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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #14

  • Section A: January 15, 2002
  • Section B: February 15, 2002
  • Section C: March 15, 2002
  • Section D: April 20, 2002
  • Section E: May 15, 2002
  • Section F: .................................................................. June 15, 2002

    Colorado Springs, CO

    On my birthday in the year 1998, I found myself rising that morning with a great desire to write my obituary. After all, who better to write my obituary than me? Thinking, that if it was filled with what she hoped to accomplish, instead of what she did accomplish, there was still time to correct it. I had no idea what I was going to say, and what flowed freely from pen to paper astonished me. I had always wondered about the book, "Conversations with God." How does one really know when they are talking to a higher source? That morning I had my answer. As my birthday approaches again, I would like to share the conversation I had that morning. I do believe that this message was not just for me. And to all those who can relate...I say to you, look to the rainbow.


    Patricia Ann Doneson entered this world on June 23rd, at 6:55 a.m., and she knew that the sun peaking over the horizon was smiling upon her, and saying:

    "You are blessed my little one, for I will shine my light upon you everyday of your life. Like myself, you will rise every morning and greet the day with a smile. And I will help you rise above the many challenges that life will place upon you, starting at a very young age.

    You will work with those who carry the broken heart. And the things you see and feel will break your own heart. This wounding that you take on early in your life will break my own heart. And the rains that fall from the heavens will be my own tears wept for the burdens you will carry.

    I speak not to the small babe that you are now, but to the soul that you carry. All of this is necessary. For one cannot repair anything, especially the heart, until they learn for themselves the things that can break the heart.

    I wish you well on this enormous journey, my little one. Your spirit will slip further and further away as I let go of your tiny hand this day. And many times you will curse me for this journey. That is why I speak into your tiny ear this day. And my most fervent prayer is...that one day; you will remember this conversation and know that with this burden I also gave to you the courage to survive it.

    You have entered this world with my own need to understand the broken heart. Since I myself cannot walk this beautiful planet, and must be content to only smile upon it. I give to you the gift I so desire myself...the gift to walk upon this beautiful Earth.

    I give to you the gifts of nature and the ability to understand not only its beauty, but its wisdom and knowledge as well. Many times you will smile at a flock of birds. Many times you will place your strong back against a tree, as you look upward through a blur of tears, while your spirit yearns to lay down this burden and soar as the bird soars. And your heart and your spirit will climb upon their wings as you try to remember how to fly.

    One day, all of your yearnings will be understood, and you will come to love this planet as I love it. And I will shade my own eyes from the bright sun that shines back to me from Earth. And we will be one and the same again. I have missed you much more than you have missed me. Every time a soul finds their way back...I weep tears of joy. And the rainbow you see in the heavens—is my 'Thank You.'"

    Much Love, Your Constant Companion, The Sun

    June 23, 1998

    OBITUARY 2002

    You might well ask, did Patricia Ann accomplish all that she set out to do? Probably not...few do. However, I can tell you that no matter what life handed to her, she never quit dreaming. And if she were given to tombstones, and such a burial, you would find engraved upon this stone, a simple statement dedicated to all of my fellow dreamers:


    Patricia Ann Doneson

    Big Sur, CA


      O river of my heart's longing,
      how you reveal
      my deepest secrets
      with such grace, yet abandon

      I linger by your wild shore,
      my soul bowing to you,
      becoming transparent
      through your clear mirror

      O river of my heart's longing,
      the dead tree trunk fallen
      upon the bleached sand
      is an isle quiescent
      amidst your gushing flow

      The emerald tree sisters, tall,
      reflect their naked budding arms,
      shimmering in your primal waters

      O river of my heart's longing,
      your music walks my unseen self;
      only my soul remains


      Are you a dream, a life-long dream
      that now appears in the flesh of you—
      the amber glowing hide of you
      glistening towards me like
      a lantern of unspoken tomorrows?

