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

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 Jonathan Yungkans
Jonathan Yungkans
Californian Poets Part 3: Three Poems
Jonathan Yungkans



Departing Backwards with Undue Haste
          after John Ashbery

A black hole promises eternity, becomes a bad barbecue,
the potato salad ptomainic in its effervescent rancidness,
Zoloft mixed into the lemonade, and K.C. Masterpiece—

now with Thorazine. People play horseshoes, say gratitude
is a ringer. Like I want to remain grateful for respiration.
There’s no atmosphere in outer space or in a tête-à-tête

wrapped tight around my head. Who cares if the brisket
chokes a Clydesdale? Bring the Budweiser. Let’s marinate
our sorrows past dessert. Those puddings are neither just

nor sweet enough for social respectability. They’ll give you
diabetes and a Ginsu knife that saws steel cans and concrete
but won’t help a damn with the psych bill. Yes, I’m grateful

for oxygen, not grateful about gratitude. Is that ungrateful?
There’s no Jim Bean in sight to burnish a caramel sheen
onto thickening weariness or the brown-sugar crunch cake

on which flies host a barn dance. Pretend flies are raisins—
be thankful for the protein or people will start conversing.
Chelsea Handler, where are my pharmaceuticals when eyes

stare like I’m wind, kicking up dust and papers? Purple once
was a people eater. Now it comes in pill form—Wellbutrin.
Sugarcoat my mood so I glow in the dark and become a star.

Covid Vaccination

The afternoon line was nowhere near the ducks
swimming on the lake at Lincoln Park,
munching popcorn
a couple of teenagers were tossing toward the water.
The sun had stayed masked until lunchtime.
June gloom in drooping eyes,
barely a word in the undercaffeinated sky.

Wind was kicking up when I returned,
dust clouds and gangs of leaves skittering on asphalt.
Gusts flipped over the USC Pharmacy tents,
upstart kids
picking up a side,
tossing the canopy and running away
before the captive audience of the snaking line

past an otherwise vacant playground—
silent slides,
motionless swings—
toward check-in.
The 15-minute wait to make sure there were no side-effects.
My co-worker’s beaming face

when he forgot to get his vaccination card
and the nurses chased him down
to turn and shepherd him into that line—
while my left arm felt like someone kept punching it
from my shot that morning
and the ducks swam onto shore and rested,
beaks tucked under wings.

Pierced Full of Holes by the Evil That Is Not Evil
          after John Ashbery

It’s like the message I got from a church friend,
about how I was becoming increasingly liberal,
like some blossoming magnolia tree whose bark
was becoming patched with rust or blight. I look
at photographs and video of National Guardsmen

sleeping on the marble floor of the U.S. Capitol,
motionless as piles of autumn leaves, camouflage
blotches of fatigues and backpacks only adding
incongruences of a forest growing out of stone.
I think of Santa Anita Canyon, where bush maples

split granite boulders as they press upward. Those
trees had reminded me before now of resilience—
that even with only a toehold onto which to cling,
I could pull myself from depression, not plummet
isolated to smash below. Maybe a selfish notion—

those roots still force themselves, pry things apart
to assert themselves, spread and deepen their hold.
You expect me next to mention the screaming mass
at the Capitol, who seeded the forest of Guardsmen,
blowing ice shards, clouds of pepper spray in their

winter storm? Or the faceless, helmeted, Kevlar-clad
lines of authority shadowing masses who shouted
Black lives matter in heated gusts over summer—
not orange-gold of acres of trees going up at once,
a fire-beast seeming to inhale whole counties, exhale

heaps of powdered ash. Nor was it a controlled burn—
is controlled pulling over folks for driving while black,
like shaking trees until the leaves drop, stay stock-still,
and trunks smile daylight? It’s controlling, like seeing
a match or candle gutter out as what little air or fuel

is left inside of it dissipates. But is a tapir controlled?
Merely abandoned? Abandonment blazed. Travelled
in sparks and embers and Clown, emissary of chaos,
said this fire was bad. Bad for being a cleansing fire?
For hungering to devour brush along the forest floor,

thorns which drew blood? For finding thick glades
between tall buildings, pools of dried blood sunk
between pieces of gravel in asphalt? Guardsmen
sleep and I think of smatterings of scarlet, yellow,
brown in the gutter of a winding mountain road—

how Clown said there was nothing evil in winter,
a storm is a storm is a storm. But in which rustle
is good or bad? In what crack spreading in stone?
Clown told us before we should be raking leaves,
as if a rake’s metallic scratch could stop the wind.