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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #36

  • Section A: January 15, 2013
  • Section B: February 15, 2013
  • Section C: March 15, 2013
  • Section D: April 15, 2013
  • Section E: May 15, 2013
  • Section F: .................................................................. June 15, 2013

    Del Rey Oaks, CA


      There is snow on Buddha Mountain

      There is snow on Buddha Mountain
      that covers the peach tree

      There is snow on Buddha Mountain
      that covers the peach tree
      above the top most branches

      There is snow on Buddha Mountain
      that covers the peach tree
      above the top most branches
      leaving a single fruit
      glowing on the snow bank

      There is snow on Buddha Mountain

    Stephen Brown

    Monterey, CA


      Arrogance, self-pity, and resentment were hanging out at the bar after a long arduous day at work. Self-pity was on her third beer, her head leaning on her arm as she traced her name with her finger in the steam of the glass. "It's not fair," she said. "I can't deal with this. How will I ever get out of this mess?"

      Resentment looked at her with disgust. Her face shadowed with downward curve. "Well, at least you've got only yourself to blame. Look at what they've done to me! My life is a mess and it's all their fault."

      Arrogance leaned back in her chair, basking in her own cigarette smoke. She took a long drag as she surveyed the pitiful scene before her. "I told you this would happen," she said coldly. Her eyelids suddenly became the most prominent feature on her face, as she slowly lowered them, as though to shield herself, just in case this pathetic lack of competence was infectious.

    Susan Sutherland

    Monterey, CA


      I wonder what will
      Dance into life
      Out of this stillness.
      No familiar ritual
      Satisfies this awe
      Unmarked in
      Headlines or faces
      On the street.

      Altogether new
      Is dawning upon
      This bright world.
      I expect it soon.

    Shirley Tofte

    Carmel Valley, CA


      I follow the edge of the Carmel river
      through black cottonwoods, arroyo willows.
      Thick brush plucks at my legs.
      On a sandy bank I pause
      in a convergence of sun and fog.
      While water flows downstream
      a breeze ripples the surface upstream.

      On the opposite bank pale green grasses
      sway, tremble in watery reflection,
      One speckled duck drifts with the current.
      In the river's mirror a weathered log
      turns into two, becomes an arrow.
      This condensed world of leaf and branch,
      rock, sand, air, and jade pool,
      dulls the thorns of ordinary life,
      gives me delicate blues, lacy blurred-edge whites,
      branches that rasp and murmur.

      White clover blossoms, small enough
      to make a necklace for a sparrow,
      shiver in a breath of wind.
      Another fallen log holds up its head,
      gnawed ear and one beady eye visible
      in its sculptured mortality.
      Two acorn woodpeckers bicker,
      jitterbug along a laurel limb.
      I listen, detect delicate scents,
      taste the elixirs of living things,
      make a tincture in the vial of my senses,
      an effervescence to carry home with me.

    Laura Bayless

    Tucson, AZ


      driven thru potholes
      at eighty miles per hour
      until the car jostled to nothing
      and my rump was stuck in a hole


      The Moon shines in the pond
      I see the watery Moon
      Until suddenly a dragonfly
                 hovers above it
      Is there a dragonfly on the Moon?

      Little desires tell me lies
      I stand up to them with the bold truth:

      Until You and I can untie the Lion
      There is nothing more to say

    Christopher Lovette

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    Section E: .................................................................. May 15, 2013

    Del Rey Oaks, CA


      scattering flowers
      upon the pond
      breaking reflections
      of gentle sky
      soft clouds
      upon the blue
      destined for eternity
      while mourning dove
      calls an unseen mate
      forlorn and hopeful
      all in the same

    Stephen Brown

    Carmel Valley, CA


      Skyline applies
      a neutral palette
      pewter, nickel,
      subtlety of light.

      I arrange the past
      on an altar of grays,
      strip myself
      of last year's husk,
      scatter episodes
      that hold no color
      among a litter
      of curled bark,
      leaves, and sticks.

      Regret percolates
      through a mosaic
      of cracks
      alongside footprints
      embossed in black clay
      at low tide.

      No hummingbirds.
      Just one black & white
      tern wailing
      as wind transplants
      its sigh among
      bright tufts of new grass
      and yellow beacons
      of oxalis.