      And what about our dyings,
      our dissolvings, our nothingness,
      repeated through the ebony starless nights—
      will they keep impregnating us
      with the great void of existence?

      While just now
      the spring seed of us again has bloomed,
      and I know to let it burgeon
      its magenta plume of yellow promise,
      not breathe away one breath with expectation—
      the annihilator of purple freedom,
      its vistas of vibrant horizon

    © 2002

    Carolyn Mary Kleefeld

    Big Sur, CA


      tell them that we celebrated experience
      until it made us sick.

      tell them that we sang songs until the dawn,
      and not always joyfully.

      tell them even our sorrows
      were magical and every pain
      somehow a blessing.

      tell them that we love
      even while we lost, and,
      we gained the whole world.


      grass grows
      and then arrives
      the holy seeds.
      everything changes.
      soon, what worlds will
      be born where the wind
      falls on the wild mountain?
      nothing but the future
      will be imagined:
      the promise of purple lupin
      and the endless, nameless,
      little yellow ones—
      a spring dress
      for no flower's desire,
      but colorful little delicacies
      for the summer deer.

    © 2002

    David Dunn

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    Section E: .................................................................. May 15, 2002

    Vancouver, British Columbia

    This is something I wrote after reading some of the contributions on your site. I write a lot but never anything vaguely resembling poetry—have never tried and didn't really here either, this just sort of 'happened' and I didn't feel I should mess with it, didn't know what to change it into.


      Some small thing you wrote
      was to me
      a lifting and a clearing,
      much more than an inkling
      of striking translucence, perhaps.

      I was me but now I am
      me plus what you wrote,
      a me with an altered or modified view
      when I read your words I
      shared your eyes.

      That small thing with
      its silent sudden all-knowing
      did not know of my boundaries and limitations and
      flattened them in turn.
      And so I grew.

      For that small thing you wrote,
      maybe long ago and not here,
      there was no wall and so I
      stepped through
      or stumbled
      or fell,
      looked up,
      and went further.

    Carolyn Verduzco

    Big Sur, CA


      do you still bow
      like the young ones?
      do you still lay white roses
      on the bare arms of life?
      do you still undress yourself with song,
      just before dawn, like a little—
      quivering flower?
      or are you still as bitter as black frost,
      a dark rose who sleeps with her thorns?
      are you still too immense to grasp?
      are you really whole or are you broken
      in a million fragments like a giant mirror
      broken and thrown into the abyss?
      are you growing and blossoming even while
      slowly dying?
      are you comforting me or have i been deceived?
      are your roots cramped and withering
      in a pot that's too small,
      or do you fly free in the squall of the sky
      above the sea...

    David Dunn

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

    I plucked this one off of the dreamscape of awakening the other morning.

    (Editor's comment: I feel this dream contains collective references we can all relate to! I invite you to send in to LBOL your interpretation and/or personal meaning.)

      The rose of death lingers close in the Monastery its petals caressing the air with a rich perfume. Above all else this has more to do with its location than anything. High up on the South Mountain called "the height of the Buddha." It is a most dangerous and peculiar place. Its location on the cliff gives it a view of a small lake below which changes color according to the time of year. It is white with ice and snow in the winter, and transparent blue and purple in the spring turning to a green and then a pink as the algae take over in the summer. In the fall it becomes at once grey and silver with the coming storms.

      This particular location means that the Monastery has never had to have an abbot. The location its self provides all of the discipline that the monks need. There are thirteen cells located on a granite ledge, which faces into the morning light. They are connected by a collection of rope and wooden bridges that need constant attention. Constant attention to make sure that they are strong enough, but also constant attention to a miss step when you are walking on them to assure that you won't fall.

      The Thirteen cells that make up the Monastery are made of the granite of the cliff. The sharp stones make the simplest huts, which have next to them rooms, sometimes with out roofs, for the storage of firewood, and water jars. The water jars are held in holes, which are lined with grass from the meadow by the lake below. This grass keeps them from freezing clear through in all but the most cold of winter days when the winds are making movement on the mountain impossible.

