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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #10

  • Section A: January 15, 2000
  • Section B: February 15, 2000
  • Section C: March 15, 2000
  • Section D: April 15, 2000
  • Section E: May 15, 2000
  • Section F: .................................................................. June 15, 2000
    San Jose, CA

    Here is a little piece I wrote on my recent spring trip to a remote corner of the Yosemite. It may give you a sense where and why I am going to these places.


      Sitting quietly
      in the warm sun
      a little blue fly
      lands on my hand.

      You tickle me
      while probing my skin
      with your tiny feet.
      You rush fro and back
      while grazing my skin
      stopping a long time
      to check my thumb nail.
      I hear now the buzz of your tribe
      present since early sunrise.

      Your visit would go unnoticed
      at home among books, TV,
      with friends, the hourly news
      and minutes from malls and movies.

      These woods are your home.
      I come as a guest,
      alone and on foot
      scarcely protected
      and no soul for miles

      Taking a deep breath
      you're startled and fly off,
      rejoining your tribe
      waiting for my next visit,
      the next inspection.
      I take another breath,
      shoulder my pack,
      celebrating today.

    Franz Spickhoff

    Carmel, CA

    On April 30, I was in Mount Carmel, Tennessee, at Oak Grove Baptist Church, the shaping institution of my journey and . So many calls for "professions of faith" at "times of decision," in the Baptist manner, inform my childhood that such would be truly beyond counting.

    My father, 84, a Freemason and Knights Templar Commander, has taught the Men's Bible Study Class, largely octagenarians, for more than a decade. Whenever I am in town, I am expected to teach the class in his stead. The elders in this class were the leaders of the church in my childhood, in a small, rural, wooden church building located in Sawmill Hollow, or Holler. Now many of elders have died, and more are dying quickly now.

    On this occasion, those of the Women's Bible Study Class suggested combining classes. I asked if this had ever happened before. No one remembered such an occurrence, and since the collective memory there goes back about eight decades, it seems to be a reliable fact.

    The lesson, in the Southern Baptist "quarterly" sequence, was the first chapter of the Book of Judges in the Old Testament. As usual, I opened my heart for to somehow find in the text some . Rather quickly the lesson, concerning the "idolatries" of the children of Israel after the death of Joshua, emerged this way:

    Whenever we are stuck, whenever we are at an edge of consciousness and fixated with a "problem," we have a tendency to experience that problem as an . The image of the problem, the neurotic complex, then is equivalent to a "graven image." [Standing humbly before them, I was acutely aware of how such "graven images" are so imbued in the mythic consciousness that prevails, in agonizing fusion with the mental and mental-rational, in that congregation.] Indeed, I suggested, based on the Hebrew scripture, that the arrival of "disturbances" [mutations] signals the possibility and necessity for ongoing growth, to undo the pull of regression and welcome the forcefields of ongoing divine processes, or, the emergent actuality of growth.

    Of course, I didn't use this language, and the lesson seems to have been well enough received. A few seemed to be made uncomfortable with the idea that idols might be found within everyday habituated behaviors.

    Here is a poem I wrote after return to California, having also visited my 82-year-old mother, suffering after hip surgery, plagued with dementia, in the nursing home:


      times of decision
      progressions of faith


      could not have predicted
      it would happen this way

      not this way

      the sacred thing strikes me
      is not who we have been

      who we are who we may be

      it is what we are right now
      paying attention to

      what we are noticing

      algorithms properties
      bodies of water

      a heart shattered in light beams

      is whole and is at home

      we arise

      in cloud forests
      we walk snake paths

      our cells go up in flames

      and this is how loves grow
      and burn away

      and then remain

    John Dotson

    Tucson, AZ

    Well, here are some poems or word salad, sometimes I don't know which. Last Tuesday was the Jewish remembrance day of Shoah, the Holocaust. It figures in to the last poem.


