Happy Holidays To All

December 22, 2015


I’m busy punching out the weight, which I’m now down to 160 (from 338), still working part-time for family, and running Red Dashboard LLC Publications. It can be a lot at times with the gym routine, but I’m gaining control, if there is such a thing.

I’ve finally been doing some writing– poetry and an idea for a new children’s book, we’ll see how it goes. I was inspired by a lamp my son gave me three years ago, and a new book by Gary McGrew called Off With Their Heads! It’s in our book catalog.

What about you? Productive lives? I realize it’s okay to take time off for yourself. Not too much like I did 2009-13, gaining so much weight and barely moving. But it’s okay to say, “Today, I’m going out, and still manage work and life.”

Have a Happy Holiday day my friends and family. May it be filled with glorious wonder and creativity!



A long busy summer…

September 30, 2015

Yes, since surgery, our award, vacation, and other travels…It’s been a busy summer. I’ve been meaning to come back and do a write-up. We did just return from Colorado, a beer festival for hubs, but I enjoyed driving him around, but “shhh”…don’t tell him. I cannot drink beer since my surgery, no bubbles, like soda, beer, or sparkling wines. I’m okay, miss it a bit, but there are so many other things I can have.

I’m behind on the drafts and writing, trying to play catch up, and our publishing season has begun at Red Dashboard LLC.

So here’s to life, busy means I keep the weight off. BTW I’m down to 172 now!

I was already on cloud nine after hearing Shelby Stephenson was selected as poet laureate of North Carolina, but I just received news that Alan Birkelbach won a Spur Award from Western Writers of America for his poem, A Little Longer Than the Moment- published in Cowboy Poetry Press, October 2014- Week 6. Alan is the former poet laureate of Texas, 2005.

Let’s just say I am soaring the past few days…

This ezine was a project of mine as I began to write western (what I call Old West Revivalist Poetry. not the same as Cowboy Poetry). I was born in Fort Worth, and grew up in and around the old west frame of mind.

As managing editor, I am proud of all the work that goes into our ezines and now our print anthologies, especially Unbridled. Darn proud! If you write in the western genre we hope you will check out our submission guidelines on the submission page of either Cowboy Poetry Press and Red Dashboard LLC Publishing.

Today we received the invitation letter from WWA, and the banquet will be held in Lubbock, Texas, my home state! Yee-haw! It’s officially a great news season…

My Journey Gets Rough(er)

February 26, 2015

Why? Because I’m looking for a damn venue to host my Red Dashboard LLC Press Dallas Reading Series II. The original venue bailed, but we also needed a rainout, Plan B.

Help poetry and writing Goddess, I need you…

If you’ve ever heard the hail (hell) in Texas is big, sometimes the size of baseballs, yep, it is true. And it hurts…the brain!

Over and out, I will keep you posted, those who give a poo, and understand…


The Fox Chase Reading Series Presents
“Writers and Poets of Red Dashboard Press.”
1 – 2:30pm, March 21, 2015
Ryerss Library and Museum at
Fox Chase
7730 Central Avenue
Philadelphia, Pa. 19111

We are proud to announce a New Jersey
and Pennsylvania Poet Reading Series
in a 2015 location.
(There is a Series II, April 2015
for our Texas authors TBA)

No Rain or Snow Date

Featured Readers:

Elizabeth Akin Stelling, NJ (managing editor)
James Temp Kelley​, PA
Laura Madeline Wiseman​, AZ
Marion D. Cohen, PA
g emil reutter, PA
Joshua Gray​, DC
Barry Gross, PA
Erin Locks, NJ

Alan Jankowski​, NJ (tentative reader)

Red Dashboard LLC Publishing​ authors by invitation only

Location Information:
Ryerss Museum, Foxchase, PA

All are invited to sit down with us afterward to share in food and conversation (dutch),
la Maldova, 9808 Bustleton Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19115 (267) 538-2710 (Russian)
Restaurant subject to change, to a closer venue location



“Whether he’s talking poems or possums, Shelby Stephenson is a fine choice for poet laureate.”

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/02/02/4525557_saunders-whether-hes-talking-poems.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

My Journey Down South

It’s February 3rd, I’m headed east of Raleigh,
Raleigh, North Carolina, and a fine day it is.
I’ve been on the road from New Jersey to Front Royale, VA.,
stopped in on a poet friend, had a good night.
Then I drove most of the way and stopped in Greensboro
for a poetry gathering, at a residence, and then we did dinner.
Afterwards we went to another poet’s house and did a fireside
chat and read more poetry. Wonderful! And my kind of visits.
The night before I attended an induction ceremony,
for the new Poet Laureate of that southern state
I went further down to Charlotte, family visit, then
back up.
Shelby Stephenson, is one of Red Dashboard’s book authors.
His two books The Hunger of Freedom and Shub’s Cooking are
available on Amazon. Wonderful books, his work is fantastic.

I drove back up to Raleigh and attended the ceremony with
the four ladies I met in Greensboro, fun times; we also had dinner.
The next day I went to Shelby’s home outside of the city. He
took me to his brother’s BBQ place, we drove, and all the while
talking life in poetry. I couldn’t have asked for a better visit
with the new Poet Laureate of North Carolina, 2015-17 (up to Governor).

