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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Poem _______________ Koon Woon


When you, when I …


When you catch me writing,

when you catch the wind,

a warm breath is blowing, &

birds flock over the land.


Though the political is absurd

and men often pitch dirt,

a raindrop of the good

portends a brotherhood.


Take this feather, my friend,

it’s preserved from childhood.

Recall fondly the days and nights

in this undertaking we call life.


When you, when I are far awake,

an opulent music we shall make.

And we will laugh and dance, as

Providence bestows another chance.


Koon Woon

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

David Gilmour _________________ two poems





Say, it was vivid! -- akin to something --

Someone alive and kicking.

I know I should have caught that 4:11 am

Dream lingering at the empty platform,

When I sat bolt upright, I saw myself

As if myself saw me in the high-

Density reflective mirror of that world.

A crisis whether to arise,

Dress, eat, and climb aboard the blank page;

Whether to drop back down the rabbit's hole to sleep.


Had it, fed it, bled it, died!

Alas, that frisky puppy of a dream-dog

Up and abandoned me. Carried on a carriage,

Taken on the brain-train,

Chuffing on down those serpentine tracks

Until the rails went skew,

Now's blowing smoke in distant fields

Where poetic frogs used to croak.


Through channels reamed by rumination,

The barge hangs by some mooring post,

Along by now a narrow ditch, a psychic lair

Where something more than frog was spawned,

Where it's at home,

Like simple souls a while ago,

Who chattered, smoked, and sipped green tea

Over yellow formica breakfast tables,

Morning sun in streams of gold,

Through the hazy kitchen windows.






The cosmic picture or the uncosmetic chaos

Is pressed by the spirit of Life

Upon the walls of its own awareness.

Rainbow arcs, moon above the pyramids,

Cliff faces, glassy mountain ribs.

The listener might see a spectral fragment,

The large red,

A lamp glowing upon a triangular plane,

A rough stone, tragic ledges,

A dead drop into blue chasms.


Nature’s mass can be reordered:

Coherent line, measure, form, and word.

The singer’s synesthetic eye,

A wild iris, savage thought.

A maelstrom of meanings:

Pristine is white,

Black is pure, men are wheat,

Women violets with a deep, deep core.

Raven, a nightjar,

And a sign of spring—cuckoo!


All concocted transformations,

Laden galleons sailing across classifications

To an unknown shore,

The blades from bristling pines

Palming the foaming eddies,

Skimming across orders

To an ineffable shore,

Down to earth experience,

Amber and frankincense.


Out they fly from the cave of dreams,

Carlsbad-like gusts of plumage,

Beauties once worn by cargo cultists

Now extinct in paradise

In faraway Sarawak.



Focusing on all divine planes,

Swift squadrons,

Drawing evening in,


Sunday, January 9, 2022

koon woon


The Warsaw Pact


There are losers from Eastern Europe living in this apartment building, as well as Asians, and Blacks and a couple of indigenous people. We are sometimes a conflicting community. But the Whites, albeit poor, rule. The Russian is seldom home for this reason? I am China-born Chinese and my age should command respect, but it doesn’t. Things are not like they are in the old country.


In some ways, this is a Jean-Paul Sartre story. There are a few viable exits and so we wait for Godot. Sometimes one can smell death coming on and sometimes one can narrow it down to which of the nine floors. And when an occupant is not seen for a prolonged period of time, their worried relatives will find a putrefying mess in that room. And so it goes, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


It seems though that the formula 3% Chinese living here is both admired and resented. According to Emily the Black lady with one functioning eye, the Whites and the Chinese got all the money. It could be so, but the Chinese who don’t play along with the white agenda remain in Chinatown, where massage parlors mushroom in recent times when smuggled aliens are well hidden in the Chinatown conclave where the police seldom assess unless it is horrendous enough of a crime such as Wah Mee.


