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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Gerald McBreen ------ poem


Gerald A. McBreen

When you're not near
the night is dark
misty and blue

I lay on pillows
that once held your hair
I still feel you there

My lonely heart
cries out for a love
I knew
not long ago

Don Gasperson ----- poem

the examined man 

the reflective mind 
knows some of the facts 
acts on what seems reasonable 
and explores different possibilities 
and it's all so plausible 

one awkward misstep 
and the ankle gives 
a startle reflex 
a fortunate stumble 
and remains upright 

a tea candle can 
light the entire room 
but mindfulness will 
light the whole world 
"the examined man "

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Lange Woon ----- poem

Surprise Again, Not Really.

Look for it.
But It touches you.

You got that parking spot once again.
You smile. Certain.
A pat, on the shoulder.
A tap, on the knee.

You can laugh that day, even in the hospital.
Intensive Care.
Near death’s door.
Just another door.
Walking back.
Dark and cold.
Rain still glistens.

I’ll have to remember
to water Dad’s bamboo
on the window sill.
Maybe I’ll eat more fish.
At least some greens.

 Lange Woon

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Marjorie Rommel ------ four poems

Think of it!

How musicians hold sound
inside their heads;

how they rev it up, pour it out––
a temperature inversion

blasted into the balconies.
What if you could see

Rachmaninof’s Variations
shimmering before you,

Ed Meyer raising havoc
with Giovanni Bottesini’s

Concerto in B Minor––
music made at this moment,

tweaked from the bridge
of a double bass, plucked

from the beard of the man
with the violin? 

What if you could see
the fat notes rising, rowdy

corpuscles careening
through the veins of his arm

and into the concert hall
––a tapestry richer than

anything Croesus owned.
Wouldn’t it change your life?

Think how music slides into
our bodies, funnels down

through our intricately
folded ears––how we

cradle it deep inside––
and when the concert ends,

carry it into the rainy streets:
A hot front rising.

            ––for Stewart Kershaw
                with thanks and love

The heart of the beet is black

Each fall in the Skagit where roadside
farms form oases among flat brown fields

stretched to the horizon, beets come out of
the winter ground bedraggled as bag ladies

gone to moss, their goblin faces suffused
with wine––dark knobs piled in hills that

spill out over tire-patterned soil and rain-
wet roads. Where storms wash the dirt away

they glow like coals, like the red spot on Jupiter.
Choose one. Wipe off the mud, weigh it

in your hand, assess its volume, its density.
In these round vaults, Earth keeps her darkest

secrets. Cut top to bottom, held up to light,
each slice reveals a stained glass window,

flying buttresses, a bloody aurora. The beet is no
valentine. Its heart is so red it is almost black.

––Seattle Weekly Produce Calendar (revised 1/1/13)

The heart of the beet is black

Each fall in the Skagit where roadside farms
form oases among flat brown fields that stretch

to the horizon, beets come out of the winter ground
bedraggled as bag ladies gone to moss, goblin faces

suffused with wine, dark knobs piled in mountains 
over rich soil intricately tire-patterned out onto wet

roads. Where rain washes the dirt away, they glow 
like coals, like the red spot on Jupiter. Choose

one. Weigh it in your hand, test it for volume &
density – this is the vault where Earth keeps her

dark secrets. Cut top to bottom & held up to light
a slice reveals rich-stained windows, flying

buttresses, a bloody aurora. The beet is no
valentine. Its heart is so red it is almost black.

Submitted 3/28/19 to Seattle Weekly Produce Calendar
Hanna Raskin <

The grandmothers go to war

            for Katherine

We are the strong ones.
Bumptious, blue-haired,

rip-handed and dangerous
in defense of our grandchildren.

We are an untapped Power,
furious, disciplined, manipulative

and sly––lessons learned
in a half century of service

to quarrelsome men far more
gimlet-eyed than the children they

would leave us to keen at night,
and we won’t have it!  We will not

lie quiet while generations are turned
in a moment to scattered ash.

We have nothing to lose
but our grandchildren:

Send us.
Send us instead.

We will shroud ourselves
in burqas, cast down our angry eyes,

pack ferocity around ample waists,
under lymphedemic arms,

strap books to our cottage cheese
buttocks, poems to our fulsome thighs.

Unobtrusive as ghosts, we will slip over

the false borders and into the strongholds

of those who would enslave us.
We are old hands at this.
Black ships laden with riches, we will
bring to our sisters the perfume

of knowledge. We will bring them bright
mirrors to show them their beauty.

