Thursdays at Readers Poetry Series: Chun Yu & Kevin Simmonds

Posted on June 23rd, 2016 by admin 

Join us every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in our Readers Bookstore Fort Mason for our weekly FREE poetry series! Browse books while listening to internationally acclaimed poets and artists such as Jonathan Richman, David Meltzer, Diane di Prima and California Poet Laureate Al Young. The series is  curated by Friends’ Resident Poet Jack Hirschman. For a full line-up and more information please visit our website at

Proceeds from our bookstores benefit the San Francisco Public Library

Tonight we are excited to have  Chun Yu & Kevin Simmonds read!

Kevin Simmonds is a poet and musician originally from New Orleans. His poetry collections include Mad for MeatBend to it, and the edited anthology Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spirituality. He composed the score and cowrote the text for the Japanese noh-inspired theater work Emmett Till a river, commissioned by the Creative Work Fund and debuted at San Francisco’s Theatre of Yugen. He’s also collaborated extensively with poet Kwame Dawes, setting a number of his works to music, including Wisteria: Twilight Songs of the Swamp CountryHOPE: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica, which won an Emmy Award, and Voices of Haiti, which debuted at the National Black Theatre Festival and became an award-winning interactive e-book. He’s received fellowships and commissions from Cave Canem, the Community of Writers, Fulbright, Napa Valley Writers Workshop, San Francisco Arts Commission, and the Edward Stanley Award from Prairie Schooner. He lives in San Francisco and Tokyo.

Chun Yu is the author of the award-winning memoir Little Green: Growing Up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and one of the authors of the award-winning anthology Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace. She will be reading from her new collection of bilingual poetry in English and Chinese which merges science, art, and spirituality. This work is supported by a cultural equity grant from San Francisco Arts Commission.

Poetry after the jump:

An Old Man Carrying His Catheter Bag
By Kevin Simmonds

white-haired vapor
in khakis
shuffling down a street

held it waist high
a flag
signaling the body

solid   liquid   gas

the body comes
to all three

I am bile
as I am wit
I drink to live in this body

See to it that you revere
this gold
this gold

High Above
– for those who chose to leap
By Chun Yu

He stood on a tall chimney
looking down on the crowd below
a bottle of alcohol in one hand
a bag of sugar in the other –
the rarest in the year of starvation
bought with the money
Mother made from weaving baskets.

The mass below moved
eyes like fallen stars
scattered in the dust of the earth.

the dusk sun in the distance
once shined
with a thousand lights
already gone.

He, the brilliant life
who has spoken a thought
is about to be forsaken
on a chimney built from
ten thousand red bricks
was looked up to
by the crowd below
in ten thousand thoughts

In his eyes
the world had fallen into darkness.
Looking up to the sky
he knows, with one leap
he will be a star next to the moon.

His life can no longer
be taken by human force
or saved by its conscience

which, however
will carry the bricks
even when the force is gone.

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Author: thereadersreview