Saturday, August 22, 2015

32 poets being published in SGVPQ 67

MARIA A. ARANA
PETROUCHKA ALEXIEVA
JACK G. BOWMAN
CALOKIE
DON KINGFISHER CAMPBELL
JACKIE CHOU
BEVERLY M. COLLINS
ROBIN WYATT DUNN
MARK A. FISHER
DAN GARCIA-BLACK
STACY DE GROOT
CHARLES HARMON
LINDA MARIE HILTON
ROSE ANNA HINES
ANITA S. HOLZBERG
GERDA GOVINE ITUARTE
BRIONY JAMES
JEFFRY MICHAEL JENSEN
ZACHARY JENSEN
SEAN MAHONEY
MATT McGEE
KATHERINE NORLAND
LORINE PARKS
JONATHAN VOS POST
JLS
KIYATANA SAPP
ALISHA GRACE SCOTT
MARY LANGER THOMPSON
BRIAN THORPE
TIM TIPTON
LORI WALL-HOLLOWAY
ROBERT WILSON

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

18 poets read from SGVPQ 66


LORI WALL-HOLLOWAY Spring Shorts

Spring buds push through dead
dry leaves to repurpose old
visions and ideas

May my fragmented
self be pieced back together
with glue of your love

Plantings emerge in meadow
of family to bear fragrance
of hope to those who follow

THELMA T. REYNA Bonsai

cuts are gentle, kind
a nick from blade
snip from shears
bending of the limbs in nuanced arcs
baby branches coaxed
with copper twined
on base and slender arms

jadeite pebbles meld
with moss mounds ranged
like eggs beneath the bonsais
infant shade
velvet ground for mist
and dew, droplets from
long- throated sprinklers
waved like magic wands
at shoots and tender leaves

slants of sunlight
swath this princeling
from the fabled east
replete with promise
for ages hence:
gnarled trunk, burly arms,
roots pushing toward gods,  
leaves filled with centuries
of air and cloud


LORINE PARKS today is a beautiful California day

a brilliant October California day
when the clarity of the sunshine
arouses your heart
like your first sip of a good wine
like the dry whisper of a Blue Oak Merlot
or the shimmer of a Napa Chardonnay

today the sparkle of light on ordinary objects
makes you eager to do extraordinary things
climb a glass mountain
dive like a peregrine
the day hands you a mirror
and in it you see stars

and it was just as beautiful
on that other October day
when you met your husband-to-be
the blue of noon split open
and inside lay as many
good intentions
as a pomegranate has seeds

don't blame him
now he's your husband-that-was
she seduced you both
led you astray
bewitched you with her special light
blame that bitch of a California day



TOTI O’BRIEN Charm

Among them she preferred the youngest.
Remember, when she rode her bike, his hands wrapped around her?
Shed never forget, she said.
I heard her. By then I had an infant son.

Time went fast. I recall a teen, eating dinner.
He reached for a fork from the drawer, behind him.
He fished a small one for dessert. His hand huge by contrast.
A mans hand. 

How many more times would he sit there?
The table was also too small. He must have known.
He must have played dumb, for my sake. That large hand betrayed him.
That fork.

I looked down while eating. I wanted the picture to sink in.
A tattoo, each pixel a drop of my blood.
Those long scorched fingers. That risible silver.
That amulet, dangling.

MINA V. KIRBY *Mothers Day Flower*

She brought it to me
straight from its garden
Large circles of deep red petals
seeded golden center
long thick pale green stalk
ready to soak up life-giving liquid
In a tall transparent vase
across from my chair
it speaks to me of love
from my cherished child
gives pleasure to my day
and intrigues the curious cats
For a whole week
its stately self stands erect
Its grandeur permeates the room
providing a lovely interlude
in an otherwise ordinary place
until finally its time is spent
Despite fresh nurturing water
it withers
I watch
as frail petals
droop from its stem
and it dies
But its essence is immortal
living in my heart
reflections of it
instantly available
intertwined with soft feelings
for my grown-up child 

LALO KIKIRIKI A Miracle: Portrait of She and He

We are always
constantly
amazed
by tiny miracles
jewels
in the dust of days
               -Alice Q. Palmer Wood

