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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #30

  • Section A: January 15, 2010
  • Section B: February 15, 2010
  • Section C: March 18, 2010
  • Section D: April 15, 2010
  • Section E: May 15, 2010
  • Section F: .................................................................. June 15, 2010

    Langley,WA

    Our Granddaughter arrived safely at 7:35 PM on May 24, 2010!

      BIRTHING

      You lay on the sofa that night
      and slipped up your t-shirt
      over the taught white pearl,
      the great hump, a shock
      for it's beauty it's ravishing femininity.

      We put the stethoscope to the little heart,
      at first nothing, and then, as though
      hidden in a mist, like a distant steam train
      making it way's through a far-a-away
      landscape, coming,

      coming, with every mythical pound
      swishing closer and closer,
      it's repetition stunning for pure intention.
      A mother ship comes into harbor,
      past the finally visible light house.

      The full round moon of her belly
      weighted low in the bow of her body.
      When a she turns towards birth
      she is a formidable force.
      She meets gravity and transforms

      it's pull at the apex, she confronts the Gods
      with an equal passion, assertive as the
      heave of rising sap, she bears down where divine joy
      mixed with annihilation brings forth her miracle,
      she is the magician, she is the Madonna.

    Judith Adams
    jaadams@whidbey.com

    San Francisco, CA

    (Thirteen years ago a group met in Ireland with poets David Whyte and John O'Donohue. Inspired to stay in contact, about twenty of these Mystics recently held a reunion at Sea Ranch. This poem came out of that meeting! Your Editor.)

      [Sea Ranch]

      SAVORING

      You've heard of the oil lamp that never ran out of oil.
      Well, dear Mystics, we're a bowl of fruit that,
      while it nourishes over and over,
                is never consumed.

      Large and small, smooth and pocked,
      round and crescent and oval and hourglass,
      firm and soft—we are.

      Colors so pleasing to the eye
      and billions of colors our eyes can't even see—we are.

      Fresh and ripe and riper
      Bruised and broken and whole—we are.

      In essence, perfect.
      Just the vehicle Life creates
           and can use to keep giving itself away.

      We taste and smell and touch; nibble and hungrily devour
           and savor... and savor.

      The bowl too must be noticed and cherished,
      the sacred bowl that gathers and holds us—
           land and sea, wind and birdsong, rain and sun
           and every leaf and wing, hoof or paw.
           Ancestors and grandchildren—of the flesh or the spirit.
      And don't forget the stars and galaxies...

      "This is not the age of information," as our friend has rightly said.
      It is the time of transformation.
      And one bowl of fruit is food for thousands.

      We say "Thank you!"
      Life says "Thank you!"

    Catherine Regan
    cregan44@comcast.net

    Tucson, AZ

    This poem was written over the last two or three days but represents a summation of about two months of focusing inwardly.

      CONTEMPLATIONS WHILE ALONE IN THE SONORAN DESERT

      1.
      I looked deep within and there was a great darkness
      And as I went into the darkness I invited it to possess me
      To come into me fully and control me

      Then I experienced great lust
      Sex turning into sadomasochism
      Cruelty, hatred
      And finally underneath all that pain
      Self-hatred, the sense of being unlovable, defective

      Then I said to myself there must be light, too
      And I invited the light to possess me
      And to fill the void left by the lack of love and the neglect
      I experienced as a young child
      And to fill the void left by all the self-demeaning choices
      Of mistaken relationships and pleasures I thought would give me love
      And to rid me of the self loathing from having broken homosexual taboos
      I said to myself there must be light
      Or life is meaningless
      And the light must love me in a far superior way
      To any human love

      And somehow I have faith in that light
      And somehow I feel my ego and my selfishness
      At times being almost painfully ripped in shreds
      But then is when I sense a reality of what I seek

      2.
      Hanging on to a separate self
      Alone
      Without a universe to manipulate with your illusions and lusts
      Is hell

      Planetary evolution
      Is bringing forth many teachers
      Of the truth that we have no separate selves
      You are my other self
      We are in interbeing with all things

      This is the essence of the dogma
      That I have to study with my spirit and soul and body

      My heart is easily deceived
      And my mind generates a nearly constant stream
      Of thoughts and feelings that weave a world of illusions
      All reasons to seek liberation
      The house is on fire

    Chris Lovette
    chris_lovette@yahoo.com

    Monterey, CA

    Futher tales of Miss Bailey the cat:

