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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #11

  • Section A: July 12, 2000
  • Section B: August 15, 2000
  • Section C: September 15, 2000
  • Section D: October 15, 2000
  • Section E: November 15, 2000
  • Section F: .................................................................. December 15, 2000

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

    See if you can get this....

    [Brown photo]

    Steve Brown

    Carmel, CA


      Mound Meadow

      in the east Pacific


      i throw myself

      raging solar flares

      when satisfied with my
      earthy sincerity

      pine path creatures

      emerge lyrical
      and tympanic

      from their dens

      of silently

      my place

      somehow is finding

      even the reeds

      rattling assist
      with this

      The body

      of the Pacific
      yields its scent

      a low-lying plume
      of brine

      after the tall waves
      have fallen

      against the recent
      loss of day

      i sketch each footstep
      tenderly adeptly

      across the slime skin
      of knotted kelp

      the tide left behind
      the tide has taken

      the light away
      early as always

      light must die
      in december

      i concentrate
      breath unto breath

      separating thus

      darkly smoldering

      swallow deep
      gather no shells


      no greater stranger
      formalities these


      traveling alongside
      anatomies of the dead

      Eloi Eloi

      what to be said
      Lama Sabachthani

      what romance

      (arriving in this
      gilt-framed mirror

      and through this

      we wed)

      dramatis assemblage

      displaying the beveled
      edges of the age

      our wingspreads

      to history's end
      the muscle folds

      hearts bend

    John Dotson

    Salinas, CA

    Here is one of my paintings.

    [Jacks Peak Tree]

    Laura Carley

    Soquel, CA


      Every day, in the afternoon,
      I take our dog for a walk
      in a place known as, "The woods."
      A grove of Monterey Pines.
      They are dying, these strange trees,
      dying countywide from a viral disease.

      Improbable in appearance,
      having impossibly long trunks reaching skyward
      up to a hundred feet
      with only dark tufts of needles at the top.
      They sway in the wind;
      more, they seem to sweep the sky
      in a generous leaning
      then elegant slow whiplash back.
      Many of the diseased trees
      have been cut down,
      their long trunks crashed down,
      splintered agape—
      giving the woods a war zone look.

      It was there I met Tyler and Lilly
      looking for Jessie.
      Two little girls, six or seven,
      with that clean open declaration
      that children have for a while.
      Jessie, their dog, was missing;
      and, their grandfather said,
      was tied up on someone's porch.
      They were looking for her.

      Lilly seemed to like telling me her name,
      Tyler was more matter of fact.
      They wanted to look more in the woods
      because Tyler had called Jesse's name
      and a dog barked over where
      there was ivy and poison oak and,
      "A creepy guy who lives in a shed."

      In an eagerness they told me all about him.
      He had a bed and chair in this shed
      and didn't like anybody
      and the inside of his place was scary.
      I explained the church at the end of the woods
      allowed the man to live there,
      that he was homeless and poor
      and wouldn't hurt anyone.
      I could tell from their silence
      they didn't care for that version of things.
      They were talking to me from magic,
      I was answering from what I thought was reality.

      I offered to go with them, looking for Jessie.
      We went all the way up to the church
      with Tyler and Lilly calling.
      When we reached the empty church,
      Lilly was for pressing on, Tyler wasn't.
      We stood at the foot of three tall crosses,
      Lilly examined the base of one, pointing,
      "Somebody carved their name here."
      Tyler pointed to the tallest of the crosses.
      "That's where they killed God
      and the other two were where
      they killed the two guys that killed God.
      My mother said that was why three crosses."

      In heading back through the woods
      we came to a path off toward a creek
      and the backs of some houses.
      Lilly and Tyler wanted to look there,
      I showed them I was wearing only sandals
      and said I'd stay behind and watch.
      Lilly grinned hugely at the idea.
      "If we scream will you come?"
      I assured them I would.