We will show them the strengths
we share with our daughters.

We will show them our scars,
and invite them to join us, for this

is a holy war fought by all women.
Together, we are invincible.

In the names of the children,
we are relentless and unafraid.

Poets Against the War (online)
Poets Against the War
Poem of the Day 3/27/03
Alcala de Henares, Madrid, Spain 2004
Mothers against War (online) 2005
Grandmothers Against War
(online) 2005

In my favorite field

All summer in this field only cattle,
& grass & the heron, & buttercups scattered
like buttons tossed on a double bed;

the cows content to be what they are,
so many dark planets drifting outward
at morning, west & inward at dusk.

But in November the sky turns lead
& the creek runneth over, far over,
 covering the grass & at twilight

the farmer goes about in his boat
among the flat gray of the barns,
the gray silk rain & the cattle standing

chest deep in gray water, shivering
with cold. He rows steady among them,
herding them, reaching far over

to lay his hand on them, soothe
them onto higher ground. Even
when they have gone, sometimes,

the farmer rows out alone, the yard dog
sitting up at attention before him,
& looks down through the flood 

to the green hair of summer
waiting, moving slow, & the buttercups,
so many quick yellow stars.

In this final hour there is no sound
but boatwash, the hull creaking,
oars in the oarlocks, the dog

in the stern, his short sharp bark,
a lantern shining over water
in the early dark.

An earlier version appeared in National Wetlands Newsletter 2003

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Ann Mackenzie ------------ poem


I saw her swinging
in her freedom
under my trees.

Her innocence
from four houses down
had drawn her there.

She appeared like
the rabbits and deer
treating nature
like a gift.

Her blonde curls
catching light
creating a halo.

She caught my glance
as I snuck out on
the deck
too late
to go back.

I wanted her
to stay and take
in the green.

Yet, she tiptoed
through the grass
away from the flowers,
away from the hammock,
moving into her life

and away from mine.

Lenora Good -------------------------- three poems

 The Silken Dreams of Kubota Sama

                                    bright hues
                                    hand embroidered
                                    tiny stitches
                                    shadows of love
                                    purples     blues     pinks     goldens
                                    four seasons
                                    seventy-five kimonos
                                    a dream
                                    a life
                                    a reality
                                    when the wearer turns in
                                    unAsian haste
                                    western clothes shriek
                                    from underneath
                                    loud     garish
                                    from a time of samurai
                                    and chivalry
                                    gentility with a sword
                                    and seppuku
                                    poetry and pain
                                    sewn together in
                                    narrow bands

(previously published, 1996, Arnazella Literary Magazine)

zorro in the boardroom

you stare across
    the conference table
           eons wide within this room
  your warm hazel-brown eyes
         bespeak a Moor
     in your ancestry

i see harem secrets
     you have always known
           and never had to learn
   languidly you lift your pen
        to write slowly
  your long    fine
          fingers dance a ballet
      upon your notepad

in my minds' eye
    i see them curled behind the hilt
            of a swift moving rapier
   strong   defender of virtue and nobility

unashamed   i match your stare
    and wonder
           if those fine-boned
                long and tapered fingers
             coax classical notes
                        from an old and rare
               Spanish guitar
           if you played those strong
                patrician hands upon
             my body  
                        how long before it danced
               flamenco passion
           can you read the desire
                in my return stare
             do you know i weaken
                        at the fantasy
                 of being impaled upon
                                                                                                your sword

(previously published 2010, Issue #10, Origami Condom_

The Healing Hands of Doctor Rhett [hybrid poem/prose poem]
                —by Lenora Rain-Lee Good

I just turned 17 when I started Bible College. Dr. Franklin Rhett, our Pastoral Counselor, stood tall and ramrod straight, his hair a shock of white atop his tanned and craggy face. He pierced my soul with eyes the blue of eternal skies, and his voice rumbled up from the depths of the basement. He told me, and I knew, that
I was a sinner who needed his healing touch.

Touch me, Doctor Rhett,
And I shall be healed,
I cried aloud,
'Cause I have the faith!

I told him I needed to be healed, and he suggested,
his beatific smile showing his straight white teeth, that I come to his office that very night, after classes. I asked if he didn’t want to touch me right then, in the chapel, and he smiled and said, “No. It will be better tonight. When there will be fewer … distractions and time to allow the Holy Ghost to come upon us in His Fullness and Glory.” Oh, how I looked forward to being cleansed and healed by his touch!