      I arrived home on a Valentine's Day with flowers and a little fuzzy red bear holding a red satin heart under its arm. Kyla placed the little fuzzy bear on our antique red loveseat, which made an endearing scene for all to see. Bailey, however, was not on board with the "endearing scene" concept, and expressed her opinion to us after a few minutes of careful thought. She hopped up on the love seat and sat in a spot next to the bear to plan her next move. After a minute or so of careful thought, accompanied by her "black-cat" frowny-face, faster than we could see, the bear was on the floor. Intrigued by this, we put the bear back up on the loveseat. After just a few seconds, Pow! The bear was back on the floor, put there by a single swift paw. And, yes, we tried it a third time because it was so very cute. Apparently, immune to Valentine's Day sentiments, Bailey was applying one of her cat rules, "Thou shall have no other animals before thee, even stuffed ones!" That established, she was soon asleep on the spot of her choice, just where the bear had been.

      Choosing spots, we discovered almost daily, was a very important part of cat existence. Bailey would select a spot in the sun on the sofa. The selecting was done by hopping up and carefully sniffing a prospective area, then turning around once or twice and settling down on it, careful to place each paw and the tail in just the right location. Many times, however, this was not the end of the story. Willy, expressing his alpha-cat attitude, was frequently seen forcing Bailey to move off what he assumed must be a choice spot. He would do this by sitting down close to her and pushing on her with a paw. This failing, he would threaten to bite her (but not actually do it) by leaning over and opening his mouth wide. Usually, by now, she gave up on having a peaceful nap on that particular spot at that particular time, and would find another location out of his sight. Whereupon, using the usual sniff-and-turn-around procedure, Willy would take the spot and soon be asleep. On rare occasions, sad to admit, he would doze for a few minutes, rouse up with a big cat yawn, find Bailey, and perform the take-over drill once more.

      Early on, applying our human sensibilities, we tried to discourage this behavior by picking Willy up and moving him, but that usually failed when he didn't care for the spot we chose for him. Finally, we had to accept the fact that this is simply what male cats do, and what female cats do when the other cat is their son. But we did notice that, on occasion, Bailey would defend her special spot, sometimes really biting back, with flattened ears and all, until Willy would give up and walk off disappointed. And, there were occasions when we would see Bailey choose a spot that we knew from watching her over time was not a favorite one. Willy would push her off it and she would move to a spot we knew was indeed one of her favorites. Again applying our human perspective, we thought that at times he appeared puzzled as to what was so great about the spot he had just taken over.

    Ray Cyr
    raythecyr@att.net

    Carmel, CA

      CATCH

      I liked it when it was his idea
      Not mine
      Though it was far more often mine

      We would grab our gloves
      And go down to the street for a catch
      These were old gloves
      Mine from several Christmases back
      With no rawhide lace along the top
      Like the ones Honus Wagner
      And the rookie Peewee Reese
      Used in their games of catch

      It would feel that my father and I
      Would talk in the playing of catch
      But no words were spoken
      Except the occasional
      Oops, Sorry
      Or just Sorry
      By me
      Not him

      There were times when I would miss
      And run after it
      As it bounded down the road
      Past the debris of previous mistakes
      And dropped balls

      And there were also times
      When every throw was guided
      And blessed
      Every catch a f-f-opp
      Made whole by its own perfect sound

      And it was then
      That we were the sweet friends
      Each of us were daily longing to find
      Throughout that endless decade
      Of my growing bones
      And our mounting solitude

      F-f-opp our gloves would warmly affirm
      To each other
      Except when the missed catch
      Or the errant throw
      Would intervene
      As would happen with such regularity
      As the years soon passed
      And other gloves would be put on

      I would always miss
      As I still do today
      The strange intimacy of catch
      In those fleeting years
      When you had it to offer

      So do you see why
      Dearest soul
      I might wake up after all these years
      With the aching in the heart
      For a game of catch
      Not with him
      And not just with anyone
      But with you

      With you
      The ball moving like grace
      Between our bare hands
      A soft rhythm like the one
      My father and I were hoping always to find
      F-f-oof    f-f-opp   f-f-oof    f-f-opp
      Back and forth   back and forth
      Drowsy imaginings   easy ideas
      Lobbed gently and caught
      Perhaps even dropped but soon picked up
      And returned
      In this warm early breaking of the sun's new day

    Wayne Martin
    Waynechaplain@netzero.com

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    Section E: .................................................................. May 15, 2010

    Berkeley, CA

      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,

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

      Galway Bay glimmers
      Land and water still rest
      another hour this silence
      'til sun touches the Rine,

      illumines the hills,
      to the southwest, weathered
      limestone and green grass in
      conversation above Corcomroe.

