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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #19

  • Section A: July 15, 2004
  • Section B: August 15, 2004
  • Section C: September 15, 2004
  • Section D: October 15, 2004
  • Section E: November 15, 2004
  • Section F: .................................................................. December 15, 2004

    San Jose, CA



      You called and asked me
      To cook your favorite desert.
      Silky rich cream custard
      Trembling in an amber lake
      Of dark golden, bitter sweet sugar

      I feel light with delight
      As I understand you understand
      Our communion
      Beyond the vulgarity of words.
      Weightless, without burden
      And for a long moment I belong.


      Your hand trembles.
      Your voice breaks,
      Reciting your favorite poem.
      My hand trembles.
      My heart quickens
      Touched by your passion.


      I locked the door behind you.
      The hum of your car has faded fast.
      Eery silence fills the house,
      An adagio of absence
      Which makes the heart ache
      And long for your return.
      This is the music of grief
      When the dead are present
      In their final absence.
      To hell with fear of thieves,
      Unlock the door again.

    Franz Spickhoff

    Del Rey Oaks

      News Headline:
      "Tall trucks aren't a risk factor in crashes, police say"


      we cannot forget her
      because he killed her
      with his truck
      raised up high
      for the "off roading"
      around Salinas High
      to impress the girls
      raised so high
      he could not see her
      "he was such a good kid"
      he killed her
      he could not see her
      she was a "short Latina"
      to short for the wilds
      around Salinas High
      we cannot forget her
      for as long as we live
      born in Texas
      killed in California
      deported like others
      because she was too short
      and a "Latina"?
      we cannot forget her

    Stephen Brown

    Fair Oaks, CA

    Here is my latest poem. I wrote it in my writers group when we were tasked to write on the subject of crying. I really didn't want to do it, and felt paralyzed at first, but then these words came through, almost as if they came through me, instead of from me. I was certainly surprised!


      I don't want to write
      about crying.

      I don't want to
      open those floodgates.

      I feel the surge
      of unshed tears
      crashing and pounding
      inside my throat,
               already strong
      ready to spill out
      onto the table—
      ready to drown me
      with their

      There are days
      like today
      where my unshed tears
      crouch inside me,
      monsters ready
      to leap out
      ready to consume
      my fragile world—
      ready to tear my legs
      from my weakened body
      rendering me
      leaving me wet and bloodied
      leaving me empty and dry
      leaving me



    Carol Mathew-Rogers

    Salinas, CA


      You who can see me,
      Lend me your eyes for the day.
      Let me share your vision.
      See my beauty in intimate play.

      You who can hear me,
      Lend me your silence and your voice.
      Let me choose your words
      As though it were your own choice.

      You who I scare,
      Lend me your concept of death.
      Let me recycle your fears
      And live in your circle of breath.

      You who can see me
      Lend me your eyes for the day.
      Let me share your vision
      See my beauty in intimate play.

      [The Ancient]

    Laura Carley

    Big Sur, CA


      Then later,
      by the river,
      when twilight
      shyly approaches,
      how you've almost
      forgotten her!
      But not quite.
      Suddenly you
      remember and hold
      her in your arms
      as if it were forever.
      And you wonder:
      Did it ever happen?
      Because the stars once,
      long before struggling
      to know, were born
      with shining mystery;
      they cradled fates
      and led the foolish
      to fulfill foolish things.
      Did you ever imagine?
      Because for so long
      you never suspected
      trust and still only
      in fragments.
      Look: She has been
      here since the beginning.
      One breath later her life
      mingles with your own.
      Another breath later,
      very near the end
      (which is also like
      another beginning)
      the whole world
      appears as if it were
      destiny all along.

    David Wayne Dunn


      We drive around and around the hairpin turns,
      hugging the jeweled spine of Highway One
      above the salty churn of seas
      on the high cliffs of oblivion.

      Flooding us with the black air of night,
      the infinite darkness swallows our hearts.

      Lost to the wilderness of spirit,
      we drive on and on through the ebony night
      hearing the sighs of the cliffs of oblivion
      buried beneath the rush of humans,
      unclaimed by the stars above.

