Sunday, June 1, 2014

20 poets read from SGVPQ 62



spill milk
on pillow

chill warms

and I
under bed

for laughter
in a forest
of knowledge


Funk This Speech!

A noun is the part of speech
which names a thing like
a ding-a-ling.

An adjective is the part of speech
which describes a thing like
“The ding-a-ling is dapper.”

A pronoun is the part of speech
which substitutes for a thing like
“It is dapper.”

A verb is the part of speech
which tells what thing a thing does
like “The dapper ding-a-ling zings.”

An adverb is the part of speech
which describes how, when or where a thing does like
“The dapper ding-a-ling zings here.”

A preposition is a part of speech
which links a thing with another thing like
“The dapper ding-a-ling zings here with zest.”

A conjunction is a part of speech
which joins the differing parts of speech like
“The dapper ding-a-ling zings here with zest but so-so there.”

An interjection is a part of speech
that expresses a word which exclaims like
“The dapper ding-a-ling zings here with zest but alas, so-so there!”



Blue sky canvasses above a mass of mostly white
clouds sun catching as they march over mountains

Free larger supervisory cumulonimbus shepherd
smaller cumulus across the suburban landscape

Tiny buildings surrounded by equally small trees
spot along shrinking concrete roadway ribbons

Populated with miniature cars that roll out of
sight to the illusory horizon straight as flat earth

Miniscule steel fence keeps walking itsy bitsy humans
from jumping up to seemingly soft billows of gods


When Bumaye was Beautiful

Still floating like a butterfly
from your red glove filled
with fists of love just ask
the Foreman, Liston and Frazier
side stepping in that ring like
a dancer, two step jab romancer
still stinging boxers endlessly.
We can still hear the bell
and all the raps from your tongue
and even under Cosell microphone
loves the rhymes of your charming spell.
And even the Beatles wanted to get in the ring
with you
And not even The Man of Steel could never
destroy you
And on Different Strokes the way you beat
the Gooch
on the phone without even landing a hit.
And because the power of your voice,
when I could only stammer with shame.
And to my skinny frame as I worshiped
your Adonis frame. I may have stuttered
every other world but even I knew your name.
As the camera flashed immortality
your battles were more than just a fist in
the face full of game. From behind witnessing
your sweating arms raised to infinity
with gold belt crowning you def to divinity.
And your still floating like a butterfly
and punching syllables fighting
to knock the words out with a smile
softer than Clay, echoing Cassius
like Jesus on the cross even in defeat
your bouts were my religion even
in my tears you never lost. side stepping
in that ring like a dancer, two step jab
romancer, still stinging boxers endlessly.
And when I say Ali, still weaving
your bobbing head like a champion
as you mumble with greatness—
 “the greatest was me.”


Down-South Summer

There was tight-knitted-extended-sisterhood
in the warm circle of my “country-cousins.”

Summer heat had a zip code
on curvy black paved roads
with ditches that eavesdropped
on giggly-girl-talk.

Hopeful over our latest crushes,
we were half-bold, half-shy,
boy-crazy, empty headed and
full of belief that we knew-it-all.

Thrilled to wear clothes too-revealing
for our years that drew attention we
couldn't handle.

Like baby deer caught in the headlights of
awkward-adolescence, the black-hole of
existence was being left out or left behind.

We watered dreams of a “Grand”
future. All that was needed was me-plus-time
then-stir...we made long “to-do” list that
I still attempt to check-off today.

Send in the Clowns!


Medicine Man

Three middle ear bones
And hair
Prove I’m a mammal


Desperately rubbing
My warm-blooded chest
into the earth

Reincarnated from
Some bewitched dancing shaman

Seeking to regain
Simple primal
Visions of
Lost truth

No amount of technology
Can provide
Or understand


A fool

I was young
therefore a fool
drowsing in eternal twilight
beneath doubtful mountains
of books all written contrary
by men of bright vapor
shrouded and brooding
breathing deep of their
sublimated hate
and shadows of belief
that flit between
a lost and forgotten
and abundant loneliness
written in sand
spilled across the library floor
where I slipped
and fell
to waken to a knowledge
as naturally as if
I had earned
every drop and dram
then I spill
my gossamer thoughts
to drift on winds
up those mountainsides
and disappear
into the starlight
while I grow old
and therefore
a fool


No Trespassing

Fences don’t own the land.
The land owns you.
Sand piled against the cliffs
Blows across the water like mist.
Involved in sea rock and spray
You leave your questions with circling gulls.
The tide comes in as you walk down.

