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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #23

  • Section A: July 15, 2006
  • Section B: August 15, 2006
  • Section C: September 15, 2006
  • Section D: October 15, 2006
  • Section E: November 15, 2006
  • Section F: .................................................................. December 15, 2006

    Carmel Valley, CA


      mother and father nestle ever so close
      gather into a net of silken strands
      the fragile essence of babe's beginnings
      while the world rages with violence

      gather into a net of silken strands
      pulled from innocent loveliness
      the fragile essence of tiny being
      breathing life before full gestation

      pulled from innocent loveliness
      they hold finely formed newness
      breathing life before full gestation
      swaddled with more than woolen cloths

      they hold finely formed newness
      hear desperate cry of pure hunger
      swaddled by more than woolen cloths
      a halo frames newborn appearance

      hear desperate cry of pure hunger
      echoing unheard wails from other babes
      swaddled by more than woolen cloths
      in countries ravaged by awakened evil

      echoing unheard wails from other babes
      arriving ready to absorb awaiting hope
      in countries ravaged by awakened evil
      where only the moment holds knowing

      arriving ready to absorb awaiting hope
      living surrounded by absolute uncertainty
      where only the moment holds knowing
      mother and father nestle ever so close

    Illia Thompson

    Colorado Springs, CO

    This poem seems appropriate for the month of December. I consider it my love letter to the Divine.


      I have looked for you
      everywhere, my Beloved,
      thinking you are the pictures
      they have painted. Each
      image making me long
      for more, leaving me

      I have searched
      the crowd for your face
      and not found you.

      Then—one day,
      I turned my gaze
      from the crowd and
      stared into the eyes of
      only one. A single human
      being, a stranger and
      there I found you.

      I found you
      in the mountains,
      in the bright dawn of
      the sunrise, in the soft
      caress of a summer rain.

      I found you in the tears,
      in the pain,
      in the joy of others.

      I went looking
      for you in the forest,
      and there I found you
      standing in a tree—my tree.

      You are
      and nowhere—and I
      have fallen in love again.

    Patricia Ann Doneson

    Tucson, AZ

    This poem at best limps along. At worst it falls on the ground like a newborn calf who never takes a step before she dies. My attempt to bring it to life is in this short introduction. Be assured that I have no doubts about the divinity of the living god. And although I do have my doubts about the divinity of Jesus, I have no doubt that he spoke the truth.

    After reading this poem Prince Charles would say: "ItÕs rather windy in here, don't you think?" The Zen Master would say: "After you fart, go to the bathroom." And you, should you choose to bear with me, will have your own opinion.


      He loves you to go party for His birth
      Shop early or it will make Jesus weep
      The malls have everything your hearts desire
      Know Jesus doesn't want you to hold back

      Don't get the blues when thinking of the bills
      He promises to help you pay them off
      The more you owe the more you will be blessed
      Prosperity is guaranteed to you

      Kind Jesus always teaches everyone
      By His Spirit and His holy guidance
      No one can show a greater love than this
      To spend more money for the holidays

      And honor those who Jesus loves the best
      It is the time for merchants to be blessed

    Christopher Lovette

    San Jose, CA

      (after 'The Salmon' by Ted Hughes)

      He stands heads up
      in the shade of the Baobab tree,
      the hulking bull buffalo
      motionless and isolated,
      apart from his herd.
      They move slowly, graze peacefully,
      their heads down, bobbing gently.

      The gloss of his massive hide,
      streaked by wide gashes of angry pink,
      claw marks of a fight last night
      with a single lion.
      His tail hangs by a wisp of skin
      limp and useless to fend off flies
      already feasting and breeding in his wounds.

      Standing after the heroic battle,
      majestic in his epic poise.
      Stoic, calm he faces doom
      tonight in the next battle.
      No panic, not a flicker of fear
      before the law of the Kalahari.

    Franz Spickhoff

    Santa Cruz, CA


      It is time to wash
                      and braid my hair,
              to sit alone
                      and watch the bees.
      To hive within myself,
                                      taste honey.

      Now is the time for weaving,
                      of gathering sweetness
              humming golden fiber
                                      into my being.

