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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #28

  • Section A: January 15, 2009
  • Section B: February 15, 2009
  • Section C: March 15, 2009
  • Section D: April 15, 2009
  • Section E: May 15, 2009
  • Section F: .................................................................. June 15, 2009

    Colorado Springs, CO

      DESTINATION UNKNOWN

      The moon keeps
      staring at me
      not a soft glow
      but a harsh
      penetrating light
      as she pursues me
      along the open road.

      I do not know
      if I am lost
      or like
      a beacon
      she points
      a finger toward
      the path I must follow.

      I want to stop
      I want to hide

      yet my feet keep
      rushing forward
      somewhere
      in the night
      I hear a cry
      it is my cry
      now I know
      there is nothing
      left to guide me
      only this moonlight.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    Carmel Valley, CA

      NO ONE GETS TO BE SPECIAL

      You spend your whole life
      struggling with the inevitable,
      tiny motes redistributing themselves
      along the window ledge,
      drifting unseen after midnight
      from the ceiling
      down across your pillow,
      onto the open pages of the novel
      that fell from your hand
      when you slipped out of consciousness.

      Every moment of every day you are stalked
      by the timeline of death,
      the inescapable incognito,
      its cause as small as the first cancer cell,
      a defect in an indispensable organ,
      an accidental convergence of random violence.

      Dust and death are equally democratic.
      Neither cares how much
      money or authority you have,
      what you did, where you came from,
      or what opinions you hold.
      What is of consequence after all?
      No one gets to be special,
      avoids the accumulation of lint and ash,
      eludes the grave.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

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    Section E: .................................................................. May 15, 2009

    San Jose, CA

      WAVES

      Whipped by trade winds
      wave after wave after wave
      is sacrificed upon the rocks
      with bared white teeth and a crush
      leaving a carpet of foam
      to welcome the next sacrifice.

      Whales are singing
      exhale white plumes as they breath
      raising their glistening flukes
      high into the sun
      thrashing the Pacific
      to impress the members of their pod
      and warn off competitors.

      There is no end to the onslaught
      the rhythm the crushing the abundance
      completely disconnected
      from other waves that carry
      hectic voices, flickering images
      about crushing markets
      international catastrophies
      played out on a tiny screen.

      Deep under this gay abundance
      already tectonic plates
      grind into each other
      building tension to be released
      in a shock wave so profound
      it will bend the pacific
      will suck dry this crescent bay in seconds
      gather strength to roll over the dried beaches
      the roads the cars the houses
      maybe under a whet white cloud like now
      casting a glorious rainbow.

    Franz Spickhoff
    franzox@gmail.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      FILE CABINET

      Engorged by years of overeating
      you groan under the weight of words
      yearn for complete cleansing.

      You beg for full-fledged fast
      anticipate the relief of rest
      your wooden bones recall the flow of air.

      You imagine well-phrased poetics
      carefully crafted essays
      writings in alphabetical order.

      You envision loosely filled files
      the gliding of drawers
      easily opened and closed.

      I imagine garnering gladness
      as I easily, graciously access
      that which you neatly offer.

    Illia Thompson
    Illia99@aol.com

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      THE WHITE HORSE

      the curtain blew in
      the wind

      revealing a white horse
      bearing Siddhartha
      away from the palace

      through the horror
      of all there is

      toward nirvana
      the bhodi tree

      my heart could follow
      but awaits a sign

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Monterey, CA

      SNOW CANYON HAIKU

      Creatures Of Red Rock
      How Long Have You Been Waiting?
      Today We Saw You.

      Quiet Cool Canyon
      Perfect Amphitheater
      Favored Place For Birds.

      Red Arch, Ancient Bridge
      Passing From Then Until Now
      We Stand and Stare—Stunned

    Ray Cyr
    raythecyr@att.net

    Pacific Grove, CA

    Bali is a living temple of the unseen, a fabric, a web beyond the physical realm...