Where does this stream begin?

Frozen white mountains rise above the plain.
Water flows from the edge of snow.
Crashing waves break on sea cliffs
Where trees come down.

A stream is easily polluted while a sea holds more.

Climb back into the woods.
Ferns and nettles, pine and wild deer.
A red tail hawk flies above.

The hills and mountains that we love
Will change less even than those who change them.

Three rides and a walk is home.


Home sick 
            On couch.
                                 Too much to drink.
                                 Loaded gun cradled.

                                 How can you love somebody like me?
                                 How can I love somebody like me?
                                 Widow with a living husband.                                 



His tie was loosened and his neck was bared,
White flesh rising from starched waves of linen,
Rising like Orpheus, my ears and eyes are snared
As he turned his head, inviting sin and
Tendons corded and twisting in a dance.
Short of breath, I heard such velvet sound
That wrapped in its tone and rapt, entranced
To watch the pulse that shifts, throbs and pounds
Within that ivory column of reverberating flesh.
My heat within from ember to flame paints
Pictures of reward, release, restraint.
I watch him swallow, smile, refreshed
And think to pull that knot so very tight
And secure myself from lusting at first sight.


Silver Lining

There must be an evil task master
Within me.  One
That longs to crack
The whip &
Insight mistake &
Shame & stigma & fear &
Tells stories of failure &
Would like to chain &

My psyche into states of
Despair & otherness &
Unsuccessful longing &
Loneliness.   &
This evil wizard,
This master deceiver, would have
The better part of me enslaved
To his will.  His mystic command
Of my mind and hand.  His control of my throw
& the aim of my bow.  The dark
Wind that re-directs my arrow
& constructs disasters from my
Good intentions & purity of heart.  &
Throws shadow after shadow & drapes me
In excessive ice cold contrition.  & fools
Me to play victim to myself.  Flogging
Myself for bad judgment & dis-ability—

But there is a light in my soul!  A
Unity of integrated self that’s whole.
This light in me will not stay down!
It will light up the night & right &
I write in at least my mind to rite
The course of events to make amends.
And I live, I learn & this passion,
This love that yearns & burns to earn
Sacred Union with the world; that
Rises above the darkness to be
Known as: Eros.  This unifying
Love.  An energy and entity that is
Selfless & non-discriminatory. The unity of
Particle & wave.  The
Individual of Many &
The One as All that
Creates a continuity of blessing &
Unfolding in
A happiness that delights to
Ride the wave of
Shame in order to defeat
The blame game &
Rejoice in
Being the
Same, different—
The self mining to
Construct the finding of the

Silver lining—


how they broke away to go to the califonia country
"so far? so early? so soon..."
                                                Carl Sandberg

each of us stepped off a porch
(in Houston, or Boise, Reno or Brooklyn,
Matamoros, Havana, Belize)
into our particular
escape, adventure, 
doors slamming 
or shutting quietly behind
t-shirt manifestoes, army surplus bags
and boots – Kerouac's rucksack army
unwittingly massed
for peaceful revolution...
we transported,
riding in trains, planes, 
hitching or driving 
tracking that dotted line on Eisenhower's 
parallel military free ways west

our futures followed the sun
crossed deserts, mountains
to illogical conclusions:
crumbling cells in SRO hotels
shabby roach-infested broken mansions
pretty bungalows courted row-by-row
cabins, shacks, rented rooms all bathed
in unremitting sunshine or sweet fog.
"Now, what?" we would say,
"Are we having fun yet?"
cruising crowded sidewalks, 
banquets of storefronts
no matter where we went: paradise –
here we were –
this promised land and
we could yell,
or not...