      The wash invited me to lie down in it and listen
      To listen to the desert breeze sweetly caressing
      The plants growing above my head on either side of the wash
      The wash is really a narrow gorge seven feet deep and only a few wide

      Narrowly did I notice a moving shadow on the east wall of the wash
      The afternoon sun low and casting stark shadows
      Remember when you made a rabbit's head in front of a light?
      The shadow of a jackrabbit moved again

      I glued my eyes to the spot on the creamy light brown earth
      Where the sun casts the shadow of the edge of the west wall onto the east wall
      In such miniature dimensions did I scope that this thing of ears and haunches
      Was indeed a rabbit and moving along the west edge of the wash

      It was in truth nothing more than a jackrabbit as in truth I saw
      As I looked the very beast darted down and across and disappeared


      The instruments of torture lie to my left
      How good it will be to know the surety of their pain
      Rather than the uncertainty of seeing them
      And hesitating to believe I will be miraculously rescued.

      If the Cross fits, wear it

      It is best to be immune to everything


      The lady swept the floor with love
      While a noisy patron wept silently
      Then I kept my peace unto myself
      As I sipped rum, white clear rum

      Other noises, television, talk filled the air
      If I am on one side or another
      What would be united?
      Would there still not be one side against another?

      In a little hotel cafe in Phoenix
      The parade continued in full swing


      I am the washing angel
      Here to wash away your sins
      "Wash me? Cleanse me?
      As if my sins had never been?"

      But what are sins, anyway,
      I reasoned
      And then I though better of it
      For I know those things

      About myself
      That never bear repeating
      And yet repeat them I do
      Muttering like an idiot

      Sorry if it displeases you
      To hear me say I have sins
      But when the washing angel
      Soothed my weary soul
      I came out white as snow


      What a gift to be given:
      Fierce burning love
      For my own life
      And for the great I AM of all!

      The story of Jesus is my compass
      As the story brings
      His Spirit to life
      In my broken holocaust heart

    Chris Lovette

    Soquel, CA


      On her back, feet in stirrups,
      her doctor gowned, masked, positioned.
      A tube inserted slowly,
      through cervix into uterus.
      Suction machine turned on,
      a vacuum pulled placenta and fetus,
      bits and pieces,
      through a tube
      into a bottle.

      Clean, quick, nearly painless.

      That was what she had been told.
      Then, after rest and counseling,
      she could go home
      to resume normal duties.

      Nothing said about dreams.

      Home to make dinner for family:
      husband and two children.
      Pauses while prepping vegetables
      to see her son, age four, at the table,
      gazing off chanting singsong.
      His smooth swooping youth ineffable.
      Thinking he really does resemble her father.
      Most in movement and look.

      The doctor at home thinking of the day.
      Eight procedures. His children are teenagers.
      High school. He doesn't yet know
      that his daughter is pregnant.

      The mother transfixed by her son
      in drenched kitchen sunset shafts.
      Wonders why she again thinks
      of a walk down a certain street
      over twenty years ago in her home town.
      Why, at moments, remember that?
      What draws her memory through the years?

      The doctor sits alone in his living room,
      reading the New England Journal of Medicine.
      His wife in bed, the children out,
      he reads until the page behaves as if underwater
      and his head nods.

      The man in the parked van across the street
      from the doctor's residence sits perfectly still in shallow breaths.
      Looks at the house through a spy scope.
      Scans and stops at the lighted window
      and the figure of the doctor reading, his head bobbing.
      The doctor's head in the crosshairs,
      thin electric blue crosshairs so precise.
      The man in the van is electric himself: with fear,
      with purpose, with power. There to gather
      information and not be caught. He will come back
      again and again, the adrenaline demanding.
      He will come in different vehicles,
      trying to establish a pattern of behavior,
      trying to find the one best shot to murder a murderer.
      Awake nights thinking it is the observing.
      The observing makes his heart thud.
      The risk, the danger, the quarry, the observing.
      He prays.

      On his way to bed the doctor thinks of the number,
      the number he will never say aloud,
      the number he pretends he doesn't know.
      Weary up the stairs, pausing at a landing;
      wonders: Am I healing anyone?
      Sleeps fitfully every night
      beside snuggling wife.

