Stewart Florsheim Features This Monday, September 25th.
In memory of Simon Schattner (1957-2006)

What Follows are two eulogies that were written for Simon Schattner in August. A collection of poetry to mark Simon's passing is in the works.

In Honor of Simon

When I remember Simon, what I visualize is a happy spirit who finally felt that his life was coming together. The last time I saw Simon, we were sitting together in Carberry's coffee shop having a chai and coffee, while he talked about how fulfilled he felt because he had joined a new temple where he would be taking classes and the people were so friendly and accepting. He talked about visiting his parents and nieces and that he felt like things in his life were better than ever except for the fact that he hadn't met the woman of his dreams yet. I remember hearing him say, "Well, maybe I'll meet her soon enough. That's the only thing needs to happen for me, but other than that, things are great!"

He then spoke about how through most of his life, he had to deal with depression, but that through friends and therapy, and a wonder outlet of poetry of music, he had learned to appreciate his life. He smiled more times that night than I ever remembered, and I felt like I had met the "real" Simon for the first time. He mentioned that he felt like his website was a major accomplishment and that coming to the Out of The Blue Art Gallery was a Godsend for him.

Our conversation faltered a bit, and he asked me if I was okay in a very genuine way. He had heard that I suffered from manic depression and epilepsy and knew that I had problems in the past year, which led me to the hospital. He said in an encouraging way that I looked great and that he only hoped the best for me. He reminded me that I played an integral role in the community and in his life. It was the best cup of coffee I had ever had. There was much sincerity deep in the soul of this man.

Simon to me was always a poet. I believe he had the spirit of a poet - pure, honest and highly creative. He also had a great sense of humor and never missed a beat in letting others feel welcomed and warm inside. I do miss him and as a tribute to him, I will be attending Temple Beth Shalom because he convinced me that there was something good that it had to offer. He said that it changed his life and that he couldn't wait to learn more about his religion again. I do believe that he is accomplishing that feat on a higher plane!

Goodbye Simon!

--Deborah Priestly

Simon's Song: In Memoriam

I knew Simon the length of the shine of a firefly. If I had known that he would soon be gone forever, I would have tried to know him better. Yet still to me and to countless others, he was not a complete stranger. Because you see, Simon chose to share his story through poetry. Daring to expose his trembling heart by placing it in our hands like jiggling Jell-O. And through the night through the rustling whispers of trees that tell tall tails, I had heard that Simon had survived some somber strife in his life, but much to my chagrin, he could not survive the dark claws of death. They say that when you die you suddenly become enlightened.

I wonder if Simon has all the answers now. Yeah, I wonder. My memory of Simon was vague since our acquaintanceship was equally vague. However I do remember a couple of not so vague interactions with him. The first being when he bought my first poetry book Sparks in the Dark. After he bought my book, he looked me with transfixed eyes and said, "Thanks Jacques, I think I need this book."

I never quite understood what he meant by that. I found his statement to be profoundly simple, but the potential meanings behind it profoundly complex. Since Simon's impression on me was complex. The next time he saw me at the Out of the Blue Gallery, he uttered, "Jacques, your book is kicking my ass." Yet again, I never truly knew what that meant, so I decided to take it as a compliment. Since Simon seemed to me benevolent, I did not question his comment. The other encounter with Simon was Out of the Blue once again. We were having an outside reading to mourn the dying amber of summer. Simon got up and read one of his works from memory.

After he was done, I remember thinking, "Simon, you deserve a standing ovation." But I wasn't brave enough then to give him one. I am brave enough now. In that moment, I realized that I was amongst friends, amongst family, amongst artistry consumed in the sunny swallow of creativity, where artists stand on the shoulders of each other nursing yearnings of building a brighter future. And Simon was an artist of the highest caliber, but was as humble as a dying fire. Now Simon is living yes living under a different sort of weather as a winged white horse transfer parts of his soul into the hearts of those of whom he made an indelible impression like crystallized imprints to mitigate our tensions. And as I speak these words today in the grandeur of the heart of this Cambridge community, the legendary Out of the Blue Gallery, I shiver as I feel Simon's essence hanging on the walls, immortalized and forever free in the world of art and beauty. And that's the way it should be. I'm just sorry he had to die in my poetry.

--Jacques "The Hatian FireFly" Fleury


October 23rd: Joe Santos Features

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. October 23rd marks the first feature of popular open mike poet and actor Joe Santos, aka Santossussio.

Whether dodging bullets in the movie Heat or precision driving on Bone Collector, Santosussio has done a number of things in an industry full of things to do, including going to San Diego to perform historical reenactments in Old Town as well as historic role playing as a Mexican bandito raiding Mormon camps in El Centro, CA.