      Jessie came running through the ivy.
      It was easy to see she hadn't been tied
      nor was she lost. She had that totally
      happy look of a dog just out of puppyhood.
      She was everywhere at once, elastic, exuberant.
      After some wrestling and face licking,
      Jessie was leashed and we were
      all off for home.
      Above us, ailing pines
      reeled across the sky,
      and nondescript birds careened.
      Tyler was staggered and spun
      on one end of the leash,
      still managing to say,
      Lilly nodding satisfied,
      "We are friends now."

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

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    Section E: .................................................................. November 15, 2000

    San Antonio, TX

    I am a professional artist, husband and father. When I stumbled across your site I was pleasantly surprised and I have really enjoyed your contributing authors' works and prose. I was so impressed that I decided to submit a piece that I wrote this past August. As for this poem what can I say—its a basic articulation about a life experience. I dedicate this to my beautiful son, Caleb, (died at birth) whom I will see again.

    Loire is a small French farming community just south of town. My family helped establish the cemetery which predates the Texas Revolution. We are not sure of its exact age, and it is small and surrounded by farms. Yet it is singular and has a quiet purity about it.


      It's where Caleb lays
         that red ants wander clumsy to and fro
         and on their insect highways tiny they do not know
         that far above them farm-dust and flower mix together—
         a recipe written by unpredictable, windy Texas weather.

      Beneath the footfall compaction
         echoes crisp chaunts of pulverence action.

      Brown patches of shorter Buffalo grasses
         contrast verdant feather-clumps as one passes
         centenary oaks with ancient grapevines fastened

      . . . it's where Caleb lays.

      Glance down to look at our earthly losses
         row on row of stone markers and Spaniard's crosses.

      Her name is Mexican, he's Irish, and she a French
         all some electric-day God will retrench
         to a place beyond this physical tideland—

      . . . it's where Caleb lays.

      Hidden in the earth, my angel asleep—
         "today I would be five" if he could speak.

      But high above the prairie hawk is flying
         and the dry August air is whistling and crying.

      Horizon's lights evidence climactic quarrels are rising
         now cattle with sheep lowing—
         its a summer storm they're surmising.

      In little Loire, this cemetery soul's heartland,
         that's where Caleb lays

      . . . my Caleb lays.

    Thomas Palmer

    Salt Lake City, UT

    Right now I feel like I am in a perpetual waiting phase—waiting for something to end, something to begin—not sure what to let go of or hold on to—and being a new mom requires some degree of efficiency—but I am finding the loss of freedoms to be terribly difficult...so...a poem or two?


      My mind is never still now
      and the cries of unpredictability
      etch in my brain
      like fingernails on chalkboard

      I have no control
      over my own reactions
      emotions rise up, like lava
      exploding in the bathroom
      where no one can hear
      and where no one can hide
      for longer than a few minutes

      Infants are like eggs
      full of yellow
      and goo
      they are creatures unlike any other
      supposed miracles
      that require constant care

      I don't know what to do
      when my meditation is avoided all together
      or my 89 pound body
      can't find time to eat

      There is so much I want to love
      and yet
      so much
      eating me up inside.

      I want to give
      I want to love
      but there seems
      so little left...
      and I know not where
      to find it
      when it is dark outside
      and all my friends are gone.


      Life turns us into Hindus
      and mortal souls who can play flutes and

      Where is the love that was promised?
      choking out the bitter vine
      that wraps the throat
      in grapelike purple
      so that we are content
      to silence ourselves
      to quiet our screaming heart
      that revels only in bitter opening
      where two souls
      in pain or pleasure

      Words become meaningless
      language a barrier
      to truth of the external
      and eternal God
      and outside
      the wolf howls
      grass weaves itself in the wind
      and a rooster greets the morning
      unable to speak and
      alive as an infant—
      oh so

    Ingrid Middleton

    Big Sur, CA


      My pen's ink
      prints the tides
      of my life's currents

      Flowing as the surf
      upon the shores

      Imprinted rhythms
      mark the paper

      Using the palpable
      to capture evanescence

      To record time
      in the timeless

    Carolyn Mary Kleefeld

    Tucson, AZ


      I was never good at anything
      but whoring. Men, women,
      I could put my heart into it.
      A roll in the hay, a drunken sleep
      And in the morning, parting as strangers.