There are all kinds of misconceptions here, of course. Approximately half of the people here are disabled and of those, half are mentally ill, and the other half are seniors enough they either don’t care or unable to care. But it is like Roethke’s “Root Cellar,” the Congress of stink here struggles to survive.


(To be continued…)


- Koon Woon

January 7, 2022


John Gorski ______________ three poems



John Gorski -------------- three poems


Questioning Poets


Queries for Keats


Why did you walk through twenty-five

miles of November rain

in a flimsy springtime waistcoat,

immune to thoughts insane?

Did you think death was no more

than a laudanum dream –

an apparition murmuring

of that not fully seen?


But you knew it had arrived

like the Italian sun

in your fevered rooms in Rome

of breathless consumption.

Did you ever hear portents

in the nightingale’s song

that you wouldn’t live to Wordsworth’s age

or even half as long?


A Query for Clare


Why did bird song stay in your head

from Emmingsale’s heath

where Night Jars called and the hawk

whistled like a thief?

You didn’t heed the cold-eyed

men of science in London

who peered through the sterile glass

at the corpses of robins.


Ignorant henchmen of commerce

lived in that city,

their black thorn hearts icy toward

avian poetry.

How could they hear other bird tunes

as nightingale music

which you still heard within the walls

that housed lunatics?


2021                                         John Gorski



Childhood Idles


Teddy Bricks, my one-time ursine companion,

slouches in a corner chair – his faded green

vest and feathered Robin Hood cap askew.

His metal limbs are old and twisted.

When I wind him up, he can no longer

execute his mechanical somersaults.

Sad in disrepair, he commiserates

with my sister’s bear, Teddy Bebe,

who’s grown pudgy and moth eaten.


Now they rest in the spent morning’s

shadows, as I reach for my shoe box

of baseball cards. I shuffle the smiles

and stances of Walt Dropo, Elroy Face,

Ted Kluzewski and Yogi Berra through my hands.


After lunch, I go out to our back yard

with my bat and rubber ball and pretend

to be Gene Woodling – the only Baltimore

Oriole hitting over 2.60. I’m swinging

for the fences (sixty feet away) and

trying to hit that red orb all the way

to Glen Burnie (a half mile away).


Through the kitchen window, the Coasters

harmonizing “Young Blood” draws me out

of that August Maryland swelter to drop

a lemon-lime Fizzie in a glass of ice water.

Then, I look through my collection

of Rhythm and Blues trading cards

to see if I can find one of The Coasters

among Laverne Baker, Little Richard and Elvis.


At twelve years, I finally learn

to ride a bicycle and pedal out

with my friends to beaches on the Severn River.

There, I watch sails billow over glittering

liquid blue towards Chesapeake Bay.


2021                                                       John Gorski




Hamilton County Purgatory


    “He would have convicted Jesus Christ too,” the thirtyish

Corrections official exclaimed when he saw me enter

the third floor of the Hamilton County jail. I had just come

from the Common Pleas court of Donald White where I was

found guilty of possession of marijuana – still a felony in 1970.

    I guess I looked innocent in my suit and tie and Ivy League

short hair. I said, “ I think I’ll get probation because I’m

going to college.” “So, you’re smarter than the average bear,”

he shot back, using the culturally dated TV lingo typical of the

Ohio River valley.

     Then a guard escorted me to my cell and I met the other

occupant, who was waiting to be remanded to a hospital

for the criminally insane. Other detainees drifted into my cell

over the next twelve days. Some would be going to the Ohio pen.

Some asked if I had brought any weed with me. Of course, I hadn’t

since “I was smarter than the average bear.”

     During that time, I met an assortment of interesting people. One

of them was in for smuggling. He was from my high school and a first

string member of the basketball team. He told me about my senior

class president who got busted with two others for smashing a plastic

statue of a llama in a city park. The llama was stuffed with

packets of hashish. Another was a member of a motorcycle gang

who discussed the merits of eating grasshoppers. One got drunk

and forged a check.

