Thursday, December 22, 2011


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Sunday, December 18, 2011

14 poets read from SGVPQ 52



You have killed me

You the abomination
of my lifeless body

You have slaughtered my ambitions
and kept the souls at bay

You have scattered my remains
to the four corners of the sea
Whose current would not withstand

You have cremated my amputated limbs
and crushed my soul
so the four winds blow
my ashes to nevermore

You abomination

You have killed me

Are you satisfied?


Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made On

I wonder if that other, secret self
Who wakes within when e’er I fall asleep
Has been up to some deviltry of late.

He had the crosscut shredder on last night,
Slicing with its sharp-edged dreams
My too-few hours to slender strips of sleep,
The strips into confetti to confound the memory.

I woke a dozen times at least
With each remembering the minute of the last
But nothing of what happened in between.

Can these unremembered dreams be such a torment
To that other self
That I awaken over and again
To find escape?

Or were they part and parcel of a plot
To swap personas?
When my alarm clock stopped the rhythmic beat
Which one of us, I wonder, found a seat?

Which self have I assumed? Whose dream is this?


Ode to Dirt
(Reflections on Dirt, the Movie)

Blessed be
millions of biodiverse
in a handful of dirt
and each shovel of soil
which holds more living things
than all the human beings ever born
in our wandering world
O my soul

Blessed be
the topsoil
the skin of the earth.
the face of our mother
an orgiastic organism under our feet
the Dirt from which we come
and the Dirt to which we return
O my soul

Blessed be
grounds of villages
wherever children dance in ring
handfuls of dirt
fling to skies
and get showered by
laughing cloud of dust
O my soul

Blessed be
the Dirt which grows
corn in torrid tortillas
rice portion on porcelain plate
frijoles covered with melted Jack cheese
avocados y Jalapenos in guacamole
and limes squeezed in frosted margarita
O my soul

Drink to
the life I feel within the land
the mountain I am
the tree I am
the river I am
the soil which is my flesh
O my soul


The Antique Traveller

read the classic poem
two hundred years
after sandy inspiration

saw those ruins again
what romantic poet decided
to capture of the passed

an attempt to warn the future
so we might recognize tyranny
when we experience it

but the 99% don't act as one yet
this empire's cycle continues
with the reassurance only that

kings and paupers die
buildings and slogans fall
fragments sink into earth


Leaky Bucket

You’ve asked me to carry water for you,
To chop your wood and stoke your fires,
To wash and dry your dirty laundry
And raise your rotten wilding kids,
To fight your wars and feed your pets,
To hunt your dragons and pay your bills,
And to listen to your lilting little lies….

But you’ve asked me to carry water
In a cracked and leaky bucket,
And you asked me to chop your wood
With a dull and blunted axe,
And you’ve given me clothes to wash
Without soap in dirty water,
And you asked me to plow your fields
With a broken stick and a crippled cow.

And to hunt these dragons and kill these bears
While you’re twisting my rifle into a knot,
And you’ve given me wastrel children to teach
Who already know it all, know everything.
And you’ve killed the golden goose
In this golden state of the promised land,
And you’ve asked me to carry water
And give you a hand.

I won’t carry any more water, any milk or any wine,
In your cracked and leaky bucket full of lies.
I won’t wash your dirty laundry, chop your wood or plow your fields
In decaying burning cities full of lies.
We won’t hunt your dragons, raise your kids, and fight your wars anymore
In this sinful sinking country full of lies.


1000 Things

The future is a myth story
told in hopeful gray,
as the past is seen through
eyes that went teary
from perspective.

To those frozen memory moments,
you will thaw in my favorite ink.
To the mercury moments yet to be,
I look to affect your fluidity.

However, it's the hardly soft tick tock
of the watch I no longer have
that summons the spiced holiday coffee
with it's aromatic confidence to the moment

There are 1000 things you can take
or give, or share...

Of these, I release 999 joys of neon splendor
to violin legato rhythms so that they will be
savored with the scent of sweet chocolate
and tasty salted treats as they are gripped with
a comforting firmness.

But the last one,
that last joy is mine alone.
Only to be known by my
pencil and paper.



I came across crows on the jungle gym,
a gaggle of sea gulls on the swings,
magpies making castles in the sand,
parrots poking their heads over the chin-up bar,
Canadian geese playing a mean game of dodge ball,
and nervous mynah birds looking for a free lunch.

I remember recess being my best subject.
The crows were always really good at math.
I made sure to sit next to them during tests.
The sea gulls couldn't care less about any of that jazz.
They all taught me how to give the teacher the bird whenever
he turned to scribble something on the chalkboard.

I moved away before I got the hang of long division.
The crows promised to write but never did.
The sea gulls did a fly over in memory of past mischief.
At my new school pigeons had control of the sandbox.
I took up the saxophone for extra credit.
Before long I was making a name for myself with all the birds.


Remembering ‘63

I smell a Christmas orange--
bringing back first grade.
Santa’s pulling sacks of candy
to leave with us for trade—

our smiles and our giddiness
in exchange for candy ribbons;
His Ho! Ho! Ho! to take us away
from our long division.

Sister’s smile is new to us.
Our little faces wonder.
We take our precious gifts in hand
caring not to ponder.

The scent of Christmas left behind
by Santa’s magic visit
will ever warm my fondest dreams
and build them so exquisite!


she is broken.
time has glues mosaic pieces
of pain while stained-glass eyes
shattered shut.

she is broken.
sharred memories meteor-shower
on sidewalks
while tarnished heart

she is broken.
limbs torn assunder
esophagus singed.

but her love.
oh, her love.

it is candy-coated
acid drops.

once poured,
the skin.


The Hen

My neighbor
has a chicken.
They were two
but the hawk
killed one.
The survivor
alone is
Also quiet ‘n
very beautiful.
All dressed
up with a
grey coat. Poised
and elegant.
More than all

The hen likes
my backyard
‘n my garden
she’s my
silent visitor.
When I leave
come back
open a
window or
door the
chicken is
there. We
never exchange
direct gazes
we were not
introduced. We
don’t talk.

