Charlene Langfur

We Have to Know How Much is Enough

Today I walked around the patch of desert 
full of fan palms and cactus.
I have love on my mind as I often do these days
and ponder goals almost as old as I am,
with hopes too big to carry all at once.
I start out early in May knowing how fast
the heat comes on here and living in a troubled country,
with all the restrictions, the pandemic, isolation is 
the practice now, a regular way of life for us and a way
to survive, and thrive following our stay at home plans.
The cactus blooms this time of year, its yellow
flowers with cups like angel’s wings, papery
to the touch. I wait for them and all their crazy
blooming at the start of the giant bouts of heat
that come on and off in the desert summer
and always it’s time to run for cover, when
even the tough-skinned lizard in my garden
hides under the aloe plants as long as needed.
That’s how it is now, longing for what is not there
any more and walking with what still is.
The mesquite trees covered in pods,
green with new life, one pod as a time.
And I remember the kiss on a day like this,
one that seemed like it could never end,
not for any reason, no, no reason at all.
Who wouldn’t hope for it to come back again?
As it is, I plan to propagate the lavender
later today, each small cutting slipped
into the fresh earth, all its dreamy purple
life to come by September, what will come
back all aglow in the morning light,
one purple bud after another.

Charlene Langfur is an organic gardener, a Syracuse University Graduate Writing Fellow and her most recent publications include a series of poems in Weber, and poems in The North Dakota Quarterly and the Inkwell Journal.

David Stone

Love Lines for Your Valentine

Still need to write your Valentine? Use lines from a local poet.

Someone seeking clarification about another’s romantic intent and who enjoys the use of lowercase letters like e. e. cummings might appreciate a line from Cindy Rinne’s “Another Park Poem.” Inspired by a walk in Riverside’s Fairmont Park, Rinne wrote, “did you try to carve the bark/ leave a heart…” Rinne lives in Redlands. Her next work is titled “Quiet Lantern.”

Courageous individuals who are willing to be vulnerable might use lines from Cati Porter’s poem “Clearly.” “Look at me/ and tell me that you want me, that you want to heart/ the distance and that you cannot in the object see/ a flaw, and though I am (flawed) I am for you, and/ there is a small tight thought that is wound in me,/ that knowing that you love, a lightning, a lightning/ on the inside: so that you see; so that you know.” Porter lives in Riverside. Her latest book “My Skies of Small Horses” comes out this month.

Seasoned lovers may like to use lines from “Litany” from Claremont poet Lucia Galloway’s latest chapbook “The Garlic Peelers:” “O love, what is your wish?/ We’ve half again as much to say as we have said./ Set down the goblet, and the carmine wine/ sheets down its sides to pool in the bowl./ Let’s drink our words instead of hoarding them.”

Sweethearts who remind you of characters from the The Big Bang Theory should appreciate lines from Marsha Schuh’s “You and Me in Binary.” Appropriately published in the computer textbook Schuh co-wrote with Stanford Rowe, Schuh imagines a world based on four, considers the dominance of the decimal in our world and closes her poem with pondering the numerical effects of becoming a couple: “Then we unlearn it all /learn to speak binary,/ a better way,/ two as opposed to eight or ten,/ the most significant bit,/ the least significant bit/ one-two, on-off, you-we,/ binary.” Schuh resides in Ontario.

Lovers in a more ambiguous relationship may resonate with lines from the Palm Springs poet and writer Ruth Nolan. In her forthcoming book, “Ruby Mountain,” she writes, “shouldn’t I pretend you did it for love/ shouldn’t I believe it was a mistake/ shouldn’t I wonder why not/ shouldn’t I wonder why. . . .”

Those pained may appreciate the words of the title persona in Nikia Chaney’s “Sis Fuss.” The poem “Syllogizing Sis Fuss” closes: “we all hurt. And if we all/ hurt then we all hurt/ each other and the next.” Chaney lives in Rialto.

Jennifer and Chad Sweeney from Redlands are a couple, who are both accomplished poets. Jennifer provides profundity and striking imagery in her book “Salt Memory.” She writes, “As water poured into the heart flows out the palms, so does love return, as thirst, as satiation—the shape the lost ocean has carved onto the salt brick desert.”

With characteristic quirky humor in his book “White Martini for the Apocalypse,” Chad writes, “It was love./ She taught me to drive her bulldozer./ I taught her to forge my signature!”

In earthier lines from his poem “Effects,” first published in Caliban, Chad writes, “The best sex in the world happens during conjugal visits. I’ve gotten myself into prison twice, just to have it. That’s why I’m calling. Happy Valentine’s Day!” Chad Sweeney teaches creative writing at Cal State San Bernardino.

