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Featured Readers 

October 9th, 2018

Clara Hsu

Marvin R. Hiemstra

Clara Hsu

Clara Hsu is a mother, piano teacher, director of Clarion Music Performing Arts Center in San Francisco Chinatown, traveler, translator and poet. Her poetic activities include combining Chinese poetry with Asian traditional instruments. Her latest publication, Lao-Tzu’s Tao-te Ching, Translations and Infusions, takes the ancient texts for a wild ride in the twenty-first century.

Gold on Fire

Grandma’s thigh is still luscious after a day of babysitting. In the evening she wears black with a single slit that shows just enough and waves two white feathered fans to Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love. Now she spots a glittering gold dress on a shop’s mannequin and decides that the dress needs flesh and blood and a strong beating heart. “Oh…oh!” she is shocked by her own impulse and in the mirror the gilded shape sways.

Harvey’s Coffee

Into a frenzy the milk is whipped
and in no time the eye is formed
a single black hole looking from
heaven to earth—

Enough! That bitter grind
that permeates the water
takes only a whisper to change its nature.
Now the wind blows north south east west
and the saucer rattles.

Some say the problem is the problem.
Some say the problem is the cause.
Some say the cause is the problem.
Some say the cause is the cause.

I am left with the tail of a cloud
as the sun drinks its last drop.
A wet hawk takes refuge on the seat of a car
waiting for Noah’s rainbow.

Marvin R. Hiemstra

A Leo born in a thunder storm on the Iowa Prairie and polished at the Iowa Writers Workshop with Donald Justice, Marvin R. Hiemstra’s publications include Dream Tees – a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry nominee, In Deepest USA – a droll CD, French Kiss Destiny – – a DVD filmed in three whimsical San Francisco locations and Poet Wrangler – a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry collection nominee. 

Marvin publishes and performs around the world with a three week triumph at Edinburgh Festival Fringe which Leslie Hills at The Scotsman noted, “Marvin R. Hiemstra’s A Turquoise Coyote Under Your Pillow conjures up true moments and personalities in a bright-humored performance: intense, refreshing theatre.”   “French Kiss Destiny sets new standards for poetry in our times.” – David Partch, Rattle, “It’s the laughing and thinking at the same time that I love when I read Hiemstra’s work.” — Kate McDonald,London Times. “Marvin R. Hiemstra’s performance blasts bits of Victorian music hall, Jungian identity transfers, and pure shamanism into one happy celebration.” – Ernst Budde, Universitat Bremen.

A collection of anecdotes, Raven Knows: Each Smile is Unique, from Marvin’s colorful life will appear in 2019. 

Read Well and Die Happy!

Snug in a tight knit San Francisco neighborhood a bookstore thrives:
host to hot authors — each a godchild of Sunrise, Betty Boop or a trapdoor
spider, venue for a countertenor sax looking for jazz, home to poets —
deeply moved or comforting a pocket gerbil filled with Angst or slapping
a guitar on the third recycle. Everyone is welcome to strike a pose
holding a book half open, right side up if possible? Please try again.

Ancient customer salutes a past when the only books were brains. If someone
somewhere didn’t have it firmly between the ears, book was forever out
of print. Late at night when shop is closed, ghost poets are howling: who
wants to face Eternity in a paperback of analyzed rhymes? Owls avoid area:
spooky cabalettas make hunting outdoor/indoor mice, stuffed on uncut Yeats,
a no-no for that wise bird. Owls demand slow Wagner at dinner or forget it!

Understanding proprietor believes that something good may happen
when a would-be human opens a book. He has seen remarkable
transformations although prefers not to talk about them. After all
it’s solely between a book and a would-be human: anything else is just
an injustice collector or an extra horny publicist or maybe a French coincidence.
Walk in the open door, browse, find an unflinching book that loves you.

Don’t Bounce a Mirrored Ball

Beg the soldiers to forget
that flashy trick step
                                                                                         of Death

in the innocent eyes
of a great poet, a poet we can’t live without,
the soldiers are about to kill.

Beg the soldiers to remember
the smooth trick step
                                                                                         of Life
blissful in a disco with soldiers
from every single country
on the mirrored earth we cling to.

Background image, “Old Worn Parchment Paper,” used with permission from