The Poetry of Turning Point: An Anthology of Work, Part II

From June to July of 2017, residents of Santa Monica’s Turning Point Shelter took part in Films & Poetry, a workshop facilitated by Women’s Voices Now. Throughout these classes, residents watched films from WVN’s archives, read poetry, then wrote original works. Following are a selection of poems from these workshops which the authors have allowed me to share with you. This is the second and final installment of the works completed by our participants at Turning Point. I look forward to meeting the second cohort of Turning Point workshop attendees in January 2018!

Photo via Wandering Rose.


An Eco Poem for Turning Point

After watching a number of films addressing climate change from WVN’s archives, we wrote and filmed our own Eco-Poem. Here is the text (below) and here is the footage:


Woodstock, crying, leaning

branches that hug you


Concrete that you glide

across to make it your own destination


Humans that you smile at

because it looks good as

a certain expression


Building that does not speak,

talk, or move, but stares at

you. with embracing gestures

(Ashley Studabaker)


Stinkin’ thinking

Leave it at the door

The carcass of who I used to

be – putrid, rotting,

lifeless on the floor

Leavin’ my chrysalis

I start to soar

(Amber Williamson)


The solidity of a tree

The strength of its structure, adds

balance, as it reaches up

to the sky.

(Rene Smith)


There are many levels of mentalities

at Turning Point, with different journeys.

Stay on track. Don’t turn back.

Don’t turn in. Don’t turn out.

(James E. Sanders)


for Prince

The purple one is gone……

so young…. so beautiful….

still in his prime.

    A kaleidoscope of magnificent jewels,

his sweet falsetto ever-present in our memories,

like a beautiful, clear mountain spring

sparkling in the sunshine…..

a lark    is on a tree beside the spring,

singing the highest and sweetest tones –

arpeggios, growling, husky bass notes to falsettos,

yet with syncopation, holding out his notes,

bends his notes with such funk

like no other purple bird



Mist. Big leaved trees. Ocean air.

We are all animals, but

these folks are most elegant. See, Sherry’s

cat-eye sunglasses.

(Ariel Fintushel)


We have a little garden that I have seen die and come back alive.

What will it be today

Will it look dry and wither away.

or will it be given a new life

by those who care



A Poem by Ariel Fintushel


In closing, I present this poem for Turning Point. Thank you for so graciously welcoming me into your home.


Image by Ariel Fintushel.


A Poem for Turning Point


Press the gas and the speed dial turns;

stars turn sending rays through space;

a diamond turns in the mind –

no one is a thief.

An acorn, finger, and compass turn

without judgement; the fan blades turn

cooling down the room;

a pen turns, inking down the page

where words appear for you to follow.

A point where what’s wanted changes;

difference of degrees changes a person.

The lemon tree’s branch turns

against a wall without fruit or leaves –

where’s it headed with no belongings?

At the base grows a plant;

its red stem is turning green.

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