Monday, December 30, 2013

25 poets read from SGVPQ 60

Petrouchka Alexieva

Lazy Sunday

Lazy Sunday morning -
Sleeping late and tea in bed!
On my window a bird is walking;
On the wall are bunch of flowing
Leafy silhouettes.

Lazy morning – no regrets!
Calm and pure
Rays are targeting my eyes;
I’m not opening them
That for sure,

Only rolling them like
Dice to left and dice to right...
Lazy Sunday – that is alright! -
I became a lazy


Maria Arana
with $100 dollars, he ordered bright cold beer
poured it’s sizzling contents in a glass
smacked his lips before noon
just like his stepfather
the day begins with gold
and ends with bitterness
the child sniffs salty breezes
bends to catch lumps of clay
waves splash against legs
music played against the sky
hid my hunger after I ate
stayed and envisioned you below the sand
tending to my wounds
Autumn blows marshmallow hair
inside someone’s life
girl regrets the day she was born
hair burns of gray
and the world’s tapestry bears her soul
gloves cover frozen hands
swearing death in winterland
when frost sings the backdrop of conceit
life abounded on trees
wind the enemy of eagles nests
food scarce in dead landscape

Note: the phrase “abounded on trees” was taken from Leavetaking by Samuel Menasche
Barbara Austin
No Lament for The Departed
The tourists have gone home,
leaving Dairy Queen, shuttered:
to keep company the pale winter sun.
Sea air takes her queue:
divest of human particles,
dressing in her palest blue.
White and black quilt throbs: dense,
drumming wind,
undulating: speckled pattern visible:
swoosh, the gulls are home.
Battalions of white plastic bags
guard the beach.
Gulls stab at memories of meals,
bits of colour,
carelessly discarded
by the tourists who have gone home.
Errant signs mimicking spring
shoot up, announcing  vacancies.
Leaving locals to reassemble on front porches,
joining crickets, to harmonize in winters rhythm.
Only the Post Office remains unchanged.
Local stores offer familiar faces
bearing genuine smiles:
their summer inventory  occupying garages
of the tourists at home.
along with the dreary snapshots
interchangeable with every other year;
watery Margaritas
more diluted than last,
the tourists have a surprise.
No oohs, no aahs.
No resurrection.
Gentle dignity of the head
belonging to
the once graceful body
of a young female deer.
David Bortin
If I saw Death in hot pursuit and gaining ground,
of course I’d try to find some desperate Fixx,
like planting obstacles to trip the horse he rides—
a running track, or stationary bike.
But lo! Death never moves an inch.
His gaze a tractor beam,
it’s I approaching him, instead,
and cannot swerve aside.
So tactics change:
slow down
and look around.
Four Angels 
On southeast corner 
of McDonald Park
unseen cherubim swings 
as Pasadena parrots off key sing
On other side southwestern 
seraphim slowly switches
sycamore leaves from green 
to reddish-yellow
Under San Gabriel Mountains
partly covered by ashen clouds
northwestern angel shares 
sentry duty with foothill fir 
On northeast corner aging 
archangel stands on aching arches 
and wonders if there’s a God
beyond chilly gray dome 
Michael J Cluff
Parsing out the sauce
qualified to be processed,
rejected and ptomainized
stopped Maria from
topiary classes on Sunday
under Mister Aguilar's
viral oppression of Carmel's
waves impeding his least-known
xenophobic carbolics
yearly analyzed from
zero to wingtips,
acerbic bow ties
bell rung to infinity.
California oceans
decline in sea urchins'
equality to Maria founded
further need to patronize
Gerald's passionate answers,
houndtoothed sports coats,
independent revisiting of bassets
joining the belabored fog
kleigging into months of moths
luring Aguilar back to the shore
Maria malingers on
nurturing Gerald's dream
opaline and ambiguous.
Kimberly Cobian
Right Now, I Really Envy that Little Girl
What would I give, to sit,
In the back of my dad’s pickup,
Snacking on gnats and fireflies.
To watch the rockets
Shoot and miss God’s face
In the twilight.
A bouquet of roses, gunpowder, and hickory pecks my nose.
Slurping cherry iced tea,
The bombs, like cherry bubbles in my belly,
Remind me of the years I had braces.
When soda was prohibited like 1920’s hooch,
Till they removed the bars
From around my milky teeth.
I was free.
I could eat whatever I wanted again.
I could drink soda till my belly exploded.
I could sit in the back of my dad’s pickup truck,
And chew on a morsel of that moment.
Beverly M. Collins
The Club…A turkey tale
There once was a young turkey
who felt so left out.
He wanted in to the club and
was marching about.
The “club” was elite!
He knew for a fact cause
his friends joined the club
and they never looked back.
They had become such a snobbish
Bunch. Not meeting him at the feeder
for lunch.
He would prove himself worthy to be
with that crowd. When the farmer came
near, he would gobble real loud.
He flapped-a flutter, he did not
stop. Until finally let into “the club.”
called “The Chop.”
Francisco Diamond
The one-eyed cyclops
nicknamed “Sunny”  frowned down- Ha! Gently
The door that was only drunk
From the contact high of the drunks who touched her
A regular crowd featured
The regular drinking patterns:
Con artist artists,
Fuck the futurists
Sick of present worldists
Toasting myself I grinned I’m a regular drunkard
Not a special varietal
Outside cold and delirious
Another one of those nights
Small in a lint wonderland
Where there’s always a tomorrowland
Tyler Dupuis