      The woman can't sleep. Her husband has been little help.
      She tries to imagine the moment of conception,
      fretting with her ignorance of her own body
      and the mystery of life. Thinks of it as male sperm,
      one of those messy orgasms
      she's had to wash away in the bathroom.
      Wonders of her eggs: what do they look like?
      Wonders is the moment viscous
      with red glistening womb-meat everywhere?
      Thinks if she had her way it would be a moment of light;
      a squirming salute, a blink, a warmth, a knowing.

      Looks at the clock. It is nearly two thirty.
      Slips out of bed and down to the kitchen
      where she sits and leafs through the phone book.
      A call to information tells her the doctor's number is unlisted.
      The woman who gave her counseling is listed.
      She dials the number, sits listening to the purring ring.
      An answering machine clicks on. Takes in a breath
      that is hard to find, her voice only a white whisper,
      she asks the machine, "What do they do with the bottle?"

    Donald Marsh
    (To receive one of these free original poems emailed each Monday, contact Donald Marsh.)

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    Section E: .................................................................. May15, 2000
    Fairibault, MN

    I made a batik of the Chartres type labyrinth in cotton with permanent professional fiber dyes and gave it to my friend to do "something" with it. Sara Schrader quilted it into this coat which she designed. She is an artist at our small art center and has made pottery, stained glass, fabric art.

    Walking the labyrinth is something I love to do so I started making small batik pillows for finger walking and some larger ones for hanging. The coat has been in a show called "Symphonies of Light" at a regional center here—also it is for sale!.

    [Coat photo]

    Mary Ruth

    Tucson, AZ


      One by one the polyglot thickens, thinking it amuses you.
      Misogynists reenact Hiroshima at Easter
      Never thinking of the anomalies of the misbegotten

      Moon laced rhythms of chrysanthemums and amethyst
      Ring around your little finger

      The forgotten echo the litany of their tragedy,
      And beyond theirs lies ours as graves do on shaded hills

      And the funny thing is, I can't tell you
      What it's like to be me inside.

    (That was this evening's work, here's a sonnet—I do owe a credit to Wendell Berry, the American poet who refurbished the form.)


      "When everything is loose and tight
      at the same time it's alright."

      Insomnia—cold and indifferent
      Life passing before me in slow motion
      In the mind's eye, regurgitating years
      Like chocolates in Forrest's candy box

      Lowriders/gangbangers blare rap music
      Driving by in one o'clock morning sounds
      A Union Pacific train engineer
      Blows the train horn a long short and long blast

      Man—what am I doing here, up this late
      When I have to report to the office
      In less than six hours on so little sleep
      To do or die and race for the money

      I like the train whistle after two weeks
      Living here; and the way the desert smiles.

    Chris Lovette

    Soquel, CA

    In June of 1995, I was lay-ordained as a Zen Buddhist. It was a big step and I was so nervous during the ceremony I mispronounced everything. Afterward, although I felt that I should expect nothing, I couldn't help hoping: some enlightenment, something transforming would happen.

    Nothing did. I had the same confusions and habits I had before. Days later, I noticed something: I was walking differently. I was conscious of my foot on the earth. Actually, it was foot on cotton sock on plastic sneaker on rug on floor on concrete most of the time. But I also walked on the earth barefoot and became conscious of my ankle flexing, my heel coming down, meeting the ground, then my instep, my sole, my toes. I felt the earth, felt my toes grip it as I pushed off. I stepped, feeling that I had, as everyone does, the right to step where I did. I felt the earth as part of all, of me, everyone, everything.

    (A Rakusu is the symbolic robe of Buddha, a kind of bib worn while sitting zazen.)


      I go wherever my foot fall takes me,
      and I take each foot fall easy and slow,
      a grace of stride and heart in amity.

      Stepping softly through my life's sad debris,
      regretting actions taken long ago,
      I go wherever my foot fall takes me.

      Alone and baffled, confronting ennui,
      dancing a singular adagio,
      a grace of stride and heart in amity.

