Thursday, May 8, 2014



Fri. May 9, 2014
noon-2:00     Early Bird Registration (enjoy the site)
2:00-3:00      Pilgrimage To Stream Source with Stephen Lewandowski and Alan Casline
                       (an outdoor visit to source of small stream that runs through Gell Center)
3:00-6:00      Registration ongoing in Main Lodge
3:30-4:00      Beginning Poetry Circle (one poem from each poet)
4:00-4:15       Maril Nowak, poetry reading
5:00-6:00       Light Dinner Served (soup, bread, green salad)
 6:00-6:10      Alan Casline: Welcome
6:10-6:25       poet Ryki Zuckerman
6:25-6:40       poet  Martin Willitts,Jr.
6:40-7:30      Panel – Pilgrimage, Relics, Symbols, Rituals (John Roche, Craig Czury, Alifare Skebe)
 7:30-7:45    Michael Czarnecki, poetry reading
 7:45-8:00     John Roche: Cloudburst thoughts and evening wrap-up
 8:00  Party 

 Sat. May 10, 2014

 8:30 Breakfast Served  (oatmeal, cereal, fruit, bagels, eggs, etc.)
         Breakfast will be continuously served.
 10-11:15 -  Panel- Charles Olson, Topicality and a Sense of Place (Stephen Baraban, Robert McDonough,  
                               Martha Treichler )
11:15-11:30  poet  Howard Nelson
11:30-11:45  poet  Linda Griggs
11:45-12:00  poet  Marge Merrill
12:00-12.15  poet  Patricia Roth  Schwartz
 12:15- 1:15 Panel –Exploring Pathways (Alan Casline, Claudia M. Stanek, Mark W. O’Brien)
 1:15  Lunch Served (cold sandwiches bag lunch)
 Open Time 1:15 – 3:45

Tour to Burning Spring Finger Lakes Watershed with Steve Lewandowski (optional)
Steven Lewandowski will lead an expedition to the Burning Springs, where LaSalle was taken for the show in 1654. A bit of poetry will be in the offering (each poet bring one poem to read)

 Papermaking Workshop: For those not on The Burning Springs exploration in the same time slot Ryki Zuckerman is doing a papermaking making workshop in the main lodge (optional)

4:00-4:15                poet  Judith Kerman
 4:15-5:00  Panel –Using Sacred Materials (Stephen Lewandowski, Jane Sadowski, Leah Zazulyer)
5:00-5:15  poet        poet Charlie Rossiter
5:15-5:30  poet        poet Edie Abrams
 5:30 - 7 Dinner (hot vegetarian etc.)
 7-10 - Open Mic hosted by John Roche (by sign-up, those not otherwise slotted during conference to go first)
 10-10:10 Wrap-up Helen Ruggieri
 10:11- 12:00 Campfire Party “night of two fires” one in lodge fireplace one outside at our firepit
12:00-?  Midnight open mic until we run out of poems

 Sunday May11, 2014

 9:30-11 Brunch (like Saturday Breakfast )
 9:30-11 Trade Fair
 11:10-12:40 Panel:  Make It New (Helen Ruggieri, Martha Deed, Dwain Wilder, Paulette Swartzfager,  David Landrey)

 12:40 – 1:00  Further


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Jane Sadowsky poem for CLOUDBURST

Bighorn Mountain Medicine Wheel

The clouds in Wyoming are wild horses, churning up dust,
their proud noses pointing west.
We exit the van amid excited chatter.
The road upward is long, but wide,
and we must walk from here.

I take a breath, slowing my heartbeat,
separating from the bustle around me.
In silence, I turn inwards.
I carry my village with me,
all those I know and love.
I see their faces before me as I walk;
I feel the weight of their needs.

To my left, a sliver of rainbow on the face of a cloud,
a sideways burst of color, shimmering.
I smile;
Grandfather is blessing our journey.

Farther upslope, a tiny creature barks a greeting from the rocks.
It’s a pika, little rabbit-relative with round ears and no tail,
that I collected once, on a postage stamp.
He delivers his message imperiously, then
scampers down and away, disappearing into a cleft in the rock. 
We crest the hill.

The Medicine Wheel spreads out before us.
Twenty-eight stone spokes reach outward from a center cairn,
like the rays of the sun,
stretching to touch an outer circle, eighty feet across.
The outer ring is encircled again by wooden poles strung with rope,
on which flutter prayer ties and prayer flags in the colors of the Directions,
the colors of all peoples, the colors of earth and sky.
Eight hundred years old, the Wheel is still holding prayers.