      It is time to compose
                      my internal fabric.
      To begin my tapestry
                      from what has fallen
                                      to the floor.

      (inspired by Joseph McNeilly)

      Where are you?

      I am here
      I have not gone anywhere,
      I have been the waiting cat

      here on the ledge,
      on your roof
      watching your busy life.

      You have been scurrying everywhere
      but here
      Right here, in here.

      You were so busy
      you did not know
      I was gone

      Yet here I am still

      Where are you now?

      In here, look in the waterfall
      the fountain
      in the spring that gushes from
      deep in the earth.

      In here, follow me down now
      That damp chilly cave
      is me, the source of all waters
      where blind fish swim

      where rocks are walls, ceiling, floor
      where there is no light
      this is where I dwell

      You hear only the slight
      gurgling spring
      This alone

      is who you are
      Singing alone
      with your broken heart

      I am that which
      rises in your blood,
      and calls to you

      As you have called me home.

      Touch me now,
      feel the cool damp
      places in yourself

      hear nothing
      but your rhythmic

      Yes you have been here before
      a thousand times the monk,

      a few hundred the bear
      once or twice a wolf
      with her cubs.

      This cave is
      eternal and

      a moist and mossy floor
      where light
      opens through the roof.

      Remember you tender heart?

      This is where you sewed it back together
      then you became afraid of more stitching.

      You are hidden
      behind a waterfall
      at the bottom of a ravine,
      at the edge of the cliff.


      I was once at the top of the hill
      Then you fell in

      I was there to cool your broken ankle.
      settling in around you,
      in the fierce open waters
      when you left the cave


      Flaming canopy
      Bright orange orchids
      sister to Birds of Paradise
      you cluster brightly
      to lay your firy cheek
      against a hazy sky.

      Black trunk and a few
      fans of green
      cool your burning flowers

      Scattered beneath you in the grass
      your orange blossoms
      blow across
      the road,
      are caught
      along foot paths
      making trails of fire.

    Robin Lopez Lysne

    San Antonio, TX


      The year has been hot and somewhat vicious
      And now its turned cool and it's so delicious.
      Halloween's come and Thanksgiving has gone,
      Christmas'll soon be here, it comes as the dawn.
      Awakens us from our childhood sweet dreams,
      Turns teary hearts into smiling sunbeams.
      Try to ignore the promotional hype,
      Christmas is for sharing, so let us gripe,
      When the stores ban "Merry Christmas To You."
      And it's not Christmas vacation you're due.
      Then someone says it is now called "winter break"
      Leaving Christ's birthday out is one big mistake.
      Let us get the perspective back in place,
      And all negativity just erase,
      For "star light, star bright" wishes can come true,
      But it's up to each to keep Christ in view.
      It's okay to give gifts and decorate,
      Just so we don't tell Christ He has to wait.
      As we celebrate the Bethlehem birth,
      Just maybe peace will encircle the earth.

    Shirley Smalley Price

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    Section E: .................................................................. November 15, 2006

    Del Rey Oaks, CA



      roar the shelter
      crossing aware
      over the edge

      pond reflection
      trees in clouds
      on the surface
      under the edge
      deep in the green
      the lilies float
      on the new spring day
      into the purple
      among the light
      dancing white
      blue and red
      he stood there
      so many years
      living the edge
      of up here
      and down there
      what went in
      and what returned
      to his eye
      to his hands
      he stole the light
      clear edge
      vapor thin
      special facet
      crystal bound
      upon the notion

    Stephen Brown

    Colorado Springs, CO


      With insight
      and age
      life enriches
      the gifts found
      earlier in the journey.

      all the
      pleasures of
      our past mistakes.

      No confession necessary.

      The caterpillar
      did not seek
      as it rested
      in the
      safety of its cocoon.

      It expected nothing,
      sought nothing,

      Asked nothing
      of this
      vacant space.

      once it could fly.

    Patricia Ann Doneson

    Monterey, CA


      Awakened eye sees freshly,
      Reminding me
      To do what needs doing
      To walk instead of running
      To breathe with awareness
      Simply to sit in a chair

      What are these thoughts
      Skimming the horizon of my mind?
      The words that form or fall on my open heart
      From who knows where?