He was watching a TV show about the planet Mars,
which wasn't making him feel any better. There weren’t
many channels to choose from since she left
and took the cable with her,
so it was either this or infomercials.
On the show they were talking about how Mars used to be a wet planet.
There are stones all over its surface that have rounded edges,
caressed for ages by water way back when.
There are rivulets and trenches dug by gentle streams. Lakes,
maybe even oceans used to exist on Mars, which all would have been
a great growing place for little bits of life of some kind. But then
not too long ago (as far as planets and the universe go, anyway),
it all started to disappear, and now there’s none left, except for some
frost underground, or locked up in ice at the poles.
It made him angry that something like that could happen,
and so suddenly. And even if someone felt like bringing some water from Earth
up there, to return some moisture to thirsty Mars, it wouldn’t do any good at all
because it would just freeze solid in a second and that would be that.
He sipped his drink he had in hand and tried to savor the feeling
of the liquid touching his lips, but it burned instead.
The TV flickered in the room, flashing blue on
the bare walls. It was showing pictures from one of the rovers on the surface,
panoramas of the desert world. He felt bad for those lonely rovers, crawling around so slowly
over a tiny corner of a dead planet, sifting through handfuls of rust, like they were thinking,
What happened here? What the hell happened?

(previously published on
Beth Fehrensen
Drift Away
In this weather
I just want to drift away into the heather
Sink beneath the bushes
Into the tender tips of her fingers
Mama Baba
Hold my hands
Not a mans
Make amends
To the inner devil
I hear your voice
The clouds
They smell it
Dark and rank
It rains today
Whether mother comes or not
The earthling
She is hot
Like a womb in which to grow
Festering in bacteria
Where's the hula-hoe
I wanna till this earth
Before the water comes
I'm gonna' take a good clear look
At this face
Mark down each scar
On the skin of a tree
So I can remember her
Remembering me
Because I deserve to live
To love
To feel and think
At the same time
It's absolutely fine
That my poems don't rhyme
Charles Harmon
Race Horse

It seems we waited so long for the bell….

Did you fear my lasso?
The reins and the ties that bind?
You were trembling when I touched you,
When I stroked your mane and
Offered you the bridle and the bit.
I was scared, too--
The lariat could circle back on me.

As I watched you, eyes rolling, nostrils flaring,
I wondered: Will you buck? Throw me off?
Or will you kick me,
Hooves to my head, to my heart?
Did I even dare to dream
Of riding such a thoroughbred?

As you reared up on your long, lean haunches
I considered: Are you a filly, a mare, or both?
Either way, so domestic and gentle when in the stable:
A racehorse, untamed and wild as a mustang,
When let out to run.
Stamping your feet, you warned me
Against making false moves.

I only hope I could keep up with you,
Knowing there is as much excitement in the anticipation
As in the race itself, or in the joy of finishing.
Even if you’re a dark horse…
Win, lose, or place-- I’m betting on you!

Breaking out of the starting gate at last,
Going from zero to all out, to all-the-way
In one gigantic heartbeat,
So hard and fast you tore my clothes off,
Your legs furiously pounding, drumming like thunder
In a hurricane, your lightning striking into my heart,

Your long-legged beauty carrying me away,
Galloping so strong, so swiftly, you race horse,
Your fingers tearing at me, digging into my back,
Burning like fiery rain into the parched desert of our souls,
Gone too many years without rain….
The storm that had waited so long to burst out

We raced across the dark frozen wasteland of our pasts,
Snow melting behind us from the heat of impact,
Flowers bursting out of the muddy earth in our wake,
Rushing into a new world, the future,
Into the light,