For thirty years she has managed
the monthly miracle
of "paying the bills"
dipping just enough from that money river
         to last
                 past the flipping of a calendar page.
He calls it "keeping the wolf from the door"
and she wonders,
has he ever felt the fangs –
         the drip of its hot saliva
                  slide into the pulse of his clavicle?
She feels the wolf's breath hot
         on the nape of her neck
                  as she signs each check
with the hyphenate name he gave her
making the miracle happen
         one more time

SCOTT C. KAESTNER *intelligent design*

a 50/50 proposition
that ended well
if you ask me

for if it were
up to us men
to birth a child

none of us would
be here, never
would
ve made it

nine months too long
for Y chromosomes
to power through

lets be honest, gents
we do not have
what it takes

not just physically
but also mentally
to provide nurture

to fully sacrifice
ourselves, let alone
our bad habits

so let us praise
our amazing women
the miracle of birth

be there for her
and honor her
with our gratitude

and the occasional
2 a.m. burger run
to satisfy her craving


JEFFRY MICHAEL JENSEN Take the Green Escape

I search for the wind in the deep black sidewalk of sound straddling
motion with the mouse of a ounce down the water line feeling bright in
a twist of a diagram through the underground kissed softly in the
rubble of mix and tricks feast to feast shattering on English noise
cracking freedom riding rip to round rocket to space of the backbone
wandering in the rise of exhaustion instructing drummers to fall rapid
weave up the floor in the grit of thighs flattened by groove smoking
throat to bridge to rasp of tongue to breathe over pile of hearts
steaming propel to place carry unguarded piece of sunny side cell
division schooling on tour sharp to tenderloin beautiful everything
spilled I am the smuggler standing on the pylon cracking the sugar
middle in half loud as a regal organ in theory waxing stained glass
salvation to early consent streamed instrument outcast machine costume
antique delay apprehension song sailing Scandinavian nest dominant
whirl to orbit

CHARLES HARMON Little Red Wagon

I hadn’t seen you in a hundred years, wondered
What happened to you. Found you buried alive,
Essentially dead , all rusted out, paint peeling
Off your glossy skin, “Radio Flyer” barely visible.

Grandma had promised you to my son when
He was born, but you were nowhere to be found.
I went ahead and bought a new one, plastic made,
Proof against rust, more expensive, not nearly as
Classy as the American made steel and red paint original.
But we took it to the Grand Canyon, around the block to
School, to the park, on picnics, and to the beach.

Years after Erick had outgrown his little red wagon
I found mine, buried under the red apple and weeds
At Grandma’s house, rusted out with a rat family
Nesting inside, unsalvageable, had to be thrown out.
Inside the house there had been a flood from lack of
Maintenance, a supply line ruptured, everything on the
Floor was ruined. I spent months cleaning up, and there’s
Still more to do. On the floor next to hundred year old
Photos of grandparents and great-grandparents, a
Grocery receipt from forty years ago, mold growing on both.
She took home the junk the other teachers were throwing out.

Now I had to overcome that hoarding, Great Depression,
World War Two pack rat mentality that had been passed
On to me. Be selective, be judicious, save for the sisters
What the sisters would want, but give to the Goodwill, the
Salvation Army, the Wounded Warrior Project that which
Will never be used again in this home. Move Mom in with us,
Later assisted living, then the nursing home with memory care.

She could have cleaned up that house herself, but
Procrastination, indecision, and sentimentality prevented her.
If everything is precious then nothing is.
And aren’t we all hanging on to our own little red wagons
Full of memories and junk?


GREGORY FOSTER August 1969

Her afro was so big and mini-skirt so short it was like watching Sandro Botticelli's Venus walk up and down Telegraph Avenue dripping wet draped in a single sea shell while selling Little Red Books

So you watched
Power to the peep-hole sister

Power to the people brother
Where the broom does not sweep
The dust will not vanish of its own accord
Buy a red book and come to the meeting

Will you be there

Right On

Then right on then

And before you knew you
Were an agent of change
Right on right on right now

But she was a demi-goddess
Bound to a petite demagogue
Who espoused Power to the People
But whose soul believed the masses
Were unredeemably benighted asses
Argued  true power should rest
In hands of intellectually best
Small select politically correct central committee of  three
Then promptly appointed himself the group's Leading Cadre