      This pen meanders down the page
      Feeling its way like an inchworm
      At a slow steady pace
      I am curious to know where
      It is wandering.
      Have no worries.
      It's safe here.

      A round table invites
      Today's muse with
      Candle flame in tinted blue glass.
      Pens pursue poems
      While my hand holds my head
      I'm at peace,
      Grateful for this glass of water

      Nothing is needed but this air,
      This water, and a round table
      All around me
      A world of beauty
      Golden rays touch the hillside outside
      With the last light of day


      In the wide space of not knowing,
      Questioning arises,
      A river of thought begins to flow
      Where it will.
      An open-ended sickle cuts a path through
      Uncharted lands where words
      Reformulate memories,
      Meaningful surprises.

      An anvil appears
      Pounding heartbeat rhythms,
      A young girl claps her hands
      To ward off early morning chill
      Eager to begin another day
      Berry picking with Grandpa.
      Six cents a pound and
      All the berries she can eat.
      She sings Chattanooga Shoeshine boy
      And The Blacksmith Blues
      While feet stomp rhythm.
      Dark skies succumb to tangerine glow.

      She envisions an endless journey
      A ribbon dance where
      Music plays from within
      Her own heart's pulse beats
      Without words or accompaniment
      Melodies only she can hear.
      Without effort she is gifted with song
      On her violin, fingers find their way.
      Trust in the music releases initial shyness
      A new world opens, taking her
      Downriver over rapids
      White water music
      The dance of life.

    Shirley Tofte

    Tucson, AZ


      What if you went out one morning
      And the sky swallowed you with no one noticing
      With people passing by on their way to jobs
      Nursing wounded egos
      While polishing superficial faces meant for deception?

      And what if from your viewpoint
      In the belly of the clouds
      You saw the training camps of error
      Deftly laid out and camouflaged
      By those who blindly serve
      The last pieces of meat
      Stripped from the skeleton of humanity?

      Could your sadness rain down
      Enter the earth
      And cause new growth among the remains
      Or would you close your eyes and look away?

      There the narrow Rainbow Bridge now opens
      The pathway to compassion through sadness is revealed

    Christopher Lovette

    Piedmont, CA


      October anticipates summer sliding Into fall
      We stare over our shoulders at the idle days of summer receding into our past
      More of our thoughts are reflective

      Quiet days with photo albums replace our gardens, our walks
      Indoors from the crisp air we wrap ourselves with thoughts of our youth
      A smile tugs at our lips

      Our faces were smooth, unlined
      We anticipated challenges, sure in our strength to succeed

      In our autumn we step slower, more carefully
      Our experiences have made us wise and thoughtful
      Though optimism still clutches us close

                                         Into fall

    Pam Quesnoy

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    Section D: .................................................................. October 15, 2006

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      THE SOUL

      The Soul

      The soul
          the soul
              the soul stood
                      the soul stood on the edge
                              the soul stood on the edge of the wheel
      the wheel
              the wheel began the motion
                      the soul stood on the edge of the wheel
                              the wheel was the motion

      the wheel became the sun
              the soul stood on the edge of the sun
                      the sun became one with the wheel

      the soul stood on the edge
              the soul stood
                      the soul

    Stephen Brown

    Colorado Springs, CO


      I will call

      I will visit

      I will listen

      I will forgive

      I will find
           some time

      Suddenly—it is gone.

      And all that
      is left
      are painful
      and the broken
      promises of—tomorrow.


      The fear
      is not
      that you
      will never
      what you
      came to do.

      The fear
      is that what
      you are
      is all
      that you
      were meant to do.

    Patricia Ann Doneson

    Carmel Valley, CA

      (Simon and Garfiinkel)

      Shadows come forward,
      the demons, the sad-sack characters
      stumbling along dark alleyways
      in seedy neighborhoods of my mind.
      They are the homeless, unkempt,
      the cruel ones who refuse to go away.
      They are labeled fear and loathing,
      uncharitable, unbearably lonely,
      suspicious, bored, cynical,
      products of the happily ever after lie
      they were told in childhood.
      They cruise by on issues labeled
      abandonment, betrayal, envy, vanity.

