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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #29

  • Section A: July 15, 2009
  • Section B: August 15, 2009
  • Section C: September 15, 2009
  • Section D: October 15, 2009
  • Section E: November 15, 2009
  • Section F: .................................................................. December 15, 2009

    Colorado Springs, CO

    (Editor's comment: Patrcia Ann Doneson died suddenly on July 11, 2009. Her poetry has been appearing regularly in Letter Box On Line for the last four and one half years reflecting her insightful musings. We miss her dearly! This poem from her book Songs of Silence is the last in a series published in her memory.)

      HECATE

      It is good
      to be finished
      with idle conversation.

      Now,
      I approach the crone.

      Knowing,
      in her presence,
      the mask will crumble,

      Lies will fall away.

      In her eyes
      I seek validation.

      Not—
      for my success,
      but for my failures.

      She alone—
      knows the struggle,
      the path I have followed.

      She alone—
      understands my grief
      for sins not committed.

      It is from her
      that I seek absolution.

    Patricia Ann Doneson

    Salinas, CA

      [Umbrea]

      CALLS FROM THE UMBRAE

      November begins with the days of the dead.
      First the Saints,
      Then all souls
      Descend upon the consciousness
      Of those who seek reunion.

      The low sun casts shadows,
      Animating ice and stone,
      Revealing primordial playgrounds
      For ancient spirits
      In the crevasses of perception.

      Monoliths rise from a carpet of needles
      Impressing their vistas
      With a sense of permanence,
      While transient profiles
      Find their moment in the sun.

      The season continues in a cool, quite air
      Of contemplative quality,
      Conducive to hearing
      Calls from the umbrae
      And songs from a distant source.

    Laura Carley
    lcarley11@yahoo.com

    Dallas, TX

      CATECHISM

      "Long live Iguana," shouts the rain,
      "His spines are godly reticules, his temple in the green mush
      Is small and holy, weird. His fingernails
      Are sickness and his flesh ungood to eat. He will permit
      No termites or any small rodents." The rain doesn't know
      What she's talking about. A codex in Forgottendom has this
      To blame: "Do not go into his temple lightly. It is not belong
      To him, defend it [Iguana] and . . . curse."
      This poem is over.
      Reticule, radical, catechetical,
      Permit no gods but the ones you can eat.

      (THE END)

    The important line is the one about eating. But the whole thing represents the way I create, where something new arises from the tension when I try to both accept and reject the monsters of my deepest self, accept in such a way that I can transform that energy into something new, something that I am the author of. This poem, because it is a personal "catechism" that sort of states the "rules" for doing that. Gabriel Mamola culabraxis@yahoo.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      ART AS A WAY OF LIFE

      Each morning we must hold out the chalice of our being
      To receive, to carry, and give back.
      Dag Hammarskjold

      Like the fisherwoman
      who stands atop the rocky quay
      at the edge of the sea, casts her thin line
      into the choppy water, then leaps back to elude
      the seventh wave—casting again and again,
      so the poet holds out her begging bowl
      to the wind in her broken eggshell hands
      and waits for a flurry
      of anagrams
      to rearrange
      themselves
      into a poem
      at the bottom of her chalice.

      And if not today
      then tomorrow.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      UNTITLED

      the poet lay
      curled beneath
      the Christmas tree
      cloaked in red
      and green armor
      against the
      in coming pain
      of Christmas past

      waiting for
      the poem to come
      a mighty vessel
      to calm the sea
      and float along
      towards the clouds
      on gossamer waves
      of white and pearl
      all colors of the sky

      to cover wounds
      of time gone by

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com
    (Check out Steve's new web site
    www.stevebrownartis.com)

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    Section E: .................................................................. November 15, 2009

    Colorado Springs, CO

    (Editor's comment: Patrcia Ann Doneson died suddenly on July 11, 2009. Her poetry has been appearing regularly in Letter Box On Line for the last four and one half years reflecting her insightful musings. We will miss her dearly although a few poems from her book Songs of Silence will continue to be published in the next few months in her memory.)

      HOME

      Wherever,
      I am—is called home.

      This journey— is the destination.

      And I,
      will take
      the bitter with
      the sweet, as the
      chalice of life is offered.

      Knowing—
      each step taken
      is the correct one.

      Leading me,
      through
      seasons of myself.

      Oh!
      how the changes
      excite me, even
      the sleet and the snow.

