Laurel Ann Bogen is the author of ten books of poetry and short fiction, including Washing a Language; Fission; The Last Girl in the Land of the Butterflies and Rag Tag We Kiss. Her New and Collected Poems is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. Since 1990 she has been an instructor of poetry and performance for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, where she received the Outstanding Instructor of the Year award in 2008. Well known for her lively readings, Bogen has read her work at Cornell University, The Savannah College of Art and Design, The Knitting Factory (NYC), The L.A. Metropolitan Transit Authority, MOCA, LACE and a host of other venues.  She is a recipient of the Pacificus Foundation’s Curtis Zahn Poetry Prize, two awards from the Academy of American Poets and a 2011 Pushcart Prize nomination. Her work has appeared in over 100 literary magazines and anthologies. 


You Pirate You

--”Those as hunts treasure must go alone, at night, and when they find it, they have to leave a little of their blood behind them.” -- Loren Eiseley

Alone, I sniffed
for buried treasure 
the tumble of night
in your wandering eye.

I chose you 
for your swagger
and cutlass tongue --
I did not mind
the lash you left there.

Tattoo that is your name, 
more precious than gold doubloons. 
I scratch the letters on my arm.
The ink and blood still mix.


Kisses I Remember

 In 1969 Ray Olson kissed me in the front seat of his Rambler. He tasted like cigarettes and although I never smoked I still like that taste.

 In 1958 I kissed my sister good-bye as she married her first husband. Four more were to follow.

 In 1982 I went to a Tom Waits concert to avoid seeing KISS.

 In 1976 Harley Lond kissed me outside the Vagabond theater on Wilshire Blvd. When he ran his lips down my neck, my back arched and I spilled my purse all over the sidewalk.

In May 1995 Little Guy Bogen kissed my nose with his orange cat tongue. Sandpaper kiss.

In 1962 Robert Goulet kissed me on the forehead backstage at the Coconut Grove. I was 12.

Ray Levin, calling from Savannah, always says, "our kisses make us feel better." He should know.

 In 1999 listening to Joni Mitchell reminded me that "in France they kiss on Main Street."

On December 7,1971 my father leaned over me and kissed me while his tears splashed my face. It was the first time I realized that he liked me. The empty bottle of chloral hydrate mocked; the red light on the ambulance went around and around, the straps on the gurney held me like a sarcophagus.

 In 1963 I kissed a mirror to see what I looked like in case James Bond came into my bedroom.

2009: John Harris, S. A. Griffin, Michael C Ford

On July 14, 1992 I kissed my brother and wished him a Happy 40th Birthday. I watched as he unwrapped my gift: a baseball signed by Willie Mays, his hero.

The Kiss of the Spider Woman is a book I read in 1986.

 In 1979 I kissed an envelope handwritten by Gene Wilder, The World's Greatest Lover.

In December 2004 I kissed Kathleen Lohr, Mark Beaver, Claudia Handler, Brad Dourif, Doug Knott, Janet Sager, Erica Erdman, Nichole Morgan, Jerry Garcia, Rick Dowlearn, Cindy Woods, Beth Ruscio, Becky Garcia, The Lively Ms. Lively, Linda Hoag, Michael Gall and Venesha Pravin before we listened to Dylan Thomas read A Child's Christmas in Wales on the CD player. Then we all drank too much champagne and orange juice and eggnog. I needed to go to sleep shortly thereafter.

In 1965 I kissed my grandmother's powdery face in the nursing home where she died six months later. She did not know me but I had been her favorite.

In 1998 I kissed Mark McKain on the cheek. I swore to myself I would never let myself fall in love again. And I didn't.



Laurel Ann Bogen



2012 Laurel Ann Bogen


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