    Carolyn Kleefeld

    Colorado Springs, CO


      I do not
      know this—or that

      And—neither do you.

      It is hearsay,
      it is gossip,
      and you know it.

      To feast
      on a lie means your
      soul must go hungry,
      for there is a poison
      found in words that
      is far more lethal
      than the poison
      found in food.

      Better—to rise
      from this table of
      strangers who offer up
      their friend's as dessert.

      Next time—
      It could be you.

    Patricia Ann Doneson

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    Section E: .................................................................. November 15, 2004

    Carmel Valley, CA


      Awakened, after midnight
      by the clatter of loose stones
      dislodged on the slope
      beneath my window
      and the exotic click
      of clashing antlers,
      I leap up and go outside,
      witness two mature bucks
      engaged in battle,
      pivoting, unyielding,
      shoulder muscles rigid,
      hooves flying.

      Heads low, horns locked,
      they press and lunge
      under a half-moon's waxen light,
      hurl pebbles and dry grass
      into the maelstrom of their struggle.
      Fascinated by this primitive rivalry,
      the collision of brawn and lust
      holds me hostage
      to their dance of brute force.

      Eventually one, exhausted,
      yields and they vault away
      down the hillside,
      their harsh quick breaths,
      snorts and squeals,
      audible in the clear night air.

    Laura Bayless



      As a child I searched for the truth eagerly,
      stripping an onion layer by layer,
      shedding lots of tears
      nearly blind in the end
      when I found
      not much,
      all good pieces had been lost in the process.
      is an onion the answer?

    Hilly Mueller

    Fair Oaks, CA

    I've really been enjoying the poetry posted in LBOL. It is always a pleasure to read the creative contributions of everyone. I find inspiration and deep gratitude when I connect through the words of others. In particular, I've appreciated these works by Shirley Tofte: "My Breasts" in the October 2004 posting, and "My Poem" in the September posting. Please forward my regards to her.

    Here is a poem I wrote on July 28th during my weekly writing group. We were to write a declaration of self, without apology or modesty. The assignment was intimidating at first, but then these words came forth.

      I AM

      I am
      wondering what to write
      Who am I?
      What do I bring to this
      luscious table called life?

      I am soft arms and beating heart
      holding you close
      sending warm love
      straight inside.

      I am
      twinkling eyes
      cracking jokes
      sharp wit that rolls
      from gleeful tongue
      humor clothed with love.

      I am warm candlelight
      fire inside
      flickers of moments
      spent in pain and sorrow
      brought forth
      with care to heal.

      I am
      open arms
      a place to carry those
      heavy burdens
      and leave them
      where you will.

      I am
      and line
      texture and tone
      dreams that shout
      their need to
      burst through
      into waking life.

      I am softly singing
      murmurs of song
      music seeping
      wrapping us all
      in wondrous

      I am
      cranky and tired
      overwhelmed and done in
      shrewish screams
      to push you away.

      I am
      at peace and
      at home.
      I am.

    Carol Mathew-Rogers

    Colorado Springs, CO


      To be white,
                   when I know
      how black I am,
      is painful.

      When memory lies
      unveiled, to a life
      with other purpose,
                   other lessons,
      is painful.

      I miss the velvet
      feel of my black skin,
      and the coal pitch
      color of my eyes.

      The piercing way
      such blackness views
      the burning sun
      of another day.

                   and heat,
      and the sweet
      singeing aroma

      that tints my flesh
      a darker, richer hue.

      I miss the visible signs
      that speak of who I am,
      and from where I came.

      I am invisible,
      in this white coat
      that offers acceptance
      into a world, I know,

      I do not belong.

    Patricia Ann Doneson

    Saint Petersburg, FL

    This picture has Mom and I with our quilt on the design wall at my house. The heirloom quilt that was my great-grandmothers in on the quilt frame by the chair. It was inspired by an heirloom quilt Mom has; it was a wedding gift to Mom's Grandmother in 1879.

    [The Quilts]

    The old quilt is a pattern called Carolina Lily. (Picture shows just a few blocks) I made the center medallion of the new quilt in the old style. It is hand pieced. Then I surrounded it with flowers pieced with modern techniques. It is very special to be able too share a creative project with Mom at this time in her life. This will be our 5th collaboration.

