Friday, December 28, 2012

2013 San Gabriel Valley Poetry Calendar
















NOW AVAILABLE!

The 2013 San Gabriel Valley Poetry Calendar features 28 laser-printed, 65lb textured-parchment pages of poems by these 22 poets:

MARIA A. ARANA
CALOKIE
DON KINGFISHER CAMPBELL
MICHAEL J. CLUFF
TOBI COGSWELL
STEPHEN COLLEY
MARVIN DORSEY
JOE GARDNER
THOM GARZONE
GARY IMPERIAL
LARRY JAFFE
JEFFRY MICHAEL JENSEN
LALO KIKIRIKI
MINA V. KIRBY
SCOTT NICHOLS-COLLIER
TOTI O'BRIEN
THELMA REYNA
CINDY RINNE
RINA ROSE
WANDA VANHOY SMITH
TIM TIPTON
MARY TORREGROSSA
















Get your copy for just $5 by going to the backroom of the Santa Catalina Branch of the Pasadena Public Library on 999 E. Washington Blvd. this Saturday afternoon, December 29th, between 3 and 5pm... or, if you can't attend, you can still order copies via http://paypal.com by selecting Send Money and directing payment of $7 (includes $2 for shipping) to kingfisher1031@charter.net, then just wait by the ol' mailbox for fast, first-class delivery.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

13 poets read from SGVPQ 56


Thelma Reyna

SHADES OF BLUE
 
Blue is black before the sun awakes, black swirled with
silver as light sneaks through, not fooling gods or
men. Come do your job, Blue. Bring all your brushes, throw
your strokes above our heads and all around and show us
what you have.
 
Paul Newman eyes. Blue of talent and compassion, his
blueness giving fortunes to the hungry, heart-bursting jeans
blue sexy in a streetcar, hustler, cool hand luke blueness.
When he died, blue eyes turned black, as sapphire tears fizzled
out and he took his blueness to the clouds.
 
Ocean blue slicked black with gushes from the deep, blue
smirched with orange, red, churning, burning, billows
black, hearts blue, suffocated hearts, drowned riggers in gulf
blue, blue grief, pelicans blue-black from tar and death, blue eyes
weeping at BP greed.
 
Pool blue respite in the Bronx, wavy concrete aqua heat,
crystal blue splashes, spindly children in red, brown, blue swimsuits,
dark eyes, blue eyes blinking, squinting, little lips blue from cold,
watchful mothers under blue canopies, under a cloudless sky
blue smug in its iron grip.
 
Blue, blue, you never come alone. You drag red along, for heartbreak,
black for night, loss, death, and grief, and white for heat and
sky gloves blue white. Blue swirls with silver, never fooling god
or man, blueness swirling high, deep, dry, wet, vast, small, bin laden’s grave
and porcelain christ statue eyes.

Maria Arana

Earthquakes 2012

I can see the ruptured waves bring down the homes of children
like a bad case of GERD, earthquakes bring out the worst
great magnitudes of fractured faults beneath the earth show on maps
 
Earthquakes move, shake, and bounce while we go on with our lives
we pay no mind each hectic day until they shriek above 3.0
check out Beverly Hills 3.4, Yorba Linda 4.1, Brawley 5.3, Indonesia 6.6
 
I can see the frequent nightmares not known to begin or end
like the bop your spine makes after being inactive a long time
one loose part in this engine causes others to choke and burst
 
Earthquakes spill lava tears bitten chocolate covered ice cream bar breaks
like the cracks of marriage slamming seismic plates against each other
dry ice attaches to my hand and falls smashed near the table

Stephen Colley 

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

We’ve got Antitrust, BLM, CFPB,
and the DEA, EPA, FDIC,
FCC, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, plus the Fed
and the GSA running us into the red,
 
while the FDA, FTC, Homeland Security
(TSA too) and ICE guard our futurity.
Medicare, NLRB, NSA
redistribute and regulate, day after day,
 
helped by OSHA, the OMB, PBGC,
RRB, SBA, SSA, SEC.
 
And a White House that every four years is re-leased
ensures all of bureaucracy’s wheels stay well greased
for directors, detectors, correctors, collectors.
So who will protect us from all our protectors?

Carribean Fragoza

Long Beach Pa’ la Niña

Now that the last bouts of autumn heat have surrendered to this winter’s dusk’s deepening cool breath, I begin to think I can warm up to Long Beach. And because I’m ardently from South El Monte –believe me, this is no small thing to say.

