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 Kim Dower
Kim Dower
Californian Poets Part 5: Three Poems
Kim Dower



“You must be joking, I never eat breakfast,”

said Michael Caine in “Get Carter,”
chest bare, lighting up in bed,
a cold-blooded killer, the morning after
a one night stand, a “roll in the hay”
as my mother’s friend used to say.
I wanted to be that woman lying
next to him under the covers
black mascara streaked down my cheeks,
wild hair, our legs entwined, seconds away
from the men with guns breaking down the door.
Why do we like these tough guys?
Million dollar question for the Million Dollar
Movie which I’d watch every Saturday night
on the little black & white when my parents
were asleep. “Love with the Proper Stranger,”
Natalie Wood gets pregnant by Steve McQueen,
he marries her, does the “right thing,” and at fourteen
I fantasized about going too far in an old Corvette
somewhere in Brooklyn or Queens with a guy
who looked like Steve McQueen.
My mother was relieved we lived in Manhattan,
no cars for her to worry about, no tunnels or bridges,
no back seats, just the Broadway Bus where nothing much
can happen except you might see someone get on
with a bullet hole in his shoulder like I did going home
from 57th Street after a “date” with a boy I didn’t know.
We went to see “Prudence and the Pill,” I was embarrassed,
he was unappealing, and then on the bus a man with blood
dripping from underneath his coat. I used to wonder
what a “roll in the hay” might be like with a murderer.
Would he tell me he never ate breakfast, would he tell me
why he killed? Michael Caine went after the men
who murdered his brother. Makes sense, I guess. Revenge
is popular. If someone set fire to my house, I would find them.
I would borrow a gun. Everyone, it seems, has one.
I would pull the trigger on an empty stomach. I never
eat breakfast either.

Gift Cabinet

Hot and muggy this August morning in LA
and I wake with my hair damp, matted
on the back of my neck, falls uninspired
onto my shoulders. I recall how my mother
would lift my hair up, darling, get your hair
off your neck
, she’d brush and pull it so tight
into a ponytail my temples would crack.
The rubber band she used was red, the one
that had wrapped the celery, no scrunchies
back then. I never liked her to touch my hair,
unlike other daughters who may have craved
that sort of attention, hair so thick and long
it felt intimate, mine alone, keep your hands off.
As I sit at my table this airless Saturday,
a small package is tossed into the front yard.
It’s from Nancy, an old friend in the Bay,
hair heavier, more complicated than mine.
I wonder if she’s feeling hot, too, those fires
raging not far from where she lives, if she’s pulled
her hair away from her face, if her mother
got too involved like mine did. Not much, I think,
can change the direction of this day, but inside the box
is a Rainbow Maker, a colorful little machine
with a crystal that promises to create
“beautiful rainbows that move around the room.”
She found it in her gift cabinet, thought of me.
Once in a great while, something like this
might happen. It’s all it takes to bring back
breathable air.

—From I Wore This Dress Today for You, Mom, Red Hen Press, 2022

After the Rain

After the rain relents,
this sun feels nice on my back,
reminds me that although the dead
are gone, the way we think of them
can change. It’s always pouring in heaven,
my mother tells me.
She comes to me in the middle
of the night, tells me
there’s a cloud burst every day,
takes us by surprise, she says, so many of us outside
playing golf, backgammon, floating in the Infinity Pool.

She’s lying.
Making all this heaven shit up.
I’m not even sure she’s in heaven.
Here on earth my mother would embellish her stories:
add a robbery, lover, trip to Africa.
She never went to Africa, though she had many lovers,
and was robbed
a couple of times. Listen,
the sun on my back feels nice.
Why can’t I just leave it that way?

—From I Wore This Dress Today for You, Mom, Red Hen Press, 2022