January 8th: Coleen T. Houlihan and Chris Robbins Feature

Photos by Bill Perrault

Stone Soup Poetry meets from 8-10 p.m. every Monday at the Out of The Blue Art Gallery (located on 106 Prospect Street in Cambridge) with an open mike sign-up at 7:30 p.m. On January 8th, Stone Soup celebrates the first feature of the year with the unlikely pairing of Stone Soup regulars Coleen T. Houlihan and Chris Robbins.

Coleen T. Houlihan is a novelist and poet who studiedwriting at Wellesley College. She has featured atStone Soup, Best Sellers, the Sherman Cafe and WaldenPoetry Series and published poetry in The Alewife, TheWilderness House Literary Review, Ibbetson StreetPress, Spare Change and abroad. Her poetry could bedescribed as sensual, magical, light and dark, withimages so vivid you can lose yourself in herhauntingly beautiful world. She has released twochapbooks, the most recent titled, This Human Heart, acollection of eight poems spanning several years.

Chris Robbins was born in Boston, MA, in 1965, not that this crap is actually important. He graduated Whitman-Hanson High in 1984, earning a B. S. degree ('cause, fact it people, that's all a high school diploma is really worth these days). In 1993, after writing poetry and otherwise wasting ink for nine years, Chris wrote a bunch of fixed form poems and, attempting to emulate one of his favorite classic rock bands, Jethro Tull, self-published a chapbook called Bard's Ambition. Now, 14 years later, he's at it again, this time with a chapbook of love and human equality poetry, appropriately called Love Among Equals.

Samples of both poets' work follow.

Sitting alone in a bar

Sepia distills from fixtures
into my clear, cold glass.
We both sit at the round table,
big enough for three or four
but I am the only one breathing, breathing.
Shallow inhalations, I will my ribcage
to lean outward, daring it to enter
the surrounding world.
My foot is not a follower,
it tabs beat to music
whose lyrics are lost
to immediate human sound.
Gregarious little fool-
no horror movie is this,
I have it by the bone, tissue, cartilage.
I have it by the root.
It stops moving.

My body is contorted into four limbs
and an Eiffel Tower spine.
I think I have trapped my soul too
but the eyes dart about,
dart about, look alive.
We know what happens to the doe
who under car lights freezes.
But what about her eyes?

I’ve always been untouchable.
I’ve always been teasing.
I’ve always been untouchable,
silently, secretly, bleeding.

Sepia distills.
It is my blood in this room.
I am the warden of my body;
she says I will die in this tomb.

--Coleen T. Houlihan

Womanist Writer's Day
Dedicated to the authors of Home Girls; A Black Feminist Anthology

Ebony Sappho, I love and admire you dearly
Even though I'll never wear your ring,
You brought me nurturing wisdom that helps me see clearly
so I'll praise your homegirl spirit when I sing.
You write about natural hair and nurturing ties.
Forsaking the fake shield of silence to fight repression,
You take a stand against homophobic lies
and the doublethink that causes your double oppression.
With empathic insight and independent grace,
You rescue your sisters from shackles of abuse and fear.
When you valiantly speak your voice in a feminist place,
We know for a fact we'll find no bull "sheep" around here!
In conclusion, succinctly put, I have to say
that we should declare a "Womanist Writer's Day."

--Chris Robbins