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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #25

  • Section A: July 15, 2007
  • Section B: August15, 2007
  • Section C: September15, 2007
  • Section D: October15, 2007
  • Section E: November15, 2007
  • Section F: .................................................................. December 15, 2007

    Colorado Springs, CO

      A PRECIOUS MEMORY

      This story is beyond joy it is pure bliss. Even though the years have passed this memory still warms me on cold winter nights. It was one of those days in life where everything was right with the world.

      It was winter and snow was in the forecast. One doesn't even have to look out the window to sense the arrival of snow. There is stillness and a remarkable silence that announces its arrival. It calls to me this night and I go to the window. I pull back the drapes and watch the snowflakes gently falling covering the earth with its white blanket. The snow lights up the night like a full moon is present.

      The world sleeps, but not I. I am too full from the wonder of it all. Children are tucked away in their beds, safe and warm. And when they reach their teens it is even more of a blessing. My husband has already retired from this day and warms the bed that we share.

      I leave the window and return to my resting place on the sofa. Wrap my robe tightly around my contented body and add a blanket for further comfort. The night is rich and full with its blessings and I don't want to miss a moment of it. I am queen of my castle tonight and all is well with the world.

      Our dog, Jiggs, also finds contentment as he lies just below the sofa keeping me company in his slumber. My hand and heart is so full of love and life that it finds release in the soft stroking of this faithful friend. I swear I can see him smile as I stroke his head.

      On that night I knew the fullness of joy that approached me and filled me. I understood profoundly what the word bliss means. Even the pain that followed later in my life cannot erase the joy and the gift of that moment in time.

      Sometimes when a woman smiles into the face of her partner she reveals the sacred secrets that she carries. Her precious memory of their life together not needing or wanting anything more than to look into her partner's eyes. She smiles, plants a soft kiss. With a puzzled look on his face, he smiles back and says, "What was that for?" She does not answer, she just gives him one of those Mona Lisa smiles.

      We may never know the secret behind Mona Lisa's smile, but now you know the secret behind this woman's smile. Sometimes men just don't realize how little it takes to make a woman happy.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    Tucson, AZ

    I have gone through a very deep and dark valley and come to a place on the other side I have never been before.

      THE IDEALISTIC FOOL

      Don Quixote rides again
      With Sancho Panza jocularly tolerating him

      The villagers are fearful of the Knight
      As he passes by
      Fighting the imaginary evil sorcerer

      Yet after he has passed
      They know something has happened
      Something has changed—
      The scent of freedom is in the air

      PRAYER

      May I un-understand

      May I un-know

      Throw out the garbage!

    Christopher Lovette
    cwlovette@cox.net

    Piedmont, CA

      AUTUMN OF OUR YEARS

      The two of us sitting there, in silence, listening to the children's squeals and laughter
      Blow across the street and float up to the deck.
      The gold autumn splendor of the afternoon beckoning like an old friend
      On the edges of our vision.

      The two of us quiet in our retirement, our age Instilling a degree of patience
      Feeding a spirituality and calmness.
      Even as a fresh harvest of children frolicked and gamboled in the park
      At the rim of our vision.

      The two of us enjoying the magical wisdom that Invades the venerable
      Knowing that "people are what they do."
      That we had used our understanding and judgment to enlighten and guide our offspring
      To the edge of a vision.

      The two of us resting under the shadows of the hawthorn branches
      Light-bearers across the ages for our sons.
      In the autumn of our years reminiscing the halcyon days of their youth
      Embracing those visions.

    Pam Quesnoy
    quesnoy@sbcglobal.net

    Carmel Valley, CA

      THE SONG RUSTLING IN MY CHEST

      Sometimes so faint
      I can barely hear its dry sigh,
      a muffled melody
      mumbling under the rasp
      of my breath.

      Other times so loud
      it scares me,
      a thrashing of passion
      within the crescendo
      of a temporary storm.

      I listen attentively
      for themes,
      attuned to tempo,
      sweet harmony
      in blood and bones,
      as if the ribs were a trellis,
      conservatory for capillaries
      webbing the skirling bagpipes
      of my lungs,

      no note
      not part of
      past and future,
      nothing unsung from
      the constant concerto
      of my life.