He loved her knot, she had been very deeply envolved in the fray
Been there seen Bunchy Carter gunned down on campus UCLA
Anti-Nixon anti-war Black Panthers Pink Panthers Brown Beret
For her and me it was philosophy and support for common cause
Hippies  Blippies street people blight and all anti-capitalist laws
For him had been sheer power he'd sung
Dialectically and historically  I stand
Following the anti-imperial capitalist plan
Of Lenin  Joe Stalin and  Mao Tse Tung

His vision for second American Revolution dashed
By lapse of time and lame lip excuses
For freshly disclosed Red Guard abuses
Dogmatic and adventuous strategies that clashed
With my own and more importantly too many others
Who were also forward thinking sisters and brothers
Black Student Unions  SDS   United Front  CORE
Freedom Riders  SNIC  and  Veterans Against the War
No way!   It was an iron on patch too foreign to hatch
Even in babylonian Berkeley

But back to her or was it me
At whom she flaunted sexuality
Answering the door in thin neglige
Without bra nor pantie down under
Repeatedly toying taunting enticing
Me to make a political blunder
Hind her glasses  followed the eyes
poised with anti-chauvinist thunder

It seems the sexual gratification revolution delayed
Although revolutionary musical bed  later played

Shortly after the glass jawed movement
Hit the brick wall in seventy-two
She'd had enough to tell him after
Two dogs and two babies we're through
To tell the whole truth he had forced her hand
Had taken a solid steel pipe and killed a man

For all legal fees and her loved one's life
She vowed to become the barrister's wife
Divorced her husband, married his attorney
And thus did end her revolutionary journey

Occasionally seen haunting the East Bay
Poor chap quite delusional to this day
He recognized and confronted me to say
I alone revolutionary remain
Was it the truth or is he insane

Was so long ago a distant Shangri La it seems
Those hopes now most dust lost utopian dreams
Chance at  true social revolution  never so real
As the cold hard pipe used by angry hands to kill

MARK A. FISHER trump

“turn the card”
she whispers
in an atmosphere
of anxiety
the smell of peppers
and cheap incense
trapped by frayed
curtains
that make the room
dark enough
to hold arcana
not trumping
piles of losing scratchers
tossed into drawers
with her dreams

as laughing children
remnants of her magic
fill the backyard of now

still
another card is turned over
on her kitchen table
while she looks for
a better future


DAN DIAMOND Adventures in The Skin Trade 3rd draft
            (cento after Charles Plymell)

Sleeping under street lights 
Occasionally car seats 
That's what nurtured this skin
I uncomfortably sit in 

Skin loosely flooping air 
hisses through meaningful holes 
Called by some cheloidal scars
Meanwhile. ..

Quotidian sticks up its head as it tends to do
Saying hi, how are you the weathers nice and o my you're thinner

Perversely I have it in me to reply
I am the cook
I am the walrus
But I decide not to reply
 and know that I am 
the farmer of the rainbows

Feeling under the skin of  the cook or the walrus
Searching about in secret chambers made by unknowing bees wait, can it be ?
In the volcano
 beyond the waters of Vanuatu

The worker ants no longer see 
-the grand design, from being underground too long 
Their nearsightedness only improves alchemy
Soon they will be able 
to channel a human heart

I cultivate another skin
One that looks more like me 

SEVEN DHAR The Magic Wand

I have a lucky pen.
It never leaves the house.
Silver, encrusted
With jagged
amethyst accents,
Hard to harm,
Harder to hold,
It's almost indestructible
A stem that scores the hands,
Something to wring
When wandering
in weary lands,
A vajra — incisive as a diamond,
As quick as a bolt.
It sometimes writes alone.
Not good stories, I'm told.
What can a liquid-pencil know?
Fluid, refillable
It’s no good with prose.
But if it should slice,
It sure can sparkle,
Cut into my hide and know
A rich reward of vermilion.
Glisten and glide, it rolls.
One day it’ll be jaded.
Then we can pen,
pal, and partner,
Maybe even pose
The finest final question,
In search of THE answer,
The ultimate query of all,
The ne plus ultra,
The
 sine qua non,
The unparalleled
We meant to pose all along,

