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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #24

  • Section A: January 15, 2007
  • Section B: February 15, 2007
  • Section C: March 15, 2007
  • Section D: April 15, 2007
  • Section E: May 15, 2007
  • Section F: .................................................................. June 15, 2007

    Colorado Springs, CO

      PEACE

      Here—in the land
      of the tall pines
      a tiny oak
      has sprouted.
      No question
      is asked, no
      judgment delivered.

      Everyone
      is welcomed
      in this forest.

      Here—
      the lion
      and the lamb
      lay side by side,
      while the eagle
      and the hawk
      share a friendly sky.

      This—must be
      what peace feels like.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    New Boston, TX

      PLEASURES OF YOU

      Crystal clear
           the blue that shines,
      your eyes reflect
           shadows of my mind;
      emotions full, ocean blue
      deep and dark, surrounding you.

           See just how far
      lips that touch,
           deep inside
      yet still shallow
           leaves me soft and mellow.

      Soft to touch earlobe,
           lips to kiss
      a body to probe
           nothing small to miss,
           let me come inside
      down and deep,
           always confide;
      rest my child, woman-child
      only the feast we did partake;
           drive away the beast
      that aroused passion.

    Monte Stafford
    Telford Unit #290328
    P.O. Box 9200
    New Boston, TX 755570

    Carmel Valley, CA

      A LIGHT BY WHICH WE MAY SEE

      Light in spring is different
      than light in fall
      or summer or winter.
      Seasons blend into one another,
      not so clearly defined,
      sometimes arriving early
      or lingering late.

      Down by the river
      light is tempered
      by the hulking shadows
      of high ridges
      and dense trees,
      not nearly enough sunlight hours
      for tomatoes, plenty of shade
      for begonias, rhododendron.

      But up on a south-facing
      rim of the valley
      nighttime reveals it variables
      of starlight and moonlight,
      tempest-cloud pageantry,
      the subtleties of never
      the same light twice.

      A September lightning storm
      spawns crackling chains of fire,
      illuminates the darkness,
      circles the sky and returns.
      The mysterious luster of a haloed moon
      emits enough soft glow to bathe in,
      as a goddess might have done
      in ancient times to call forth magic.

      Countless hues of summer tinge
      the air at the precise moment
      of sunrise with pastel light,
      pink, coral, lavender, and gold.
      Even on a dreary winter day
      infinite shades recast themselves
      in a pastiche of gray.

      One has only to observe
      a single spring green leaf
      as it turns into an opaque gem
      glimmering in a beam of morning light
      to be forever beguiled,
      a light fanatic.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

    Marina, CA

      THE ANGEL

      There is an
      aching,
      gnawing,
      uncomfortable feeling
      Deep inside my gut

      It's been there for weeks
      It never leaves for long
      It wakes me up earlier and earlier
      And I can't go back to sleep

      Thinking of her
      Of what we had
      Of what I miss
      Of what I fear

      I don't feel like reaching out to a soul
      Including my own

      But then, as I sit by myself
      In a strange restaurant, in a strange town
      An "Angel"
      (disguised as a waitress)
      notices my pain and sits with me
      talks of her pain and her healing
      touches my shoulder and touches my heart

      I feel alive
      I sleep all night
      There is hope
      How much do you tip an angel?

    Alan Holmstrom
    a_holmstrom@yahoo.com

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    Section E: .................................................................. May 15, 2007

    Colorado Springs, CO

    Today, I am being reminded of what we may all leave behind when we lack the courage to tell our story.

      THE MEMORY BOX

      This box
      called memory
      is empty now.
      I have, with
      eyes content,
      photographed
      the pain and
      the joy of the past.

      Placed it in a
      large album
      and left it
      for others
      to praise,
      or criticize.
      I have laid down
      the need to cling
      to that earlier journey.

      Here—I sit
      staring out at
      the world with
      its hurried pace.
      No more
      will I clutter
      this memory box
      with the burden
      of things left undone.

