Something’s Gotta Change

Ancient memories thrust
beckon, tease
cast themselves forth
determined to intrude
eloquent entreaties
force entry
grip and gain footholds
hack into the present
ignore everything is different now
justice lost its purchase, had the wind
knocked out of it with punches and blows
lead by the enforcers
masterminded by the spinners
no lawful recourse for
opening the system, no
queries go unanswered
raised concerns
stomped down
traction of the idea of justice skids
uncontrollably what is
vital to restoration, to healing?
watch and wake
eXamine and act
you and I must change the course
zero in make old ways new again

—Annis Cassells

Annis Cassells

Annis Cassells is a writer, poet, life coach, and teacher. She divides her time between Bakersfield, California and Coos Bay, Oregon. She has been a member of Writers of Kern for more than a dozen years.


Some say it’s the seat of the soul
Holder of knowledge and Spirit
Strength and love can be drawn from it

A vessel that connects a life
Pulse upon pulse renewal springs
Until a pain an alarm rings

To the now a moment in time
Radiating waves crashing down
In pooling tears of loss we drown

Residence of knowledge and love
Swelling emotions a riptide
Pulling and holding then subside

Or a harbor of hate and pain
A well-built muscle beating time
Metering man versus sublime

Does a spark of God dwell within
Why is life a throw of dice
Hit or miss chasing the device

A flame to lead us safely home
A light to guide the lonely soul
Back towards a more perfect knoll

—Diane Lobre

Diane Lobre

Diane retired from the Hawaii Public Health Institute (HIPHI), where she assisted with its mission of providing education and advocacy leadership on key public health issues. Prior to moving to Hawaii, Diane held a brief position with Bakersfield Life where she wrote profile pieces on local architects. She has two poems in Writing Flora, Writing Fauna: A Collection of Poems from the Southern San Joaquin Valley.


So what if they reject you.
So what if they exclude you.

You are set apart.
You are called for
Something higher.

So go forth
And Shine.
Let the darkness
See the light it made.

—Lily Hobbs

Recently retired, Lily is a late-blooming independent writer, just getting her feet wet. As a member of the Writers of Kern in Bakersfield, California, she’s getting the support, encouragement and guidance needed. In addition to her love of non-fiction and all things Spiritual—both reading and writing—she discovered a love for poetry through an interview with Mary Oliver by On Being Studios. For the first time in her life, Lily began hearing life in poetic lyrics and occasionally tries her hand at it. Find out more about Lily at

Three Dark Days

Winds roaring with poisonous gas
Angry thunderbolts hit with a flash

Earthquakes cluster to damage the berths
Fire raining down upon the earth

Smoke and ash that leads to disease
Don’t open the door, it’s not our Marie

Darkness, cold, roaring winds
The sun has been blackened, the famine begins

Mountains sunken, islands doomed
Stars fallen, powers removed

God’s wrath, who will escape,
The day like no other,
The Lord’s judgment day.

—Victoria Regina

Vickey Ivey lives in Bakersfield. Her dream is to be a horror writer. Some of her favorite writers are Steven King, Edgar Allan Poe, Christopher Fowler, and Anne Rice. She writes because, “My late father read horror stories to me as a child; and, writing enables me to unveil the underlining horrible truth that’s hidden within us all . . . fear.”

Bouquet of Spring Promises

Awakened from spring drowsiness,
toasty warm within quilts warmed by the ondool floor,
a floor heated by the ashes of coal and wood
pushed in from the kitchen hearth.

Mother chided us to dress,
and go into the hill to bring home
the tender herbs to make namool,
a salad mixed with sesame oil and vinegar.

Grimacing into cold dresses,
we gulped the warm, steaming rice
with pieces of salted black beans
and bites of radish kim-chee.

Slipping on our rubber shoes,
we ran through the front dirt yard,
scattered cackling chickens
and dodged bell-clanging goats.

Pushing open the massive wooden door, into the field,
we ran looking at two girls swinging higher and higher,
standing together on a wooden slat, heads thrust back,
upward into the sky of apple blossoms.

We rushed through gardens reeking with night soil,
filled with green onion and lettuce.
We balanced with outstretched arms,
on mounds dividing the rice paddies.

Up the hill, scampering zig-zag to outwit snakes,
we picked the stooped poppies, calling them grandmothers.
Finding the green sprigs, we pinched the tops,
or pulled the entire plant of leaves, roots and clinging dirt.

We rushed back to mother,
our hands full with bouquets of spring promises.

—Portia Choi

Portia Choi

Portia Choi hosts the monthly First Friday Open Mic and publicizes events during National Poetry Month in April. She administers She published a chapbook of her poems Sungsook, Korean War Poems. Her poems are published in multiple journals. She can be contacted at