    Patty Matthews

    Monterey, CA


      A handful of play dough
      Soft and maleable,
      Squishes in my palms,
      Lets me explore
      Shapes, touch, texture.
      Simple white clay feels
      Heavy with potential
      Invites my inner child
      To play
      Mold it
      Without judgment.
      Soon a bowl
      Emerges to embrace me
      Within the circle of
      My own hands,
      Speaks without a word.

      Here am I for now.
      I will change form
      And so will you.
      Are you prepared?
      What intention calls you forth
      Into new expression?
      You too are a vessel
      Formed out of the rich clay
      Of Mother Earth.
      Anyone can do it.
      It is meant to be fun!
      Squeeze, squish,
      Slosh in the mud!
      Swim in the sea!
      Life is what you make it.
      Smile, for this is child's play.
      At least that's what I say,
      But I'm only a piece of clay.

    Shirley Tofte

    IDC CIF Pendleton, IN

    The past year has been anything but easy going. I have a family member struggling with leukemia. I do not even know how to put into words how this experience leaves me feeling. So un-helpful...

    I miss you and the Creative Edge. I still have all the old (Newsletters) and look through them often. I had great joy waiting each time for the next theme to come about.

    Would you consider doing a theme re: The Faithful Warriors in our lives who are ill and how it effects us, them, and the collective "get together" that takes place in such times. And how that same nature of collectiveness should be tapped into and explored, not just in times of great despair etc. It seems to me there is such a great force being tapped into, but only during times of wretched unfair(ness)...

    Why is it that during these awful times of despair we as a collective come together lock, stock and barrel, for lack of better words? This potential and resource of human nature should not have an on and off switch. We should each day embrace the world and others as our life depends on it. Like you said Donald—"Stepping out of our safety zone and or comfort zone and stepping into the unknown..." or for this talk—the well known!

    Such a richness of quality of life right there (the collective) to be constantly tapped. I do not get why only in certain events this richness of collectiveness is open to be experienced? In a process that should provide additional comfort, love, support—I feel ashamed and somehow cheated.

    Perhaps you'll see what I am trying to get across... In honor of (my family member) for his kindness, love and compassion for his fellow man.

    Robert Burgess, 954722, 2A-2B
    Indiana Dept. of Corrections, Correctional Industrial Facility
    PO Box 601
    Pendleton, IN 46064

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    Section D: .................................................................. October 15, 2004

    Tucson, AZ


      You said
      We all have
      The Right
      To Pursue Happiness

      What you didn't tell us
      Is that happiness pursued
      Is never find never mind null found

      Is a by product
      Of a life well lived

      Other than that
      As long as you recognize
      God gives the people their rights
      You are on the right track

      But America please
      Never tell me there is no god
      And that it is you
      Who has given us our rights
      And all of them as your special privilege to us

    Chris Lovette

    Monterey, CA


      I once was like a sapling tree
      And then within a month or three
      My breasts grew much too big for me.

      One day I saw to my surprise
      That they had grown to triple size
      And life forever changed.

      I filled my arms with extra books
      Still people gave me knowing looks
      Which only made me shy.

      I started wearing baggy clothes
      My old ones were too tight.
      I started reading novels
      And avoided glaring fight

      I've since had nursing babies
      Three times my breasts grew double.
      They've given me some pleasure
      And not a little trouble.

      But I am not my breasts.
      They're just apart of me.
      My body is the vessel
      Of much more than what you see.


      Ready to change course
      I gather images
      Without knowing
      How to use them.

      Please, what is it I want?
      Where with all my gifts can I go?
      To what purpose, what promise,
      What plan?
      I feel adrift
      Without rudder
      Or blueprint.

      My heart hums with energy
      While I give in to empty
      Pleasure seeking
      Puttering around.
      Let me give myself
      To something greater
      And prompt me
      With a song that
      Only I can hear.

