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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 Phoebe MacAdams
Phoebe MacAdams
Photo Credit: Alexis Rhone Fancher
Californian Poets Part 4: Four Poems
by
Phoebe MacAdams


 

 



Autobiography with Fingers
                              for John Wieners


I dream of a fist,
undelineated lumps
pushing out to form fingers.

on my 11 pm walk:
mockingbird, skunk, possum, coyote
hold the struggle for form.

the fist emerges
in the bleak early morning.

I wash towels, make beds;
poetry asserts itself
humbly,

formed me out of madness when I was young
and knew nothing but magic

watching a tree turn orange
at a boarding school in upstate New York,
reading fairy tales alone in a top floor bedroom.

At my grandmother’s house, I sat on a bench shaped rock,
rescued by stone rabbits,

by John Wieners who came to our house in Buffalo
and talked to ghosts while he drank Crème de Menthe
in our dining room.

I pray for an answer to a neighbor’s green plastic grass,
slim stars overhead,
raccoon slipping along the shadows,
possum moving up the driveway;

I woke up and my father was on his way to the hospital,
sweet deranged man
born too early for the medicines that could have saved him.

My sister sat alone in a rocking chair for years,
fierce guardian of the good
in the half-way house in Woodstock, New York.
She came to me in a dream,
thick black hair and Old Testament robes,
with a message from St. Joseph, patron saint of good death.

Today, a man sits crying at the end of a driveway,
his much-loved cat of 15 years
lies dead in a box at his feet.

I search for clarity among the cucumber leaves,
long for grammatical order.

Loss is the order that comes

These are the fingers forming.



What Persists


the irregular heartbeat, the aging feet

that carry us

along with the Spotted Towhee, the Red Breasted Sapsucker,

the poet driving to a retreat in Big Bear.


we must keep our images humble

amid the tension of the heartbreaking news

that sends us to our flickering screens,

exhausted by the daily terrors.


we have only our little song

that solves no riddles,

asserts itself gently

and yes, persists.


this is the small answer

landing on the air conditioner,

pecking at the sunflower seeds,

the small answer.




The Great Blue Heron
                              for Harry Northup

Ask permission of the powerful stranger,
the Great Blue Heron walking in the water of the Sepulveda Basin;
ask the heron about listening
without diversions,
carefully lifting one long leg after another.

Emptiness descends in the morning
in spite of anonymous phone calls from random builders, or
music from a television in the next room.
I move through life like a teacup,
a brief refreshment before
the tongue that greets us.

I remember the Ticonderoga pencils of my youth
sharpened and ready on our grandfather’s desk,
the music box we played on the sly, sneaking
into the room filled with papers and books.

I wake early and consider
the darkness in the mirror.
Later I am allowed glances of
late afternoon light on camellia leaves.

I ignore the random phone calls
and ponder the word for today: lostness
that is in itself a kind of location.
I walk carefully in the moonlight along Columbia Avenue.



Communion


here at the Laundromat

across from Trader Joe’s,

communion with the Tide,

with the turquoise negligee,

two men reading quietly

while a woman pulls her quilts from washer to washer

loading the coins, clink.


I’m looking at my bunion and

considering Donald Hall’s old farm house

with its wood burning stove

where he lived until he was 89.


Yes, these washers do support the invisible world

as does the weight of sunlight

and two Chinese women, one in shorts looking stylish,

wiping the sweat off with a paper towel.