ART CURRIM She Gives Men Pause / Notes From a Walk in DTLA

Kevin writes with chalk and intent
On a treaded sidewalk
Big capital letters colored white
“EZELL FORD GOT STOPPED FOR WALKING WHILE BLACK…”
His penmanship is above par
Spacing elegant and precise
The message more important than the process
the time of day the milling crowds
Oblivious to the oblivious
Who step on and smudge the message
It will be re-written
The young birds giggle and flutter
And touch their locks
Nothing will dislodge these locks tonight
Slim-stilettoed things lining up already
For wristbands and jello shots and dancing for release
At nightclubs and bars erected to vanity and soulless connections
Alas, I have neither time nor compassion for them
And less money than it would take to feign interest

Lady with a dog yells at the shopkeeper
He is accustomed
He’s a sentry, a gatekeeper
His patrons glance disinterestedly
They can’t see down to how far she has fallen
Her anger frustration rage self-hate poverty
Realization of the hardest of hard realities
Harder than (their) cookie crumbles
Hotter than (their) chai lattés

Abandoned and bereft, she
Talks of ghosts and fears past
That she faced alone
“Men” No Men” she mumbles
Then loud and clear and strong “There’s no such thing as menopause”
The men who hear her look down uncomfortably
Shuffle their feet
Thinking of their mothers
Still women, still their #1 sons,
Who put the men on pause to raise them
She’s right, I think.
No such thing as menopause
Just men who left
And now men who wait till she does.
The lady talks on then
About looks and age
Nothing she says can quite describe
What I see reflected in her eyes
I can’t tell what she has seen
But I know that it was real.
I’m sad beyond explanation
I feel the urge to mutter
The words don’t come / Words I can’t muster

Marginalized people stumble on cracks in pavement
Drunk enough to express passion-rage-frailty-sex
They shout for emancipation and justice
With rough voices they tear down
The rough stone of the 100-year old buildings
Their ancestors built with rough hands and hooded (darkened) eyes. 
 

I continue to walk aimlessly
Toward the parked car
That will take me from this raw doomed place
Watching those who are making the difference
Share space with the ones who live within it
Watching those who are making the difference
Take the space of those who represent it
Familiar haunting echo-rap of sirens
Sports cars and happy spirits
A film set spins a web across several blocks
Kiwi tourists smiling bewildered
Hold their handbags a little closer when I ask “Having fun?”
Besides that it’s pretty peaceful
The cops are behaving themselves tonight
Plenty of people walking while black
The po po aren't pushing back
I look skyward at heritage, gentrified, petrified
Filigree detailing and warm light
Warm shadows thrown signal an early night
Turning on, turning in, tuning out
In the gossamer distance
Low clouds among the towering buildings
Reflecting on the city
Reflecting on those that envisioned them, reaching for the sky
Reflecting on those that built them, now in quiet earth.

BEVERLY M. COLLINS Back Bite 

Hidden tension chokes
curls long tail through open
air like smoke. Regret has
its way, steams every windows.

Shame breaths like a thin
musty substance folded, neat
as the napkins, between us.

We cut the cord to understanding.
Its green sprout left to dry, given
no water that is listening or hearing.
Your eyes-shifting pools of
weighty silence.

This clumsy dance on tears is like
fangs on the neck of the flame. Love
banged in the brow again on our watch.

JACKIE CHOU The Sea

where I live I cannot see
the roaring sea
but a lone silhouette at night
makes gray the moonlight
outside
dusty windows, yellowish
curtains that used to be white
loose garage doors
that shake as the wind blows
rattle all night
the cold moon
reflects my ebbing mood
as you say good-bye
your blue eyes
which mimic the ocean
the empty street
where you are nowhere
to be seen


DON KINGFISHER CAMPBELL At the Cemetery Garden

What else is there to do
But stroll amongst the flowers
Hold hands and stop
And hug and lean heads
And kiss on the concrete walkway

Take cell phone pictures
To remember our story here too
Later, a poem, maybe even
Published somewhere online
Or in a soon-to-be archaic book

Immortalizing the couple
In love with each other’s eyes
And noses and lips and
Ears and necks and torsos
Intermingling genitals for the rush

Because personalities match
According to the scientific plan
It makes us feel alive before
Illness or accident can strike
And we join the great recycling