      Now the lines crinkle around my eyes
      The young men no longer look
      In the same way as before
      I heard two joking about the "old hag."
      The words came to me as a cold messenger.

      But you looked at me with eyes
      Full of a love I could not understand
      You spoke of a lost sheep
      And a Father whose searching love
      Was full of joy when I turned to you

      And I began to understand a little
      Of the Father who made the stars
      And who made me. Then a stronger love
      Began to live in my heart, strong enough
      To trust in you though knowing who I am.

    Chris Lovette

    Salinas, CA

    Here is a of photo from our recent Creative Arts Fellowship meeting in your living room!

    [Hill photo #1]

    Ted R Hill



      Not an aria in a cantata,
      nor an Italian morning dolce.

      But an invention—an ersatz vein of sorts—
      delicate tubing swooping to the nose.

      Clear clean plastic taut across the cheekbones,
      looped over each ear, clasped chinward.

      The tube attached to a cold canister,
      sweet cool oxygen floating to needy lungs.

      Wearing cannulas are the recovering,
      the chronically ill, the terminal.

      Seen as a stigmata of sorts, marking
      the excused, the separate, the waiting.

      Their need something others take for granted—
      for them everything is but a breath.

      I have entered the world of the cannula,
      I lead a modern-medicine existence.

      Surviving alcoholism, depression, cancer,
      now an esoteric lung disorder;
      I breathe, tethered, wonder, in this time,
      have I learned anything worth the while?

      Yes. Knowing an old thing in a new way.
      That all we know of as life is breathing;
      that every thing has only so many breaths—

      That each breath is a measure in a dance
      and the dance and life
      are a mystery to me.
      Something I wear to the dance.

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

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    Section D: .................................................................. October 15, 2000

    Salt Lake City, UT

    A poem for you.


      Eyes filled with water
      are pools of two souls

      she sees the leaves
      twinkling in sunlight
      for the first time
      from her perch
      on my shoulder
      in a white, terry cloth
      the same one I wore
      33 years ago

      Time isn't real
      when we sleep
      on the floor
      her lips quivering
      as if trying to nurse
      on breasts that
      hardly produce
      the richest of milk

      I didn't know if I could have
      or keep you and now the
      days aren't moving
      life seems to stand still

      and there is only a moment to
      have or to waste
      or to dream
      or to see
      the soft fuzzy hair
      that moves in the breeze
      as your cries
      make sounds
      I have never heard before.

    I went to a senior care center—many of the residents older than 92—and I learned and I felt and I realized:


      We have only between birth
      and old age
      to be
      to see
      to hear
      to feel
      to touch
      to taste
      to explore

      and how much is wasted
      on pain
      and trivial things
      that mean nothing

      no wonder we can't stay
      in one job
      but for me
      I create a new

      wanting structure
      only of body
      but NEVER of mind
      or soul

      It made more sense today
      when I realized
      I have no idea what tomorrow will be like
      and if I will live
      or not live

      but we are all living
      and dying
      right now

      what does it matter?

      But hear the planes overhead
      and the crickets

      and sigh
      and sigh
      and sigh!!

      we are still

    Ingrid Middleton

    Soquel, CA


      My intelligence is ordinary,
      education poor,
      talent undefined.
      Purpose, direction, focus,
      ambition—almost nonexistent.

      In aging I tend to be reclusive,
      tainted with misanthropic humor.
      If at all motivated,
      it is to endless fantasies of revenge.
      I will do nothing to acquire recognition,
      yet grow depressed and resentful
      for the lack of it.

      I am heartsick with poetry,
      and the futile world of words
      crushes me.

      I can spend infinite days being
      petty, unforgiving, spiteful,
      all the time numb with fear.

      When desperate enough
      I can admit life is meaningless.

      I have aspirations
      too foolish to write down.

      Moments when I feel
      my life ended some time ago.