      I walk, unsure, through life's optimacy:
      to love, to sorrow, to inherent woe—
      I go wherever my foot fall takes me.

      I face a time of inadequacy—
      getting old, souvenired dreams in a row,
      a grace of stride and heart in amity.

      Acceptance of age with thought fancy free,
      while heartbeats quaver as an old banjo,
      I go wherever my foot fall takes me,
      a grace of stride and heart in amity.

    Donald Marsh
    (To receive one of these free original poems emailed each Monday, contact Donald Marsh.)

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    Section D: .................................................................. April 15, 2000
    Pacific Grove, CA


      My tour
      through the ruins
      is a blur.

      Nothing left
      on my arrival.

      Surface of salt pools
      is muddied-up, no longer
      a hot spring,
      stifled by lodging
      for the aimless traveler.

      It's my sight.
      It's my breathing.

      But I trust pillars
      to secure the scene,
      for prayers can be
      heard by dirt,
      just as they are with rain.

      For what's fallen is
      a powdery cure,
      seeping through
      to points of re-entry
      to heal the place
      where once I lived.

    Pamukkale, Turkey is a site of Greco-Roman ruins.

    Iskandar Soekardi

    San Luis Obispo, CA

    In Celebration of the Spirit: For more years than I could remember, my heart had been closed. Disappointed, burnt out and full of rage, I saw a barren, used-up world outstretched before me. In a leap of faith, I stopped drinking. That simple act opened the door to the real treasure that I'd buried so long ago—my spiritual nature.


      (For me,) Spirituality is the result of having developed a sense of the depth of my own invisible nature. It is a treasure that nothing or no one can ever damage, and it belongs absolutely to me. I do not have to earn it; I do not have to hold onto it, or even protect it. This gift, the first stirring of my spiritual nature, began in childhood.

      The one element from my childhood that stands out in my mind the most is loneliness. Perhaps it was this sense of alienation from myself that inspired the extraordinary occurrences that I would later call spiritual gifts.

      I must have been seven or eight years old when I became aware of these unusual, spontaneous occurrences. Late at night, when I was alone in my bed, I felt pleasurable, nurturing sensations. In my mind's eye, these feelings had texture and color—either a smooth brown or a textured green. These occurrences happened at random throughout my early childhood. I would not experience anything like it again for three decades, until early sobriety.

      After the breakup of a relationship with a man with whom I'd been living, I applied for my own apartment. That night as I was lying in bed worrying as to whether or not I'd get the apartment, the smooth brown sensation spontaneously filled my body. My fears stepped aside, replaced by the invisible, nurturing presence. I slept peacefully that night. The next day I learned that I had been approved for the apartment.

      Several years later I experienced two more spiritual occurrences that were a month apart. On both occasions I was engrossed in the process of hand quilting late at night. Without warning, I saw a flash of light, quite bright, out of the corner of my eye. I felt enveloped and filled with an indescribable sensation that I can only equate to ecstasy, for it was outside the realm of the usual five senses. On the second occasion the same unearthly sensation penetrated my being, but I felt released from my body, like I could float. Conscious and uninhibited, I dropped the sewing needle and raised my arms up toward an invisible presence and exclaimed, My God, my God, my God! I thought this must be heaven.

      I didn't know what had happened to me, or to what purpose. In solitude I came to realize that the spiritual gifts were a manifestation of acceptance and love from my own spirit within. To perceive the depth of my spiritual nature is my greatest joy, for it contains the miracle of healing.

    Caroline Seibert

    Soquel, CA

    Back from a vacation. Back from watching whales migrate north to the Bering sea, watching Turkey Vultures swoop so low, inspecting. Huge meadows windblasted and stubbed, great manic waves mounted and bending, breaking white to hammer cliffs in an extravagant slow motion explosion. And a tall patient silence so old. I am made anew.


      Everyone has the moment. Everyone knows.
      For me it was as a teenager walking along a berm
      next to a roundhouse and a confusion of train rails.

      A need to be someone somewhere other.
      A twisting in me, a cloven satyr strut
      as a want want want danced mischief
      for a few eternal strides.

