Saturday, January 30, 2016


                                                           Her Old Poems

                           when they were new were obsessed with recognition
                  of the mirror self transported into a cunningly arranged immediacy

                  Now it's date and run….shallow news in depth
                       twisting data as the wind shakes attention into anonymity
                          or following fog into an abysmally depthless direction
                              Take your choice if you can figure it out…

                          A lot of questions will be answered 
                  in a so called 'future' if you can remember the question
                                                  or recognize the answer
                      using a domestic ear to un-code all communication

                                   Perhaps using arctic ice as archival information
                           for the history of water.


                                                                                  March 25. 2014 Tuesday

                                                                                  Light drizzle 11:30am

                  WHEREVER YOU WALK     THERE'S A PATH

                                              When words let go of you
                           who are you anyway?

                                                          Every time you go away

                                   a way opens up


                                                you are

                           Where words are your path

                                   YOUR  words 

                                                     ARE   your path.  


July 14, 2014

Joanne Kyger is the author of more than 30 chapbooks and books of poetry. Her more recent books are AS EVER:SELECTED POEMS published by Penguin Books, ON TIME 2015 published by City Lights Books, and most recently a reprinting of THE JAPAN AND INDIA JOURNALS 1960-64, published by Nightboat Books 2015She lives on on the coast north of San Francisco.

Friday, January 29, 2016


The Immigrant

In honor of the lives lost crossing the Mexican Border and Canal

Who is the immigrant?
You or I?
Asleep between the wings
of day and night
This bird caught in flight
keeps singing her song
though no one traps her wings
I heard her lyric braided into the
barbed wire around the hollow stems
along the canal at dawn where I saw
the shimmering flowers
clothed in jeans and tee-shirts
shaming the constellation
“Take me to myself!” they cried
“I have no mother to birth me here!
Take me to where the sun rises in my manhood!
To where the moon fashions my lover’s eyes!
Take off my soaked collar, my shoes
Take my backpack and banished suitcase
I left for tomorrow!
What need have I for sorrow on this journey?
What need have I for dreams or love songs?
Light passes between each echo
but this river of stones will not deny the
border between my hand and yours
between life and death
“Love is the only branch to which I cling
What need have I for breath?”

Copyright 2012 by Genny Lim

Genny Lim’s award-winning play Paper Angels, was the first Asian American play featured on PBS’s American Playhouse in 1985, and was performed in China, Canada and throughout the U.S. She is the author of three poetry collections, Child of War and Winter Place, Paper Gods and Rebels and co-author of the American Book Award winning, Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, re-published in a new and expanded edition in 2014. She has performed in World international poetry festivals and collaborated with jazz legends Max Roach, Herbie Lewis, Fred Ho and Bay Area’s John Santos, Jon Jang and Anthony Brown.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


From Caledonia

Ron Silliman

A blank page is an angry page. Or one so quiet that you can’t hear it think. It slithers noiselessly toward you through the notebook. Someday all of this will be done by typewriter. I stood on the library balcony, the sun barely up, proclaiming Milton to a grove of trees. The one here is captive, shorn of its roots, festooned in baubles & blinking lights. Abu Ghraib is the origin of Christmas.  Five percent of the world population, one quarter of all its prisoners. Prehistoric hippopotamus dangling in a wire cage, atop which sits a giant squirrel, immediately beneath a glass Santa, a hot air balloon, the bust of King Tut. The Enamored Mage looks directly at you, frozen in paint. Or is it time & who decides exactly if these are the same or different.

In the fog, catalog. Airplane mode. No, that ringing is a new day, here too soon. Winter forest, subdued palate. Streaks of road salt half-melted on the walk.

The dream breaks upon waking. Clicking one’s heels in canvas, Kansas. Now the furnace greets me with its heaving breathing. That frightened little boy who never turns around so that I can see his face. Everything is black & white but when I rise it’s still snowing. This white is different because it’s real. I wonder where the fox lives.


A blank page has always been your friend, singing or weeping so softly that nobody else can hear it as you glide past. I see it in the photo John Sarsgard took, my face (so difficult for me to look at) filling the entire frame. My dead grandfather blinks in the mirror. A jar of macadamia nuts, a bar, no a fragment of unfinished chocolate. A car my brother would inherit, being the only other member of the family who could drive. The parking lot where Phil Liponovich saw the police closing in, so put the gun to his head. Certain events echo for generations. What if we’d moved to Calgary when we all had the chance?

A song of dead pens, fat flakes flat on the walk. A cell phone alarm in an otherwise empty room. Pots of tall ferns in a row, in front of the screened-off fireplace. Chinese junks in the global harbor. That century haunts us still, as does the one before. He’d come home drunk & all his sisters would lock themselves in their rooms. The weight of all my dead. Sun upon snow. The same few sentences in different combinations, over & over. What then? All those photos of dead parents, yet on top of it all, beside that clock that never ticks, a row of carved seabirds, dowitchers, gulls, outsized killdeer, all from the driftwood of Nova Scotia.

