Kicking off National Poetry with a Sadie Girl Press Reunion Reading. Come to hear poets Nancy Lynée Woo, Kelsey Bryan-Zwick, Terry Ann Wright, Raquel Reyes-Lopez, and Sarah Thursday on Saturday, April 1, 2023, from 5 – 7 pm at Page Against the Machine, 2714 E. 4th Street, Long Beach, CA 90814.
Once again, the kind editors at Arroyo Seco Press have included my work in their excellent anthologies. Redshift 4: Light Years, includes two of my poems, “shard” and “I fought for Love”. This collection has an incredible amount of poets I admire and respect dearly. You can get a copy on Amazon!
Rise Up Review
I am honored to have my poem, “Class”, included in the summer 2020 issue of Rise Up Review. The issue has tons of other incredible poets, including my dear friend, Kelsey Bryan-Zwick. Take a moment to check out all there great work!
Skin As Thick As Walruses
We stopped panicking ages ago.
We take a deep breath.
One of us takes a turn
and we run the fire drill.
You want us in a crisis—
we get calmer—
we listen for the beats.
We can walk
on a turbulent plane
balancing plates and
babies on our hips.
We can direct you during disaster.
We can cover our heads,
protect our fragile necks,
and look you in the eye
while singing a peaceful song.
We know how to keep a steady hand
when cutting the wires.
We know this too shall pass.
We hum the song of the screaming siren.
We have skin as thick as walruses.
When it happens—
We do not cry—
we do not feel it—
those are luxuries
for a child born into chaos.
Those assigned to protect us
were those who sinned against us,
used us as shields, caught us
in friendly fire, or turned
and looked the other way.
a constant state
One foot ready to run
—smile at your teacher—
but keep one fist clenched
and over time it fuses
into our breath
so there are no
No shock when your bags
are in the car before
you ever unpacked them—
no hesitation in the middle
of the night—it’s time to leave—
time to keep the clothes on your back.
And your mother crying means you
make your own dinner and your
sister screaming means you keep
your eyes down—stay out of the way—
but be ready to pick out
the shrapnel— put the chairs back
on their feet—hold your breath—
don’t wake the bear— don’t crack
the eggs—don’t make him mad— don’t
cross the line— don’t cry now—don’t
need—don’t look up— don’t be
a kid— don’t let your guard down—
don’t flinch—don’t blink—don’t
We will walk through fire.
We will save your babies
and you can thank us
for pulling the earth up
on wide shoulders
or else the orbit will fail.
First published in Disorder: Mental Illness and Its Affects.
seems to be hotter
than the years before.
all the weekends I spent
in his one window
waging war against the heat
with midnight baths
and dueling fans across
our shieldless bodies
humming of sweat
dripping milk and sugar
in florescent orange
refusing the day-glow sun
for our own
First published in Gambler Mag.
How I Write a Poem
I appear smack in the middle of this fantastic documentary with tons of incredible poets talking about how they write a poem from Mariano Zaro‘s interviews on Poetry.LA. It’s kinda surreal to see myself talking in the middle of all those established names.
Love Letter No. 2: To My Inner Light
There are no more demons in your closet.
We sent them home years ago.
Love burned out the last of your fears,
so you look for more to conquer.
Behind the ears of any man are his secrets.
The soft space of hair and skull and lobe.
You press your fingers to it,
it collapses under your strength.
You will fall into the space you have emptied.
But then, you must come back here.
Return from that he-space.
Breath in the she-space where
you deserve to live.
First published in Cadence Collective.
All The Ways I Love You
I was excited to meet you.
You would be more like me.
All those years being yanked
from one place to the next,
being pulled out of school early
means I wasn’t coming back.
I can’t remember the names
of my teachers, but I can recite
cities like family members.
Then I met you, Long Beach,
the city of everything,
of Cambodia and Mexico,
of apartments spilling bodies
in the streets, spilling ranchero melodies
and clicking tongues full of Vietnam.
My color was a minority.
My clothes from donated boxes
did not flinch you—
you with your narrow alleyways
and grubby-cheeked children.
I was at home before I knew
how long I’d stay. I knew you
were like me, born of struggle
and sitting on windowsills staring
out at distant city lights.
Even when we got a new father
and lived among your riverside homes,
it was all wrong like me.
Concrete banks dressed in graffiti.
Wilderness trails where teenage boys
played war around stained mattresses
left by public refugees.
I became a woman in your sunlight.
I never had to deserve you.
You knew all my names,
even when I left you.
I tried to be the golden boardwalks
of Hermosa and Redondo
but they pushed me out
to the gum-stained sidewalks
of Lawndale, where train tracks
drew lines between me and him,
where girls like me paid their own way
through city college.
Then he left me for Westwood,
a place I could never see
my own stark reflection,
so I came home to you,
and the best skin of you.
I wore my new clothes here
on all your borders north
and south, and east and west.
All your contradictions sang
like love songs, even when for years
I was only your mistress.
Other cities have soccer moms
and radio-friendly punk rock,
winter tans and French manicures,
but I know, even they find a place
in your diagonals, your Wardlows
that cross both apartment projects
and gated communities.
I will grow old here, far from your shore.
Even though I bought a house
next to the tracks again, your tracks
comfort me—not division but connection,
a literal line of how close we are,
side-by-side, lying in the lap of you.
First published in Cadence Collective.
Both Wolves and Sheep Alike
When you look at your sunlight child
baby girl with rainbow eyes
deep dimpled cheek to store your kisses
When you look at her wind-chime twirling
throwing her perfect young mouth
at your carpenter hands
How do you not lock them
around her kitten-soft body
throw her up on mountaintop shoulders
march through clouds, place her safe
far out of reach from giants, ogres
and demons with sweating jaws
How do you not gather armies
to fight in her name
at the mere thought of bruised knees
How, instead, do you wear lambs’ robes
pull her into your ice den
with your hands at her throat
cut words into her belly
fill her with stones
lay her in the river
as the hunter’s trumpet sounds
leave her in the current
let her bleed for decades
to grow old hating
both wolves and sheep alike
How then, do you howl at the moon
when your sunlight child turns black
when she cuts all parts of you off her skin
spits your dead-leaf name from her mouth
How do you howl at the moon
when she lets all her memories of you rot into soil
lets fungus eat all cells inked with your DNA
How do you not throw your own wolf body
into the river—kill the only beast she knew
before she grew claws of her own
First Published in East Jasmine Review.
Ladies Lean Into Poetry at the Ugly Mug
I’m honored to be reading with two of my favorite poets, Ra Avis and Kelsely Bryan-Zwick, on Wednesday, July 17th, from 8-10 pm, at the Ugly Mug, 261 N. Glassell St. in Orange. $3 cash entry, open mic, and lots of love.