Posts Tagged ‘Sacramento Poetry Center’

Some folks love Spring,

New faces in morning glories,

Cotton blouses and green toe nails.

Winter scarves stuffed into cedar chests.


Some folks love Fall.

The season of sounds.


Summer…I hate summers

In three digit Sacramento heat.


I brought Winter back today:

A mug of Winter –

Hot steamy cocoa –

While the city burned outside.



Summer: 2017

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Thank you, Frank Graham of Sacramento Poetry Center for posting the following:

I’m interviewing the prolific and adventurous author Frances Kakugawa for the podcast Coffee & Poets, produced by Lawrence E Dinkins Jr, at the Brickhouse Gallery in Oak Park on Sunday, August 20. We begin the one hour program at 10:00 am and we’d love to see you there to listen in as we discuss her life and writing.



Brickhouse Gallery

2837 36th St

Sacramento, CA

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hibiscus 1


Hawaiian style morn

Seven blooms on the 5th day.

If only twas May.


Sacramento, CA

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To friends on Oahu, would love to see you during my coming visit. I’ll be at Ward Warehouse:Native books on August 17 and Sept 3rd:

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Will be reading Wordsworth, It’s in Your Pocket on Aug 17th and I Am Somebody: Bringing Dignity and Compassion to Alzheimer’s Caregiving on Sept 3rd. Will be signing books on both days.

To my Hilo friends, I’ll be reading Wordsworth, It’s in Your Pocket at Basically Books at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept 10th. Am looking forward to seeing some of my former students who plan to be there. Book signing, too.

Now, to my Kona friends and former students, I’ll be giving the keynote address at the Hawai’i Community Caregivers Network conference at the Sheraton Keauhou on Sept 9th.

My first teaching job was at Konawaena High and Elem School. I taught Kindergarten.

During the first week, a child brought in one of those Life Science books and knowing it was too difficult for five year olds, I showed the illustrations and ad-libbed the text. Arnold ( I still remember you, Arnold) turned to look at his classmates and explained why I was not reading the book,”Her young yet, she don’t know how to read.” Being young, I had to prove I could read so I began to read the text and soon lost all their attention. Having proven my reading abilities, I went on and had a wonderful time. I still remember their names, as I do all the students I’ve taught. Hope some of my students still live in Kona, would love to see them.


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I wrote the following to honor a teenager who stopped by my book signing in Honolulu.

A Stranger Among Us

Three young lads walk the mall

Passing my book signing at Barnes & Noble.

One lad breaks away

After turning his head

Toward the book display

On a tripod near me.

“What kind of book is this?

Did you write this?”

“Yes,” I say to the lad

Wearing a tiny hoop in one lobe,

A silver stud in his nose.

“This is a book of poems on caregiving.”

“I write poems, too. I set them to music.

Do you want to hear one of my poems?”

He rapped his poem in perfect rhythm,

Musical rhymes, poignantly searching

For the meaning of life.

I open my book to offer him

My simple poem, “A Poet’s Declaration.”

He reads it, looks at me and quietly says,

“You’re the first person who understands me.”

We talk of how it is

To be a poet…

The aloneness, the pain, the joy.

“No one knows me as you do.”

He hands me Mosaic Moon,

I sign it To Jason.

“Dammit,” I think, after he leaves

To join his two companions

With my book in his hand…

“How did one poem from a stranger

Help him feel there is someone after all,

Who knows and understands him?

How did he recently leave

Thirteen years of school behind him,

A lonely stranger?

frances kakugawa

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We turned into poets in all of my classes, grades K-6 during my teaching career. Robert Webster was a sixth grader at Nimitz Elem in Hawaii. One day, I watched him write the last line to a poem. Beads of perspiration rolled down his nose. He dropped his pen and I heard him whisper, “ I’m all poemed out.”

Here’s an excerpt from one of his poems.

“Writing is wonderful.

It is a thing that can make the dumb speak,

The deaf to hear, and the blind to see.

Writing can bring out true emotions

That we usually don’t see,

And it brings out our true selves…”

The rest of this poem appears in my book, Teacher, You Look Like a Horse. Robert helped to write the last chapter with a few other students. They were all adults then, but still listened to their teacher when I asked them for help.  Robert never left. After sixth grade, he stayed in touch through high school and college and now as a father to three sons with wife Erica.

I have lunched with Robert and his family in New York City twice and the poetry man is still there. How wonderful to have a poetry man for a dad.

Here are three poems from the next generation of Websters, written by son Samuel when he was eight years old.


Me and My Cat

Tommy loves it

When I scratch him under

His chin.

You can sleep in my bed,


Do you want to read with me,


Now this is relaxing!



Sunny Day

Today I woke up

On a sunny day.

I went to my friend’s house

On that sunny day.

I played throw and catch

At my friend’s house

Until it was dark

On that sunny day.




Crazy, cute

Running, climbing, swinging

Eating, jumping, sleeping

Bananas, trees, vines

Hairy, agile


©Samuel Charles Webster

8 years old

Guilderland, New York


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Wordsworth continues to smile

I walked into the office of my new dentist last year in Sacramento and imagine my surprise to see Shelly at the front desk. We last saw each other when she was about five. Her mother , my cousin’s wife, brought her to my first book  signing in Hilo, HI. I remember Shelly because somewhere, there’s a photo of her, a young child,  holding a copy of my book of poems, Sand Grains. Well, guess what. Here are two poems written by her two sons. Shelly’s mom and I are claiming, “It’s the Kakugawa blood” but that’s up for debate.


I Am Poem


I am shy and quiet

I wonder what my future would be like

I hear water hitting the ground

I see giant buildings in the sky

I am shy and quiet

I pretend to fly through the sky

I feel soft clouds

I touch ripped up leaves

I worry when my brother is alone

I cry when me and my brother fight

I am shy and quiet

I understand to not use violence

I say I could pass all my obstacles

I dream when I sleep at night

I try to accomplish my goals

I hope I have a good future

I am shy and quiet.

©Lars Cabuco

15 years old

Roseville, CA


I Am Poem


I am happy and nice

I wonder what my brother is doing

I hear a monster growling

I see a flying ghost

I want a charm

I am happy and nice

I pretend to never mess up

I feel very shy

I touch a sandstone

I worry about falling behind,

I cry when I fall behind

I am happy and nice

I understand my mom is very tired

I say I can fall behind

I dream of the world’s gravity

I try to work hard

I hope I never fall behind

I am happy and nice.


©Bourne Rizal Cabuco

9 years old

Roseville, CA



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