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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Three Poems ------ Maura Gage Cavell

She Dreams Awake While He's Working

She walks on the railroad ties
whispering his name, whispering his name.
So in love and cut through with pain,
her boot heels drifting along the lines
of man made rails and fallen leaves.

He works so hard his body's burning,
yet holds a sense of purpose in his eyes.
All night he's awake in production,
pushing past exhaustion, making it happen.
Steadily, he meets every responsibility.

She walks far out into the rain,
jumps away from the tracks when she sees
the moon-shaped light of a train.
She walks near the water, whispering his name,
the man of her dreams lingering in her heart.

He comes in from working, tired and beat,
gets clean and eats, falls into the trance of sleep,
too brief, much too brief.  Coffee, cigarette, work boots--
all in the dark before the work begins again.
The strenuous pattern of his week--muscles tight, fatigued.

When he's back home, she reaches for him,
rubs his shoulders, neck, and back
until he melts into a trance,
released from time, place, and circumstance.

relaxed and falling back as he whispers her name.

Blue Buildings

In a cold, empty alleyway
he stands directionless,
snow falling around him.

Somewhere across town a woman
thinks of him, sits by firelight
wondering if he is safe and warm.

Blue buildings loom around him,
block out all but a patchy sky.
The moon glows yellow in a square frame.

Lantern lights glow like false stars;
he looks up as if to find answers.
Wrought iron balconies loom overhead.

In a blue building across town a woman
longs for him, wishes he might return
from the shadows of night.

Somewhere lost between blue buildings,
his boot heels echo through the streets.
He finds himself among light and shadow

                                               at her door.

Your Life Like the Waters
Passes through All

My friend, your life
is a tapestry of love
threaded through
the waves of rushing
waters under your boat
as you fish.

My friend, your life
is chiming through the heavens
and touches all who know you
with the beauty of artwork
and a sound of waves that go out
from where you are and return.

My friend, your life
rings throughout the horizon
like a beautiful bell or
a song of love.  I see your
light upon the landscape.
You're the sun; the stars.

My friend, your life
has been calm and peaceful.
The love I have for you
waves out towards you,
holds you like a sun ray
and let's you be free.

--Maura Gage Cavell

Friday, October 17, 2014

Alison Mandaville ----- two poems

Anne the Fig

Damn. Is lonely. Is oldest
and only one. Is alive. And
others is half. Alive. Clotted

with love. And blood. What
doesn’t kill you, weakens. Who —
don’t ask the doctor. How. Long.

Brother: In Bed. Wondering:
Is this my last nerve? Is this
vein just POP? Is the cells

circulating? Or not anymore.
Unicycling. One leg working.
One groin netted against

the gravity. Thinner and thin:
red is still the biggest color they
won’t let you wear in Fresno.


I have been so drunk
my heart is frantic for you,
frantic I say. Like the stars
in Fresno, seen, pollution

and all. Biked at two: twenty
am after maybe just one two
many but not quite enough
of anyone because they know

each other and you don’t. Oh
this is harder at forty-nine
than it was at thirty and Van
Ness waits in the dark like

camping, or a park shuttered
against the human. Budgets
and houses and street lights
wait for no man and one woman

stands at that corner, taco pop-
up behind her at an angle, football-
ing teens’ street throws, like con-
stricted trampolines, the edges of light

absolute: my dear I wish you
were here and I wish you liked
the funny way people always find
a living at the dirt side of nowhere.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Donald Gasperson ----- Three poems

                                           The Cabinet

                                    the authoritarian scrabbles
                                    for the chemical cabinet
                                    dead to any intimacy

                                      with an nod and a wink at me

                                       plays at authenticity

                                        suspend your disbelief

                                Sensible Shoes

                                for a short time

                                twigs will ripen

                                and leaves breathe

                                quiet the idle mind

                                an elegant nest

                                opulant egg




                                               Blue Bird
                                      old world shamanism
                                      sought God’s mythic bone
                                      and finds the right rhythms
                                        to cure hemarhoids                          

                                        laughing woman

                                        has ungovernable questions

                                        of her archetypical family

                                        for quiet contemplation

                          our odd little onion
                                      loves the inflections

                                      of sun on the river
                                      and green weather

Monday, October 13, 2014

Four poems ----- Ann Reitan

In Mind's Eye

Through my dull green
Paned window
I observe a home
That fissures a line
Within me, a horizon
Beyond dim daylight

Thoughts evoke
The flesh, blood interiors
Of this home
In my mind’s eye

Perhaps it’s suppertime,
Perhaps a family is
Giving thanks,
Before partaking
In stuffing bellies

Like blind men
Seeking nurturance,
Hands join with hands
As clasped hands grasp prayer

In stories, threaded and sawed
Not of truth
But of approximation
The hope that fables instill

From that family’s skewed horizon
Glancing west toward the night
Darkness ever beseeching fictions
Of residual day birth

While the sun bleeds into clouds
The dusky moment captures
Time’s paralysis
The incapacity
To embrace
Relentless night

As goodnights depart with goodnights
And sweet dreams decay…

Yet I know the banked fires
By which these solemn myths refrain:

The comfort of an evening’s slumber
A hearth’s internal flame
The red brick tiles of their rooftops
Are rounded and full almost bursting


Your fingers pound the edges
Of the table as I hum

Above, around, beneath you

To touch your skin   
Your eyes, disdaining
At the very least producing
Slight arrest in you

As you witness me, dismissing me

As miniscule
And I bear witness
To my experience of being

Annoying, aberrant, shamed

Are you blind?
Can you not see?