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

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

      sculpted on a whim, carried
      here on flood tides, waves
      scattering spells and splash,
      shining at our feet.

      Back to the pier, hikes, and happiness,
      laughter, mixed with lack of sleep,
      magic wella and Monk's Pub, wishes
      pull up a bucket of stars

    Larry Ruth
    ergolarry@gmail.com

    Carmel, CA

      HYMAN BLOOM TURNS NINETY

      You were generous enough
      My father

      A flood of intelligence gushing through the gene pool
      The brokered deals
      College expenses and loan repayment
      Showtune melodies straining to locate their notes
      The invitation to walk your paths through the forest
      Moments of laughter ricocheting off a clanked funny bone
      Discernment of sky
      And in the end
      A discovery of the caregiver
      You always had it in you to be

      Graciously I hope
      I have taken of these gifts and more
      But I can't help but wish for one more
      The gift of your Jewishness
      Hidden from sight like a skin blemish

      Your story and that of your father
      And his wives
      and their fathers

      This is what might also have been given
      And with it
      I might not be fumbling still so much in the dark
      with all the unknowing

      But I must add
      I believe there are no penalties to pay
      In the afterlife
      Just lessons to be learned
      A new habitation to be moved into
      And a preparation for imparting
      The very things that were left unsaid
      The stories yet unengraved on the hearts
      Of those who need them

      On this your ninetieth birthday
      Come soon with the lessons of your new learning
      Bring us the best of Russia
      The frozen soil
      The bearded prayers of Minsk
      The loaves of bread
      The mocking of tsars

      And gently draw from us the movements that connect
      The missing past
      To the redeemed and forgiving future.

    Wayne Martin
    Waynechaplain@netzero.com

    San Jose, CA

      SAVAGE SERENITY

      From the window of their living room
      the bulging belly of the Caribbean
      stretches to the horizon
      and beyond
      from Belize to Cuba

      Las brizas soaked
      with her salty sweat press
      against the windows blow
      papers off their table leave
      droplets trembling
      in their window screen

      He is held he is cradle
      by her briny buoyancy
      as he drifts and floats
      across swaying fields of sea grass
      he closes his eyes
      the cradle rocks
      his head spins

      At night before dozing off
      his breath slows down
      harmonizing with the rhythm
      of her waves exhaling
      with a slap on the sandy beach

      He wakes up his bones heavy
      with the gravity of her sediments
      his heart softened by her salty sweat
      his mind stretched and bulging
      where she lodged her gift
      of savage serenity.

    Franz Spickhoff
    franzox@gmail.com

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      UNTITLED

      the finches
      collect at the feeder
      in brilliant yellow
      golden dress
      playing their part
      ...in the cycle

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

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    Section D: .................................................................. April 15, 2010

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      RAIN

      Drip
      Rain
      Splash
      Day

      Spring
      Gurgle
      Grow
      Day

      Green
      Hill
      Spray
      Day

      Flower
      Sprout
      Rain
      Day

      Drop

      THE EDGE OF THE CONTINENT

      On the edge of the continent
      where the vultures
      stand on the ground
      in the grass
      collecting the morning sun
      to wash away
      the night cold
      getting ready for
      the soaring day
      of riding the thermal ocean air
      looking to keep our Mother
      our earth clean
      of death

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Piedmont, CA

      UNTITLED

      I took "Q" driving today.
      We rolled through Orinda towards
           Moraga, absorbing
                The winter day.
      The foliage was chartreuse ...
      The foliage was lime ...
      The foliage was emerald ...

      I took "Q" driving today.
      We coasted through Walnut Creek towards
           Alamo, drinking in
                The misty scenes.
      The trees were dripping ...
      The trees were sparkling ...
      The trees were shimmering ...

      I took "Q" driving today.
      We glided through Danville towards
           San Ramon, immersing ourselves in
                The solitude.
      The mood was hushed ...
      The mood was calm ...
      The mood was serene ...

    Pam Quesnoy
    quesnoy@comcast.net

    Carmel Valley, CA

      UNCERTAIN ENDINGS

      Even though we are wearing the wrong shoes
      and the trail leads off
      through a tangle of unfamiliar mountains,
      we still take the first step.