    Shirley Tofte

    Carmel Valley, CA


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

      at daybreak
      concepts of time
      negotiate a maze in my mind

      songbirds distract me
      with their sweet high notes
      sky begins to lighten
      and I am left behind

      moments have been in motion without me,
      an unevenly distributed future

      I remain lost in meditative state
      while everything else stirs
      continues the chain of evolution

      every now and then
      I experience a lightning flash
      propelling me forward

      I travel between
      random dimensions
      without dominion over clocks

      this is the adventure of life
      this haphazard fortuitous
      calamitous lack of hold on time
      the hours unkind

      I hold onto the fine linen of the moment
      reach out to touch ripening light in early morning

      everything just beyond my full comprehension
      I would not have it any other way

    Laura Bayless

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    Section C: .................................................................. September 15, 2004

    Morgan Hill, CA


      A slice of ice is very nice
      On sultry days and sumner nights
      A slice of ice is positively nice.
      While working in your toolshed, or maybe on a long bike ride,
      Or even your hospital bed, or camping by a mountainside,
      It's nice to have yourself a slice of ice.

      So, roll the dice and toss some rice,
      And you may get yourself some ice.
      (Hopefully you won't catch mice
      or wake up in a bed of lice) but soon, perhaps,
      You'll have some really luscious, scrumptious, most delicious ice,
      And that would truly just be very very nice!

      We'll work up some strange new device
      To slice and dice and splice the ice.

      So roll the dice and toss some rice—
      Or toss the dice and roll some rice,
      I really can't remember which—
      But I have got a powerful itch
      To dig down deep into some ditch
      And bring up some enticing frozen tasty shimmering ice.

      We'll wash it till it's squeaky clean
      And toss it into our machine
      And slice and dice the ice.

      In record time (and I mean hasty)
      You will find that you are flipping for a really tasty
      Slush of luscious gripping dripping ice,
      And that will be so super
              ultra, mega, NICE!

    Sasha Kwapinski

    Dorset, England


      Wandering along the sand—
      at the bar of memory,
      something in that ocean there
      intimates eternity;
      not in time that one could know
      nor in space, that one might grasp,
      like the whole of consciousness
      unimaginable, vast!

    There are a lot of my poems wanting to speak on www.mysticseed.com

    Roy Austin

    Monterey, CA

      MY POEM

      My poem resists me,
      Waits in my mind
      Aloof, itches me
      Where I cannot scratch.
      My poem hums its
      Toneless rhythm
      While I search for
      The words.

      An image in
      Glass and water
      Raindrops sliding
      Down my windshield
      Illusive, just beyond reach
      It defies me, yet
      I believe it seeks to be
      Discovered and expressed.

      My poem emerges now
      Bold and free,
      A part of me.
      I follow where it leads,
      Cast my net among the stars
      And catch it with my pen.

    Shirley Tofte

    Carmel Valley, CA


      I am the poem that rises from sleep
      to walk outside and stand
      in the shadowed hour past midnight
      because the black sea above
      is alive with far away eyes
      that wink at me.

      I am the poem that rises from sleep
      to pace the hallway
      because my thoughts
      are crowded with doubt.

      I am the poem that rises from sleep
      to search for the perfect thumbnail
      of moon that lingers over the mountain
      in the west toward morning.

      I am the poem that returns to dreams,
      trailing moonbeams
      from the soles of my feet
      to tuck among the quilts.

      I am the poem that awakes
      to the risk of another day
      not knowing if the night's travels
      are enough to salt the coming hours
      with leftover sparks of stars.

      I am the poem that keeps on
      gathering the grace
      to dance in the darkness.

    Laura Bayless

    Carmel Valley, CA


      waves care not
      that I expound
      on their performance
      and lace finale
      attire for craggy shore

      fire needs not
      my appreciation
      to display
      orange red tongues
      consuming kindling
      in campfire blaze

      the surf crashes
      just a bit more loudly
      and flames burn
      just a bit more brightly
      during my presence.

    Illia Thompson

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    Section B: .................................................................. August 15, 2004

    Dorset, England


      God is something
      but something is not God,
      God is as nothing
      though nothing is not God,
      God is the ultimate
      limit of perception,
      — faith is the love of this,
      love of this mystery:

      Belief is to cleave
      to what you preconceive,
      having circumscribed the prize
      it is that which you idolise!
      Such deception may promise bliss
      but God, will not, be this.

