December 14-20, 1998: Kathleen Hietala

Week of December 14, 1998-December 20, 1998

Kathleen Hietala

Kathleen HietalaKathleen Hietala
June 20, 1948-December 6, 1998
in memorium


This past week the Los Angeles poetry community lost one of its most cherished members when Kathleen Hietala lost the battle to Liver Cancer.

Kathleen lived and wrote for many years in Los Angeles where she attended Hollywood High School and then Los Angeles City College She authored two books: Hangnail In Utopia and The Manufacturer’s Parts as well as co-writing Mr President, Mr President, the memoirs of noted journalist Sara McClendon She also edited the magazines On Target and Sabado Gigante Her work has appeared in several magazines and literary journals including Blue Satellite, Caffeine, Saturday Afternoon Journal and others.

Kathleen also hosted the infamous Sunday night open reading at the now de-funct (and soon to be re-funct) Iguana Cafe in North Hollywood where it was discovered that her ass resembled Richard Nixon One can only hope that Richard Nixon is now staring up to Heaven at Kathleens ass from wherever she may be Kathleen was our friend She is missed.

The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by
Kathleen Hietala and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author (Which at this point is not easy to obtain without a Ouija Board).

Walking Against The Wind

Speech can use topography
some coloration besides
schizophrenia of theme
.and No-Doz rhythm,
balls of brass,
a little DNA
– or –
maybe you should try Starbucks,
They sponsor Kenny G.


Aaron’s grandpa
.is a famous astronomer
.so they make excuses
.for his Slowness,
.recounting the difficulty
.of his birth as if he’d
.been lost among the stars,
.silently hoping
.he will soon discover
.the proper trajectory like the genus
.they pretend
.he is
He’s made his mother’s impediment
.his own, amplifying it
.the way angry crows do caws
.as brittle shoots fall
.to ground
.from still-warm nests
.she collects
The father tries not to grit
.or grumble
.but is as far off
.in these aftempts
.as misfired footballs
.on the lawn or space debris
.he tracks,
.jettisoned for want of what to do
.with distant dots
.abandoned during first flight


I’m in the mood for a moon,
a three-day moon
like Sagan never saw,
fat and sassy as Aunt Fanny’s
alive and round as Bardot’s
high as Bunyan’s hatband,
glowing like Chernobyl
in the blacklight sky

I’m in the mood for a moon,
as steady in its place as
your arms tight around me,
close as two-lane blacktop,
all full-tilt boogie 50’s
hugs and kisses

Especially the kisses:
stronger than Grandma’s
upright Hoover, longer than a Coupe de
softer than angora,
tender as a tear in Bambi’s
urgent as a smoke alarm,
inescapable as night

I’m in the mood for a moon,
not some slivered almond
not a cuspy pointed chin,
not half like tits in demi-
nor three-quarters like the
sleeves of Mrs Nixon’s plain
cloth coat
not almost round but full your mouth; my heart; our
grasp of what we’re doing full carafe-and-a-half
full, size 10 feet in size 8
shoes full

Yes, you are my sunshine
and I’m in the mood for a

Curriculum for Life Studies

Straight line home from school
point A to B
broken by a visit to mother’s place Sometimes a sense of duty
Sometimes a hug over cups of tea
Always checking for bruises, blood, morphine in the fridge

Home ec, ethics

Bombed out in soc
hiding unattractive, changing body
from snide, rude kids
on their way to games and successes

Phys ed requirements met
hauling a frequently inert 100-pound
woman delicately from room to room

No time for El Camino Real
talked dry as dust from repetition
since third grade
with mother wrapped in Welfare wear
new hair a steel-wool calico
staggering like a drunk
drawing stares
rough laughter
added to her pain

Too busy being Mendel’s pea to study
for biology, physiology
metacarpal bracing mandible
on desktop like good clean popular
pretty perfect girls
who can slice and dice a frog
and look forward to it

Learning all about transfusions,
giving shots, genetic rarities
at home, thanks
Failed math worrying about actuarials
the price of small sunburned plots
and funerals

Boning up on law, theology
for the mother of invention,
displacement by rehearsing death
each day,
not “Little Mary Sunshine” for
one fabulous weekend performance

Saw white-cell battles,
small strong Scots losing incrementally, dying in the fray

A little music, please
A little fantasy
A dimestore painting
on the kitchen wall of a cottage
by the stream,
where we’ll live when she gets well

Art appreciation?
The one and only big A+

Fail, fail, fail
No school spirit or participation
No extracurricular activities
Not living up to potential
Poor personal habits
Inattentive to what’s important
Hates Father Serra and his ass

The shortest distance from point A
to point B is a straight line
uninterrupted by education