    There is much to relate about Balinese Hindu beliefs, but for me, standing alongside the low wall of the "Royal Temple's" inner courtyard, the visual and the feelings inside me collide. The temple appears empty aside from several cats lounging in the shade...

    To the bafflement of Indian Hindus, there are no images in the inner temple, thus the look of emptiness. "We do not know what they looked like, the gods." But standing beside the wall looking across a narrow watery canal of lotus, the palpable vibration full of meaning unavailable to my western sorting, cataloguing mind belies the concept of "empty."

    My cells understand what my mind can only flirt with like a mosquito looking for a blood meal. The inner temple, the jungle, the beach, the volcanoes, the flowers, the monkeys, the air, everything and everyone vibrates with what I would call spirit, that which is unseeable, unnameable, but not imperceiveable. This, to me, is Bali.

      SACRED MONKEY FOREST SANCTUARY

      Morning. Muggy. Cool.
      Taupe-colored prehensile Macaques
      Scamper, mock-battle, groom,
      Nurse the youngest.
      An attendant tossed bananas.
      The monkeys grab, run-off
      Peel and gobble.
      It's snack time.
      It's food scramble time.
      It's monkey time
      Here in the steamy jungle
      Set aside to honor
      Hanaman, the monkey god
      Who saved Sita, queen
      Of Rama in the Hindu tale
      Of Ramayana.

      We don a simple sari
      Tied around the waist,
      Walk through the gate
      Into the forecourt
      Of the temple.

      A "good man" prepares offerings.
      A square of green leaf,
      Fruit, flowers, peanuts, incense.
      He places them everywhere,
      Performing a blessing,
      As do Balinese everywhere
      On this small island.
      He lays them beside trees,
      Flicks water and blessings.
      He lays them where two
      Paths cross to ward off
      The evil spirits.
      He lays them in front
      Of gateways,
      In front of stone carvings
      Piled one on top of another,
      Gods of the Hindi,
      Spirits of the forest,
      The river, the sky,
      Everything.

      The courtyard shifts
      As if a doorway
      To the gods has opened.
      The air changes,
      Bathes my spirit
      In this jungle
      Of mounting heat
      Surrounded by shops
      And commerce,
      Blessings for us all.

    Sharon Davies
    sharondavies@me.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      GUARDIAN

      Keep me from closing the gate,
      from building the fort stronger
      and the windows smaller.

      Describe for me
      the union of black swans,
      the moment pollen alters
      the center of a peach blossom,
      how seasons arrive.

      Open the sky
      and toss me an epic poem
      that becomes my journey.

      Don't sell me any more locks,
      any more reasons to drift
      alone through the world.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

    Colorado Springs, CO

      THE RETURN

      It is spring—
      Persephone rises again,

      Reaches out
      her hand to another,

      The trees
      burst into bloom.

      The sun
      smiles upon the land,

      She blinks—
      and pauses.

      Such beauty,
      requires a moment of prayer.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

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    Section D: .................................................................. April 15, 2009

    San Rafael, CA

      THE KINGDOM OF THE GRAIL

      Not intellect or intuition, education or experience,
      Singly or jointly, can chart the geography of the Heart.
      Love alone can see the beauteous meadows in the Waste Land.
      Love alone can find in its arid desert the deep springs
      That water its invisible grasses and its shade trees.

      Unaccompanied by Love, the Soul must suffer the storms
      Which rage on the cliffs of the Heart; must wonder endlessly
      Through the Waste Land's desert. Without Love,
      The wounded Fisher-King must float forever in his boat,
      Unable to heal, unable to die, his castle everywhere and nowhere.
      And untll he himself is filled with Love,
      Parsifal, unable to ask his first question,
      Which is the World's Last Question, will watch the Holy Grail
      Parade past him, and disappear, one more time.

      All this, until "The Day" when Love, following only its own logic,
      Throws open the way to the highlands of the Heart;
      And the Soul, then finding there no Waste Land
      But a Kingdom ready to explode into blossom;
      Then finding there "that all things are well
      And all manner of things are well."
      Takes up its own true role nurturing with its own love
      The Kingdom of the Grail.