CALOKIE Remnants of Ancient Flames*

Dark the water
Waist deep I stand

Around me families weep
Over gray flesh fragments of

Loved ones seeping to
Surface from ocean depths

I pick up square sponge of
Cartoon face floating by

Try to toss into boat with no load but
Rowing skipper shakes head

Flip flab instead onto
Over loaded vessel

Tattooed youth
Wail and hug as

One places remnant of
Homie upon mounting heap

Ferry chugs gently away into
Dark the night

*Vereris Vistigia Flammae—Virgil

Sunday, May 24, 2015

31 poets being published in SGVPQ 66

Part One (Available May 30th)
JACK G. BOWMAN
CALOKIE
DON KINGFISHER CAMPBELL
JACKIE CHOU
BEVERLY M. COLLINS
ART CURRIM
ROBIN WYATT DUNN
THOM GARZONE
SCOTT KAESTNER
MINA V. KIRBY
MARIE LECRIVAIN
TOTI O'BRIEN
LORINE PARKS
THELMA T. REYNA
MAJA TROCHIMCZYK
ROBERT WILSON

Part Two (Available June 6th)
SHEIKA A.
MARIA A. ARANA
JIM BABWE
VIRGINIA MARIPOSA DALE
SEVEN DHAR
DAN DIAMOND
MARK A. FISHER
GREGORY FOSTER
CHARLES HARMON
LINDA MARIE HILTON
ANN HOWELLS
GERDA GOVINE ITUARTE
JEFFRY MICHAEL JENSEN
LALO KIKIRIKI
LORI WALL-HOLLOWAY

Monday, March 30, 2015

15 poets read from SGVPQ 65

DEBORAH P KOLODJI
Below Sea Cliffs

New pools, new worlds,
left by receding waves. 

Cormorants fly by,
black shadows overhead,
as the gray sky grows.


As foam returns, rising, rising,
I sink into my tide-pool ocean. 
Limpets become boulders
and I scramble with the hermit crabs
for shelter.

      sudden storm—
      the words of our last
      argument
JESUS ALDANA-ALBA
The Crucible of Our Love

In the crucible of our love –
                   the rendezvous of lost souls —
my pen earns it’s name;
        my kiss holds the totality of my skill-set.

But, how do I know what’s appropriate to articulate?

                                My genius — the fool.

You looked at me like maybe I was magic....
But, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut.
        Now, there is only space.

I do not reach for you when I open my eyes,
or whisper your name as I close them.

Without weapons, or war,
I can do my dishes in peace;
        rearrange my furniture.

Maybe, I’ll soak in the bath,
instead of taking a quick shower.
Maybe, time heals
and longer hair would look better on me, anyway.

I’ll speak in music –
                        speak in tongues –
and,
        my mouth would get better with age….

You'll lose your charm....
You'll gain your peace....
You'll wipe the tears away.

Because Love.

And... because...

Totems flow like rivers run.
You, with your horses,
your hair in a bun.
Me, my hands, the river, the sun….
We were so hungry, we made bread from the crumbs
CALOKIE
Lake of the Angels

Sunday morning
Exit Westlake/MacArthur Park Metro station
On corner of Wilshire and Alvarado, street preacher in staccato Spanish 
bullhorns concrete congregation to BEHOLD 
the lamb of God who takes away EL PECADO DEL MUNDO
Who died in your place to save you from the eternal flames 
of inferno once you accept JESUS CHRISTOS as your personal
lord and savior

At Intersection— 
Autos reving particles of carbon dioxide behind and upto skies
pass by
pedestrians walking between 99¢ Store and sidewalk vendors 
oblivious 
to gospel pitch

Enter park
Homeless guy on grass snores under classified section of LA Times 
displaying colored photos of shining new car models for sale
Upon MacArthur Lake in white sun glare, rest 
hundreds of seagulls poised like foreboding flock 
of Hitchcock birds

Near center 
underwater fountain sprays jets upward as in prayer for 
a thirsty California 

At northern edge 
marine green waters lap against cement bank while bright-eyed 
niño in fading Laker tee tosses tortilla bits to gray gosling 
web-peddling before mama

On grassy knoll
on western end, revolutionary Marxist group begins setting up tables for 
free food distribution

Walk across Parkview 
to UCLA Downtown Labor Center for study session, 
"Converging Storms 2014: The Crisis of Energy, 
Capitalism and Environment"