Night Adventure

Visitors after midnight
while I slept
very quiet guests
bringing family with them

In through the front door
not using the knob
never turning the key
to unfasten the lock

Meows from the cats
rousted me from sleep
They refused
to get down off the chair

I looked at the floor
A moving black line
directly from the front door
enveloped the cat food dishes

Unable to find ant chalk
feeling the little black monsters
crawling on my skin
I became a frantic murderer

trampling them with bare feet
stomping and slapping
as they tried to escape
up my legs

From a dim place
in the recesses of my mind
I remembered pepper
grabbed a whole box of it

Sprinkling it liberally
on both sides of the door
discouraged them
from entering

I have ordered ant chalk
it’s wonderful stuff
I know they’ll be back
finding new ways to get in

For hours
I still feel crawling things
tickling my body
even if they’re not there


The Last Caw

For Mark Tobey               
(After THREE BIRDS, c. 1934-1935)

riotous ravens scour rocks volcanic,
gleaming granite, pacing, spindly legs on
cadmium landscape beneath the sky of fire-

storm omens. Lava breaks the belly of
our earth - spilling rare substances, licking
great forests, leveling dwellings, cathedrals,

flamboyant bridges, with swirling storms of steel;
oceans bleed seven-petal-anemones,
iridescent origins of the universe.

One raven, in fact, bears the brightest wing
with streaks of snow. Another pecks at bits of
dry moss, emerging from a cave near a grove

of needle-less cedars. Final roof of ice begins
to fall when our gaping earth, birthing, groans

A pair of ravens, brooding, looking
rather pleased, skip around a murky pond –
longing for lotuses, white lilies. They rest
beside a swath of asphalt; for they, too, are asphalt,
remains of burnt cathedral travertine,
lapis lazuli turned into soot, yet, now,
(please look closely) how their darkness glistens
magnanimity: night of microscopic
constellations spewed out into a fast-
receding coal-black abyss recalling
every galaxy’s, every grain of sand’s –
each root’s, each fruit’s, each nest’s…now listen: music
of each survivor’s new, lyre-muted caw
like brave raven’s last fire-mooted caw


Shadows vs. the Sun

Bird hates me. I am a poet.
He says, “I don’t speak
an ass lick of truth.”

“Settle down.” I tell him
and pass the flask
of cheap whiskey.

Bird’s laughter roars
as he takes a chug
of my liquor.

I am hopeless to him.
Bird pitched an idea
for my chapbook.

He suggested I wrap
my poetry around
empty toilet paper rolls.

He looks at me and says,
“It’s going to be given shit
anyways. So why not?” 

I laughed. Bird teases
he’s an asshole.

One of the finest
I know. His talk
is encouragement
to prove him wrong.

Now, I reach for the Sun.
Yet I am still a prisoner
to the shadows and Bird
died this morning.


Stay Inspired to be Alive

Have you ever let go your love
Because you thought he’ll be happy
without you?

Have you ever missed someone you care
That you always think of him?

Have you ever regretted the day
You said Goodbye to him.

I tried to forget you but to no avail…
Sleepless night and pain is deepening.

Until that day…it’s your birthday
I saw your face on my phone
Reminding me of all the
Happiness we have shared
When we were together
Just for that you inspired me again
It’s true that Love will make you alive.

Have you ever been hurt
But ignore the pain
Because you thought…
Life is worthless and you don’t care?

Have you ever experienced Blankness
in your surroundings
Because you thought...You’re already dead?

But have you ever wondered why...
That only the thought of that special, special someone
You used to love…Come back .

Like magic…  Again you fall in love..
Stay Inspired to be Alive.


The Prettiest

1. He claims they no longer sell watermelons with black seeds. It makes me sad: faceless figures slaughtering them into halves, cackling and devolving the tiny black hearts with their fingers, and pressing them until flat.  Maybe they wear those masks that look like pantyhose.
Maybe assembly lines of spayed watermelons file and trickle down into the horizon.

2. I show him the black and white patterned box on the back of the cherry bag. It says scan into your smartphone for an abundance of information. It may light up like a slot machine flashing icons: silver, yellow, and neon dollar symbols. These abundances are all too welcome:

3. Dams for one are abundant with fish because the water is always being changed and aired. Whole populations have died from too much oxygenation.
When they die they’re the prettiest because you see them best, silver scales up and caught in the sunlight.  


The Reef of Clouds

I am a car underwater
driving through seaweed and coral
You are shark swimming
circling, circling
I have forgotten how to breathe
so I pull on blue-grey sunbeams
escalating me upwards
my lungs eat dust particles
I am phytoplankton
as small as molecules
as massive as continents
sending breath into clouds
into horizons
You are pollution
black slug of fossil fuel
I will sleep in the crook
of your arms
make you drink 
in my low tide
turn you starlight