But she’s
there and it
must be for
great shyness
she always
at my sight
she runs jumps
turns around
flies away whenever
I approach.
That looks just
like a dance of

I must confess
that it thrills me.
I don’t feel alone
she guards me or
she spies on me...
doesn’t matter. I
do like her smooth
elusiveness... I
don’t even know
her given name
but she’s very
close in a way.
Like an angel
a soul mate
a humble


Chicago Winter

Winter people, people of parkas, flecked
beards, eyebrows dusted with flakes
and mist, people with necks craned
to concrete slick with mud and slides, ducking
winds that pierce their bones and paralyze.

Winter people, babies swaddled beyond
recognition, lumps of down, acrylic, wool,
zarapes, bunting balled into carriages navigating
walkways perilous with slush and hail, nannies
with eyes squeezed against pummels of chill.

Winter people, homeless men hunkered in
detritus, doorways dark and cramped, army
blankets damp from dew, sneakers brown from dirt,
broken sidewalks chapped by wind and ash, grizzled
lips pressed in prayer found again at last.

Winter people, gathered ‘round the open fire
roaring in the parking lot, orange tongues embracing
sticks and crumpled paper sacks thrown in and stoked,
asphalt warmed with embers that light the frozen night,
flames casting shadows gaunt against stone walls.


Dec. 2, 2011

The nameless woman, who pepper sprayed Black Friday Walmart shoppers, drowned in her dirty bath tub while playing Angry Birds.

California CEO of Bank of America, Simon Snars, retired last Friday with a million dollar bonus. Snars died suddenly, yesterday, of undetermined causes. An autopsy is pending.

Last week's millionaire secret Super Ball Winner, crashed his 2012 Lexus while reaching for a $2,000 bottle of champagne. He is recovering at a secret location.

1,600 trees died today in Pasadena. The crashes were like l,600 earthquakes.

6 billion red bees fell from the smoggy sky over Los Angeles City Hall. Federal investigation is in progress.

6 million Homeless Children levitated to the Kardashian Empire Headquarters. Details at ll.

I know you have many choices for Newz.
Thank you for choosing ME.


Genesis Sonnet

Addiction can fill the dark empty void
in a lost heart looking for some purpose
anywhere to soothe the soul and stop pain
that throws a life into misery, disdain
and turmoil while trying to cope with wounds
hidden and passed down from generation
to generation with no chance to heal
because the hurt is too great to reveal.
But if damage is faced and a choice made
to stare down the long, dark road of the past
with the light of understanding, then walls
made by lies and fears that ruled lives will fall.
Once eyes are open to truth, fear is stopped
and new choices will affect the future.


schrodinger's god

nothing is as empty as a boxful of god
open the box and
there is no god
shake the box and
god rattles like a fistful of bees
open the box and
there’s still no god
and no bees either
in a godless world people still
hate each other
but god is not the reason

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

32 poets being published in SGVPQ 52


Sunday, September 4, 2011

13 poets read from SGVPQ 51

Karineh Mahdessian

do not contextualize childhood memories
based on misdiagnosis of a chronic mental disorder.

this is not the case of alzheimer's.

it is simple that this girl was born
at the wrong place &
at the wrong time.

she inhaled a revolution &
exhaled a war.

left behind bombed nightmares &
sought refuged dreams.

next time,
forgive her if she
cannot recall birthday parties &
language acquisitions.

her skin is perfumed by death.

Lori Wall-Holloway

If I Could Paint…

I wish I could paint…

pictures of fanciful pansies with white
petals splashed in the middle with purple
hues and bright, yellow dots to create small,
whimsical faces.

paintings of playful kittens, which attack
each other as their weary grey and black
striped mother teaches them how to pursue
and capture their prey.

an image etched in my mind of my dad
in heaven with his arms outstretched to draw
diverse animals around him, hugging
our departed pets.

Instead, I engage

words and colorful phrases to describe
life as I see it, seeking to convey
hope while I do my best to illustrate
my dreams and visions.

Thelma T. Reyna

School Bell

The school-child, all pudgy knees
and dimpled hands, holds close communion
with a polished beetle in the grass.

His knapsack lists on the emerald sea of dew.
Pillow fingers poke the creature, its
itinerary graver concern to the
chrysalis scholar than school is.

The child’s laughter tinkles in the corner of
the yard, while children scurry off like lemmings at
the ringing of the bell. Alone, entranced, the solitary
child and iridescent bug meet and confer, enwrapped
in one another’s charms,
so full of promised evolution,
so small and at the mercy of the world,
compatriots oblivious to
books and clocks and all that bind.

Toti O’Brien


It will be
a word only
laid over the
infinity of
tones, the
of voices.
The pulsations
the flashes
of vision
the kaleidoscope
of her


After that one
word there’ll
be silence
the chaos
will be
noise will be
muted. The
the fever ‘n


The beat (her
will be gone.
So will be those
the humors and
the moods
all her actions
and what wasn’t
done but left


the questions
the rage.
What she
what she would
do tomorrow
the promises.
The deal that
she made long
ago then
the madness.


There will be
a word only.
It will shut
into quiet
taking the
shape of a
stone a
thrown into
close to


We’ll look
for a moment
trying to
identify it
to keep it
in our
eyes but
pebbles get
get washed
by the waves.

Vanessa Marsot

Roses and Parts

I first saw you through the rusty gate.
You held up your snowy white petals
As if they meant something.
As if someone cared.
For that I noticed you.

But then I noticed something else.
Seeming to grow in the garden alongside the roses
Was an engine that had all its parts spewing onto the lawn
Sprouting engine buds every which way.
A tango with the roses.

Vicky Marler

Bangles, Baubles, and Bells

Bangles, Baubles, and Bells
Across the green meadow lies a well
It reflects pretty faces from faraway places
But their names I am not allowed to tell.

Bangles, Baubles and Bells
A suitor rides straight to the well
His wishes are few, just a maiden or two
He hopes to bring back to the dell.

Bangles, Baubles, and Bells
The suitor leans over the well
The reflections he sees
And gives kisses in threes
And flips over and sinks slowly to hell.

Bangles, Baubles, and Bells
The well is but a dark ancient spell
Those reflections of faces are nothing but traces
Of the dreams of past suitors who fell.