      We haven't enough warm clothes for the journey,
      recall the time we became lost and wandered
      aimlessly for days, ate the last scrap of food,
      and starved for a while from loneliness.

      Something draws us further
      into the unknown.

      Even though we are afraid of the next dusk
      that leads us into black caverns of night,
      we explore the graveyard of our failures,
      hoping for some resurrection of what was lost.

      Even though we have chosen
      the dubious, dead end detour before,
      stepped into quicksand and felt
      the marsh close overhead,

      some human spark ignites the way
      and we travel again,
      those wicked shoes pinching
      our blistered feet, that path through
      the future calling our name.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

    Monterey, CA

      MUSIC BOX

      I'm like a music box that hasn't been wound in so long,
      I'll try and play, but I've forgotten the song, the words.
      Writing by moonlight, word droplets rain down
      Out of a moon-drenched sky.

      I need a posthole digger to get through
      Soft topsoil to the bedrock below
      Where I've buried tears and treasures.

      Oh, don't you fade, Moon, I'm just getting started.
      This weak flashlight will have to suffice.

      Traveling back to far off places,
      I see a little girl
      Dreaming big dreams of creative living,
      Art, music and poetry, as if aware
      That something wonderful lived within,
      Yet she hid it away out of fear, out of sight.

      Who would care?
      What did the world want from a skinny little girl
      With white flyaway hair and crooked teeth?
      Who cared except her Mom, maybe her grandparents?

      I wonder. Am I still holding myself back?
      In just a few short days I will be seventy.
      I'm still digging deep.
      Will I strike pay dirt?
      We live, we breathe, and we love,
      We play on our instruments and sing our songs,
      We are here for our one precious life, then
      One day we leave our earthly costume,
      Travel on, not knowing what we'll find.

      And the flashlight batteries just died.

    Shirley Tofte
    shirleytofte@comcast.net

    Carmel Valley, CA

      GESTATION'S END

      Abrupt change
      from womb to world
      from being held
      in liquid warmth
      to arriving in
      arena of air
      to learn to suck
      to focus eyes
      to awaken
      to the song of life.

      All this and more
      on the road to change
      months turn into years
      on stepping stones
      of unpaved walkway.

      Under the blessed guidance
      of deeply caring parents
      amidst the power of love
      and the dusts of sadness
      both necessary to turn child
      into man at comfort with self
      all welcome gestation's end.

    Illia Thompson
    Illia99@aol.com

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    Section C: .................................................................. March 18, 2010

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      UNTITLED

      after the lecture
      he went into the yard
      settled down upon
      the earth

      pulling his legs
      beneath him

      facing the east
      with the rising sun
      stacking his spine
      to the center

      he picked up the bowl

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      LITTLE WORDS

      Some mornings before sunrise
      while the stars still shine
      like crystal shards in the dark sky,
      I open my journal
      and begin to lay gray tracks
      of my pencil along blue lines.

      This is the time I let
      the little words curl in,
      come unhurried from my thoughts,
      gather and commune
      with one another.
      I never know
      what destination they seek,
      what revelation or resolution
      to some nagging question.

      My mug of tea sits steaming
      under lamplight,
      its vapor a veil upon which
      the magic of a phrase
      floats onto my page.
      I follow the mist
      into the forest of my mind,
      catch the words
      like yellow birds that flutter
      past on fragile wings.

      I have wings you cannot see
      when I am writing,
      when the sun is rising,
      when thoughts are flying
      and landing under my hand.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

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    Section B: .................................................................. February 15, 2010

    Pacific Grove, CA

      UNTITLED

      Adversity ruptured in my soul,
      to wrestle, to seek—go within
      and ask, what next?
      Something big responds—
      the soul bigger than your eyes can confess.

      This yearning, exploring, driving to emulate
      who am I, I ask myself amongst this act called life?
      Anything replies the soul—you can be anything
      you want—just don't ignore.

      The soul chooses it's destiny—
      we are in charge of our ecstasy.
      Release your fears, unmask the
      body shackled in fantasy no more.
      Feel the freedom in the breath—
      more than one would expect,
      deep, deep to the floor.

      Have no more oppression
      free from depression—bondage,
      shame gone like never before.
      Live with honesty, love, kindness,
      gratitude, compassion with out remorse.

      Every one will come to you like gazing
      sheep wanting to receive what you reap
      and it's available to all—

      Truth is the
      beginning to living—
      like never before!