The longing and transformative power of love comes through in the closing lines of Judy Kronenfeld’s “Listen” from her forthcoming collection, “Bird Flying Through the Banquet,” 
“Let your eyes rest/ on my face. Arrest me/ in turn. I will burst/ from the seed/ of myself.” Kronenfeld is professor emerita from UCR.

Ontario poet Tim Hatch gives words to the desire to comfort one’s dearest when he or she is gone: “Scatter my memory where my memories are sweetest. Gulls cry, salt breeze carries me away. When you’re there you can breathe deep, take me inside and remember.”

For a wider array of classic poems to use for Valentine’s Day, search the Poetry Foundation’s website for “Poems for Valentines” or the site for “love poems.”

Joan Kantor


The Windmills of The San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farms in Palm Springs California


In celebration
giants stand
tall and proud
gathered together
in endless rows
atop jagged stone mountains
and on the dusty scrub-covered
valley floor

they whirl their arms
in a rhythmic ritual
sinuous dance
overlapping hundreds of hands
to the hum
of the turbines’ chant

As wind transforms
and current invisibly flows

the tribal reverence for earth
Is finally heard

            Death Valley National Park

They come
in hordes

by my angles
salt flats
high canyon walls

They look beyond
the grey
to see the contrast
of my bright orange and aqua cliffs
and dark jagged peaks
against blue sky
and rolling billows of white

They don’t see
that like an oversized child
I only appear
to be old

and have millions of years
before me
when those edges
and peaks
will wear down

The crust
of earth
its moving plates
will rattle
and fold my bones

Arid hot air
will blast me
with sand

Flash floods
dragging tons of debris
will scrape
my walls
and floor

But every day
in the late afternoon
when the sun shifts
before sunset

it offers me blankets
of dark purple shadow
whose softness unfolds
into crevices
and river carved bowls

as snugly
I welcome
its soft glow
of pink
and gold

till cradled
in the deepest of blues

the nightlight of moon

I drift
into sleep
to the silent rhythmic tune
of blinking stars

Joan Kantor is a poet and educator. Her work has been published in numerous literary journals and she recently took first prize In the Hackney Literary Awards. Her book SHADOW SOUNDS was a finalist for The Foreward Reviews Book of the Year Award and she has just had her second collection FADING INTO FOCUS, a memoir in verse, published. She has been a poetry consultant for The Sunken Garden Poetry Festival as well as a mentor and judge in its Fresh Voices poetry program for youth. Joan also does writing workshops with the elderly.  Her work has been in several ekphrastic shows and she performs in Stringing Words Together, a music and poetry experience.

Colin Dodds

Palm Springs, California

Suspended in anticipation,
I’ve taken two duffel bags
out to where they made the desert sprout with kitsch

I’ve been discouraged
The sign says IDEAL MALL
The stores sell golf carts and iron doors

Driving tipsy down Frank Sinatra Drive
along a colonnade of dead palms
I avoid detection

The ripples start to the south,
the home of sullen seas and fresh catastrophes
and I wait in the earthquake, for the punchline

Indio, California

The highway sign read
Indio and other desert cities
as if they were already an addendum
to a Biblical catastrophe

The sky became naked, merciless
The highway narrowed, lost lanes
Loneliness became a cosmic affair

By a railroad graveyard,
the date farms die, the houses sit unfinished
and the noise overwhelms the signal at last

A man, maybe not old, but ill-used,
bicycled over to beg a dollar
from the only other man for miles
outside his car or home

The dollar, he said, was for a Corona
to shelter him from the stars,
distant mountains and blind eyes of cars—

His eyes black as snakeholes
under a baseball hat, he let a silence hang
over the man with a dollar, who shrugged,
got in his car and moved along

Yucca Valley, California

The sun blasts the paint off a luxury car
from a million miles away
The sign says a fire could start a flood

The wind hollows out the rock
The bright yellow moth explodes
on the windshield

It’s the never-ending way of matter:
Everything against everything else

The kangaroo rats and desert rats sprint
under the tires of the car
I sigh out their weight in prayer

Needles, California

In Barstow, they’d named a meteor
after an old woman

A distant valley of amusement parks
became a vast animal feed mill

The land emptied out
all of it FOR  SALE  BY  OWNER

A double-wide trailer
sat a quarter mile from the road,
one wall kicked out in disgust

At night, the parades began—
the big trucks driving in clusters

The dark was so dark
that driving was like falling through space

A lit number flashed in the darkness
And I puzzled for miles if it was the price of a room,
the temperature of the air, the speed limit or an exit number

The highway impersonated the sky—wide swathes
between headlights, gas stations and traffic lights

The night impersonated eternity—silent, absolute,
yet broken by human habitation

Colin Dodds is the author of Another Broken Wizard, WINDFALL and The Last Bad Job, which Norman Mailer touted as showing “something that very few writers have; a species of inner talent that owes very little to other people.” His writing has appeared in more than two hundred publications, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Poet and songwriter David Berman (Silver Jews, Actual Air) said of Dodds’ poetry: “These are very good poems. For moments I could even feel the old feelings when I read them.” And his screenplay, Refreshment, was named a semi-finalist in the 2010 American Zoetrope Contest. Colin lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife Samantha.