      Then walking the berm hoping
      no one had seen, not knowing
      what it was I wanted wanted wanted.
      Not able to say it, name it.

      All my life looking, tasting a success
      only to not want it. Failure the same.
      I wanted wanted wanted
      and was a stranger in my own life.

      Closest I ever got was the want to be a hermit.
      So much throbbing headfirst caring
      prevented that.

      Now, in long familiar shadows,
      delicious naps, old friends,
      soliloquies in smiles,
      I've let go of so many wants,
      seen them circle and roost
      tender and tentative,
      then take wing free again.

      But I can't let go
      of the want I could never name.

    Donald Marsh
    (To receive one of these free original poems emailed each Monday, contact Donald Marsh.)

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    Section C: .................................................................. March 15, 2000
    San Jose, CA

    Here are three more haiku poems out of the theme: Dominion of light.


      Blue sky at night.
      Darkness at noon.
      Tension rising.

      The seed of yin is in yang.
      The seed of yang is in yin.
      Balance is tension at rest.

      The artist's gift,
      affecting change.
      Stay or become.

    Franz Spickhoff

    Sacramento, CA


      A quick silvered flash
      no longer,
      nor terrorizing mouth,
      the fish floats
      belly up in the pond
      rudder-like fins held bone-stiff against the liquid green darkness.

      Though still visible,
      with movements degenerated
      into the awkwardness of rigidity
      he has metamorphosed into a captured thought,
      from mystery into mundane.

      No longer
      all that might be
      that which is:
      a dead fish floating belly up
      on a cold green winter's pond.

    Jenny Mamola

    Carmel Valley, CA

      "The future is already here. It's just unevenly distributed."—William Gibson

    I find this quotation in an Asian magazine, the entire issue devoted to concepts of time. I am intrigued, attempt to pursue the maze of thought my mind has entered in reading these two sentences.

    Outside songbirds distract me with their sweet high notes and the sky begins to lighten. While I have been in contemplation, time has been in motion without me, an unevenly distributed future. I remain lost in the meditative state, but everything else stirs and continues the process of evolution. I am often left behind.

    Only occasionally, I experience a lightning flash, propelling me forward, a foreshadowing of eventual cognizance.

    I travel between these two dimensions randomly, without dominion over either one. This is the adventure of life, this haphazard fortuitous and calamitous lack of hold on time.

    In late middle-age, I observe the lingering shuffle of days that have become my mother's life in a nursing home. It make one wish for a quick and painless exit. I can just barely imagine the courage it takes to manage a civil awakening to another tedious twenty-four hours, a future unwanted. Is this a preview of my own destiny I am allowed so that I may master the grace of aging with as much valor. There are times the mirror is unkind.

    I hold onto the fine linen of the moment, reach out to touch the ripening light of early morning. Everything is just beyond our full comprehension. I would not have it any other way.


      All night the silver blade
      in the ebony sky carves
      westward seeking the other side
      of earth. Crickets
      play their fiddle wings.
      White owl rotates
      his head to catch
      a small rustle
      under the sage.

      All night the stars appear
      to follow in the wake
      of the moon
      on a similar journey
      in a larger universe.
      Fog creeps upriver
      along the south mountain range
      veiling village lights
      with an eerie glow.

      All night a light breeze
      weaves through thin fingers
      of a pine tree,
      carrying its sharp fragrance
      past open windows.
      A gray fox and his mate pause
      to drink from a water bowl,
      blessing moisture
      with their tongues.

    Laura Bayless

    Soquel, CA

    Everywhere there are signs of Spring. Trees are budding, flowers pushing up and blooming, robins going happily insane on errands.


      Your voice tiptoes in glee to see
      me striding legless in wildflowers
      in easy Equinox in Easter air

      Fully carbonated and chilled
      to see you in lilac light
      smack firm substantial rump high thigh
      then shoot eyelashed impudent dares
      from palmed budding hips
      while newly mint green insects
      hiccup and rollercoaster in mid air
      and everything says÷ It's here,
      the grand rockcandy time is here

    Donald Marsh
    (To receive one of these free original poems emailed each Monday, contact Donald Marsh.)

