back to Five Willows Literary Review main site

Saturday, August 11, 2018

New poem by Julie A. Dickson

The Curve

It is wise to knock down pedestals of power,
wipe away entitled glances, the way they glower
at those deemed less worthy
in a world where straight is perceived as best,
where the curve of alternatives is frowned upon.
Caucasians compete for supreme power
over those berated for belief or race;
they remain blind , refusing to face diversity,
in a world where white is becoming a minority.
Their narrow views are firmly rooted,
while others yell, “me too”.

Victims long silent, skewed justice prevailed
under guise of religion or truth; assailants of the curve -
non- straight or dark complexions hated,
no ability to accept or assuage fear,
that women and people of color will persevere.

With demographic information to peruse,
clear statistics stated, but some still choose
not to see countries that surpass white by far.
Those in power, deluded by grandiose illusions,
in cloud-minding towers- look down
at the masses they deem below them.

We, the curve - seen as Troglodytes
who speak in foreign tongues,
walk among them…waiting.

Julie A. Dickson
Exeter, NH

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Poems by Liam Roche

Untitled by Liam Roche

It hangs upon angelic
architecture, upon the lonely prayer,
upon all our hard-earned art and literature
as it hangs delicately upon the butt of the half-smoked cigarette
flicked with a curse before the bar fight.

Poem by Liam Roche
Untitled by Liam Roche

Where shall we meet, sweet ghost father?
In the quiet contemplation of an empty church?
In a drunken sprawl?
Or when tossed to the edges of this earthen bowl
in the embrace of the deepest dive?
God follows me everywhere and so can you.

Poem by Liam Roche
Untitled by Liam Roche

Ease into your instincts of death, of meaningful life, lust,
God’s paternity and the kinship of evil.
Let these things raise up your spirit and give you some small
dominion in this large space.
These are yours alone and all that is required.

Poem by Liam Roche
In the Spirit of Whitman by Liam Roche

I now take upon myself the name “enemy.”
Suspect any man and suspect me.
Degrade any man, I am degraded.
Torture me in western civility and
I weep western tears.
I will channel all our long-buried American insurgents:
Our dark slaves, our natives, our Chinamen.
Irish and Italian and Poles and Russians
Flesh given, and flesh taken.
The colors of their flags
Mixed with blood
Make industry and stars on a blue field

Poem by Liam Roche
Untitled by Liam Roche

Good father, release me!
I’m not learning or becoming.
Silent, warm and descending,
No harm in my nature.
Make me mud again!
My nature.

Poem by Liam Roche
Untitled by Liam Roche

You will be ridiculed,
roughed up,
You will be alone most of the time with our ideas.
Now, instead of some bitter man,
I stand here with you
and share in the gold you made.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Poem by David Fewster

JOHN REED by David Fewster

My personal hero in the large, illustrated
history of  Wallace Berman’s Life & work
“Semina Culture”
was John Reed,
a poet and collage artist
of no apparent relation to
the dude buried in the Kremlin.
In fact, he was a total loser,
a drug-addled sponger and grafter who created
a few ephemeral pieces of art
before dropping out of sight
for decades until turning up
at the turn of the millennium
as a homeless nutjob furtively living
on the Pasadena Library grounds.
And yet, just a few years after
his squalid wino death in 2001, there he was,
Immortalized Forever
with the portrait of his younger self
and a sampling of his speed freak creations
adorning the walls of a
major art exhibition and catalog.

For nearly 40 years, since I was 19, this has
always been my nebulously-conceived dream,
formulated on my long walks from
the Venice Boardwalk to Santa Monica Pier,
when I lived in a dilapidated boardinghouse
on Pico and Ocean
where I had to wear sneakers to take a shower
in the communal bathroom
to avoid stepping on broken glass and syringes.
Not for me world fame and riches
--a sucker’s game—
I would’ve been happy to die
a minor cult figure,
content to have left the smallest talisman
on the path of recorded history
to commemorate a life spent searching vainly
for Art & Love…

For crying out loud, is that

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Poem by Robert L. Penick

As society bares its teeth at the mirror,
As cowards plot war in boardrooms,
As the pious founder in lust
And the meek labor without rest,
The Earth turns, unaware,
Rotating, floating, adrift
From the matters of man.
The scoured forests are just blemishes,
The sulphur dioxide drifting motes.
The polar icecap is a melting cube
In God’s eternal cocktail.
This world will sniff and sigh,
Then gather a deep breath,
Before scattering Man.