    Laura Bayless

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    Section D: .................................................................. April 15, 2013

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

    This lady walks a square on the corner of Drake and Hawthorne. One of those things that poets notice. I see her there every time I pass by.


      the sentry on the hill
      up the street
      from the "care facility"
      death café *

      walks her beat
      around the square
      of the intersection

      regal and straight up
      despite the obvious age
      keeping vigil on monster time
      for long gone friends
      when they weren't looking

      stop on the corner
      look both ways
      wave at any traffic

      then sentry on

    * Where all who remain will have to go to wait for the boat across the river Styx.
    Death Cafe maybe too grim but I have been working on an image of the place that one would go before they die. Waiting for Chiron to come and row them across the river Styx.

    Stephen Brown

    Carmel Valley, CA

      (In honor of her birthday)

      I know you are my daughter as you lean close to the gas
      fireplace, wiggle a bit to let the warmth enter your body.

      I know you are my daughter when I hear your voice on the
      answering machine and recognize it as my own.

      I know you are my daughter as you prepare food similar to
      mine yet add your own special twist to make it your own.

      I know you are my daughter when during a cloudy Sunday
      afternoon, we eat cheese and crackers and watch a movie.

      I know you are my daughter when laughter arrives suddenly
      and a twinkle remains after we forgot the punch line.

      I know you are my daughter when we both gaze lovingly at
      your daughter and create a trilogy known only to women.

    Illia Thompson

    Carmel, CA


      Late morning on a path off the main trail
      I sit alone on a secluded beachwood bench
      within a thicket of bush lupine and poppies.

      Below me the rocky shoreline collects
      swells moving toward the coast,
      cresting, then breaking.
      I grew up by the sea,
      same salt water, kelp, and granite,
      feel a sense of home again,
      a hundred miles
      from the coves of my youth.

      I have been suppressing
      grief-laden days of April
      in order to keep on.
      The ocean contains my tears,
      allows them to release
      as surge and surf flow,
      no need to stem memories.

      I become enveloped in mist,
      the voice of tides,
      scrolling rhythm of waves.

      I'm not sure why I came here
      until just this moment,
      like discovering I had read
      this novel some years before.

    Laura Bayless

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    Section C: .................................................................. March 15, 2013

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

    [red wave/blue stone]

    This pneumonia thing slowed me way way down . . . cramping the creative process . . . laying in my living room listening to the Red Tail calling . . .

      Dated 2-12-13

      where I live
      it is the sound
      of the hawk
      calling to mate
      that marks
      the change
      from winter
      towards the Spring
      soaring, circling
      far above
      with the raising clouds
      to preform
      their commitment
      to all time
      as they plunge
      locked together
      back to the trees
      where I live

    Stephen Brown

    Carmel Valley, CA

      — Anais Nin

      Rereading my words
      I travel backwards
      along my elongated life,
      view the many selves of me,
      marvel at all I placed in notebooks
      to put myself in place.

      My pen's flow
      becomes my blood
      as it adheres to paper
      to pronounce
      my journey full.

      If memory falters,
      opening up my journals
      offers me entrance
      to my own secrets,
      a seductions that allures
      without shame, an opportunity
      to garner riches from a life
      that at times seems empty.

      I feed upon my writings
      to ward off hunger.


      At ocean's edge
      a never-ending dance
      of tides directing waves
      as mica sparks into shining.

      Later, fog, familiar filter
      softens seascape
      as I stroll cragged shore
      gazing westward.

      I gather solitary feathers
      alive with wisps of memory
      of gull's airborne presence.

      Traveling millions of years backwards
      I hear the rhythm of creation,
      wrap my eyes around ancient cypress
      count concentric rings without touching.

      Here, at Point Lobos
      sunrise and sunset
      become curtains in the sky
      faithfully opening and closing
      upon splendor.

    Illia Thompson

    Carmel, CA


      On a coastline trail
      the first wildflowers bloom
      in early February micro-climates
      among dormant thickets
      of yarrow and manzanita.

      I glean one golden vetch stein,
      one orange paintbrush sprig
      a single cluster of California wild lilac.

      A salt-white egret
      struts cautiously
      over kelp-matted boulders,
      through shallow fertile tidepools.

      Already in my hand
      yellow petals have begun to wilt
      and I confess
      my only companion
      is a transient shorebird.

      The sea pounds white fists
      against my isolation,
      asks me to remember
      every wave is a leap of faith,
      every wildflower a fleeting dream.

    Laura Bayless

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    Section B: .................................................................. February 15, 2013

    Del Rey Oaks, CA


      I stood before the judge of time
      waiting for the sharpened edge
      to cut across the new born sky
      sailing beneath the rainbow arch
      marking cadence with the souls
      marching toward the gates of hell.