     One day, the warden let us watch an old black and white B movie

from the forties. In it, a gang of convicts were on a train chugging

over an elevated railroad bridge when one of them was thrown

from the train. Everyone cheered.

     On Sundays, Top 40 radio was piped in over the public address

system. Melanie wailed “Candles in the Rain” while someone said:

“That white girl sounds kind of weak; why can’t they play Aretha.”

Then Norman Greenbaum was singing “Spirit in the Sky.” I closed

my eyes and saw myself in a dark earthen cellar, looking up at

a door flooding with white light. It reminded me of reading

Pilgrim’s Progress where the pen and ink sketched sun seemed

to expand at the end of every chapter.

     Then one day the guard said I was getting out tomorrow. The next

morning, the “key” arrived in the form of a probation officer. It seemed

“The Curse of Harry Anslinger” was beginning to lift and the 1930’s era

marijuana laws were receding.

     Then my father arrived and we rode into a pulsing March morning of

of rainy light. After two weeks in windowless halls, it lifted me in a rhapsody.

That night the purgatory of jailed voices vanished from my sleep.


2021                                                                                         John Gorski






Thursday, December 30, 2021

David Gilmour



David Gilmour

 Encounter with Frogs

What is an impression worth?

A frog.  And a jar of ruddy leeches.

When I say “frog,” I think “Frogs.

Frogs are good to think.”

The matter of frog experience first floats

Then sinks mostly unknowable, spuriously

Into the spawning pond of memory.

It’s a rich seminal soup, full of eyes,

Magnified, each a natural universe.

These eyes are vocal once they spring

Breaking through the skin of things. 

In season, everywhere. Then they’re out.

Wonders of compromise, they extend themselves

To bridge the poles of water world and padded land.

And the extensions can be perceived from the eyes

As orderly change, clear and strange,

As leggy fish with iguana tails,

As animals flying on all fours,

Fully outstretched, twice their size,

Jumping, climbing piggy-back,

Unabashedly clambering onto one another’s backs,

Orange on orange, green on green,

Clinging colorfully, eyes bulging,

They seem a surprise even to themselves.

When they leap

From the dense compact of bone and skin,

The plastic tapestry

Takes shape. As lightning bolts or spotted lilies on fresh

                                                                                            green waters.


Frogs are naturally good to think,

To take inside as part of insubstantial life,

Changing order, cruising the classifications.

Their song defeats the ears, allegro!

The rhythmic noise communicates,

Encroaching on all other senses,

Setting forth reverie:


                           Against the moon and stars,

    Spiked grasses on the mirror lake,

                             Edging the weeds, where

Sedge warblers are sleeping on blue eggs. 

The scene you see cannot be forced,

Cannot be tidily arranged

By science or dulling habit.

My eyes within no longer truly see.

There they swim in thicker waters,

As Comets,

Shooting across the neural galaxies,

Where they re-connect icons.

      From a blade of grass, the rest:                

                                                                    The moon,



    Echoing ripples across

                         Shattering the constellations,

Ruffling the lily pad

                And its camping amphibious motility.

Making the connections symphonic, concrete,

Like visiting forgotten shrines,

So much depends on Memory.

Glazed frogs transporting—déjà vu—

Faint essences to flush meadowlarks

From the nesting spirit

To wild flights of fancy.

Each a winged message,

Calling, answering unasked questions.

My gaze, pilgrim in a landscape

Painting itself inside,

Inviting me to choose the color and the brush.

This is a risky business,

Uninhibited mind-blooming,


On the odd chance a relevant word

Will leap the illogical impasse.

                                      by David Gilmour




Day Hike, Whidbey Island                                                                       

                (for Joy)                                                                             



On the prairie’s far north side we strike

   the bluff trail, wind lush with salt,

with stories pried from kelp.


Or have we always owned their song?

   An eagle glides forty feet above us,

wings held aloft without a quiver.


