually quiet, with bookings way down. So the staff was unusually happy to see us! I normally walk around in the downtown area during my layover, but the Japanese were asked to “stay in”, so I remained in the hotel for the duration of the layover in solidarity (no downtown sightseeing this trip!). Monday, May 4th (Greenery Day in Japan), around 2pm in Tokyo. Departed Tokyo flying back to Seattle, and we only had about 90 revenue passengers. The airline assigns seating to provide extra space between passengers (so
everyone had plenty of “stretch-out” room). The 10-hour flight back was uneventful (just the way I like it!), but I still had to wear that *#^@ mask the entire time. Monday, May 4th, 10am in Seattle. We “lose a day” on the return flight, arriving the same calendar day (although after a 10-hour flight, it feels like it’s several days later). The Seattle terminal was very quiet, but I only stayed there an hour or so as I waited for my return flight to Alaska. At Anchorage, as we taxied in, I was surprised to see so many freighter
aircraft from all over the world (much more than a month ago), with a gaggle of Boeing 747 freighters, and even four Russian Antonov An-124 freighters. Must be all that “stay-at-home” shopping! Now I’m staying home for 2 weeks in a self-quarantine mode to ensure I didn’t “pick-up any bugs”. But the good news is that I don’t have to wear a mask at home! And as always, keep-calm and stay safe… Summer is just around the corner!
Contributed by Caitlin M.S. Buxbaum Virtual Book Launch 5/30/2020 - 4PM Red Sweater Press YouTube In these uncertain times (the new tagline of this generation), indie authors have had to get even more creative with our methods of getting work into the hands of readers. But while some authors, even those traditionally published, are having to bear the disappointment of cancellations and delayed book launches, I decided to host my first virtual book launch on YouTube at the end of this month. Please join me on Saturday, May 30th, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. to celebrate the release of my seventh book, “Interstitials”, on the Red Sweater Press channel.
While I’ve focused more on writing and publishing my own work in this last year, I look forward to editing and publishing the works of others, as well, in the near future.
When Alaskans are once again encouraged to get outside and patronize bookstores, I plan to schedule in-person signings, too. But in the meantime, I hope you'll join me in trying something new. Whether the virtual book launch becomes the new normal out of necessity, or simply because it's more inclusive (on a global scale), I hope you'll agree the online experience is just as worthwhile. Caitlin Buxbaum currently teaches ESL online and serves as the vice president of the Mat-Su chapter of Alaska Writers Guild.
I’ve carried a lot of titles over the last decade: English major, novelist, lit mag editor, journalist, photographer, grad student, web editor, missionary, coach, teacher (of all grades, in person and online); but I’ve always been a writer, and now I’m embracing it fully as an author-editor-publisher through Red Sweater Press.
If you’d like to learn more about me and my work, please visit www.caitbuxbaum.com. If you’re more interested in the editing and publishing side of things, feel free to contact me at www.redsweaterpress.com, where you can also subscribe to my monthly newsletter. And, come to my book launch! I’ll be reading poems, answering questions and offering a ton of giveaways and discounts during this 1-hour, live event, so you’ll get the most bang for your buck if you stay for the whole thing (it’s free, of course, but you could get a free book, too!).
Poetry & Prose Contributed by Robert Lyons
Contributed by Nan Potts
Staring out at the scene I've seen framed in between the glaring panes Sunlight shining, pain. Eyes straining in vain, clouded by cover I want to be in the rays, but fears grip me, I want to play But ideas cause strain, developing insane whims It seems so heavy, the blanket smothering me Gripping my chest, I heave a sigh, to be outside But I cannot, the pressure builds as I hide Lashing out, I sputter and moan Crushed by the utter drone of lone I can’t take the weight, Im done Alone in my home Gone
Contributed by Wendy Brooker About your pet Peeve
Contributed by Caitlin M.S. Buxbaum, Red Sweater Press Sun-spored morning fog opens this quiet spring day; our affection blooms, equally fed and hungered by the still-changing seasons.
This is a previously unpublished poem (written in the tanka form) by Alaskan author, Caitlin M.S. Buxbaum. She is hosting a virtual launch for her latest book, “Interstitials", on her YouTube channel, Red Sweater Press, from 4PM to 5PM, on May 30th.
Chickadees flit from branch to feeder, Above the snowbound ground. Beneath this frigid mantle sleeps, Alive below the gelid heaps, ‘Waiting warmth and light that seeps To melt this icy mound. The sun soars to its celestial roost, Its grand hand warms the land. Snows recede to show what’s hid, Beneath its funerary lid, Life renews and Death is rid, Begets a floral stand. Day Lily shoots with averring roots, Grow green and straight and strong. They surge to bud destined blooms, Urge vital heads from tuberous wombs,
To lusty bees hum sweet croons, Air seducing songs. Like many here, on dynamic spheres, Who come and leave anon. Although lives shortened they’ve led, Their stories in tomes to be read, While mortal frames shed, Their value, judged in tears. Seasons come and go, like peaks and combs, The years go rolling on. These endless cycles renew, At times, reluctantly pass through, For, we’re all wending anew, From our cradles to tombs. And, The day lilies bloom.
You know he’s getting old He makes the room smell like a place no one wants to stand in for very long Even when you try to put him elsewhere he comes trotting back out to be with you The time has come to take Peeve to live on a farm far away
Contributed by Randi Perlman It hovers, falsely innocuous, seeping in to make the rounds from coast to coast. Intrusive guest in particular circles, unwanted, unwelcome, indiscriminately flitting from host to host. Age is no factor, nor country or town Like a wolf pack on prey, it whittles you down We’re no match for its strength, its ferocious attack creates fear from all sides and no way to turn back She was 91 years, but a youngster at heart Defying all odds to have made it this far A feisty New Yorker with sharply fierce tongue A lovely young beauty queen, locks rarely undone A new-age divorcee with three kids she adored
A soft spot for creatures who arrived at her door It was hard to forget her – she made sure of that She was light on her feet, like a sleek supple cat An indomitable spirit - a fiery life force The family matriarch, don’t mess with the Boss She loved just to hang and to gab with her clan To be ‘in-the-know’, to be part of the plan To forever stay young, she believed that was true Forever and always, she’ll be our family’s glue… Obdurate sinner, poisonous tea, steeping our lives in a deadly affront of novel design and intent. Arrogant pestilence, elderly bent, rippling through families with insidious guise, shamelessly impenitent.
Contributed by Becky Oviatt, Artists Uncorked Artist Uncorked will once again be painting wine glasses for the Palmer Wine Walk, a fundraiser for the Palmer Museum of History and Art, held every year in July. Are you feeling artistic? We will need to paint and cure close to 400 wine glasses between now and July 10th. I am recruiting artists to help accomplish this. There will be a drawing for Wine Walk tickets from the participants. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on Facebook Artist's Uncorked.