      Instead—
      I will fill the
      bare walls of
      this treasure cove
      with my deepest longing
      and my greatest hope.

      And—
      this time
      I will save a
      place for me.

      ANOTHER WOMAN

      I wish
      she could
      have told me
      who she was.

      No fairy tale
      ending to her life,
      no grand footprint
      marked her way—
      just another woman
      living another day.

      Did she
      know love, or
      did it pass her by.

      Did she miss it all?

      I do not recall
      for she took
      her story
      with her
      that final day.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    New Boston, TX

      THOUGHT

      Today I thought a wonderful thought,
      A thought only a thinker could've thought,
      A thought so wonderful
      Only a non-thinker could've bought,
      A thought so intriguing
      Only a searcher could've sought;

      I think I thought a wonderful thought today,
      Which was a wishful thought I sought,
      But much to my dismay
      I was actually dreaming
      Which was all so seeming
      That I thought my dreamer's dream
      Was a thinker's thought,
      When it really did seem
      The thinker's thought I sought;
      But when I woke from my thoughtful sleep,
      The dream I think I thought
      Was nothing to keep,
      Because the thought
      I think I sought
      Was only a dream
      That happened in my sleep.

    Monte Stafford
    Telford Unit #290328
    P.O. Box 9200
    New Boston, TX 755570

    Tucson, AZ

      ADDICTED

      On the way to the stage
      he still looked
      for his adoring fans
      —especially the ladies—

      when he sang
      they were all beautiful
      —everyone—
      when they looked his way
      and the gnawing inadequacy
      where his chest used to be
      filled out a little bit
      —again—

      After the show
      Somewhere
      —between the dressing room and the limo—
      it caved in
      he couldn't feel anything anymore
      there was not even a hint
      of who he was anymore

      He wiped his nose with the back of his hand
      smearing the white powder underneath his nostrils
      quietly sobbing for his mother

    I was in Phoenix for the weekend and on April Fool's Day... and took a trip to Scottsdale... I did meet a nice old guy blowing the leaves out of a parking lot. When I asked him where I could get a cup of coffee, he said wait five minutes and he'd brew up a pot in the hair salon belonging to the man paying him for the work. So I got some coffee and advice to go to Chaparral Park, and I did. It has a large skinny lake stocked with trout, catfish, bass, joggers, bikers, fisherfolk and such. That is where "Addicted" was born. After writing it I played guitar and sang in the park for a while, which I can do tolerably well... The coyote is real. I saw him on the one day it snowed last winter. He was out and about inspecting the unexpected new color of his house: white. He didn't have the concern to evade me, probably perplexed by his interior decorator. He might be part dog, I don't know, but other than the chow-like hairdo obviously coyote and obviously a wild animal.

      SONORAN DESERT SEQUINS

      Water Reclamation Project Basin

      Gone the bone dry look of winter
      New fish have sprung into the air
      Where the quadrangle sky opens
      Not yet the withering fire of summer
      Garments of green for each cottonwood

      Drought

      Look at the longing glances of clouds
      With love as pregnant as summer rain
      But more like empty promises, passing fancies
      Look at the ponds, empty as a skullŐs eyes
      Except for wet scum, like pottery fired in hell

      The Cast of Characters

      Gambel's quail are singing in the choir
      The male coyote maned like a red fox
      Nothing left of the jackrabbit except bony fur
      The cautiousness of a bounding cottontail in creosote
      The favorite is last, a Mimbres painted roadrunner

    Chris Lovette
    cwlovette@cox.net

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

    Two years ago my daughter, Holly, called to say that Keri, her best friend wanted one of my paintings. Keri had grown into a wonderful woman and was now earning some money as an intern in a law firm while she went to law school, since she had always liked my art she was going to buy one, and I was flattered to say the least. When she and my daughter, as children, would visit me they often slept in my studio and would make art there.