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    Section B: .................................................................. February 15, 2000
    San Jose, CA

    Here are a couple of haiku poems:

      Silicon desert,
      two fellow nomads talking.
      crowded coffeeshop.
    From our Creative Edge workshop with Brugh Joy:

      Retreat at Monterey.
      Postmodern souls gather and
      orbit closer now.
    Here are a couple of haiku poems: Franz Spickhoff


      "I can only say THERE we have been: but I cannot say where. And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time...Time past and time future allow but a little consciousness. To be conscious is not to be in time but only in time can the moment in the rose garden, the moment in the arbour where the rain beat, the moment in the draughty church at smokefall be remembered; involved with past and future. Only through time is time conquered."
      —T.S Eliot

    Thinking of time... and me... and you... and all of us... as artists. Time and I have just begun to become companions. In my willingness to not possess it... I am given the privelige of play with it... to bend, stretch, compress it, even mold it into fanciful designs... to let it run free like an unleashed dog in the field and call it home in hopes that it will want to be there. Time, when approached by me with my arrogance left behind, is dropped in my palm like sculpturing clay.

    It's 6AM and... time for farm work, time for sipping coffee, blowing candle out and breathing in the sweetness of another day from this moment of nothing and everything... An empty canvas set before me. In all our deliberateness and whimsy, the colors and designs available to us are limitless.

    Gary Ibsen

    Carmel Valley, CA


    I return again and again to the meditative state of grace, that of the writing of poems. In the intention lies the promise, the thin gauze of hope. With this line or that haunted two syllable word, desire responds, rises from the night ashes, the phoenix of purified yearning.

    It is ever my intention to live into the exquisite mystery of the future with as much ethical decency as I can conjecture from experience. Poems allow me a deeper journey into experience, a gleaning and winnowing. If I can illuminate some particular unsayble ecstasy or seal off one leaking fissure in the heart, the poem becomes an artful elixir of my own restorative powers.

    Whether it is the most recent arc of events or past grief reawakened, a poem takes hold, hems the loose ends. How does one explain explosions in stillness, ripening in the midst of decay, love in the vulnerability of loss. One writes a poem to come closer, to confront what one cannot comprehend in linear thought.

    In the sounds, the plaiting of music and meaning, the altered permeability of content and tone, an offering is made to the spirit, alms for the soul. In the silence that procreates, I find what has been waiting for me, what sheds another layer of pretense. And in the practice of writing poems, I am uplifted, enriched, reconciled, and reminded of all that I do not know.


      Waves rumble,
      distant canons.

      The sea tosses pitted
      stone vertebrae up on the shore.
      I cannot crack the code,
      tell the stories torn
      from empty cavities
      in volcanic rocks.

      It does not matter to the sea,
      thrusting and reclaiming
      her white-crested breakers
      on the long strand of dark beach.

      Skeletal driftwood,
      scoured root stumps
      and shredded scraps of kelp
      emboss the sand.
      Landscapes dislodge
      beneath my feet.

      My life's shifting reality
      conducts me out of one millennium
      into another.
      Even the air keeps secrets.

    Laura Bayless

    Soquel, CA

    I am an alcoholic. I stopped drinking in April of 1983. In the intervening time, I've slipped once, drinking wine five years ago. Alcohol does things to me it doesn't do to a lot of people. For a while, I didn't know which was worse: drinking or quitting drinking. Fortunately for me, I had some wonderful friends and I was stubborn. I hated everything and everybody in sobriety. It took me a long time to realize that I actually hated one person. It has taken me even longer to forgive that person and realize that, like everyone, all that I've done and thought, everything I've experienced, including the drinking, has led me to be the person I am now, at this writing. I find, to my amazement, that I am, at times, comfortable with the person I've become.


      There are the glazed men fumbling with phones
      late at night dialing back for their childhood.
      Or sputtering some lust in choking laughter.