      Each of the thirteen cells is occupied all winter long by a monk from each of the Monasteries in the country. They are elected by their brothers to spend the winter on the South Mountain. They are selected for this the most rigorous of meditation because of their ability, although it has been known in the past that abbots have used the Monastery as punishment. The early death of those who were punished makes this sentence very rare in the community.

      The monks approach the mountain in the spring. They gather at the top of the pass that leads to the mountain and wait for the occupants to descend usually on the week of the Buddha's Birthday. I say usually because the new monks cannot ascend the mountain until last years monks descend it and there have been years when no one came from the mountain. Fifty years ago when the spring came and the new monks were gathered on the pass, no one came down from the mountain. They waited for a month and then after much consulting of the records to see what should be done in this case, the abbot of the closest Monastery ascended the mountain with two monks only to discover that an avalanche of ice and stone had swept parts of the Monastery down the gorge. The bodies of the monks were never found and it was assumed that all had perished while helping their brothers.

      When the retiring monks come down to the pass, they are heralded by a great feast prepared by the villagers and are given the chance to tell the new monks as much as they can about what life is going to be like on the Mountain. They then disperse to various enclaves in the cities of the world to teach the word of the Buddha. Their experience will help other on the path to enlighten.

      The new class of monks then has from the end of the banquet to the coming of the winter storms to gather all of the fuel and food that they will need for their months of isolation. The village and schools that are nearest to the Monastery provide as much rice and food as they can, but as with all places of learning there is often a poverty of what could be used. Then it is up to the monk to gather on his own, that which he will need for the winter.

      When the snows have come and the winds scour the face of the mountain the monks begin their meditation.

    Steve Brown

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    Section D: .................................................................. April 20, 2002

    Big Sur, CA


      river flowing slowly,
      how i almost envy you.
      wordless water flowing over
      stones without ever bruising
      —flowing always toward the sea,
      toward the never regretful sea.
      while at dawn pale blue clouds
      sail over you and turn the day
      into a dream. dream river.
      dreamless flowing water.
      water never lonely.
      water never thinking.
      never even feeling.
      river dreams, so like my own—
      just flowing, flowing onward
      to the never regretful sea.

    David Dunn

    Big Sur, CA


      The heavy, moist breath of God
      infuses the holy darkness
      As I walk through the black prayer
      of this biting cold night,
      my regenerated soul
      feels at rest, returned to origin

      Green and rust-red leaves,
      others with a yellow tint
      are crispy poems,
      stars fallen of the seasons
      Their rhymes carpet our poets' stroll,
      our path spun from gold

      And in the silver silence,
      the stars lend vacant eye,
      glittering of their distant presence,
      revealing lights of their unknown souls

      Later, this prayer into blackness
      anoints me with its gossamer balm


      Tonight you return to me,
      like the solstice of the winter sun
      turning toward more light

      We had become each other's ashes,
      carcasses of past orgies,
      now left in abandonment
      to the ruthless beasts of Nature's change

      The unmerciful face of a dark god
      had watched us blaze,
      turn to cinders in each other's arms

              But now, for this abundant moment,
              we glow as One—with each other,
              with the candle's flame,
              with the ebony master of night

              I lie here on the pink sheets of our meadow,
              warm, filled with our pomegranate wine

      The seas churn below,
      rich in their storm's foam,
      as we for the moment can be

    Carolyn Mary Kleefeld

    Tucson, AZ


      He claimed to have made major rank
      With battlefield promotions in Vietnam
      Including 18 months in a Laotian POW camp
      Just the place, no doubt, for R&R

      So he goes by Gizmo
      That's what we all call him
      And Ray-Ray who claimed to be an ex-marine
      And an ex-con
      Lived in the hooch

      That is when I first met them,
      The day before it snowed in Tucson

      Ray was big.
      6'4" lean and strong
      Gizmo called him Monster
      But he actually does that to a lot of people

      I stole four oak pallets
      From behind the supermarket
      And drove out to the open desert near the hooch

      Ray and Gizmo helped haul
      The pallets back to the hooch
      And it was a good thing
      Cause that night it was cold

      I had been fired from my job that day

      The next day it was cold
      The sky was overcast
      The open desert not oppressed by heat

      I remembered the words Ray had spoken
      By the fire: "Join the Circle of Life."