      With all this I can say
      I am,
      in an inexplicable way,

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

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    Section C: .................................................................. September 15, 2000

    Asheville, NC

    I just went to your web site—so much there! I will definitely explore it. As I was skimming some of the writing, I thought of a piece I had done last month. (The first ever that came in an outpouring at the computer!). So here it is!


      I'm just coming out of a mini sabbatical for this summer. One of the "uncoverings" that had occurred to me is that even without my daytimer, without my storytelling touring and performing, without office work, and without attending to my usual projects and piles, I was and am still amazingly BUSY!

      Then I realized I was jumping into an old familiar pattern of judging myself. On the one turn, angry that I had stayed so busy rather than resting, and on the other, feeling like I had nothing to show for 30 days of being off.

      Then, I was answering an e-mail and an image came to me. Last weekend my husband, Phil and I were clearing out some underbrush in the back yard, where the woods start. It was weeds and locust and thorny things, some were trees and other thick bushes that, unbeknownst to us, were in fact blocking our view of the woods.

      It had grown up, not because it had been planted there, and not because it was native to these North Carolina woods, but rather because when we built the house on 2 acres of wooded mountain land, that's how far we cleared. It was now getting plenty of light, and in a sense it held a prime spot, almost the focus. Looking at it, it seemed to be so natural, after all it was green and bushy. Over these 11 years, I suppose unconsciously I thought that was the way it was supposed to look.

      By cutting it away, we can now see more clearly how the woods were meant to be. It is incredibly beautiful... looking deep into the woods, revealing not the bushiness, but rather a long range view of branches arching and thick old trunks and almost a quiet serenity in the empty spaces.

      And what a powerful metaphor for me right now. All the "busy-ness" that seems to be such an integral part of my everyday existence isn't who I am. It is the "bushiness" at the edge of the forest, the part that has been exposed to outer view and so gets a lot of the light and focus. It is just on the edge, so it is what most people including myself see first, what they sometimes end up responding to.

      Even as a young child—I think I began to believe that that was who I was. That it was that busy-ness (list making, super detail, and oh so responsible good girl) part of me that was important and valuable, and so I have continued to nourish it. And that part of me thrived as it took up more and more space in my life.

      And now I'm just coming to realize that's not what holds my worth.

      Maybe the moments of bliss I have experienced these last few years have been glimpses into my inner forest. I think I have begun the journey of cutting away some of that thick underbrush so the other can be revealed and viewed as it was meant to be.

    Connie Regan-Blake

    Soquel, CA

      (In memory of Gabrielle Esperanza)

      In hospital corridor moments,
      odd what is remembered,
      what canât be recalled.

      We are both suddenly white haired;
      she seems so little,
      lost in hospital bedding and flannel robe.

      In a low amber light,
      we act with such remembered style.

      So few and spaced the words,
      so quiet the inevitability
      swirled by eternity
      to the moment.

      Of the words,
      only terminal stays
      on the drive home.

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

    On the move,CO

    I send a story that has been a muse in my spirit for some time... It was developed during recent adventures and finally flowed while here in this beautiful mountain home.


      A wise old man sat on the floor of a cave, warming himself to the flames of a small fire. I entered the cave and sat across the fire from him. I asked, "Wise old man, what lessons do you have for me today?"

      He said, "Open your heart. Follow your inner wisdom."

      "How may I open my heart?"

      "Meditate on beauty."

      With the thought, "What is beauty?" I thanked him, stood up and left the cave to go into the forest outside. A river ran through the forest, and I found a rock on the riverbank. There I meditated on the beauty of my surroundings. I felt the flow of the water, the warmth of the sunshine, the pine scent of the forest, the color of wildflowers, and the sounds of songbirds in the trees. I felt my oneness with the life around me. My energy field was in total peace and harmony.

      A sharp sting brought me out of this reverie, and I smacked the mosquito on my arm, with anger and outrage at the invasion of my space. Red lightening thoughts flashed through my field, disturbing my peace. The idea of the mosquito contrasted sharply with the experience of nature’s beauty. Then I realized that my resistance to the mosquito made it my enemy. This enemy felt distinctly separate from me, and against me. I realized that all my enemies are created with my thoughts and with the choices I make.

