Poems from the Garden is out!

I’m finishing up fulfillment for last month’s successful Kickstarter for my collection, Poems from the Garden: A pandemic year in sonnets & sloppier forms. I’ll be signing all the books that folks requested in the next few weeks and I expect everyone will have all of their seeds/books/postcards/ebooks by the next of the month.

If you didn’t get a chance to back the Kickstarter, you can buy the ebook and the paperback here.

I’m still writing a sonnet a week for the Friday Journal, and will probably share the ones I like best either here or on my Instagram. Here’s one from last week I enjoyed:

I saw a pregnant
lizard hiding in
the garden on the

chiaroscuro edge
of light along the
dark side of a new-
built plant bed, inching

up and down to warm
and cool her big full
belly with the spring
sunshine. I’m sure she’s

ready to meet her 
hatchlings; I am too.

And here is the lizard:

A pregnant fence lizard sitting on some UV cloth beside a community garden bed

3 Days Left in Kickstarter for “Poems from the Garden: A pandemic year in sonnets and sloppier forms”

A little under a month ago I launched a Kickstarter for a book of poetry I wrote during the first year of the pandemic. We met the project goal in the first four days! I am so grateful to my friends, family, and community for your support.

The campaign is currently funded at 141% over goal. It has 3 days left, after which point I’ll put the book up on Amazon where folks can buy it in paperback or ebook. But the celebrate meeting the project’s goal and the last 3 days of the campaign, I wanted to share the poems I’ve been posting on Instagram. Each are illustrated with images from the Smithsonian museums’ Open Access project, a database of tens of thousands of pieces of art licensed under Creative Commons 0, dedicating them to the public domain.

This book of poetry was always designed to be a small book. I wrote each poem with about a dozen people in mind: the volunteers who come to the community garden each Saturday that we can gather together in a socially-distanced work party. I wrote these poems for the people mentioned in them, and I’ve been so grateful that others have also found something in them: a pinned-down memory of an awful, strange year; the bit of hope many of us found in growing things during that time.

I’ll keep writing a poem every week for the Friday Journal, the weekly newsletter for St Stephen’s in-the-Field, the church that hosts the community garden. I’ll keep posting updates online about the work we’re doing in the garden.

Tomorrow we’re planting trees on the campus surrounding the community garden, oaks that will — with luck, time, and care — still be growing strong in 250 years. If you’re interested in coming to help, comment, message me, or text me. We can always use more hands.

So, if you’re interested in backing the Kickstarter, you have 3 days left. There’s some cool rewards, like native seed packets, a custom poem for your garden, or an audiobook. It’s been fun figuring out how to self-publish this small book and once again, I’m so grateful for everyone’s love and support.

Human Services Commission Update

Tonight is my 21st meeting serving as on the San José Human Services Commission and my 13th meeting Chairing that commission, so I thought I would do a quick round-up of what we’ve done since I joined in January 2018.

I’m making this post for two reasons. One, is I’m doing my annual evaluation of my volunteer commitments, to see where I’m doing the most good. Two, is the city of San José redid their website and links to nearly everything of value I produced for the commission (reports, press releases, work plans) now only leads to dead links, so I wanted to make an archive of my own. All of the documents below are the official versions.

Below is a work in progress. In the next few weeks, I’ll be trying to find copies of each of these files. Some because I’m proud of them, some because I refer to them often, and some because I want to remember how I spend my time as a volunteer.

2018

Note: Any month without an agenda or documents is a month when we did not have quorum and so could not meet.

AgendaMinutesSaved DocumentsMajor actions / Discussions
Jan01-18-1801-18-18Missing: (1) Women’s Bill of Rights Memo. (2) Dec 19 Ordinance. (3) Dec 19 Resolution. (4) Dec 19 Vice Mayor Memo. Saved: 2017 – 2018 Work Plan.This was the meeting where we were told SJPD had arrested 280 women for sex work over a 7 week period in the fall of 2017.
Feb02-15-1802-15-18This is the meeting where Josue Fuentes, District Attorney’s Office of the County of Santa Clara confirmed none of the 280 women arrested for sex work had been charged or referred for services.

This is the meeting where I invited Anthony King to speak about the importance of ending SJPD sweeps against unhoused people.
Mar03-29-1803-29-18Letter to City Council on full funding the gender analysis survey; press release; op-ed.The commission unanimously voted to send the press release, op-ed, and letter to council, via our staff secretary. We were told we could not, as commissioners, share the release or submit the op-ed without the approval of the City Council Committee on Community and Economic Development; we sought that approval and never heard back.

The commission also voted unanimously to send a letter to Immigrations and Customs
Apr04-19-1804-19-18Women’s Bill of Rights Ad Hoc Committee Update
Community Survey for Gender Analysis Survey
TBD
May05-17-1805-17-18TBDTBD
Jun06-21-18TBDTBD
Aug8-16-18TBDTBD
Sep9-20-18TBDTBD
Dec12-20-18TBDTBD

The major actions in 2018, from my perspective were: TBD

2019

AgendaMinutesDocumentsMajor actions
Jan1-17-19TBDTBD
Sep9-9-19TBDTBD
Oct10-17-19TBDTBD
Nov11-21-19TBDTBD

The major actions in 2019, from my perspective were: TBD

2020

AgendaMinutesDocumentsMajor actions
Feb02-20-20TBDTBD
Jul07-16-20TBDTBD
Aug08-20-20TBDTBD
Sep09-17-20TBDTBD
Oct10-15-20TBDTBD
Nov11-19-20TBDTBD
Dec12-17-20TBDTBD

The major actions in 2020, from my perspective were:

  • December 17, 2020: We voted to ask the staff secretary to send the vendor who will be conducting the fully intersectional gender analysis survey a letter of welcome with our committee members’ contact information, along with a copy of the version of the Women’s Bill of Rights that gives trans and cis women the same level of protection, as well as providing women, non-binary people, and men the same level of inclusion.
  • December 17, 2020: Statement from the San José Human Services Commission in Support of the Santa Clara County Sanctuary Law (our staff Secretary was instructed to send this to Council and the Mayor): “Dear Mayor Liccardo and Honorable Councilmembers, The Human Services Commission of San José strongly supports the Santa Clara County Sanctuary Law as written (Board Policy 3.54). Deportations do not prevent violence. The threat of increased deportations actively harms our undocumented neighbors, friends, and family members. In solidarity, the San José Human Services Commission.”
  • TBD

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