      So I walked back through the desert
      To the hooch by the Palo Verde tree
      Where BenJammin and John
      Had come to sit by the fire
      It got nasty
      So we all crowded into the hooch

      Ray and I had a game of chess
      The best of my life
      And then it began to snow
      As we could see through the open blanket cover
      That is the door of the hooch

      It didn't stay on the ground
      But the ground wasn't warm, either

      Ray got a fire going
      By breaking up the pallets with an iron bar
      We all got outside in the rain
      It finally began to hail
      After I had brought some hot coffee from home
      I said goodbye for the day

      Ray moved on, but Gizmo is still there
      And I remember
      The Circle of Life
      Contains us all

    (Snowstorm of January 30, 2002, Tucson, Arizona)

    Chris Lovette

    Salt Lake City, UT

      APRIL 5, 2002

      We are still up and
      go out at 3am
      to get diet coke

      The Machine rejects the dollar
      three times
      and the other
      regurgitates root beer in a red
      cold can

      My stomach is empty
      but I feel full
      there are plans to travel
      and to keep what is left
      transforming the images
      through the rearview
      on Monday.

      Coming back
      will be clear
      500 hungry souls
      heard me talk today
      of Jung
      and dreams
      and potatoes going by
      like life
      on a conveyer belt
      there are too many avenues
      to express oneself
      contained in a body branching
      off to the Universe
      each limb asking for
      and places

      When I am ready
      I will begin my own practice
      after forays into
      the world
      that beckons
      no attachments

      Much to be said
      with Kate, my baby, cheerfully vomiting
      her banana milk
      wearing a litle slugger tank
      she knows German words and
      everyone thinks she is a boy

      My intelligence is not healing me
      and I can't talk the way
      out of survival
      so I become a depth psychologist
      a healer without money
      to start a business perhaps this year
      after travels and chaos

      A smirk
      at the sun
      who today warms
      my body
      remembers my name.

    Ingrid Middleton

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    Section C: .................................................................. March 15, 2002

    Carmel, CA


      In the giving

      reaching between
      violet veils

      a figure has been lost
      beneath the waves

      of this Dawn

      soul has dropped
      as required

      brightly shining
      into chrysalis

      still to dream

      of transparent

    John Dodson

    Colorado Springs, CO

    I just wanted to share with you what I consider a major healing in me. I received this piece on Valentines Day and it felt like a true gift to me.


      Late in the blooming
      of my life am I—
      not realizing, until now,
      that the imperfections that
      proceeded this moment
      was the preparation of the
      soil and the seeding of my
      very soul. A place where
      weeds and flowers and even
      rancid wheat might grow. None
      needing to be pulled up or plucked out.

      Not realizing, until now, that the
      tears I shed was my own soul
      watering the very things I rejected
      in myself. The union and communion
      of all things without judgement.

      Not seeing, until now, the
      endless possibilities of such
      a garden where all things
      and all parts of self may co-exist.

      Not capable, until now,
      to appreciate the sweet stench
      of compost that nurtured my blooming.

      Not trusting, until now, that
      what came before—makes
      this moment possible NOW.

    Patricia Ann Doneson

    Tucson, AZ

    The following is today's poem, which is full of some rather personal content. As it is simply an experience snapshot in poetry, there is no question of realism or not.