Lalo Kikiriki

on Oak Glen Place: a ballad

In our suburban paradise,
This is how we hide our shames:
Sally sips her daily fifth
with the pale cloud curtains drawn;
never mind the August heat –
freezer vodka cools the soul.

Jerry's curses, Janet's screams
never reach the quiet walk.
From behind the double drapes
grunts and trills of afterlust
cannot pierce the mockingbird's
boosting of his own loud love.

Damn the baby's pesky cries –
screw the casements to their slots –
each dark window on the street
can't be held responsible.
When it's time for lullabies,
open wide the door at last.

And, my darling, silently
I draw the plastic round my neck,
tongue the sweet ice to my lips,
all in the fading afternoon,
then turn the hourglass ocne more
and set it on the darkening floor.

Charles Harmon

Evolution of the Weak

I’m an atheist on Mondays, stormy stormy Mondays
Blue, blue Moondays, maniacal moody magical Mondays
For how else could I feel on a day named for our past?
Worship of the moon, now an allegory of the cave
A shadowy, shape-shifting pale reflection
Of the true source of light, the glorious and brilliant sun.
And so, the weekend done, the weak must go back to work….

By Tuesday I’m agnostic, meaning without knowledge,
But I really have a lot of knowledge, mainly knowing,
That the more we know, the more we know
How little we know, or can know, and so
I question how an omnipotent, omniscient, beneficent being
Could permit war, starvation, disease, earthquakes, tsunamis,
The slaughter of all the innocents by man’s inhumanity,
Or can we blame it all on a lack of faith, or the wrong faith?

On Wotansday I’m a healthy pagan, battling it out with
The forces of nature, riding with the Valkyries, fighting it out
With the Olympians and the Roman Pantheon,
Our human, all too human strengths and weaknesses made manifest
As embodied in the polytheistic solipsistic creations of our progenitors.

By Thor’s Day, by Jove, I’m a pantheist, and in good company, too
With the likes of Einstein, Spinoza, and Giordano Bruno,
Just hoping I don’t end up like Bruno, who was horribly burned,
Because he believed that God is everything and everything is God,
But the Church wanted its cut by playing the middleman,
So Bruno was cut out.

On Friday I am free, free to be me, whatever I want to be:
An animist, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Moslem, a Scientologist,
A Quaker, a Mormon, a Sufi, a Taoist, Zoroastrian, a pilgrim
Searching, searching, everything or nothing at all,
Just waiting for the call….

Of course, on Saturday, I have to be a Jew.
No more Roman orgies of Saturnalia on Saturn’s Day.
No more riding the golden calf and questioning Moses.
Religion has evolved so far, but aren’t we still the
Chosen people, who wrote the Bible and made man free?
The only question now is, whether to be Reformed,
Orthodox, non-practicing, assimilated, conservative,
Or full-blooded Hasidic? Or maybe a Jew for Jesus?

Sundays you’ll find me in the church:
Here is the church and here is the steeple,
Open the doors and see all the Sheeple,
But don’t we need a Good Shepherd
For aren’t we like lost sheep?
And ‘though we’ve come a long way
Through evolution of the species, of culture, of religion,
Aren’t we finally all alone in the big universe,
In need of a little company, even if imaginary?
It is the evolution of the weak,
Our beliefs can make us strong, even if they are
Promises of pie in the sky when we die.

And so Monday finds me a disbeliever again,
Stormy, stormy, blue Moonday….

Joseph Gardner

In the Shadow of the Bomb

We never had a entire generation raised
by grandparents; the state
and television taught us reading; writing; math; and morality
Sesame St; Electric Co., 321 Contact; Capt.Kangaroo and Mr. Green jeans
RomperRoom; please call my name! and God keep him well Mr. Rodgers.
Children in the shadow of the Bomb while our parents
like summer grasshoppers squandered our future away
pledge of Allegiance and bomb drills; "The Russians are coming!"
on a failing wave of Dominoe Theroy onrushing communism
and the berlin Wall still stood ugly and tall...
all hyped up after watching Red Dawn at the theatre with fathers and uncles
screaming WOLVERINES as we ran through the park
gathered around the television glow to watch the Day After
when we still wanted to be fire fighters and astronaughts...
we never had a chance watching the challenger explode 5th grade
with our house key around our necks to come to empty home
to watch more tv when sitcoms were funny...
Re-Run poplocking on Whats Happening; Happy Days
and an alien named Mork; MASH and Sanford and Son
and primetime was for adults...but if you were good and quiet
maybe youd get to watch some Hill St. Blues or catch a bit of Miami Vice if you were lucky.
Saturday mornings were cartoons and COMBAT and Kung Fu Theatre
and always moving on up were the Jeffersons and All in the Family...
do you remember when George and Archie met
remember how they showed us we really werent that diffrent?
Do you remember your house key around your neck?
Do you remember when we had a chance....

Don Kingfisher Campbell

I'm In Love With This Building

I happily approach a picturesque front door
Climb leisurely curving stairs
So I can gaze upon almond-shaped windows
Then land on pitch dark roof
Lean over and survey gorgeous edifice
Enamored to see black lights glowing
Makes me feel she is mine alone
I'll jump to die with this feeling
Even the sidewalk enjoys being a part
Look! A passing car wondering what's it all about
Bring on the ambulance to record my devotion
We'll make the news...I gasp...yes


Badass Cowboys

The reason so many Republicans don’t believe in evolution is because they haven’t been a part of the process. --Liz Winstead, writer, Daily Report with John Stewart

We gotta another badass cowboy from Texas
ridin’ tall in the saddle straight to D.C. town
Gonna take back this country from smartass lefties
Gonna return the U.S.A. to the good old days of
taxes, regulations, unions, welfare, social security,
medicare, evolution taught in schools, gay weddings
and integrated lunch counters.

Now don’t get me wrong.
Michelle Bachman is mighty purty--
unlike that other Michelle wed to that Kenyan born
occupant of the Black--excuse me--White House
and would make a much better President than
Barak Hussein Osama--excuse me--Obama.

