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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

07:00 PM  
KAKTUS features MJ Iuppa and Lauren McLean Ayer


KAKTUS featured poets for March 30th:  M.J. Iuppa and Lauren Ayer

Hosted by John Roche

Followed by open mic!

Watch the RECORDING here on youtube.



M.J. Iuppa is the Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program, Writer-in-Residence (1999-2015) and Lecturer in Creative Writing at St. John Fisher College; and since 2000 to present, is a part time lecturer in Creative Writing at The College at Brockport. Since 1986, she has been a teaching artist, working with students, K-12, in Rochester, NY, and surrounding area. She has four full length poetry collections, most recently  This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017) as well as Small Worlds Floating(2016), Within Reach (2010) both from Cherry Grove Collections; Night Traveler (Foothills Publishing, 2003); and 5 chapbooks, most recent is Between Worlds (Foothills Publishing, 2013), which is a collection of lyric essays, flash fiction and prose poems. She received Writers and Books' The Big Pencil Award, honoring her lifelong contributions to Rochester's Literary Community. At St. John Fisher College, she has received the Part-Time Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence, May 2000; The Father Dorsey Award, 2000-2001 and 2002-2003, and a Certification of Recognition from The Monroe County Legislature, April 2003. Most recently awarded the New York State Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching, 2017. She served as the poetry advisor for New York State Foundation for the Arts, 2007-2012. She and her husband Peter Tonery lives on a small farm in Hamlin NY, where they have been practicing organic food sustainability for the past 20 years. Her website is http://www.mjiuppa.com/


Why We Didn’t Have More Time Together

M.J. Iuppa

When death is no longer mysterious, when we realize
it’s a one way ticket heading west to a destination
that will be free of forethought, then we’ll find our-

selves ready to lie down on a grassy bank to watch
the creek’s still water, the cinnamon ant balancing
on the tip of a blade of grass, reaching with delight.

It’s a sermon we rarely hear, but in spring, it sounds
like sun & wind, recalling relationships forgotten
in winter. Listen closely, we have put off too many

things— our minds, full of messages not sent because
we’re too busy doing as we please, which is more
puzzling than death, don’t you think?



Lauren McLean Ayer is a San Francisco-grown poet and writer who moved to Santa Fe to find peace in the desert. When not staring at blank pages trying to write, she likes to design and make quilts inspired by plants. Her poems have appeared in Gargoyle Magazine, Santa Fe one heart, Adobe Walls, Poets Speak: Survival, and online.


How to Survive the Flood

by Lauren McLean Ayer


Stitch a boat from tiny scraps

            the cuff of his old

                        flannel shirt

            the wide hem of your

                        grandmother’s best dress

            the velvet ear of a once-

                        stuffed bear


Coat it in wax to protect against weather

            against salt and


            against waves and

                         their violence

against the dark, scaled things

            that circle beneath us


Fill it with sweets from childhood

              with memories and


              with match and


            with whatever

                        sustains us


Each night, words

            devour blank pages

Each night, fire

            devours our words

Bathe in the ash to

             absorb each inflection

Becoming the light

            that will guide us to land