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)

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 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 John Brandi
John Brandi
Californian Poets Part 5: Five Poems
John Brandi



Terra Nova

The horizon undone.
A bodice of butterflies
                    heather and pine.

No track of another, no trace.
The trail loops upward
over pebbled ravines, into the arc
of a circling hawk.

Above beech, chestnut, oak
thin ribbons of road, carts, taverns
the greasing of axles, and today’s purchase
of oil and flour,

a cobalt sky bends
to meet a band of fossil rock
      —home of Apollo’s sunbeams
veins of melancholy
                    salt of poetry.

                                                  Monte Pollino

Plein Air

On the Corso, hide and seek goddesses
stroll the lordly warmth of Napoli, designer shades
net leggings, volume bras.

Where to set my easel?

On Toledo? Next to Virgil
in red plastic specs and silver shoes, dressed to retire
into the scheme of intrigue, sick of snobs and dandies
bookworms, wish they weres and wanna bes.

Where to unwrap my colored pencils?

Above the catacombs
on the streets of the old acropolis
among flatfoot Romans leaving the Temple
of Echoes for the unprincipled human parade?

Lovely orbs of cosmic dust.
Flurry of legs, baggy cuffs, skintight skirts—

Where to attach my eye?

Should I court a prolonged kiss, dribble squid ink
on expensive vellum, test my non success
jumping rope with little Helen of Troy?

Better to unfold my three-legged stool,
paint unrivaled strokes of breath and death
and undemanding skies, set out my alms bowl
in case some passing king happens by.

Where to fix my gaze?

On Diana, Laxmi, Hera
their unwrinkled features on display
in the public market?

I’m having trouble getting started.

Perhaps I’ll take my brush to the glowworms
in the foliage, crusty skulls of learning
buried under the altar where Santa Patrizia’s blood
liquifies every Tuesday after Mass.

Plein air painting—

in the heart of Napoli
beneath the vibrating windows of lovers
going up and down behind half-closed curtains
over Doña Zaza’s al gusto Delicatessen.

It’s time to get out
my soft-lead Palomino #2, scratch a narrative
iambic, go for broke, lay down with
the great granddaughter of Emperor Augustus
          become the center of controversy.

Should I claim my praise,
squeeze a tube of lampblack between
the fingers of the pickpocket?

Buy a ricotta pie from the nun
guarding San Gregorio’s famous bone?
Splash a dollop of Ionian yellow
and paint the soccer shouts?

maybe a sweet amber glaze
for the Venus of Rags on the steps
of the Public Treasury?

What shape and color for these children
running free? Little saplings, tiny lamb’s ankles.
Mafia fathers with dark ties, waving kerchiefs
from gold-wheel limousines.

Plein air—

Out among the hungry
and the longing, the big bottomed
and the strong

A dusty outcast in a river of sun,
painter of gilded limbs, Delphic doublecross
          an anonymous brush
where the ships come in.

                                                            Porta Nolana, Napoli

Hasta Guanabacoa

In sifting rain I board the ferry
behind a lady whose dress is all pockets
blue candles, zinc amulets, pink gladiolas.

Across the bay a chapel sits like a tavern
entombed with incense, rum, votive wax.
When I climb the steps and bow to the dark saint
in her alcove of honey and white sails,
          doves burst into a wine-colored fan.

Here nobody is more than anybody else.
The bride purifying herself on the kneeler
wears see-through lace. A man bent like a weathervane
creates a breeze with his supplication.

A niña half hidden in her mother’s folds
gives me her eyes,
          and with them her poverty.

Back on the sea, my head turns in circles, triumphs
with doubt, holds close these moments
where one soul becomes another
and a new self embarks.

                                                            Muelle de Luz
                                                             Habana Vieja


Each step over the land is a step inside. While tiny
lemon-colored flowers underfoot nod to each other, I roll a
pebble under my tongue, speak to stone, decode the calls of
canyon wren and thrush. A cliff edge rises, breathes with
electrons, ebbs with tidal waltz. What’s solid isn’t stone, only a
severed window of sky where we find hold. The body is brittle
air, sunlight, and blood; the universe a mineral-varnished
alcove carved with petroglyphs: spiral, solar flare,
dot-inside-circle, river-rippled memory path, a game animal
traveling beyond the limits of the imagination. We live in and
wander through geography that beckons with symbols for
another reality. Past and future don’t work so well here. The
land, the shape of ourselves in it, is circular. Timeless. That’s
what the rocks say. Following the ranger’s map, I seem to be
walking a straight line to the ancient site of Wijiji. But no, this is
a diaphanous trail, woven into the zodiac itself. Breathe it in,
breathe it out. A thousand years ago, the brochures don’t tell
you, is today

                              Starlit chill
                              warm slickrock
                              tonight’s bed.

                                                            Chaco Canyon
                                                                New Mexico

Inking the Brush

Moon drifts near, over the Río Conejos. Daybreak finds it gone,
swapped for a sunburst of peaks upside down in its current.
Splash my face in the flow, watch the water become divided by
a single boulder, regain shape as a spiraling vortex. Boil a
coffee, set out pigments, rinse brush in snowmelt, load the
hairs with ink, draw them across the page. Liquid vortices trail
out, dry into a musical score. Bubbles, flecks of carbon, beads of
light, braids of ink: the water’s rhythm. And that of heaven: the
Milky Way with all its capillary blinks flowing through the
cosmos. Ebb, curl, chime, thummp, tingg. Each curve and
aberration of the river’s shore gives the water new form and
timbre. Now a wave, a languid shallow, a spinning torrent, a
mud-sucking bog. River as time line: the course of life, water
moving faster in the middle than at the edges.

                              Deepening the gorge
                              the weightless curve
                              of the river.

                                                            Southern Rockies