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Friday, 3-29

The Bakery Building 

& The Outlet PDX

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The No Fair / Fair reading on Friday night will feature over 60 readers, & will be hosted at two venues simultaneously, the Bakery Building & Outlet PDX. The venues are across the street from each other in a neighborhood full of bars & restaurants, & only one mile east from the conference center.

The poets Catherine Bresner, Andrea Cohen, & Teow Lim Goh will read on behalf of the Diode Poetry Journal. View their work in recent issues of the journal below.

Catherine Bresner
Diode volume 11 number 1

Interrogation of a Landscape

E says there is
a reason for everything
which is just a bad excuse
I am wanting to follow
but what is god if not an oily
stone & this feeling
paper ripping
in the gut

Here all the suicidal
bridges collapse
into one tight fist
in the city that I love
To the barge against
the harbor at 4 o’clock
I am sorry

It isn’t necessarily
a gesture to regret
a day & then another
to assume the position
of at least
one human

I hear some thirsty
talking on the radio
talk about N. Korea
talk about Russia
talk about my uterus

My inclination is to
join something or
not to join something
My inclination is to
watch a grouper fish
pass by the end of the line


—First published in Handsome

Andrea Cohen
Diode volume 10 number 3

No Moon, But


I knew it was
the beekeeper

who touched me,
not because she

tasted of honey,
but because she

was unafraid
of being stung.

Teow Lim Goh
Diode volume 10 number 3

From China Mary
San Francisco, California, 1855.


They say I am a lucky girl—Madame
took a liking to me, bought me
for her house. She gives me silk dresses
and shows me to sit still, my face
turned just slightly away—the men
like it that way, they say. Here the men
are city leaders and merchants and if
they like me, they would take me
to their parties and shower me
with jewels I can keep—my earnings
in lieu of wages. I could be
in the cribs, they say, serving
any man who stumbles up the alley
smelling of grime and whiskey. Here
I can study English or practice the piano
or learn to powder my face just white
enough to let them see just a hint
of the wild beast of my skin. Here
I want to say, no, leave me alone, no,
get away from me, no, get your hands off
me, but I open my mouth and find
the words have hardened in my throat.


Men sail across the sea, hustle
across the prairie, stumble in the heat
of the desert to come to this place

where you can gather gold
in the rivers. They tell me all this
when they come to the city

looking for women to adore.
Naked, they talk of their exploits
in the mountains, tales

of cards and guns and somehow
they are the hero. Their eyes
drift away and I pick their pockets

for gold, maybe a watch. Their bodies
pulse with rage and heartache
as they press on me.


Some men just want to talk over
dominoes and opium

in the parlor. I help them
write letters to their wives, asking

for children they haven’t
seen for years and parents who are ill.

They tell me about children
born years after they’d left, children

they now consider theirs—what
choice do they have?

At least they have someone waiting
for their return.


There is a man who comes to me
at the beginning of each month.

He does not say much
as he kisses the bruises on my arms, digs
his callused fingers
into the muscles of my back.

Maybe he’s the one
who will buy me out of here.

The other day a letter fell from his pocket.
I flicked it under the bed, read it
when he’s gone.

He has a wife and son at home.


I’m alone in my bed. The moon
casts slivers of light
on the ledge. Stars tell stories
I cannot yet read—