      White short-sleeved blouse
      Pulled tightly accross your torso
      Black shoes with ankle straps
      Rose colored lips
      Cheeks like pomegranates
      Knee and foot
      Tapping a body rythm
      Deeper than background conversation

      Then she is gone
      Painted pink cheeks
      Knee-length blue skirt and all
      Behind the security door
      That only staff can open

      Here at the mental health clinic
      Waiting for a referral to nowhere

      Nevertheless the pearls,
      Whether real cultured or fake
      Shine against her skin

    Chris Lovette

    San Antonio, TX

    I am sending you 2 poems I wrote recently.


      It seems my whole life has been spent searching
      For a place to belong, for fellowship, for churching.
      As far back as I can remember at my Grandmother's knee,
      I was brought up to believe in God & that He'd be there for me.

      Many church homes have come my way and gone away
      I was looking for a missing something to brighten each day.
      Fellowship, friends, a place where I could hear God's song,
      A place where truly I could let my hair down and know I belong.

      The truth is simple, and that is each person needs friends
      Man was not meant to be alone—in fellowship time mends.
      So I say, join in a group and invest in throngs of people
      Many are as needy as you—just look beneath the steeple.

      Each person will find physical, spiritual and emotional strength there
      With love overflowing we will find we have plenty of love to share.
      Invest in Christ and your Church home with time and you'll find
      That He will give you the power to have Fellowship & Friends combined.

      The message is there plain and sincere for all to see and hear
      Come to Church, get together in God's Loving atmosphere.
      Yes, my fellowman, I just figured out that I cannot make it on my own
      But by using friendship circles & fellowship groups I'll not be alone.


      My sins were many throughout my troubled life.
      Trials and tribulations caused stress and strife.
      Forgiveness is not the only key to unlock my heart,
      But it does let a new day begin and a new life start.

      Let me learn to walk in the path of the way of my Lord
      Then put away hatred and pack up my sharp sword.
      For as I have searched deep into my heart and mind
      And a culmination of resentment is all I could find.

      Perhaps little children are not meant to always behave,
      Perhaps they have to put on a smile and show they are brave,
      I know my parents did the best for me that they could
      Not knowing in memory each punishment might be misunderstood.

      I am now grown and have children & grandchildren of my own,
      And realize that each person must fit into destiny unknown.
      Should I cry out for my brother or sister and the hurts they caused?
      Or can I simply forgive them and go on after the incident paused?

      This Sunday in church I heard about the forgiveness of God
      I have heard this many times and never thought it be odd,
      That in order to put imagined hurts or wrongs on the top shelf,
      I must first learn to listen to God and forgive myself.

    Shirley Smalley Price

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    Section B: .................................................................. February 15, 2002

    Carmel, CA

      (sunset / full moonrise)

      I know who I am
      in this cave

      I know

      my truest poems
      must remain


      I know the thunder
      of these waves

      heart to heart

      this day and
      forever must

      be kept secret

    John Dodson

    Big Sur, CA


      O Soul who wanders
      so far beyond me,
      I call out to you,
      to your echoing silence
      and hear not the answers

      O Soul, I wait in longing—
      human, pathetic and confused
      You continue out of reach,
      yet deep and urging,
      without name

      I, who must deal
      with earthly torpor,
      know you are hidden
      in your Secrets

      While I walk about
      disguised in earthly garb,
      you are primal and naked,
      bathing in your splendor,
      in raw feeling's silk

      While the sorrows and havoc
      of everyday consume me,
      I eat of infinity's fruits of death,
      blessings from loved ones departed
      You are complacent,
      already full of these elements

      You are the Source
      I am a conduit, your servant,
      always in answer to you—blindly
      I lie in the dark ocean of night
      and wonder at all the images,
      feelings and thoughts
      swimming through me,
      while you are the Dark itself,
      the Invisible Source
      You are the unseen me

      I wait as the fool
      for answers unknowable,
      while you are the Unknown

      When my heart is mute
      and I am lost,
      you wander all places at once
      and are not lost
      because you are always at home

