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 Millicent Borges Accardi
Millicent Borges Accardi
Californian Poets Part 5: Five Poems
Millicent Borges Accardi



Why do the Heathens Rage

That time not so close ago
when I was nearly invited,
cast into a bit of an acceptance
by kings of the earth, with
half-dropped papers
scattered around them.
I asked a man who was famous or
nearly on his way to being so, if I could
enter the outdoor room with its ever-present
dash of a valley in pieces, visible
from the framed area near a rock,
settling around those of us
who were kneeling in the grassy depth
of urgent thought as the speaker
readied himself and prepared for the
community in time for the paralyzed
moments, we were gathered together
like trembling rejoicers, those of us
who were present. And, I was nearly
there, once, in this place, were it not
for the half, then later the third part
of the whole, an idea that I could not
come up with, nor beg for, to see how
such a thing like prayer might be possible,
as a shifting miracle, which is to say
I was to dream about the making of
an experience newly come back to me
in a hushed dialect. My father was trying
to translate to me, that wild summer
when we put together bookcases from
a flat box of my life, stapled shut that we pried
apart, surrounded by borrowed books
and fancy catalogues. It was as if the new life
had never come back to me and was left
sitting outside the apartment in a moving truck,
piloted by two college students I could
not pay for. I was neither there nor here,
not even understanding the whiff or the trail
of the broad belief in the hunt that was yet to come.
My father and I were juggling words,
throwing them at each other across the room
never catching on that we could break our hands
apart in an instant, if we wanted to,
casting the cords of family straight back
to heaven with its laughter of derision,
now, sloping down upon us like an avalanche
whenever we were excluded.
So, ask of me, break me away, first
with a rod of iron when wrath is kindled
and torched, but, break me away
just a little because blessed are all who own
the trust it takes to place the truth inside
the heart’s clay vessel during the brief time
in life when it is capable of holding water.

Laughter I Can’t Put Away

Dispels the sharpness
Of the gated city, drenched
In iron, the gated line
Of filigree where there is
An outline of a girl
Clutching her concern.
She cannot believe in
Moonlight nor can she
Fill her life with a mere
Smile. There is a man
Reading a newspaper,
And his life is filled with
Noise and sorrow. Believe
This now, I say, they were
Distant and alone together
In a gated city, a city with
A gate surrounding the center
Of where the heart knows
It runs out. When the heart
Understands its own importance
And mortality. Bring the girl
To the gate, the man says
There is a purge and the
Notation of evil, whimsy
Dissipating like cheap perfume
Into a cloud of what was
Here just a moment ago.
Who is a virgin, the man
Asks. And there is another
Man who lies with her,
He repeats. And then pretty
Much everyone joins into
A large circle, Who lies with
Her? they chant. Even in
The what is now daylight, there is red
Red lipstick goes with everything.
When in doubt, make everything red.

And His Melancholy

Exists outside himself,
A tawdry drop cloth
To the rest of him,
Drawn about, spotted
With paint, drawn close
Like a cape, like gravity,
Mixed with sadness, empty
With regret, like oil and solution.
It is but a part of who he is,
Not a badge but a sorrow,
A part of him that comes
Along for the ride, a backdrop
A cloak, a piece of dense dark
Cloth that you throw down
For protection against the elements.
Away from the deluge to come.

In the Morning I’ll See

If the yard has light, and the multi-colored
Lights wrapped around the deck
are dimmed with the day’s sun, I’ll
see how to wade and forage through
the want of the yet and the if of the why
of another paper calendar, between
what I know in dreams and what has been
presented upon awakening. Either by patience
or arrogance, the want will seem
as if sky and earth has been
passed by, like cities fed water through
A pinwheel. My desire is in front
of a side window on a train
traveling cross-country and biding time
between stops. My heart is playing Old Maid
and circling words in on a paper puzzle.
The newness of the hour, whether
Noon or 2pm seems like an effigy
To depression. Oh, what will I give up
next? There are not enough vices
left for me to take on and cast off
In a dim-witted way as if they mattered.
Nothing sticks, not love or time
or money, as if I could fly perhaps.
No, wanting is not like that, but
similar in the sense that moods
are cast on and off, as if I were
half inside a sleepwalk, too far gone
in a hallway of fog to be woken
with a shaking or alarm. Not even
a cup of water thrown at my face
will dispel me from this ugly need.

More Than us, but Less than Wind
                         from a line by——Carmen Giménez Smith

The times when I cannot meet
you halfway, we struggle
you know how to say this word,
migration, immigration, destiny.
The scattering of people, traveling
away from where they were born,
from war, violence, famine, poverty,
disease. The diaspora stretches out
like a fishing net, across the Mexico
Border and California, Texas, Arizona.
Dragging culture across grassy fields,
dragging language around like a knapsack,
emptying familiar phrases as if they were bread
crumbs along the way. How much can we carry?
What do we leave or stay. How much of ourselves
do we remain within our leaving hearts,
the gateway to our lives, our rabbit’s foot,
the pelt worn down to bone and dried blood
under the rabbit’s clear nail that we finger
in our nearly closed fist when we are scared
and press down so it cuts us wide open.