Dark as anthracite, it drifts toward terrain  

   only it can occupy, more stunning

than even the lagoon trapped between beach


and bluff.  When we pause by a stark,

   sun-bleached log I see beyond you

the path it takes, the descent into myth,


a port I long to visit.  No, not visit—

   recover.  Fling my net over a dream

claimed as birthright, a child’s first realm.


Baseball, fairy tales, hazelnut trees atop

   a wild ravine—all food to nourish

the living no less than a prodigal rain.


Like this bird’s passive flight.  Such creatures

   open us like shells.  What tide must

we invoke to cross the water? 


Perego’s Trail at Ebey’s Landing


A few miles from home, our get-away from months

Of melancholic habitation,

Dolorous rounds of merest metabolism,

Out here, even flat fields lay as still wonders,

Farmed prairies leveled in spring plantings,

Inspiring us out of ourfallow bodies like clouds

About to burst after too much drinking in the dark.


Was high time for two of us to center on one

From perverse suburban cycles of delivery and receipt,

To get up for some other purpose than habit presents.

Across from Coupeville on the Whidbey map, Perego’s Trail,

Ascending on the outermost edge of the yellow bluff, took us,

Upward from Ebey’s Landing, hundreds of feet, treading

The line between the wild and the good, the lower Straits

Opposite Dungeness and cultures plats of Sherman’s Land.

Out of limbo we trod the path toward the north where

Perego’s brackish ponds limn the narrow strand below,

Heaped around with drifted logs and scraggly stumps

Once bound for Skagit mills.  Claims in every direction

Had been named with history’s lumber, now standing

In shacks and mansions that coursed down rivers

Into weirs and settled at last vagabond in tamed banks

With tired sailors’ dreams for safe landings and boarding

A welcoming community nestles in.


From the beach, the trail rose northward up sturdy planks,

Switch-backing to land, then angling west to the Sound,

Narrowing to the line climbing the lower bluff’s rim,

Where at stations crude benches were set for those soon weary.

Our eyes askance, we strode past turning points, glancing

Out to sea at fingertip islands and the peninsular thumb

Of the giant who held the Sound as a mirror in his palm.

Climbing still to take the trail where the air hummed

In the pockets of morning sun, music of a million bees,

Dancing on cello wings, busy among the dog rose, pink

Gems on hedges, spikey, thick and green against the fields

Of fox tails waving to the east as we glanced that way.


At first the swath was worn by companies into three

Tracks: one clear, black sand; the two beside it, matted grass,

Leading us up past Sherman’s rich green acres to the right

And higher over the gray shingled shore to the left, where

Covered heads and backs crouched low, combing the leavings

By the driftwood webbing that snagged worthless treasures

Brought in by last night’s rough tide.


Luminous the calm waters over Admiralty Inlet spread constant,

Vast splendor of the fading turquoise horizon of Juan de Fuca Straits.

Gleaming furrows of the tilled fields had a distant meeting

Beyond the red-winged blackbird balancing on the fence line.

Rising further, the path retreated along the wild ridge, stitched

In firs and patches of Oregon Grape merging on shimmering borders,

The nature of our minds wakened in the see-saw of thought,

As the brown buntings we noticed hovering before, alighted

Like illusionists on the soft silk of fragile stalks,

Waving light as air, bowing them double with their scant weight,

A moment’s bare clinging, then snapping like catapults into the breeze.

Emotion arising, the whistle of the blackbird perched on the post,

Grass heads brushed against our calves and feather ticked the bends

Of our knees, as bees led the way before our feet, without a drone,

At controlled and reasoned distance from our slowing footfalls.

Upward. Upward.


Throbbing reflections on the dappled turquoise below met a bluing line

Where a solitary seal arced over and glided in its elemental quest

Out into the darker depths.


Throbbing reflections penetrating the inward currents

Washed the outer gleam from wide-eyed questioning—

What is that within me, self-directed in what direction?

Who is behind me?

                      Two hundred feet up we stood to gaze behind

At the boomerang arc of the strand stretching back.