Also, I don’t want to hear no shit about her misspeaks
like Elvis was born August 16 when he died that day
or a battle of the Revolutionary War was fought in Concord,
New Hampshire, not Massachusetts.
Now I happen to believe it was fought in the latter
not former but by god, I’ll fight to my death,
her right to say it was New Hampshire!
For Christ’s sake! This is America!

What I can’t tolerate is that Bernishky of the Federal
Internal Tax Reserve Board doin’ all them terrible things
which Gov. Perry says brands him a traitor.
You can be sure as hell, if that shitass ever shows up
in my neck of the woods, I’m a gonna have plenty
of rope to greet him.

I might have some rope too for that dumbass, Karl Rove,
if his ugly, bald head ever comes my way.
How can this liberal turd call Perry too far right and remain
on the “fair and balanced” Fox News network?

I think the real reason “Baldy: said all them nasty things about
the Texas governor is ‘cause he’s not only jealous of Perry’s curly
hair but he can’t be his brain like he was of Bush’s.

The reason I’m root-root-darn-tootin’ for Rick Perry
as next Prez of the United States over that, purty Bachman
girl and Morman cult follower, Romney, is ‘cause no one
better stands up for all them billionaires and millionaires
being picked on by big government bullies like
Barak Hussein Osama--excuse me--Obama.

We gotta another badass cowboy from Texas
ridin’ tall in the saddle straight to D.C. town
Gonna take back this country from smartass lefties
Gonna return the U.S.A. to the good old days of
taxes, regulations, unions, welfare, social security,
medicare, evolution taught in schools, gay weddings
and integrated lunch counters.

Maria A. Arana

I carry a crutch…

I carry a crutch back and back
A life filled with a wretched vine
In which a sword deals me a card
My crutch carries a hopeless
Abundance of unresolved berries
While my sword strikes at upcoming
Advances that thither to wither and die
Death is my crutch
Love is my sword

Michelle Angelini

Laser Lit Karmic Dancing

Let a dancing song be heard
Play the music, say the words
~let it be a dance by Ric Masten

Dying daily, pondering undue concern
unbalanced existence stares into the face

Knowledge infuses the mind
nothing can keep a life down

Focus on abundance; know the source
from without, from within

Undisclosed sounds, laser lights colors playing
pliable whispers that float around unlistening ears

It is difficult, not impossible,
but comes from without, above, within

Despair pushes through weakness
limitation through dejection

Moving from sadness
where control rests in one hand or the other

Nature’s a dance – karma personified
floating free from one universe to the next

After rainstorms life’s a dance
sparkling through unfettered limits

Happiness is a dance
keep the rhythm; learn the steps

Friday, August 26, 2011

43 poets being published in SGVPQ 51

Michelle Angelini
Maria A. Arana
RD Armstrong
Lyssa Axeen
Jim Babwe
Jack G. Bowman
Don Kingfisher Campbell
Michael J. Cluff
Stephan Colley
Ivan Dryer
Richard Dutton
Dan Garcia-Black
Joseph Gardner
Thom Garzone
Charles Harmon
Eleanor Higgins
Linda Marie Hilton
Sandra Irwin
Jeffry Jensen
Khoury Johnson
Chrystine Julian
Lalo Kikiriki
Mina V. Kirby
Julie Larson
Marie Lecrivain
Ellaraine Lockie
Reynald Romea Luminarias
Radomir Vojtech Luza
Karineh Mahdessian
Vicky Marler
Vanessa Marsot
Katherine Norland
Toti O’Brien
Pamela Lynn Palmer
Tony Peyser
Jessica Joy Reveles
Thelma T. Reyna
Rosalee Thompson
Tim Tipton
Maja Trochimczyk
Lori Wall-Holloway

Sunday, June 12, 2011

18 poets read from SGVPQ 50

Jim Babwe


I awake to the scent
of strong coffee
which pulls me into the donut shop
next door and I know yogurt with fruit
is healthier for me
than a sugar-packed maple bar
because I know
this poem
is about death.

Sunrise jumps into the sky
casts new light upon the ocean
as I paddle into glassy surf
and before I catch a wave
I remember
this poem
is about death.

A folded pile of black tee-shirts
waits in the closet with a folded pile
of black denim jeans on a shelf
above a pile of shoes,
none of which are black
until I remember
this poem
is about death.

I remind myself
I hate poetry about poems
especially poems
that are supposed to be about death
but aren't
because the writer is lying.

His well-documented history
of introducing descriptions
of stupid things and beauty
includes abandoning these subjects
immediately before he finds a hammer
on the garage floor
next to a bloodied skull
of his most recent victim
who doesn't care
about coffee donuts sugar
sunrise the ocean surfing
black shirts black pants black shoes
or other irrelevant items
all of which are also extraneous now
but will soon become
even more redundant
as meaningless distractions
this poem
is about death.

Add this to the equation:
the man on the floor
never liked poetry
but why should you care?

You never even met the guy.

He does not know
this poem
is about death.

It's too late for him
and because you continue
to live
you enjoy the luxury of time.

In addition to being dead
the guy on the garage floor
never liked poetry.

Now I am authorized
to say the hammer
was not a murder weapon.

It's a mystery
and I can't take it anymore.

You figure it out.

In order to accomplish
that task
I will leave you with the following facts.

There is no garage.
There is no hammer.
There is no dead guy.

And no matter what you were told
this poem is not about death.

