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Poet/actor/singer Elizabeth Iannaci currently serves as co-director of the Valley Contemporary Poets, hosts a monthly reading series for them, and has two chapbooks of poetry, Passions Casualties and the forthcoming Renoir's Daughter. Her work can be found in various publications including Tebot Bach's yet-to-be-titled Anthology of California Poets; So Luminous the Wildflowers; Invisible Planes A Collection To and About Saints, Angels & Deities; Angel City Review; and Moondance. She edits the VCP"s yearly anthology, Beyond the Valley of the Contemporary Poets, has guest-taught poetry at a number of high schools in Los Angeles and has been a featured poet at countless California venues. Recently she returned from Paris where she read her work at Cité Universitaire for World Poetry Days.


Once, before I was born, 
a grocery clerk got too big
for his britches, his god-like lumber
his Rudy Vallee vocals 
smashed the class system 
and he married the boss’ daughter
took her to Lizzie Borden’s funeral
on their honeymoon

That was before the sky’s speed limit
was broken by the turbo drawl and
blurr of ramjet smeared against blue
when the run, duck and cover of LIFE
shouted PROGRESS
in gray-tones and half-lives
when moms put on their pearls and 
Max Factor to go to the grocery store
battled stress with martinis
morning sickness with thalidomide
and vacuumed in black pumps and nylons

Now, while small-minded men sniff 
the hills, I diaper myself with sheets 
stolen off some woman’s laundry-line
write in the sand, nature poems that begin
The redwoods sentinel the canyon
casting calm on my slumber

and know, I’m my father’s daughter



I have your words to keep me

Your words
I’ve laser jetted and printed them 
in Pica and Courier and Times New Roman
Enchantment Condensed, Remus Extended 
Century Gothic, Albertville Extrabold 
Lucida Console, Impact and Arial Unicode
Side Winder with force feedback wheel
Final Draft Heavy

Your words
Reams of them
Rolling in them
Sheets and pillows and a blanket of them
Covering me
Comforting me 
Lulling me to sleep
Permeating my dreams
              My head on your shoulder
                            Hand on your chest
                                          Fingertips remembering 
The rhythm of your breathing playing our song

Awaking with your words written on me 
in hennaed intricacies
some backwards to be read in the mirror
Every centimeter assigned - belonging to your words
My earlobes are letters
collarbone flashing
stomach forbidden
breasts promises
              back of my knee of love
Whispering “Return.” Read the code

Those are your words
I love a man who can talk



My first husband said we were the Beatles
the sum of us being greater than the total
of our parts, then died in the soft 
arms of our babysitter

My second, hovered, folded notes
into my suitcase, choked me with roses
and when I finally left, replaced me
with his college sweetheart within a month

My third, fed me fresh jalabees 
in bed in Mumbai,
held my head when I threw up
and told me it was a real diamond

© 2004, 2005 Elizabeth Iannaci


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