Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mark MacDonald 

For the Poetess Lan Lan 

A new way of looking, a glance through the eyes
of somebody, anybody, someone not me, someone not
so gregarious, someone alone, someone not lonely:
A woman not washing dishes or cooking, a woman
not staring out the window; a woman not nursing a
child, or picking up after strangers; or even the people
she loves. So very few people stand on the sidewalks
in the city where I live, so very few people wait for a
bus or a friend with whom they work on the corner. 
This morning I fell in love with the poetess Lan Lan who
watches a flock of birds fly away and gathers the wind
in her scarf. “If anyone else stops to see what I see, 
I will accept that as a way of loving me,” she writes
in her poem called “The Village” a poem about
waiting, a poem about the promise of summer, a
poem about life lived in a village and standing
beneath the moon with only a candle. I love you 
Lan Lan, I love you. I love your orange scarf that
captures the breeze and lulls it to sleep; I love
your small hut by the river where two, only two,
quail play together in the grass. I have stopped
to see what you see, Lan Lan: “the apple flowers
fallen on the tombstones; the birds of the morning.”
I love you Lan Lan. And I know what the dead know.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Rina Rose

In the Sheer Light of a Connecticut Train Station

"'Kathy," I said as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh,
"Michigan seems like a dream to me now.
It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw..."
~America by Simon & Garfunkel~

I see that sleek silver train
crowded with so many passengers
stopping at the Hartford, CT Station
I got off dragging my rolling suitcase behind me
all through town as I did my best to remember
which sidewalks I took so I could find my way back

along the way I asked numerous people
where I could find the hospital
a hospital? said my mind
not a motel or even youth hostel with the last $60 I had?
not a restaurant?
to eat something when I was hungry

even my undrugged subconscious told me
this is illogical thinking, so wake up and clear your eyes
not yet. the delusion wasn’t done with me
none of the residents knew how to get to a hospital. strange
not even the crazy man with messy dreds and dressed in ragged clothes
who mumbled as he walked
he pretended he knew
so I left him behind and walked ahead of him

people kept telling me a big race happening soon that day
it reminded me of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, CA
I’d never been there either nor was I even a race fan
when I last saw the city I’d forgotten the hospital
I watched cars and people moving past me
did they even see me? and who won the race?

in this station of the metro
and a city I only visited in my dreams

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It’s Supposed to Rain Tonight

It’s supposed to rain tonight.
I can see the storm slowly heading this way across the flats.
More of the usual cold, wet weather that winter brings,
More dark, gray depressing days,
More memories of miserable wet mistakes from the past
Come clearer as the rain fall comes closer
And the wind whips through the lonesome leafless trees.

I've never really liked the rain much,
Except maybe, when we played tackle football in muddy Rancho Park.
As a kid it kept me indoors,
Watching TV, twisting the dial across all seven channels,
Or reading comic books over and over,
Finding something to get into an argument with my sister about,
Or maybe finding new and different ways to sort my baseball cards again.

During my college days, I remember rainy winters
Back when my parking space at UCLA was so far away that it seemed like it was in another state.
Hiking across the campus through the downpour
Trying to keep my books dry,
Sitting soggy in the reading room in Powell Library,
Eating vending machine sandwiches for lunch
And trying to navigate lecture halls full of umbrellas and slippery rain slickers.

When I grew up, I still could always pass on the rain.
Too cold and wet my for my hot sauce transfused California blood,
Too many cars going too slowly on my oily slick rush hour commute,
Too many restless kids in my classroom
Resisting being cooped up all day,
Halls slippery when wet, crowded with herds of soggy urchins
Providing a thundering din ringing off the metallic locker lined walls.

And, of course, there was that one winter,
Twenty years gone now,
When she left in the midst of a downpour
And I was left to fend for myself again,
Left literally out in the cold and rain that seemed to go on and on,
Day after rainy day for what seemed like forever;
A constant gray shroud that seemed to cover everything.

The rain finally ended as it always does
But that gray cover stayed with me
Through a spring that never really sprung,
Through a summer of muted colors and dying dreams,
Through an autumn covered over with falling leaves and broken limbs
And then back to winter rains again.
The year was gone but, I was still lost in the flood.

It took longer than I expected to find my way.
It took longer than I ever imagined it would
But then, one day, out of the blue and unexpected
I suddenly realized that the sky was clear and bright,
That my storm had finally moved on,
Over the mountain of doubts that I had built
And disappeared out into the empty desert of my lost hopes and dreams.

That was many years and storms ago, but it still comes back
When the rain starts, and the traffic snarls,
When the colored lights glisten and reflect on the dark slick roads,
When there is no escape from the constant drone of seasonal songs
And I sit quietly as the rain pounds down on my roof
And wonder how memories long swept away by the decades
Managed to find their way home in the rain.

But that’s just a momentary pain
Because time has done what it does so well.
Worn away the rough edges,
Smoothed down the internal anguish and shame,
Healed that once throbbing wound,
Left that scar as a slowly fading reminder
Of what “Gone but not forgotten” really means.

It took me so long to learn
That in the end everything comes and goes,
That memories live longer than their pain,
That lessons seemingly long forgotten linger for a reason,
That losing her love in that dark December rain
Allowed the seeds of my soul to find the light
And allowed to me become the man I should have been then.

It’s going to rain tonight.
I’m sort of looking forward to it.
I know that her face will be floating in the clouds
But that doesn’t really matter anymore.
If she had never left, I’d never be here.
If it hadn’t rained that night, if those rains had never come
I’d still be that dry, heartless desert of a man that I was before that storm.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Gary Imperial


Brom keeps showing me he's strong,
as brawn and broad as hardened wood.
If I let him he would ravish me, yes,
I know he wishes that he could.

