Martha Ann Blackman

Am sorry, Annie,┬áto have been late again…

When I fed the ferals that
Saturday afternoon,
huge thistles, sharp needles,
on stalks and leaves
were overgrown,
onto the cats’ path.

Slid through the sliver of
an opening in the fence,
moved the thistles so
tender feline feet could
touch the earth.

By now, late for
Jennifer O’Neill Pickering’s
“Forms of the Goddess”
a poem to inspire, Eckphrasis.
At Brickhouse, picked three,
got lost in them as is necessary
when discovering a poem.

The lateness progressive,
finally walked out the door
on my way to you.
Though windshield was dirty,
hoped the bright sun would
not get low, blinding us;
thought we could make it
before sun flashed
in our eyes…I was wrong.

Heart beating to two
days of lateness,
my seldom guilt slipped in,
yet was washed clean
by your friendship
and the night’s music delight.

I washed my windshield
today and thought of you
putting up with me.


Martha Ann Blackman understands the power of words to bring about change. Her 1979 poem, Radiation, was written in response to the partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant. Thus began a ten-year mission to close Rancho Seco nuclear power plant near Sacramento, a successful grassroots effort, for which she was a primary spokesperson.

Martha Ann has been featured at Whole Earth Festivals, Earth Day events, the Sacramento Poetry Center, The Book Collector, Luna’s, Shine, and many other venues. Her poems have been published since the early 70’s when she was part of the Mass Transit Poetry Project in Washington D.C. At that time she was also in James Mecham’s Out of Sight 40, in an issue edited by poet/artist, Paula Rankin. Rankin also chose poems by Ann Menebroker and Joyce Odam, making it significant when Blackman moved to Sacramento and sat next to them at a poetry reading.

She and Annie became fast friends and published and co-edited Watching From the Sky, a poetry collection to benefit Grandmothers for Peace. Martha Ann’s chapbook of poems, The Caring Tree, was published by Rattlesnake Press in 2011. Her prose poem, The Memory Within, illustrated and designed by Laura Jane Coats, conveys the simple thought that all things are connected; it was featured at the 2017 Codex Book Fair. Of her poetry, Blackman says, “I write it when I find it, when it falls from the sky.”