The road has given me so much material for writing; it gives up
asphalt, white and yellow lines, shoulders- soft and hard, rocks,
stones, rusty nails,
the smells of the land, pollution,
strangers faces in motor vehicles, children in the rear window, animals,
signs, all color skies, sunrise, sunsets, and all sorts of shadows
that lead us to our thoughts, leading to words, leading to poetry and song.

Oh, and did I mention I sold a few books along the way, promote baby, promote!

(above photo taken during induction ceremony; bottom- at lunch, Stephenson’s BBQ, Benson, NC)


Yes it is indeed.

I had surgery on November 19, 2014, gastric bypass, to lose weight. Something I could not do on my own. I honestly tried so many times. I found myself overwhelmed when my cafe closed, my catering business hanging on by a thread with the economy going down in five years ago. But all is good now. I started at 338 October 2013, I did lose a few pounds by the surgery, 309. Today, 8 weeks post-surgery I am 257. I am doing well, adjusting to my new eating plan, and will continue to staying healthy.

With that note I am also attending a poetry festival beginning tomorrow in Bridgewater, VA at the college. A few poet friends here in New Jersey attend this every year and I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. I will be reading, giving a Q&A, and hosting a table for the pub company, Red Dashboard LLC. The only thing about my surgery, before and afterwards, is I haven’t been writing as much as one would like. The muse is standing close, but I’ve let go of her hand a few times lately, hopefully she will not let me down and continue to keep me company.

More information about the festival…

The Bridgewater International Poetry Festival 

Until 2015

November 17, 2014

I was unable to capture my last two Bubbie Cart Journals with sound. Not sure what went wrong, but I am going into surgery this Wed, Nov 19th, 5am with assurance the right decision is being made. I went into NYC to see Cabaret with Alan Cumming and had a hard time walking due to a hip issue. Today I woke up exhausted, but with a smile on my face. How is that possible, because the show was fabulous, no regrets!

Hope you will tune in to my show once I return, maybe a few weeks – to two months. I will be working on a few ms uploads for authors, and hopefully finalize some of my own stuff that has been sitting for a while. Oh, I did finally get that letter from the former poet laureate of Texas, it was wonderful, full of teaching and exercising the right to be the old west revivalist poet I aim to be, bang bang!

Love to you all!

Four poems in one evening, wow, I’m happy…

Brass Knobs Were The Gateway Drug

to tin-can peaches.
Ask any soldier who shipped out east,
rucksack butter cookies and backwoods nip.
He’ll remember, recall the yonder,
before smoke stacks and insulin,
long before litter showed its ugly.
When mother’s sweetened the kiss, his lips;
made a way, a harder path for true love,
and another story all together.
A way to a man’s heart…
Peace or piece,
it’s all cut the same—
a wedge will only entice the hungry,
and an addict reveals no shame.

Tin cans have been bopping and clattering about in my head since I read something about them in my Mystic West book and studies…twice in two poem drafts they clatter and follow…

Mystery in Poetry

September 15, 2014



I go back and forth on what good poetry is. I prefer story-telling over one or two words on each line, most often flowing down into a long kite tail of mystery. Mystery poetry is speaking in short word lines, only the writer knows what they meant. I’ve gone and made my self believe we need full sentences to make sense.

I’ve also learned, taught myself, that poetry is better if nibbled, take a breathe in between bites, nibble some more, and then digest it over time, it has helped. Sure, I heard it from others, more experienced poets, MFA poets, and well respected performance poets who just happen to have been Laureates and won awards. It really does work, like reading your work after you write it, to check for errors and sense.

Here is a mystery poem draft for you…

If You Can’t Take The Heat

get on off the your high horse,
and let ’er ride.
Most days, I’m on a spit.
Aren’t we all?
Rip roarin’, shoved up my…,
and yes, it hurts, a lot.
There’s no testin’ it before hand;

no higher power roped the wrong steed,
it’s just a ride, a long damned one at that.
How I ended up in the driver’s seat,
beats the heck outta me;

I liked it better in 1966,
when I sat behind Daddy.
He knew where he was goin’,
he most likely knew a destination,
and if anything looked good
before we arrived, we’d stop.
It was more of a feelin’,
and an ‘it’s all good’ experience.

Now-a-days nothin’ makes sense.
The ridin’, the ropin’, the meat—
of it all.
I tried to guide my own son,
show him the way of the land,
a few rules of respect,
and shortcuts, which we all use.
But he does it his own way.
My Son, he’s the driver now.

Most of us only have
a one way ticket—outta here.
No one asked for it;
it was waitin’ when we arrived,
when you woke up from the thrill.
I’m just happy I got to witness
the riders before,
the riders after,
and now I’m callin’ shotgun.

Mystery, or no mystery, most will get the meaning, or make it their own. That’s what goes into poetry, what’s inside of us. When we read poetry, we make it our own. If we don’t get it, then it’s still a strangers words, and that’s okay too.

What the heck am I doing here? Who knows, who cares, sometimes we just like the sound of our own voice…now that’s poetry!

What’s mystery poetry mean to you? Let us into your head, now that you got into mine…