menu_californiafeature2

 

Part 2 Contributors

 

Elena Karina Byrne
liz gonzález
Grant Hier
Lois P. Jones
Ron Koertge
Glenna Luschei
Rooja Mohassessy
Susan Rogers
Patty Seyburn
Maw Shein Win
Kim Shuck
Lynne Thompson
Carine Topal
Cecilia Woloch


Part 1 Contributors

Rae Armantrout
Bart Edelman
David Garyan
Suzanne Lummis
Glenna Luschei
Bill Mohr
D. A. Powell
Amy Uyematsu
Paul Vangelisti
Charles Harper Webb
Bruce Willard
Gail Wronsky


President, Publisher & Founding Editor:
Peter Robertson
Vice-President: Glenna Luschei
Vice-President: Sari Nusseibeh
Vice-President: Elena Poniatowska
U. S. General Editor: Neil Langdon Inglis
London Editor/Senior Editor-at-Large: Geraldine Maxwell
New York Editor/Senior Editor-at-Large:
Meena Alexander
Washington D.C. Editor/Senior
Editor-at-Large:
Laura Moser
Deputy Editor: Allen Hibbard
Deputy Editor: Jerónimo Mohar Volkow
Deputy Editor: Bina Shah
Advisory Consultant: Jill Dawson
General Editor: Beatriz Hausner
General Editor: Malvina Segui
Art Editor: Lara Alcantara-Lansberg
Art Editor: Calum Colvin
Deputy General Editor: Jeff Barry

Consulting Editors
Shanta Acharya
Marjorie Agosín
Daniel Albright
Meena Alexander
Maria Teresa Andruetto
Frank Ankersmit
Rosemary Ashton
Reza Aslan
Leonard Barkan
Michael Barry
Shadi Bartsch
Thomas Bartscherer
Susan Bassnett
Gillian Beer
David Bellos
Richard Berengarten
Charles Bernstein
Sujata Bhatt
Mario Biagioli
Jean Boase-Beier
Elleke Boehmer
Eavan Boland
Stephen Booth
Alain de Botton
Carmen Boullossa
Rachel Bowlby
Svetlana Boym
Peter Brooks
Marina Brownlee
Roberto Brodsky
Carmen Bugan
Jenni Calder
Stanley Cavell
Sampurna Chattarji
Sarah Churchwell
Hollis Clayson
Sally Cline
Marcelo Cohen
Kristina Cordero
Drucilla Cornell
Junot Díaz
André Dombrowski
Denis Donoghue
Ariel Dorfman
Rita Dove
Denise Duhamel
Klaus Ebner
Robert Elsie
Stefano Evangelista
Orlando Figes
Tibor Fischer
Shelley Fisher Fishkin
Peter France
Nancy Fraser
Maureen Freely
Michael Fried
Marjorie Garber
Anne Garréta
Marilyn Gaull
Zulfikar Ghose
Paul Giles
Lydia Goehr
Vasco Graça Moura
A. C. Grayling
Stephen Greenblatt
Lavinia Greenlaw
Lawrence Grossberg
Edith Grossman
Elizabeth Grosz
Boris Groys
David Harsent
Benjamin Harshav
Geoffrey Hartman
François Hartog
Siobhan Harvey
Molly Haskell
Selina Hastings
Valerie Henitiuk
Kathryn Hughes
Aamer Hussein
Djelal Kadir
Kapka Kassabova
John Kelly
Martin Kern
Mimi Khalvati
Joseph Koerner
Annette Kolodny
Julia Kristeva
George Landow
Chang-Rae Lee
Mabel Lee
Linda Leith
Suzanne Jill Levine
Lydia Liu
Margot Livesey
Julia Lovell
Thomas Luschei
Laurie Maguire
Willy Maley
Alberto Manguel
Ben Marcus
Paul Mariani
Marina Mayoral
Richard McCabe
Campbell McGrath
Jamie McKendrick
Edie Meidav
Jack Miles
Toril Moi
Susana Moore
Laura Mulvey
Azar Nafisi
Paschalis Nikolaou
Martha Nussbaum
Tim Parks
Molly Peacock
Pascale Petit
Clare Pettitt
Caryl Phillips
Robert Pinsky
Elizabeth Powers
Elizabeth Prettejohn
Martin Puchner
Kate Pullinger
Paula Rabinowitz
Rajeswari Sunder Rajan
James Richardson
François Rigolot
Geoffrey Robertson
Ritchie Robertson
Avital Ronell
Élisabeth Roudinesco
Carla Sassi
Michael Scammell
Celeste Schenck
Sudeep Sen
Hadaa Sendoo
Miranda Seymour
Daniel Shapiro
Mimi Sheller
Elaine Showalter
Penelope Shuttle
Werner Sollors
Frances Spalding
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Julian Stallabrass
Susan Stewart
Rebecca Stott
Mark Strand
Kathryn Sutherland
Rebecca Swift
Susan Tiberghien
John Whittier Treat
David Treuer
David Trinidad
Marjorie Trusted
Lidia Vianu
Victor Vitanza
Marina Warner
David Wellbery
Edwin Williamson
Michael Wood
Theodore Zeldin

Assistant Editor: Sara Besserman
Assistant Editor: Ana de Biase
Assistant Editor: Conor Bracken
Assistant Editor: Eugenio Conchez
Assistant Editor: Patricia Delmar
Assistant Editor: Lucila Gallino
Assistant Editor: Sophie Lewis
Assistant Editor: Krista Oehlke
Assistant Editor: Siska Rappé
Assistant Editor: Naomi Schub
Assistant Editor: Stephanie Smith
Assistant Editor: Emily Snyder
Assistant Editor: Robert Toperter
Assistant Editor: Laurence Webb
Art Consultant: Verónica Barbatano
Art Consultant: Angie Roytgolz

 
Click to enlarge picture Lois P. Jones
Lois P. Jones
Californian Poets Part 2: Three Poems
by
Lois P. Jones


 

 



Blessings

i. Mendoza, Argentina

You have never tasted a land like this.
          ––the wine black
as the sleep of earthworms–– I was offered
a prize Tempranillo in Argentina at the finca
          of an old heiress.

