Archives for posts with tag: Mother’s Day

by Joan Jobe Smith

Sometimes I feel my mother is still alive, like five
minutes ago when I wanted to show her my
new silk blouse, ask her how she likes it, tell her how
I had her in mind when I picked it out because she
always liked me wearing white, said I looked so nice
and clean. (Remember how your mother liked
to keep you nice and neat?) And when I shook myself
back to Now, realized she’d been dead nearly 30 years,
I could hardly believe it, because I’d felt her so near
and real as this silk upon my skin, felt the air around me
turn as warm as the sweet of her breath when she
smiled because I looked so clean in this white blouse.
(Remember how your mother’s lips were naturally pink
as May Day azalea?) For years after she died, every day at
four o’clock in the afternoon, no matter where I was:
at work, on the freeway to L.A., a train to London or
crossing over the Golden Gate Bridge, I’d jolt a four-
o’clock horror that I’d forgotten to take her the morphine
she needed by 4:15 or she’d tremble with seizure and pain
as she lay dying upon her mattress grave. But today, May Day,
at 4:35 when she saw me white and nice in this white blouse
she didn’t hurt anyplace anymore when she reached
quick butterfly from far away and touched my cheek.

PAINTING: “The Redhead in a White Blouse” by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec (1889).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Jobe Smith, founding editor of Pearl and Bukowski Review, worked for seven years as a go-go dancer before receiving her BA from CSULB and MFA from University of California, Irvine. A Pushcart Honoree, her award-winning work has appeared internationally in more than five hundred publications, including Outlaw Bible, Ambit, Beat Scene, Wormwood Review, and Nerve Cowboy—and she has published twenty collections, including Jehovah Jukebox (Event Horizon Press, US) and The Pow Wow Cafe (The Poetry Business, UK), a finalist for the UK 1999 Forward Prize. In July 2012, with her husband, poet Fred Voss, she did her sixth reading tour of England (debuting at the 1991 Aldeburgh Poetry Festival), featured at the Humber Mouth Literature Festival in Hull. In November 2012, Silver Birch Press published her literary profile entitled Charles Bukowski Epic Glottis: His Art & His Women (& me), available at Her writing is featured in the May 2014 release LADYLAND, an antholology of writing by American women (13e note éditions, Paris).

by Paul Fericano 

Mother, may I
sit beside you
on the green mohair couch

late at night
like a wakeful dreamer
and watch old movies

on the black and white
television set
with bent rabbit ears

and rest awhile
near your soft and gentle heart
until I fall asleep?

Yes, you may
Mother, may I
light your menthol cigarettes
with the brushed chrome

cigarette lighter
that father gave you
on your first wedding anniversary

and marvel as the smoke rings
float like halos
just above your head?

Yes, you may
Mother, may I
tell the woeful stories
you tried to tell

of love gone bad
that left you alone
to live this stubborn life?

No, you may not
but you may
take three steps backward
and finish this poem


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Fericano is a poet, satirist and social activist. In 1980 he co-founded (with Elio Ligi) the first parody news syndicate, Yossarian Universal News Service ( which helped revive Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update.” Since then, his work has never appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Paris Review. He’s the author of several books of poetry including Commercial Break, Cancer Quiz, and Loading the Revolver with Real Bullets, and is the co-author (with Elio Ligi) of the political satire, The One Minute President. In 2009, he created the popular Mission Poetry Series in Santa Barbara, Callifornia, and currently writes a monthly column on clergy abuse and the healing process for the blog A Room With A Pew (

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: There’s never any drought of ideas with me. I usually have a notion of how a poem will end before I even start. Most ideas touch on topical subjects or family memories. I spent years and years reading the morning paper and scanning the news for bits of material to use as fodder for my satiric news service. I’ve learned that if you’re fearless anything can be the subject of a poem. The idea for “Mother May I” came about recently when I introduced the game to my granddaughters.

On May 7th, poetry by Joan Jobe Smith — author of the Silver Birch Press release CHARLES BUKOWSKI EPIC GLOTTIS: His Art, His Women (& me) — was featured on the City Lights Blog. Congratulations to Joan!

Since Joan’s poem tells the story of a unique mother/daughter adventure, it’s great that we can feature it on Mother’s Day.


by Joan Jobe Smith

My father refused to teach my mother
how to drive his car, he said it
wasn’t ladylike in 1949, a woman driver

was no better than a streetwalker she was
to take the bus and be a good wife like
his mother was so my mother took secret

driving lessons, the instructor man
coming every day in his grey sedan
to show her how to let out the clutch

just right so the car wouldn’t jerk, how
to work the choke and the radio, make
turn signals, arm bent up for right

straight out for left, down for slow
me in the backseat watching as we drove
the L.A. streets: Firestone. Rosemead

Sunset Boulevard, Pico, La Brea and
Santa Fe and the day she got her drivers
license she bought her self a green 1939

Ford coupe and waited in the front seat
in the driveway for my father to come home
honked the horn at him when he arrived

and said Hey handsome, need a ride?

Photo: 1939 Ford coupe (a green one!)

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”


Photo: Jacqueline Kennedy reads to 21-month-old daughter Caroline, Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, August 1959. (Corbis images)


We’d like to wish a very happy Mother’s Day to all the materfamiliases in the world — with a special tip of the hat to women who take time to read to their children.

You may have tangible wealth untold

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold

Richer than I you can never be

I had a mother who read to me.

From “The Reading Mother” by STRICKLAND GILLILAN

Painting: “August Reading to Her Daughter” (1910) by Mary Cassat