War Hands

By Karla Cordero


finger nails
a seagull’s moan—
warships fight
a burning home,
a child’s cry
ash & teeth
a warship’s
men with
a home,
a child,
wars from

About Karla Cordero

KarlaCorderoBorn in the border town of Calexico, California, I started my new life in San Diego, where the weather spoils the living. I’m currently an MFA candidate at San Diego State University and the 2015 recipient of the Loft Literary Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship. I’m the editor of Spit Journal, a review dedicated to poetry and social justice.

My poetry is published or forthcoming in Word Riot, Words Dance Publishing, The Acentos Review, Gutters and Alleyways Anthology and elsewhere. My first chapbook, Grasshoppers Before Gods, will be published in 2015 by Dancing Girl Press. You can follow my passion for performance poetry at Spit Journal.

Artwork credit: Gaza Mental Health Foundation, Artwork by Gaza Children.


No Comments

Dear Future Generations: Sorry from Prince Ea

No Comments

We won’t relent till it’s 100 percent

It’s only fair that men should have it all.


#makeitfair is a call for gender equality in the stories we tell, the wages we earn, and the future we shape. The goal is vast and so, as artists, the women behind #makeitfair decided to do what they do best: create. Our video displays the talent and passion of more than 70 women including Rita Wilson, Mamie Gummer, Annie Parisse, Kathleen Chalfant, Jessica Hecht and Orfeh, as well as an all-female production team, underscoring the wealth of female talent that often goes untapped.

Visit The Make it Fair Project.


No Comments

Hillary for America and Reproductive Justice

Hillary for America website.


No Comments

Speak Tenderly to the City

By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

An annual remembrance of the 19 April 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah Building


OKCbombingmemorial-682x1024Ladies and gentlemen and children: See before you the crumbled concrete and teddy bears, the wreaths and forlorn love notes, the postcards and classroom projects, the flags and bobbing balloons, the flowers and final farewells to one hundred, sixty-eight souls.

Ladies and gentlemen and children: Blown from the earth with a single obscene gesture, they were three months, they were seventy-two years, they were one and twenty-three and thirty-six and forty-two and fifty-five and sixty-seven; good ages all, now etched on stones in perpetuity.

Ladies and gentlemen and children: Look at their faces, unprepared to be memorialized, giggling from family photos; posing for graduation pictures; caught unaware in backyard barbecue snapshots; accepting awards for deeds well done; squinting through sunglasses and wind-whipped hair; smiling from beneath coquette eyelids; flirting with an unlived future.

Ladies and gentlemen and children: Do they now soar on the wings of eagles? Do they join celestial choirs, belting out the blues for those left behind? Do they rest safely where a god is nigh? Do they fly wrapped in angels’ wings and draped in patriotic colors? Do they heed the solemn psalms we offer up, the precious quilts we stitch with tears, the “Taps” we sound in stolid sorrow?

Ladies and gentlemen and children: Do you know? Their memories will never leave us—children’s cries that faded before they could be found; a boot, impotent with only its warrior’s leg; the futile reach of a toddler’s severed hand; the sacrifice of a limb for life; the heart of one who would serve and protect gone limp as the baby’s body he cradled.

Ladies and gentlemen and children: Can you see? In the victims’ absence, a flag caresses a face, memorializing last kisses never placed on loved ones’ lips. Children’s words, pure and simple, are searched for some serenity. Voices are joined to find a remnant of harmony in harrowed hearts. Hands are clasped, ribbons are donned and candles lighted to lead wounded survivors to comfort.

Ladies and gentlemen and children: Can we help but wonder just how great is the resilience of this human spirit? Can we help but question that a god would make such a day as April 19, 1995? And when the doubts are done, when grass grows where battlements once stood, can we find inspiration in the agony? Can we embrace the anguish and fill the void with the wonder of hope and peace?

Ladies and gentlemen and children: Speak tenderly to the city and love each other well that darkness may not have its way.


Visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.

Isaiah 40:1-10

(First published in 1996 by The North County Times.)

Note: To those who’ve succumbed to the propagandized image of the swarthy, be-turbaned Muslim terrorist, please consider the terrorists who perpetrated the 1995 attack in Oklahoma City.


………………..Timothy McVeigh………………..


……………………Terry Nichols……………………









Photo credits: Terrorist images from biography.com, OKC National Memorial image by K-B Gressitt


Street harassment Shugs and Fats style

Shugs and Fats: Cat Call


Visit the Shugs and Fats YouTube page.

Visit the Shugs and Fats website.

1 Comment

Hillary for America: Getting Started

Visit Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign website.


1 Comment

I Drink You

By Scott Gressitt

waterAs I sit here drinking you
I drink and drink. I quaff your soul
I pour you down my throat and swallow
every single drop of you.

My glass is never empty now
I drink and drink. Yet there is more.
You ever spill new seeds of joy
to tantalize and pull me in.

Your depth is worthy of a ship
I drink and drink, and with each draft
I sense each subtle flavor borne
aloft in rivers of your juice.

I sit so still, just listening
I drink and drink and still hear more,
So rich and complex is your voice
and every move and manner, fine.

You are a painting. I look on.
I drink and drink, I search each line
Both tone and hue, they capture me
and tug against my stony heart.

You smile again and I dissolve
I drink and drink, my lips are soaked.
My guts are pulled apart by you
till I have nothing left to save.

I will not pull the main sheet in.
I drink and drink, the ship, in irons.
The wind is furious off both rails
but I’m content and safe with you.

I’ll spend a month just being here
I’ll drink and drink and damn the clock
The world says work! It says obey!
And all I want is more of you.

I’ve spent a lifetime driving hard
I drink and drink, your potion stills
The only care I have just now
To drink and drink, and drink of you.


About Scott Gressitt

ScottGressittMugAn amateur writer and rapscallion, I write of my past, a life laden with extraordinary events.

I have walked in places most of the population avoids.

Besides scars and bruises, I’ve collected experiences that frighten, delight and entertain.

I write with the intent to take you on a wild ride where all your senses are fully engaged.


Photo Credit: Peggy2012CreativeLens via a Creative Commons license


Writers Read at Fallbrook Library Presents


A Celebration of National Poetry Month

Dedicated to the Life of Fallbrook High Student Taylor Alesana

And Featuring:


NPMPoster2015_8.5-11_2Shy But Flyy

Kari Hawkey


Conney Williams

Preceded by open mic for original poetry and prose

Date: Tuesday, April 14, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Location: Fallbrook Library, 124 S Mission, Fallbrook, 760-731-4650

Bring your favorite poem or flash prose to share during open mic, and then be wowed by our featured poets—each with a wonderful and distinct way with words.

Shy But FlyyShy But Flyy is a Texas born, and now Long Beach-based, singer-poet. She is best known for her performances with strictly percussion and vocals. Shy collaborates with many bands including LBPOD, which consists of percussion, spoken-word and song.

Along with her singing, Shy hosts many open mics in Long Beach, including Griot Café, at Shades of Afrika, and Xpressions, and she co-hosts Flight School Open Mic, in Culver City. Shy is currently working on a CD. The single “Up And Down,” produced by Dae One, is available on iTunes. Her poetry collection, The Meaning of the Blues, is available on Amazon.


