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 Lorene Zarou-Zouzounis
Lorene Zarou-Zouzounis
Californian Poets Part 3: Four Poems
Lorene Zarou-Zouzounis



Inside Your Own Short Story As I Read to You

Ghassan Kanafani assassinated
inside your own car,
inside your short story,
blown up driving a niece to college.
Two lives too worthy to perish
into ashes unfading.
Secret assassin ogled and darted.

Freedom fighter assassinated
inside your short story.
Poetry will free you.
Occupiers still have our Motherland,
never still in the night,
raids and kidnappings daily,
darkness swoops boys up like dragons,
rocks cradled in shirt pockets,
close to the heart.

Freedom fighter assassinated.
Poetry by candlelight,
newspapers underground,
still-born babies,
non-violent protestors teargassed,
non-violent protesters shot down,
non-violent protesters sprayed with sewage,
non-violent protesters become political prisoners,
some still looking for our Gandhi.

More than an Intifada rises each advent.
Youth is paralyzed—
state-sanctioned policy for stone throwers.
Heroes lie among cacti.
Ceaseless ground revolution this Intifada,
literally a “shaking off,”
fire in children’s eyes,
stones cracking and crumbling for freedom,
weapons against the David.

Children of the stone-age Intifada,
kip with their marbles and rocks,
spirit and tenacity of survivors
alongside immortal olive trees
of more than 400 Palestinian villages flat-lined.

Look, Ghassan, look down,
see prickly fruit ripening,
stone walls,
ancestors with deep roots.

Lend your ear; listen to air-borne rocks
swishing through the air,
hurled by boys who will wane
decades in cells for such exploits,
no more stones in sweaty palms.

Listen to brothers and sisters wailing,
to moans of crushed mothers,
the nineties presented
horrors akin to Hiroshima, dropped
just for practice, power and petroleum
on our Cradle of Civilization,
everyone’s Mesopotamia.

Goodbye, my Levant

Goodbye, my Levant, my Fertile Crescent,
for you have gone amiss from me.

Your marauders and mercenaries of demise,
with their resolute, voracious evil,
annihilated the grandest
of your past and present exaltations;
toppling you down off eternal hilltops,
burying after the fall, beneath rubble—
flesh, soul and ancient grandeur in one fell swoop;
plunging upon our petrified ancients,
ill-fated throngs of living and breathing.

Meanwhile the hungry wide-mouthed sea,
swallow whole in one quaff,
unfortunate mortals rich enough
to flea in teeming dinghies,
to join a ghastly graveyard of innocents.
Those spared a horrific land destiny,
grow silent with no prayer, no cry, no chant,
in the growing whirlwind of misfortune.

Goodbye, my Levant,
for you have gone astray from me.

We may not meet again until perhaps ten to twelve
generations of spectators’ gouging footprints
upon your sanctified soils of fallen columns and arches,
once more entering your ever impassable sesame door.

Goodbye, my Levant,
for you have gone away from me.

My supreme, bedridden calamitous Levant,
you are one entity to me my sweet.
Please know and find solace—I will always love you.
I trust you will rise once more and fully awaken.
I implore you wake me from my dream when you do.
Your body is dead, your heartbeat
remains subtle and steady,
your soul will never leave you now.
I believe you will open your eyes
to see me eagerly waiting for you.
You are eternal my celestial region.

Goodbye, my Levant,
for you have gone again from me.

Those you loved, that loved you back, are dazed
Why have you faltered once more
from me and from yourself,
seeming invincible and omniscient?

Your beauty and marvel now lie
among ancients awoken and rattled in horror.
All whom have fallen along with you,
find their way down along with
fortresses, palaces, and coliseums,
joining in a mass burial atop tombs.
What gives you the right to
commit to your own doom now,
in this vile way; and why now your prophecy?

Other unfortunate souls have partnered
with the ravenous sea,
at the invitation to its wide open,
hungry, and obdurate mouth?
This very sea is not as voracious
if left still and left alone and not one’s home.

Goodbye, and a final farewell for now,
my pictorial Levant
Your hazel eyes are Palestine,
Your sharp ears are Iraq,
Your resilient teeth are Syria,
your impeccable eyelashes are Lebanon
your striking pink and red cheeks are Jordan.
Until we meet again my love, and we will.

