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November poem – Love After Love

Love After Love

by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

October poem – In the Park

In the Park
by Maxine Kumin 

You have forty-nine days between
death and rebirth if you’re a Buddhist.
Even the smallest soul could swim
the English Channel in that time
or climb, like a ten-month-old child,
every step of the Washington Monument
to travel across, up, down, over or through
--you won’t know till you get there which to do.

He laid on me for a few seconds
said Roscoe Black, who lived to tell
about his skirmish with a grizzly bear
in Glacier Park.  He laid on me not doing anything.  I could feel his heart
beating against my heart.
Never mind lie and lay, the whole world
confuses them.  For Roscoe Black you might say
all forty-nine days flew by.

I was raised on the Old Testament.
In it God talks to Moses, Noah, 
Samuel, and they answer.
People confer with angels.  Certain
animals converse with humans.
It’s a simple world, full of crossovers.
Heaven’s an airy Somewhere, and God
has a nasty temper when provoked,
but if there’s a Hell, little is made of it.
No longtailed Devil, no eternal fire,

and no choosing what to come back as.  
When the grizzly bear appears, he lies/lays down
on atheist and zealot.  In the pitch-dark
each of us waits for him in Glacier Park.

September poem – The Seed Market

The Seed Market 

by Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi

Can you find another market like this?

Where, with your one rose
you can buy hundreds of rose gardens?

for one seed
get a whole wilderness?

For one weak breath,
a divine wind?

You’ve been fearful
of being absorbed in the ground,
or drawn up by the air.

Now, your waterbead lets go
and drops into the ocean,
where it came from.

It no longer has the form it had,
but it’s still water.
The essence is the same.

This giving up is not a repenting.
It’s a deep honoring of yourself.

When the ocean comes to you
as a lover,
marry at once,
for God’s sake!

Don’t postpone it!
Existence has no better gift.

No amount of searching will find this.

A perfect falcon,
for no reason
has landed on your shoulder,
and become yours.


TAG Presents the Future of Story with Topanga Film Institute

Join TAG on Wed. July 1, 7pm – 9pm at Froggy’s Fish Market for a captivating panel discussion led by co-founder of the Topanga Film Institute and Festival URS BAUR with illustrator, photographer, and director MATT MAHURIN, co-founder of Hypnosis Interactive CAMILLA ANDERSSON, storyteller, performer and coach, MICHAEL KASS, and author and Academy Award™ nominated screenwriter TIMOTHY J. SEXTON.

Our ability to tell stories, arguably, is what separates us from other species. Going back to our days as cave dwellers, storytellers have held an indispensable role in every society and have fundamentally shaped our beliefs and culture ever since. Respected, adored, worshipped, and at times scorned, banished or worse. Since the early days huddled around campfires, the storyteller has seen an unstoppable advance of tools and technologies at his or her disposal to more vividly convey experiences, conjure images and dramatically widen a circle of influence.

So, how does the rapid advance of new and ever more sophisticated technologies effect the stories we tell and more importantly the ways in which we tell them? Has the role of story shifted throughout the ages? What are the stories that shape our society(ies) and who is telling them – and what, if any, are the inherent responsibilities of the storyteller?

“I was immediately intrigued when Kim approached me about collaborating with TAG on a ‘roundtable’ concept,” said Urs Baur. “I have always been interested in the intersection of storytelling and technology because that is where there is the greatest potential for innovation. We founded TFI with the mission to explore just that space. How can new technologies expand the boundaries of story, bring people together and create change in the world? And how can storytelling inform new uses of technology?”

The world needs storytellers, today perhaps more then ever and if we want our stories to be as impactful as possible we owe it to ourselves to keep up with new technologies and the opportunities they present.”

The panel we assembled brings together an eclectic group of highly accomplished individuals who approach storytelling from different vantage points. I thought it’d make for a fascinating discussion to bring this particular group together to reflect on these topics.

The evening is an experiment for Topanga Authors Group (TAG). Since 2014, when TAG was founded, the group has worked closely with the Library, Topanga Friends of the Library, and community volunteers and partners to present monthly presentations, roundtables, and lectures.

“This is TAG’s first year of existence and, after eight months, it’s a good time to experiment with different ways of presenting programs. We are thrilled to collaborate with TFI because it allows us to expand on what we can offer to the public in general and to writers more specifically,” said TAG coordinator Kim Zanti.

