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