Oh, Doctor Rhett,
I silently begged,
Touch me! Touch me!
Heal me! Heal me!
I could hardly wait
for my healing.

Outside his office, I hesitated. I could see no one besides Dr. Rhett was in the room, and we are taught never, ever, to be alone with a man outside the sacrament of marriage. But Dr. Rhett, he just smiled, took my hand, and brought me in, closing the door behind me. "Come," he said. "Let us have a little Holy Communion, and a Prayer to invite the Lord to heal you with His Loving Power." He held a glass of red wine to my lips until I drank it all. We then knelt on the floor next to his large sofa and the Holy Ghost did Come Upon Us. At least, that's what Dr. Rhett said as he lifted me to the sofa and took off my blouse. My skirt stayed on the floor.

And Doctor Rhett,
He touched me
        He touched my lips with his
        He soothed my brow
        And kissed my eyes
        He stroked my neck
        He cupped my breast
        Sucked my nipple
        Rubbed my belly
As I writhed beneath
His fingers.
And I knew he was
Gonna heal me,
Oh Lordy, yes!
A moan escaped me
And heat spread
Throughout my loins
And, lo! I was healed!

Dr. Rhett says it will take a long time to completely heal me, to be patient, and to come every Tuesday after class.

(accepted for an anthology, not published)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

James Rodgers ------------- poem

A Green, Green Tree

Shakespeare’s love
may have been like
a red, red rose,
all perfume and beauty,
but by the end of the summer
they’re withered,
on the compost heap.
Our love
is like a Shore Pine,
Pinus Contorta,
a little twisted,
but true
and resilient,
able to be battered
by life’s gale force winds,
the ravages of survival,
and even under
intense heat and pressure,
grows and thrives.
can keep his roses,
their short-lived blossoms.
will breath deep
our resinous fragrance,
continue to grow,
with you,
taller and taller,
watching the flowers,
and others,
come and go,
while we dig our roots
a little bit deeper,
bend but not break
at what comes our way,
and enjoy the view,
the waves
roaring to shore

James Rodgers    05/19/15

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Connie Walle -------- poem


Lies pile up
harden like plastic
even a joke
can’t take off
the shine.

If you tell the truth
you don’t have
to remember

I'm not upset
that you lied to me,
I'm upset that
from now on
I can't believe you.

Don’t be sorry.
I trusted you.
My mistake,
not yours.

I lie to myself
all the time, but
I never believe me.

     Connie Walle, President
        Puget Sound Poetry Connection  

My thanks to Mark Twain, Friedrich Nietzsche, S.E. Hilton, & Veronica Roth

Brendan McBreen ---- Cento

Cento 1

            Brendan McBreen

It’s the dream we carry
From the Northern lakes with the reeds and rushes,
for the thoughts we share
not ready to give it over
to the eternal surf, to Time!
Swallow this, it will make you well.
Come stand with me, look forward, not back,
For this is love and nothing else is love,

            A Cento is a form where each line is taken from another poem.

            Olav H. Hauge, Borealis, translated by Robert Hadin
            Andrew Barton Paterson, The Black Swans
            Nikki Giovanni, A Poem of Friendship
            Naomi Shihab Nye, Boy and Egg
            Pablo Neruda, Always, translator not named
            Ogden Nash, Adventures Of Isabel
            Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Let us not be bitter
            Robert Frost, A Prayer in Spring

Carl Papa Palmer

An American Appetite        

Eating here stateside is hard to define,-
much more than cheese wedgies, veggies and meat,
or drive-thru fast foods on most any street.
Choosing food from signs while waiting in line,
we “dress to the nines” with waiters and wine,
snack between meal treats of anything sweet,
on a bar stool seat, sit waiting to eat.
It can be fine not to dine by design.
We eat with our hands at hamburger stands.
We graze the buffet while filling our tray.
From various brands, from various lands,
from breakfast soufflé, to evening sorbet,
our waists expand as we “munch on demand.”
We eat “our way” here in the USA.

~ Carl "Papa" Palmer
University Place, WA

George Held ----- five poems

Total Eclipse

(August 28, 2007)

Chasing the blue moon
entering total eclipse,
down West 11th Street
toward the river,

passing Schnabel’s coral-red tower,
eclipsing the view
of the Hudson and the horizon,
and “Thar she blows!” –

about 20 degrees
above the buildings
on the Jersey shore,
the elusive eclipse

dragging in the dawn
as the moon sets
behind Jersey City
and the sun lightens

the broad river
and tugs a smile
from my sleepy face.
Meaningless as eclipses go,

this one sticks
in my memory
like a Vincent
van Gogh.


