Carolyn Howard-Johnson's first novel, This Is the Place, won eight awards. Her second book, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, creative nonfiction, won three. Her chapbook of poetry Tracings, was named to the Compulsive Reader's Ten Best Reads list and was given the Military Writers' Society of America's Silver Award of Excellence. An instructor for UCLA Extension's world-renown Writers' Program, her book The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't is recommended reading for her classes, and was named USA Book News' "Best Professional Book 2004." It is also an Irwin Award winner.

Her second book in the “How To Do It Frugally” series is The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success is also a USA Book News award-winner as well as the winner of the Reader View's Literary Award in the publishing category. She is the recipient of both the California Legislature's Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award and the Glendale American Business Women's Association's Woman of the Year award. Her community's Character and Ethics Committee honored her for promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly's list of 14 "San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen." She is a popular speaker and actor. Her website is www.HowToDoItFrugally.com.

Absurdity

Vintage gardener's
truck, a hedgehog—
prickling with shovel, rake,
hedge trimmers—impales
my new car's fender on its
make-shift bumper, a strut
welded to its back end.
This protruding appendage,
like a sardine can pin, skewers
it—up front near the bumper—
makes of it an aluminum tin.
Mustang on a pick.
Twist upon twist. Slow
motion. Its metal gets wound
around itself,
right front fender first,
then door,
then back fender,
silver shavings on asphalt,
before it finally stops.
I–trying to catch it–left
on the asphalt with skinned
knee, torn tights. I crawl around
in the street searching
for one lost rhinestone earring.

Published 3/04 in the journal Lunarosity

Arizona's Christmas Card

Abdomen and thorax green
bubbles or two emerald cabochons,
his legs like rose bush twigs,
grey, beige, thorned. A green lynx
spider rappels between spikes
of Cholla blooming red.

Ode to Santa Ana

Oh, saintly formchanger, ardent
breather, bellow your heat

through San Gorgonio
pass, swiftly to the coast. Exhale,

tease, ignite. Scatter embers,
like neon popcorn, across lanes,

firebreaks, the Golden State
to where brittle salt brush waits.

You, shapechanger, VanGogh
taunting hell's own crimson

pigment up, up, more passion
producing than stars or moon, thrust

plumes of smoke to dull
the sky, rain cinders

down to pock paint, litter
pools, smother leaves.

still green, with nuclear grey.
You whose ancient testament

speaks apocalypse, perverse rage.
What you cannot persuade

you tame with fear, what you cannot
sway you use your deadly

whiles against, your amorous
art to kill. It is your nature

to brandish your beauty.
It is ours to be seduced.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson Moonday poetry reading

© 2008 Carolyn Howard-Johnson


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