      When my way to
      fulfillment has gone astray,
      you remain calm and lucid
      in your wisdom of Ambiguity

      While I falter
      in the world of things,
      answering to the banks,
      you can be outside of the temporal
      and be what others seek

      Tolerance looks on through you
      while I, feeling like an imposter,
      am trapped sometimes
      in the density

      And when my work
      is done and the sunset
      carries me back to the Night,
      you await, and we become One


      Primal, savage, raw,
      the raging ebony skies
      of a black stallion night
      glitter with the endless eyes
      of ancient herds gone by

      The towering trees of far-reaching limb
      are lavishly studded with radiant gem

      I ride the eternal horse,
      the night-creature noble,
      through the fathomless dome,
      into the emerald gardens of a midnight blue

      Far and distant I am drawn,
      beyond the human eye,
      into the ancient lights
      of lost cities and vanishing mists,
      into the palace of light,
      the spiraling constellation within

    Carolyn Mary Kleefeld

    Albuquerque, NM

    I spent the holidays with a sick father who spent 23 days in the hospital. He is 91—never smoked or drank, but his heart is showing its age and he has various other "physical aspects" ... As a recovering alcoholic and drug addict ... I suppose that maturity escapes me much of the time. It was only just yesterday (literally) that I understood that there is nothing unusual about my father being close to passing away. I am finally beginning to understand that we all pass away. DUH! I don't know why that one took me 50 years to figure out. I guess in spite of getting a 160 score on one of those Stanford-Binet tests I often miss the extremely obvious.

    I do have this one poem.

      LOVE SONG #1

      Got the tired man blues
      So long, going down so long
      By the river where the willows grow

      Need you now to get these blues away
      Lacy eyes and you can smile me up
      Down goes up when I look in your eyes

    Chris Lovette

    Carmel Valley, CA


      We maneuver an emotional tango,
      you the dispassionate partner guiding
      with firm hands,
      my feet skimming hardwood
      like a Dutch-foot chorus line.

      I make appointments for torture,
      a reluctant martyr to my own rehabilitation
      from self-destructive thoughts.

      You probe, questions like scalpels
      opening crusty scabs, reattaching
      severed alliances
      I hoped were consigned
      to rootbound crypts.

      I stall for time,
      switch topics mid-sentence,
      deflect the hand mirror you clench
      and wave before my eyes.

      You keep full cases
      of soft tissue in your storeroom,
      place a discreet box on the end table
      in your cozy inquisition chamber,
      empty the waste basket when I leave.

    *(Diane Ackerman -"Timed Talk")

    Laura Bayless

    La Canada, CA

    I just did a major update on my web site...and added LOTS of new photos. Here are some examples.

    [photo #1] [photo #2]

    [photo #3]

    Martha Ann Bryan
    Martha's web site

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    Section A: .................................................................. Jan 15, 2002
    Big Sur, CA


      The vulnerable sliver of moon
      lingers behind the black mountains,
      tenuously allowing herself to be visible,
      breathing her goddess light
      into our weary souls

      We bathe in the dark waters of night
      while the lunar goddess soothes us,
      fills us with mercurial light,
      her delicate white wine

      This ancient entity suspended,
      sings her prayer across the seas

      She murmurs to us
      of the marriage lit by eternity

      (for Oscar Janiger,
      written the night of his earthly departure)


      Are you the lone puma
      of the black night
      who lays his heart
      upon the white granite
      of re-creation?

      With the paling emerald
      of the tall, gray grasses,
      what do you stalk,
      but the peace hidden beneath
      your stealthy paws?

      Do you still kill the deer
      when your body cries for sustenance
      because you can't be
      else than you are?

      In the man of you,
      dear beloved puma,
      in your nomad wanderings—
      do you now find
      a jade garden
      by a different path?

      And under your softly
      touching feet
      on the white stones,
      a different scripture
      to decode?

    Carolyn Mary Kleefeld

    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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