Saturday, October 19, 2013

A compliment from Dane Baylis
The author, Dane F. Baylis


Let's move on to another of the ASKEW POETRY JOURNAL, Issue #14 poets. At this time I would like to present Tim Tipton. Tim is a unique younger voice in the Askew pantheon and is already making a name in the Southern California scene. His recent chapbook, "LATE NIGHT BREATHING" was the winner of the 2013 San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival Chapbook Contest. He read his poem "DIRTY WEEKEND" for the Askew event.

                                                           DIRTY WEEKEND

                                        I had a dirty weekend with a total stranger
                                        We stopped at a little bungalow by the sea
                                        that hummed to itself.
                                        We climbed up a jacaranda tree
                                        and sat in the branches until our hair was
                                        covered with purple buds.
                                        We climbed down and slithered through the mud,
                                        pretending to be seeds.
                                        We sprayed each other with a garden hose
                                        and the water caught sunlight so that we rinsed in
                                        showers of liquid rainbows.
                                        We ate banana and peanut butter sandwiches,
                                        played music and pretended to surf on the bed
                                        under sharp salty sweat air.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rest in Peace Joyce

Joyce LaMers
      New Book Says Atheists Can Go To Heaven          
                          - headline in the Los Angeles Times
So, if I never tell a lie
I’ll go to heaven when I die
St Peter with his welcome grin
Is pretty sure to let me in.
I’ll sit right there at God’s right hand.
My harp will join the angels’ band.
I’ll skim the clouds on feathered wings
and harmonize when Jesus sings,
so full of grace I wont much care
that none of this is really there.
Joyce LaMers on youtube
“I’m in Love with Tiger Woods”
“Anabel Lee Does a Postmortem on the Hazards
of Romance with a Metrical Poet”

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Presenting Larry Colker

 Larry Colker spent his formative years in Huntington, WV. 
He was a teacher for a dozen years, from preschool through university, 
before he switched to technical writing, editing and training. His 
poems have appeared in The Sun, The Los Angeles Review, RATTLE, 
Brickbat Revue, Spillway, ONTHEBUS, Solo, Pearl, Cider Press 
Review, Blue Satellite and elsewhere in print; online at The
Cortland Review, King Log, nthposition, poeticdiversity and 
Poetry Super Highway; and in anthologies from Tebot Bach, 
Valley Contemporary Poets, Arroyo Arts Collective, poeticdiversity,
and The Little Joy Open Mic. In 2003 he published his chapbook 
What the Lizard Knows: New and Selected Poems. In 2005 his
poem "The Caterpillars" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. 
In 2006 he and poet/photographer/artist  Danielle Grilli published a joint chapbook, Hunger Crossing. He was the 2006 poetry winner of the
California Writers Exchange contest sponsored by Poets & Writers,
Inc. He resides in San Pedro, CA.


The warning bell clangs
at the railroad crossing
between his farm and town
as four locomotives
and a hundred boxcars
plow across his path.

He waits in his truck.
The orange soda in his hand still effervesces,
the color of sunlit ocean in a travel brochure.

He imagines the boxcars full of excelsior
bound for cities
where there is much to put in boxes,
much to cushion from shock,
much to send to distant loved ones.

When the gate rises
the soda is flat.
He pushes on,
crossing the tracks.

© 1998 Larry Colker

Ladies and Gentlemen: Polly Bee

Polly Bee: Ojai poet for whom writing poetry is a high equal only
to that of riding a mule down the Grand Canyon or flying in a
helicopter nose-to-nose with Mt. Denali. She was made a poet
laureate this year.  Here she is reading her poem Sometimes
at night:

 Polly Bee with her companion 

Presenting Lisa Coffman

 Lisa Coffman grew up in East Tennessee and currently 
lives on California’s Central Coast—two locales that inspire 
and color her work. She has received fellowships for her poetry
from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Charitable
Trusts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and Bucknell 
University’s Stadler Center for Poetry. Her first collection of 
poetry, Likely, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize from 
Kent State University Press. Her work has appeared in numerous 
literary magazines and anthologies, including Myrrh, Mothwing,
Smoke: Erotic PoemsListen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia;
A Fine Excess: Fifty Years of the Beloit Poetry Journal; and the 
forthcoming Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee.
An excerpt from her nonfiction manuscript in progress, “No 
Business, Tennessee,” received the 2010 Ingrid Reti Nonfiction
Prize. She teaches at the California State Polytechnic University
in San Luis Obispo and lives in nearby Los Osos with her husband
Joe and daughter Jenna.

Learning the Butterfly
I like that it is violent.
I like its indiscretion
of noise in the low, tiled room.
I like being a new animal,
shoulders first breaking the water,
jaws closing as I go down.
It is a metaphor for my life
since there is never any balance:
either my bones are pulling me under
or my body, at the last, like a wing beat
is throwing me free of the water.
The instructor says, go slowly,
but my double dolphin kicks are my trumpets
I'm the gold car in the parade of triumph,
I'm the train and its oncoming scream—
I like the other side
and being reduced
to the husking noises of breathing,
then to lift out and pad away, light,
elaborate as an open cage.

