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

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 S.A. Griffin
S.A. Griffin
Photo Credit: John Tostado
Californian Poets Part 4: Three Poems
S.A. Griffin



What Does Not Kill You

It’s an afraid new world
in Covid Town.

Sitting in the digital waiting room
sipping a cup of Green Tea.
Queued up for a virtual callback
on Zoom.

Just like the military
hurry up

Twenty minutes in, my screen comes alive.

Casting director introduces himself,
We would like for you to talk to us.
Tell us something bad that
happened to you.

You guys want it real, right?

Yes, we know it’s Monday…

Just another day of the week that
ends in ‘why’.

Whenever you’re ready.

My head spins. Out pops a short order classic
from the stepfather files: The Monster
Behind the Charming Mask.

The abuse was never a matter
of if,
but when,
and it was always,

And after so many beatings,
over so many years,
you really don’t feel the blows or the whip
just the pain inside glowing
like a hot red sun.

And as this story goes
I was dressing down for P.E.
Just me and this other guy in the locker room
who stabs the stainless air with a tortured scream,

I have no idea what he’s talking about.
I stand in front of the full-length mirror and turn
to see a latticework of black and blue welts
covering my back.

In that viral moment
I made a silent promise to myself
that this would never

It wasn’t too long after that
the Monster came at me
barking orders.

I told him to shut up.

What did you say?

I told you to shut up.

How he glared at me
that one last time
looking at the young mad dog
looking back.

The game is on.
I’m in the zone.

No spit on the ball,
pitching the story right over the plate
as real tears come falling.
Quietly, like timid pearls
from an ancient

I choke out a
words… and he never
touched me


The director pops up in a corner of my computer screen.
Thank you, he says, that was great.

Just another tale
from the dark side, I say,
plenty more where that
came from.

You available for the shoot?

Yeah, I’m here.

Thanks, and

Click / leave.

Over, and

A few minutes later
an unexpected trembling rolls thru me
with a quickening jolt. Tears erupt.
Big tears, as childhood and old age
push up against one another
into a range of jagged memory.

What does not
kill you.

The red sun burns.

Sangre River
          for Bibiana Padilla Maltos

the world is a river
a dance

the thin blue sky dances above the river
and together the sky and the river
are another dance

time is the song beating in our hearts
as we build bridges to the stars
can we hear ourselves?
can we hear one another?

our body hears the wind in the trees
the flight of time that speaks to us all
in our bones

the whiteness that inhabits progress
is the madness imprisoned in our stories
that destroys nature
that writes and rewrites
the deep river
we inhabit

question the narratives
sickened by the virus of progress
escape the affliction inside
that destroys our dance

our world weeps
can you hear the edges of our world
crying out to us?
listen to the voices from the ends of our world
where the common struggle
can be found

a never ending
wound of

They Say

they say
that life
at 30

or that 50
is the new 40
or any number of
confusing combinations
to throw you off your mark

life can't help itself
it just keeps beginning
even tho according to most
it never began
because they are
so damn busy
waiting for 30
or 40
or 50
for life
to begin

never stop beginning
it ain't over 'til
it's over

that's what
they say

and they
ought to