    From: No One Gets To Be Special
    Poems by Laura Bayless, 2006

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

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    Creative Edge Home Page Section E: .................................................................. November 15, 2007

    Colorado Springs, CO

      NATURE

      We are not
      here to teach
      nature anything
      she teaches
      us daily.

      She waves to us
      in the fluttering wings
      of a butterfly, she rushes
      by us in the swift flight of a
      hummingbird. When we
      finally take time to be
      with her she travels
      with us on those
      long journeys.

      She bids us
      good day in the
      setting of the sun,
      and smiles at us with
      the rise of the moon

      She greets us
      as we drive
      through
      meadowlands
      and wheat fields,
      through mountain
      passes and tall pines.

      She sings to us
      in the voice of a bird,
      and whispers to us in the
      soft murmur of a stream.

      She is everywhere,
      and when we are busy
      searching for the face
      of the divine, she
      calls out to us,
      "Here I am!"

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    Tucson, AZ

      CRASHING DOWN

      I need to be free from this house
      To be free from my fanatically religious
      but totally unspiritual self
      Not bound by inner or outer pettiness
      To understand loneliness more fully
      And not put too high a price on myself

      All the melodrama come crashing down
      Crashing down
      Crashing down
      And fall away to nothingness

      Melancholy my old friend
      You are looking well

      My true nature is gaudy cheapness
      Facetious cruelty
      Spoiled brat of an empire past its prime

      And I think I have suffered?
      —no—
      that has been left for hardier souls than mine

      HELL BEING

      Dread causes me to fear each successive moment
      The hunted under the eye of a cruel and laughing hunter
      My personality reflected in the carnival hall of mirrors
      The subterranean part of me struggles to surface
      Digging like a premature burial in his tomb
      Struggling to reach fingers into the light

      And hope is born, swelling slightly in my chest
      Lifting the landscape
      Until I almost want to get out of bed
      But glops of gooey thick red mucous infiltrate my mind
      Leaving me here with this pad of paper

      Conceptualizing death as a component of myself

      Heavy clouds outline in blue
      Sunlit white on top, gray underneath
      From the pattern of a Pacific coastal storm
      Blown over my home in southern Arizona
      In late September so far ahead of winter

      The Autumnal Equinox is tomorrow
      I must tell myself of the weather and time
      To convince myself there is more than nothingness here
      It is so hard to chart a course
      Without cardinal points and with a spinning compass
      Yet I would rather die here
      Than live in a servitude of certainty

      Food, coffee, Valium, alcohol - even pot
      Call me without a word but with desire
      But I do not trust desire’s promises
      As quickly kept as they are quickly broken
      Yet I wonder if I can keep them at bay for long
      And if a shaft of light will come
      To show me a desire that is for something else
      Something more expansive, more inclusive
      Christ consciousness, Buddha mind, love

      The chains of my petty desires tighten
      The same old struggle of flesh and spirit
      Long ago consigned to the dustbin of history
      By science, psychiatry, and advertisers
      The tyrannical must rule

      Perhaps in my struggle is my humanity

      Fear and self-pity, two strong chains
      Attempt to bind me in immobility
      I must stop writing, get out of bed, and do something
      —anything—or face paralysis

      THERE IS AN ESSENTIAL UNITY, A GOODNESS

      Walking to the market
      The dawn sun rising over the gas station
      The muted scream of traffic in waves
      A Union Pacific locomotive horn in the distance

      People in cars going to work
      Pigeons circling a billboard and alighting on its top

      I love the locomotive horn
      Blowing lonely yet serene

    Christopher Lovette
    cwlovette@cox.net

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

    A rose for all of the "mom's!"

    [A Rose]

    Here is a poem for the season...

      BEN GAY

      Ben Gay, Menthalatum, and Vicks Vapor Rub
      sorcerer's drugs against the cold
      wielded my magicians
      called Mom.