      In my heart, the feeling arose that beauty is the relationship between the beholder and the object of beauty. Beauty exists only within, not outside me. The enemies and ugliness in my life also exist only in my fields of thoughts and emotions. I realized that in every "negative" situation in my lifetime, my fears and negative thoughts had drained my energy and given energy to my perceived antagonists. Acceptance of life as it is enables me to live with more joy and power.

      Whatever "another" does, I can choose to accept it fully and completely. Life is neither good nor bad, right nor wrong, it just is. My response—whether to a mosquito, an illness or injury, or an angry and hateful person—is completely within my power of choice. My fears and anger only feed the lower aspects of any situation. I have more power to make changes by sending light and love. Beauty is entirely my choice.

      Back in the cool of the cave, I told the wise old man my revelations. His warm eyes laughed. "That little mosquito was a big teacher. Your resistance to anything in life makes it not beautiful to you. The more you accept your inner beauty and your oneness with all, the more you experience the beauty of life."

      "Yes," I replied, "and acceptance is not always passive. There is passive resistance. There is also pro-active acceptance. I can fully accept what is, and at the same time choose to change it. Resisting any aspect of life closes me to life. I really don't want the feeling of being closed to and separated from life—although that feeling is also part of the all!"

      "Yes. And you define yourself by what you accept and reject. Whatever you reject, you say you are not. If all is one, how can there be anything you are not?"

      "That is so. I can see that the ideas of right and wrong, good and bad, create separation and disharmony in the human experience. And life is perfect as it is, in every moment."

      "I choose to change my experience within the unlimited possibilities of life by accepting all as it is and shifting to energies that I prefer. When my heart is open to all of life, I have more energy to do what I really want and to be who I really am. I can be true to my unique individual expression as well as my oneness with all."

      "Congratulations. You are on your way to fully experiencing the first lesson of the day."

      "Ah yes," I thought, "and now, how can I follow my inner wisdom?" Excusing myself, I went again to the rock on the riverbank to consider. Across the river, mountains rose forest green at the nearest, and shades of blue into the distance. The wind rustled through the evergreens and aspen trees around me. I remembered my choice years ago to live by principles rather than by doctrine.

      The principles I chose were the first steps to my preferred way of being: I trust my inner resources, I am true to myself, I respect the right of others to their views and choices, I appreciate diversity, I honor all paths, I practice detached involvement, I am the witness and observer of my experience, I recognize we are all connected at a deep level.

      These were the beginning of a big shift in the way I viewed and experienced life. I let go of limiting words, thoughts and beliefs. I realized my beliefs are only models of reality. I can choose the model that is most useful to me in the moment. The shift continued through many lessons from daily living, through times of fear and times of trust.

      Now, sitting on the granite rock warmed by the sun, and hearing the wind blow softly through the trees, I opened my heart to accept all of life and my true oneness with life. The possibility of moving through the magnificent creative experience of life in total trust and confidence opened to me. The universe is not lacking! I am not lacking. I am enough. I can continually trust my inner wisdom and resources by remembering who I really am. My highest guidance comes from within, through intuition, dreams, and other connections with my true being. The more I trust my inner guidance and act upon it, the more one I am with my true self.

      With the energy of this realization in my field, I returned to the wise old man. Through the firelight his eyes twinkled. He smiled at me and added, "You are a beautiful and powerful being. You are the universe. The universe is you."

      I closed my eyes and considered his words. When my eyes opened, the wise old man was gone. I sat on the cave floor whole and complete, and danced with the flames of the eternal fire.

    Gary Smith

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    Section B: .................................................................. August 15, 2000

    Evanston, IL

    I am enclosing a poem I wrote after a three day retreat called Inner Journey.


      Being Present.
      Here. Now.
      We then ask the Light to go within to help us look.
      Not by pressing
      Or pulling,
      But by LOVING.