Old Palestine Fertility Goddess

Rolling hills and valleys of old Palestine,
One of the most fertile lands
before a conquest.
Oceans of wheat and
legume fields carpeted
and fed regions of Europe and the Arab World.
Orchards of fig, date, citrus, apricot,
grape, almond, walnut, plum,
to name some
adorned precious Falastin,
once free, and its people thriving.

The land of “milk and honey”
as sweet as round semolina cookies,
I baked with mother and grandmother,
sprinkled with mystical powdered sugar,
resembling white and yellow narcissus flowers,
decorating a generous and peaceful fantasy land
under an Arab sun.

Red and pink tulips, an abundant prize,
after Tateh Hilweh and I completed a daily
trek to pick wild, edible, sprawling greens.
My experienced guide picked young, tender leaves,
never the mature, bitter ones, or ordinary weeds.
We stuffed and rolled our harvest
with tender lamb, rice,
tomatoes, onions, herbs.
Fresh baked bread from Sitti’s taboon,
an outdoor igloo-oven warmed
bellies, feet, souls and hearts.

We filled handmade baskets with
anise, chamomile for tea and medicine,
as centuries of ancestors gathered before us.
We ventured out to cactus groves
that stand guard against time and marauders,
an eternal, painful landmark of beloved Palestine.

Remembering our gloves, we slowly pick
and feast on bright, red cactus fruit,
tasting the nectar of gods and goddesses,
all the while praising God, expressing
gratitude for the bountiful land we’ve farmed
for 5,000 years in Canaan

We perch on ancient boulders while Sitti
fills my imagination with folktales and legends
of flying carpets and harrowing tales
of Ali Baba and his 40 thieves,
and sailing Sinbad, confronting monsters.
Sitti is like a clever Sheharazade,
A princess saved from arranged marriage,
that cleverly recites adventures of The Arabian Nights

Stories of my ancestors,
stories of prince and princesses,
stories of healing with chamomile, mint,
sage, anise, satisfies my imagination.
She spoke of the peace and serenity of a free Palestine—
free of occupation, free beneath blessed blue skies,
free to plant, nurture, harvest and prosper,
free to explore and adore our holy place
under an Arab sun.

Commute Home

My joy ride begins as I descend, freely viewing
ageless vistas of SF Bay Area’s Peninsula,
filled with wild lupins and poppies.
An urban lush oasis of oaks and toyon.

West down Edgewood road,
a magnificent flight down,
smelling pines and laurels.
Outdoor museum generously curated
with hawks, jays, herons
flaunting Earth’s original tones
solar yellow,
sunset orange,
rainbow purple,
endless green,
calming brown,
glistening gold.
A reborn sky
as my protective canopy.

Dotted with serene, fit horses,
darting deer, wild coyote, grey foxes,
white owl overhead as a guardian angel,
freedom fields carpeting gloriously.

My majestic exit after work,
entrance to an unscathed wilderness,
less than an hour away
from a metropolis madness
with a famous red bridge.

For nibbling baby-faced deer,
sneaky skunks, rude raccoons,
black tree squirrels, bold and lucky crows,
joining the circle dance Cali provides
for those who want to smell and breath.

Ending my commute home,
I breath in deeply.
The day is forgotten with a
eucalyptus-scented breeze,
showered by Eos at dusk,
bathing my soul with a fresh air bath.

A surreal glide down the hill
in a flying craft, feeling like Pegasus.
Long enough to make believe,
I float amidst the splendor of 360 degrees
worth of glorious nature,
enveloping my wholeness,
feeling the oneness in the process.

Respecting my elders—towering pines,
grandfather eucalyptus, bending oaks—
I bow to them gratefully,
to their unmatched majesty,
cloaking the towering
Santa Cruz Mountains
that wallpaper for miles and miles,
between the sky of gods and goddesses
of California's coastal blues.

I glide down the hill with glee
open all the windows, face coming alive,
turn off the radio, listen to nothing,
seeing everything.
A child rolling down a grassy hill,
humbled before the mighty mountain,
feeling good about my size in comparison.