      Rubbing and stuffing
      slathering it all on
      covered with warm tomato soup
      and ginger ale.

      She makes laughing stock
      of scientist who say:
      "There is no cure for the common cold"

      She sealed it all
      with a gentle kiss
      a tucked in blanket
      fluffed pillow
      along with a promise.

      "You'll be O.K.!"

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Salinas, CA

    [Poem & Image]

    Laura Carley
    lcarley11@yahoo.com

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    Section D: .................................................................. October 15, 2007

    Colorado Springs, CO

      THE ASPEN

      The aspens
      turn gold
      again,
      dance like
      golden ribbons
      of light between
      the tall, green pines.

      Soon—
      the mountain peaks
      will be covered
      with snow
      announcing
      its own beauty.

      Yet—
      somewhere
      deep inside
      the soul longs
      to cling to
      the gold
      of this season,
      the sunlight
      of the mountains.

      Nature does not cling
      to the seasons
      but releases
      freely
      what has passed.

      Oh! To have
      the wisdom of nature.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      SEPTEMBER 6, 1:57 pm

      the shiny silver shoe
      lost its little girl

      decided to sit down
      in the gutter
      by the library
      to figure it out

      what to do

      laying in the litter
      beside the road
      far from home

      and little girls
      with fancy dresses
      that always made
      the two
      look so nice

      at the parties
      with friends
      playing pin the tail
      on the donkey
      laughing
      and drinking cool aid
      till it came out of her nose

      oh little shoe
      I hope you find
      your little girl

      and dance away
      till a new dawn

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Monterey, CA

      FLORAL DANCE

      Look out the blue window
      Into a world of breathtaking beauty
      Pull aside lace curtains that obscure the view
      Become the eyes of admiration
      As hollyhocks dance in prim pink frocks,
      Happiness their natural state

      Velvety golden sunshine warms a world
      Humming with bees who hover
      Drunk with honeysuckle nectar
      Tiny feet burdened with pollen
      Glamorous morning glories tangle
      Around everything they can reach,
      Trumpet a pink and white melody
      Open-faced flirting with
      Ruby throated hummingbirds and bees

      Stroll into a magical world
      Where pure life welcomes you
      Tall sunflowers bend their burdened heads
      Nasturtiums fill every available space
      With shouts of orange and vibrant yellow,
      Where calendula reaches
      Yellow and green arms
      To the nurturing sun
      Scented lush and fresh
      Sweet every morning

    Shirley Tofte
    patshirl@mbay.net

    Carmel Valley, CA

      NOT MUCH OF A PLAN
      "The truth is nobody's waiting for you
      to press your poetry into their hands."
      Ted Kooser

      Why do I continue to write,
      to remark "there's a poem in that"
      when a phrase seems to have a life
      beyond a nominal thought,
      a bit of humor with potential,
      a possible narrative epiphany.

      Writing the end of one chapter
      opens the blank page to the next.
      Certain threads of the story
      carry on, new characters arrive,
      create tension, mystery,
      and revelation.

      Poetry teaches me to begin,
      set out on a journey,
      allow a chainstich of thought,
      elements of surprise,
      to sit in silence for a while.

      That's as much of a plan as there is.
      Outside the hills begin to define
      the horizon, black and blueblack,
      Monday, a beginning,
      my hand's shadow on the page,
      anticipation hovering
      over my shoulder.

      What's the hurry...

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

    Portland, OR

      FEELING GOOD POEM

      Let the feel good hormones realist
      In your skin.
      And let the feeling good.
      Feel good from within.
      O let the feeling, be a healing.
      From the musical redeem
      Enchanting your mind.
      To make feeling so find,
      with the good feeling, be
      find.
      With the musical feeling
      as a healing with good feeling.
      And the stress and worry
      Disappear. Let the eyes see clear.
      See the good, for good feeling.
      Feel good increases in you brain
      Uplift it's forces from within.
      It's a good feeling.
      Feeling good from within.
      It's one of the best thing.