      For Life!
      is the gift in the
      journey. And the here,
      and the now is the goal.

    Patricia Ann Doneson

    Berkeley,CA

      UNTITLED

      One benefit, Dreamer, is that sleep
      is your friend, even when you can't fall asleep
      you might and then dream, ah, a good thing
      like oranges, cool and sweet juice
      over your tongue, taste of it lingering,
      love, just a little, sky blue and long trails,
      knapsacks, memory and muse of a day walking,
      the edge of what you wanted, nine-mile fork
      of the high river, each step taking you further away,
      out of yourself, fragrance of sisal and sage, following
      your heart and hers, springtime and snowmelt,
      penstemon and pines at the bend of the river, rock weirs
      gentle the current, serpentine pools of sunlight,
      swimming turquoise and trout, the cascades higher
      up the canyon, water over granite, revelation
      and creation, each drop brings you closer
      what more do we need to understand?
      Loosen whys and wherefores, let them go
      downstream, over the rapids, let go
      of whatever kept you from this place,
      whatever keeps you apart.

      TO WHAT IS UNCOMMON

      Ah, Pablo, never can we be intimidated by your words,
      the idea that song lifting our voices and hearts,
      memoria of what you want and write
      even in translation, surely what you want is what we want
      what we write, melody and mélange of fruit and wine, of women and men,
      laughter, life and love—forgive us if we forget sometimes
      of what your odes remind us, that everything, every thing is light,
      is connected, is change, even as we pay attention to this,
      that we have only now remembered the world, the orange
      and the peeling of it, Mercator projection of the skin of our life, love, being
      the meaning of time, the most common of things, of what we all share
      even in solitude, seed, plant sapling, tree bearing fruit, skin and segment
      of each one a mnemonic for the time of our lives, Andalucía, of Isla Negra
      love comes, not once, but over and over again, oranges of the south,
      Antofagasta and Atacama, even Orange Cove, sweet lush of it,
      rolling around your mouth, over your tongue,
      eating this orange could transport you, back to when
      you were nineteen, before your name was Neruda
      and your words embraced nature and life
      stretching out forever in all directions—

      Pablo, this ode's for you.

    Larry Ruth
    lwruth@yahoo.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      SOMETHING ABOUT THE WIND

      Across the sea
      white-tipped waves
      stream ashore.
      Whisked froth shatters
      against eroding bluffs,
      recedes from rocky coves.

      The hand of a stiff breeze
      passes its cadence over the land.
      Foxtails and oat grasses
      pulse up a steep hillside meadow.

      Along the ridge trail
      warped cypress limbs sway,
      twisted by years of resistance
      to fierce ocean windstorms,
      resilient trunks still rooted.

      Cold gusts whip my hair
      into my eyes, chafe my face.
      The sting of the strong wind
      wakes a tremor of submerged grief.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      UNTITLED

      is the mountain
      standing in its space
      before the face of god
      along the horizon
      head in clouds
      the white cold snows
      clinging on its side
      turning darker and darker
      as it lowers
      along the sides
      into the valley
      and off to the plain

      SORTING THE BEANS
      (writing poetry on a cool overcast November 28, 2008)

      sorting the beans
      black ones
      taking away splits
      I don't know why

      my grandmother
      never did it
      she was Irish
      and didn't grow
      black beans

      my mother
      Virginia May Gilmartin
      did not do it either
      when she went to
      New Mexico in the 55

      with four kids
      in a stationwagon
      to join my father
      who worked in a salt mine
      at the time
      she used pintos
      to make the chili
      that she taught me
      to make

      skull popping hot
      with hamburger and
      tomatoes and lots of
      chili powder

      to kill the
      taste of the spoiled
      meat taste
      when you were in jail
      they said

      new mexico jail chili
      eaten with lots
      of soda crackers
      and corn bread
      on the bottom
      cooled with pepsi cola
      straight from the bottle

      with scarred glass
      from going through
      the machines
      so many times

      50 years later
      it all visits me
      in my kitchen
      in California
      making beans
      to chase the
      overcast day

      knowing that
      its about the cooking
      with love
      that is what they
      taught me

      when I sort the beans

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com
    (Check out Steve's new web site
    www.stevebrownartis.com)

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    Section D: .................................................................. October 15, 2009

    Colorado Springs, CO

    (Editor's comment: Patrcia Ann Doneson died suddenly on July 11, 2009. Her poetry has been appearing regularly in Letter Box On Line for the last four and one half years reflecting her insightful musings. We will miss her dearly although a few poems from her book Songs of Silence will continue to be published in the next few months in her memory.)