      One will Endure.

      The Phoenix is new to this all.

    Liz Sorenson
    togetherness@comcast.net

    Tucson, AZ

    Predictably my high of last month led to a low. But I am coming to accept my bipolar disorder...

      MY MARRIAGE AND MY DISEASE

      After 29 years of marriage
      And another bipolar episode of euphoric poor judgment
      In which I "found" the perfect woman
      I realize these unreal fantasies
      And the search for the perfect woman
      Are a part of myself I can surrender
      To be more fully with you in the here and now

      Our relationship began in a sexual attraction
      Along with fiery fights almost from the start
      Continually having difficulties
      But we had the companionship of life events
      And two daughters to share

      In all of that I never felt satisfied
      That I had found what I wanted
      And a gaping loneliness was there too
      Then came the last eight years of mental illness
      With the times I looked to other women for that something
      Idealizing three from a distance
      And sharing kisses with two others

      The rocky energy of madness
      A delusion often leading to hospitalization
      Followed by the terrible defeat of depression
      Walking with the darkness
      With the difficulty of doing simple things
      Repeating day after day

      But you always stayed
      Through the times that hurt you most
      And my eyes being opened to what you have put up with
      To other things about myself, too
      My dissatisfaction and my loneliness have lessened greatly

      When you unwrap packages of past hurts to share with me
      Like birthday presents from hell
      I carefully allow their toxic fumes to disperse
      Faced again with the immense selfishness of my past mistakes

      Healing is a growing thing
      For a relationship
      And for my own personal mindscape
      That includes daily meditation

      Something between us is peaceful
      Something new in me arises from a hidden place
      And is met and touched by you
      I'm finding out that where I'm going is where I am

    Chris Lovette
    chris_lovette@yahoo.com

    Monterey, CA

    The following images illustrate the creativity in traditional Japanese Jointery:

    [Japanese Jointery]
    The sameness of male and female.
    [Japanese Jointery]
    The marriage of two 2" x 6" x 72" old growth coastal redwood boards.
    [Japanese Jointery]
    Harmony. Appearing as one.

    Patrick Maiorana
    patshirl@mbay.net

    Carmel Valley, CA

      VOICES OF ANCESTORS

      Whispers of what used to be are lost,
      times I can't remember now
      though they were present once
      as I lived through unexpected changes
      the harsh years brought.

      I hear a whisper now and then,
      try to pull it deeper into my mind.
      Who was that who came into my dream,
      then left before morning
      raised the curtain of night.

      I am backstage now
      straining to make out the voices,
      the words and moments
      that seemed so important at the time.

      Perhaps there are just too many
      whispers to catch and store
      in one small brain,
      too many then and now rifts,
      too few jewels to string together.

      So much has faded
      that I wanted to keep,
      so many have left me behind.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

    Monterey, CA

    Tales of Miss Bailey the cat:

      We found that Miss Bailey's independence caused her to be very creative at finding entertaining things to do on her own. One morning, for example, she spotted a good-sized black beetle crawling across the floor. Apparently, she did not see this bug to be anything like prey, but chose to regard it as an opportunity for entertainment. She proceeded to use a gentle paw to steer the bug around on the floor, and after a few minutes, it reached a wall and started crawling upward. Bailey watched with interest, and when it was just about out of her reach, she reached up a paw and tapped the bug back down to the floor. After repeating this up the wall and back down procedure several times, she became bored and walked off to the next task on her to-do list, whatever that was. Had we not been so intrigued by this behavior, we would have disposed of the bug then and there. But, we had to admit that it was her bug because she discovered it, and who were we to take her toy away?

      So we decided to let it go hide in the closet, or where ever it disappeared to. Sometime the next morning, Kyla noticed Bailey walking by with nothing particular on her mind, when it appeared that the thought struck her, "Oh, I think I'll go play with my bug!" She walked over to the front closet, and within seconds found the bug, brought it out on the floor and began steering it around again, including doing the up the wall and back down procedure several times. This kind of thing continued on for about a week, until we found the bug on the floor one morning, a toy whose batteries had permanently run down. This is how nicknames arise. Every so often we would unconsciously find ourselves calling her "Bailey Bug", because of her pet bug, and because she was a cute little bug of a cat. And also, Ray had often described her as a cat with a short "wheelbase".