Six outer cairns entice us with their mystery.
We walk sun-wise around the Wheel, adding our own ties, our own prayers,
the needs of our loved ones, to the hoop,
trusting in this power that surpasses generations.
Little Jemma throws her pacifier into the circle, a gift for the “baby ghosts,”
then cries when she can’t duck under the rope to get it back.
Don gathers us together and sings a Lakhota prayer to the Four Directions. 
Everyone around the Wheel joins us, moving to face each direction in turn,
seekers and tourists alike,
honoring the old ways.

Outside the Wheel, I find a tiny, tiny stone, amid thousands of pebbles,
drop it, and it comes to hand again, so I know it is the one.
When no one is looking,
I slip it into my pocket to send to Uncle Manny.
Maybe this tiny touch of the Wheel will cure his small-cell cancer.
He knows the power of Stone People medicine.

I turn back toward the Wheel alone,
a sudden breeze lifting my hair,
and the Wheel turns.

I drop back in time,
no fences, no signs,
no chatter of crowds.
I feel the power of the Wheel, the presence of the Ancestors.
I can almost see them, moving on the paths.
A hawk scrills overhead, its voice crossing the centuries.

Someone calls my name, and I return.
We head back down the mountain

Even now, I hold this journey in my heart.

   -- Jane Sadowsky

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Alan Casline poem in case you get lost on path to CLOUDBURST


What’s difficult is there is a path.
Lots of people have gone wrong this way.
You are on the trail
when suddenly it peters out, disappears,
there’s brush, there’s wilderness,
there’s no way ahead.
What happened?
Easy if it is just a trip to the watering hole
or a view not to be missed,
The trail will lead back
but sometimes it is determined, stupid people,
set on a way that “must be”
then panic, they’re lost, the way is lost.
If you’re with other people,
tell them to just stop for a minute.
By yourself do the same.

This is what I say
I’m not lost. I am just off the trail.
That’s all.
It is fairly simple, turn around,
retrace your steps,
go back the way you came
and before too long
there’s the path,
there’s your way
get going on it.
                                                                  Alan Casline
                                                                                September 12 , 2007
                                                               Blue Mountain Lake, New York

Martha Treichler Poem for CLOUDBURST

Enjoyed the poems on the Cloudburst blog! And I would like to submit this poem from my new book from FootHills Publishing. One of my favorite pilgrimages is into pre-history.
                                                                                                         ---Martha Treichle

Finding Adam and Eve

Have you seen how Adam and Eve recede from us?
How decade by decade they fade into the past?
Two hundred thousand
five hundred thousand years
and still further?

Even so we can find them
in the scanty leavings 
of those do-gooders 
who gave their souls to wipe out old evil
and in the doing, wiped out the past.

Among the bones and tools
we find a toy
a flute, a bead, paint
that tells us there was
music, dance
play, laughter.

What a world it was 
when we were all young
taking the first greedy bites from the fruit!

               --Martha Treicher

Marge Merrill poem for CLOUDBURST

There's Nothing Here

A road trip to P A
opportunity to connect
places I heard about ad nauseum
at the dinner table.

Motion sickness braved
to see the house
(there were many houses)
next to the crick
the crick that flooded in oh-two.

Uncle Ott was killed in the Big Three mine.
As was your Grandfather.
Uncle Harry and Uncle Christopher
slaved above ground in the oil fields
a salad of names worked the earth.

Farms, floods people that sort of
looked like those unsmiling, stiff folks
from the shoebox photos.

A dime as strangers pass the Presbyterian plate,
thank God, I know why they left everything
but their roots.

There’s nothing here.

Postcard Poetry Fest
August 2013

# 20


Marge Merrill

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


                                          ANCIENT TEXTS & RITUALS

At night sneak around to the tallest tree in the neighborhood
hang curtains on the hole for a door
nothing happens until it breaks

It seamed like picker bushes wrapped around me
they were pulling me in then I heard that noise again
it had dead birds and a dead cat in it
there was a sewing machine and bullet holes in the rusty car doors
the coal was hard on my shoes and newspapers from 1937 only worse
something was holding me back but the door was open
there were no steps to get down there only a broken window against the wall
we were sending messages over the pipe but I couldn’t get through
I was soaked and my shirt got ripped
it was near the projects there were chalk drawings
and what looked to be a ribcage

write a poem on the back of a kite
fly it as high as you can
ask a passerby to hold the string
just a minute
you have to go to the bathroom
you’ll be right back
never come back

between the space of being here but not really here
write a poem
take off your clothes and dive in without holding your breath