From there, Santo went into stand-up in local clubs in and around San Diego and LA, where he met a writer for the Drew Carey show, allowing him to spend the next three T.V. seasons in a steady gig, as one of the local bar patrons drinking near beer all day, as well as doing feature parts as a stand-in and one line small parts in other productions around an industry town.

In NYC he performed in a few feature films, mostly driving as a precision driver and doing a bit part on Sopranos. With the New York City Opera in Lincoln Center, Santo performed an understudy role as a bumbling waiter in La Boheme as well as being part of the stuntmen team in Macbeth. He also claims the right to being the only actor to be hit on stage by a car in any production of New York City Opera. While working for New York State Theater he was a supernumerary for universal ballet’s production of La Bayadere.

Locally, he has performed with the Salem Theatre Company production in a principal role as Greg in A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia and a principal in a Delvena dinner theatre company production.
Currently, he’s writing a one-man show of Copley Square in Boston observations from a street corner and performing spoken word/poetry on a regular basis at the Cantab and Lizard lounge in Cambridge, Mass. He held his first poetry slam showcase for the “Copley School of Language” drama department in the Boston school system this past school year. Santo was featured on a panel of poets this past summer at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

He just finished taping a part as one of the slam poets for an episode of a children’s series on WGBH called “Fetch with ruff ruffman” on location at Club Passim in Cambridge. It will be airing early next year on PBS. Santo will be performing at the Niagra Bar in the East Village on October 26th. A sample poem follows.

Observation from a street corner named

Hey Reggie/ check this out hey young lady/ you dropped something/ yea your smile. Hey here comes Cagney/ and lacey/ or is that Kate and Allie/, nope it’s Laverne and Shirley/. Joey/ what can brown do for you? Overnight guaranteed delivery for two/.

How bout this one/ hey you have something/ on your back pocket/ yea right there/ oh yea/ it’s my eyeballs. say What/?!! I said is that an ipod/ you bipod/?

How bout this one/ did you hear about Mel Gibson/? his publicist/ is putting out a press release/ Mel say’s he’s sorry/ what he meant to say was, I’m not anti-Semitic publickly/, just privately/….. On a lighter brown Arab note of currency, the press release said he should play well in Arab countries/. Arab lawyers are already talking about suing him for intellectual properties/. Saying they hated the Jews first.

Hey Gary/, Tommy/.,… the broom just asked me/ when was the last time I had sex/….oh honey/ that’s like asking a lady/ her age or what comes next/, they won’t lie and you shouldn’t ask/.

Did you here about the Hezbollah splinter groups/ and off shoots/….yea there’s fezbollah/ for the guys with the turbines/, lezbollah a new women’s movement/, and there’s a new candy for the kids after the suicides/ pezbollah/

Hey Gary this is so gay/. Joey I’m gay/. Why does everyone have to interpret everything I say/?
Hey Gary/, Tommy/ thought I was gay/,.. What did you say/ no but I root for your team. Ya know what they say/ every guy is only a six pack away/ from being…. bisexual.

Remember that movie/ with mitt Romney/ as Pontius Pilate/ and woody/ Allen as Jesus fogediboutit/ “everything you wanted to know about Mormons but was afraid to ask/”. Are the nights of templar Jewish/, or are they a secret sect of Mason, Muslim, Druze, Agnostic, Mormons, I’ll bet they’re Danish/ try explaining the history of communism to mental patients/ The Guantanamo years of Jesus/

ya know all men are created equal, let me show you the poll figures Catholics and Jews are almost as low as Mormons when it comes to winning the presidency/ so it’s gonna be a tough hall for Romney/

Don’t forget When you go to the Dubai steamship port authority for that job application/

Make sure you check that you’re an islamaphob infidel in the land of the great Satan/. Praying to Dearborn, Michigan/.

Hey did you hear about Israel attacking the lesbinese/, hey I know Israel/ he’s working in San Diego/ please/.

Where you from brother?

I’m Sikh/ don’t freak/

You’re Sikh/ I’m sorry I hope you get better

No I don’t mean sick I’m Sikh.......

Yea I know you already told me that.... no Sikh Indian/ Ohh now you gotta bring race in the picture/ didn’t they give you guys gamblin’/…. No from Indonesia/ ohh now you gonna blame us for amnesia/. Hey what do you think about those new guinea’s in East Asia/.

October 16th: Radiant Jasmin Features

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 October 16th, Radiant Jasmin has her first Stone Soup feature.