From the shadows cast by the furniture in the house I’m staying at for now and that is not mine and still new to me, I can tell it is near sunset. A loud call from down the street confirms the hour.

Tamales calientitos champurrado!

Para la cena, of course.

Sonorous, la señora tamalera makes her rounds down the streets of this Long Beach neighborhood. A car follows very slowly behind her, a rust-red hatchback exposing a two giant silvery ollas de tamales y champurrado. It reminds me of the call of the eloteros that once honked down every street of my neighborhood, joining the broken-music-box dissonance of ice cream truck It’s a Small World and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star remixes. I realize just now that you don’t hear the eloteros anymore and the ice cream jams are occasional, except in the summer. I’m not sure why.

As the evening progresses, darkening and hushing, I begin to notice that the piercing screams of a baby in tantrum or pain have not stopped. Somehow, I find this endearing. Through the flurry of sobs, I begin to discern a rich sing songy voice,

The voice, -at first I can’t tell the language of its song  -undulates in the night, traverses backyard fences, iron window bars and grows corpulent as the baby gradually ceases its cries. It is a man’s voice, I imagine by his timbre, not too old.

Ay que chula que linda esta niña mas preciosa del mundo esta niña mas preciosa mia.

Before long, the baby is silent.

Cinco cinco cinco, cinco los deditos..

The man continues, now inventing new songs about little fingers,

Una una una, una narizita

And little noses

And muchos muchos muchos, doggies and gatitos

The baby begins to squeal intermittently, responding to the song perhaps an improvised dance or new tactile choreography. I think la niña is laughing, with her father, both still warm from the day in their home, something cooking perhaps in a pot in the kitchen. Que niña mas linda, mas preciosa.

La niña continues to squeal. And squeal. And scream. And cry and scream again. The father continues to invent songs about no llores no llores porque porque llora la niña porque. The nina, of course, no déjà de llorar.

The sweetness of the moment is over. I’m ready for the kid to stop crying.

But for once, I begin, just barely, to think that I could find something familiar enough to be comforting and homelike in a place that is not my home. I think that perhaps, it’s in the intimacy of language and familiarity of sound, the simple assonance of a song that I can recognize glimpses of a life I think I remember.  Certainly one I can imagine having.

Joe Gardner

MURDER OF CROWS 

I remember
softly
On the roofs
On the wires
Along the fences
And the street signs
Every limb and branch
All rustle black
With these heralds
Of the One Eyed Father
Murders of crows
All of Lakewood
Silently watched
By obsidian eyes
 
Then
As if from some mysterious
Commune
As one the great cawing
Choir of carrion eaters
Would take to wing
A great blackened storm cloud
Of beak and talon and feather

Alexandra Hohmann

Trouble

I’m in trouble. Again.
My acid mouth spews sandpaper sentences,
controlled by a brazen brain.
 
But the real culprit is
the heart,
perfectly healthy save for a button-sized rough spot
caged behind the ribs,
calloused and scabbed over
like a wound that never properly heals.
 
So every time you say
“I can’t make any promises.”
“We’ll see.”
“I don’t know.”
the scab falls off
and the heart aches
and the brain commands
my vile mouth and biting tongue.
 
My body is the real trouble-maker.
It’s really not my fault.


Sandra Irwin

War Games

Pomegranates are better than baseballs
for throwing. They sting and stain,
burst open like grenades, split in two
or three; some seeds scatter, while others
cling like crimson cells inside white,
intestine-like membranes. The scattered seeds
of pomegranates splatter skin and clothes
with thin blood.
 
We stole our ammunition from a tree.
We ran hard, ducked fast, and hid well behind
boulders and trees, deep inside ditches, all
the while armed with pomegranates in our
pockets, an ambush under each armpit,
another in every hand.
 
Mere children, we mimicked our world.
 