In the Hollow spring has now arrived,
with my thoughts I am debating.
I think that he can sense that,
and I can sense that he is waiting.

Ichabod's cerebral,
as a schoolmaster should be.
I know he'd like to teach me things
if I would just agree.

In the Hollow spring has now arrived,
with my thoughts I am debating.
I think that he can sense that,
and I can sense that he is waiting.

The third choice is our milkmaid,
Merry Mary is her nickname.
Every morning she's my sunshine,
for her I'd like to be the same.

It's cold here in the Hollow
but her eyes of blue are warm.
Her hair of night sways silky,
oh to hold her in my arms.

In the Hollow spring has now arrived,
with my thoughts I am debating.
I think that she can sense that,
and that for her I am waiting.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Bill Costley
@ rosy-fingered dawn a brown Bonaierana
swims nude off the tiny beach below
Den Laman, her shorts & T-shirt cast
aside on a wall of crumbling coral.
As I finger them,
She calls from the water, "He' he' mihi!"
(Hey, hey, that's mine!) as I try to focus
in the blue morning light; only her
head's visible against incoming tide.
Rosy F. Dawn swims another half-hour
before her day shift. I sit on a block,
my back to her, writing this as the day
breaks, broken & burning, brightly east.

[Diadumingu (Sun.) 26 MAR 95 06:45 Playa Lechi, Bonaire N.A.i]

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Anita Holzberg


As the rivers roll
  as time moves
    June, my favorite month
            7 days to go
    I wonder what July will be like?

As the mountains move
   as the shadows recede
      as time looms into sky
              I see your face again
       I hear your voice
               we take a photo
       I wear a gold jacket
                 my intention is
          to Wow
                 it works
            you come back to me
               its all about the mind
               a soft pebble rolls
                       I pick it up
               You are back.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Daniel Yaryan


At each fast, lean-and-mean corp core
till they sell our corpses coffins
we're the numbers
we've got their number
no safety or strength in numbers
numb blurs
getting back on our imaginary horses with dull spurs
and riding backwards to where we belong
into a fantasy sunset that will never crumble
a magnificent perception
of a life goal of big biz beliefs, practices
and overall genuine, beautiful MO
leading us to the good life
we're heading toward a land of sunshine
with every promise made
and we're kept
revolving on this depleted ball
ruining someone’s sons of sons' sons golf games in the future world
built entirely on ethics, integrity, piety
never moral turpitude
all that we know
is brought to us by sponsors of the American wet dream
based on the ultimate aim: guaranteed customer satisfaction
for generations to cum
all wishes granted
every need fulfilled
by every object built
on the backs of levels of underlings
from the pressures
of guilt free Gods of Commerce

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Marcielle Brandler

Freeway Ghost

There's a spirit who lingers on the 101
Freeway where the 405 Sacramento splits
between Hollywood and Van Nuys. Some
people say there is no haughty ghost,
but a mere piece of plastic caught on
a branch. It trails across the sidewalk.
Everyone who has driven past that off ramp
knows that piece of plastic. It's been stuck
there for years. Some say that's how the dead
girl disguises herself. City dwellers have
seen her only on bright mornings. Perhaps
it is a dry cleaner's bag. I heard
of a friend who stopped his car and
tore the bag from the lilac bush. He
threw it away, tired of hearing
shadow gossip. No sooner did he
rid us of the myth when it was
replaced with a new one. Fast
drivers claim to have seen her.
Scholars report she is a spirit
who has never been born. Fishers
of men say this succubus lies in wait
for an opportunity to invade
an innocent man. Romantics
surmise she seeks her lost love.
She feels naked without a body.
Transients seek her advice. She
warms them at night. If she is
waiting, perhaps she'll climb into
our car. Perhaps because plastic
is so abundant, it is the most
expedient body she could find.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Audrey Allen

Pockets Full of Dried Leaves

“You haven’t lived long enough to be an Indian,” he said, blowing smoke up to the moon, ash gray face. Cottonwood sky.

He walked over and touched the bark of the old tree. One foot heavier than the other. Something clicking like a shackle around his right ankle. “You know,” he continued, “they cuffed the elephant. They cuffed him and strung him up to die, hung by the neck.”

He blew more smoke out. Lips white on the pipe. “Look in your pockets,” he said. And I looked – dug my hands in and felt brittle paper. I turned my pockets inside out to see, to see what was there. Nothing but dry leaves, brown and red.

Sway Sway Sway goes the old tree.

Branches gathering snow. Icicles sharp as knives and that snapping sound they made gathering up shape and force before smashing into the ground. Dirt like death now that the elephants are here. And he reached over and picked up his own mother’s heart. The part she left him. The old black core, cold in his brown hand. Lines leading to the vein. I am her. I am her. Where was she? Where was she? He stretched out his arms high to the sky and tried to hold onto something but nothing was there.

I have nothing.

I have no one.

I am here.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rina Rose


Lady Sol's corona glows
through marine layers a jet flies south, banks west
Is it going to the airport?

Inside a lighting distributor's
wrought iron fence a well-dressed woman
talks with a ragged homeless man They rest on a bench after walking

I check my wallet which I know contains
only two dollars
handing them to the man
he needs the two dollars
more than I do

I am impatient for the bus to arrive
so I scroll through my iPod menu
picking one of my favorite songs
singing with it
walking to the next bus stop
where I will catch a bus to the bank

Rent is due today

On the bus I wonder how much difference exists between this man and me
He has no home on the other hand, I will give all
except thirty-five dollars
from the deposit to my landlord so I have a roof over my head

Yeah, we're both kind of broke