    Andrew R Johnson
    singingvoice@gmail.com

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    Section C: .................................................................. September 15, 2007

    Carmel Valley, CA

      I DON'T KNOW EXACTLY WHAT PRAYER IS
      (From a line in Mary Oliver's Summer Days.)

      I don't know exactly what prayer is
           but I know how it feels to wear a shawl of grace
                to grant peace its place at my table
                     and to allow cares to evaporate
                          under an umbrella of calm.

      I don't know exactly what prayer is
           but I do know how wordless music
                becomes more than notes
                     as it lifts on butterfly wings
                          all else from my busy mind.

      I don't know exactly what prayer is
           but I do know when sunlight plays tag
                with hummingbirds sipping snap dragons
                     momentary stillness captures
                          my complete attention.

      I don't know exactly what prayer is
           but when at ocean's edge I taste salt
                and breath-in formation and time
                     I become small child
                          witness to creation.

      I don't know exactly what prayer is
           but I do know when pen leaves traces of telling
                or brush glides paints on paper
                     I become artist
                          and feel fully alive.

    Illia Thompson
    Illia99@aol.com

    Santa Paula, CA

    Dedicated to my sister Bethany attending University Of Pacific in Stockton with a scholarship in music as a singer.

      HYMN AT THE GREATER EMERGENCY FOOD BANK

      (Sad Stockton, mother of pearl and concrete,
      Weaves liquor stores brightly connected with organic ambles
           of sluice gates, cement ponds,
      Gray, jutting monoliths to boredom and the lesser figures of rap music:
      Vicious chain-link tapestries,
      Hung with needless diffidence across a city with no major sports teams,
      But plenty of broken glass.)

      Take good care of my sister, Stockton.
      She's coming, she breathes, she sucks in breath and blows it back out better.
      Take care she don't howl you down with her powerful lungs,
      Mother of miniature ocean, Stockton.
      Beware that I don't turn my pen against you from here,
      Even right here on this bus I can level you,
      And I am kind in warning you that my sister is stronger, so WATCH IT!

      Little Stockton, you have a lovely river,
      Be proud that she is stepping over it.
      Graceless Stockton, you have had your meteors strike,
      SHE will make you burn,
      For she has Jazz a-plenty,
      Some Jazz enough to stop your heart,
      Should she be so inclining,
      Jazz that hums and hurts like power lines,
      Jazz that can crumble your Jericho harbor and stockyards.
      (My sister is a one for all the music that a black, majestic swamp-witch,
           radiant with power on the deck of a paddle boat can glow-worm off.
      Beware the magic, ditchdog Stockton, or she'll sink you.)

      Keep your religion to yourself, Stockton,
      Proselytize not to her.
      She comes from a race of giants from the Northwest areas of everywhere,
      And we are all behind her like the bear-cub and her mother.

      Behave yourself,
      Keep your dank distance,
      Applaud in wonder, politely,
      That such a one as she should stoop to conquer you.

      Amen.

    Gabriel Mamola
    towerjunkie357@yahoo.com

    Colorado Springs, CO

      TRUST

      She shows me
      her garden
      points
      nervously
      at carefully
      arranged flowers.

      Speaks
      of neatness and order.

      I listen—
      for hours,
      for days,
      for weeks.

      Finally—
      in the fall
      amidst her
      dying garden
      we stand
      hand in hand
      witnessing
      the late blooming
      of a fine red rose.

      Now—
      she reveals to me
      the deep roots
      of her past
      and the pain
      that drove her
      into this garden.

      Tears
      stain our cheeks
      and friendship blossoms.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      THE SCENT OF IT

      In the pines
      wind sounds softly
      as mothers breath
      cool to the face
      just needles
      showing motion
      on the forest floor
      blue jay's distant call
      alight the shadows
      to raise
      the scent of it

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Berkeley, CA

      ESALEN LUNCH

      Emptiness soup
      filled our bowls.
      We had a taste
      then a bit more

      When nothing
      was left
      I wondered
      if there were
      seconds.

    Larry Ruth
    ergolr@aol.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      MOUNT NOUNOU

      We climb 1,000 feet to the ridgetop,
           hike two miles up steep dusty tracks on unaccustomed legs,
                negotiate abrupt switchbacks.