    Rick Nelson
    RandLNels@comcast.net

    Colorado Springs, CO

      THE WORD

      First there was
      the word
      then the
      sound
      of word
      stretched
      itself through
      vocal chords
      through poets
      pen and artist brush

      each chord
      struck by the
      delicate touch
      of the harpist hand
      and the word was made
      flesh and dwelt among us.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      LUPIN PEEKING

      When the silver grass
      of morning springtime
      glistens
      hillside
      flower bond
      against the green
      lupin peeking
      purple sheen

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Pacific Grove, CA

    Yogyakarta, Indonesia

    Indonesia is hot and beautiful. Java, 80% Muslim was a picture postcard of green rice fields and thick, moist air. The afternoons were gushers! The clouds opened and poured out forever! Mornings were slightly cooler but steamed up quickly. By 10:30 in the morning it was so hot that sun screen had washed itself away. All that kept me from burning was a $2 umbrella made from lacquered paper I bought in Bangkok.

    I was charmed by our guide who glowed with his beliefs! He spoke of going on the Haj, the once in a lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca and light shone from his very pores. The young people were particularly enchanting, and irritating at the same time. They would stare at us like we were exotic creatures when it was the other way around for us! They wanted to put us in their pictures, talk with us. They nearly petted our skin. On the other hand, they chattered and giggled relentlessly so it was like a gaggle of geese filling the air with their noise,...I yearned for peace and quiet, especially in the temples. The heat, the humidity (and this is the "cool" season), the strength of the place was almost overwhelming.

      JAVA

      Behind me on the path
      A long stand of bamboo
      Yellow trunks with thin
      Brown rings bend
      Slightly in a breeze.
      Slender green leaves rattle
      Like small gourds.
      In front, a golf course
      Nine holes daily scattered
      With young ladies in lime
      Colored pants, hats, shirts
      Pulling golf bags
      For customers.
      Or in brown, sweeping
      Leaves, filling in divits
      With dirt from a small bucket.
      All around me, bushes,
      Large and small, birds calling
      Warm, humid morning air.
      I stand in a sea
      Of magnetic forces
      My palms are one pole,
      The earth, the sky,
      The air I breathe, another.
      As I move through Tai Chi
      My spirit calms.
      A sleepless night falls away,
      Memories of standing
      At the top of Borobudur
      In Java, Indonesia.
      The heavy chaos inside me
      Sense of desperate searching
      For a way out.
      At the top, only stupas, 72
      Each of stone blocks,
      Bell-shaped. Each with Buddha
      Life-sized inside.
      Most without heads
      Lost to marauders,
      Treasure seekers,
      Adventurers,
      Souvenir seekers.
      Below, 5 million stones
      On 7 levels, carved
      With Buddha's mysteries,
      His life, his meditations,
      The life in Java
      In 9th century
      When this monument,
      This temple,
      This giant mandala
      Was constructed.
      11 centuries of tones
      Holding the shape
      Of a teaching,
      Absorbing the energies
      Of monks, people,
      The relentless sun,
      Rain, steamy green
      Of Java, radiating
      Blessings of devotion.
      The energy source
      Within the fabric
      Of these stones
      Is so strong
      I can barely
      Stand upright,
      Cannot think at the top
      Where these stupas
      Represent emptiness,
      The enlightment of Buddha,
      Who could cross a field
      And all battle would cease,
      Who could make the starving
      Feel blessed,
      The sinner to cease,
      Because sin is only
      Turning away from this
      Huge ocean of emtiness
      That draws outlines
      around my thoughts,
      my feelings of fear,
      my sorrows and aging body
      Undoes the knots
      I've tied to keep
      Myself together
      Blows away all
      my small pieces
      inot the dense, warm morning
      air, into the sunshine
      breaking free of mists,
      into the sky above,
      the volcano in the distance,
      the green jungle
      and rice paddies,
      the $2000 a night resort
      on the hill,
      the simple hotel
      where we didn't sleep well
      last night.
      I cannot find my pieces,
      Cannot bring them together
      With Tai Chi
      Cannot feel the magnetic pull
      Of my own palms.
      Cannot withstand the chatter
      Of a 1000 muslim youngsters
      Wanting to speak English,
      Have a picture with us,
      With our tall white skin,
      Our foreignness.
      I can only regain my balance
      By descending the levels,
      Taking photos of carved
      Faces in stone,
      The camera drawing
      My eyes into focus again,
      By sitting on a rock,
      Letting the chaos
      Of emotions
      Pour down out of air
      Through the top of my head,
      Somehow making its way
      Through thickened tissue
      Onto a page of paper,
      Scriggly lines of letter,
      Blocks of meaning
      To focus my thought again
      Into recognition.
      Was this a past life
      Where I was killed,
      Thrown from the top?
      Or the influence of an image,
      A movie, a bood
      A spoken suggestion?
      Or must I walk simply
      Throughout this earth
      Chronicling how the land feels
      In this century
      Of my lifetime.
      Perhaps I'm a living tablet,
      A scribe of inner landscapes
      Shaped by all I see,
      All I hear and smell,
      All I feel.