    My answer was a hearty "sure" so arrangements were made.

    When they came there was a whole party including Keri, her mom Diane, dad Mike, her boyfriend Steve and of course my daughter. We spent a truly wonderful afternoon on our deck looking at my paintings. Keri finally decided to purchase one of them. The only cloud on the day was that Diane was ill from radiation treatments for cancer, but all seemed to be going well.

    As they left Keri took me aside and told me that her mom and dad liked another of my paintings and that she would buy that one also so the agreement was made.

    For many reasons it did not really work out as planned, so I decided to give them the painting. This whole family had treated my daughter very well and I like my work to go where it is loved.

    How little we know about what the future will have in store.

    A few months later Holly called to say Diane's cancer had returned and she was now confined to her bedroom. Holly told me that the painting was hung by Diane's bed so that she could see it. It seemed to make her feel better.

    I cannot explain the rush of feeling that I had. I could not and would not ask one of my pieces of art to do something that wonderful and certainly could not have planned it or even painted it with that in mind.

    Last Saturday, Holly called to tell me that Diane has passed on.

    Here is the poem that I wrote.

      UNTITLED

      it came
                on a fine
                          spring day
      as we had known
                it would
      expected
                but unwanted relief
                and confusion
      it is better
                now
      but why the pain?
                why the agony?
      we will never know

      at the horizon
                is spread
                           a universe
      so many ripples
                on the pond
      some reflect
                blue sky
      some announce
                the coming night

      on a fine
                spring day

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      CRAVINGS

      I toil in the place of deficiency,
      plead silently for easier tasks,
      less grief,
      for the six deer I watch trot single file
      at the edge of the road
      to dawdle a few moments longer
      before they turn and disappear
      into the thick chaparral on the hill.

      Let me find what is lost,
      what I don't know yet I yearn for,
      a little tenderness,
      unblemished ripe black cherries
      too early in the season,
      the perfect last line of a poem.

      I thirst for whatever my throat desires,
      crave a cool stream of fingertips
      flowing over the parched husk of my body.

      I take photographs to hold on
      to unrelenting time, cling to hope
      like the frail string of a kite
      the wind might pluck from my grasp
      at any time.

      But, now and then,
      I go down to the rock-bound coast
      and lie on the nomadic sand,
      gradually settle into the rhythm
      of the unbridled sea,
      slip my thoughts under the persuasion
      of a dissolving wave,
      arrive after a timeless interlude
      to a place of not-wanting.

      ESALEN PARABLES

      On a rock-lined path
      next to the meditation room
      a gypsy stream flows
      through fern-lined channels.
      White froth cascades
      beneath the jagged ends
      of a broken log,
      perfectly fragmented.

      Behind the roundhouse
      under a massive boulder
      survivors have placed icons
      of their departed
      into hallowed ground
      robed in a green shawl
      of baby tears.

      On this day one more
      mourner hollows out
      a small cleft, deposits
      a portion of ashes,
      covers what's left with moss,
      chants to join her losses
      in the hereafter.

      In the sea, at the edge
      of a sheer cliff,
      a ridge of granite boulders
      forms an impediment
      to the advancing tide.
      Waves spill over its shoulders,
      swirl and eddy on either side,
      as if invisible hands were circling
      and blessing what remains constant.

      Evening, the sun descends
      into a window of clearing
      in the fog bank.
      Below the sill
      light still shines,
      nothing completely gone.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

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    Section D: .................................................................. April 15, 2007

    Colorado Springs, CO

      FERTILE GROUND

      The soul does not
      ask you to stand
      for anything.
      It does
      however
      ask you to fall
      apart consistently
      over and over again.

      Until
      you finally
      surrender that
      which was never
      yours to begin with.
      Until grief
      and loss
      let loose to
      nurture the earth
      that supports you.

      At these times
      the song
      of the soul
      will not be found
      in the heavens.
      It lies here
      in the mud
      with you.

