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( “- the soothing key. “)
-for Mom and

I pray for togetherness
I must put all the energies;
compassions; creativeness;
ingenuities; feelings-feelings
for ensemble , feelings for where
I hurt others, for where I
thrust too hard, too fast; call
up all my enthusiasms,
exuberances; call up all
my love
I praise the sun
its warmth making the
world so much more fun,
adding colorful flowers,
play, new energies, new
growth got body, food-
inculcating, germinating
re creating
the rain
its cleansing, nourishing
the wind
its spreading seeds
the earth
to its desert centers
the water
to its ocean centers
the aloneness
source of all creativity
the cold
sets sugar; brings people
together; reestablishes priorities
this is incomplete as I am
incomplete as i always will be incomplete- except dead
-there, it might be where there is nothing more to be lost; it
might be freedom; it might be
beauty, it might be complete
it sports* a changing countenance
as I do. as I keys,
prayers and praise
as I do

*sport here refers to
the phenomenon like a field of red poppies,
one of precisely the same kind, for no reason
flowers white.

Ray Foster
San Jose 4/20/80



numbered crew

City Lights celebrates the 20th year of Kaya Press with readings by Sesshu Foster, Gene Oishi, Amarnath Ravva, and Shailja Patel!

Kaya Press is a group of dedicated writers, artists, readers, and lovers of books working together to publish the most challenging, thoughtful, and provocative literature being produced throughout the Asian and Pacific Island diasporas. Kaya Press believe that people’s lives can be changed by literature that pushes us past expectations and out of our comfort zone. They believe in the contagious potential of creativity combined with the means of production.



keep it coming, concrete dinosaur.
keep it coming, berm of sand.
keep it coming, invisible waters.
keep it coming, month of air.
keep it coming, shadow man.
keep it coming, el radiograma of wind.
keep it coming, weird candle.
keep it coming, fingernail butter.
keep it coming, rationale of yucca.
keep it coming, sideways door.
keep it coming, whining ache of bruise.
keep it coming, little miss yellow.
keep it coming, tortilla biters.
keep it coming, black and white hotels.
keep it coming, automotive planetoid.
keep it coming, polished spots.
keep it coming, smudged years.
keep it coming, tipping bird heads.


photo by Lindsey Bolling

photo by Lindsey Bolling



red plastic rooster

wax coin machine dribs

white porcelain automotive establishment along main street

photographic magazine fragrance

swollen USA

fields like froth on beer

as seen through translucent skin

magnetic animals

not so very many populations

afternoon’s golden light butter

eat something tacos celery

electrical towers

milk of lacquer

Francisco Toledo insects

vast distant thundering booming

partial somewhat material

bowling alley populations

stimulant cell numbers

short lived stench reeks

shadow man

bird skeleton spaghetti

automatic while transfer

watery fat

plastic bag dribbles

stereoscopic motion

as seen through translucent skin

house is saying

pole is saying

object is saying

Tomas Transformer eyelids

opening secretion of a moment

banana and scorpion whim

one or another






That some people who are divided within themselves, against themselves, will turn on you to force you into a kind of slavery for some minutes, or hours, or days. Because they must, for they are divided against themselves.


That skyline or roof line of the massive apartment building, or the idea of it made of cardboard, that rides high above my own life in the evening. Lit by street lamps.


That I have come upon the bones or carcasses of coyotes and rabbits and mockingbirds or other birds and have seen the bloody opossum, half crushed and unable to rise, shaking and grimacing but trying to drag itself from the pavement where it has been run over in the evening, in its blood, it has described how death comes.


That the axles of the vehicles carrying a person or persons carried to a world destruction or to happiness.


That a vehicle or vehicles merged into traffic, some passed on ahead, while others stopped


That this world is the world of an Italian movie, the action filmed first and afterwards, all dialogue overdubbed.


That two day old coffee, drunk like that, cold.



I hear them before I see them from across the parking lot, hooting and calling
out on the street, two boys on skateboards surging up Main Street, another boy on a bike ahead of them, heading west toward Fremont.
I emerge from the sliding glass doors of the market with my sack of soup vegetables.
I never get a clear glimpse of them, don’t really look at them as I cross the parking lot. Because I feel like I already know them, so I don’t even bother to look.
I am shifting the sack of goods as I walk from one arm to another, avoiding a Smartcar turning at me, reaching for my keys with my free hand, already making my soup in mind after 3 days of bad cold or flu. But I have registered them as they rush lanes of traffic on Main Street to the opposite side. I like how the boyish shouts rebuke my indifferent silence.
They cross the twilight median under the big ficus trees for the far sidewalk.
They cross over into twilight shadows, charging through them like figures of speech in some poem.
Like flying horsemen or like ravens, like this or like that metaphor, boys with the changeable energy of boys, like figures gesticulating in dreams or like the boys we once were. Rushing out on the horizons of their own lives like pronghorns.
Crossing into the twilight shadows I don’t even distinguish let alone really see, the boys like ragazzi in the background, extras in some black and white 1960s Italian movie.
But partly I am listening to their voices, which have crossed over to the other side.
No break in traffic, no emergency screech or sound of accident, twilight assumes the flow into evening. I set the sack on the passenger seat, drive out of lot into twilight myself. I catch a last glimpse of them out of the corner of my eye as I pass, the bicyclist keeping pace with the skaters in front of the boxing club and the Jehovah’s Witness churchfront, heading toward Carroll’s Brake Service, but already I’m ahead. They’re just half-seen figures barely inscribed inside a couple lines here; they’re on their way and passed far beyond, throwing giant shadows across a blue evening.


City Lights Bookstore, April 2014

City Lights Bookstore, April 2014


June 2014