First published in Cold Mountain Review, Summer, 2011

Jeffry Jensen 

ROUNDING UP

too too too intimate for even murder, foul play, or scandal of the highest order
it could could could have been anybody, even a relative, a neighbor, a street vendor with
everyday values and everyday parts, rich halves for the taking taking taking
pluck pluck pluck went the people right off the platform of death, Heaven, Hell,
anywhere with ice cream for Jesus and a dose of dust dust dust for the day laborers who
want statues to take take take vacations for them, a hero with a drinking problem
wreckage of a generation, shrinking in a pool, longer than a libretto trampled, absorbed,
sewn into the fabric of war war war where dentists take up finger painting
I am not a footprint, a rabbit, a cheerleader with dimples, I am not a crowd crowd crowd
looking for an organic pavement to have a personal moment on lawns lawns lawns going
heavy on pomp and circumstance, raise a black hole to the floating librarian in the room
who cares for the scraps scraps scraps of paper in the pockets of porn stars
flesh flesh flesh is so homemade and very communal in a London drizzle, don’t let the
beasts beasts beasts put bandages on Darwin’s forehead before I trace my own lungs for
posterity find charm charm charm in the subconscious astronauts who smell the flowers
where forests once stood tall and are flustered flustered flustered  by jazz riffs and cell
phone messages that were generated by the children children children who wobble out of focus

Mina Kirby
 
Peace on Earth
 
In front of bright colored lights
of the Christmas tree
and ignoring Joy to the World
playing on the radio
my children
squabble over a coveted toy
 
They play tug of war
yanking and jerking
shouting mean words
at each other
each twisting to make the other
let go
 
I watch from the kitchen
wondering when to intervene
Finally they come to blows
my son reaching out
and slapping his sister
while still holding on to the toy
 
She lets go
and begins to cry
giving up the fight
leaving him the perfect chance
to grab the wonderful plaything
and run
 
I start toward them
But he
sets the toy on the floor
and gathers up his sister in his arms
soothing her hair
crooning loving words
 
It is at this moment
hearing the Christmas carols
watching my beloved children
I think that maybe
there just might be hope
for peace on earth

Karineh Mahdessian 

old man
wrapped in white sheets
shivers
at dawn's break
 
while i
in too old a toyota, 
with missing hubcaps
&
enough scars
to be considered broken, 
cruise by
listening to nina's wails
of southern fruit trees

David Morck 

Layers

Relive the moments of
a vinyl erosion studied in a Sunday robe.
 
Incredible, wiping away the haze.
Upon us all sit the layers:
Silurian, to Devonian.
 
So goes the detritus
of all we know.
 
An ache, a suppuration –
Read, or seen: itches are the mildest
form of pain.  What we feel without
language, within.  Hearing the rattle.
 
Scratch away the layers, peel back
surfaces, to learn to tie the knots
that never come loose,
a language made
without human intervention.

Raquel Reyes-Lopez
 
Food for Thought
Dear Wal-Mart consumer
who calls themselves a pet owner.
How dare you mock me,
be so ignorant, not glance
at my history, or take note
of my hundred thousand
years of existence on this world.

I am a feline; I have thrived
off of mice, bugs, and birds.
Yet you have the nerve
to feed me dry food
Red 40, Blue 3, Yellow 5
that’s slowly riddling me with disease.

Each scoop you pour
in my petty fish shaped bowl
is the growth of a tumor,
the mutation of my cells,
or damage to my genetic structure.

You play with my emotions
a fish shaped bowl with no fish
just Hell’s dry food.

I blame you.

For trying to take care of me
when you can’t take care of yourself.
Plastered in front of a T.V. screen,
cracking open your midnight beers,
damaging your organs,
but bringing me down with you
as you make mine suffer.

I am hungry!
Hungry to evolve
back to what I used to be,
but you and your poison
has kept me stunted.

I condemn you to yourself
as I sit next to you
watching as you spiral yourself through
Netflix oblivion of Halloween films,
with your T.V. dinners,
right next to your never ending list
of resolutions you never achieved
in your 20’s, and sure as hell
won’t accomplish in your 40’s.

So put a cape on me and laugh
at how allegedly cute I look in this.
Hand misinformed children
candy bars that’ll lead to diabetes.

I’ll have the last laugh
when you kill yourself from alcohol poisoning.