My dashing skirt?
My delicate limbs?
My lightness of spirit?
My silver-winged body?


A Handmaiden of the Sun

The evening cools
Especially the bones
As the air stirs
Leaves reminiscent
Of the storm that never came

The settling sun permits
The caste-eyed
Lunacy of the moon

A half-blind eerie goddess

Made to wait upon his light

Staring straight but sullenly
She arches in the sky
Unblinking whispers solitude
She drifts below the earth

Moon light never
Her glance, a muted glare
Captivated, envying
The countenance of the sun

To render self

In this room dust gathers
On permutable
Folds and tears in walls of skin
Of surface lies, an essence

I am almost there

Artificial light (it can’t be called
Anything else)
Situated in my eyes

I, only I, know this

A little particle, eternal
Dreams of something more
A spark, perhaps, resistant
To light’s obliteration

Within the glass, distortions
Mirroring of self
However non-committal

I am almost there

Saturday, October 4, 2014

David Fewster ---- four poems


A cause for bitter reflection
(I think it was ’90, ’91)
was the time I went into an antiseptic, nondescript
Belltown deli on a lunch break
To find Marion Kimes behind the counter.
“Well Hello David,” she drawled,
smiling in stained white apron.
Although I had been vaguely aware
Marion had some sort of food service gig,
the unexpected reality of actually seeing
Red Sky Poetry’s gritty Texan queen of truth & beauty,
pushing sixty and slinging hash, gave me pause.
I couldn’t help but feel that
underneath that beatific smile
Marion’s life must often seem
hard and sad.

Nobody today lacks a backup plan, in case
truth & beauty don’t pan out.
They’re all software consultants, systems engineers,
technical writers, public service administrators, web design
with benefits and security supplied by Amazon, Microsoft, or the
(The last three entities, by the way,
are one and the same.)
They can go from their jobs to
their featured reader gigs at chic new Greenwood wine bars
without having to change clothes.

But every Sunday night, Marion would put on her outfit
of striped yellow and black,
like a bumblebee in the drizzly Seattle night,
and teach us to fly free,

gathering pollen where we may.


Catch Michael of “Operation Keep ‘Em Warm & Fed” in front of the library

Before seven-thirty for a wake-up coffee and day-old pastry.

Breakfast at 9 at Hospitality Kitchen.

Brunch at Nativity House.

Back up to St. Leo’s for lunch.

They have a big flat screen tv there now.

Last time I was there, I think they were playing “Jarhead”—I don’t know,

There were guys blowing stuff up in the desert,

And afterwards they were in a canteen

Like some scene out of “The Breakfast Club.”

High tea a Nativity House is three-ish.

Hot dinner at the Rescue Mission at 5:30—

Liver, tater tots, beans, macaroni & cheese

Spaghetti and unidentified meat chunks, bleached bread, creamed corn,

Powdered eggs and bacon shards

Oatmeal laced with high-fructose, artificially enhanced, maple-flavored syrup

And thousands of stale but tasty doughnuts.

For a midnight snack, there’s always the lucky hope of

Raisin bagels at the St. Leo’s breadbin.

Institutions know the value of the High Starch Diet.

You can always tell when one of the women has come back to the Ave.

After a stretch in the joint.

They go in junkie-thin & meth-skinny,

Nothing but a bag of abscesses and bones,

And come out ready for the clean-up spot

On the Kiwani’s Women’s Bowling Team.

They call it the Purdy Diet.

Hell, I even gained weight on this stuff

After I got out of St. Joe’s.

So the next time somebody at the bus stop

Hits you up for a couple of bucks

“For Food”—

Keep in mind

The only reason to go hungry in this town

Is because you were so fucked up

On rubbing alcohol and crack that you


And nobody feels sorry for you

Because you got a bad memory.




Most of them are single. Or divorced.

For the usual variety of predictable reasons.


You share previous interests in common.


Chances are they’ve never practiced

Safe sex.


Free coffee.


Smoker tolerant.


Don’t need to be taught rules

Of co-dependency.


Mutual 2AM sugar cravings

Only to be satisfied by a pint each

Of Cherry Garcia.


No family baggage,

Because neither set of relatives

Have spoken to us for years.


Won’t be so lonely during relapses.

And our top reason for picking up chicks at AA meetings—


At this point,

They really don’t expect to do

Better than you.


In 1953, Morris Graves, the great painter of

Existential Birds in various forms of

Spiritual Crisis, invited an elite group to

Careladen, his home in the forest 30 miles from Seattle

for a special art opening.

The expectant connoisseurs arrived to the sight

of a deserted courtyard whose center piece was

a banquet table covered with the remains of a dinner party—

tarnished silver, withered bouquets, coagulated gravy,

fuzzy green roast beef, decomposed frommage,

while aural ambiance was supplied by classical music

interspersed with a recorded pig fight.

The “exhibition” was a symbol of protest

against the pretentiousness of art openings.

The guests were not amused.

In 2003, Laura Bush wanted to host a symposium

with the crème de la crème of the literati.

Delicious refreshments would no doubt have been provided.

Sam Hamill refused to go,

causing the greatest publicity debacle

involving a poet since Robert Lowell told LBJ

to stick it where the sun don’t shine.

The First Lady was not amused.

Administrators and artists,

Bureaucrats and bohemians,

Sit uneasily together at table,

Unsure of who will be poisoned today,

Caesar or conspirator,

while the caterers of this sad world

weep Evian tears into the foie gras

and wonder where all the love has gone.

                                                                         David Fewster