    Sharon Davies
    sharondavies@me.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      TORMENT

      Some where a poem
      is waiting
      to be written—

      lies behind a gauze curtain
      of seamless clouds,
      shuffles under the couch
      with the tussocks of dust
      just out of reach,
      beyond the sweep of my mind.

      I might hold out my hand
      every day
      in absolute faith,
      listen for the prelude,
      the piccolo squeal of gate hinge,
      and still not find it.

      Some where a poem
      is standing watch
      at the tiller
      through the long night
      beneath the Milky Way,
      holding its breath
      just before sunrise,
      tacking into the storm,
      preparing to cast anchor.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

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    Section C: .................................................................. March 15, 2009

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      [Tea Bowl]

      HIROSHE

      Hiroshie sitting on his
      front porch
      thinking
      about his friends
      who died
      for the Emperor
      and tries to rationalize
      the Buddha
      and death and killing
      starts to make tea bowls
      one for each person
      killed
      in the war

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Pacific Grove, CA

    Traveling in Vietnam.

    Hoi An—(Gathering Peaceful). It used to be a major sea port in central Vietnam. Japanese and Chinese traders lived peacefully with the local inhabitants plying their trade in the south China Seas. In the early 17th century, a Portugese ship captured a Japanese trading ship, thus causing Japan to "lose face." The Emperor called all ex-pats home and the Chinese bought up their homes on the water front street. Over time, the locals cut down the Iron Wood forests up river and the resulting deforestation, flooding silted over the harbor and the land, adding islands where none were before. The large ships moved on to other ports and Hoi An is now a peaceful, pretty tourist town along the Haoi River.

      HOI AN IMPRESSIONS

      Egrets fly off when we stop,
      wings white against bright green paddies,
      bent backs of rice planters
      feet deep in water,
      plastic ponchos and rubber boots,
      connical hats against the sun,
      today the slow rain.

      Water buffalo twist away from their tether
      ducks and geese penned by the stream,
      rice growing green
      rain falling
      villages, children
      returning home from school
      "hello" wide grins
      from girls and young boys
      mother's instructing toddlers to wave.
      Older boys make grimace
      and rude noises.

      I'd like to think the gian palm fronds
      are waving, green against a gray sky,
      to background Flaminco music
      on this French influence terrace,
      that the limp branches hanging
      by the gracefully ringed tan trunk
      has been overcome with emotion,
      bows its head in awe of the dancing
      all around. But I know
      it is broken by swift winds
      along the Haoi river

    Hue—it is raining and everything looks grim beneath a gray sky...damp, broken pavement, everyone wearing plastic ponchos so it looks a sea of moving plastic flowers along the streets. Often the 2nd person on a motor bike is completely covered with the poncho of the driver, like a short dragon with 4 sets of legs, 2 wheels.