write a poem
across your lover’s belly with your tongue
record this poem on your answering machine

at night wander around your backyard
with your eyes closed
randomly reaching for and kissing the dark air
the words of your next poem

will spell themselves on a oui-ja board

Charles Rossiter Poem for Cloudburst

Ceremony at the 42nd Street Library

First go to the information desk
cross the hall to 320
talk to the tall black woman
in the red dress
fill out the application form
complete with personal reference
not a relative
show traceable ID
sign another form and get a card
go down the hall to 316 and
ring the buzzer.
When they let you in
show the card
sign in again and state your purpose
take a seat and adjust the light
while the attendant gets your package
sign a final form
hesitate a moment when the box arrives

Then slowly
        s  l  o  w  l  y
untie the red cotton ribbon
fold back the left flap then right
then top then bottom

there.  .  .

in the rectangle recess
framed in blue

hesitate again


take out the five 10-cent pocket notebooks
and read
Kerouac’s own penciled hand
dream fragments play scenes
and other scribbles.
Copy a line you’ve never seen.
“The moon is a piece of tea”

hold the notebooks in your hand
let it all sink in.

Charles Rossiter—First published in Chronicles of Disorder

Martin Willitts Jr Poem for Cloudburst

All pilgrimages are exploring 
from the inside (the known)
to the outside (the unknown).
All journeys begin in restlessness
and end with wondering
if the end had in fact been reached.
From out of Light into darkness, and the return
or the staying in the new discovery,
we can all be "heroes" in our own stories,
with our own adventures. The question 
of the quest is always:
What have we learned along the way?
If we have learned nothing,
than is the journey worth it?
Isn’t it amazing,
migrating animals always return to the Source?
Isn’t it more amazing,
we do not follow the Always?

Martin Willitts Jr.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


The approach to the Third CLOUDBURST COUNCIL is well underway. The Journey, Pilgrimage, Passage  has begun and the remaining questions about arrivals and wayward wanderings  are tales to be first experienced and then told. Each Pilgrim’s flag will make its way up the driveway hill and will be placed
in a gathering of colors and symbols, collective memory on a common breeze. 

Now, let me get this metaphor out of the way before I trip over it. I have been involved in small press publishing for many years and as part of that, what I am doing now with that experience is advising new people who want to start a print publication. One of the things I tell them is that most new publications die after the third issue.  The fourth issue is the most difficult one to produce. If you can get past that fourth time out, chances are you will be set-up for a nice long run (guess that means you’ll be hearing from this metaphor next year as well! I am already getting my back up thinking… “There will be a Fourth CLOUDBURST!”)

So my metaphor  for this year’s  CLOUDBURST COUNCIL is it is like the third issue of a small press magazine. The First Issue is a burst of pent up energy and ideas. Stuff that has been collecting for awhile and people who grasp the partly formulated vision pushing this urge to get the work out there.Any thoughts of the future are wildly optimistic and resources have been gathered for awhile so there is no thought of them running out. The Second Issue rides the energy of the First. Not everything saved up for it was used in the First Issue so that must be used in the Second and the beginning of recognition and feedback can start to be incorporated. Many of those in the First are also found in the Second and there are some new people. At this place probably the new people seen as fitting in with the original vision. Resources are still available and there are some cost improvements just because of knowing what is involved and how better to share the work.

The Third Issue is both a transition and a continuation. This was helpful to me for increasing my understanding of the process of organizing this year’s CLOUDBURST COUNCIL.  At the Third Issue
the original birth energy has been largely used up. What propels the work at this point is self-referential, the beginning of a life of its own. Not all the original people and pieces are still in place. Along with a sense of lost, there is interest and there must be growth (in the form of new people and people enthusiastic as participants). How strong the Third Issue is tells a lot of the future of the publication.

Coming back out of my metaphor, the upcoming Third CLOUDBURST COUNCIL is one that will bring together a grand collection of poets.  The opportunity of getting together for a third year is the chance to meet with friends, share our work and celebrate.  I look forward to discussing with poets the tides and times of the past year as well as having fun and learning a lot.

                                                             --Alan Casline

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages/CLOUDBURST 2014

Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
The droughte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephyrus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halve cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(So priketh hem nature in hir corages);
Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
To ferne halwesw, kowthe in sondry londes....