      Singing—break free.

      Even—
      the lowly worms
      that you now bed with
      have wings
      let them
      teach you how to fly.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    New Boston, TX

      THE ME

      Defenseless animated clown I am,
      I'd rather hate to be though
      One like you or them.

      Mean and cruel beast I feel to be,
      I'd rather like it though
      If I were more like you than me.

      Eagle bold am I,
      Yet still cold am I,
      You look at me as though
      You could hate me enough to kill
      My good kindly will.

      Benevolent nature
      I'm a nocturnal creature.

      I want to do some good
      Like I know I should,
      But I'd like to hurt
      So I could feel it worth
      The pain I've felt,
      The pain I've caused.

      UNTITLED

      On a cold plateau—

      I am,
      Forever in destiny's embrace
      Clinging to this parody
           Of life.
      I search, I reach
           I find...
                Existence.

    Monte Stafford
    Telford Unit #290328
    P.O. Box 9200
    New Boston, TX 755570

    Tucson, AZ

      UNTITLED

      The great God's life
      Pulses within all the world
      Living and knowing
      Unfathomably loving
      Beyond all my mind's contradictions

      Only the dead are complete
      Beyond contradiction
      Not lifeless and forlorn
      But unmasked and wise

      What can I know now
      Except faith to go on
      Threatened by a world full of madness
      Calmed by a peace within

      Focused on the journey
      And the divine knower, beyond all, within

      ENTER THE CULTURE CLOWNS

      "They also serve who only stand and wait."

      Waiting. The ultimate end game. Waiting for the missing piece. To complete me. For the last wave to kiss the shore and unite sea and land into one beyond both forever without end. The kiss of God upon the mouth of the spirit. Yet how can mortals speak of such things?

      How can I
      A mortal being bound to die
      Speak of such things and not lie?

      The Way of the Cross will be the road I take
      All the rest I now fake

      A little thirst, a little drink, and then
      A light in yonder window once again

      Where does, pay up or shut up,
      All the grass grow greener?
      Where Mary is to Jane as mean to meaner

      And meaning, if you please sir,
      Is the fashion
      But please sir, if you please sir,
      Give me passion

      The social worker came to visit yesterday
      To work upon my disability
      She tested my aptitudes for gainful employment
      To find for me a vocation
      "you, sir" said she
      "a merry fool will be"

    Chris Lovette
    cwlovette@cox.net

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      ASLEEP IN A GYM BAG

      I will never forget
      The little boy on the bus
      From Todo Santo
      To Cabo San Lucas

      Finally curled up in sleep

      Sanctuary from his day
      Selling with his sisters
      Mayan treasures to tourists

      Who glance off of the poverty
      That grinds the light from
      His seven year old eyes

      Like his sisters
      Faces now blank
      from too much life

      He lay there clinging to
      A small dog hidden in a
      Castoff gym bag
      Thrown away by a tourist

      Full of dirty socks
      Soiled underwear

      The perfect home
      For our big eared pup

      They now are sleeping
      Chin to chin
      Neck to neck

      Each knowing and hoping
      That the other will lead

      Away from this dark
      To avenge the crimes
      On their Mayan people

      In their dreams
      They return to the jungle
      With its bug noise tree snap life

      As is should have been

      Instead of on the back of the bus

      Sleeping exhausted
      With his guide

      In a cast off
      Gym bag

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    San Jose, CA

      TRANSITIONS

      A stone throw from four palms near a fountain
      In the heart of silicon desert
      Summer dislodged spring from the low hills
      Sucking dry every spring
      Suffocating purple lupines in knee high weeds
      Bleaching saturated green
      With pale rusty rye grass.

      Green footsteps mark spring's retreat
      To the cool hill tops
      Hanging its tongue of liquid green
      Down the shallow ravine
      Deriding summer's hot breath.
      In the circle of green shadow under the oak tree
      Spring makes a last defiant stand.

