Of all the things I love about Long Beach, community is my favorite. Fox Coffee House has been host to many community events, such as two weekly open mics, various special book releases, and two monthly poetry readings, 2nd Mondays Poetry Party and The Definitive Soapbox. Some poets have been gathering under the banner of Long Beach Renaissance with the goal of furthering poetry in our community. We are attacking this goal on multiple fronts, gathering leaders, exchanging hosts as features, and even having parties together! On Friday, December 16th, G. Murray Thomas and I will be featuring for The Definitive Soapbox. It starts at 7 pm with an open reading list and lots of good vibes!
Fox Coffee House 437 W. Willow St., Long Beach, CA 90806
Write about important things
things that move me
things that crush me
Write about hurricanes
the earthquakes of my soul
It’s the grit beneath
it’s the cartilage in
I am driven to expose it
to pull it out
hold it up
to the light
I am only the messenger
of all the beauty
underneath the common face
beauty in the unheard voice
I hear it
I draw the letters
to form the words
to give it name
First published in Hedgerow: A Journal of Small Poems.
A poem I wrote for my niece to welcome her into womanhood.
Because I know he is home-seeking and hungry.
Because I see the fragility of eight legs holding tight to porcelain.
Because I once needed to be scooped up from drowning
showers to sunlit window panes.Because when I was nine, I had to break into our motel room on
a Friday night after church.Because my mom forgot to pick me up, but I knew she was just
sleeping inside.Because I didn’t have a key and I was sure she’d be right back.
Because the windows were slats of louvered glass, I could pull
them apart and lay them gently on the asphalt driveway.Because I was small, could slide between three removed slats, and
land on a mattressed floor.Because I’d rather sleep alone in a tiny motel room with navy-blue
carpeted halls leading to the tenants’ communal bathroom.
Because calling my father
was not an alternative.Because I knew my mother would come home soon even after I fell
asleep under a curtain of blankets.Because I knew if I was quiet I could be safe enough.
Because I couldn’t have driven myself home from church or climbed
up the window alone.Because someone had to scoop me up to push me through it.
First published in Gutters & Alleyways: Perspective on Poverty and Struggle.
Seas of us stretch like solar
systems. On all sides
she threads charcoal death.
Space between stars is space
between islands circled in gray.
Here, even air sinks heavy
into broken-hearted eyes.
I swim from the island of highways
and high-rises to the island
of roadless hills. Neighbored only
by sea nymphs and forever sky.
Dead wind whips like anger,
like sunrise, like avalanche.
If you stand at her edge, you must stare
right into her eyes and clench your fists.
Stand at the highest point turning
from the sea of gray to the sea of green
to the sea of gray to the sea of green
to the sea of
the universe of stars.
First published in San Pedro River Review
When you rise early from your wide bed
pull on your long pants, brush your porcelain teeth,
do you also decide to fill your mouth with pebbles
stuff them into your cheeks for stoning small children?
When you gather the keys to your reliable car,
drink your coffee, eat your toast and eggs,
do you then grab your territorial pissing sign,
join others pushing buses full of babies off the road?
When you kiss your mop-haired children goodnight,
stroke their cool foreheads, wish them quiet dreams,
do you tell them of slashing plastic jugs of water,
pouring it out into sand like a narrow-eyed bully?
When you brush off the knees of your own fallen children,
teach them to be fair and kind, grow up strong,
do you tell them how you dream of kicking the skins
of skinny brown legs, barely able to stand?
First published in Gutters & Alleyways: Perspectives on Poverty and Struggle 2014
*On July 2, 2014, dozens of protesters in Murrieta, CA, blocked 3 buses of refugee women and children from being processed in their facilities. In 2012, the humanitarian group No More Deaths documented border patrol officers kicking, slashing, and pouring out jugs of water left for desert crossers.
Several months ago, I was approached by Peter Basson to be a part of a new project he was working on. Like myself, he is a huge fan of the local Long Beach talent and wanted to find a way to showcase and promote as much as possible. He and his conspirators held a multi-disciplinary launch party to coincide with the launch of the website, longbeachlive.org. The goal is to feature local talent in a live performance series and through online promotion.
Each artist has a bio page with samples of their work, and I am happy to have two previously unpublished poems included, “Shed My Skin” and “The Congregation”. I was very happy the second one was chosen because it focuses on my love of the open mic scene here in Long Beach.
Please check them out and send them some of your own work if you are also part of the Long Beach (CA) area!
I’m thrilled to be included in the lineup of performers for the first ever Long Beach Underground “Best of Open Mic”. Peter Basson and friends are launching a website and event series to showcase a variety of local talent associated with our fair city. My dear friends, Shy But Flyy, Alyssandra Nighswonger, Felicia Cade, and Chestina Craig will be some of the features I get to share the stage with. Join us on Saturday, October 1st, at 7 pm at The Mirage Cafe at 539 East Bixby Road, Long Beach. I go on second, so get there early!
One thing I love as much as poetry, music, and art: community! On Saturday, August 20th, I am honored to be included in this amazing FREE community event that is showcasing local talent right in Long Beach. I get to share a stage with these talented people I also get to call friends. It’s an outdoor family-friendly event that begins at 12:30 and continues to 6:30, located at the Bandshell in Recreation Park off 7th and Park Ave. Check out the Facebook event page for event more details.