Radomir Vojtech Luza

My Covington Girl

those brown leaf eyes
burned a hole through the dusk of my soul

and it will forever be free and true and yours

i love you
i love you
i love you

the burnt geronimo of your touch
your very feel

the dark brown age spots
of your years are
reasons more for the tears
i shed in this airport of asphalt and cement

you were not conscious
tending bar that
sunday mother's day in
new orleans

dawn floating from your brows
sex your dark ruby lips
and the marrow of life
your gray storm fingers

you are gold not silver
sky not cloud
i will never forget the jukebox
the oak bar
my best friend larry's innocent face

and the god in your smile

Don Kingfisher Campbell

Just One Cell
In The Concrete Bloodstream

Drive my body
through tight tributaries

Simply to reach
your smiling organism

And to hold
together our protoplasmic entities

Maybe we will
multiply some day into three

As wind moves
every frond on the ground

There is a force unseen
but felt on skin

Transmitted inside
all the way to brain

Conscious thought concludes
comfort in company

With mutual sound
panting panting panting

Toti O’Brien

The Age of Innocence

We had just
turned fifteen
Poli and I
when we
about the supremacy
of fucking
versus drawing and
at the same

Meaning what
was the most
our favorite
pastime. We
couldn’t make
up our mind
the question
after hours…

Through our
debates. in the
while doodling
on journals
‘n swallowing
cut in halves

Fucking only
entered our
and vocabulary..
I suppose we
of listing
such deed

among the range
of our notions
(I should say
Fucking was
(so to speak)
such a virgin
Pregnant (so
to speak) with

And it was
So was
also drawing
(oh yes)
because it was

Not included
in our study
not part of
our home
But we were
rebellious at least
Poli and I
yes, we

And now
thinking back at
cozy afternoons
so many decades
ago… what’s
I lost interest
in strawberries.

Pretty soon
yes, from
wild berries
into fat bland
spongy things
not even quite
red… drawing’s

still a bliss. But
took away the
freedom… I had
to choose if
making an income
of it (with related
or an undeserved
privilege, stained
with guilt.

Fucking… is
there any magic
left about it? Was it
ever worth
dreaming, longing
debating about an
ecstasy’s prize
to be won?

Truly, I’m not sure.
I turned
sixteen quite
at the count of

Michael J. Cluff


I will rest in the internal flower
of waving spirits
spices of yore
and fogs of healing balms.

The fulcrum
is centered back on me now,
the antipodes a making of my own.

Thelma T. Reyna

Brown Arms

He doesn't know I watch, or
maybe yes, he does. He carries rocks
in arms burnt browner by the sun, in arms
sinewed and knotted by muscles stretching and
pushing against granite edges of patio
pavers he lays in puzzles beyond my ken.

Sweat veneers his back like varnish freshly
stroked. His knees straddle opened earth, leather hands cupping
moistness as he digs deeper, smoothing loam, opening the
hole, plunging fingers into dirt made soft with rain. Face lowered,
droplets of his labor anoint the bed.

He hardly rests. He sips from plastic cups I bring to
him with eyes averted from the truth. His dark fingers brush
my wrist, a moment pardoned with a flush, and he
turns to toil that defines his being. Hour after
hour, in days long with longing, his brown arms lift
and move and hold and carry and embrace.

What does he think while his muscles groan, sweat
salting his lips and nipples as it trickles to
his pants? I lean against the wall, curtain falling
closed again, my knees useless.

Sandra Irwin


Kneeling on a weathered deck,
my back to a pile of damp,
deep-scented logs,
my face lifted to skyscraping pines
flowering dogwoods
and undulating rows of spiky,
green-tipped San Bernadino mountains,
I discover I’m no longer
the person I was
down the hill:
here I am
spindly fingers
of the National Forest,
dust shimmering
on shards of sunlight
onion-like skin
in petals of pine cones,
Ave Maria hummed
among hills.

Rina Rose

give me one rationale

jacarandas don’t smile walking into the sun
I climb rocks taller than myself
air out dead leaves
bleed away windows of self-doubt
danger surrounds desert’s safety

jacarandas shed amethyst furies
my blood is scarlet with repressed reasons
don’t cry for me
mourning over a grave
the ground doesn’t hide this body

jacarandas cry violet tears
I allow one hand to touch the color-tinged drops
sensory connections of rambling infusions
allow me to be one with trees
in day’s pantomime

jacarandas hold my heart
if I ask them
we see each other through prisms of radiance
it makes no sense to reproach
what the sun and stars can’t communicate
while Orion and his dogs hunt for animals

Lalo Kikiriki

The Cecil B. DeMille Memorial Cloud Formation of September 2010

The clouds spelled out "GOD"
over Laughlin Park tonight.
I thought some preacher had hired
a sky-writing plane
for a moment,
as the slow-dissolving letters
drifted behind the observatory domes.
But no, this phenomenon
over DeMille Drive
was as natural
and unexpected
as the cloudburst that hit Eagle Rock at noon
or the famous
double rainbow yesterday –
rare enough to make the evening news
in Hollywood.
Could it be the "greater powers"
are trying to make a point?
"GOOD JOB!" or
or maybe just,
"Take your eyes off the paper
for a minute –
the sky?"

Mike “The Poet” Sonksen

Man versus Machine,
Concrete or Green?

Man versus Machine
Concrete or Green?
How do you want the world to be?
The future is here,
We can Cultivate Hope
or nourish fear..
Build or destroy,
Fire or employ..
Build a wall or a build a bridge..
Open doors or go for yours.
Options, choices, decisions,
Values, priorities..
Silence or violence?
Science or religion?
Man vs. Machine,
Concrete or green?
Evolution or Adam & Eve?
Bricks or microchips
Digital or analog..
Paper journal or web blog
I-Pods or boom boxes
Vegan or crunchy bacon,
Gandhi or Sarah Palin?
Offshore drilling
Drill baby drill,
Kill baby kill..
Oil wells, sea shells..
Man vs. machine
Concrete or green?

Electric cars or personal jets?
Luxury condos or Skid Row?
Open space or the rat race?
Sacred space or the paper chase?
Shooting guns or raising a son?
Egyptian or Pulp Fiction?
Festivals or funerals,
Federal reserve or self serve,
Man vs. machine
Concrete or green?
Vintage Antiques or DVD backseats?
Vaudeville or you tube?
Old to the new
The truth is not bluetooth,
Man vs. machine
Concrete or green?
Depends where you stepping..
Wild flowers or toxic showers,
Sustainable development or
Building for the hell of it?
Disaster capitalists or green anarchists?
Back to nature or the space station?
Questions we are facing..
Man vs. machine
Concrete or green.

Ask, believe, receive..
How do you want
the world to be?
Actions & deeds define our legacy..
Overcome Interruption & distraction
Translate pain into sensations
Remix the vibrations
Fear creates cancer,
Joy not enjoyed
Becomes depression,
Turn the cell off,
Slow down, enjoy the present,
We are it…
Action empowers
Collective unity
Build community
By communicating unity..
Be brave & believe,
Compassion & sensitivity,
We are the ones with the recipe,
Not the machine.
Clean the concrete,
Cultivate the green.
Man vs. machine
Concrete or green.