      There was a pause
      in cosmic flow
      bumping along the need to know
      for less than time that we could see
      rushing over toward that edge

      Falling like a bouncing leaf
      up and down it carried on
      toward the currents playing games
      of dashing in and out

      Hiding now between the trees
      inside the shade or showing face
      toward the sun that sailed on
      toward the fate that circled back
      into its self

      I stand before the judge of time

                 The fog came, as it always does this time of year, coming in from off of the sea fluffing itself across the sand into the trees. Settling down along the path that leads the way from here to there, trails of man that mark the path through the woods that bless this place. A rigid mention that time is short and life is here and then its gone.

      I stand before the judge of time
      and plead my case to carry on

      Each day that comes I make the marks
      upon the page of virgin white
      the trees will carry on and on
      it matters little what we do

                 The fog is here to give them life that holds the rain up in the sky waiting for the little words we write upon the page again and again for some to see. That monster time won't hold its breath for very long to use the new born seed to begin again the way it was and will always be. Word on page are only marks that some can read and some cannot. But all will know the marching sea that comes ashore as lightening fog.

      The dawn is here
      a sneaking cat
      across the deck
      toward us now
      let us wait
      and try to see.

                 Beyond the hills and beneath the trees looking for the mighty oak that stands among the yellow grass that tells of summer yet to come.

      Hawk will sail above the sky
      vulture looks upon the eye
      to see the circle closing in

      The fog is here to hide it all
      as mouse is running
      through the grass
      looking for that seed

      Crow will fly beside the hills
      guarding all that reigns us in
      helping gods that mark the way

    Stephen Brown

    Carmel, CA

      January 2003

      The Pacific unwinds its perpetual spool
      of thundering surf, crashing
      and shattering into flags of blown foam.

      A single otter floats offshore
      where waves crest
      but do not break.

      I ride similar undulations
      just beyond the turbulence
      of converging forces.

      Across the bay Point Lobos
      stands solidly anchored
      amid white explosions.

      The winter sea races
      in jade ramparts
      that tumble and curl.

      These are my leitmotifs,
      My temples, these waves
      And sparsely visited tracts of sand.

      I store their guidance,
      source and rhythm born
      again out of the brine

      no matter how lost
      I might otherwise believe
      I have become.

    Laura Bayless

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    Section A: .................................................................. January 15, 2013

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

    I have been lucky to have been in many places at Christmas. Here are some of the Poems that I have written over the years.


      When the flame of the fire
      died down to embers
      below the grate
      the red end
      of my grandfathers
      "Prince Albert" cigarette
      punctuates the room

      On the mantle
      the faint light
      of the radio dial
      speaks of "One mans Family"
      turkey dinners with olives
      and pink icing on cakes

      of Easter eggs
      and Christmas time
      the clock ticking
      before it rings
      across all of this time
      chicken and noodles
      warming my heart


      It was along
      the Arno
      in Florence Italy
      waiting for
      Christmas to
      bathing in the Renaissance
      we went singing
      Christmas Carols
      through the streets
      in English
      at Giotto
      and Mike
      the Angel
      near the Domo
      down the lane
      with Fra Angelico
      and Americans
      in the awe
      of Ghilberti's Doors
      we went singing


      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

    Carmel Valley, CA


      On the trail to Carmelo Meadow
      in dense winter shadows
      crimson, amber, and ivory mushroom caps
      rise from pine needle carpets,
      crack apart to reveal creamy flesh.
      I count sequins of dew on long grass blades.

      Along Coal Chute Point
      profiles emerge from sheer cliffs,
      creases and hollow eye sockets,
      stone skulls with bluff lettuce caps,
      echoes of my own weathering.
      Followed by the constant thrum
      of waves, I ramble on, alone
      except for the harsh grumble of gulls.

      At Hidden Beach two currents battle,
      each swell larger than the one before,
      rampaging white-crested spray.
      Gold seaweed ribbons and bulbous
      crowns of bull kelp ride the waterline.
      Spindrift explodes into white stars
      against a wall of clear sky.
      A slope of dark pebbles
      releases retreating surf.

      Questions of age and purpose
      come forward and vanish.
      Along with an endless tug
      to merge with the far horizon
      I accept a contradictory peace.
      Everything is possible at high tide.

    Laura Bayless

    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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