      HUE

      The skies opened gray and wet,
      January rain in Hue.
      Not quite cold.
      Not quite drenched.
      Not quite anything
      But dampening.
      This is a day to kindle
      Our own spirits
      With inner fires
      That burn despite the weather,
      The grayness everywhere
      Except within.

    Sharon Davies
    sharondavies@me.com

    Colorado Springs, CO

      RELATIONSHIPS

      Spoon feeding
      your affection
      is not
      necessary

      I am grown now
      and can take
      larger doses.

      I choke on the
      pabulum
      you feed me

      Give me
      something
      I can chew upon
      digest again and again

      Until
      I understand
      your need for silence
      and my desire to speak.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    Carmel Valley, CA

      SHAPESHIFTING

      It's impossible now to recapture
      the ability I had as a child
      to be invisible, to disappear
      among the bodies of my family,
      vanish into the noise of their voices,
      sometimes fading slowly
      into background elements
      of furniture, stucco walls,
      right through clear windowpanes
      into the arms of pines
      at the edge of the garden,
      to become just one more
      green needle-covered branch,
      a petaled cone.

      I learned early to perform
      my magic act at the first sign
      of tension, long before the shouting.
      It was practice for years
      of teachers, cruel children,
      for adolescent embarrassments
      the confinements of marriage.
      Concealment equaled silent shelter.

      How did I do that?
      I'm finding it harder lately
      to keep enclosed in my carefully
      constructed arrangement of mirrors.
      I speak suddenly, resentfully,
      without my usual censor,
      feel discomfited by my rudeness,
      contemplate polite apologies.

      POLKA PARTY
      (Age 16)

      Right in the middle
      of the rock n' roll revolution
      I went to a polka party,
      offbeat whim of a quirky friend,
      a teenage anomaly in 1957.

      Steps easy to learn,
      tempo brisk, music infectious,
      we swirled round and round,
      turning always on our right foot
      arms catawampus, blood pounding,
      not knowing the hours flew by
      while we danced,
      pure joy in our bones.

      Now and then I long
      to dance like that again,
      for my heart to emerge
      from its thicket of fractures,
      for thoughts of awkwardness
      and modesty to vanish
      in the jubilance
      of a thumping, upbeat tune,
      the moment I'm broken open...

      wanting more.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

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    Section B: .................................................................. February 15, 2009

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

    A memorial to a woman who watched as her vibrant Doctor husband withered away very slowly into senility and death. She stands as a memorial to all who have suffered.

      KATHLEEN

      When the mist had covered
      those pool bright eyes.

      She waited at his side
      for a very long time.

      In the memory
      of their life together.

      Until it was time to go.

      She kissed him there
      and said goodbye.

      With a smile and a tear.

      When the mist had covered
      those pool bright eyes.

      (On January 25, 2009 I added:)

      She lifted her head
      to continue the journey
      along the road
      that they had shared
      forward into the sunset

      She has joined him now
      to look once again
      into those pool bright eyes...

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Pacific Grove, CA

    Traveling in Vietnam.

    Stalled on the bridge over the Red River, Hanoi is a landscape of skinny 3,4,5 story houses that look like awkward corn stalks amongst the skyscrapers increasingly littering the skyline.

      HANOI

      Women in straw conical hats
      Two open baskets swing, balance
      From wooden pole across their shoulders.
      Piles of orange tangerines,
      Yellow bananas, open pineapples,
      Green vegetables, tea makings,
      Even a bowl of hot soup.
      They weave and bob
      Through the crowds
      In the narrow market area.
      They plead with us to buy
      Along the busy roads.
      They carry goods from store
      To store. They are like donkeys.
      They are still here.