      When summer is firmly established on the last hilltop
      I will follow spring into the mountains.
      White blooming dogwood
      Will fool the eye with showers of snow.
      Striding through fields of purple columbine
      To the frozen lake gripped by nightly frost
      Spilling spring's gift for four palms near a fountain.

    Franz Spickhoff
    franz@znet.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      FEBRUARY

      In winter deciduous trees
      strip down to their essential bones,
      weather-scarred trunks and limbs,
      the last few curled leaves of fall
      brown punctuation on twig tips.
      Bare branches sketch themselves
      in bleak filigree against a silver canvas.
      Frozen buckwheat, woodmint,
      and sage shrivel into skeletal gardens.

      I want to burn away my flesh,
      freeze irrelevant fragments,
      peel the facade back to my core,
      live through a season of frost and fire
      to discover what is elemental,
      what regenerates.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      OBSERVATION

      waves care not.
      that I expound
      on their vibrant performance
      and display of lace,
      upon, a craggy shore

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

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

      I'd like to think
           being seen
                matters.

    Illia Thompson
    Illia99@aol.com

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    Section C: .................................................................. March 15, 2007

    Colorado Springs, CO

      GRACE

      I did not mean
      to turn my
      back on you.
      The reflection
      that mirrored
      back to me
      was full of
      judgment.

      Whether
      self-imposed,
      or taught
      there it was.

      For the
      world
      I mirrored
      a different face,
      but for you
      I offered nothing.
      The mirror became
      my confessional.

      Not until some
      invisible hand
      removed the glass
      that separated us
      did I come to
      realize that the
      face you show
      is the face
      shown back to you.
      Especially the face
      you show to yourself.

      Now—when I greet
      you grace is present.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    New Boston, TX

      TREK ACROSS MY SUBCONSCIOUS

      Remote,
      Vast and alien,
      Isolated—

      Nowhere in place or time.

      Cold and silent,
      Darkness
      Stretching away into infinity...

      UNTITLED

      I saw
      And I wondered,

      I felt,
      Then I loved...

      I miss you—
      Now I hurt.

    Monte Stafford
    Telford Unit #290328
    P.O. Box 9200
    New Boston, TX 755570

    Piedmont, CA

      WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE

      We are "women of a certain age"
           wise, experienced, and sage

      But still as young at heart as when

      At the age of 25 we read Last Tango in Paris,
           then ate popcorn while watching Night of the Iguana,
                we traveled to romantic Venice,
                     we viewed Dark Shadows on TV,
                          partied at clubs with friends so pleased,
                               and walked across Amsterdam under the trees

      But still as young at heart as when

      At the age of 55 we read Under the Tuscan Sun, then
           ate popcorn while watching When Harry Met Sally,
                we traveled to fun-filled Disney World,
                     we viewed Murder She Wrote on TV,
                          partied in the park with neighbors so pleased,
                               and walked across Piedmont under the trees

      Is it a cliche that we "women of a certain age"
                do not feel like "women of a certain age?"
      Because of "the continuity of consciousness,"
                We are the same person we had always been
      until we looked in the mirror and had seen?

      The face .....

      Maybe the difference between
      the face in the memory
      and
      the face in the mirror
      is small,
      not keen

      Hey, let's do something unfit for our age
      Filling all the young folk with shock and outrage
      Keeping our hearts soaked with wit and courage, Yeah!

    Pam Quesnoy
    quesnoy@sbcglobal.net

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    Section B: .................................................................. February 15, 2007

    Colorado Springs, CO

      LIFE BLOSSOMS

      Did you listen today? Did you touch today?

      Forget about tomorrow.

      There is no place
      to go, nothing
      needs to be done.
      If you miss the
      moments of
      the day the
      years will
      not matter.

      It is the
      gentle touch,
      the warm embrace,
      a soft kiss on the cheek
      that will be remembered.

      The heart is a record keeper.