Mina V. Kirby

When She Was Very Young

A knock at my door
an attractive middle-aged woman
I helped build this house
Please may I
sleep in the woods
at the rear of your yard
for about three days?

She stayed for two years
got old food
from local markets
brought me flowers
talked of childhood in Austria
adopted a crippled cat

But soon
cigarette butts
rotting fruit
half-empty containers of food
treasures scrounged from dumpsters
filled the yard

When she finally left
she took nothing with her
not even her clothes
or bedding

I wonder what her dreams were
when she was very young
I know that she had plans for life
She once was even someone’s wife
She didn’t plan for years of strife
when she was very young

Rosalee Thompson

The Talking Orange
Koi Fish

Her pink music
is beating in quick Chinese

To say the soft words of poets
do not practice Chee-gung
during a purple thunderstorm
Be an open OH
lifting lovely l's in love
arched like a lover's back
to love the found sound ringing

To say something nice
to the moon
kiss my mouth
It is a Chinese red lantern

Karen Audioun Klingman

How Should I Feel?

they say Joyful

i'm glad
not in a Party mood

he was evil
should not have lived
never have lived
bodies become
confetti rain

he was once someone's child
innocent maybe
even slept with a nightlight on
or was a sidekick to someone else's lead
maybe he was destined for his role
or perhaps tiny moments of pain
disarmed him into battle

the Ungod is gone
Merriment takes over

crowds become Festive gangs

i sit with this question

wondering how
we got to now

when terror is a game
played with
no end

Christopher Luke Trevilla

San Cabrón del Barrio 6310

Abre los ojos!

A vision of a hobo screams down the driveway
in the midst of a pancaque fortress
concrete bunkers stacked upon another
with windows included
a place some people
for 700 dollars a month call home
while cars, cats, and conflict sounds
arise at restless night
while only drumming detectable at day

‘He went to war in his own mind’
the old folks and chismosos whisper into each other’s souls
they drink the gossip down with their café con leche
‘Here he comes again to scream at us some more’
the residents of 6310 say
while all of them go back inside
no one listens to but for a boy
a Sunday dreary morning day

On solitary white steps
cracked with time
filled with old dust and grime
serve as seating for the spectacle
this hairy, smelly, despondent, prophetic old cabron
draws near, too close
to the curiosity and wonder of a child
to the terror and wrath of a mother
before She has a chance to pounce to fetch her cub
the transient manages a smile

The boy transfixed upon his brow
so bereft of youth, vitality, and health
but overflowing with a true gozar de la vida
despite the emptied grin of missing teeth
the bumps and bruises mixed with dirt and oil on his skin
which only harsh time, cruel elements, and colder still, human apathy
do pay as wage for a life in constant want and rejection
‘Why the smile, why so happy, are you not hungry or sad?’
The youth sin miedo alguno manages to blurt out
before his mother, the eternal guardian, takes him by the neck
like a pup that strolled too far from the warmth of belly, fur, and teat
But a sudden laugh echoes into the concrete walls, into the sky
a kind of roaring thunder.
A child yet to be a man now carried off listens
for words that echo into his older years
himself now smellier, hairier, and weathered
He opens his mouth to speak:

Abre los ojos para vivir, cierralos para morir!
La risa y la lagrima la medicina, la vida el doctor!
Nadra le podra faltar a que no deja de querer y dar!
Alegre el Corazon!

Deborah P Kolodji

Concord Landscape

Guidebooks praise Thoreau, talk about Orchard House.
Ghosts of soldiers march through the forest, cross the North Bridge.
Shade wanders Sleepy Hollow, pauses at the author's ridge.

mist-shrouded pond
a group of writers,
always more writers

Lori Wall-Holloway

One Word at a Time

One word at a time scribbled on paper
helps each stolen moment I grab to start
a meager draft of something artistic
as a process begins with first empty-
ing a mind that is too full of ideas,
thoughts and endeavors to compose a verse.

One word at a time typed on a compu-
ter helps create a piece joined together
like an interlocked puzzle. I smooth rough
edges and watch my work evolve into
an image of splendor. Poetry is
now produced writing one word at a time.

Julie Larson

after three days

the bruised white


hear the world hum
of another

one hundred flowers

caffeine for bees

shrine after shrine
ten thousand eyes

thirsty for pure gold

climb every bright
ring of petals

to floral heart's
fruitful darkness

when you think
you're god enough

eat blue roses

Ben Lawless

The subsidy

Paul sits down across from me and the tower
of paper I call the last year of my life.
He’s probably 22, but looks 12,
and the cocky sonofabitch straightens his glasses,
his tie, his comfy H&R Block job.
He triple-checks his notes before saying

There’s a new stimulus package handed down from the man upstairs.
You qualify if you promise to lay down your pen
and never write another poem.
It’s quite simple actually:
we’ll deduct every poem not written,
every moonbeam undreamt,
every gull no longer sailing from the edge of the sea
to your lover’s arms…

He’s shaking now. This job is getting to him.
I’m not the first poet he’s seen today,
and he’s intoxicated from the imagination he’s helped destroy.
He’s a giant hose siphoning the gas from my car,
and he’s babbling now, his arms spread wide

but I’ve stopped listening. I’m too busy spending my money.
My new mansion, a palace built on tax evasion,
gold orthodontics, a trophy wife serving me
diet lemonade in glasses glinting sun.
We’re too rich to smile.

