Bill Mohr's poems, prose poems, and creative prose have appeared in over forty magazines, including ZYZZYVA, Wormwood Review, Sonora Review, Blue Mesa Review, ONTHEBUS, Antioch Review, Pemmican, Beyond Baroque Magazine, Invisible City, Blue Collar Review and Santa Monica Review. His criticism and reviews have appeared in many magazines, including The Chicago Review, New Review of Literature, William Carlos Williams Review, Media/Culture, Poetry Flash, Cercles, and Hungry Mind Review. His writing has also appeared in many anthologies, including all three editions of Charles H. Webb's Stand Up Poetry as well as Suzanne Lummis's Grand Passion, and AutoBioDiversity, edited by Howard Junker. Mohr's first full-length collection, Hidden Proofs, was published in 1982. A compact disc, Vehemence, was released by New Alliance Records in 1993, and his work as a spoken word artist was often featured on Liza Richardson's Man in the Moon radio show on KCRW. His account of Beyond Baroque's development as the major West Coast literary arts center appeared in David James's The Sons and Daughters of Los: Culture and Community in L.A. (Temple University Press, 2003). He has a Ph.D. in Literature from the University of California, San Diego, and has taught literature courses as well as creative writing at many colleges, including St. John's University, Rutgers University, University of California, San Diego, and Otis Art Institute. He is currently an assistant professor of English at California State University, Long Beach. His most recent collection of poems is Bittersweet Kaleidoscope (If Publications, 2006). He is working on a new manuscript, Each Hunger, Each Hireling.

NAKED CHEF

I love a naked chef, you say,
jabbing on earrings as I stir
oatmeal. I toss my bathrobe
over a chair beside your lunch --
sandwich, slice of cantaloupe,
peach. You're right. I'm sleek
without clothes. I don't get
dressed when you leave, but wash
dishes, thinking of the cheap alarm
clock I bought yesterday in an aisle
with bird cages and plastic bags
bulging with orange and red fish.
As a child I loved to squeeze
those bags, fingers pinching
the world's trapped softness;
now I wash plums by filling up
a plastic bag, wiggling them around.
"Pick as many as you want," a bride's
mother urged as she tied yellow and pink
balloons to bushes behind a bed
and breakfast restaurant. A breeze
made them bounce and click
like eggs in boiling water.

 

YOUR SKIN

A woman who gave you
a massage a year ago
said you have the softest
skin she's ever rubbed.
You did it by yourself
for a long time, straining
to reach the part between
the shoulder blades, but only
able to cover the skin
and not rub it in. So that's
where you asked me to start
the first time your back hurt
but when I rubbed your lotions
between your shoulder blades,
that's where your skin
seemed softest of all,
as if the skin there
were the tap root
of the flesh and
all the warmth of
the lotions trickled
to this crevice in
a riverbed and flowered.
You have the prettiest
eyes after you come,
you say, and I only wish
they were always soft.

 

BIG BAND, SLOW DANCE

"Were you close?" I'm asked, as if grief
Would sting less deeply were we friends
As well as son and father. Further apart
Two men could never meet, though blood bends

Through arteries, veins and capillaries
Summoned into Presence by his pleasure.
Oh that I could have grown more slowly --
Remember being small, and cradled like treasure.

 

William Mohr Moonday poetry reading

2006 Bill Mohr


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