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

Part 3 Contributors

Michelle Bitting
Laurel Ann Bogen
Laure-Anne Bosselaar
Lucille Lang Day
Corrinne Clegg Hales
Marsha De La O
Charles Jensen
Eloise Klein Healy
Glenna Luschei
Clint Margrave
Henry Morro
Alexis Rhone Fancher
Phil Taggart
David L. Ulin
Jonathan Yungkans
Lorene Zarou-Zouzounis

Part 4 Contributors

Tony Barnstone
Willis Barnstone
Ellen Bass
Christopher Buckley
Neeli Cherkovski
Boris Dralyuk
Alicia Elkort
Mary Fitzpatrick
Michael C. Ford
Kate Gale
Frank X. Gaspar
Dana Gioia
Shotsie Gorman
S.A. Griffin
Donna Hilbert
Brenda Hillman
Glenna Luschei
Phoebe MacAdams
devorah major
Clive Matson
K. Silem Mohammad
Rusty Morrison
Harry Northup
Holly Prado Northup - In Memoriam
Cathie Sandstrom
Shelley Scott - In Memoriam
Daniel Shapiro
Mike Sonksen
Pam Ward
Sholeh Wolpe
Gary Young
Mariano Zaro

Part 5 Contributors

Millicent Borges Accardi
Kim Addonizio
Marjorie R. Becker
Jacqueline Berger
John Brandi
James Cagney
Carol Moldaw
Kosrof Chantikian
Brendan Constantine
James Cushing
Kim Dower
David Garyan
Valentina Gnup
Troy Jollimore
Judy Juanita
Paul Lieber
Rick Lupert
Glenna Luschei
Sarah Maclay
Jim Natal
Judy Pacht
Connie Post
Jeremy Radin
Luis J. Rodriguez
Gary Soto
Cole Swensen
Arthur Sze
Charles Upton
Scott Wannberg (In Memoriam)

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




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.
                    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