      It is not
      concerned with
      the many words that are
      spoken, but grows stronger
      in the acts of kindness we perform.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    San Antonio, TX

    The other night after I got into bed, lights out and everything and I started to pray, I asked God if He wanted me to continue to write more poems. Suddenly out of the clear the title of this poem popped into my head. Well, it was about 2 a.m.; so I said I would put it down in the morning. The answer came back. NO, do it now. Again, I thought sleepily that I would do it in the a.m. later on. No! So I found a pencil and a plain piece of paper seemed to appear out of nowhere. I usually write on the back of envelopes etc. I wrote the title down, and the words followed it until the end.

      QUESTION NOT GOD'S PLANS

      From the day we are born there was a plan
      The plan emulated from God, not from man
      Both innocent by virtue and by birth,
      Times there are questions that circle the earth.
      "Why was I put here?" The question is why
      We may know tomorrow, or the day we die.
      We work and we slave to climb to the top
      Sometimes it doesn't seem wrong not to stop.
      From hurting others to get our own way.
      Tremble. for comuppance may come today.
      For it is true what goes up, must come down,
      A mean heart can turn a smile into a frown.
      Just stand aside, ask for God's helping hand,
      For it's not our will, but what God has planned.

    Shirley Smalley Price
    robert-p7998@sbcglobal.net

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      SUNRISE BLESSING

      Sunrise blessing giving praise.
      Orange purple fills the sky.

      Upon and to the coming day
      we offer up a simple prayer.

      Birds stir...
      a far away sound.

      The crow wings over
      and gives its call.
      "...cracaw... cracaw."

      Shafts of light
      caress the trees.

      Giving to the leaves
      a thirsty drink,
      of light and soul.

      Sunrise blessing giving praise.

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

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    Section A: .................................................................. January 15, 2007

    Colorado Springs, CO

    I have debated about sending this piece because silence after all is silent. But, perhaps even silence desires a voice. I salute all those who by circumstances or by choice have been forced into silence.

      THE GIFTS OF SILENCE

      I so appreciate all the words that we use in our daily language. But I appreciate even more the silence between the words. I fell in love with silence years ago. This, Temple of Silence, houses all the unspoken words that others left behind for us to contemplate, or bring forward with a new energy, a new light. Or, just to honor the deep silence they left behind. To heal the wound of failure that they felt their silence created.

      Perhaps, The Temple of Silence is a burial ground, or the place of resurrection. So fine tuned is the world of silence that the ear first shivers when the sound of silence is heard. So high pitched is its sound... vacant, void, deafening. The mind screams for attention, yells, begs for escape. Yearns to chatter about nothing about everything. And yet something in me stays. I listen, I yearn, and I desire its wisdom, its direction. At last... silence speaks.

      I love the silent rise of the foot before it places its footprint firmly on the path of life. I love the silence in the rise of a wave before sound crashes this silence to the shore. I love the silent language of the body when the voice betrays what the body is trying to tell us. I love the silent language of the eyes as we chatter about useless things. In these foolish moments how much more we could say if we just fell silent and let the eyes speak our truth.

      I love every pause between the words, the hesitation, and the deep intake of breath before we speak, the way the eyes go vacant as they try desperately to override the voice. Even a lie becomes a gift when you can hear the silence of truth between the words.

      Maybe that is why intimacy is important to us. The body, the eyes, the breath speak. The voice falls silent. And in that marvelous silence we are whole again, we are home again. We join in that silence and love finds a voice.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    Berkeley, CA

      FOURTEEN LINES WITHOUT

      Give up the idea that a job was or is
      the brightest best blue-light beacon

      just say: it's gone now—that organizing
      purpose, self infused with schedule, life

      distilled, settling somehow permanent
      lynchpin of you held fast, that you held

      on to, beginning and without end amen
      fifteen years talk and teach, time enough

      now apprenticed again, unlearning, learning
      ten thousand fathoms under the third moon

      On long journeys, choose some kind diversion
      architectonics and absolution, a double diving

      half-twist inverted Mobius curving pay-to-play
      Look—fourteen blackbirds flying along the way.

