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--