Spectacular Saturday Zoom Open Mic, June 18, 2022
Interviews with Jill Egland, Virginia Liascos and Irene Sinopole

By Carla Joy Martin

Folks from far and wide assembled for our Spectacular Saturday Zoom Open Mic on the 3rd Thursday evening of the month of June, 2022. Participants were Jill Egland, Virginia Liascos, Irene Sinopole, Chris Nielsen, Suzanne Weller, Christopher Craddock, Anke Hodenpijl, Carla Martin and Gary Evans (listening).

ZOOM Video:
Passcode: e*Q5Y19.

Jill Egland read three poems to us. Here is an additional one she has agreed to share:

Lamont, California

I must go back to Lamont
Take the 184 south
Past the dust bowl dead
And the newly planted fields
And street names like Halleluiah
Where boarded up storefronts
Look blindly at the refineries
And the dusk heralds breezes off Bear Mountain
Blowing cow smell one day, chemical smell the next.

There’s a boy who lives in a trailer behind his granny’s house
Another boy who dresses all in black and stays in his room
Girls with hair the length of their backs walk down the road
With Mexican sweets and cell phones
Their parents purchased from their work in the fields

When I go back again
I will search out a place
Where I can sit undisturbed and out of the way
And let it all wash over me: dead and living.

Q. Why did you select this poem to share? What is its back story and importance to you?

A. I started this poem several years ago, after visiting a friend in Lamont who was at the time living in a trailer behind his grandma’s house. I already knew another really interesting guy who lived there–an artist–and over the years had spent quite a bit of time visiting him… they came from different cultures but both their families had wound up in Lamont as part of the same agricultural migratory wave — one in the ’30s, one in the ’60s. Voila! A poem is born!

Lamont, and the surrounding area, is a confluence of traditions that at first seem to be at odds with one another. But when you talk to folks, you realize we all have the same personal aspirations, the same hopes and dreams for our kids. There’s way more that unites us than separates us.


We are delighted that Irene Sinopole joined us for Spectacular Saturday, along with her mother, Virginia Liascos. Here is the poem Virginia shared with us:


Every morning I watch the sun shining
    on the huge banana leaves in the front yard.

As the sun rises, it lights up the east side of the giant leaves
    as they move and sway in the gentle breeze.

Sometimes the breeze is very strong,
    and the leaves turn and sway very much.

Other times, when the breeze is more gentle,
    they wave only a little.

Then the leaves are very still.

Q. Why did you select this poem to share? What is its back story and importance to you?

  1. I just watched the leaves on two trees and noticed that the larger ones moved much more than the smaller ones on the taller tree.


Here is the poem based on a fascinating historical person that Irene shared with us:

The tribe had lived on San Nicolas Island for as long as they could remember, but the Mexican ship donning big white sails had come to take them away. And take them to the mainland they did, except for one young woman who went back to look for her daughter. She searched so long she missed the boat.

She never found her daughter, but she had to find food every day for 17 years. Fishing and hunting became her activities and dogs became her only companions. Her teeth were ground down by chewing on dried seal blubber.

RESCUE came those seventeen years later by another ship with white sails. But was rescue the right word for dying 6 weeks later of a cold for which she nor her tribe members had immunity? None of her tribe had survived either.

What had seemed like bad luck in being left behind actually gave the young woman 17 more years of life than the rest of her tribe.

Q. Why did you select this poem to share? What is its back story and importance to you?

A. My motivation for my writing came from reading “The Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island,” a vignette from the book It Happened in Southern California by Noelle Sullivan. The fact that the tribe had no say when the Mexicans showed up was very upsetting to me.