    Ray Cyr
    raythecyr@att.net

    Carmel Valley, CA

      AT DAWNING

      the house seems larger now
      the vacancy of you illuminated
      by shafts of sharp brightness
      echoed by thunder's bravado

      rain, full force, drums upon the roof
      splashes bubbles off the cement patio
      slides down paned glass
      raindrops at play

      a theater of light and sound
      announces again my missing
      your music, the melody of you.

    Illia Thompson
    Illia99@aol.com

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    Section A: .................................................................. January 15, 2010

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      SILLY BOY POET

      silly boy
      and all this time
      you fell for the useless sports
      thinking that culture had value
      thinking that
      thinking about
      the human condition
      was worth shit

      its all about ripping off
      amassing hoards
      plundering your neighbors
      sticking it to
      the stupid
      Grandmas
      in California
      not only that
      but we will tell them
      all what to do
      every single one
      will tow the line
      if not
      we can put them
      into camps
      jail and kill them
      till they cough up
      all the goods
      deliver to me
      all the gold

      when I finally have it
      all my own
      I'll be called to heaven by
      my greedy god
      and given a thousand virgins
      because I believe in Jesus
      he is the way

      and if you don't believe it
      you are not with us

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      NECESSARY

      "as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry"
      Mary Oliver

      Somewhere
      people are hungry
      for my poems,
      even if they don't know it yet.

      So I go on scratching down
      my thoughts along the lines,
      tapping letters into text,
      a first draft I know will be altered
      as I come closer to the mystery
      that drifts nearby
      among the adjectives and verbs.

      I wait a while,
      go back to the poem
      to change a word,
      move a line down for emphasis,
      or move it to the beginning,
      middle or end,
      wherever it tells me
      it should come to roost.

      And later I may move it again
      or take it out all together.
      Perhaps a certain word
      sticks out—like a warthog,
      but I haven't yet found a lemur
      nor am I willing to surrender it.

      Somewhere there are people hungry
      for my poems, for clarity
      in their otherwise confused minds,
      for solace in moments of grief,
      for a laugh or two.

      I believe it's my calling
      to keep putting words together
      in surprising respects,
      to create art out of the thin air
      of my heart and the movement
      of my pen across the page.

      I work at arranging the words
      in just the right rhythm
      with precise metaphors
      and juicy surprises.
      I am feeding the hungry,
      not with Salvation Army donations,
      but with something rare
      n our hasty world—
      slow poems,
      rich poems,
      nourishing poems.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

    Tucson, AZ

    (She) is the assistant director at a drop-in center and lunch meal cafeteria for those classified and in the system as seriously mentally ill, of which number I have been for the past seven years. (She) is also active in Tucson's vibrant gay community. Almost five years ago after totaling my car in the mountains above Tombstone while very drunk, the next day I made a hateful scene at the Clubhouse center. But when I went back almost five years later last October, she befriended me and gave me another chance.

    I began playing my guitar and singing again and the wonderful world of music has opened to me in a whole new way. Yesterday at an outdoor soup kitchen (the kitchen is in a building) the Franciscan brother officiating at the weekly Guadalupe mass had heard me playing gospel music in the yard and asked if I could do the communion meditation solo. I said yes. Then he asked if I am Catholic. I told him "More or less."

    During the holidays I began drinking with some homeless friends camping in the desert under the mesquite trees. This led to a blackout drunk on Ten High bourbon on New Year's Day that gifted me with a huge black eye that I have had to explain to virtually everyone in my life. The black eye along with other symptoms of mental activity escalating toward a manic episode led (the assistant director) to intervene, sitting me down and asking what was going on and arranging a next day appointment with my psychiatrist. He believes marijuana is therapeutic for me and is generally very supportive.

    Now instead of looking like I'm heading for another breakdown I'm looking at growing pains as my soul begins to open into a beautiful flower.

      I MUST BE MORE

      Don't let my foolishness and lack of tact
      Spoil a beautiful friendship
      I am learning much as I leave behind my crutches
      And sail the ship of freedom
      Into the ocean of love

      Yes I do at times imagine
      Myself as a knight errant
      In vigils and brave adventures
      And you my lady love
      Pure and untouchable
      The substance of every virtue
      And the keeper of the flame of my heart

      At times I see myself a priest
      And my flock criminals, the homeless
      The mentally twisted and bent
      And among them so many beautiful saints
      And it is then I know
      That I must be more than I am
      For them
      So that I can share my love
      The way I long to share my love with you

    Chris Lovette
    chris_lovette@yahoo.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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