August 4-10, 2003: Loren Kleinman and Elizabeth Sim Peña

week of August 4-10, 2003

Loren Kleinman and Elizabeth Sim Peña

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Loren Kleinman

Bio (auto)

Loren Kleinman’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in “Poetry Motel,” “Promise Magazine,” “Split Shot: A Journal of Literary Art,” “Hipnosis: New Jersey’s Art and Entertainment Magazine,” “The M.A.G ,” In Other Words, Aspirations: The Art of Writing, “Sol Magazine,” “Conception,” “Karawane,” as well as other journals and anthologies She has been a featured poet at Ramapo College for Women’s History Month and was nominated for the 2000 Pushcart Prize (best of the small presses), for her manuscript, Up, Down, Sideways, and Across Her book, Flamenco Sketches, is the winner of the 2003 Spire Press Poetry Prize She is currently working on her next poetry collection, I Want No Paradise.

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Loren Kleinman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author

I Want No Paradise

“This is the end,”
my mother says And, this is how life looks when it is
into nothing, nothing at all, but a monument, to
some splintered driftwood drifting This is how the
body erodes
a condition of existence

Why do I have to be here, to see this? To watch mass,
this weight hang, 
shadowed It is the beginning of a movie, the way the
motion is slow,
the way credits string across the air like painted
breath, how
you are supposed to watch, 
His body holds together like some artifact, sings
as the magpie sings spotted and cracked His body
solid and blank Some great fish stuck in the
shallows He is naked and terrified, showing himself: bright
stomach, raw eyes All of this turning over, folding
I want no paradise I want nothing if I can’t feel
death, sprouting like wild marjoram I want nothing, 
if I can’t feel the nails of this day protruding from
my throat
the thickness of my tears exploding like bombs, if I
can’t feel dead, too
“This is the end,” my mother says “This is it ” This
is when the
bones scrape against one another, when they touch, for
the first time
in the heat of it all, when they are immersed I look
at his skin,
placid and poor I want to crawl underneath his
nails, down
down into his feet, where it is dark and deep and
absolutely clear.

Elizabeth Sim Peña

Bio (auto)

Elizabeth Sim Peña recently relocated to Bellingham, WA where she works as a freelance writer, photographer, and artist She has had poetry and other writings published in various online journals and independent print publications Some of her writings and portfolio are featured at She currently spends her time writing about social justice and peace issues and manages (Red Jewel Distro) which is a feminist project distributing DIY goods, zines, and music made by women.

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Elizabeth Sim Peña and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author

.fire in the sky
it was seven o five when i was greeted by the fire in the sky the flames
that jumped from cloud to cloud as the desert closed its doors to the sun
called me back to the scorched hills of the palouse-where scared white
people sleep under their blankets grumbling about the colored people and the
faggots and the dykes that keep their country spoiled
i’m reminded about the time when wsu was called a fag lover and i wonder
(sometimes outloud) “whats so bad about loving fags?” and then i remember
that they meant it to sting they wrote the vowels and the consonants as if
fags were animals-fucking-animals when really .we’re just people loving
and i’m reminded about the time when “nigger” was scrawled with a pen
spitting fire like the sun that scorches those hills and i thought “in this
town? i’m surprised we haven’t found them like ‘strange fruit’ ” not yet
anyway not yet a lot of states fry ’em all the time they say we’ve moved
on .but moved on to what?

and i’m thinkin’ about the time when a girl told me she wanted to be a star
on t.v like all those other people even though those other people didn’t
really look quite like her
actually, she looked kinda like me
and she pasted little barbie look-a-likes on her walls and she was too
anxious to fill her bra and she took too many trips to the bathroom and
sometimes i’d see her hide her food
i’d tell her, hey, don’t turn your tits into numbers and put a size
expectation on your ass besides, i think you’re already pretty cute
but she ended up vomiting everythin’ i told her and the only thing she
ended up eating was a tube to feed her
I knew I really liked her when she told me “girl, you color me like a womyn
to womyn revolution” That voice was like the sigh and harmony of 6 strings
enveloped by solid cherry mahogany We explored our bends, crevices, and
stretchmarks that told of our wisdom
Our knowledge Our anger
Not just about the wage gap that states we get fucked for having a cunt

But about the rapes that spread like wildfire throughout every town every
city every &Mac185; women every 3 minutes
About all the universities that tell me I might cause trouble because I
demand respect and I’m a woman and brown and yellow and queer all at the
same time and they don’t know what to do with me
About the violence that stabs women in too many homes on too many occasions
and the cops who turn their backs only to shine their loaded dicks in the
faces of others who just want food
About the assholes that let me hold a dishrag but not hold up my voice
About the global gag rule
About the history of slavery (yes its still relevant) and the presence of
slavery in our factories abusing brown people overseas and in the military
and in the homes of housewives or as I like to call them: working women
About how the freedom of all people should be obvious but instead is buried
under sweat, blood, and bodies
About the poverty striking this country and the millions hiding in the bombs
we like to blow shit up with

About the president that isn’t my president
About america’s hard on for oil power greed power bombs power

And then I realized our bodies are messages
Our hands clasp to form a fistraise These lips are shaped and ready to aim These mouths are weapons ready to fire We walk in protest and use our boots to carve out an existence beyond THIS
I am reminded of this war waged against my body
This war waged against the bodies of mujeres
Of sisters And brothers I say no And I will fight.

marriage icicles

Mom cooked salty feesh
and looked towards
her private window
to find irises poking
through dirty snow

they taunt her nose
to catch a smell barefoot, tread softly
through icicle gardens
leaving streaks of red behind
cold mists envelop wounds
below ankles stop to admire
a melting one;
glass necklace beads roll

slowly down its slope-
a little dagger
waiting to fall marriage icicles wait,

melt and drops collect
on foreheads,
run down slim shoulders
tired arms, down beaten fingers
that clutch letters
from his vietnamese lovers
love teases and dad
is at the other end
with taut fishing line.


I kimchi scent under cherry blossom trees,
baby chopsticks with fortune cookie wisdom
written at the fat bamboo head,
storage jars that smell of last year’s
salty harvest, dried squid at baseball games:
chew chew chew
II public street markets infested with
fish smells, streets littered with
odd, $1 wooden sticks no one
would really want but me
III baffle friends with chopstick talent
pick up pennies and leaves off
dirty floors on command It isn’t
impossible; practice with pens
IV the almond eyes are typical but
the dark skin isn’t very Chiiineesee
‘that’s more us than you It makes you
nothing, really ‘ Can I stop being a
foreign country brochure now?

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