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Archive for June, 2011

ROMANTIC | A Poem by Dara Wier

Thursday, June 30th, 2011




My love said take
All my books,

You can take all my clothes,
My hats, my shoes, my gloves,

You can have my watchband,
Take my sifters,

You can have my glass head
And my silver darts,

Take my wild boar, my astronaut,
You can have my pots & pans,

And my replica
Of the United States, and take,

While you’re at it, all of the
Presidential figurines,

You can have all my matchbooks,
My binoculars, my exceptionally fine

Collection of cleaning products,
My one-of-a-kind snake-charming horn,

Take my sand dollars & beach glass,
Take all of my spices and salt & pepper,

You can have my smoked ham & brown mustard,
You can take my Progresso soup,

Take away my bread, take my spoons,
You can have my sheets and my pillows,

Take my rugs and my three erasers
Take my pitcher and the scarf you gave me,

Take my feathers my fox took
From my hawk, take my walking stick,

You can have my broom and my glass eye,
You can take away my atomic clock,

Take my dog, take my rule book.
Take my decoy and my bamboo cage,

You can take my girl waiting on
Her suitcase, my Michael Jackson doll,

You can take my mother and her priest
And their holy-water basin,

Take my drill and my hammer.
You can have all my brushes & combs,

Take my handkerchiefs and my scissors,
Take all of the keys you can find

In the house, take my scythe, my hoe,
My rags, my lamp with the lovers

Asleep in one another’s arms, take
My sprite sitting on a stump daydreaming

Over an empty book, take my moose,
Take my coffee can of loose change,

Take all of my ant traps, take my
Windowpanes, take my steps and my doors,

Take my chicken shack & my wheelbarrow,
Take my combat ship plaque, take my

Vatican champagne flutes, my earplugs,
Take my quilts, take all of my quilts,

I would not take one stitch
Of one of your quilts, though I love them,

I sweetly interrupted.

— Dara Wier

Video still of Dara Wier courtesy

© Dara Wier, all rights reserved; reprinted with permission of the author; from DARA WIER | SELECTED POEMS, Wave Books, 2009

Dara Wier in recent conversation with Cynthia Arrieu-King at Jacket2 Magazine

Poems by Dara Wier at


How Dara Wier’s poem “Romantic” now links to Mae Ola Varner’s obituary at


MAE OLA VARNER (December 7, 1920 — June 15, 2011) In Memoriam

Friday, June 24th, 2011


Al Young’s beloved Aunt Mae
December 7, 1920-June 15, 2011

Photos: Al Young

At Detroit’s Westlawn Cememtery, Rosie Woods, a neighbor and friend of Mae Varner, waves her slow goodbye.

Aunt Mae of the 1970s, the 1960s, and early 1950

Celebrating her 85th birthday | Detroit, December 2006

Photos courtesy Al Young Archives
My love said take
All my books,
You can take all my clothes,
My hats, my shoes, my gloves,
You can have my watchband,
Take my sifters …

–Excerpted from “Romantic” by Dara Wier
(click here to enjoy the whole poem)


December 7, 1920 РJune 15,  2011

In loving memory


Ninety minutes into June 15, 2011, Mae Ola Varner drew her last breath at the Southfield Michigan home of Philip and Patricia Varner, her beloved nephew and niece by marriage.

Top L-R Harold Varner, Patricia Varner, Camari E. Frame | Bottom L-R Karon Jackson (Mae Varner’s god-daughter), children, friend, and husband Robert Jackson

At her request, no elaborate service was held. On the rainy morning of Tuesday, June 21st, her casket was lifted and eased inside the mausoleum wall housing the twin crypt, where her remains rest next to those of her late husband Peter at Detroit’s Westlawn Cemetery.

Christened Maeola Campbell on December 7, 1920 in Pachuta, Mississippi, she was the fourth of six daughters and the seventh of nine children born to Jordan and Lillian Campbell, dedicated, well- respected farmers.

Forever versatile, focused and curious about the world beyond her tiny village in Clarke County Mississippi, she distinguished herself early as a high school basketball champion and as an outstanding, all- around student. Mae Campbell won 4-H Club prizes for horticulture, animal husbandry, needlepoint and quilting. Upon graduation, her office skills landed her a job away from the family farm.