Here, the grasses flattened down near the bluff’s edge

Brought us to rest on the next rise of the narrowing path.

Lying supine,

We closed our lids to the blue dome.

A purple ceiling of the temple with a yellow eye pulled away

From my being, taking all noise, purpose, and thought,

Carried aloft on an ethereal balloon beyond geometry,

As Apollo might have lifted off once from his Delphic throne.


She, my wife not the oracular priestess type, lay suspended

In her temple at my side, always more practical, stirred

When she heard the drone of an airplane

Flying too close to her distant reveries,

or else the wind came and so the stars began to fizzle

as the breeze mounted against the cliff and strummed upon the grasses.

Then it grew quiet as a desert.


The first fire nearby was a simple, pink rose she plucked

To savor in her cupped hands the warm, sweet balm

And held it close for me to breathe, her eyes closing,

Indicating much more than the closing of the lids, that,

Bending down, in that floral bowl I watched for stars

Until her hands withdrew the fiery scent.

Sun at zenith, dazzled by the sky, righting ourselves

We faced further north, resuming the rhythm in earnest.


Epics took place between our feet.

Ranks of frantic ants crossed the trail, swimming

Through the dusty track, risking all the tribe.

One loner clung to the head of an upturned pill-bug,

Writhing like a many legged turtle, ant legs

Scrambling in the sandy grains, yanking at its load,

Going, going nowhere, getting but getting nowhere,

Just like Sisyphus.


A spider lay crumpled in the corrugated treads of a biker’s

Tire marks.  A centipede, two inches of coild black chain

Wound around itself, a sun spiral in eclipse.

The trail twitched with injured insects as we rose

To the bluff’s height, where the wind was harping

A new harmony among the tattered pines.


Eerily, to the seaward, as if clawing a my ear,

An eagle held itself braced on the updraft,

Mere yards distant, wings rattling like bronze quills.

I heard no kite like it for stability,

And I saw its eye, an eye that truly looked,

I watched that eye looking, seeing, back at me,

Its acetylene stare, fearless and knowing,

Auspicious, tranquil as a living angel with a heavy brow,

Whose gaze transfixed me like alost lamb.

In one hovering moment, I felt a free-fall

Before the sky lightened again and turning away

Its beak with smoother-back white hair,

This propitious surfer dropped downward toward the shore

Following the arc of the bay, doubled by itsown gray ghost

Cast upon the shingle beach below,

Remaining in the open air, while I walked on in stumbling gait.


The wind dropped.

The water now so calm a kayaker might course crossways

Over the ultramarine veins of the inlet.

Small birds bobbed in the shallows.

Cormorants dove and held their search so long

We lost track.

Gulls, absent till now, rained down in shrieks of panicked

Consternation, fighting for a space

In the feeding ring around the gamboling seal.


Above Perego’s Lake, the trail ended and turned

Downward steeply to the beached whales of driftwood.

It was living on this edge, and transitions were made

In a moment.

Either we trace back the way we came or one carefully placed

Foot-fall down and bridge began to form that way.


She held my shoulders from behind, and together we made descent

As a centaur might onecehave ventured down a slope

When Triton’s horn called the dancers to the laughing waves.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

David Gilmour ------------------ two poems


Winter Ritual: Breaking Bread


Cold concrete darkness

Pine tree groaning overhead.

Something swinging in the wind.

Wild whipping of the tips

Of the limbs, but not the limbs

Themselves, frozen and creaking.


One came down—CRACK!

Landed on the cradled loaf

She was carrying before her

On the front stone porch beneath.

Crashed on its covered crust

In the icy brittle chill of evening.


Sourdough it was

Fresh baked, warm and ready

For finger to break from its cozy nest.

But as I have said,

It was the limb, the limb it was

That broke the bread

Beneath the rocking boughs.


Oh, the Baker?  She was shaken,

Shocked, as though disarmed,

Battered and patted with fronds of pine,

Frosted, but otherwise unmarked.



