This Just In…

I want a radio news anchor’s voice
Booming. Precise. Certain. Strong.
A voice like God’s
Not like mine…
Shaky. Quivering. Uncertain. Faint.
Tripping over itself & uttering fragments
I want that radio news anchor voice
Who cares if it’s the voice of a 67 yr. old man
who has smoked his entire life
That’s the voice I want!
People would listen to me
I would listen to me
I would stand tall
Confidence would pour forth
That voice knows all things

Who even speaks that way anymore?
We’ve lost Paul Harvey, Chick Hern, & TV’s Walter Cronkite
Where are those authoritative voices upon which we had come to rely?
Now the voice that gives us entertainment “news” & celebrity gossip
also gives us the updates on tornadoes, earthquakes, & terrorism
The authority in that voice is missing
The poise. The drama. The reverence.
All lacking from the dude with the gel-spiked hair
& the chick in the spaghetti-strapped tank top

Give me the voice of Tom Brokaw & Dan Rather
& the radio announcers of yesteryear
diesel fuel, black coffee, & gravel
I want to sound like that!
And that’s the way it is.

Stephanie Gibson

Stephanie Gibson

Part philosopher, part pragmatist, and part mystic, Stephanie’s writing most often makes observations about life’s contradictions and wonder; its pain and joy. Usually these take the form of narrative non-fiction and poetry. Her career path includes public and private sectors, group facilitating, journalism, and work with teens and young adults.

TIGO (Teego)

I have a story I’d like to be told:
Our daughter was a young lass eight years old,
We were on vacation in Wyoming
And planned a horse ride one early morning.
We saddled up our steeds to start our dia
Father, Mother, Grandparents, Alicia

Her maiden voyage started peacefully
As we rode to the cowbow grill with glee.
We finished breakfast in a gentle rain
And remounted our horses once again.
On the trail ahead was a broken branch
That snapped back into her horse from the ranch.

The startled horse raised itself in a fright
And our daughter fell off him to her right.
We dismounted and quickly came to aid.
And decided right then to help our maid
By picking her up and replacing fears.
On the saddle once more after some tears.

Phase two of our plan allowed her to roam
On a ranch near granny and ba-ba’s home.
Taking lessons each weekend for a year
Gaining skill and balance, learning the gear.
Riding bareback at first on old Brandy,
He wasn’t Black Stallion, but was dandy

The owners of the ranch had a good plan, too
They began seeing what Alicia could do.
Her next rides they determined could now be
On a liver chestnut mare they could see
Would be perfect for Alicia’s new skill.
She saddled her and hoped she’d fit the bill.

Tigo and her were like one from the start
It was difficult to pull them apart.
Friday night sleepovers watching the moon.
Saturdays were spent from dawn ‘till afternoon
Brushing her, currying, riding, washing
Staying with grandparents, T.V. watching

These things were the norm for many a moon
Then came the chance to purchase Tigo soon.
First, Billy Robertson’s place on the Kern
Was enjoyed with Tigo as they both learned.
Berkshire’s on Brimhall was next in line
They had fun together, oh, it was fine!

Rides with Mom and Druval were a delight
Both of them relished these times spent ‘till night.
On to Grubb’s place was the next stopping point
For a short time- then we bailed from the joint
And settled at Rio Bravo a spell.
Seven years of good times riding pell- mell

Up and down the trails she talked and laughed on.
She rode from the dawn till the sun was gone
Growing closer to Tigo all the time
And enjoying her through every clime.
Granny on Jessie and Mom on Shorty
And her on Tigo made quite a posse.

Moving on to Valley Tree they were three
Amigos sharing good times, they were carefree.
When she could come home from marriage and school.
They were both maturing- it was so cool!
In her absence mom, granny and ba- ba
Took care of her pal, even her pa- pa!