      FEAR

      Last Night—

      I reached
      deep into
      my fears,

      and found
      there, a
      lost child

      seeking warmth
      from the rocks.

      Holding, in
      its tiny arms,
      forgotten dreams.

      Here—
      in this dark womb,

      Two,
      pleading eyes
      flashed their
      light upon me,

      and I
      shrieked
      in terror,

      as the
      small voice
      whispered

      I,
      have been
      waiting
      for you

    Patricia Ann Doneson

    Carmel Valley, CA

      EARLY MORNING REFLECTION

      At 5:00 am, a thin mist sits lightly,
      delicate as a whisper over the valley
      and to the east evidence of her dissolving
      lingers along the thin sliver of moon visible
      in the colorless sky of early morning.
      Drawn west, she appears to depart
      rather than vanish from warmth.

      Moving more swiftly now,
      lying close to the mountains,
      fog follows the ramble of the river.
      Blue jays come again and again
      to the seed bowls on the deck,
      picking out the sunflower pods
      from the millet and milo.
      The vapor hesitates, can't seem to decide
      to stay or proceed on the path to the sea.
      Fascinated by her moods and manifestations,
      I find no defined edge, but a soft sculpture
      of blurred borders in motion.

      It's been too long since I stole
      quiet time for myself.
      Something undefined is at work,
      an embrace in the tender mist
      that carries a beauty all its own.
      Something is being revealed slowly,
      like my valley on this early June morning,
      as if a reason could be delineated
      from one day to the next,

      and I am being asked to trust the mystery.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

    Here is a Poem that I wrote as a Memorial to a Vietnam Veteran friend who had a difficult path but came around.

      DAVID THE DRAGON SLAYER
      (July 3, 2009)

      when the thunder claimed the air
      to announce the arrival
      of a mighty warrior
      into the halls of fame

      battered and broken
      by wanton war
      blinded by all that he had seen

      all wrapped in black
      he stood astride
      his mighty steed
      reaching high into the trees

      his smile
      lit the path
      so others could follow

      on the journey
      he often fell
      to the side of the road
      but always got up
      to continue along the way

      to those who walked
      along at his side
      he will always
      mark the way

      we stand in ranks
      and salute his passing
      his very presence
      has marked the way

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com
    (Check out Steve's new web site
    www.stevebrownartis.com)

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    Section C: .................................................................. September 15, 2009

    Colorado Springs, CO

    (Editor's comment: Patrcia Ann Doneson died suddenly on July 11, 2009. Her poetry has been appearing regularly in Letter Box On Line for the last four and one half years reflecting her insightful musings. We will miss her dearly although a few poems from her book Songs of Silence will continue to be published in the next few months in her memory.)

      TRUSTING

      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

    Carmel Valley, CA

      BEVERLY AT THE GARDEN OF MEMORIES

      One cold and windy morning in April
      my cousin comes home from Arizona
      in a glossy cedar casket
      to the bleak cemetery
      across the street from the truck stop.

      Only four of us come that day.
      No one sits on the three benches
      under the green canvas tent
      meant to shelter a dozen mourners.

      After we murmur a few
      awkward words of goodbye,
      the groundskeeper pulls away
      the imitation grasscloth,
      reveals the concrete-lined pit.

      We stand, watch solemnly
      while the coffin is lowered slowly,
      tipping slightly, then straightening,
      as if my cousin has turned over
      in her sleep, a subtle thump
      marking the end of her descent.

      I pluck a white tulip from my bouquet
      tied with white lace ribbon,
      toss it onto the polished wood lid,
      alongside the three white carnations
      the others have already offered.

      Across this cement-bordered sector
      of the Garden of Memories
      with its few trees and flat markers.
      I locate the grave of my cousin's mother,
      the aunt I most closely resemble,
      imagine who will come someday
      to cast a white flower in my name.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

    Monterey, CA

      HAIKU SCENES

      Orthopedic Scene:
      Each Person's Pain Is Their Own,
      But Heal Each Other.

      Severe Clear Today.
      Fremont Peak Sees From Afar
      Calm Blue-Green Ocean

      California Dreams.
      The Black Cat Sleeps In the Sun.
      His Peace Is Our Peace.