      One forbidding gully presents a choice
           between narrow ledge
      or scramble up rock-strewn gulch.

      I fall behind,
           stop often to catch my breath,
      feel my heart's rowdy thump,
                bless
           each cool breeze.

           Wayward mists kiss
      thousand-fingered leaves and brown pods
           on tamarind trees.
      Zebra doves coo in Morse code.

      Fragrant white plumeria blossoms
           twist free,
           tumble
      into emerald beds of birdsnest ferns.

      At the summit green pastures
           unfurl to the seacoast
      and across another valley
                to a volcanic crater's rim.

      Out on the east shore
           date palms sway,
      slender dancers wearing feathered crowns.

      Kauai bestows her approval
           on a draft of wind.
      I discover my island bones
           on the face of the Sleeping Giant.

      FREE-FLOATING ANXIETY

      You think too much,
      every moment
      the edge
      of a precipice,
      your foot an inch
      from stepping off
      into the next chasm
      where something malevolent
      dozes in the shadows,
      sharpens its claws
      and watches you
      with cynical eyes.

      You're sure
      the unexpected waits
      for your unguarded heartbeat
      to stumble and plunge
      into the wicked pit
      of a paradox
      that invokes
      spine-chilling dreams,
      consumes resistance,
      exhausts optimism, a riddle
      without password
      or solution.

      You wonder if
      being lost
      is ever worth the coming home.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

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    Section B: .................................................................. August 15, 2007

    Colorado Springs, CO

      SHANGRI LA

      I would
      like to speak.

      Yet,
      when the heart
      has found its voice
      the tongue goes silent.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    Fair Oaks, CA

      AN UNEXPECTED GIFT

      Today,
      a peaceful Sunday,
      reading the news
      listening to the wind,
      an unexpected gift
      came via computer's
      creative edge.

      This precious offering
      sprang from unknown sources:
      men and women
      in towns and cities
      near and far
      who cared enough
      to share carefully selected words,
      vowels and consonants
      arranged in lilting phrases
      and stark insights,
      communal moments
      that reach out to say:
      yes, we are connected
      we share the joys
      we share the sorrows
      we know what comes with this
      breath called life.

      Today,
      a peaceful Sunday
      poets send
      a gift of love.

    Carol Mathew-Rogers
    mathewrogers2@sbcglobal.net

    Marina, CA

      LOOKING GOOD

      I'm angry
      Why are you so important?
      Who put you in charge?
      In fact, who even invited you here?
      And why are you more important than me,
      and what I want?
      And why are you more important than me,
      and my serenity?
      And why are you more important than me,
      and who I am?
      Why, in the middle of making love,
      do you come into my mind?
      How do you have the audacity?
      What gives you the right?

      And why did I just wake and get out of bed,
      leaving the person I love
      to write this poem
      For a class I barely attended
      For people I've never met
      For people I'll never see again
      Just like I've done my entire life
      Over and over again
      And I'm sick and tired of it.
      Fuck you, I'm going back to bed!

    Alan Holmstrom
    a_holmstrom@yahoo.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      BELOW THE SURFACE

      Deep in the tangled forest of my heart
      flames rage out of control,
      consume leaves and limbs,
      dark stumps of betrayals,
      mine and yours.
      I hack myself in half
      to supply the fuel.
      Red flags rise and tremble,
      burn down to gray coals.
      In the embers I reclaim
      what wants to be rekindled.

      Come with me then
      down to the enduring green depths
      where fan corals sway and shimmer,
      where a sunbeam casts arrows of light
      through the sea, ignites
      furtive swaying silver scales.
      This is the doorway to surrender,
      where the tide moves us
      in and out of our unspoken walls.

      TAKING FORM

      I heard you say
      you are a paper crane
      with carefully folded beak
      and wings waiting
      for someone or something
      to breathe you into flight.