On her mantel, a menagerie of saints
          and small crystal icons the colors
of the sea. She watched me
          with a thirst for salvation,

as the girl in the corner rocked with one foot
          in the underworld
and her ache to get out,
          her throat offering its creaks and groans.

How they all looked away
          as the cries grew louder,
pushing her oars in the air,
          stirring the room with her storm

until she crossed
          to hold my hand, and calmed.

ii. Glendale, California

My neighbor was from the old country.
Her babushka, the color
          of a Bezoar goat and she came toward me
on Ash Wednesday as if as if I were an apparition –

a saint appearing like a gift
          in her garden. Her bones had already lost
                    their breath and her eyes held
the remains of villages. Children too small to walk

the long road, parents strapping them in boxes
          on the sides of donkeys.
Babies and the old dying without shelter.
          Places
                    where the danger hadn't passed.

At 13 I wanted to be a nun,
          to love without filtering resin
                    from the grape.
I was called to the church more than once –
          the church of innocence,

          the church of the insane father,
          the church of womanhood,
          the church of poetry and its illuminated manuscripts.

They’ve all burned down except for one
          in this half-finished heaven.

I clarify wine no more than I am the saint
          my neighbor needs. Still, I smile down at her,
                    not understanding Armenian,
only the gesture as her hand hovers from right
          to left shoulder. Am I dead or blessed?

I cannot bring back her ancestors.

iii. Saugus High School, Santa Clarita, California

Bless the boy who shot the children
then pointed at his own temple

with an automatic pistol, the mind’s nave closing
over the steel chamber,

each bullet hand-made
by the father. The father found dead

on the floor by the boy two years before.
Bless the mothers – swans

turned upside down – necks reaching
toward the moss of the seabed.

Bless the 10,000 souls who gathered
in Santa Clarita to grieve the ghosts –

the many who gave thousands
to the shooter’s mother. The ones who said

we must continue to bless all
the empty beds.

iv. Santa Monica, California at David Whyte’s Lecture

Didn’t it seem as if the nave of the church grew as tall
as a eucalyptus, our hush a mist hovering
above its crown. And didn’t it feel as if he were
holding our silence from across the dais –

certain as his linen shirt as he looked out at the pews,
his eyes reaching into our trenches,

our wounds of a nation split
down its middle. I thought of the Baruch ברוך

which says G-d is the true source of all blessings.
But I have been kissed on the cheek and it was

a small rain that left nothing but thoughts
of what it was and wasn’t. As if a tree pressed

lips to skin, its green skirting the house of you,
sweeping from room to room, filling the floorboards

with its breath, your walls becoming water
the body forgetting it carried anything at all.

v. Global Pandemic

What leapt into our veins leapt swiftly.
          Breath our one blessing –
                    to rise and fall
                              and rise again.
          .

*half-finished heaven from Tomas Tranströmer’s poem of the same name.





Four Nights in the Misty Fjords

          She was inside the whalebone
          counting the looped ritual
          that followed her below deck.
          She was the smell of crayfish
          and crab, cracking them open,
          tearing out their sweet meat.
          This is what she did when the shells
          split. She kept them until they dried
          inside like a gull’s white dung.
          She layered the hours with it –
          when everyone lay in their bunks
          and the stars were hammers on the sea.
          She could feel their weight – hear
          the surrender of the old halibut
          before the hook found passage.
          Blackwater pulling on a line,
          pulling like the night, creaking
          like a lie. And when she closed her eyes
          and her body sank down
          that’s when he would appear, cinch
          in his hand, twisting the anchor
          until it snapped, watching her drop
          in the dark. The rope unravelling
          from the rust so swiftly, it burned
          to touch. Nothing left but nightfall
          at the river’s mouth and the slow
          motion of salmon waiting to be caught.

Previously published in Night Ladder (Glass Lyre Press).





A Stranger’s Needs

          (Chateau) Muzot was extremely primitive. The rooms were comfortable,
          but there was no electricity and no running water in the house.
                                        —Frida Baumgartner, housekeeper to Rilke, 1921


In the beginning I knew nothing. Not of the steel
pots that required constant scrubbing, or the way

to press a shirt of linen—wait for the iron to smell
like burnt leaves on an October morning.

Not of how to bathe in a castle without plumbing—
cotton cloth dipped in an icy pail of water, a dab

of lavender soap to scent the skin. Nothing of how
to undress by paraffin lamp in the cold knot of December

or the desires of a body at twenty-six, all of me rising
into the belly. I had to learn to be invisible.

He wanted another Leni—a woman who walked like a cat
by moonlight and understood his needs with a single look.

How could I find my way to a man who has no map?
Sometimes I would say to the mirror,

this is not the life you promised. Sometimes I would say
to the bed, someone will carry me like a candle to their chapel.

Previously published in Spillway