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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

Friday, September 29, 2017

Tony Walton ------ two poems

      Bolivia, after a confidential word
     with the hotel concierge

As I step down from the chicken fluttered bus
I'm hit with a blast of popcorn bag heat
opened directly into my face and I glide through
the cheek and jowl streets with
tangled knots of aromas from street market stalls
I feel life flow back into me(!) as I
grow nearer and remove my aviator shades
perching them on my head with my left hand while
my right hand confirms a lump of faded colonial pointed nose men
aiming towards the bar recommended by the fuzzy diced
1995 caprice classic taxi driver with a broken air conditioner and
I see fleshy tropical shirted gringos appearing uncommonly popular
at Las Diablo.

She holds eye contact for 5 glorious seconds
and slides through perfumed air towards me
and I rewind to a time of
cars and lakes and
cascading hair
and beery mirth and
soft touches and the freshly packaged
newness of youth that the counsel of
my years will not surrender
and I become intoxicated by the whole
damn thing and soon we are   

stumbling into the sharp edge of the city
through dying light
past corrugated iron and angry graffiti.
We are sniped by well aimed stares of
lost possibilities from women whose
arms are thick from lifting children.
Their eyes have no flicker.
These things cause
our buzz to fade a little
and we become less tactile as
we reach a concrete squared house with a
sleepy hammock and mongrels and dusty children kicking a ball
and a grandmother slowly and silently lifts her face
towards my mumbled greeting
but her hands continue their soapy toil.

I find myself in a bare bulb room with a
picture of Jesus that I remember from childhood Catechism
on the wall and an old iron post bed with thin sheets and soon
I see this:

The symmetry of her face, close up, is melting.
Her lip curves slightly up on the left side as
does the right.  Matching almond eyes
with a brow of gentle waves and laughter that
occasionally breaks into flashes of
A child is conversing in the
next room in animated tones playing with
a (formerly) blonde one armed doll who is
competing with a tube tv
broadcasting a Brazilian soap opera.
A rooster crows, a reggaeton
car thumps by and the
street noises converge
into a disquieting hum.  

We shift from grip to grip to grip as
a tired oscillating fan moves slowly
left and right and left, as if
in disapproval.

Tony Walton


In Brighton, a suburb of Denver,
at  6:03 pm on a Tuesday, a woman
in dark shades is seen careening through
a yellow traffic light turning red,
grinning straight into the windshield
days rerunning behind her:

41 Christmases, 3 mortgages, 4 cars, 5 dogs
7 expired drivers licenses
2 slippers under the bed

Days fill
Nights fill
Glasses fill
Calendars fill
Beds fill

She never fills

But what life did she expect?

An ant is crawling across the
knuckles of her driving hand
He knows the answer but
he's not telling her

Radio rising, orange tip of a
cigarette sparks the dark
out the window
a light beer in the cupholder

she eases down on the pedal
humming rubber on white concrete
going somewhere:

factories without smoke drowse soundless
ships sail from distant harbors
cars run silently at highway rests
numbered seats fly across time zones

the world continues to
be the same

without her.

                Tony Walton

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Julie A. Dickson ----- four poems

Action Required

Attached firmly to the entrails

of receding justice,

we stand in shock, aghast.

Can the torch of Liberty burn out

so easily, extinguished by apathy,

or will man intervene?

Must it be the fate of humanity

to erupt into civil war,

knowing historically, they failed to resolve?

By voicing out truth, interpretive words,

dismissing silence as passive acceptance,

action required; peace is not attained by chance.

Julie A. Dickson

Exeter, NH

Women, Flowers and a Cow

Ok, some Susan has a flower named for her.

Black-Eyed Susans are abundantly found

on roadside or bower but who was she?

What quite astounds me this the idea that

the actual Susan might have bumped her eye

on a door and bore a shiner, but I implore you

to explain to me why a gold flower bears her name

or are cows to blame, since I read that a Holstein

black and white was sometimes nicknamed the same.

Yes, Black-Eyed Susans of the bovine variety

were said to give the sweetest milk, they claim,

but back to the flower which is not black and white

and now I’m confused (because of the cow];

again the gold and black flower comes to mind;

sure, it was kind of the person who claimed

the title (or fame) for their particular Susan.

I’d prefer the reason be known, since I wonder

if the poem of this name refers to the same

Susan written by the poet John Gay?

In a long-ago day, gold and black coat of arms

for Lord Baltimore, thus the state flower

of Maryland is (you guessed it) the Black-Eyed Susan.

Once more the mystery unfolds to reveal

a woman, a flower and a cow. (how surreal!)

Now you know the why and how I began to

feel there was more to the given name of

this gold and black flower. I thought by the hour

of a woman named Susan, of her boarding ships

and the root extracts diuretic, for grips and

remedies for maladies by natives and maybe

this story goes on in a black and gold epic!

Julie A. Dickson

Exeter, NH


Smolder in Doubt

Wandering, but not exactly –

more like wondering, or beyond that,

revealing an underlying force,

not so much feeling remorse,

and in that belief a change begins.

I feel strange in this unknown state,

know I cannot relate – I can barely

conceal my surprise as I start

to recognize the feeling

I now see was discontent.

Emerging from a past, predictable abyss,

surging forward, perhaps too fast -

afraid to miss the pinnacle, unreachable,

no warning visible but the disquiet I sense,

no recompense on this path I seek.

I must speak out - loudly now,

put aside this proudly meek existence,

forge ahead, into a gorge, a deep chasm,

between a place of reaction, what must be

and in sorrow, where I’ve been as I flee.

Left behind a burnt, scorched ember,

the fire has gone out,

ashes smolder in doubt

as I try not to remember.

Julie A. Dickson

Exeter, NH


Untitled Tanka Poem

Cooler comes Autumn,

fades heavy heat of Summer,

ceases Cicada song.

Acorns gathered in earnest,

falling leaves bleed crimson tears.

Julie A. Dickson

Exeter, NH