Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Wishes 2012: Make Your Own Holidays!

Rose of Sunland (inside, red, with a shadow of a stem), by Maja Trochimczyk

The sunlight in California is so different from that of northern areas of Canada, or Poland. There, the light is pale, often grayish, frail. Here, it brings a rainbow of colors to everything it touches. Everything is more vivid, more intense, under the bright rays, in summer or winter...

I came to Los Angeles in 1996 ... I made Sunland my home, with a garden of roses and pomegranates overlooking the magical golden, bronze, purple mountains. I love writing and taking pictures of flowers, leaves and the sky. Like my roses, I’ve flourished in sunlight – there is a lot to be thankful for! First and foremost my three children, Marcin - born in Poland, Ania and Ian - born in Montreal, Canada.

Christmas Decorations by Maja Trochimczyk

With a blended, multicultural family, we had to become creative. We have had a real Christmas every second year, starting on Christmas Eve with the Polish Wigilia dinner of traditional dishes (of beets, mushrooms, and fish). The dinner included best wishes shared by breaking a white square wafer, called oplatek. On Christmas Eve, there was also time for the midnight Mass and carols, but no gifts - that were shared at the Wigilia table back in Poland. We had our pile of gifts on Christmas mornings. In this, we followed North American customs. Instead of a large family brunch and dinner parties (hard to do without family here), we gathered around the Christmas tree, opened our gifts, mostly books and videos, and lounged around in our new pajamas, listening to carols and snacking on chocolate and cakes. We created our own traditions.

Barszcz z uszkami, Wigilia 2011 by Maja Trochimczyk

What about the years without Christmas? We did exactly the same thing, but a week earlier. This year, our Christmas will be on December 22!  It was (and is) quite amusing to go out for an afternoon walk, dazed by all the Christmas charm of gifts and affection, to see everyone else rushing around, frazzled and busy, still days before the holidays… For years, we have lived in our own time zone, created our own traditions, our own happiness…

Christmas Tree Decorations - Maja Trochimczyk

A Christmas Engagement
(for Vivien)

The tree has its ornaments
Cinnamon its green apples
Gold paper waits for the gifts

Gingerbread pairs up with chocolate
Dried figs waltz with the pecans
Paper angel spreads yellowed wings

Clementines fill Christmas stockings
The first star peeks in the window
The Wigilia dinner is served

He takes her hand with affection
The holly dances with ivy
She laughs at her sparkling ring

(c) 2012 by Maja Trochimczyk

Christmas in the Bandito Park, Tujunga Canyon Road

Richard Stewart, an artist and community activist, did exactly the same - created his own holidays! For Christmas, he dresses up the rock sculptures in his Bandito Park on Tujunga Canyon Road in Santa Hats.  This year, on December 15, 2012, the sculptures were visited by poets and dancers from Alethea Dance Group and the performances were recorded for a documentary film.  I read one poem and gave the dancers some chocolate-covered gingerbread. My poem, along those by other poets, is to be published in a coffee-table book of photos of the rock sculptures and poetry "Rock of Rancho Tujunga." What a wonderful idea! Thank you, Richard!

Richard Stewart, Maja Trochimczyk, and Dancers at the Bandito Park

The Place of Stones

Here before us
Here around us
Here after us

Stone people

Solid - silent - still

Galaxies collide
Stars explode
Nebulae form

Stellar dust drifts
Swirls across the ocean
Tides rise and recede
Waves spill over the desert
Plankton becomes plants
Shells merge into rocks
Layered - heated - pressed
Hold on! Hold on! Do not go!

Stone people outlive us
Stellar dust and sunshine
We age
Petrified - fractured - stressed
Sink into the earth
Blend with the elements
Grow roots until

We can breathe out free
Serene - silent - still

Stone people

(c) 2012 by Maja Trochimczyk

Maja Trochimczyk reads poetry in Il Bandito Park, December 15, 2012

My poem is not very Christmasy, it is a reflection on our mortality and the fact that rocks, indeed, do outlive us. This does not bother me. Actually, what's really annoying is that our own clothes outlive us. I was struck with this surreal thought, that mere fabric with buttons and sweaty seams has more life in it than we,  the transient dwellers of this planet. Of course, we have the secret of immortal life that our clothes or rocks do not know... 

But today, the thought about not being here, or rather leaving suddenly after a very short visit, is made all the more real by the recent death of Frank Pastore, killed in a motorcycle accident on the 210 freeway. The beloved KKLA religious talk show host did a lot to make each holiday season special...and was, like me, just 55 years old. Rest in peace...

Large White Poinsettia - Maja Trochimczyk

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Poets on Site at Beyond Baroque, December 14 at 7:30 p.m.

On behalf of Kathabela Wilson who is traveling in India, I will host the reading of Poets on Site at

Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice
(681 Venice Bl. Venice, CA 90291),

on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 7: 30 p.m.

Admission: $7.00 adults, $5.00 students.

The reading will include poetry by Kathabela Wilson, Chris Wesley, Just Kibbe, Kathi Stafford, Millicent Borges Accardi, Alice Pero, Susan Rogers, Taoli-Ambika Talwar and Maja Trochimczyk. The presentation will include slides with the work of Susan Rogers and photos from past Poets on Site Events.