--Robert L. Penick

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Julie A. Dickson --------- four poems

Frozen Words

When, so to speak, your pencil glows red-hot,
opening warm words like roses.
When your pencil grows cold,
it floats as upon arctic ocean waves.
The pencil has two lives, warm and cold.
Roses bloom in thoughts echoing embers,
the flames dance and whirl around,
dropping petals of brilliance.
In the cold, I struggle to hold
onto the pencil, to inceptive ideas.
My words slip and shift
as I blow warmth onto my hands.
I wish for my fingerless gloves
and lose my grip.
The pencil drops to the floor,
my words frozen, never put to paper.

Julie A. Dickson

Exeter, NH

A World Without Ivory

Dye rhino horns and elephant tusks pink,
as humans attempt to protect, think of ways
to save land mammals, for slaughter reaches
a grand scale, that quest for ivory appeals
to some for riches and reveals human greed in
their darkest hour, as man continues to exceed
and dismiss warnings of extinction, will not
heed or give way to nature, in her methods
to cull or evolve, each species to survive.
Can humans even attempt to revive or solve
this dilemma while faced with men on the sea,
who brutally sever fins, release sharks to death,
so that chefs may create soup?
Caged primates in signs, speak to men,
hearing lies, taught to them - a language
they cannot believe, left to perish
by humans who cajole and deceive.
And humans berate and chastise-  hate
a lonely captive killer whale who missed his family
home and preferred not to play their games,
no longer wanted to entertain.
Solitary elephants in zoos, on cold concrete, stand
swaying, unable to speak or express sorrow -
man seems not to understand, that given land to roam,
not wrenched from family units, wander together,
ponder the next succulent branch.
The odor of burning ivory permeates, does not change the fate
of fallen beasts but some nations pass laws to cease the trade.
Since poachers have killed for the largest tusks,
in Africa, females from birth are sometime born without –
[tusks] genetic path or evolution, nature’s way to decrease worth
and therefore survive? Though at what cost as they mourn
all who were lost at the hands of man…
Perhaps elephants dream of a world without ivory.
Julie A. Dickson
Exeter, NH


Moonlight carries me
into the night, but if I am right
creatures who emerge watch
from shadows, notch of tree.
They sense my presence in the unknown,
wish me gone, forest theirs till dawn,
to forage, wander and seek,
willing trespasser not to speak -
breech the unspoken treaty
between us, move forward I must.
I continue on under harvest moon
bathing light over forest gloom,
deep in thought, I listen to night,
not without sound, my footsteps resound
through a loud crunch of leaves
forest dwellers wait, I believe,
patiently for me to pass,
driven to gather, they rather rejoice
under harvest moon’s bounty
no need to rush, there is plenty.
Julie A. Dickson
Exeter, NH


How Can it Be?
I long for a joy that somehow evades,
get caught up with others, but always in trade,
at such a high cost, I remain under cover,
question what it is I must discover.
My heart feels heavy, longing, but scarred
leftover feelings, from your arms I was barred.
I speak often of love, to be somebody’s jewel,
but instead,. D at times I have been played as a fool.
How can it be, I still have not found
to be certain, the path over well-worn ground,
I’ve traveled and tested my heart once again,
in vain, I see no one to call my true friend.
Perhaps in the end I have only myself
set aside, overlooked, china doll on a shelf
covered in dust, forgotten, dismayed
glass-empty eyes recall times being played,
fancied, yet briefly, my heart was to blame
the need was so great until the time came
that again I saw clearly, not as it seemed,
I was shocked into waking up from a dream.
Then I sat up in wonder, heard no clever phrase
to whisper I warned you, I awoke in a daze,
alone still I wander, the solemn nights weep
unfortunate choices, I drift into sleep.
Julie A. Dickson