    Ray Cyr
    raythecyr@att.net

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    Section B: .................................................................. August 15, 2009

    Colorado Springs, CO

    (Editor's comment: Patrcia Ann Doneson died suddenly on July 11, 2009. Her poetry has been appearing regularly in Letter Box On Line for the last four and one half years reflecting her insightful musings. We will miss her dearly although a few poems from her book Songs of Silence will continue to be published in the next few months in her memory.)

      NEW HORIZONS

      I am Hungry—

      Hungry for lilacs
      and an early spring,

      Hungry for rain
      to fall on dried earth,

      Hungry—for people
      to fill the landscape
      that my mind has created,

      Join with them—
      bathe in the vermilion
      oranges of purple sunsets.

      Search,
      for the tree
      that bears forbidden fruit.

      Bite into the apple!
      Taste the pomegranate!

      I am tired of being safe.

      So great—
      is my hunger,
      that I want to devour myself,

      And create a new me.

    Patricia Ann Doneson

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      UNTITLED

      Life in the woods
      with cotton tails
      and house wrens
      flying close to the ground
      in the cool foggy
      pine trees of Pt. Lobos
      the wolf of the sea
      barking off on the point
      moss hanging
      wind blown
      off the branches

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com
    (Check out Steve's new web site
    www.stevebrownartis.com)

    Carmel Valley, CA

      THE POEM THAT RISES FROM SLEEP

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

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    Section A: .................................................................. July 15, 2009

    Elverta, CA

      UNTITLED

      No more
      a quicksilvered flash
      nor
      terrorizing mouth

      he floats belly up
      in a pond
      fins held bone-stiff against liquid darkness

      Though still visible
      movement has degenerated
      into the awkwardness
      of
      rigidity

      metamorphized
      from mystery
      into
      mundane

      a Captured Thought

      No longer
      all that might be

      merely
      that which is:

      a deadfishfloatingbellyup
      on a
      cold
      green

      winter's

      pond

    Jennifer Mamola
    mamolaj@earthlink.net

    Colorado Springs, CO

      NIGHT VISION

      Oh! to have
      the eyes
      of the owl,

      That I
      might see
      with clarity,

      What the moon
      has to offer.

      Wrapped,
      in darkness

      I venture
      into the forest.

      Trees, like
      cardboard
      sentinels,

      Speak
      to each other,

      And I,
      the stranger, hear

      Only my fear.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      MARCH 19, 2009, 1:18 AM
      (Night after returning from the doctor's office.)

      I can no longer begin
      to tell you of when it started
      to pass before my soul.

      Chilling blips of reality
      set themselves
      along the edge
      rimming the core
      with a kind of salt.

      Reaching out to touch
      the wheel in the wind
      that sends it's prayers
      to the distant shore.

      The plum is blooming
      between the calls
      of the male birds
      unto the spring
      telling the ladies
      who want to listen
      of his strength
      and plumage growth.

      "Come and see what I can do.
      I am the strongest of all
      you see!"

      The echo's came
      from the other side
      telling those who waited now
      the way to pass
      before the storm.

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      DOG-TIRED
      (I'm tired of getting over things...
      Martha Ronk)

      I'm tired
      of trying to figure out where
      I went wrong in the first place,
      when the first place has been gone
      for so long.

      The only way not
      to have things to get over
      is to hole up in a cave,
      no human contact,
      but then eventually
      I have to get over
      feeling isolated.

      I am tired of climbing over
      whatever emotional mountain
      has sprung up across my path
      without my permission,
      its shifting slopes and sheer size
      a surprise.
      When
      did I miss the turn
      to the detour?

      I'm tired
      of not being able to forecast disaster,
      predict the obsession
      someone else carries into my life
      while I am slap-happily planning
      a frustration-free formula.

      I'm tired of pre-grieving
      and post-grieving the inevitable.
      I drag my feet, reluctant to face whatever
      else life has waiting for me.
      I work hard at creating
      a bit of rapture out of the morass of chaos.

      I'm tired of getting over
      disappointment, accepting the obvious,
      of election promises that will never be kept,
      and happily ever after
      never coming true.
      Weariness overwhelms my best efforts.

      I'm tired of being a realist,
      a responsible, dependable, conscientious,
      compassionate human being,
      still making mistakes,
      still wandering off into quicksand

    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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