KariHawkeyKari Hawkey is a multifaceted writer.  She grew up in Southern California, but has wanderlust and enjoys traveling the world. Kari instructs middle school students in English Language Arts, and Research Methods to Masters of Education students.  She was former Poetry Editor at The Coachella Review, and is currently an Intern Editor for Smartish Pace: A Poetry Review. Her work has appeared in Burningword and Straightforward, and she was finalist for the 2013 Pocataligo Poetry Prize. She was recently the recipient of the 2014 Lucille Clifton Scholarship for The Community of Writers at Squaw Valley (thanks to former Poet Laureate Robert Hass). Kari holds a Masters degree in Educational Administration, an MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts with an emphasis in poetry and screenwriting, and is currently enrolled in a doctoral program. Kari is also an interior designer focusing upon eco-friendly design. You will often find her at a local theatre, art exhibit, Nordstrom’s sale, or just reading a book at the pub down the street.


ConneyDWilliamsConney D. Williams is a Los Angeles based poet, actor and performance artist, originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, where he worked as a radio personality. Conney’s first collection of poetry, Leaves of Spilled Spirit from an Untamed Poet, was published in 2002. His poetry has also been published in various journals and anthologies including Voices from Leimert Park; America: At the End of the Day; and The Drumming Between Us. His newest collection, Blues Red Soul Falsetto, was published in December 2012.

Conney has performed his poetry on television, radio, galleries, universities, grade schools, coffeehouses, and stages around Southern California and across the country, including the Black Arts Festival. He is a talented public speaker with more than thirty years of experience.

Poets’ collections will be available for sale and signing.

For more information about Writers Read, contact K-B Gressitt at kbgressitt@gmail.com or 760-522-1064.

No Comments

washing blood from your hands

By Conney D. Williams

she cheated on me
without my permission
committing violence in a way
Manson only imagined
when he visited the LaBiancas’
she even asked
for my assistance
wanted me to inflict my own wounds
cut myself deeper
with the sincerity of lies
no blinking
no change in facial expression
a polygraph couldn’t detect
her deception
lowering her body temperature
to Antarctica levels
she is Novocaine
compassion and mercy
escaping the prison of her  lips
like coup d’état refugees
she has done her grieving
worn her best black
it is me dumbfounded
that she has died on our Calvary
no more resurrections
she has a new disciple
hiding prayers
between her thighs
she wants to grant them
like she saved me in 2007
i am indigent (lover)
sleeping inside a love…decayed
because she is already gone
she has left the gravesite
poured the dirt and
buried what was once us
beneath the moans
of her new Messiah


About Conney D. Williams

ConneyConney D. Williams is a Los Angeles based poet, actor and performance artist, originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, where he worked as a radio personality.

Conney’s first collection of poetry, Leaves of Spilled Spirit from an Untamed Poet, was published in 2002. His poetry has also been published in various journals and anthologies including Voices from Leimert Park; America: At the End of the Day; and The Drumming Between Us. His newest collection, Blues Red Soul Falsetto, was published in December 2012.

Conney has performed his poetry on television, radio, galleries, universities, grade schools, coffeehouses, and stages around Southern California and across the country, including the Black Arts Festival. He is a talented public speaker with more than thirty years of experience.

Read more about Conney at conneywilliams.com.

Photo credit: Meco via a Creative Commons license.


Women in Words: At the Parsonage

 By Penny Perry










Outside the wind and rain
Charlotte and her sisters
made famous. Gravestones
march up the hill to windows
of this high ceiling room.

Rain drips from my closed
umbrella onto her hardwood
floor. I can almost hear
her father’s sermons,
the scratch of Brontë pens.

Five foot one, a hundred
and ten pounds I’m an
Amazon, a clumsy giant
next to her white dress
on the headless mannequin.

No matter how hard
I could hold my breath,
or suck in my belly,
I would rip those dainty
stitches, pop those buttons.

How did Charlotte, a tiny
candle of a woman ignite
Jane and Rochester’s bonfire,
listen to the sounds of her
sisters fading breaths?

Slow, small brain,
furry old heart, I lumber
closer, reach to cradle
her dress in my wet,
broad arms.

About Penny Perry

Penny Perry is a six-time Pushcart Prize nominee in poetry and fiction. Her work has appeared in California Quarterly, Lilith, Redbook, Earth’s Daughter, the Paterson Literary Review and the San Diego Poetry Annual.