      I observe them from a distance
      through rose-colored glasses, hoping
      they keep to their darkness.
      I worry if I bring them home with me,
      begin to sympathize with their point of view,
      I will become what part of me
      has every so often believed I was...

      easily discarded,
      unworthy of notice and immutable love.
      I turn the corner, avert my eyes
      at the sight of their tattered clothes,
      pat my wallet of virtues,
      throttle rising panic.


      You sit on a grassy knoll
      high on a rugged coastal bluff.
      White spume rims a rocky shore below.

      You note the sun's heat on your arm,
      feel an affection for a grove of cypress
      two ridges north.

      You watch a few phantoms of fog
      wander up hidden ravines,
      melt into a cluster of redwoods.

      You are in a timeless place,
      without the usual craving
      for something undefined.

      Nothing is your fault.

      You entertain the thought
      of never going back.

    Laura Bayless

    Carmel Valley, CA

      (Elsie Ogato, Ikebano Artist)

      Mathematics, that stern science
      systematically places decimals
      between whole numbers
      yet we ask of ourselves
      to measure ordinally
      beginning at the beginning
      and moving onward
      one by one to the end
      of the tabulation.

      I like that between
      one and two, as cited by a woman gifted
      in the art of flower arrangement,
      there exist pauses
      places of silence,
      negative space a dancer might say,
      and to live among emptiness
      holds gentle importance,
      an indication of proper passage.

      The subtle shift from one to two,
      hardly more than a step
      may also be seen as path among
      flagstones, or a bench on which to rest
      and view a pond where water lilies
      create their own undulating array
      without even considering the arithmetic of it all.

    Illia Thompson

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    Section C: .................................................................. September 15, 2006

    Fair Oaks, CA


      Have you ever wondered
      as you pause
      between seemingly
      important tasks—

      already lining up
      the next three items
      to check off your list,
      calculating the probability
      of what will get done
      in the few remaining
      productive hours of
      your busy day—

      what would happen
      if you accomplish nothing today?

      What would it feel like
      to simply let go
      to forget the list
      to drift
      across the amazing blue
      tapestry of the day
      allowing the gentle
      easy breath of chance
      to mold you
      again and again
      into unknown
      soft shapes?

      Maybe today you can relax
      breathe deep
      fold your busy thoughts away
      like the black and white loon
      folds his sleek head
      under his wing while he rests
      bobbing on the rippling waves
      at the edge of the lake—
      content to simply exist
      one of many floating creatures
      whose mere presence
      in the grand beauty
      transforms everything.

    Carol Lynn Mathew-Rogers

    Tucson, AZ

    I have reached a point of total disillusionment with myself and all of my efforts to change. There is only one thing left to do—stop trying. But there is a door I can open: the door of faith. Through this door the grace of God can come into the core of my being. God's grace has begun a transformation in me that I could never do by myself. God's grace is beginning to change me from the inside out. All that is required of me is faith in the process. I wrote the following poem to describe this opening of the door of faith.


      While preoccupied
      With triviality
      Someone knocked at my door

      I opened the door
      To see a man standing there

      I asked what he wanted

      He said he is God
      That the police had picked him up
      Beaten him
      Then executed him
      That he allowed himself to suffer
      And die
      To show me
      How much he loves me

      And I remembered
      That somewhere it is written
      "I stand at the door and knock"

    I would like to say a few words about why this poem begins on a note of joyousness—a new-found freedom expressed by the boon of the newly-found ability to fly—but ends on a note of struggle. Perhaps this new-found freedom is the flight of faith in the face of a world that often seems absurd. In a mythic sense it is a boon received by one who has just become aware that they are a prince or princess, who in the forgotten past was exiled from their rightful kingdom. But though they are joyous at the wonderful boon received and the budding sense of their royal heritage, they are immediately beset by obstacles and trials that make them wonder if this is at all real. These are the trials of self-purification, of overcoming the mountains of doubt, despair, and even the temptation to madness. It is the conquest of these doubts and fears within their own souls by which they receive the gifts of wisdom, patience, compassion, and self-control. It is then and only then that they are prepared for their true purpose. Only through the purification of their trials can they be prepared to defeat the dragon that has usurped their own rightful kingdom. In this poem the hero has experienced the joy of beginning to discover his true self, but by the end has only gotten so far as to realize that many trials lie ahead before the his own soul can be purified and prepared to slay the dragon and to ascend his rightful throne.