      Finding our points
      Of pain, resistance, fear.
      Hearing our language
      When it criticizes others, or ourselves.
      Knowing it is always and only about us,
      And looking for the lessons.
      Never to eradicate
      Or repress
      Or rip out,
      But to encounter lightly,

      We cannot fix these places in our souls.
      We can only embrace them.
      Including all these voices. Letting them heal us.
      And we look through a different lens,
      When we are Quiet and Present.
      We know that we are not our Form,
      Our Thoughts,
      Our Feelings.
      These are the Guests.
      We welcome them into us,
      Into the Guest House,
      Into the Empty Space inside,
      Where Spirit dwells.
      Some Guests will come and go.
      Some will stay a long while.
      But we are the Space, the Spirit surrounding them.
      We are not they.

      In this Space,
      In this Present NOW,
      All that is is Spirit:
      The Wind.
      And we can then live out of the clear stands we take,
      In a world where Love is Queen and Spirit King and
      We are not limited by Mind.
      We have learned the Monkey talk of the Mind.
      Now we can shout with Joy to Heaven:
      "Thy Kingdom Come. On Earth. As it is in Heaven."


    Jim Stuart

    Sudbury, MA

    Here is an untitled piece I wore recently. I find my writing is the most powerful when I am fully engaged with all of my senses. This attentiveness seemingly opens my mind to the creative "Sixth Sense." It's wonderful!!! Also, it takes all the pressure off of trying to artificially produce something. It's like "fluid grace"—it just comes pouring into my mind and heart. (Not to mention that I'm crazy about my son, Aaron!)

      It's the bottom of the eighth inning, one out, and no one on base. The score is Cambridge 4, Sudbury 3. Aaron Gibson, center fielder and left-hand hitter, is up at bat. Strike one. Ball one, and then, "POP!" Aaron lands a solid double in center field.

      Robbi Otari, pitcher and right-hand hitter, is up at bat. "Strrrrike One!" Aaron anxiously waits at second base for the next pitch. A slow curve ball comes across the plate, "CRACK!" Robbi hits a clean single to left field, and Aaron charges on to third. Brian Moore, relief pitcher for Robbi Otari, steps into the batter's box.

      Aaron anxiously paces on and off the bag at third. He looks intently at Mom and Dad and gives a "thumbs up." He stands tall and strong and intuitively ready for his opening to run. He knows he's heading for home.

      One out with two men on base at first and third, and Cambridge grows pensively quiet while they wait for the next pitch.

      Suspense and tension fill the air as the spectators wait for the ball to leave the pitcher's hands. For two years in a row, Cambridge has taken the "gold" from Sudbury in the All Star Division. The next pitch comes. It's low and inside. "Swwwwwwwwwwing, and a HIT!" Like an arrow, Brian Moore sends the ball into center field with a single! Aaron's flyyyying from third to home! Looks like he's going to make it! He scores the winning run!!!!!!!!! The crowd jumps to their feet and roars. His mother cries, and all hands go into the air! The score is Sudbury, 5 and Cambridge, 4. The game is over.

      I love baseball. But most of all, I love watching Aaron play. He's like poetry in motion on the field. He is quick, passionate, and responsive. He stands on solid ground anywhere he plays. I love the smell of "dawgs" and burgers on the grill, and how the boys chew sunflower seeds to relieve their anticipation. I love how each boy knocks the mud from his cleats with the bat and digs his feet in the dirt just before he makes eye contact with the pitcher. I love how the adrenaline fills the air, and everyone holds his (and her) breath for the next pitch and the batter's swing. Baseball, I find, is a lot like daily life. Some days the score is better than others, but always, it's an opportunity of chance and surprise. Baseball, like living, is a thrill just to be in the game.

        Today was celebrated as a moment in time filled with spirit, effort, focus, and steadfast determination. It was a good day for baseball, a great day for life, and a real charge to win! Sudbury, with the "Gold Trophy," begins this week with a series of games for the State Championship Round. As for Aaron, he is beaming, and so are his Mom and Dad! Stephen and I are truly enjoying our summer both on and off the field.

        Whether you are an active player or a conscious observer in life's field of dreams, we have learned that it's always a gift to be a participant "in the moment."