      Then the befuddled men erupting in frustration
      in some nasty fact crystal clear for the moment.
      Always the long truth in the time of the hyena.

      The brief admitting shrug that one could be more,
      the heart trilling to tiny night sounds,
      the feeling of a cetacean sob swelling,
      the joint-aching wakening to the pain,
      to the peepshow slides of the night before,
      to the guilt and loathing of not remember.

      The desperate oath never again until the evening,
      then the night scribbled and erased once more.

    Donald Marsh
    (To receive one of these free original poems emailed each Monday, contact Donald Marsh.)

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    Section A: .................................................................. January 15, 2000

    Pacific Grove, CA

    Check out what a community group on the Monterey Peninsula has been working on for the last three years in this article!

    (Published in the Monterey County Herald, GO Section, December 23, 1999.)

    An ancient beautiful design on the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France has captured the imaginations of growing numbers of individuals, organizations and institutions all over America. This design, known simply as the labyrinth, is being installed in communities worldwide near such focal points as churches, parks, healing centers, schools and even prisons.

    What is a labyrinth? ... Continue!

    Barbara Rose Shuler

    Soquel, CA

    With the emailing of this poem, #156, it is three years. Can't believe it. More to come. Tonight's poem is dedicated to Lonon Smith because he has always liked it, and Lori Palmer, who had the madness and wit to marry Lonon on New Years Eve. Blessings on both of you as well as on all readers.


      Sitting in Sesshin attuned to sounds—
      to birds, breeze, silence;
      to tumbling thoughts—
      to a brook down below,
      a particular gurgle,
      a splash of water atoms
      on their way downstream;
      to the ocean, the great mix,
      to drift and rock with waves,
      to be sucked up into clouds,
      sail for miles to rain down again.

      To be transformed so many times—
      to earth, plants, animals, air.
      To have been changed for so many eons—
      atoms starting as dust drifting
      in the sea of eternity, whirling through time
      to form first a star, then a solar system
      with an earth with a brook
      with a gurgle I listen to
      sitting in silence with kaleidoscopic thoughts.

      A year and a half later sitting Sesshin
      again, hearing that selfsame gurgle—
      I'd know it anywhere, on its way again.
      Hello I think. Hello I think it thinks back.
      Then it is gone from sensing,
      down to the ocean to perhaps
      be washed ashore, wet some dog's paws,
      be smeared on a car seat. Dry to
      join the air again, whip out a window
      onto a freeway. Or instead
      stay in the ocean, eventually hang suspended
      in the Bering Sea next to a great walrus
      dreaming of shoals of oysters.

      Then again be sucked up, travel
      in a huge thunderhead to become
      a big warm droplet on a tree toad
      in a Brazilian rain forest;
      or make a smack sound dropping
      on the carapace of a Green Sea turtle
      digging a beach hole
      to lay its egg-children
      on Ascension Island;
      or splatting on the dead open eye
      of an Ebola victim in Zaire;
      or rain down in a futile cleansing
      of one of those besmeared factory towns
      in the Balkans,
      or drift down a snowflake in Lapland,
      watched only by a liquid eyed reindeer.
      Or nearly circle the globe and water
      American Beauty roses in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

      Or, for all I know, fall next to me
      in my garden while I walk my dogs.
      I'll never know, so it's best
      to say hello to everything.

    Donald Marsh
    (To receive one of these free original poems emailed each Monday, contact Donald Marsh.)

    Carmel, CA


      Below the big

      Teacups for
      The children

      See the showcase
      Full of prizes

      Each booth with
      Its rows of gods

      Knock one over
      Win a stuffed animal

      One life is
      Not enough

    John Calvin (Dotson)
    athanor@mbay.net (Athanor)

    (Check out John's program: on KAZU 90.3 fm
    Saturdays at midnight until two a.m. with E-mail contact.)

    Thank you for your creative offerings!

    I invite readers to share their own creative works (poems, stories, images, comment, etc.) in Letter Box On Line (LBOL). I look for work and comments I feel support understanding and encouragement of the creative process, and hence, the process of life.

    The Editor

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