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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 Marsha de la O
Marsha de la O
Californian Poets Part 3: Four Poems
by
Marsha de la O


 

 



The Way It Happened

How many hours
did the sky bear down
before it felt like
a dense fist of pain
loosening?
As though another mouth
stretched an O
inside a body not my own.
A body opened like a split peach,
sleek and rent,
the knees pressed wide.
And was it joy
that lurched downward,
flooding the linoleum?
I rise into the cries.
If blood were silk
and my legs crumbling pillars,
if sound were a long caress
of its own morphology and
screams could plow a room, could
harrow light,
all you would see is red.
Red on the inside of closed lids,
and red the unstoppable force.
Child, listen now,
the evening fills
with blood-colored clouds,
I spend hours falling for your face.
I fall for you like a ripe fruit.
Fallen from the mouth of pleasure.





If it’s possible to go back

to that first night and tease out that first moment
when a future seemed likely, Esther Phillips was covering
Home Is Where the Hatred Is at the Hollywood Bowl
with her exquisite diction, and up in the cheap seats
grown women all around me who knew that song
wasn’t about heroin addiction so much as the men sitting
next to them, leapt to their feet because they had the words
by heart, and so did I, and we all felt compelled to rise
for our anthem and sing those words out loud – the
men beside us had no idea; that was the instant
I knew it could be done – it would take time and a plan,
but I was standing up, and I wasn’t singing alone.





Asking the Pears

April. Fierce baby cabbage, spindly tomato,
pears arriving early during this gospel of death
lit like small lanterns, hand-size Neolithic goddesses,
sun-warm, ticking, headless, footless, primordial:
Where will you be when you’re gone?

Should I ask the pear cupped in my hand,
filling my palm with its womanly shape?

Pears are inconstant. Never the same.
A drop or two of rosewater, balm
of sunlight in uncertain quantity, ivory flesh –
only sometimes crisp.

Didn’t you tell me once their moment
is fragile; watch closely, take them exactly
when rolling their pale gold against the blue,
nymphs fully formed, yes, but still hard.

They refuse a single understanding.
You said I must core, peel, and slice the pears.
Then rub them with lemon juice.

It takes two knives to cut butter into almond flour
to a consistency of coarse meal. You said this.
And I want to say: what becomes of us
afterward? Slow ripples in air. What falls
from the bough rests on the earth.





Lechones

Suckling pigs the size of infants,
their skin golden and glistening
with fat, hanging from hooks
in the windows of pocket
eateries on the narrow streets
of Toledo – we saw them after-
wards, those lechones – little
ones voracious for milk, guzzlers,
eager milkers, hungry mouths.

The woman I was with strongly felt
St John of the Cross betrayed himself
with rapture, the language of lover and
beloved, too much, too sexual – later
she would shave her head and become
a Buddhist nun – but that day we made
our clumsy, in-the-moment translations
on the train to one another as though
searching through those songs of longing

for what we would not understand
and everywhere the most audacious
intimacies, reading them aloud,
eyes on each other, and would she
taste the tenderness of new life, let
the grease smear her lips? She would not.
Hills the color of flayed leather,
rounding their curves, a view of Toledo,
the holy city like a silver brooch

against the breast of storm, El Greco
painted it that way. Landscape painting
forbidden since the Council of Trent. He
did it anyway, a rugged promontory
clothed in green, claiming color as
the most ungovernable element.
How could that be in La Mancha—
small spears and knives of grass as fresh
with desire as flesh and vein, flush with

dark water? Only if landscape is
encounter, not description; the eye
says what it does not see, the steep
where the deer grazes, unquestioning
sourceless light. My body as escarpment,
slope, rockfall, as thin soil tunneled by
new grass. Under a dome of storm.
The eye of the deer also eye of
the lover. What is it You want of me?