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 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 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

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Click to enlarge picture Kate Gale
Kate Gale
Californian Poets Part 4: Two Poems
Kate Gale



My Giraffe

We climbed ‘round this small room
plants growing in windows.

Electricity gone out. We had no light.
Scrambled through blackness.

Played ping pong in the dark; stars came out.
Vines climbed round the stove, chandelier, table legs.

We burnt the table for firewood.
Ran out of heat. Rode away from the house on horseback.

Thick dark around us. Rode down into the valley.
Slept in the woods by the stream; camping for days.

Our marriage a wild place, outside the rooms.
Under the sky, we danced in the trees.

We were giraffes, kissing in the dark.
A dive of blue tongues into mouths that went on forever .

Tongues swimming. Swimming is what we’re best at.
We didn’t sleep in beds. We slept on the ground.

The ground is what we’re best at, the ground, the dirt.
The blue tongues, the swirl of long dancing in the forest.

Our marriage is a dance in darkness. Nobody else under this sky.
Nobody can help you. No manuals. No keys. No threads.

In the long dance of blue tongues. As giraffes sway in the forest,
in the dark, the sky watching, holding the dance in its dark blue sky hands.

My love, it’s been so long with you, so long of lying down in this grass,
of having no one to help us, of having just you.

You are not the man I married. You are not my husband of ten years ago.
I’ve seen so many of you. I’ve held you all in my arms, my giraffe, my love.

You don’t know a couple unless you’ve watched them alone.
Us alone? We’re light; we’re shooting stars. We’re the Fourth of July.

We’re champagne bottles opening. We’re tongues touching.
We’re Nina singing and singing out the last drop of love in the universe.

We’re two giraffes running across Africa; if you see us alone you’d say,
Who do they think they are with that much joy?

There are Ten Things You Need To Know To Be a Woman

  1. When you’re young and the little boys say, “let me see you pee,” say no, they want to see under your dress. Bad things will happen. They come for you.
  2. When you’re in school, and the other girls laugh at you because you’re dressed like a half-wit, don’t expect your momma to care. She’ll laugh with her sisters, with her mother, they’ll all laugh at you. They are laughing now. They come for you.
  3. When you grow breasts, and the boys say they just want to look at them, they don’t mean it, they mean they want you to undress. They mean, they want to have sex with you and then with someone else, and then with someone else, and then with someone else. They will tell everyone how easily you slipped off your blouse, unhooked your bra, stepped out of your skirt. You thought it was love. They thought you were easy pickings. They come for you.
  4. In college at the parties, if you have a drink and then another, his penis will slip inside you and if you have had too many drinks, so many penises will slip inside you, it will be a party of penises inside you, a memory of penises, a throw down of penises, and you will try to stand afterward, you will try to walk. You will hear them laughing. They come for you.
  5. You move to another state and start over; you date doctors and lawyers. You are taken to the country club where the fancy men put their hands on you. They take you to high rise hotels where they grope you in exchange for dinner. You put out. You are popular. They come for you.
  6. You get a job. You ask the women at your company to help you. You want help meeting important people, making connections. The women will not help you with anything. They sew the scarlet A to your blouse. They come for you.
  7. You get married and then you get a divorce. You hope the women will invite you over to meet their single friends. They do not want you alone with their husbands. They don’t trust you with their boyfriends. When you try to talk to their men, they come for you.
  8. The only way you could avoid attention is to get fat, but you live in a city where fat is not permitted. For a few years, you let yourself get a little bit fat, you have a few more friends. You have a fat boyfriend. Then you join a gym and lose weight. The women turn on you. They come for you.
  9. You could become religious, talk to God. Become a Jesus lover or a God follower and there in church, maybe the other women would like you, the other men would assume you aren’t about sex. Don’t people pretty much stop having sex once they join a church? You attend church one Sunday. Everyone can see you are a fake. They come for you.
  10. You are a mother fucking, skinny assed bitch. You’ve stomped around the world in your life, building castles. You’ve painted the sky and planted trees. You have broken the goddam rules and when they wrote new ones, you broke those. You are out of control, you are the wild new testament of women. You are breaking the eleventh commandment which is thou shalt not speak if thou art a woman. You are speaking in your dirty boots without shame. Where is your shame, woman? Where is your shame? Why do you not hang your head, woman? They come for you. They come for you. They come for you.