      How would it be if
      you could imagine
      you began with the splitting
      of a few ruby cells,
      a pattern incomplete,
      the smallest seedling
      in a forest sending down,
      your slender taproot.

      every day notched
      and whittled by time,
      each nick a deepening
      of your emerging image,
      all heartache groundwork
      for your evolution,
      imperfection a signature
      of creation.

      Suppose you are a natural
      work of art,
      continuously carved
      by each raindrop,
      every rasp of the wind,
      taking form with every breath.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

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    Section A: .................................................................. July 15, 2007

    Colorado Springs, CO

      FORGIVENESS

      There is
      no time left
      to be angry.

      What you
      cannot
      forgive today
      will haunt you
      long after that coffin
      lid has been closed.

      The strong wind
      of regret will blow hard
      against you until you
      bend as the willow
      bends to kiss this
      sacred ground.

      Begging forgiveness
      for pride,
      for arrogance,
      for intolerance
      from those souls
      who were incapable
      of offering the love
      you so needed.

      There is
      no time left
      for judgment.

      Better to release
      it here
      before you
      pass through
      those gates where
      your own judgments
      will be rendered
      back to you.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    New Boston, TX

      AND SAND, AND SKY

      I am only human, just a young man
      And yet, still am I earth.
      I am earth, sky and sea forever,
      And none will ever take this from me.

      I am old in my youth
      And yet, I am young in all truth.
      But though the end must come,
      I will wait in patience.

      For a product of earth and power am I,
      And earth I will return to thee,
      And beyond my strength to leave
      And cease to be—only for now.

      But soon my friend
      United we will be,
      And forever—I will caress the beach's sands,
      And my soul will rest within your being.

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

    Marina, CA

      SICK AND TIRED

      Have you ever noticed, those of you that write
      that your writing is a snapshot of your life
      But part of my picture is not exposed
      Part of my picture has always been missing
      And I'm sick and tired of it
      Sick of writing to please others, never to please myself
      Tired of coming from the head, seldom coming from the body
      Sick of living the Clark Kent image, briefcase and all
      Afraid of throwing off the glasses and ripping off the shirt

      Have you ever wanted to just let go
      To go crazy, to run naked down the beach
      To write in bold exclamations like "Fucking-A!"
      To stand on a street comer in the middle of rush hour
      And scream as loud as you can
      To let out that hot, steamy, primal passion
      that's been pent up, held in, and shut down
      that's been "nice guy'ed" and "good girl'ed" away
      And just once, to eat a whole German chocolate cake
      without counting calories or checking cholesterol
      To write in big bold loud purple words
      that color up the entire page, margins and all
      To act silly, fly kites, stay up late and dance!
      To smell flowers, blow bubbles, watch the moon and howl!
      To break plates, throw glasses, slarn the door and swear!
      To throw snowballs, baseballs, wet cottonballs and mud!
      To make love all night, and call in sick the next day
      Not because you're tired, because you're not done!

      And a voice says, "Do It Now" or forever be sick and tired!

    Alan Holmstrom
    a_holmstrom@yahoo.com

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      UNTITLED

      In 1961, I was sitting in a coffee house
      in Saratoga California called the Brass Knocker.
      I would take wooden matches and light them
      then blow them out and remove the phosphors
      and draw with the charcoal end.

      I drew the death of J.F.K.,
      Man landing on the moon,
      the war in Viet man
      and the killing of the students
      at Kent State.

      I drew Watergate
      and the murder
      of Martin and Bobby,
      the bodies beneath the dam.

      I drew Man landing on the moon
      and the shuttle exploding in the sky,
      those two buildings falling down.

      Today, in 2007,
      I sit in a coffee shop
      in Del Rey Oaks, California
      and draw with a pen dipped in ink
      and I have become speechless.

