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Diane Funston: California Poets Part 7, Three Poems

Diane Funston

July 1st, 2024

California Poets: Part VII

Diane Funston

Three Poems

Death Valley Lake


Void of activity.


The ceaseless wind repeats.





Spread out like cracked china,

wrinkled linen tablecloth.

No fish today, this once inland sea.


Sun. Heat. Clouds.

Little rain.

Empty lifeless bottom.


Uneven trails of salt.

The Earth's tears.

Desert Landscape


Sip coffee.

Drink stone

far as ground

meets horizon.



Eroded warriors.

Brown bastions

guard all

who settle here.



Gangly tree-limbs

wave surrender

while gusting wind

overtakes them.



Sentinel stars

map dark sky.

Ancient cartography

for all who are lost.   

Working the Clay

Flying over Nevada mountains

below the propellers of the small plane

eventually connecting me back East,

the gray panorama spreads wide.


There is little seen but gray landscape,

occasional mud puddle lakes

and dry basins, light beige.

Nothing else for many miles.


I begin to imagine the center

of the Silver State as potter's clay,

available in daydreams to mold and spin,

and I, as creator of my life there.


So much material to mine in imagination.

Building up by hand the peaks of neutral gray,

smoothing out the rough patches

making mud pies like a child.


Home is the product of creative effort.

Shaping, molding, pinching, carving.

Stamping our brand on the available,

allowing patience for finishing glaze.


I must remember this when I return.

Thrown far off the potter's wheel,

I travel to seek embellishment

to decorate the sober state of gray.


It is my life to create, my hands, my mind.

Playing in gray matter of fact every day.

Taking and twisting, working the clay,

finding the masterpiece.

Author Bio:

Diane Funston is originally from Rochester, New York before moving to California in 1994. She was active in Pure Kona when it was at Java Joes on Gibbs St and a member of Writers and Books and Rochester Poets. In California she co-founded a women's poetry salon in San Diego, created a weekly poetry gathering in the high desert town of Tehachapi, CA and most recently has been the Yuba-Sutter Arts and Culture Poet-in-Residence for the past two years. It is in this role she created Poetry Square, a monthly online venue that featured poets from around the world reading their work and discussing creative process through Zoom.


Diane has been published in Last Stanza, Synkronicity, California Quarterly, F(r)iction, Whirlwind, Tule Review, Lake Affect Magazine, Meat for Tea, Still Points Quarterly, Le Mot Juste, and many other literary journals. Her first chapbook, “Over the Falls” was published in July 2022 from Foothills Publishing. [1] 


Diane is also a visual artist in mosaic, wool felting, collage, and beaded jewelry. Her pieces have been in galleries in the Sacramento Valley and have been published in Synkronicity and Ravens Perch magazines  


She holds a degree in Literature and Writing from California State University at San Marcos and lives in Marysville, California a small rural town outside of Sacramento. She shares her home with her husband Roger, three dogs, a large aquarium and a thriving fruit, vegetable, and flower garden.



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