Her first collection of poems, Santa Monica Disposal & Salvage (Garden Oak Press, 2012) earned praise from Marge Piercy, Steve Kowit, Diane Wakoski and Maria Mazziotti Gillan.

I write under two names, Penny Perry and Kate Harding.

Explore the Brontë Parsonage Museum

Photo credit: Courtesy of the Brontë Society and Parsonage Museum.

1 Comment

Women in Words: The Falls at Wailua

By Ron Pickett



Kate and I walked along the path toward the Wailua Falls overlook. Two women had set up a camera on a tripod and were preparing to shoot video of the falls across the gorge. They seemed comfortable directing the other tourists through their “set.”

We passed by and crossed the highway to look into the river valley beyond. I overheard them talking as we walked past, and the words and their implication started to become clear.

The younger woman, in her late forties, was operating the video and describing for the older woman what to do and say. The older woman was her mother; they looked alike and had the familiar way that a mother and daughter work together when they are close.

“That’s over 400 inches of rain a year,” the younger said to her mother, who then carefully repeated the words.

The mother moved to the railing, looked into the camera, and said them again while the daughter taped. The older woman was attractive, but in my brief glance when we passed, I had noticed something that at first I could not identify.

We returned from the lookout across the road and again passed through their camera angle. The daughter was giving her mother more lines, checking that she had them correctly and then focusing the video camera on her and directing her to recite what she had been told. This might have been abrupt or controlling, but it wasn’t. The daughter was at all times, in both her manner and her touch, caring and gentle and clearly loving towards her mother. There was a patience and a courtesy that encircled each move she made, every tone in her voice—there could be no doubt about the relationship between the two women. The process was slow and had to be repeated often, but there was no shortness of temper, no expression of exasperation. The daughter was accepting, nurturing and loving in everything that she did and said.

The mother had the look of someone slightly dazed, a little bemuse or befuddled by the things that were happening, but she wore a slight smile.

We walked to our car and drove away. As we looked back, the daughter was still working gently with her mother. She was taking as much care as a professional photographer and director would. It was as if the video was incredibly important, that it might well be one of the last.

At dinner, in our hotel restaurant, we saw them again. The mother carried a bag filled with gifts, and the daughter led her toward the exit, hurrying her along.

I wanted to run after them, to tell the daughter what a wonderful person she was, the importance of what she was doing to her mother and to her—to all the people who saw them caring for each other. But before I could move, they disappeared from view.


About Ron Pickett

Ron camera ethiopiaRon Pickett had a long career in the U.S. Navy, including serving in command positions in the United Kingdom. He received a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Science and master’s degrees in Counseling and Leadership and Human Resource Development.

More than 90 of Ron’s articles have been published in more than 18 periodicals. He has written three books, I Got Away With It – Perfect Crimes, Discovering Roots, and Getting Published in Journals, Magazines and Other Periodicals: A How to Book. He is the editor of Soul Balm, by Paul Pickett, all of which are available on Amazon.com.

Check back Sunday for our final Women’s History Month offering or subscribe (upper right corner) to receive email updates.

Photo credit: Joel via a Creative Commons license.


California initiative: Sodomite Suppression Act

The folly of California’s ballot initiative law—and attorney Matt McLaughlin


Huntington Beach attorney Matthew Gregory McLaughlin finds homosexual sodomy such an “abominable crime” that he is using California’s ballot initiative process to propose a law calling for the guilty to “be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.” Apparently, the rest of us are free to continue buggering one another with impunity.

So far, McLaughlin’s effort has qualified for signature gathering, so you all can look forward to Sodomite Suppression Act petitions at your local grocery store (if McLaughlin actually has the resources to circulate petitions).

Mr. McLaughlin is troubled. So is California’s initiative process.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 8.17.20 AM


Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 8.18.05 AM