First Taste

The Cassells home-place cellar,
A real cellar—earthen-floored,
must-scented, raven-aired.

Grandma Annie Casssells
and ten-year-old me,
heave worn wooden doors,

throw daylight underground,
pick our way down brick slab steps,
stand still, let our eyes adjust.

She leads
Bound for thick, unpainted plank shelves
Jammed against the far wall.

She reaches
For a dusty jug
amongst canned pickles, peaches, beans.

She pours
a half-pint jelly jar one-quarter full,
announces,  “grape juice.”

She savors
A long dark liquid sip

She passes
the almost-empty jar
to me.

She cautions
“Just a little now.
It makes you feel all warm inside.”

She stretches
her eager knobby fingers for the rest
as the jar leaves my lips.

We ascend
Hugging peaches and pickles,
like nothing else ever happened down there.

—Annis Cassells

Annis Cassells

Annis Cassells is a teacher, poet, and writer who added “life coach” and “speaker” to her resume after retiring from teaching middle school. She is a long-time member of Writers of Kern whose poems have been published in several online ‘zines and print anthologies. “First Taste” was published in Scarlet Leaf Review, March 2016.

April Snow

Sierra dawn,
crystals whirl, wispy– white gentle on pine branches.

Awakened children run to this surprise,
form a footpath from the cabin,
flapping arms and legs, becoming angels –

Children and parents – together—push and roll snowballs into
white belly,chest and head:
Brown branches for arms,
black briquettes for eyes,
yellow banana peel for a smile,
sliced carrots for buttons;

This snowman stands on a lawn overlooking a lake.

By end of the day, it melts bowing to the departing sun.

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.


Fireworks explode
Showering the night in beautiful
Twinkling wishes
Reflected in the eyes of children
Smiles full of joyous adventure

The cheering crowds
Stand tall
The screams of delight
Filling the air with life
I can feel the warmth
Of the celebration
Wash over me

And for a second
I forgot who I was
What I had become
And where I was heading

For a second
I was alive
With a lifetime of hope
Spreading ideas and dreams
Stretching my lips into a grin
For a second
Just one second
I was one of you

Terry MeGhee

Terry McGhee was born and raised in Bakersfield, CA. He began pecking at an old typewriter in 1992 at the age of thirteen and quickly found that words had a way of releasing emotions that otherwise would never have seen the light of day. Currently working with Bakersfield’s own indie film company Hectic Films Productions, he now splits his time between movies, madness, prose, and poetry.

The Beach Is My Heart’s Home

Today we drove out of Bakersfield
And into Pismo Beach.
I am ever thankful that
The coast is within reach.

I always wanted a beach house
Since I was very young.
My family vacationed in summertime
At the coast for fun in the sun.

From the Outer Banks of North Carolina
To the beach called Sagamore,
We’d spend two weeks of summer
Swimming and playing at the shore.

I have so many great memories
Of being near the sea.
The beach is my happy place
Where I love to be.

Truly I am a beach bum,
That’s where I belong
Walking barefoot in the sand,
Singing to myself a song,

Feeling the ocean breeze on my face,
Collecting stones and shells,
Watching for whales and dolphins,
Hearing stories the seagull tells,

Sitting under my umbrella
Reading a book, writing a poem,
Waiting for the beauty of sunset ~
The beach is my heart’s home.

—Shelley Evans

Shelley Evans started writing poetry when she was a young girl, and several of her poems have been published. She is working on her dream to publish a book of poetry. Shelley is also a legal secretary, wife, and mother of three daughters. She is an active member of WOK.

Healing the Healer

Healing is a deeper human connection.
Providing is a superficial interaction.
A Human, with an inner calling to heal others is a healer.
A Person, who does a job, fulfills obligations, is a provider.
A Healer heals, with a passion for perfection.
A Healer heals, to decrease human suffering.
At times, a Healer needs compassion and healing too.
I wonder who heals the healer?
A healer needs to be healed before she can heal others.
I suppose she heals herself

With the satisfaction and blessings her profession brings.

Is it the truth? Or a myth?

Physician burnout is REAL.
More so in today’s medical practice.

Physicians need the same empathy and compassion they share with their patients.
Please help prevent physician burnout
Understand doctors have human limitations
Acknowledge and respect what medical professionals bring to the Art of Healing.

Sudha Reddy

Sudha Reddy

Sudha Reddy is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. She is a life-long seeker and learner whose parents taught her true happiness is in helping and sharing. Her life purpose is to decrease suffering in the world, in every possible way. Writing is one of her many activities for staying healthy. Sudha is a new member of WOK.