Larry Colker has been co-hosting the weekly Redondo Poets reading at Coffee Cartel for 15 years. In 2006 his submission was selected as poetry winner of the California Writers Exchange contest, sponsored by Poets & Writers, Inc. His first book-length collection, Amnesia and Wings, was published by Tebot Bach in 2013. His publication credits include, among others, The Los Angeles Review, Spillway, Rattle, Brickbat Revue, Burnside Review, and several anthologies. He is also a featured poet on Larry is currently the content manager of, and Managing Editor of Speechless, the online magazine edited by Suzanne Lummis ( He has led the Beyond Baroque Wednesday Night Poetry Workshop, and is currently on the Beyond Baroque Board of Directors.


The Caterpillars

They wake like cosmetic surgery patients.
Memories of crawling vanish
as the sun warms the body
they could not have dreamed of:
Dog Face,
Provence Chalk-Hill Blue,
Great Spangled Fritillary.

When the woman I married woke up
next to the wrong man,
that was my signal
to become inert,
await rebirth.

I want to be great,
I want the caterpillar’s gift to the butterfly—
amnesia, and wings.

published in Pearl Magazine


Larry Colker



Half sewing machine, half tank
it was the closest thing I knew to a holy relic.

Elders fetched it from the closet
like the ark of our covenant with the past.

First came the ghosts of those who lie in the ground,
jerky simulacra dancing to staccato chatter.

Then came the famous line-up of the nine cousins,
four in diapers, three crying, all with chicken pox.

Then here we are, recognizable at last, in Florida,
making faces at the camera; in the background, dolphins leaping.

O maker of humanity in its image,
O moving art,

you made light of us all.
We glowed

published in Cortland Review


I want you back, Annette, my South Ossetia,
the way it was when your borders lay
within mine. Marianne my Taiwan, 
what can I do to bridge the gulf between us,
to sing again our common language? And Cassie,
O Cassie, my dearest Kosovo, if you came back
I'd make your face my emblem, your name my anthem.
All my cherished, missing, breakaway countries,
listen to me. I am a failed state, humbled,
crumbling, and I want you back, your climates,
your horizons, your harbors.

published in 4: Fourth Anniversary of the Little Joy Open Mic

2013 Larry Colker


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