November Lawn Crew


They cut the lawn today.

They were cutting the frost today.

They were nipping at Jack Frost

Not vice versa.


Nipping: “nipping” is right—

Not the scythe-arch swipe,

A good John Barleycorn snap,

The harvest hack at back of the knees,

Just after the best of Indian summer.



Theirs today was but a tender shave

To take away some green,

To preserve some green,

To force up some green,

To make for themselves some green,

By nipping, nipping, nipping at the blades

Stuck up above the velvet moss,

As they cut through the frost,

Cutting the lawn early today.





Friday, November 12, 2021

I See You ----------- poem by Lakshman Bulusu




          To my brother who passed away at age 25 in 1996


by Lakshman Bulusu




It was a sunny Tuesday morning on July 2nd

with the usual rush hour traffic.

Your day began with a cup of Assam tea and a crispy toast.

You put on your business casual work attire,

a black Raymond trouser and a checked Arrow shirt;

but there was a change of plan that day.

You had to see father in hospital for fracturing his hand

when he fell from his bed the night before.

You prepared filter coffee, our father’s favorite,

thinking fresh coffee would cheer him up.

You placed the lower steel decoction container on the countertop,

positioned the steel mesh separater on top of it,

placed the top steel container over it,

put ground coffee powder into it followed by boiling water,

and let it settle for twenty minutes.

To finish it all, you added boiled milk and sugar to the decoction

and mixed it for a frothy coffee.

You filled the insulated mug with filter coffee

and started off on your motorbike taking Cantonment Road

hoping that everything would turn out right for father to return home.




Twenty minutes into your ride--halfway--

in the din and bustle of traffic,

a white Maruti van collided with you head on.

You were thrown to the corner of the road;

your motorbike tilted sideways

with its wheels whirring one last time;

your office backpack lying a couple of feet away from you.

Our father’s favorite coffee dripped from the mug

as your heartbeats faded into silence.

No wails, no groans from anyone,

not even from the lady who drove the van.

She got down, saw you unresponsive, got back in, and drove away.

Moments later, police in a van passing by noticed you

and took you to the hospital emergency room.

The doctor in charge there pronounced you dead.

The police located your school badge,

contacted the administrator who gave our home address.

They informed our mother by phone who rushed to the hospital

in a state of shock and took your body home.

Our father still waited for your arrival.




I still see you through the lens of tears

that wet my eyes as I remember you.

I remember the many rides

you took me on your motorbike without saying ‘no’ even once.

Your whistle rendered a lilt to the breeze as we rode along.

I see you in triumph as you made it

through the interview for a graduate teacher.

You shine in the highlight as I reflect on our past:

the jokes we shared at teatime;

the rules of play you stressed,

no matter who won or lost;

the ideas you put forth as we discussed poetry;

the encouragement you gave

to turn Sundays into leisure days and take it easy.

The last smile of yours

twenty-five years ago as you waved goodbye,

still floats in my memory.

The flame of your life continues to glow,

its warmth comforting my heart;

reminding me, you are as near to me as you were,

twenty-five years ago—

your image apparent as a metaphor.

My grief of your sudden end no longer stands out.




You have done your part and made your mark,

as a teacher in a Christian middle school,

fair and good in your profession,

though for a short-and-not-too-short three years.

Your effort rewarded through the words

of the Bishop who later visited our house,

He was good, honest, and well respected.

And it was God who gave the wound,

So He Himself would heal the wound.

To me it seems like the role of death

is like darkness chased by day.

Footprints of many generations outlive it.

Its very identity turns into a dimming light.

Dear brother, from a tombstone,

you rise like a tower in pride

epitomized by your meteoric talent.

And then there is afterlife

that welcomes you into a new world—

who knows what wonders it holds.

A reality that opens gates to the infinite?

I no longer question, “Where did you go?”

For, ever you live on—

And I still see you!