Radiant Jasmin is a multi-media visual and performance artist. Her mediums are: dance, jewelry making, painting, singing/songwriting, poetry, and theater. She recently began to weave together her art forms and by doing so has become a stronger creative force. Her art focuses on helping people to love themselves, each other and respect the earth. It is autobiographical at times, deeply reflecting her study of yoga, midwifery and interpersonal relationships. She lives in the metro Boston area where she grew up with her husband and two children. A sample poem follows below.

Freeing My Fear of Death

When I can stare death in the eye and not cry

That is the day that I’ll truly live

To not be afraid of the night or the day

To not be afraid to say what I really want to say

To live each day as if it’s my last

To live neither in the future or past

To present myself with the present

A quantum leap in consciousness is for what I mostly stive

For what’s the use of living my life if I’m afraid to B alive?

--Radiant Jasmin


October 9th: Deborah Priestly Features

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 October 9th, Deborah Priestly takes time out from one of the busiest schedules in the art and poetry world to read new work and selections from her upcoming book.

Deborah Priestly is a poet and painter from Cambridge. She is co-owner of Out of The Blue Art Gallery, the current home of Stone Soup Poetry. OOTB also serves as the home fo the Open Bark Candlite Series, which she has hosted for over eight years. Her poetry has been published in various venues including Spare Change News, Posey, Ibbetson Street, Manifold, boston Girl Guide, Bay Windows, and the anthologies I Refused to Die and Out of The Blue Writers Unite. She has written four chapbooks and the book The Woman Has a Voice.

Click here for sample poems published on the website The Better Drink.
October 2nd: Make Amado Features

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 October 2nd, Mike Amado has his first Stone Soup feature.

Mike Amado, a performance poet, tries to open your mind to thoughts and images of your inner soul. He recites spirited poetry, this poet/musician is a lifelong resident of Plymouth, Ma. Poems Unearthed From Ashes, his first book, was published in 2006.

He was a contributor to The Bagelbards Anthology and has featured and performed throughout Emass and Rhode Island, as well as putting together a Poetry Showcase in conjunction with the recently held 39th Annual Plymouth Juried Art Show. He's influenced by Beaudelaire, Blake, Bly, his Native American ancestry, the occult and metal music. A sample poem follows.


Slam poet sorcerer, necromancer romantic-
Don’t wait to burn like Frida Kalho,
While posing on your funeral pyre and
Waiting to see your bones
Turn to iridescence...
That day is now
So dress yourself impaled
With an arm-rail
And bathed in blood
With golden glitter,
Make your life a spectacle
As an avant-garde portrait
Of spirit made flesh
Wanting to be a symbol
Three minutes ought to do it,
That day is now.
Standard-model human, benign barbarian
With non-Machiavellian tongue
Tied in knots...
Don’t wait to unblind your
Low-brow mind and start
Living the truth. Even if
The Philistines say:
"Do so" or, "Don’t so"
That day is now.
Don’t paint yourself a Picasso
If you really are a Mark Swan.
Be a recluse writer and
Milk your cows at midnight.
Free _expression for everyone! -
Even in sporadic intervals.
That day is now...
You have three minutes.
Mike Amado
September 25th: Stewart Florsheim Features

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 September 25th, Stewart Florsheim visits Stone Soup while he visits the east coast to promote his new chapbook.

Stewart Florsheim was born in New York City, the son of refugees from Hitler's Germany. He has received several awards for his poetry and has been widely published in magazines and anthologies. He was the editor of Ghosts of the Holocaust, an anthology of poetry by children of Holocaust survivors (Wayne State University Press, 1989).

Florsheim's chapbooks include The Girl Eating Oysters (2River, 2004). and The Short Fall From Grace, printed by Blue Light Press this year after winning the Blue Light Book Award in 2005.

a technical writer by day, Florsheim also sits on the board of directors of Compassion and Choices of Northern California, an organization that helps the terminally ill make end-of-life decisions. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two daughters. A sample poem follows.

The Unseen

As the plane begins its descent into San Francisco
in thick cloud cover, the pilot says
And on your left is Yosemite, El Capitan.

My mother always hoped that what she had
was Lyme disease so she could give it a name,
imagine that it might be treatable.

The subject in Vermeer's Woman Reading a Letter
opens her lover's note quickly, then reads each line over and over
hoping that she might detect a change of heart.

We are compelled by what we can't see
so that we might be surprised
by the things we already know--

The one thought we prey upon,
not unlike the way a bat stalks a grasshopper,
swoops down, then misses.

--Stewart Florsheim

Visit Stewart Florsheim's website.