Kimberly Lieu – “Southern California”, “she’s going to bed a little bit hungry again,”: Two Poems on Poverty

she’s going to bed a little bit hungry again,

 and even though she makes decent money

it doesn’t stretch enough

for the fresh fruits and vegetables

the tv says are good for her and her children.

she’s almost done paying off the



but almost never comes soon enough cause

tonight they will eat pasta again

and she will add water to stretch the sauce.

no one told her that her education

would buy her cans of beans instead

of the magical ones promised to her parents.

tomorrow they will eat more rice.

she will find another way to season it.

"NYC 5" by Carol Inez Charney
“NYC 5” by Carol Inez Charney

Southern California

The sky is always a bright blue during the day, filled with yellow light. The birds of an unknown species chirp in unison, ring like chimes through alleys of the tiny houses.

There are palm trees. Tall ones. Planted the same year so that they all stand at the same height. And they will fall down at the same time.

The streets are lined with old cars, some from Detroit and some from Japan. They crowd the intersections so that you have to go around in circles to find a spot or give up and settle in the red. Sometimes they get broken in to and in the morning, you find that your glasses and shoes have been stolen. You hope that whoever took them will sell it to buy some food.

The street lamps come on just after sunset. They bathe the street in amber. Things quiet a little depending on the day but always children roar, parents roar. Some midnights firecrackers or gunshots boom into the dark. You can never tell which. Once in a while helicopters fly low above, shining spotlights all over the neighborhood.  You hope that they stay over there.

You sleep with locked doors, barred windows and a light on.

Kimberly Lieu

Traveling Poet and Writer, Kimberly Lieu, does “a little bit of this and a little bit of that” in between journeys. Her poetry collection agridulce(bittersweet) (2012) is about transition and movement, composed on a crater lake in Central America. In pursuit of wholeness, she always finds time for books and conversation. See more of her at