Right up to her last days, she read continuously, kept up with film, pop culture and politics. Fats Waller and Billie Holiday, revered by others, never impressed her. But she thought Duke Ellington the greatest composer and musician who ever lived. Denzel Washington was her screen actor, and she was a passionate, feisty supporter of President Barack Obama.

In the 1940s, she emigrated to Michigan, settling in Detroit, where she worked for many years as a supervising seamstress for a drapery company.  In later life she worked as a certified nutritionist who traveled to low-income communities throughout Wayne County to explain and demonstrate the health benefits of maintaining a balanced diet.

In Detroit she met and fell in love with James Prince (Pete) Varner, a service employee of the Michigan Central Railroad. For more than 40 years, their marriage flourished and prospered. Following his death in 1991, she never again considered marriage.

Long a member of Bethel A.M.E. Church, she continued to devote herself to charitable activities, much of it church- and community-related. Long concerned about Africa and its future, she donated generously to World Vision, among other organizations. She championed the poor and needy, fighting for working people and fighting against social injustice, world hunger, homelessness, and ignorance.

Mae Varner was a genuine patriot, the sister of two brothers who had served and fought in World War Two, then found themselves Jim Crowed at home. She responded ardently to the appeals of veterans groups like Paralyzed Veterans of America. To the very end, she devoted herself to the loving memory of her husband Pete.

Mae Varner is survived by her only son Jesse Earl Campbell, his wife Mary, three grandchildren: Tiya, Lance and Kobie; two step-children: James Varner, Jr., Margene Willis of Plano, Texas, and one goddaughter: Karon Jackson. She leaves behind a host of nieces and grand-nieces, nephews and grand-nephews, and generations of cousins. She also leaves behind the fellow Bethel A.M.E. parishioners she adored and their pastor the Rev. Alfred Johnson, her Lunch Bunch sisters, her condo co-op neighbors at Cherboneau Place, Detroit, and countless admirers and well-wishers.


Tribute forthcoming

Page under construction


San Francisco Peace and Hope inaugural poetry reading at Sacred Grounds Café, June 15, 2011, 7:30pm

Thursday, June 9th, 2011


Inaugural Poetry Reading for
San Francisco Peace & Hope

Open mic followed by featured readers

Sacred Grounds Café
2095 Hayes Street at Cole
SF 94117-1127


Painter Elizabeth Hack, founding director of SF Peace and Hope


featured readers


Al Young

Niya C. Sisk

Kit Kennedy | Susan Gangel | Dan Brady

San Francisco Peace and Hope is proud to announce a poetry reading celebrating its magazine debut in San Francisco on June 15, 2011, featuring readings by AL YOUNG, KIT KENNEDY, and SUSAN GANGEL. DAN BRADY will host the event, and ELIZABETH HACK and NIYA C. SISK will offer some remarks about the evolution of SF Peace and Hope.

Informed by the idealism of the 1960s, San Francisco Peace and Hope is a continuing labor of love produced by the poets and visual artists of the Bay Area. Al Young, California poet laureate emeritus, serves as advisor, and has written the magazine’s foreword. Niya C. Sisk of Ritual Labs designed the website.

Contact: Elizabeth Hack, Founder/Editor
Sacred Grounds Café | 415.387.3859


Sixteen Rivers Press poets Jeanne Wagner and Christina Hutchins at Albany (CA) Library, Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Monday, June 6th, 2011


Poetry at the Albany Library

Every 2nd Tuesday of the Month  7 to 9pm
Featured readers followed by an open mic
Produced by Catherine Taylor for Alameda County Libraries


Featured readers June 14, 2011

Jeanne Wagner

Courtesy photos

Christina Hutchins



Click here to read the annotated post on these two exciting new poetry releases from Sixteen Rivers Press


Albany Library 1247 Marin Avenue 510.526.3720

Partially funded by Friends of the Albany Library. Wheelchair accessible. ASL interpreter provided with 7 working days
notice (510-526-3720 or TTY 510-663-0660). Produced by Alameda County Library, Albany 4/11