Wednesday, January 31, 2018

1st Thursday Poetry featuring G Emil Ruetter and Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

Berks Bards is excited to welcome G Emil Ruetter and Diane Sahms-Guarnieri! Join us at the GoggleWorks to hear their poetry. Following their reading, we'll allow ANYONE to step up to the mic and read anything that moves them. Learn more about these poets before our event by reading more below:

G Emil Ruetter: A writer of poems and stories, g emil reutter was born in Bristol, PA, raised in Levittown, PA and has lived most of his life in of Philadelphia, PA. His work has been widely published in the small and electronic press and nine volumes of his collections have been published. He has read his poetry at venues in New England, Mid-Atlantic, and the Southwest. He published The Fox Chase Review (2008 – 2015) and coordinated The Fox Chase Reading Series ( 2007-2015). He is currently a contributing editor at North of Oxford. Visit him at:

Read a sample poem from G Emil Reutter below:

I am Born of Nobility

I am born of nobility, of noble parents, of the streets of Highbridge

aged in the tract homes of Levittown. I am their son, they could have

done better. I am of the nobility of kitchens and car washes, of factories

and mills, of railroads. My hands have felt the heat of furnaces, dirt

packed under nails, scars on hands and knees, small burn mark on the

face. I have known great courage and great fear, great success and great

failure. I am born of noble parents.

I am born of nobility. I have worked in hot water, hot weather, and cold

weather that chilled bones. I have worked with scrub brushes, bricks

shovels and jack hammers, with badges and cuffs and at times with muscle.

I have been loved and have loved, hated and have hated, rose to the top of

the mountain and fell into the valleys. I have rejoiced and grieved, know the

great beauty and ugliness of humankind. I am born of noble parents.

I am born of nobility, of good and gracious parents, not the nobility of

aristocracy but of true noblemen and women of the working and middle

class who have felt the dirt of the earth in their hands, built homes and cities

worked the long hours. Of the noble people of the Reutters, Halpins,

Smiths and Loudens. Of truck drivers, transit workers, paper cutters,

house cleaners, cops, railway workers, soldiers, sailors,  politicians

lovers of literature, lovers of life. I am born of the nobility of the working

and middle class.

I am born of nobility, I am their son; I have done the best I can. Imprint of

the past upon me, I leave the past behind me, jettison the baggage and hold

the love and good near. I honor those in my lineage, know from where I have

come. I am born of noble parents, I am a writer of poems and stories.  

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri, a native Philadelphian poet, is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Images of Being ( Publishing, 2011); Light’s Battered Edge (Anaphora Literary Press, 2015); and Night Sweat (Red Dashboard, LLC, 2016). She has been published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Many Mountains Moving, Blue Heron Review, JONAH Magazine, and 34th Parallel, among others. Poems are forthcoming from Canary, The A3 Review, & The Ibis Head Review. Currently she serves as poetry editor at North of Oxford. Diane has performed her poetry at venues along the east coast of the United States. Visit her at:

Read a sample poem from Diane Sahms-Guarnieri below:


Pittsburgh like a pen that lost its ink. A pervasive loneliness in-
vades your propped up body.  Three rivers. Bridges connecting
the disconnect.  Time to cross over and not look back at who you
once were.  Bridges crossed; never to be crossed over again.  Learn
what you can, move forward, parts of you will surely be left behind
like the city of steel that has died.
Once its mighty furnaces built this nation; now ghosts sing the lost
lives of those no longer here. Time has passed; it moves on into the
future.  Enlightened Emerson says to forgot regret, forget memory, the
soul must soar toward everlasting, yet China builds steel empires to
our forgotten Gods – disturbing as smoke billowing atomic clouds out
of nuclear power plants.  
June’s Alleghenies thick forest green; brown creeks wash our state’s
wounded feet; unemployment deep as a dug out quarry, rough and
quick as rapids, stagnant as a tree dead pond; muddy rivers running
wild and hungry; and rhythmic as a train rocking its sway from side
to side, the hunch back clouds walk the top ridge with slow motion
urgency, sun beating on their backs like a chain gang.
Philadelphia via rail - Paoli, Lancaster, Elizabethtown, Harrisburg,
Lewistown, Huntingdon, Tyrone, Altoona, Johnstown, Latrobe,
Greensburg, Pittsburgh.  This is the homeland I know, I know none
better.  Generations of families have lived here in every root reaching
foothold, in rich soil of timelessness, of sun. I bless this land.  An en-
gine pulls its many cars along rails blasted through mountain, wind-
ing way through forest, where every shadow has a story, each tree’s
testament – its wisdom and leafy green prayers to June-proud rays,
prevalence of green; all these waterways like veins running secretly
through time’s hidden mountains and valleys, coal cars still packed
with black dust.
O loved ones, ancestors to us all, how in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh
I have sung hard-hearted battle hymns, your bones laid at strangers’
feet.  They ran away from your tombs of shadow, clothes soaked in
blood, whose sweat sang our state alive, whose raised ashes scattered
beat death’s strung-out songs, filling the winds chattering teeth, the
buried banging of your deaths’ toll, church bell tongues now silenced
into the reading room space of a little room in a grand library, 300
miles from home.  I sang your elegies and after reading your life songs,
cried as if I had come from each of your funerals.
I am ashamed of myself. I cannot bury the ashes of your smoldering,
days gone by.  How can one drink each night from Lethe and rise the
next day forgetting the previous day?  I have failed to forget you; turn
to rust and ash like the steel mills and the rail yards of Altoona and
Johnstown.  I release your ashes to the wind of time, but they circle
back blinding my eyes in acidic tears; they burn through forgetfulness;
all of you rise in front of me and I see and hear you, and I tear my gar-
ments from my body, swim in cloudy waters of chlorinated sky where
clouds surrender to you, where I see your faces reflected in the lakes,
rivers, and mountains, whose silence screams from pinnacles.  I swim
away from the other side of Lethe, and I wake to your sleeping faces
in the shapes of clouds, until they lose their fluffy resemblances and
become skeletons, skulls - where I see the blue sky in holes that once
were your steel eyes.