Inlandia’s Fall Creative Writing Workshops Set to Begin by Cati Porter

The Inlandia Institute’s Fall Creative Writing Workshops are set to begin. Led by professional writers and writing instructors, each workshop is designed to meet the needs of writers working in all genres at all levels. Currently there are six different workshop locations:

Ontario, led by Charlotte Davidson [*Closed: Full]; Riverside, led by Jo Scott-Coe; Corona, led by Matthew Nadelson; Idyllwild, co-led by Myra Dutton and Jean Waggoner; Palm Springs, led by Alaina Bixon; and San Bernardino, led by Andrea Fingerson.

Each workshop series is approximately 10 weeks long, meeting every other week unless specified. Workshops are free and open to the public but registration is required.

Please RSVP to Registration forms will be emailed prior to and/or distributed during the first session.

And, while these workshops are free and open to the public, in order to keep them that way, we do ask that you consider an optional but suggested donation of $25 for the entire series. Information about why this is necessary is included in the registration packet.


Dates and times vary by location:

Ontario [*Closed: Full]


Led by Charlotte Davidson

6 pm – 8 pm

September 10 & 24, October 8, 22, and November 5


Ovitt Family Community Library

215 E C St

Ontario, CA 91764




Led jointly by Myra Dutton & Jean Waggoner

2 pm – 4 pm

First Friday of every month


Idyllwild Public Library

54401 Village Ctr Dr

Idyllwild, CA 92549




Led by Matt Nadelson

7 pm – 8:30 pm

September 9, 23, October, 7, 21, and November 18


Corona Public Library

650 S Main St

Corona, CA 92882




Led by Jo Scott-Coe

6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

September 25, October 9, 23, November 6, and 20


Riverside Public Library

3581 Mission Inn Ave

Riverside, CA 92501


Palm Springs


Led by Alaina Bixon

2 pm – 4 pm

October 8, 22, November 5, 19, and December 3


Smoke Tree Racquet Club

1655 E Palm Canyon Dr

Palm Springs, CA 92264


Free parking, accessible from E Palm Canyon or the Citibank lot on the corner of Sunrise/Hwy 111.


San Bernardino


Led by Andrea Jill Fingerson

3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

September 23, October 7, 21, November 4, and 18


Feldheym Library

555 W 6th St

San Bernardino, CA 92410

Alaina Bixon leads writing workshops, including Inlandia’s creative writing workshops in Palm Springs, edits books, and reads for the online journal The Whistling Fire. She is working on an article about women at MIT.

Jo Scott-Coe is the author of Teacher at Point Blank. Her essays can be found in Salon, Memoir, TNB, River Teeth, Hotel Amerika, Fourth Genre, and the Los Angeles Times. Jo is currently an associate professor of English at Riverside City College and the faculty editor of MUSE.

Charlotte Davidson received a Masters in English from Syracuse University followed by an MFA in poetry from UC Irvine. Her first book, Fresh Zebra, appeared in 2012. Charlotte leads Inlandia’s creative writing workshops in Ontario.

Myra Dutton is the author of Healing Ground: A Visionary Union of Earth and Spirit, which was a 2004 Narcissus Book Award finalist and a 2006 selection for “Ten Books We Love” by Inland Empire Magazine.

Andrea Fingerson has taught preschool, reading, and high school English. Currently, she teaches Child Development classes to teen parents. She received her MFA in Fiction from CSUSB. During that time she was a Fiction Editor for Ghost Town and the high school Outreach Coordinator for The Pacific Review. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and is currently in the process of editing a young adult novel.

Matthew Nadelson teaches writing at Norco College and leads a creative writing workshop at the Corona Public Library (every other Tuesday from 6 pm to 8 pm) through the Inlandia Institute. He has lived and worked in Riverside County since 1997 (with the exception of a brief stint in San Diego at SDSU, where he earned his MFA in creative writing, from 2002 to 2005). His writing has been featured in more than 20 journals and anthologies, and he was recently featured on the Moon Tide Press website as their “Poet of the Month” for December 2013. His first poetry collection, American Spirit, was published in August 2011 by Finishing Line Press.