The evening is free and open to the public. Cash bar available. Froggy’s Topanga Fish Market is located in Topanga Canyon at 1105 Topanga Canyon Blvd. Free parking in front and behind the building.

The Topanga Film Institute TFI, a 501[c]3 organization, is dedicated to exploring the intersection of storytelling and technology. How can new technologies expand the boundaries of story, bring people together and create change in the world? And how can storytelling inform new uses of technology?

TFI is developing relationships with other institutes, festivals and programs worldwide with the goal of fostering rich collaborations and deep partnerships. Artists selected to participate in the Institute will have the opportunity to develop new work through intensive workshops and mentorship with industry leaders. TFI hosts the annual Topanga Film Festival, to present work that is courageous, innovative, and that inspires, and to provide networking opportunities to our local and extended community.

Moderator Urs Baur is Co-founder of the Topanga Film Institute and Festival, and Energizing Co., whose mission is to provide better quality of life by enabling clean, reliable and local power. Urs directs communications for the company, after a 20-year career in brand development and communications, developing and leading international brand initiatives for global companies such as Volkswagen, Singapore Airlines, Logitech and B/S/H.

Camilla Andersson – The newly appointed director of the Topanga Film Institute has worked with brand development and strategic communications for 25 years with a special interest in storytelling, interactive media, 3D, Virtual Reality and innovative technologies. With a strong interest in democracy she has also been instrumental in initiatives concerning Freedom of Speech and Human Rights in the European Union parliaments in cooperation with embassies, NGOs and cultural and historical institutions. She has been awarded The Templeton Freedom Award in Washington DC for international public relations and educational change, and The Order of Terra Mariana by the President of Estonia for long term strategic communications relating to democracy, history and culture.

Michael Kass is an award-winning storyteller, facilitator and coach. His solo show Ceremony has toured nationally and garnered recognition including LA Weekly Pick of the Week, San Diego Critic’s Choice, and Best of Fringe at the Los Angeles and San Francisco Fringe Festivals. He’s also the founder of StoryImpact, a consultancy dedicated to helping people discover and harness the power of their stories to create change. Currently, Michael is the Story Coach at NationBuilder, a tech start up dedicated to bringing communities together through technology, and serves as a mentor with the Creative Visions Foundation.

Matt Mahurin has worked for over thirty years as an illustrator, photographer, film director and teacher. His political and social illustrations have appeared in for Time, Newsweek, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone, Esquire, The London Observer and New York Times Op-Ed pages. He has directed music videos for Peter Gabriel, U2, Tom Waits, REM, Tracy Chapman, Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Ice-T, Metallica, David Byrne, and Joni Mitchell. His documentary “I Like Killing Flies” was chosen for the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. His photographs are in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and his film work is in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Timothy J. Sexton is a writer and producer of screenplays, teleplays, documentaries, short films, and episodic television series. He received an Oscar nomination for the screenplay Children of Men, and received a Writers Guild Award for his teleplay, “For the Love of Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story.”



May Poem ~ Asking For Roses by Robert Frost


Asking for Roses

by Robert Frost


A house that lacks, seemingly, mistress and master,

With doors that none but the wind ever closes,

Its floor all littered with glass and with plaster;

It stands in a garden of old-fashioned roses.


I pass by that way in the gloaming with Mary;

‘I wonder,’ I say, ‘who the owner of those is.

‘Oh, no one you know,’ she answers me airy,

‘But one we must ask if we want any roses.’


So we must join hands in the dew coming coldly

There in the hush of the wood that reposes,

And turn and go up to the open door boldly,


And knock to the echoes as beggars for roses.

‘Pray, are you within there, Mistress Who-were-you?’

‘Tis Mary that speaks and our errand discloses.

‘Pray, are you within there? Bestir you, bestir you!

‘Tis summer again; there’s two come for roses.


‘A word with you, that of the singer recalling—

Old Herrick: a saying that every maid knows is

A flower unplucked is but left to the falling,

And nothing is gained by not gathering roses.’



We do not loosen our hands’ intertwining

(Not caring so very much what she supposes),

There when she comes on us mistily shining

And grants us by silence the boon of her roses.