      LIFE OUTSIDE

      Families, friends sit
      In the dark of night,
      In the bright light of day,
      Around low tables,
      On cushions,
      Share a hot pot
      Of steaming soup
      Filled with green,
      Maybe some meat.
      The men smoke.
      The women tend
      The children playing.
      Babies sleep in arms.
      Narrow shop fronts
      Filled with every goods.
      The barbers sit outside
      With a mirror hung on the wall,
      A stool for customers.
      Women wash women's
      Long flowing black hair
      Just inside the open door.
      On the sidewalk, the cobbler
      Affixes a rubber heel,
      Gouges rivulets to defeat
      The slippery pavement.
      Women sit and talk,
      Rub each others shoulders,
      Hold the babies, sound asleep
      Amidst the horns, voices,
      Smog-smudged music of Hanoi.

      FULL MOON

      Waiting for the prayers
      Of the full moon,
      Old women sit in rows
      In maroon "home Buddist" coats.
      Before them, a short table,
      Blue program. Their gray buns,
      Wrinkles of long life,
      Bob in conversation.
      I stand at the door watching,
      Am embowed aside like a stream
      Pushing on a light-weight pebble.
      The babble of sound around me
      The same as tossing stones.
      Inside gold Buddhas stand
      On gold altars with candles
      Burning bright. Fruits, money,
      Packets of food, incense.
      Over the loud speaker,
      A voice squacks
      "...I beg you Buddha,
      Forgive me..."
      Where does culture
      Cut, and where religion?
      Outside the pagoda,
      Belief is suspended
      In the reality of everyday,
      And that 1/4 the monks
      Are secret police.

    Sharon Davies
    sharondavies@me.com

    Colorado Springs, CO

      INNOCENCE

      Yes, you have led
      a sheltered life.

      Someday—
      if you are lucky
      life will touch you
      and place you into the fire.

      There you will be tempered
      like fine steel strengthened
      against your own will
      bent and shaped
      into a new you.

      Careful—
      the alchemist is afoot

      think twice
      before you utter
      this pray and
      flash your
      light into
      the darkness
      for change is in
      the air and you may
      never be the same again.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    Carmel Valley, CA

      GUILLEMOT ISLAND

      Exposed roots imperil a hidden path
      to a remote seabird refuge
      on a spur off the North Shore Trail.
      Nests of seaweed congest crevices
      on the upper flank of a small island.

      Brown pelicans with darning-needle beaks,
      double-crested Brandt's cormorants,
      gray western gulls with white heads,
      and red-footed pigeon guillemots
      congregate on a September Sunday,
      speckle their white-rock haven
      with black, gray, and tan feathered bodies,
      this stone backbone their chapel.

      Four separate flocks share
      their sanctuary without conflict.
      I study their instinctive rituals.
      On silent cue twelve pelicans take flight,
      one behind the other in formation,
      a squadron gliding slowly away.
      They wheel and cruise, return to settle
      along the crest of the knoll.

      I come here for what cannot be captured
      on film, printed, painted or penned,
      the peace of blue and green, rock, fern,
      and renewal, the innocent habits of birds,
      some sense of order in my complicated world.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

    Monterey, CA

    HOME NATURE #1

      The five unusual deer
      are sitting in the back
      squinting their eyes
      against the unusual sun.

      Do you think
      they're thinking
      as they chew their cud?

      I don't think so.

      PROUD GRANNIE

      My granddaughter
      nodded off
      during the
      celebrated vampire kiss

      ARTIST

      My friend Simonson
      sends me odd
      sometimes beautiful
      pieces of paper.

      He lives in Snohomish.

    Carolyn Berry
    Carolynbberry@redshift.com
    Visit her web site: www..Carolynbberry.com

    Piedmont, CA

      OBAMA

      Anticipation has this country tied up in knots,
      Because the big day has finally come.
      Ceremonies and parades for the world to see;
      Can he do the job? No guarantee.

      To see him swear before a nation to do the job we want
      We wait, we watch, we worry...
      Can one man alone fix the problems at hand?
      It will require the strength of a one-man band.