[above sent by Albert Glover to CLOUDBURST in response to RE:PILGRIMAGE?]
In a Modern English translation 

When April with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of March has pierced unto the root
And bathed each vein with liquor that has power
To generate therein and sire the flower;
When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath,
Quickened again, in every holt and heath,
The tender shoots and buds, and the young sun
Into the Ram one half his course has run,
And many little birds make melody
That sleep through all the night with open eye
(So Nature pricks them on to ramp and rage)-
Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage,
And palmers to go seeking out strange strands,
To distant shrines well known in sundry lands.
And specially from every shire's end
Of England they to Canterbury wend,
The holy blessed martyr there to seek
Who helped them when they lay so ill and weak


Interesting! I am finishing a new book and have a number of poems in this vein. See this one:

Let us
in these days
of old stones
of harsh sands
of sounds white hot
of searing sun
fill empty wells
dig deep into hard earth

Let us circle
this or that
punctuate our paces
leave this land of olives
depart before the departed

Let us be pilgrims
pray against
Allah or Yahweh
seek our own light
in these ruins
hide under crumbling arches
paint new languages
scar our souls into mosaics

Let us silence songs from our ancestors
plant wild wheat
find new waters
in lands undiscovered

Let us take our own gods by force
baptize ourselves
with our own hands
lie together on foreign soil
in tent or yurt
under open night

 ---Paulette Swartzfager


(Planning for Cloudburst Council 2014)

Pilgrimages and relics and symbols and rituals

Helen's haiku

below zero 
a little bit of gold
in the finches

         --Helen Ruggien
               2/4/2014     2:34 pm

*                       *                         *                         *

They always had trade fairs next to those pilgrimage sites. And taverns.
                                                                     ---John Roche
                                                                        2/4/2014  6:08 pm
*                        *                          *                         *
My poem..has pilgrim in it.
                                      --Alan Casline
                                              2/4/2014   6:12 pm


 healing spring flows out of circle basin
 eternal outpouring
 water sought
 by train ride
    limping sore-foot walk
 pilgrim to St. Blaise’s Well
 bright cloudless sky
 from fountain-filled pool
 over brick wall water drops
 to reflecting pond
 dark and light shared balance
 daffodils yellow and white
 violets spread beneath holly trees
 family of ducks on small islands
 my wife and son with me

 afterwards I realize I brought small wants
 sip water, close eyes
 wish for healed throat, pain to leave foot
   and deeper prayer
   to heal a bruised spirit
   voice of the Spring speaks on
to heal the bruised spirit of All,
        go on, taste my sweet water
         and go on—

                                                    --Alan Casline
                                                                     March 29, 2012
                                                      Bromley, United Kingdom

*                        *                        *                        *                          *

well we actually had a pilgrimage last year: to the Long house and to the Seneca sipapu (place we came out of the ground)
                                           --Stephen Lewandowski
                                                                       2/5/2014   8:02 am

*                     *                        *                          *                             *

Both were highlights of the weekends! Any other close-by pilgrimage sites we could visit?

                                                           --John Roche
                                                              2/5/2014  8:53 am
*                        *                         *                         *                          *
We could pilgrimage to the Burning Spring in Bristol, less than 10 miles away (north) where first Frenchman was taken in 1669 (18 years before other Frenchies trashed Ganondagan) as a wonder. I dunno if it still lights but we could give a try.
                                                              --Stephen Lewandowski 
                                                                      2/7/2014  10.06 am

Burning Spring maybe O.K. but with a different story. Is there anything from precontact days associated with the Spring?

Catching a Frenchman doesn't hit me as reason to Pilgrimage.

I'll google and see if there is anything? Maybe it was a natural gas leak that bubbled up through the water and the peace pipe went up in smoke.  Maybe Joe the Poet was there and his beard GOT BURNED OFF

Hey Guess what I made up the real story!

The region was visited by the explorer Robert de LaSalle in the 17th Century in order to see a burning spring (natural gas) known to the natives, members of the Seneca tribe
                                                                 --Alan Casline
Note: Lewandowski tells me I had it wrong.."taken" doesn't mean captured but rather taken to visit a place of big magic.

*                     *                     *                       *                      *                             *

I reverse engineered it and put Fire(Li) over  Water (K’an ) and got the 64th Hexagram of the I-Ching,  Wei Chi / Before Completion
above   LI        THE CLINGING, FLAME

this hexagram presents a parallel to spring, which leads out of winter’s stagnation into the fruitful time of summer

I think we all better prepare for a pilgrimage with maybe trials and tribulations on the way. I can already get a sense that for all of us making the journey to CLOUBURST COUNCIL the travelers’ tales and the stories of those fallen and risen will fill the quiet hours till morning

                           --Alan Casline
                              2/8/2014  8:45 am