Spring sun rising after a long, cold winter.
This is a horse race we both can win.
We’re in it for the long haul.
We don’t have to go too fast--
Only far.
If we finish, we both shall win,
Two hearts uncaged, running to the same rhythm.
And it looks like we can finish, neck and neck,
Together, every night,
Rose Anna Hines
Falling Leaves
I watched your body wither for months.
Life slowly drip, drip, drip
until it lay around your feet.
But, your mind was still green and vibrant
yesterday afternoon.
6am, I got THE CALL.
You stopped breathing at 5am.
My mind couldn’t hold the thought.
I stared out the bedroom window.
A breeze blew.
My eye caught a pumpkin orange leaf
floating to the ground.
I watched it turn and
make its way to a pile of leaves
scattered on the grass.
It fell next to a yellow leaf
which lay on top of a cinnamon colored leaf.
A leaf which looked like someone sprinkled mustard on it
touched a brown crumpled leaf
kissing the edge of a crimson leaf.
I found myself naming each leaf
you Milton on top,
Christina, Frances, Bud, Carol, Phyllis
for mentors, friends, kin that have fallen.
Jeffry Michael Jensen
Some Version Of My Escape
The eyes have earlier versions to go by.
Satisfaction is repetition run amok.
Trust comes off the bench as a substitute.
Oblivion is a finger in a mother’s baked goods.
Failure is a nightingale posing as a future.
Trees have taken grammar to heart.
I’m unaffected by the chatter of conclusions.
Accuracy is the dagger without the cherry on top.
Can a philosopher only be blamed for tomorrow?
Can a poet only be blamed for the mousetrap of today?
Sunny days are the most illegitimate of them all.
Education has attempted to keep all the pretty girls beyond me.
All I could do after recess was tumble down the stairs with some
juicy contradictions in my pocket and a sixth-grade smile plotting my escape.
Mina V. Kirby
Running With Horses
lean my arms upon the wooden railing
watching two frisky colts
as they run and cavort
across the field
in the afternoon sunshine
Their shiny heads toss
in the delight of being free
Manes and tails
fly joyfully behind them
in the breeze
I am entranced
and in my mind
I put my foot on the low rail of the fence
pull myself over and drop down
to the other side
I begin to run
feel the wind tossing through my long hair
golden sun lighting my face
My heart pumps excitement and warmth
throughout my body
The colts don’t mind
my intrusion
being as it is in my mind
Their equine exuberance
infuses my spirit
spent and out of breath
I return to the fence
a lightness in my step
as I climb back to my watching place
The little horses are not yet tired
their lustrous bodies
still jumping and laughing
as I turn to grasp the handles of my walker
and head for home
Karineh Mahdessian
he grinds
his teeth
that's when 
i wish to be bone
in his mouth
of manhood
he wants to be touched
Toti O’Brien
Body of father
you lean on me
each time I make
love to a mature
How old am I?
Forty, fourteen
more, less, four
maybe? I’m in bed
with you
early afternoon
post lunch nap. You
tell me fairy
tales little
hood is what I
recall then to
colors, blue

Did you touch me?
I doubt so. Did I
desire or fear
it? Did I? Did
I won’t know. But
my father’s body
returns with the
weight ‘n
of each older
man leaning against
me. ‘N I take it
‘n I love it. I
get enough.
Blessed be, body
of my father.
Please marry me
like nuns
marry the Christ.
Then immortal like
you I will be. When
you’ll be gone
I will die.
Raquel Reyes-Lopez

Does it matter if I desire
lips      delicate          like the eyelashes
of whoever I wish to kiss?
The sun         is burning out.
You’re crying           too soon, fool.
Do you not see        the moon
She and I will be gone.
The universe will leave you
an orphan.

Thelma T. Reyna
Janus, The Gateway God
You two-faced son of a gun, never in or out but
in-between, always in the path, in
doorways, portals, gates, wishy-washy wimp
not making up your mind. In or out? Always  in
the way, immobile marble, looking front and back,
like a Mafioso marked for takedown. Wimp.
Anyone can straddle past and present, reliving
pain and glory, sneaking peeks at down the
road, wondering what boulders block our paths,
but staying put, stuck like heels in August asphalt,
like addicts zonked on sofas, trapped like
catatonic drunks who can’t make up their minds.
You two-faced son of a gun, roman god they
say, but guarding doorways is what conspirators
do, their hands on secret knives, fingers on
lips, shushing, shushing, keeping the future under
wraps, not telling, not giving it away, killing us
with secrets. Hypocritic coward. Take a step
back, or lunge forward.  Commit—make a move. Just
get out of the goddam way.