      People of color are more joyous than the rest,
      But everywhere we are all full of hope.
      This tall, slender man with intelligence and poise
      Will step before a nation full of confusion and white noise.

      Many hopes are placed on this extraordinary man
      Who came from an ordinary background.
      At noon he will place his hand on a Bible and swear
      To lead us out of this economic and global nightmare.

      Our spirits are high, our hearts full of trust;
      We encourage, we assist, we cheer...
      Is he up to the task? Will others follow his lead?
      A world worries, but is expectant and eager he'll succeed.

    Pam Quesnoy

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    Section A: .................................................................. January 15, 2009

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      RECTAL EXAM
      (Dr. Vierra's office)

      Has anyone ever written a poem
      while having a rectal exam?

      Tried to heap piles of words
      to hide the fear?

      Hoping to snow the uncomfort
      with phrases?

      Has anyone ever written a poem
      while having a rectal exam?

      I asked the Doctor when he was done
      if he had ever heard of such a thing.

      "No, No, Never!" he said
      ...
      so I did

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Pacific Grove, CA

    Traveling in Laos.

      FOGGY MORNING

      Up river on boat,
      long, thin knife
      through brown Mekong
      to Pak Ou Caves.

      Cucumber farmers
      hug close to shore
      pack their homes
      when rains come,
      move uphill
      until seasons
      turn again.

      Fog falls from sky,
      layers of gray pillows.
      Wispy crown of white
      floats among tree tops,
      over rich brown Mekong.
      Soil flows from Tibet,
      through China, Laos,
      laying down richness,
      carrying it away,
      redeposits of life,
      land in continual reincarnation.
      Each living day, each flower,
      layer of soil along the shore,
      song heard from far away,
      a face, hands held in "swabaidee,"
      heads nod, ripples on the river,
      all lay down the soil
      of my life.

    One last poem about our generous and interesting guide who spent 9 years as a novice monk:

      SOMPASONG

      Was nine years a novice,
      now 33 years old with wife
      a daughter, Sompasong,
      a construction worker,
      a tour guide,
      hand on his heart,
      yearning to be a monk,
      for peace again.

    Sharon Davies
    sharondavies@me.com

    Colorado Springs, CO

      UNEARTHING

      Sometimes
      you have
      to toss
      everything aside

      as if knowing nothing.

      Nothing of
      value or
      importance
      as if the sun
      has had
      enough
      of praise.

      Sometimes
      you have to
      bow down
      and dig deep
      into dark earth
      turning the soil
      until worms rise up
      to crawl between
      open fingers of
      open hands

      Until the
      lowliest of
      creatures
      makes love to
      your cringing flesh

      Until
      lovemaking
      comes from the
      grave to greet life
      as if life without thought
      of death is no more
      than the mind
      calling itself master.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    Carmel Valley, CA

      NO ONE KNOWS

      No one knows if there's a plan
      or if life is just some random journey,
      some long trek of years
      or foreshortened timeline
      of just a few breaths.

      No one really knows
      if we have lived many lifetimes
      or are tethered here briefly
      in these precarious bodies.

      Some will tell you
      their gospel truth,
      their confessions of faith
      in a continuum.
      I like to assume
      there is only this one lifespan,
      this incurable affliction
      of inevitable mortality.

      It keeps me mindful
      of the extravagance
      of each new day,
      how our marvel of a planet
      turns its east face to the first blush
      and later lingers
      on the song of sundown.

      Whether it's the melody
      of waves washing a pebblestone beach,
      whispering poems to me
      or the stuttering crackle of dry leaves
      under my feet in November,
      I don't want to take
      this temporary tenure for granted.
      I may only have another moment
      or another thirty years.

      I want to listen deliberately,
      pay equal attention
      to the permutations of light
      on the green folds of the wilderness
      and the luminous surface of the sea,
      be giddy with bliss
      over a scarlet geranium
      or the blueberry burlesque
      of a stellar jay on my front porch.

    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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