Lori Wall-Holloway
 
Teacup Tercets
 
“Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable.
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
 (Philippians 4:8b NLT)
 
“A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever.” John Keats
 
Purple violets painted
on vintage cup creates
delightful indulgence
 
Teacup’s Wonderland
garden image offers
peaceful escape
 
Floral china teacups
whisk away worry
with caffeine

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

32 poets being published in SGVPQ 56


MARIA ARANA
JIM BABWE
JACK BOWMAN
DON KINGFISHER CAMPBELL
MICHAEL J. CLUFF
STEPHEN COLLEY
ANDY DORSEY
CARRIBEAN FRAGOZA
JOE GARDNER
THOM GARZONE
HELEN GRAZIANO
CHARLES HARMON
JONAH HERRERA
LINDA MARIE HILTON
ALEXANDRA HOHMANN
ANITA HOLZBERG
SANDRA IRWIN
JEFFRY JENSEN
MINA KIRBY
MARIE LECRIVAIN
ELLARAINE LOCKIE
KARINEH MAHDESSIAN
DAVID MORCK
KATHERINE NORLAND
TOTI O’BRIEN
RAQUEL REYES-LOPEZ
THELMA REYNA
RYFKAH
NANCY SHIFFRIN
ROSALEE THOMPSON
MAJA TROCHIMCZYK
LORI WALL-HOLLOWAY

Saturday, September 1, 2012

14 poets read from SGVPQ 55


Karineh Mahdessian

so
that
i know not
what the bottom
of
my abyss feels like
i smoke
cracked dreams
&
piped nightmares
stand naked
on corner streets
&
slang away
my words
desperate
to
make sense
 
so
that
i know not
what the bottom
of
my abyss feels like
i take
blunt razor blades
peekabooing from eyelids
&
peel away memories
desperate
to
stay alive

Joseph Gardner

Up High

There is a certain art to it
A tightrope walk
And the way of it
Is to remember
To constantly remind yourself
That there is no safety net
Up here
All the vulgarities
Of life
Undisguised
No shadows to lie in
To crouch in
Only the constant abyss of failure
Beneath your feet
Waiting
Hungry.
 
The better ones
The clever ones
Do it without regard
Mostly they do it drunk
And alone
And vaguely insane
But still there they are
Slugging away at it
Taking the lumps
For the pleasure of it
For the madness
For the thrill
To end the mind numbing boredom
And the way of it
Is to do it
 without the safety net

CaLokie

Tweeting the Lincoln Douglas Debate

LittleGiant
Athens had both slavery & democracy. So why try 2 fix something which ain’t broken.
 
HonestAbe
America cannot remain half Slave & half Free. A nation divided against itself cannot stand.
 
LittleGiant
As a rail-splitter Lincoln divided wood; as a senator he’d divide this nation. 
 
HonestAbe
Intellect of Little Giant matches stature. Thinks Mason Dixon Line is border between the U.S and Canada.
 
JohnCalhoun
Liberal Lincoln didn’t support our Mexican War troops. If he’d had his way, Texans wouldn’t have won right 2 own slaves or speak English.
 
HenryDavidThoreau
I saw Mex war land grab 4 slavery, refused 2 pay poll tax & jailed.  Emerson asked why was I in jail. I asked him why wasn’t he in jail. 
 
HonestAbe
Douglas wouldn’t mind it if America the free becomes a land of slavery from “sea 2 shining sea.”
 
LittleGiant
Dishonest Abe pals with terrorists like the bloody abolitionist, John Brown.
 
JohnBrown
The trouble with Kansas ain’t me but tyrants fighting 2 make it a slave state.
 
LittleGiant
The apostle Paul returned runaway slaves 2 their owners. Abe’s abolitionist buddies aid their escape.
 
HonestAbe
The Declaration of Independence says all men are created equal.
 
SojournerTruth
What about women? Man had nothin’ 2 do with the birth of Jesus & ain’t Mary a woman?
 
LittleGiant
If liberal Lincoln has his way, negroes would dance with whites at 4th of July picnics.
 
SojournerTruth
I ain’t dancin’ with no white dude till he learn 2 keep the beat 
and stop steppin’ on my feet.
 
ChiefJusticeTaney
Blacks have no rights which the white man is bound to respect.
 
FrederickDouglass
What to the slave is the 4th of July?
 
HarrietTubman
This train bound 4 glory...Get on board brothers & sisters.
 
JulietWardHowe
GLORY, GLORY HALLELUJAH! Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord & his truth goes marching on...

Alexandra Hohmann

The Writer in Repose

[Inspired by Sandra Cisneros’ “The Poet Reflects on Her Solitary Fate”]

After all the people have gone,
the laughter has faded
 
After she washes wine stains,
cigarette smoke
from her clothes
 
After she washes caked makeup,
man musk
from her body
 
She sits.
A desk. A chair. A tattered notebook.
 
The morning sun dances on her skin.
 
She scoops an ice cream sundae
of stories
from her soul.