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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 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 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 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


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Click to enlarge picture Henry Morro
Henry Morro
Californian Poets Part 3: Three Poems
by
Henry Morro


 

 



Zoot Suit

I, too, desired a suit with a gold chain
dangling below my knee,
and a cross swinging over my chest,

baggy pants pegged at the ankles,
and the all-black ensemble
with a wide-brim hat.

You had to pull the pants tight
above the waist like a fat boy, a style
that could get your ass kicked on the street.

Once you had the suit
all you did was strut around,
show up at a club, lean against the rail.

How you danced with that chain
and hat, sweating like a hog,
swaying in that long coat,

doing that slide across the linoleum floor.







Any Job

The men straggle into the cold warehouse
draped in tattered shirts, torn sweaters,
army jackets, their hats crowned
with logos—NY Yankees, UCLA,
Puerto Rico. Sometimes when they speak
I see gaping holes in their mouths
form the missing teeth.
Sometimes they arrive
in twos and threes—wandering
from warehouse to warehouse like a lost tribe.
Sometimes a son will lead his father
and speak for him, the father standing back,
his eyes open, the son boasting to me,
he can drive anything—give him a shot.
When they fill out the applications
they scribble the reason
for leaving each job:
laid off
temp work only
company moved away
owner died
Sometimes one of them is bold
enough to write fired.
Another one wrote,
fired for fighting,
and for another job he wrote,
fired for drinking with the boss.
Under “Special Skills” they scrawl:
forklift
Spanish
typing
sweeping
I glance out the window
at the downtown skyline.
I know that when I pull down
the Help Wanted sign, still they will keep
shuffling into the warehouses,
hunched in the cold,
gaping holes in their mouths.







Marilyn Monroe Is Dead

When Marilyn Monroe stepped onto that iron grate,
her skirt billowing like a parachute,
I fell in love with her white skin and her blond hair.

Back home, I broke the mariachi music
on the stereo, songs of women sleeping in buses,
buses filled with men lugging chickens and knives
through Panama and El Salvador,
migrating across
the immense Mexican desert
to the fiery border.

We had come to this country for the TVs and Cadillacs,
for the money and the skyscrapers.
When I saw Marilyn’s shimmering legs,
I was ashamed of my dark skin,
ashamed of the Latinas
and their sweet-fifteen debutant parties
where girls became women
without ever touching a man’s body.
Without ever touching my brown body.

Whenever Uncle Reynaldo
showed up with his blond wife,
his brothers would flirt with her
in their thick accents,
in their best busboy English,
offering her their English
their own crooked words
shaped while working sixteen hours a day
in the kitchens, in the boiler rooms,
in the factories—sixteen hours a day
to break through the language.

Marilyn is dead and I feel the dark
Indian blood that’s run
silent for hundreds of years,
coming back,
and I feel the language of peasants
and machetes, of machine guns and priests,
the language of gold and silver,
of gods and flesh,
the language that built the pyramids,
temples, cathedrals and plantations,
that sacrificed virgins,
that fought the Marines.
That dangerous language is coming back.