Jean Waggoner, a published fine arts reviewer, poet, essayist and story writer, has taught college English and English as a Second Language in Riverside County for the past thirteen years and co-leads the Idyllwild poetry and creative writing workshops for Inlandia Institute. Jean is an advocate for part time faculty equity and co-author of a book on the part-time professor experience, The Freeway Flier & the Life of the Mind.

* Charlotte Davidson’s workshop is now CLOSED due to maximum enrollment; please check back in winter to see if openings are available or join one of our other upcoming workshops that still have seats. San Bernardino and Corona both have openings.

Jacqueline Mantz Rodriguez

          Jacqueline Mantz Rodriguez’s commitment to self exploration through writing is an artful devotion. A devotion to clarity, a raw devotion imbued with awakening into one’s bounds & boundlessness.

— Maureen Alsop


Juarez, 5002

Lee, my sister, now mother of two, was one of those girls. Women
who haunt people in their own faces:  Sisters, Fellow
Writers, Women, all those women.

Cecilia, journalist with a Ph.D.
looks like those women.
Her hair straight and long,
dark skin, walking the streets pausing,
as men both young and old whistle.

Searching for a key or clue to Esmeralda’s desmise,
who was saving for her Quinceanera.
“I want to pitch in mom.”.

Cecilia looks like those girls,
no station or education
may recreate color-
Everywhere Juarez

Where would Reina and Patricia, Lee’s little ones be if,
on such a drunken night in Tijuana,
TJ to all who go to play,
Lee and her older sister had never awoke?
Death instead of a shameful story?

Nude arms grasping dirt and air,
cuddled together.
Instead of
Tiptoed steps out the door past snores of drunken boys met two days ago at
Mr. Js Nighclub  El Monte, CA

Everywhere Juarez brims
while women and girls
sit with heads bowed.
“I am not those women.”


Write about five moments you would like to do over…

Moment 1 flashes by in a space saucer shaped cloud.
I want to time travel back, back to that point when you said, “the dog is walking you.”
I should of laughed, smiled at the very least or just, at the very least stayed dormant.  I did not, cannot it seemed pause when agitated, with you.

This is how it goes, we all know these are the moments, that define the worry
lines on our face,

That force pens to fall from a clutched hand on a signature line.

Moment 2
Another moment, another cloud this one God.  I screamed, “I hate you, I’ll never forgive you…
once it seems so long ago you said you read, “A happy marriage is made up
of two good forgivers.”
I did forgive you but I’ll spend eternity trying to forgive myself.

Moment three
Moment three
Moment three
Three clouds pass by and I think, hope
If I say it three times fast a chant of desperation maybe I’ll get a do over, a rewind.

I looked at you, frowned and put you down rather than listening.  I snatched my hand away and dove into the arms of another, even if it was my dog.  I let pride push,
no hurl me away.

Moment four
I don’t want to see the clouds anymore, or remember.  Do not
Make me remember, God.

I left, left you to cry alone out of sheer stubbornness even as I saw your tears well up; I still left and now I am gone now far away, and I cannot, cannot get back to you no matter
how hard I try.

Forever Moment Five

I swallow, eyes still shut as I float on a cloud.  I never did get back to you that day.  Accidents just happen, how was I to know?  I should have known, so I could Still be there with you watching as you rub your eyes.  I would then get to reach out and hold your hand to comfort you one more time.


Jacqueline Mantz Rodriguez was born in Great Falls, Montana but immigrated to the Inland Empire as a young child growing up in Ontario, California. She resides in Palm Springs and works as a special education teacher at Palm Springs High.  Jackie is currently working on her novella “Coo Coo La La Love and Other Tales I Tell While Doodling” while preparing a documentary on her special education students. Jacqueline received her B.A. in literature and creative writing from Cal State San Bernardino and her Masters degree and teaching credentials from National University. Jacqueline’s loves are her husband Joe and her Boston Terrier Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  Please visit Jackie’s blog on Word Press to read her collection of poetry, movie and restaurant reviews, and memoirs about the joy of teaching, marriage and dog rearing at: Any other questions or comments please email Jackie at jmantz (at) psusd (dot) us.

Richard Nester

Soak City, Palm Springs

It’s always
the same story—
long flights of stairs,
vertiginous laughter,
bathers moving up
and down . . . I’m

at one of those
water parks
with my kid, screaming,
among stark turns,
startling switches,
this way and that way
down the dark, inner
tube of a twisty
slide, when
in a slow section
I suddenly think
double helix
and praise lust.