The following Poets on Site books will be represented:
1. Tour of the Arlington Gardens
2. Susan Dobay - Awakening
3. Pacific Asia Museum - Two Tours
4. Henry Fukuhara Plein Air Workshops Poetry Tours (Manzanar books)

POETS ON SITE (Notes by Kathabela Wilson)

Poet Kathabela Wilson created Poets on Site five years ago and since then it has grown to produce over 30 anthologies and performances edited and led by her which have included over 200 poets and artists as well as dancers and musicians. Poets on Site created the MUSE award winning audio tour of Pacific Asia Museum, 2010. Poets are inspired by interesting places and events, which include museums, galleries, gardens, concerts and lectures. They return to the sites of inspiration to perform multi-media programs.

Kathabela and Rick Wilson, who accompanies the poets on flutes from his collection of traditional world flutes will be in India for the month of December. It is a pleasure to introduce Poets on Site to Beyond Baroque in their absence. Maja Trochimczyk, who has been a part of Poets on Site from its inception will host the program and several longtime members, along with a few newer members of the group, will give a sampling of their work, accompanied by poet Chris Wesley on guitar. They group has eight new programs in development and is an organizational member of the Pasadena Arts Council. For history and bibliography of Poets on Site see which also includes links to their audio tours of the Pacific Asia Museum and many photos.


 Maja Trochimczyk, Ph.D. is a poet, music historian and photographer, born in Poland and living in California. She has been an active member of Poets on Site since the group's inception and has published and in all 30 anthologies and all performances by Poets on Site. She published four books of music studies, two books of poetry and two anthologies,Chopin with Cherries (2010) and Meditations on Divine Names (2012). Her poems appeared in Ekphrasis Journal, Epiphany Magazine, Quill and Parchment, Loch Raven Review, poeticdiversity, Phantom Seed, Van Gogh's Ear, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, as well as many other journals.

 Justin Kibbe is the Associate Publisher and Managing Editor for THE Pasadena Foothills Magazine in Pasadena, California. Justin has been a member of Poets on Site since its conception in 2007. His poetry, essays, short fiction, cartoons and visual art have been published internationally in a plethora of mediums, including many Poets on Site anthologies. He received his MFA from Saint Mary’s College of California, and has taught in California, Colorado and Texas. Justin is a founding board member of Indelible Ink: a literary performance series and one of three founding co-captains of Pirate Pig Press.

Chris Wesley has been a long time participant in Poets On Site. He and 30 other poets contributed to Poets on Site’s MUSE award winning Pacific Asia Museum's Poetry Audio Tour in 2010. Chris Wesley plays guitar, bass and keyboards while writing and records music as the one man rock band, Teragin Mist. He is recipient of a 2012 Global Ebook Award for “Regret In Triptych” and creates multidisciplinary spoken word performances. He will accompany Poets on Site with his sensitive guitar improvisations. Go to 

Susan Rogers has been a longtime Poet on Site and has participated in many of their performances and anthologies. Her work can be found in numerous books, journals and compilations including the San Diego Annual:The Best Poems of San Diego 2011-2012. Her work currently appears online at Saint Julian Press and Pirene’s Fountain. Her poetry is also part of the audio tour for the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, California. She has also been interviewed by Lois P. Jones for KPFK’s Poets Café. She considers poetry a vehicle for light and a tool for the exchange of positive energy.She is a practitioner of Sukyo Mahikari— a spiritual practice that promotes positive thoughts, words and action. 

Alice Pero’s book of poetry, Thawed Stars was praised by Kenneth Koch as having “clarity and surprises.” An accomplished flutist and former dancer, she is also the founder and host of the reading series, “Moonday, ” in Pacific Palisades and La Cañada, CA. Pero has created dialogue poems with over 20 poets and teaches poetry to children in public and private schools. Alice is currently in poetic dialogue with Kathabela. India, Kathabela’s current site (for the month of Dec 2012) has crept into their poems. Alice has performed with Poets on Site several times over the years, especially in our book and performance for the Arlington Garden, an in the 2011 celebration of Pacific Asia Museum’s 40th anniversary.

 Millicent Borges Accardi is the author of three poetry books: Injuring Eternity, Woman on a Shaky Bridge andOnly More So (forthcoming). She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, and Los Angeles Cultural Affairs. She's been a participant in Poets on Site for several years and is inspired newly by each intersection between visual art and the written word.

Kathi Stafford is a new member of Poets on Site whose work was recently included in the anthology, On Awakening, celebrating the paintings and creative imagination of Hungarian painter, Susan Dobay. She is a member of the Westside Women Writers group and a contributor to the Portuguese-American Journal. She has previously acted as poetry editor and senior editor for Southern California Review. Her poetry, interviews, and book reviews have appeared in literary journals such as Rattle, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Connecticut River Review, Southern California Review, and Hiram Poetry Review. Her poetry has been anthologized in Chopin and Cherries, as well as Sea of Change: Poems for Hitchcock. Born and raised in Texas, Stafford has lived in India and contrasting the memories of her childhood with the exotic impressions from her Indian sojourn is a frequent theme in her poetry.

Taoli-Ambika Talwar is an educator, published author and artist, who has written poetry since her teen years. She has authored Creative Resonance: Poetry—Elegant Play, Elegant Change, 4 Stars & 25 Roses (poems for her father) as well as some chapbooks. Her style is largely ecstatic, making her poetry a “bridge to other worlds.” She is published in Kyoto Journal, Inkwater Ink, vol. 3, Chopin with Cherries, among others. She is also published in VIA, in Poets on Site chapbooks, and several other journals; and has won an award for a short film at a festival in Belgium. As a wellness consultant, she practices IE:Intuition-Energetics™, a fusion of the Yuen Method, goddess studies, sacred geometry and creative/energetic principles for wellness. She has taught English at Cypress College, Cypress, California, for several years. Thus far, she has taught about 6,500 students. Sites:; Twitter: @Luminous Fields.