    There are a lot of my poems wanting to speak on www.mysticseed.com

    Roy Austin

    Del Rey Oaks


      the squeak of the bocce roller
      in the fog
      in the mist
      blessings given
      and blessings taken
      cigars and Italian old men
      gathering together
      talking and reminding
      of ancient feuds and
      ancient ways

      children given
      children taken
      some to drugs
      some to the sea
      some to war
      but many giving
      in the ancient way

      grand children and
      great grand children

      the squeak of the bocce roller

    Stephen Brown

    Berkeley, CA

    A postcard from Eire!


      A line, a life, a limb, off to Ireland again, hear a song at Salley Gardens, weekend and week ago,
      world without end. Amen. Ben Bulben's head, W.B.Y., a churchyard, Glen Carr; cliffs and lake,
      pale rider and the tomb, a giant cairn, jutting out the top of Knocknarea.

      I want to go there, be there, poem, poets, learning -some song of Sligo, Red Hanrahan, fiddles,
      little things you lose at night, writing, inviting, playing themselves out, water washing over
      the wier, plein air in Eire, late nights at the Silver Swan, feral goats, riffs on concertina wire.

      Gruffness in the voice, wattles gangway, give way to lifting, lilting notes, boys in the back
      letting us know, letting us go, the long lie of the land reaching, the Rine, and water. Wafting out
      of the place, the song of the reel, it stays light, late night. The inkwell, Hawk's Well, all's well.

      After an hour, not a thought of leaving, Couldn't if I wanted to, green eaves above, leaves around,
      glasses fill, fill again, giggles, laughter as Colleen and Robin talk about skinny dipping by moonlight, off the quay,
      'round Galway Bay, midnight, midsummer, midlife, simply June, full moon.

      Light across water, light on the shore, music of fiddles, bodhran, Uillean pipes, harmonium, banjo,
      an eighty year old guy singing, playing spoons, the sound leaving Monk's, all wondrous, wonderful- musicians and
      listeners merge, rooms and glasses raise, listen, a wellmade violin sings the old song.

    Larry Ruth

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    Section A: .................................................................. July 15, 2004

    Dorset, England


      The truth is but a dream
      where nothing has a name,
      as all our tomorrows
      are that which never came;
      she punished as the sun
      who sought her on the earth—
      through myths of Acheron,
      the mystic's desert dearth;

      in vultures on thermals
      I seem to read her mind,
      she travels with spirit
      but leaves the flesh behind,
      and hides between heart-beats
      that drum her narrow ledge—
      a bottomless chasm
      that hugs the razor's edge.


      The wild strawberry
      tastes like nothing else I know,
      shy behind the leaf;

      below my plimsole
      I see a viper slither
      to a timbered bole,

      and the children, lithe
      surprising with hide and seek,
      echoing strange myth.

    There are a lot of my poems wanting to speak on www.mysticseed.com

    Roy Austin

    Carmel Valley, CA


      To better know the earth,
      we read about proper gardening
      during our first country summer
      in Canterbury, New Hampshire.

      Rich ground awaits our arrival,
      our touch, our caress,
      tender transformation
      from dirt to loam.

      Earth crumbles into service
      on our over planted plot,
      cradles seeds and seedlings
      comforts substance into growth.

      We spy Shaker women
      weed and hoe their soil,
      gradually befriend these
      celibate sisters who lovingly
      trace the outer show of
      our not yet born child.

      Breeze rustles melody.
      Footsteps add percussion.
      Gentle stream, muses.
      Care free lullaby of the land.

      Mornings, we stroll
      past ancient raspberry bushes
      not yet blushing red,
      into garden realm,
      as magic as a Wry tale.

      No giant climbs
      a beanstalk, yet fully
      planted hills of squash
      push forth green leaves
      and yellow blossoms.

      Pate cucumber skins
      darken to deep emerald.
      Tomatoes drop fragile blooms
      to begin orbs of green.

      Bees pollinate without
      a whisper of a sting.

    Illia Thompson

    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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