There are so few
completely good-looking
people in the whole world.
The race couldn’t make it
on beauty.

No wonder we pay them
big bucks
and pose them
just so
in thongs, bikinis,
touching brief dreams,
mascara harder than time—
so many eyes, lips,
navels, silken

You know
if not for the life-threatening part,
none of these rides
would be worth a damn.

Then it’s over. Strange,
how beautiful
everyone is
in the ice-cold

Kim Loshe

So Much More is Happening in Palm Springs These Days, But This is L.A.

Night is a sack stuffed with bones and glass.  Smell of tar
and coconut oil, like Channel 5 all over Paris.  Taste of
the bottled water dissolving vitamin pills—sky the color of
blue weight.   Drone of freeway and planes.

Scent of being lost—a woman, too small in her saggy skin,
color of a football, whites of her eyes browned
under her fried hair, under her neon pink
baseball cap, over the halter top and yoga pants.
Rollerblades to work,
a smoothie bar.  Aren’t all women aged
against their wills?

Except Carla, who also has brown skin, but
just feels old at La Paz taqueria on Wiltshire Blvd.
If the surf’s up, the mountains will bite down
to steady themselves against the traffic to the shore.
But, the mountains have not bitten down
and the surf has never really been up.  If a big wave
came in, it would wipe out everything.  Gaudy, La Brea
Saber-toothed Tigers who once prowled Rodeo
Drive gone missing to excerpts on CA standardized tests,
along with the Spanish missions.

A surfboard is a raft against this current.

Carla wraps her last foiled burrito and takes
a sledgehammer to the family restaurant.  A small
earthquake the rest of the valley misses.  Glass will land, once
the night is ripped far enough open.  Mud consumes PCH
winterly, but it should swallow the urgent care center
across from Peperdine U., which mostly does Botox treatments.

The basin taken into the faults—”Ay dios mio—hay no esta paz.”

Flowers will stretch and yawn, the glass glittering
on their cheekbones as they start their yoga in the desert sage.
A star will slide through the night and the sun
will step back off the land.  The city will finally be cool.

Marcia LeBeau

Palm Springs, California

Joy stamped into a landscape propelling wind and shelter–
a roof, a Walmart bag, a time to forget.

Take in the waters to sighs of far-off snow. A sliver of a room where oil
evaporates into forgiveness.

Nerves trail into a flower then drift through scorched air once exhaled by dreamless
children: a whistling of karaoke and a car that costs too much.

Driving past bones of dead fish and dead birds. Where the sound of water
begins. Hand-placed stones are a call from a stranger.

Lemon opens aloe, pricks the burn. Rubbing the soft cotton of his chest I feel
the sinking submarine in the sand, walk as if to a microphone and green the lining

of my mind. Walk in a little further, clasp my hands
shake loose the bones that once dragged me under.

It is the long view in a mirror I thought was rippled, but now scatters silence
over a kidney-shaped pool at night.

I am caught in the light of waves reflected on the wall.

Mark Cox

Palm Springs

Imploding casket of leisure and skin cancer,
Bobsled of vanity, autopsy table
Of the dead marriage and midlife crisis–
Could the sun-gods tracked by shadow and angle
Across temple courtyards,

Could they have imagined the tanning bed,
Or how, here, in the endless operatic
Hospice piano lounge of our world,
We worship selves we want, but cannot be–
Intravenous drips of bile and self-pity–

Until the transplant ice chest opens
And the bartender scoops out the viscera,
Offering it once more, in the name of love,
To the body. Can someone explain to me why,
Once we have lain down in our self-made beds,

We choose to get up?
Why, having been divorced and jettisoned,
We insist on being useful again–
Each flagellant helping his neighbor,
Bringing, as it were, his expertise to bear–

Until each visitor is escorted, sedated,
From the asylum ward, committed again
To line dances and speed dating?
Fountains of perpetual joy and anguish,
We are but skin poured forth,

Caressed, and poured again.
The magician, whose wife has sawed
All he owned in half;
The physician whose husband has his ear
To the heart of the babysitter;

The field commander calling in the coordinates
Of his own suburban home;
The hanged suicide denied the kiss
Of his bludgeoned wife;
The voyeur cabbie, nibbling lettuce in his shell,

For whom dawn is a Dollar Store place setting
Minus a beloved to breakfast with.
Though, there are (or were), for all
The spa’s pleasures: crystal healing, mud masks,
The vaguely urinous hot mineral springs,

And, of course, the tanning bed:
That flaming stretcher
On which we are borne narrowly along
Each wanton trench
To glory.