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Piedmont, CA

      PRESERVING BEAUTY

      As young girls we were taught to make ourselves beautiful
      As young ladies we were expected to keep ourselves beautiful
      As mature ladies we were inspired to maintain our beauty
      As mature women we are encouraged to manipulate for beauty

      Young girls—we brushed on a little eye shadow
             Drew on some eyeliner
                    Flicked on some mascara
                           Swiped on some lip gloss

      Young ladies—we added some Cover-Girl make-up
             Dusted on a dash of blush
                    Rolled on a bright lipstick
                           Teased some curls around our face

      Mature ladies—we stepped on the dieter's scale
             Jogged the morning mile
                    Plastered on evening skin creams
                           Colored our graying hair

      Mature women—we are botoxing our wrinkled foreheads
             "Lifting" our fallen eyelids
                    "Tucking" our bloated tummies
                           "Sucking-out" our double chins

      So, what is beauty?

      Were we taught to look inward?
      Were we expected to calm our minds?
      Were we inspired to reflect on our decisions?
      Are we encouraged to replenish our spirits?

      Is beauty in the "eye of the beholder" or in the heart of the beholder?

      Beauty ...

    Pam Quesnoy
    quesnoy@sbcglobal.net

    Berkeley, CA

      A SATURDAY MORNING IN IRELAND
      (to the mystics...)

      Dawn in slivers
      light on the hills
      where land meets sky
      and sky meets sea

      Thatch of clouds and fog, feathered
      gray and green, walls of jagged stone, piers,
      and jetties of sky and silver, Monk's Pub
      and a magic well beyond.

      Left over from last night,
      laughter, too little sleep,
      admixture of happiness
      and a bucket of stars

      Down the road, a lane
      from the lane, a brushy path,
      off the path, skeins of seaweed
      and a ribbon of sand

      Through the mist,
      the cuckoo calls first song
      sounds and echoes
      across the strand

      Across Galway Bay,
      a glimmer off shore
      half an hour or more, barely moving
      until sun touches the Rine,

      illumines the hills,
      southwest, the weathered
      limestone and grass above
      the ruins of Corcomroe

      Breezes stir the swells
      water laps the shore,
      morning clouds brighten
      and sweep patches on the hills.

      The tide ripples off Rine Spit,
      a shoal of cockles, mussel shells
      the tip of dark cobbles and granite
      carved out of Conamara,

      sculpted on a whim, carried
      on the waves, brought by
      flooding seas, scattering spells
      and splash, shining at our feet.

    Larry Ruth
    ergolr@aol.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      FEEDING THE MUSE

      I invite my muse to join me
      at a bistro by the harbor,
      lead her through double French doors
      to a black lacquer table
      with a corner window view.

      We order organic Earl Grey Mighty Leaf tea
      served in a flowered porcelain cup,
      consider the selection of sweets,
      caramel pots du creme, triple berry pie,
      buttermilk scones, apple cranberry tartlet,
      split a square of cheesecake.

      An hour seems like three.
      Words stack up behind our silence.
      Tourists circle the plaza
      as if stirred slowly with a wooden spoon.
      Two little girls lap the domes
      off their ice cream cones.

      We eavesdrop on trivial chitchat,
      note how the wind ruffles
      the flaps on outdoor umbrellas,
      ponder some fresh way to express
      how cloud edges become rimmed
      with bright sunlight,
      close our notebook
      on one more empty page
      at the Nothing To Say Cafe

      TWO CONVERTS AT THE DIVINE DELI

      Hungry multitudes gather
      at the corner of Bay and Capitola Avenue
      snatch a numbered paper wafer
      from the dispenser by the back door,
      bow down before glassfront shrines
      crammed with sandwich selections,
      assorted salads, the St. Pat's Day special,
      wait willingly to be served.

      Down along a second aisle
      domed princess cakes
      cloaked in pastel ganache,
      chocolate eclairs, raspberry turnovers,
      and almond filled bear claws
      convene in sweet processions
      on white paper doilies.

      My friend picks turkey and pepper jack
      on a Dutch crunch roll, side of creamy coleslaw,
      my delectable prize tri-tip and carmelized onions
      with gorgonzola mayo, on rustic bread,
      a plate of green bean and artichoke salad
      with hazelnut dressing.

      The gods of gourmet have decreed
      this place their particular paradise
      for a Saturday brunch.
      We worship at the temple of taste and texture
      known as Gayle's Bakery,
      a satiated congregation talking in blessed tongues.

    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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