Escape Artist by Tim Tipton

Escape artist

You will be gone before I wake 
I’m going to miss you.

Because that’s the way it goes.

I know your work, you are an escape artist.

If I tell you I love you
There goes my ride in the rocket
I will not chain myself to you, don’t worry.
Nothing dangerous will happen.

There will be no loving, I promise.

You are safe.

copyright 2012 Tim Tipton 

Presenting Ellyn Maybe

Girl…poet belongs in 1960’s...folksinger…very Nouvelle Wave
Guy…part Edward G. Robinson…loves noir…pulp novels…secretly musicals
Gargoyle…smart, funny, nice and extremely hip to music

The first two characters live in a tiny Midwestern town where they 

meet at Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues CafĂ©
at the open mic hootenanny night.
The girl performs some Dylan poetry from Tarantula and the guy 

sings Desolation Row.
Bob Dylan is a huge life raft in their metaphoric desert, so they quickly

 decide to write a musical about the
characters in Dylan’s songs.

They love being different. At the very same time, it’s something

 that’s caused emotional bruises and skinned
knees since they were kids.
Loneliness, precociousness, chance.

They decide to play pin the tail with a map and whatever country,

 town or continent they land on, they’ll go.
While blindfolded listening to spinning, whirling, dervish songs, she

suddenly reached with her thumbtack
wand and decided their not so simple twist of fate.

He says, hey doll, where for art we headed?
She says, smiling and jumping up and down, we’re going to 

He says, wow!

They are both ecstatic she picked some place further than

Chattanooga or Dallas or Alabama or even Alaska.
She was grateful she was wearing heels that day so she 

propelled the thumbtack into Central Europe.
In flats, she would have picked Michigan or some M place. 

She had that knowledge.

She knew Allen Ginsberg had been the King of May in Prague. 

She knew he had been kicked out too. That’s
what she wanted. To be Queen and then to be returned to herself.

She related to Kafka, of course, like every Jewish outsider who 

grew up on Woody Allen films and gefilte fish.
She felt she’d know Prague on sight like Salvador Dali some night 

got in her eyes and the things she’d
see…the melting Astronomical Clock, the Vlatava with its lions 

and circuses underwater.

She saw illuminated manuscripts on her tongue when she

 brushed her teeth. On every tooth she saw a saga,
a hymn, something from some other time. She saw the library 

burning at Alexandria every night. She felt the
books march into her like a squadron of drowned soldiers 

asking to be saved.

She reads all the time. Never sleeping. She was the one who

 would remember. The books traipsed into her
room like she was some call girl. At all hours, she’d have 

Dostoyevsky showing up with a roulette wheel. She
had Madame Bovary wet with oceans knocking in the middle

 of the night. She saw a room full of bugs as
evidence that Kafka had slept there.

She saw the crazy ink, the melancholy topography of many 

Suddenly the girl woke up. She had a slightly sweaty forehead. 

She told the guy I had this vivid dream, but
somehow I forgot it. I was reading or was I being read to?

When they got to Prague, it was so beautiful. The theaters 

looked like cakes…gold icing, murals, horses,
everything. She never knew there could be so many kinds of


She had tried to learn Czech before coming to Prague. The 

first word she learned was slunce meaning "sun."
The language came intricate and quick out of the speakers’ 

mouths. Everywhere she went, she felt people
were talking of philosophers, musicians, and alchemy. Many 

were only making a bit of small talk, but she
imagined she was missing out not knowing.

On the other hand, she had spent so many years in America 

knowing exactly what people were saying. This
was not necessarily an advantage. All the words with rough 

edges, all the endless talk about reality TV, all the
eternal chatter like contemplation was nefarious or something.

The Charles Bridge was beautiful, but she didn’t feel compelled

to linger there like others. It was the side
street architecture she felt deep in her marrow. It wasn’t just

 the various styles of architecture alone, but the
sculpture, painting, sgraffito, ornamentation and most of all the

people in their stone state. They were their
own Prague…a nation of gargoyles. At night you could hear their 

speeches, their music, their litany of

Others looked like angels. Some held up balconies, their

Veronas, the lovely soliloquies of this magical and
haunted city. Sometimes they held their bodies a certain way,

practically leaning into eternity.

One day she was singing all kinds of songs as she walked in 

the night. She felt safe enough to enjoy the way
past twilight hours on certain streets. There she would sing

and sing. Tangled Up In Blue, Love Is A 4 Letter
, and Adelaide’s Lament.

Suddenly someone said Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Frank Loesser. 

She looked around and nobody seemed
to be talking to her or even looking her way. But she looked up 

and smiling at her was a gargoyle wearing a t-
shirt with a picture of Starry Starry Night.

He winked, that’s Van Gogh and a little bit Don McLean.
This was seriously unusual for anyone to get her references, 

let alone a gargoyle.
She sang more songs, he knew all the lyrics too.
It was as though he was waiting for her to come to Prague

 and walk down this street.
He looked more human than gargoyle like he had just jumped 

into the building for her benefit, but he looked
like he had been restored.

