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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


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Click to enlarge picture Ron Koertge
Ron Koertge
Californian Poets Part 2: Three Poems
by
Ron Koertge


 

 



“People Leave L.A. at a Record Pace
as Others Arrive with Hopes and Dreams”


          In the parking lot of a truck stop
          near Victorville,

          a story about someone going
          on a journey meets

          a story about a stranger
          coming to town.

          “What’s it like down there?”
          a blonde asks pointing west.

          “The air’s like arsenic,” says
          the handsome stranger.







Love is Strange


A hundred of my closest friends and I are working
on Earth Day. Shopping carts, Big Gulp cups,
tons of plastic, more than one mattress.

I’ve got graffiti duty. Gloves, safety glasses,
  TSP in a five-gallon bucket.

All over the walls of the L.A. River :

          MICKEY LOVES SYLVIA.

“Love is Strange” plays in my head,
the great Mickey & Sylvia hit from the 50s.
Come here, lover boy.

They’re gone now, but this new kid has stepped
up to tell the world

about spray can love, clean sheets love, blast
furnace love under a swollen moon.

Mickey out here at night. Scrawling a valentine
Sylvia can’t help but see on her way to school.

No matter how hard I scrub, the letters show
a little. They’ll be here after Sylvia graduates,
after Mickey goes in the Army or doesn’t.

After they forget each other and a couple
in a red canoe enjoy the refurbished river,

him with a paddle, her thinking of last night,
one hand trailing in the cool water.







from The Secret Diaries of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Christmas eve 1817. I wonder about my father.
How big a fool have I been? I rarely feel well
and Percy is relentless. There are bats every night.

I am twenty years old and not unattractive.
An infant, the prospect of which frightened us both,
is buried in England. Percy sports about

with Claire Clairmont. Her name sticks in my throat.
Thomas Jefferson Hogg is attentive and relieves
my depression a little. His name disgusts me. I forgive

Percy. I do not want to be with me, either.
Byron limps about spouting poetry. The rain
is unrelenting. Everybody smells. Ghost stories

at night and in the morning Lake Geneva smooth
as a child’s forehead. Tonight Percy wants a sonnet
competition. Claire claps her hands like a ninny

in a book about ninnies. Horace Smith will compete
with Shelley. A gnat meets an eagle. A damp match
and a bolt of lightning. I am ordered to bring

paper and quills and plenty of wine. I am wary
of telling Percy my dream. He’s a poacher and a thief.
I fetch and carry. I bend low enough for the Hogg

to see more of my breasts. There in the fire
is a scene from my novel: terrified peasants
brandishing torches, a castle in flames.