Two years ago Mom lost her pet, Shorty
And Rio’s been a handful, but sporty.
Ba-ba’s ridden Tigo when she couldn’t,
Alicia rode Tigo when most wouldn’t.
Her love for her pal was not unnoticed.
Tigo whinnied and pranced, we knew she wished

For Alicia on her rushing ahead
Over hill and dale and through green orchard.
Like old times together they both could share
All the memories from that first days care.
Her pal and best friend for many a year
Was beginning to slow and we had fear

She would someday not be able to ride.
Alicia came home to be by her side,
When she could, and she loved hugging her mare
And caring for her –they were still a pair!
Lately she couldn’t saddle her at all
But being together helped her to recall

The wonderful memories they had shared.
Her husband came to know how she had cared
By listening to stories of their deeds
And watching Alicia even do her leads
When she rode her pal almost to the end.
And looking at pictures at every bend.

Alicia visited her just days ago
One last final time, but she couldn’t know.
Tigo bravely stood so she wouldn’t show
How much she was hurting, she couldn’t flow
With her friend on her back-her leg would bow.
Thank you Jesus she saw her Tigo

Before you took her up for her last rides
She is surely waiting by the angel’s sides
We know these past days have not been easy,
But God in heaven has been real busy
Training her friend for a mighty warrior
Coming to Earth with our Lord and Savior.

—Warren Pechin

Warren Pechin

Warren Pechin has lived in Bakersfield since 1951 and joined WOK about one year ago. He is currently refreshing a twenty-year old novel he wrote with an architectural theme, Retribution, and a non-fiction book, Historical Bakersfield Buildings, both hopefully completed early next year. He is a licensed CA architect.


Onions sliced
potatoes diced
into the caldron of my mind.

Bitter resentment knowing
my time is your time:
Cooking time.
cleaning time.

Who are the great artists, writers?
Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Picasso, Shakespeare, Lao Zu.
Did they cook, clean for others?

Then there were the Eliots:  T.S. and George.
and the Emilys:  Dickinson and Bronte.

Slowly simmering woman’s anger, boiled madness released into the air.
Onions bring tears to the eyes, a reaction to the acid of reality,
softened to sweetness with the warmth of a child’s hug.

Potatoes with covered eyes peeled, raw and crunchy, become hearty
morsels with heat of writing;

slowly cooking, mixing the flavors into a palatable stew.

Portia Choi

Portia Choi

Portia Choi devotes her time to promoting poetry by hosting the monthly First Friday Open Mic and publicizing events during National Poetry Month in April. She administers with stories and pictures of poets and poetry events. She published a chapbook of her poems Sungsook, Korean War Poems. She is published in a number of journals, including The Asian Pacific American Journal, A Sharp Piece of Awesome, and Levan Humanities Review. She is a long-time member of Writers of Kern.


Monkeys swing from tree to tree.
Palm trees sway in gentle breeze.

Trees make shade from blistering sun.
Climbing them provides great fun.

Flowering trees like magnolia and tulip
Decorate landscapes and help to cool it.

Trees stand guard around the homes.
They shelter birds from rainy storms.

Giant redwoods are centuries old.
Some have survived fire, heat, and cold.

My favorite tree when I was young
Held the swing that Daddy hung.

Janet Skibinski

Janet Skibinski

Originally from Ohio, Janet now resides in Bakersfield, CA. Her love of writing began with creating her eighth grade Class Prophecy. Today Janet concentrates on family memoir, poetry, and her recently renewed interest in fiction. She serves as secretary to Writers of Kern.


Flaky Freedom

The far fetched free spirit

Far from being understood
Far from being fetched.

The endless wagging tale
A bohemian blessing

I taste gypsy grit
Guzzling at that rhapsodical rush

Swollen songs
Of flowers, sunsets and old forest trees
nip at my fancyings

As I move to the music
My bragging shabby skirts
whirl to the undersong.
I boogie barefoot
Strutting with attitude
Spinning with stories

I am

A wandering grandmother spirit,
A soul sharer with a hunch

I stir with nomadic wisdom . . .

What’s that you whisper?
Pie in the sky?

Dessert before dinner please!
Make it flaky
Make it free

Anke Hodenpijl

When Anke Hodenpijl is not a poet, she is a singer of songs, mother, grandmother, partner, gardener, traveler and foodie. She thinks life is delicious, poetry is the essence of joy and relationships are the reason for it all.