When a blue moon or a black
moon occurs—two full moons
or two new in one month—
I’m likely to have two menses
that month, and why not? –
my periods are powerful

as the moon’s. Think I can’t
influence the tides or drive
men mad? Ask my lovers.

How many

of your friends,
these days,
would you
with your life?

With your wife?

The Gone Moon
       for Cher

What if the moon disappeared
and left us bereft
of its cyclical luminosity?

What if the new moon
stopped renewing and left
the sky black:

no more crescents, halfs,
fulls, or lunar eclipses:
no more moonlit walks,

reflections on the pond,
companion in the night sky?
But those born after

would never know the difference:
and the poets among them
might be more, er, down-to-earth.

New Moon

The man in the moon
Isn’t there anymore:

Since the first moon landing
Cast him into deepest space

There’s no room at the inn
For him or other fanciful figures:

Little kids now fixate
On the star-spangled pixels

Of a black sky-like screen
That bright images fill

Like stars the night sky

Of the new moon.

Julie Dickson ----- four poems

First on the Scene

Over the crest of a hill, I drove -
first glimpse through a fog-veiled light beam,
headlights illuminating a field of diamonds,
glittering the bejeweled roadway, but no…
My approach revealed broken glass, strewn,
cut-edged shatters reflecting the light.
High beams joining the moonlit sky
across a mostly barren landscape
and beyond the sea of broken glass – a car.
Transfixed, slowing almost to a stop,
my eyes moved suddenly to the tire.
How obscure, the vision straight ahead,
a spinning tire thrust into the air.
Escaping my lips, an abrupt sound, incredulous
as my mind began to grasp this scene.
The initial imagined beauty, crystalline
shimmers against the dark highway
fell away  like a fading smile.
A twisted hulk lay diagonally across my lane;
feeling a black foreboding welling up -
I parked, sensing the unfolding nightmare.
Was I asleep?
All night driving, an endless journey
etched into my thoughts like a deep chasm.
Engine finally quiet, I opened the door
and emerged into the night, listening.
A sharp sound forced my head to turn
to a lone tree by the road; I squinted to see
a wide-eyed sentinel, silhouetted against the sky.
The owl sent a mournful message.
The scene opened silently before me;
I stood unmoving, taking in the macabre.
Seconds passed as hours, powerlessness
to move or to react, I finally called out.
Hearing only the echo of my own voice,
eyes fell again on the owl, who stared,
a perceived messenger of death.    

Julie A. Dickson
Exeter, NH



He carried a bronze, hand carved caduceus.
His long robes billowed and swayed as he walked,
though none dared utter, his name was Lucius;
the people stood in stark fear when he talked.
His fiercesome staff was far worse than a sword;
Lucius- the nobles, he held in suspense.
The power he wielded brought him reward;
from kings and bishops he sought recompense.
In dismay the monarchs plotted revenge,
the serfdom was searched, through village and town.
The king sought a champion, brave to avenge;
in secret, the plot was to bring Lucius down.
By morning the king felt relief, plan deployed.
Throughout the kingdom they heard Lucius’ cries.
In crux of passion caduceus destroyed;
the truth- a fair maiden caused Lucius’ demise.

Julie A. Dickson
Exeter, NH


No Longer in Deference

Passersby in forced adulation
bowed deeply with heavy-lidded eyes;
felt his demonic representation,
heavy wool top coat worn in disguise.
Ironically, no adoration,
sought after, of course – his preference,
ridiculed by their hidden laughter,
avoided his gaze by happenstance.
And when by all certainty they learned
his inappropriate and untimely abuse;
the masses no longer in deference bowed,
now celebrate freedom from beyond his ruse.

Julie A. Dickson
Exeter, NH

Walk Away

Wrenching sadness, pulled through a gaping wound -
self-inflicted, but how else might one heal from a loss?
Once exposed to light, the thing might just fade away,
whither from lack of gloom, the dark whispers of grief.
One might notice a slight curling of edges, a subtle graying
on the former blood-red, crimson scar – yes
it’s a start, a new beginning if you can take a chance,
walk away from abysmal fortitude - embrace anew.

Julie A. Dickson
Exeter, NH