    Deborah Gibson

    Soquel, CA


      Laughter in the void
      There is no echo
      Only time and space
      Fading to silence

      Ribbon of laughter
      In a giddy bow
      Around a lone thought

      No meaning
      Just a thought
      Just laughter
      Just silence


      My faith tells me to tell you
      I have none;
      have wanting fragility,
      have rare moments of much;

      that everything I know of is a wave—
      depression, doubt, delight, insight—
      every sight we see in waves of light.

      The universe furled ablaze in waves
      moving through a stillness that is.
      My faith tells me to tell you
      that that is
      is all there is.

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

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    Section A: .................................................................. July 12, 2000
    Monterey, CA

    Here is some new work I have been exploring with my pinhole camera!

    [photo #1]
    [photo #2] [photo #3]

    Martha Casanave
    Martha's web site

    Fair Oaks, CA

    This poem is about slowing down and listening. It's been difficult lately, having to sit quietly with this sore back and not do all the activities that call to me—chores to do, dog to run, things to do... My body is forcing me to evaluate my priorities once again, and amazingly enough, chores are not really that high on the list. I enjoyed spending the time yesterday writing the poem—it felt productive in a very creative, personal way—a way that satisfies my own inner desire for expression and has little to do with the outside world that "vision relates." It's about moving beyond what my limited sensory perception brings in, and tapping into that deeper, more visceral experience.


      In this quiet afternoon,
      lulled by sunshine's warmth,
      body attunes
      to deeper rhythm,
      one unheard beneath
      ordinary pace.

      Ever so slowly,
      ever so fragile,
      awareness reminds me
      that there is more to this existence
      than what vision relates.

      Disdainful of unspoken rules,
      knowledge blossoms to life
      behind beating heart,
      grows into certainty
      with fierce gladness,
      claiming rightful recognition,
      a lost connection
      rekindled by
      fleeting silence and
      fed by hope.

      This rare gift of belonging
      wraps around my nature
      and claims me as beloved,
      turning this quiet afternoon
      into a new beginning.

    Carol Lynn Mathew-Rogers

    Soquel, CA

    Here is a poem from my darker side. I have several of these poems and I've hesitated putting them out because I don't know your age, tastes, etc. But timidity has nothing to do with poetry. I had a friend read Burial at Sea whose taste and intelligence I admire and respect. To my delight he got my intent. There is no feeling in this world as clean and satisfying as communication.


      In that place between dreaming and waking,
      I died, falling from a great liner
      and drowning after a screaming struggle.

      I sank slowly below the surface
      as the great juggernaut slowed,
      stopped, turned for an eternity,
      then came back searching, gliding powerless.

      One hundred feet below the North Atlantic's
      surface I hung suspended arms outstretched
      in an attempt to embrace my own death.

      Sound carries in water so I could hear
      everything being said aboard the liner
      —a babble, the consternation, the fear,
      jokes, boredom, the cabin love making,
      the snores, a child crying out in sleep,
      the music of a band playing a theme from Cats.

      I could see the amazing hull moving slowly
      massive before and above me, could see
      the little boats making a wake on the surface
      as they searched for me, could see the
      searchlights playing over the swells,
      could think how puny and helpless we were
      against the world of deep water.

      I could understand that this hearing and seeing
      was not of ears and eyes but of the mind
      and then only transitory and that I would move
      on to a new lifeless understanding.

      Then hanging effortless in icy water
      with the little boats gone I could hear
      the captain or perhaps a ship's officer
      read the burial service and then the great ship
      —its hull all black with a red water line—
      shuddered as its engines engaged the screws
      and it began a ponderous moving.

      I thought they are leaving me
      as the ship passed before my dead man's stare
      and disappeared in the murky light shafts of water
      and then my body was turned and swirled and tumbled
      by currents created by the propellers and then
      it was quiet. My body rocked in an eternal sea rhythm.

      Then the last human emotion engulfed me.
      A great—greater than the ship—incredible
      peace and rightness came over me as my body
      began a majestic slow-motion dive to
      the bottom, to the bed of the sea from
      which all life came and to which
      my body was now consigned.

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

    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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