Posts Tagged ‘Sacramento Poetry Center’

My fifth Wordsworth book in my Wordsworth the Poet series is here. I’ll be in Hawaii for book signings, talks on Wordsworth and other workshops. Stay tuned for dates. Hilo friends, I’ll be at Basically Books on June 24th at 2:00 p.m. I’ll be discussing how I wrote all five Wordsworth books and Wordsworth promised to make an appearance. Please drop by to say hello.

My Oahu events are still in pencil. I will post them when they’re in ink. I’ll be speaking on caregiving and will do a poetry writing workshop along with book signings.

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Are we letting wolves raise our children?

I walk inside the mall before the shops open and exchange “Good Morning” with a few regular walkers.Twice last week, when I said “Good Morning” to two young adults, they looked stunned and said, “Oh, okay.” They reminded me of a young man who sat next to me on a flight to Hawai’i.

Raised by Wolves

A young man buckles himself next to me,

Connected to wires and earbuds.

He grunts to my Hello without meeting my eyes.

Soon we are flying over the Pacific

Nary a word between our proximity.

An hour into flight, breakfast trays appear.

He leans over his mushroom cheese crepes,

Stabs his fork into one, lifts the crepe to his mouth,

Takes a bite and drops the rest of the crepe to his plate.

 He was raised by wolves, this much I know.

He picks up a piece of cantaloupe with his fingers

Takes a bite, moves his face over his tray and drops

The size too large for a bite back to his plate.

His utensils, ignored like the napkin on his tray.

My teacher mode kicks in.

Learn by observing, child raised by wolves.

Learn by observing.

Miss Manners and Emily Post at his service

I use each silverware and my napkin, too.

Attempt again for conversation over breakfast.

“Let me guess,” I begin.

No, No, I didn’t ask,” Were you raised by wolves?”

Miss Manners was still around.

“You’re a college student returning home for summer break.”

He flashes his first smile. He finished his junior year in college,

Flying home with hopes of finding a summer job.

I drink my cup of decaf coffee, wish him well.

I was wrong, not raised by wolves, perhaps

By Fast Foods finger foods and his SmartPhone.

    ©Frances H Kakugawa

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I wrote this poem after reading Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar and On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong.

Oh America

Our living Democracy.

First it was the black

Whose color was wrong.

Then the Japanese whose faces

Wore  the enemy’s.

After 9/11, it was the Moslems.

All Asians after Covid-19

Since we all look alike.

Oh America,

Hear this, before you etch

Another on your list:

The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Oh America,

Who’s next on your list?

frances h kakugawa

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In the midst of chaos

Be still, be still.


What will poets do

Without the first bloom of Spring

Waltzing in the wind?

What will children do

Without slimy green frogs

Slipping through fingers?

What will Basho have seen

Without the leap of the frog

Splash! Then stillness again?

What will you do

Without the sound of stillness

In the morning dew?

What will I do

Without hummingbird wings

Whirring in sync?

Hush hush,

Be still, be still


(Written after turning off the radio.)

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The poets, in droves

Lick their pens, salivating

Over metaphors, turning

Death into life. It must be

National Poetry Month.


Each time a poet

Puts pen to paper,

There is a sliver of hope

For Peace.


The Pen

I was but a child

When I wrote my first line of poetry

That senselessly rhymed.

I innocently thought

It would be my ticket

Out of God-forsaken Kapoho:

A ticket away from kerosene lamps,

Outhouses, battery-run radios,

And Pidgin English.

A ticket to Greenwich Village, New York City,

Paris, and Stockholm, Sweden.

Little did I know

That poetry would help me embrace

Each Ukraine standing tall

To the miniscule monstrous thief.

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Men in Disguise at Book Signings


“Did your husband write all these books?”

He was in the audience a few minutes ago.

Yet, here he stands in his three piece designer suit

Scanning book titles with furrowed brows.


“Idiot,” I didn’t say, “Would I be sitting here,

Two hours on my hemorrhoids

Signing someone else’s books

With carpal tunneled fingers?”


At Barnes & Noble in Hawaii,

The FBI disguised in a loud Aloha shirt,

A wilted orchid  lei, a camera strapped like a gun

Interrogates me.

“You wrote these books?”

Not satisfied, he grills me over hot coals again.

“You? You wrote all these books?”


Ready to turn the lamp on me,

He turns to his partner.

“Martha? Martha? Come on over.

She said she wrote all these books!”

Expecting the click of handcuffs,

Water boarding or worse,

I remain silent.


A man in his black robe

Sits on the Court bench.

The Advertiser news  story of my poetry book

Spread across his lap.

“A Japanese woman publishing poetry…

No Japanese man” he prophesized,

Is ever going to date her.

She crossed over into the Haole ( white) world

With this poetry book.”


Yes, Your Honor.

Japanese. Woman. Poet.

Guilty as charged.


Frances Kakugawa






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I took this photo during a walk around the neighborhood. That eye spoke to me …


tree bark

I  see you.

Put that saw away.

You will not use my sisters and brothers

To fill your bank account

With Real Estate towers.


I see you.

Put that saw down.

Look up at my glory,

Home to hundreds of life

More than you can accommodate

In your blue-printed home of destruction.


See me.

Before it is too late.

Frances Kakugawa 2-5-19




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Hi Everyone,

Just a reminder that Frances will be reading my poems from four of my books at Barnes & Noble on Saturday, Dec 9th at 11 a.m. I told her to read how and why I wrote these poems, too. She’ll be signing my books. ( I told Frances I need a new aloha shirt.)

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DW group

Hello Friends,

Please join me at my first book signing for my newest book of poetry.

Date: Saturday, November 4, 2017

Place: Barnes & Noble

1725 Arden Way

Sacramento, CA 95815

Phone: 916-565-0644

Time: 11 – noon

( The manager mentioned a book order for 15 books and I said, we will need more.

He warned me that attendance may be poor. Do you have family?  I said, No family. But I have friends.  So he increased the order.)





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DW groupMy new book of poems is now available through my publisher and yours truly. It will be mid October before Amazon and Barnes & Noble will have it available. Best to purchase through my publisher : Dawn@bookshawaii.net or through me. Part of my royalties will go to a scholarship at my alma mater for the 2nd year. Purchases from Watermark support local businesses. To my Hawaii supporters, a February visit is penciled in right now. Thank you in advance, dear friends.






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