      Weariness sweeps off of me
      As water drops from a goose
      With the violence of flapping
      Lifting me into the sky

      Sun disc hovers
      Winking over the far mountains
      It lifts its head like an eye
      Seeing me
      Enfolding me in its strengthening rays

      My journey is begun


      The air is sweet to breathe
      Lovingly me lifting
      Until I soar where the ground
      Spreads out like a quilt
      Beneath my pinions

      Breath sustains me


      The morning's mountains
      Look no closer
      Yet something in me yearns
      Will not settle for less

      How will I rest?
      There is a meadow
      A stream passes through it
      I hover

      But it is not a meadow
      It is a desert of lies
      Envenomed by a dry gulch
      Where bones dance in the twilight

      I must go on


      This flight is longer than I expected
      There is tiredness in my wings
      Like the weariness I left behind
      On the ground
      But not so subtle

      The stars now show me
      Canyons and hillsides
      I must fly higher
      I must get over the mountains

      There is only air
      And darkness
      And faint shadows
      Cast by a slivered moon

      There is far to go

    Christopher Lovette

    Colorado Springs, CO


      Now that the room
      Is empty—
      I can breathe again.
      Wrap myself around
      those endless
      possibilities I thought
      I had lost. Fill up
      the corners with
      my own dreams.

      Dare to be selfish.

      Long for the things
      that youth could
      not give me.

      is such a beautiful
      word—how did
      I manage to forget the
      message it carries.

      Before I begin—
      I will sit awhile
      in this empty room
      and breathe again.

    Patricia Ann Doneson

    San Antonio, TX

      [Bob Price]


      Fifty-five years ago we were married,
      Thirty-four days ago you were buried.
      We spent many happy times together
      Through sunny days and turbulent weather.
      We said our "I do's" and trusted our fate.
      Through the years you have been a perfect mate.
      We have had our problems, but we solved them
      You're my Knight in Shinning Armor—a raw gem.
      We traveled the world and saw many sights,
      From Berlin, Switzerland to the Paris lights.
      We raised 2 sons & a daughter—they've done well.
      Be still my heart, my love, I've lots more to tell,
      Of flowers you picked by the garden gate
      Of the phone calls made when you'd be late.
      My darling, I wish I could hold you just now,
      And if only you could talk to me somehow,
      I'd never be angry or even sad
      Because I'd look at all the love we had.
      So, until my life on this earth shall end,
      You'll be in my heart as lover—best friend.
      I am so glad God sent you to find me,
      Your strength will live on for many to see.
      I will love you always, my darling Bob.

    Shirley Smalley Price

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    Section B: .................................................................. August 15, 2006

    Colorado Springs, CO


      It must be difficult
      the answers
      to questions that
      may never get asked.

      To live on
      the edge
      of forever
      when others are
      searching for the end.

      To carry so much
      love that even
      the ugly and
      the profane
      are granted
      this grace.

      How do you manage
      to stand so tall and
      yet bend so low
      that even the
      sacred ant
      can hear your prayers.

      Tell me, please tell
      me, what is it like
      being you.


      I know
      that man
      he lives within me.

      This woman
      who stands
      before me
      lives within me.

      I know
      blindness for
      it lives within me.

      I know the
      deaf because
      the silence also
      lives within me.

      You might ask
      in my deafness if
      I then hear you.

      Yes, I quickly
      answer, I not only
      hear what you say—

      I hear what you are not saying.

      Speak to me
      these thoughts
      and I will not only
      hear you—I will see you.

      For you too live within me.

    Patricia Ann Doneson

    Del Rey Oaks, CA


      I want you to become the lightening man
      standing high up on the pine tree hills
      laying your sword on the anvil of heaven
      smiting those who carry the greed
      dooming avarice to eternal damnation
      father of all, seer of the universe
      how can you help us to drive this sorcerer from off our land?
      what begins and ends this plague?

      no one reads these feeble ranting
      they all are rushing toward the grave
      smitten by the golden image
      blinded by silver sun of more is better and all is best
      long after the land is empty, long after the sun is gone
      covered in soot and smoggy reason
      blinded by hate and lustful pride
      collected at the bottom of every well
      the stagnant blood lust of beyond reason
      using hate to pave the day

      brick by brick they build their prison
      taking slaves to sate their way
      holy father do we condemn them,
      holy mother show the way
      evil evil sinner darkness bring the lightening
      show the way.