Finally we’re free.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

40 POETS IN SGVPQ 50!!!!!


Page - Poet - Title
1 - JIM BABWE - Tragedy
4 - JACK G BOWMAN - Caustic Fusion
5 - DEWELL H. BYRD - Destiny In The Balance
6 - DON KINGFISHER CAMPBELL - Just One Cell In The Concrete Bloodstream
7 - MICHAEL J. CLUFF - [I will rest in the internal flower]
7 - BARBARA COGSWELL - Memorial Day
8 - MARVIN LOUIS DORSEY - Linked (on the assasination of Osama Bin Laden)
9 - THOM GARZONE - Lemons
10 - RON GREGUS - Planet Zoo
11 - GARY IMPERIAL - Things I did on Armageddon
12 - SANDRA IRWIN - Elevation
12 - JEFFRY JENSEN - Fluent Without Warning
13 - LALO KIKIRIKI - The Cecil B. DeMille Memorial Cloud Formation of Sept. 2010
14 - MINA V. KIRBY - When She Was Very Young
15 - KAREN AUDIOUN KLINGMAN - How Should I Feel?
16 - DEBORAH P KOLODJI - Concord Landscape
16 - JULIE LARSON - After Three Days
17 - BEN LAWLESS - The subsidy
19 - ELLARAINE LOCKIE - Found Poem on a Bottle
20 - RADOMIR VOJTECH LUZA - My Covington Girl
21 - KATHERINE NORLAND - Heavy Load Hurts
22 - TOTI O'BRIEN - The Age of Innocence
24 - RADEK OZOG - Pit, STOP!
25 - JESSICA JOY REVELES - the Beloved
26 - THELMA T. REYNA - Brown Arms
27 - RINA ROSE - give me one rationale
28 - KATIE RYVOLT - [where do you go]
29 - MEDIHA F. SALIBA - Women’s Beer
30 - WANDA VANHOY SMITH - Fishy Freeway
31 - MIKE “THE POET” SONKSEN - Man versus Machine, Concrete or Green?
32 - ROSALEE THOMPSON - The Talking Orange Koi Fish
33 - TIM TIPTON - The Conversation
34 - CHRISTOPHER LUKE TREVILLA - San Cabrón del Barrio 6310
36 - MAJA TROCHIMCZYK - A Desert Tale
37 - JANINE TRUDELL - According to Life Laws…
38 - LORI WALL-HOLLOWAY - One Word at a Time
39 - WE - Cutting The Om-Biblical Chords


Saturday, March 5, 2011

15 poets read from SGVPQ 49



Karoyn sits at table
Chocolate cake with circle
of 74 candles atop

then David
“Howya be, Sweet Pea,”
he greets wife
of 49 years

She sings “Happy Birthday”
He blows on the 74
All but one

She drinks coffee from cup
he gave her
Cries some
Smiles some

Jennifer Puga


There is a lowly little house.
The only one of its kind.
Made of mud and straw,
all the needed ingredients for adobe.
In a place called Olvera Street.

Markets selling caps of LA
Purses with pictures of the famous
An awkward area for
this small place.
In the City of Angels
The busy bustling city
of streamlined skyscrapers.
Near a house of adobe built in 1818.

Such a lonely little dwelling.
All of the old buildings are gone
Left behind among
y lucha libre masks.
The oldest house of the Angels,
now a tourist location.
No longer alone,
The Avila house is remembered forever.

Lori Wall-Holloway


I rearrange heirlooms inside a hutch
so their beauty can be seen through the glass
Clear crystal, bone china teacups
with flowers painted on them
along with antique plates passed
down through the generations.

Over and over I arrange the items, much
like how I attempt to organize my life.
So it looks perfect. So it looks just right…

Periodically, thoughts clutter my head
with where I failed and made mistakes.
A feeling of rejection appears from
deep in the recesses of my brain
as I replay a moment with a person
that kicks off a memory of the past.

A tape plays inside my mind
that binds me -
“I can’t be perfect if I’m a failure.”

Instead of moving forward,
I procrastinate. I’m on the fence.
Why risk anymore rejection?
Why reach out to another again?
Fear locks me in.
Giving up altogether
seems like a better choice.

Yes, I’ll just give up until –

A realization dawns as my
heart and mind are challenged
with false beliefs of myself
versus what is real.

Who am I really?
Not what you want me to be.
I don’t need to be perfect
for your validation.

The One who created me
will still love and value me,
even when I make mistakes.

I take a deep breath
And repeat to myself –
“Let my good be good enough,”
as I straighten a picture
on a crooked wall.

Maja Trochimczyk

~ for Henry Fukuhara in memoriam

everything falls apart
in the last hour – shapes,
colors reduced to primal hues
of coagulated blood
and sunlight – everything

memories cleansed of pain
by art, carefully crafting
each painted detail
until it stops being seen
contours no longer matter

when the final surge of energy
erases words of praise
for the unjust world that promises
not to deliver eternal happiness
and keeps its promise

wanly smiling over
vanities of vanities

everything disintegrates
even the sweetness
of the mango juice
dripping down the chin,
the tongue and fingertips

already stained by blueberries,
on the first day of the summer
after the war ended
and all was supposed
to be well but was not

Rosalee Thompson


Tasha starts each morning
peeling and slicing in two
cases of organic peaches like a murderess
Fleshy Freshly
berries and muddled mint
sticky sweat slides
between her bountiful breasts
Yesterday she was a flower
in the upstairs of night

Free dessert with purchase of
one tree from the Amazons

Katie Ryvolt

By 3 measures and a beat,
The flames of eternal fire, laying just beneath my feet.
Which are spoken softly entranced within a slight romance,
Mistaken rhythms, lost within a sudden glance,
Memories once whispered, now forgot,
Moments needed now, are all distraught.
Left alone and cold and beginning to rot.
Tormented with in the heat,
That climbs ever higher,
A boiling point, consumed within a baptism of fire.
Thoughts within passion,
An emotional seduction,
By heat of eternal fire,
Of theirs and mine,
These and toughs,
Within this and that,
We meet
Composed, entranced
By 3 measures and a beat.