Exeter, NH

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Jack Foley ------- five poems


(written on meeting Sangye)

Can you say she took your breath away
Yes, I can say that
But you talked on to her
     And that
Can you say
She was beautiful 
Yes, I can say that 
     Her hair especially was beautiful 
               And her serious 
     But she was also
               Exceptionally kind
She listened when you spoke
     Yes, and laughed
          When I said
               Something amusing 
Yet her laughter seemed almost
          As if she couldn’t quite help herself
As if something came from within 
(As something came from within me)

There was no way on earth we could be lovers

As I left she said, “It was wonderful to meet you”
I thanked her for being so considerate 

                      Her hair moved often
                                  As she moved

*  title from a collection by Antonin Artaud


2/ Sonnet 69: Perhaps Not To Be Is To Be Without Your Being
by Pablo Neruda
dedicated by Sangye (aged 33) “to Jack, my love”

Perhaps not to be is to be without your being,
without your going, that cuts noon light
like a blue flower, without your passing
later through fog and stones,

without the torch you lift in your hand
that others may not see as golden,
that perhaps no one believed blossomed
the glowing origin of the rose,

without, in the end, your being, your coming
suddenly, inspiringly, to know my life,
blaze of the rose-tree, wheat of the breeze:

and it follows that I am, because you are:
it follows from ‘you are’, that I am, and we:
and, because of love, you will, I will,
We will, come to be.

(translated by A.S. Kline)


Soneto LXIX

Tal vea no ser es ser sin que tú seas,
sin que vayas cortando el mediodía
como una flor azul, sin que camines
más tarde por la niebla y los ladrillos,

sin esa luz que llevas en la mano
que tal vez otros no verán dorada,
que tal vea nadie supo que crecía
como el origen rojo de la rosa,

sin que seas, en fin, sin que vinieras
brusca, incitante, a conocer mi vida,
ráfaga de fosal, trigo del viento,

y desde entonces soy porque tú eres,
y desde entonces eres, soy y somos,
y por amor sere, serás, seremos.

Jack’s answer (Jack’s age: 77):

Suddenly you are eligible for death
Suddenly the card that applies to everyone else
Appears in your deck
Suddenly the people around you vanish
In a round that goes from funeral to funeral
Cremation to cremation
Suddenly the “infinity” of time
And this familiar, casual, daily, habitual world
Is under threat
Suddenly the word “not”
Comes into focus
“Perhaps not to be is to be without your being,
without your going, that cuts noon light
like a blue flower”—
Time spins
As Neruda knew
Like a blue flower.
Its impossible, possible blossoming
Is a gift for which there is no word
But Love



O mOOn
O luna
O bright
in the sky
O full
O fOOl’s
de lune
i mOan
in your light,

for Sangye



play with my hair
play with my hair
night comes near
night comes near
the deep air
the deep air
romantic strains 
romantic strains 
open my heart 
open my heart 
bring me near
bring me near
to fear and desire
to fear and desire
prayer has no efficacy 
prayer has no efficacy 
opens me
opens me
bends to the dance
bends to the dance


Kaitlin & Hannah
Hannah & Kaitlin
Had an adventure
In a town called Childhood

Hannah saw a bird
And Kaitlin saw a bird
But the bird said Au contraire
I’m not a bird I’m really a free verse poet

A free verse poet
Said Kaitlin
I’ve never heard of such of thing
Nonetheless, said the bird,
That’s what I am

Hannah said, Will you favor us
With one of your verses
Certainly, said the bird
Pretty good, hah?

Well, said Kaitlin,
I would like it better if I understood it
It’s poetry
Said the bird
You’re not supposed to understand it

Hmmmm, said Hannah
I don’t think you’re
A very good
Free verse poet

Neither do I, said Kaitlin

You’re right, said the bird
It isn’t free verse at all:
I charge
Fifteen cents, please.

Hmph, said Hannah
And Hmph, said Kaitlin
And they didn’t give him any money
But went home
And wrote a free verse poem