He told her how he had once been a composer, a painter,

a poet, a baker, but a few credits short to be a
candlestick maker. He was one of the Renaissance people
alive during the Renaissance who nobody
remembers anymore. He was in Shakespeare’s shadow.

If not him, then somebody else. Shadows drove
him crazy…now he cast his own.

She listened to his psychology unfold and told him that the 

guy she came with walked into a hospoda and
walked out with a girlfriend and now he was history, so to speak,
and here they had come all this way to write a musical about 

the characters in Bob Dylan’s songs.

She started to ask him if he had any time.

She caught herself. He said, look, I don’t want a pity gig just 

cause I’ve been on this building since 1348. I
was here before this building was. The building is here 

because of me. I used to live in a tree, it can always
be done, but sometimes this takes a toll after 100 years or so. 

Suddenly he started to talk about directors and
playwrights and penguins and where the peanut butter and 

jelly sandwich was invented and he pulled a
dictionary from his rib.

She was awed by his mystery. His head, which was not bigger 

or smaller than other heads, was full of
this…while others it seemed were full of that.

copyright 2006 Ellyn Maybe

Presenting Poet Laureates from California

Saturday, September 7, 2013

San Gabriel Valley Quarterly

This poem will be in the San Gabriel Valley Quarterly this month. 
Thanks, Don Campbell.

Thinking of Makala Again

There will always be moments
      in my life

When my days get derailed
      thinking about Makala

Wondering where she is,
      if she thinks of me

There are always places
      where I see her 

a gentle winter rain that opens 
      into vistas of skies filled 
      with clouds

a soft light over foreign 

New York in her springtime
      Makala walking 
      on damp sidewalks
      littered with bright 
      yellow flowers

I feel her presence on hot 
      August days when I 
      feel calm breath of summer air
      from the window frame

The seasons the heart remembers

      How I miss her.

Meet Don Kingfisher Campbell

         Don is listed on Poets & Writers, is the founder of POETRYpeople
youth writing workshops; publisher of the San Gabriel Valley Quarterly,
leader of the Emerging Urban Poets writing and deep critique workshops;
and host of the Saturday Afternoon Poetry reading series in Pasadena,
California. Mr. Campbell has taught Creative Writing in the Upward 
Bound program at Occidental College and been a guest teacher for the
Los Angeles Unified School District for twenty-nine years.
         Don's latest chapbook is out! Twenty poems composed
 between April and July 2013.  You can get a copy of Ball Of Fire sending
 Money and directing payment of $5 to or
 Or go to,  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Poetry is a naked woman, a naked man, and the distance
between them. -- Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Monday, August 12, 2013

Future readings

The series is every Thursday:
EXCEPT the fourth Thursday of the month
future features
August  22 NO READING
August  29 OPeN MIC
September 5    Lisa Coffman
September 12  Shelba Cole Robison
September 19  Michael C Ford
September 26  NO READING
October   3  John Slade presents Walt Whitman
October 10  Jim Natal
October 17  Patricia Barone
October  24 NO READING
October  31 NO READING

Present the new Friday Night poets

 The Friday Night poets previously the 
Tuesday Night poets have moved
to the E.P. Foster Library. We met
every Friday, but the fourth
Friday of the week. We are still gathering 
at 7:30 PM ending at 9:00 PM. Come join us.

Sad news

Our friend, Ken Wienchus has suffered a
dear loss. His father has passed away in
his sleep at the age of ninety-eight. 
Please feel free to contact Ken at his
home or send a card. Here is ken reading
his poem Hope for the Future at the Artist
Union gallery in Ventura, CA around 2010.

My hand is a poem

Sometimes I dream about my hand
the creased of its palm
red and raw.

I dream about my hand:

a scattering of fingers,
warm and capable, red
life streaming through 
its veins, 
aching to be held.

I dream about my hand
holding stars in place,
capturing them at length
holding the whirl of brilliance
that screams through the shadows 
of my fist.

I dream they are 

soft as feathers,
warm to the touch.
I feel its passion.

This hand is a whisper, delicate,

I dream of it often.
This hand, hand.
My hand is a poem.

Presenting Joyce Le Mers update

Joyce is more alert and is responding
to yes & no questions.  She still cannot talk. 
She is pondering her next decision;
return home with Rehab
or return home with Hospice.
Joyce cannot use her right arm and all
her liquids must be thickened with
"thick-it" to prevent aspiration. 
Please keep Joyce in your thoughts. 
No visitors. 
Cards sent to the house welcome:
Joyce La Mers
2514 GreenCastle Court,
Oxnard 93035

Saturday, February 16, 2013


It has been over a year since I stopped writing this blog.
A lot has happened. The poetry community has lost some 
great poets: Warren Gauvin, Andre Levi and Dorothea 
Grossman. We lost the Artist's Union Gallery in July. 
I will continue to post and I hope you will find it interesting 
and informative. Thanks, Tim Tipton.

Andre Levi

Warren Gauvin

Rest in Peace, my friends. I will miss you always.
Artist's Union Gallery