Julie Larson


evolving nit wits swing beastly jungle moody
co-ruminating common monkey mind flatter
primal preening purely screeching infinite
dirty laundry roaring insignificance
proud of ubiquitous pissy wildcat odors
offending visiting specters who snap sheep
images bleating safely behind separation glass
while fearful gated communities amplify
surround sound cliques of painlinked fencing
pacified seeing modern technologies
abound as bleeping territorial symmetry
showcages the mammalian brains of the busy
busybusy Oh-So-o-o busy - what could be -
bright burning carbon soulprints - now -
collectedly sorted whitewashed rinsed dried
unbecoming faded tyger hides precisely folded
matched opposing stripes creased in the middle
exactly smoothened wordless to silently shelve

Until the Hundredth Poet Screams

Mina Kirby


It is warm here
Golden rays of sunshine
brighten green fields
fragrant with yellow flowers
The air sparkles
with hums of bees
and chirps of soaring birds
A gentle breeze ruffles my hair
In the distance
are sounds of an ocean’s roar
as it splashes against rocks

I could be here
and today
I could be here in the sun
and the softly falling rain
in the cheerful daylight
and in the velvety night

I could be here with you
feel the warmth of your hand in mine
talk until the moon goes down
and stars sparkle in the night sky
We could walk
for miles and miles
absorbing the beauty
surrounding us

I could be here alone
a little sadder
but content
as perhaps
some day
I will
cloaked in sunshine
remembering you

Jeffry Jensen


I was no good with the neighborhood bears.
They always got the better of me on canned tuna day.
I was thrilled to be walking ferrets on Friday afternoons,
but once my knees gave out I had to turn in my leash.
No one told me that chamber music gives turtles hives.
They don’t take well to lotions or creams either, so I
experimented with deep neck rubs whenever I could
trick one into coming out of its shell for some quality time.
We both agreed to disagree on this one, and the turtles
took up residence in the high desert outside of LA.
I found training fish to be an acquired taste that can
go south at a moments notice if I’m not careful.
I went from a small bowl with a few lazy Goldfish
all the way up an aquarium full of Neon Tetras,
Dragon Fish, Mollys, Barbs, Pink Kissers, and Pufferfish.
Like any cruel master, I played one against the other
in order to get the best flips, gurgles, and bottom walkers.
My spare time turned into half time became full time,
took my dream time on a wild sea hunt into the deep recesses
of a freaky world few can even fathom in this century.
My act was booked on every cruise ship going up
the California coast for two years solid before
the industry tanked and I was left floundering on my own.

Gary Imperial


Strewn about the wondrous white
by a God-like fickle muse
some thunder in while others are light rain

The Lilac mist is heady
pause take in the sweetened air
let fragrance finger in the words to use

Middle, index and my thumb
they are empty as I wait
come fill them with your stylus form for me

Through the gray I see your form
as a charcoal sketch on pad
embrace me now so we may be complete

Whets my appetite for words
each minute grows my hunger
sublime the thought it will be fed by you
(no picture available)

Don Kingfisher Campbell


Irregular heartbeat of
dribble on hardwood

Then glissando whistle of
sneakers preparing for takeoff

Comes crack of orange rim as
basketball is slammed through

Resulting thunder reverberates
throughout building air like

Notes of a concert followed by
ascending cheer in massive hall

Rex Butters


first winter rain
third day/new market job
ten days till xmas
floppy boots
old Uggs
sole peel slide
slick floor slip trip
store too new to have glue
two block walk to Westwood Rite Aid
lunch break rush for rubber cement tube
they only stock a jar full
paid for/no bag/out the door
newly wet pavement
rubber sole folds underfoot
right foot flies up
land left hand down fall
broken jar glass jams into hand
deep gash blood floods
emergency room liquid skin
instead of stitches
wound sealed
3 weeks inactive
swollen cartoon hand infection
nerve or tendon cut
index finger no longer clenches
can’t close like before
white palm scar tight
hurt healed changed
loss of movement and power
for a measly $10 an hour

Gina Bove


I hate the sounds of July
and October . . .
of innocence lost and
mostly I hate . . .

Crack- hissss . .. pop and BOOM
Pow! It’s here!
It’s there
And they’ll never learn

I keep washing, washing
And the spot won’t come out.
I can’t shout them out of my mind,
Any easier than I can make it go away.

Nicholas Barrett


This is why I fled upon the open sea,
with dread and glee, your storm hastened my heart,
from the start, lowly I ran, dreaming free.
An exile, roaming this loveless rampart,
a wretched heap on shores of self I keep,
yet, by ships aground, Nineveh falls apart.
Awaken blackheart as cities burn and weep,
for as you sleep, the seas cry justice—fury,
and sailors pray to gods—parlay: Calm this deep!

Cry out! Cry out! That captain screamed in scurry,
for judge—me—jury, on seas of self we keep;
and so, amazed, I gazed at ole death’s hurry.
Methinks, I am to blame for this storm we reap,
and despite my plea, overboard—they threw me;
now free; baptized in water’s deep, I sleep.
O self I keep, ever rest apart from me,
for thrown I lay, on shores of brother’s keep.
Alas! Love’s song so sweet—new wine revelry!

Mercy tree, withered shade-no-more, burn deep—
love’s trill—ancient Liberty—song of wealth,
by worm’s hungry carve and stealth; self now sleeps.
Who am I, O Great I AM, wrecked on self,
lost of health, I can’t believe, under this tree,
I see, by loving enemies, blooms true self.

Prince of Peace, mercy tree, drown—me—misery.
Restrain the senseless self—dark beckoning;
Great Reckoning, beautify—we—history.

Jim Babwe


New science,
brilliant math,
expert logic
will never explain
how I caught
which fell unexpectedly
into my open hand
while I swept dry leaves
into a pile
in the shade
of the avocado tree.

Nudged silently from the limb
by invisible gravity,
I did not see the descent--
had no time to mistake the avocado
for another falling thing.

Skeptics lean toward
odds against
almost everything,
but someday,
I hope
to see a disbeliever
make the same
kind of catch--

Sunday, February 27, 2011

36 poets being published in SGVPQ 49


Each poet being published in issue #49 (Winter 2011) is invited to attend the publication party and reading on Saturday, March 5th between 3pm and 5pm inside the backroom of the Santa Catalina Branch of the Pasadena Public Library on 999 E. Washington Blvd. where they will receive a complimentary copy (a $5 value).

If you cannot attend the publication party, you can still order copies of SGVPQ 49. Singles issues are $7 (includes $2 shipping), or subscribe to the quarterly for $20 a year (postage paid) and get a free 2012 San Gabriel Valley Poetry Calendar. This offer is available through PayPal only ( When on PayPal, please select Send Money and make payment to