Women of Achievement Poems 2017

Chimps and Koalas and Patty, Oh My!

for Patty DeDominic

Chinese proverb: Only he that has traveled
the road knows where holes are deep…

What if he turns out to be Patty?
A modern Renaissance woman, she’s proved
there’s no business like women’s business.
Chronic befriender, sunny smile, she’ll hug you
first meeting, this lover of everything living,
loving especially animals, indeed every soul met
along roads traveled that made all the difference…

In photos, she’s seen hugging a chimp
in an Ugandan sanctuary, both looking
like they’ve found heaven, same as in Australia
holding a Koala, another of husband Gene cloaked
with little chimps. Icon Jane Goodall become friend,
Patty joins the Institute’s Board. In admiration
of Elizabeth Dole, signs on to the Red Cross Board.

Out on a limb, building and selling companies,
she’s a guide with Midas touch, keen eye
spotting holes in the road that can sink you. Raising
the bar for women worldwide, she dreams up festivals
for them to unite, embrace their power. Full hearted,
Patty advises multitudes how to set goals,
meet them and before you can say what now?
she humbly watches her clients take their bows.

Others saw. The National Women Business Owners
bestowed the Susan Hager Award. Recognized
by President Obama with the Lifetime Achievement Award
for Economic Development, what could be left?
Always traveling, but best is family, coming home
right here to her and Gene’s Santa Ynez Valley nest—
fish splash in the front pond, ducks skedaddle,
hawks call. In the business of life, Patty and her dog
take to mountain trails, keeping on with the show…

by Perie Longo
SB Poet Laureate, 2007-09
June 2017, AWC-SB Women of Achievement Award

How to Become a Mayor

for Helene Schneider,
Mayor of Santa Barbara 2009-17

Join the chorus at New York’s International High School,
star as Frenchie in Grease, Mme. Dubonnet in Boyfriend,
and Fabian in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Take to heart
the Bard’s All the world’s a stage, we’re merely players
with our entrances and exits. Improvise—be quick
to cover forgotten lines. Named “Head Girl,” fulfill
vow to keep the Senior Lounge clean. Preside

over Network for Women’s Rights at Skidmore College.
Fundraise. Fundraise. Organize a march to DC
for Reproductive Rights. “A big deal,” she says,
and keeps marching—for social justice, for diversity.
With a winning smile, politics her passion, be fearless
on stage, always present in the lights, the news,
right words at the right time ring out true as a bell.

Empowered to speak Truth to Power like idols
Margaret Sanger and Amelia Earhart, their dreams
became reality, refuse “No” for an answer. Construct
a legacy of a fiscally sound city, clean environment,
space open and free. Honor the varied arts.
Those paintings in her office? Local artists. Poets
don laureate wreaths, dole phrases for City Council.
From the nation’s mayors, be the first California mayor
to receive the Leadership in Arts Award.

Write haiku: Cut red ribbons. Mend what’s torn.
Accept an honorary key for her role in opening doors
to the MOXIE museum. Hail the awaited Desal plant.
And in moxie style, chart the coming course: improvise,
explore the new—crest Machu Picchu, see Egypt
from the back of a camel. Just returned from Dingle,
our Irish sister city, plan a tour for the literary
next year. Wind at your back, a beacon in our midst,
you’re a “big deal” in our history, marching forward
and we women roar—Here, Hear Helene!

by Perie Longo
SB Poet Laureate, 2007-09
June 2017, AWC-SB Women of Achievement Award

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