Words whisper, clatter, cluster in the back of one’s brain until, waking, one gathers them, rowdy as school kids at recess, into song. That light before sun’s light, trees emerging from the wood, versus the last glow of dusk. The way night swallows these small porch lights. The tree, half stripped of ornaments. The morning paper, which I’m more apt to read online, resting in the driveway in a plastic bag. The recycling basket / bucket upside down in the snow, already emptied of all sport.

Dysphonia index: wrestling squirrels tumble over the roof. What my tea mug is doing there among the driftwood. Those strings that cling to the meat of the banana. Aromatherapy means that this lotion I spread across the vast freckled expanse of your back is scented with orange & ginger. Dear Rimbaud, you punk. The last ornament on the tree is its crown. Glock like a man, my sun (not a typo). Typical whatever. The distance from me to my middle name. I moved to the far side of the couch, just to avoid shadows. This house is never silent, even when I am. Count your thoughts but don’t think them.

The stars before dawn seem sharpest, visible thru the leafless winter canopy. A cold sun will not melt all this snow. This I know, tho what knowledge is appears more difficult to comprehend. I stare at my hands, which have known always how to grab & hold, how to ball themselves into fists. Before I even knew my name. I wanted to write mane, which I have not had in decades. Although if I close my eyes the feel of it still lingers. Someone up the hill is attempting to plow out. As if the cry of gulls & crashing waves made for a less onerous alarm. Each word is an alarm, exploding in the head.

T’ain’t no jive (DSM-5). The top of the reservoir almost entirely iced over (moon illumines the snowy wood). This know he would not, knot. Yoyo Yoda dada. I no longer recognize Volvos nor Volkswagens at a distance. Gentle vibration of a small aeroplane overhead. Felt in the jaw, cheekbone, teeth. All of the ornaments boxed up, ready to go back to the attic. Upstairs, sleeping, a son has begun his 20th year.

Waking in winter. The signage on the runway changes with the movement of magnetic north. Year in which I have worn every sweater. Old circus alphabet. A spray of brain in the muddle of tune. From Django to Jimi. The furnace breathes on. At first all of this now appears almost blue, visible but not yet illumined. That 50° drop in temperature just to step out to fetch the paper. Add this to the tones of the Rolling Stones.

In 2015, Ron Silliman taught at Haverford College and the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, he was a writer in residence at the Gloucester’s Writers Center, Gloucester, MA, and spent several weeks in the redwoods overlooking the Russian River pretty much where he spent his summers as a boy. Visit Ron's blog at:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Lake Elsinore Creation Myth

We are to wet over the boat rim into the water.                
They hold their things in the air and water from inside them
arches through the sky to the lake of water. My sister and I
put our bottoms out. We can’t see our wet arching

The Indians call God Chinigchinich, so funny                        
we crack up laughing. To think the World began
with twin brothers, Mukat and TemayaWet  
who turns into a woman. That’s when the fighting begins

and something happens. Maybe Daddy’s fingers
when I squat out over Lake Elsinore
and he threatens again to drown me        

Wet was our verb. Mama I have to wet. We didn’t know
this water was the origin of the World.  
We didn’t know TemayaWet, but we knew Cain and Abel

            Once upon a time at the beginning of the world
            they were in a little white row boat, three children
            and the father, when something happened, everything 
            gone but the terror. Their father’s best friend Dee
            rowed the boat behind them with his two girls
            JoDee and JuDee. Maybe
            they almost capsized. Sex

is what happened, our nasty parts
holy, our mother lectured, if with your husband
glorious, our God-made parts
as we rowed

what our brother had to hold
we sisters had to wipe                                                  

            Through the years Lake Elsinore dried up
            all our wet disappeared     our bare bottoms out
            to the mud bottom

The Indians believed in the good and bad brothers too
born from this manmade hole
named for a great writer who wrote of a man
who killed his uncle for killing his father and marrying his mother
somewhere in the old country. If only
Mama cried
he could have solved the riddle
of his jealousy. Poor guy, his too big heart

What was their name for Lake Elsinore, Mama?
Something rotting, she said                   

            One day, the First People, who were the animals, mountains, trees and weather
            stopped by a pond to swim and rest.
            Among them was Red-legged Frog, Wahawut,
            a woman with big eyes and nice shoulders.

            When the other People jumped into the water, she sat still on the bank
            with her glossy long hair falling all the way over her hips.

            Wiyot couldn’t take his eyes off her. He was all swelled up.
            Wahawut noticed his condition

            and leaped into the water with her long, shapely legs.
            Her hair flew up and Wiyot saw
            her thin, boney frog back and hips

            Instantly his desire turned to disgust.
            So she grew angry, bringing death into the world.[i]

Suddenly at my mother’s breast I’m                                 
on my grandmother’s knee 
in a row boat with my brother, sister and father. 
Something happens.  Our mother 

takes the picture                                                        


[i]Sacred Sites, The Secret History of Southern California,  Susan Suntree, University of Nebraska Press, 2010,  p. 151-165.

Sharon Doubiago's latest poetry publications are TheVisit, a booklength poem, Wild Ocean Press, 2015,  I, Poet, Omerta Publications,, 2016,  and Love on The Streets, University of Pittsburgh, 2009.  Her memoir My Father's Love, Portrait of the Poet as a Girl, Volume 1, and Portrait of the Poet as a Woman, Volume 2, is out from Wild Ocean Press.