      (Dedicated to Saint Patrick driving the snakes from all of Ireland.)

    Stephen Brown

    Carmel Valley, CA

      (Why is there under that poem always an other poem—Lucille Clifton)

      A line begins
      with the half moon a half-closed eye
      in the early light of morning
      and you think you know
      where you are,
      where you mean to proceed from there,

      perhaps then to depict the ridge
      with its fringe of ancient oaks
      or back into the dream
      you left reluctantly upon waking.

      Suddenly you find yourself
      weighted by a memory,
      one that releases tears to crawl
      unheeded down your face
      and your hand writes
      how it felt to lower your eyes
      against the intensity of sunlight
      at a burial,
      as if you could extinguish
      the wildfire in your heart
      by smothering the sight of sorrow.

    Laura Bayless

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    Section A: .................................................................. July 15, 2006

    Colorado Springs, CO

    I wanted to have a little fun! The poem started when I was writing an email to a friend, she is an artist. I meant it to be a paragraph... thus the beginning of the poem. I quickly saw that it was a poem and started adjusting to stanza's. It was fun!

      I MISS YOU

      The poet says,
      there should be a period
      in this paragraph.

      There should be a me
      before we. There should be
      quiet moments to reflect the mistakes
      that are made and the promises that will
      always be broken. There should be a day
      in the week where the word me is imprinted.

      There should be a no guilt zone.

      There should be a place
      where there are no rules or goals.
      There should be signal lights that are
      always green and yield signs instead of stop signs.

      Excuses should be banned
      from our vocabulary. Reasons should
      make more sense. There should be holidays
      that celebrates the time spent with only me
      and long days where the poet and the
      artist is encouraged to run free.
      And there should never be
      another day without
      the you in me.

    Patricia Ann Doneson

    Tucson, AZ

    This week I heard through the hobo grapevine about the death of a friend. He was the first bindlestiff I met after moving to Tucson, AZ.

      (Jerry Wayne Walding,
      1/26/52 Š 5/06)

      by an angel Mexican
      Gizmo tired as the bull
      with drooping head and horns
      before the matador
      and his sword

      con man
      wearing his coat
      of quail
      of trembling sky

      where purple flames
      burn the edges of paper dolls

      caught in the eye
      of destiny

      of the elevation of forgotten toys
      lost beneath the floor of life

      the lizards
      sitting on your shoulder
      mutter to the orange-pink dawn
      bringing stories
      of grey rocks
      to your waiting ear

      you sat in the desert too

      all sit
      in the halls
      of tattooed time
      reminding the day
      that you are here

      Rotting teeth
      never pulled by the dentist
      lessons of a future
      he refused to learn

      "It sounds too much
      like that four-letter word:

      licked bare
      by the deep kissing
      of dried earth
      summer lightning
      gritty dirt

      to the garment's edges
      by the desert thorns

      the sky preserves nothing


      "You know what I like about this
      the most?"

      he smiles before he tells you

      you can never know
      except the answer


    Chris Lovette

    Carmel Valley, CA


      lend me your resignation,
      your neutrality,
      for an hour
      for the next tragedy
      for the disturbing newscasts
      with their images of roadside carnage
      in bleak landscapes
      paired with celebrity gossip.

      Caught up in the net of events
      I unwittingly become a voyeur
      of impermanent sacraments,
      conspiracies, corruptions,
      mourn what I cannot transform
      nor transcend,
      what I have not circled on a ballot
      nor asked to know.

      You who are beyond tears,
      teach me to abandon what is pointless,
      Write me missives in clouds,
      notecards in white sand,
      prescriptions on thin filiments of spider webs.
      Grant me what I need to persist,
      a plausible sea upon which
      I can still navigate.

    Laura Bayless

    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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