    Larry Ruth
    ergolr@aol.com

    Tucson, AZ

      THANKSGIVING DAWN
      (for the community at New Camoldoli)

      I stole my very life from you my God
      And now I give it back to you again
      Although I'm worn out by the life I've led
      To you I am your child all soft and new

      My cares and troubles follow me to you
      Like noisy squirrels barking their disdain
      From trees of worry grown in years of pain
      Let suffering now have its holy rest

      In you I will abide and not be moved
      For you there is no change or fading light
      Although for me there comes approaching night
      A little sleep and then I'll wake again

      All things in perfect joy so fresh and clean
      The old made new beloved One with you

    Chris Lovette
    cwlovette@cox.net

    San Jose, CA

    Here is an exercise to share: Taking a poem like Anna Akhmatva's below, reverse the first and last lines filling in your own poem in between as I have done.

    Your heart must have no earthly consolation
    You must not cling to either wife or home.
    Take the bread out of your own child's mouth
    and give it to a man you do not know.
    You must be the most humble servant
    of the man who was your desperate enemy
    and call the forest beast your brother.
    Above all, never ask God for anything.

    Anna Akhmatova.

      UNTITLED

      Above all, never ask God for anything
      when you step off the trodden trail
      into the void of the wooded ravines,
      into shrunken horizons.
      Be selective picking your foot steps,
      a broken ankle may be deadly.
      Nobody can see you here,
      nobody can hear your cry for help.
      You must trust your own shadow
      to stay the course to your destination.
      If there is no sunshine you must take extra care
      not to walk in circles.
      Keep your mind focused and you feel no fear, also
      your heart must have no earthly consolation.

    Franz Spickhoff
    franz@znet.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      SAY WHAT YOU LOVE

      Say you love the cloud
      that rises from your mug,
      scent of black tea and color
      that consoles as you swallow
      the morning's warmth.

      Say you love that one tender leaf,
      its saw-blade outer edge,
      tessellated green capilaries,
      how it quivers, flexible when new,
      how it curls in the last heat of Indian summer
      and withers into brown fragments
      that inscribe its myth.

      Search for words to say
      how the crest of an afterthought
      is the mending point
      in your tattered world.
      Describe the slim curve of the waxing moon
      that gleams brightly at dusk
      or shadow patterns beneath
      a very old oak on the hill.

      Say you love a firm hug,
      kindly tone of concern in a friend's voice.
      Take the irritating complaint
      at the brink of your teeth
      and tuck it into the pocket of your cheek.
      Say what you love instead,
      the fresh taste of the first rain
      on the chill hint of winter,
      the sweet bite of cinnamon.

      ALWAYS POINT LOBOS

      I hope you can understand
      how the rift in my heart draws together
      and begins to mend,
      whenever I wander through the meadow
      and come to the rocky spine of the coast
      on the third anniversary of a loss,

      and how sorrowful cries of gulls
      form an Elysian song to stem
      the shower of tears sure to spill
      if I revisit the morning shadow of death.

      I want to describe how sunlight
      pours through a gap in dark clouds
      and gathers in a gleaming pool
      on the surface of the sea, just for me.

      My solitude here is a palpable thing,
      huge and tactile, expanding and contracting.
      I inhabit its shape-shifting mist,
      reluctant to take up the threads of my life,
      as if it mattered to anyone.

      I want to read to you the handwriting
      in the scattered calligraphy of kelp
      on the sands at Gibson Beach,
      show you how incoming breakers
      create their own renaissance.

      I want you to know this place
      the way I know it, the piney woods,
      rock roses surviving in granite fractures,
      black-suited congregations
      of cormorants on bird rock,
      placid jade inlets framed in narrow coves,
      the great white cloudships
      heading south across the horizon.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

    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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