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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #39

  • Section A: July 15, 2014
  • Section B: August 15, 2014
  • Section C: September 15, 2014
  • Section D: October 15, 2014
  • Section E: November15, 2014
  • Section F: .................................................................. December 15, 2014

    Del Rey Oaks, CA


      The November hawk
      has returned again this year.

      No longer seen by these ancient eyes
      as well as before.

      But clearly heard, calling to mate
      high above the drying land.

      So much abused.

      A haunting call to fight off the doom

      Yet the crows bicker on an on
      as they always will.

      Once more the fall.

    Stephen Brown

    Carmel Valley, CA


      I walk a trail through the woods
      in search of crimson mushrooms
      bred by spores in saturated soil,
      fed by last week's winter storms.

      Red caps rise from under brown needles,
      fractured flesh and flared gills
      testimony to resurrection.

      In the first week of a new year
      I question my own renewal,
      what it takes to survive
      another twelve months,
      craft the capacity to rally
      after decades of defeat.

      Along the rocky shore
      white-rimmed breakers detonate.
      Seabirds circle in spindrift,
      forage on what the turbulent sea serves,

      I take my cue from rouged fungus,
      churned surf, and greedy gulls,
      accepts what blows in on fierce winds,
      what comes behind silent footsteps of fog.

    Laura Bayless

    Carmel, CA


      raindrops are ringing
      now in crescendos

      more life more life

      cascading through
      the trefoil leaves

      of ivy insinuating

      the one great trunk
      and mighty branches

      of coast live oak

      persevering all
      at the window

      where I am waking up

    John Dotson

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    Section E: .................................................................. November 15, 2014

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

    I stepped out of my door this morning and this strange stuff was falling out of the sky.


      Rain will fill the garden
      upon the grass
      the voice is singing
      passing sound
      Autumn here

      Drink the ending
      fill the grass
      voices is singing
      land is turning
      Autumn here

      The earth is giving
      to be receiving
      fallen rain
      a voice is singing
      Autumn here

      Earth receiving
      male singing
      rain is given
      voice the sun
      Autumn here

      The earth is giving
      to be receiving
      fallen Rain
      the voice is singing
      Autumn here

      Tears have fallen
      upon the garden
      I hear her voice now
      the cricket singing
      Autumn here

      Earth shall given
      land of sun
      time is passing
      now it's gone
      Autumn here

    Stephen Brown

    Carmel Valley, CA


      I'm never going to write a perfect poem.
      I started too late, wrote too many
      dreadful poems in my attempts
      to win a contest, get published
      in the Sunday supplement.

      In the beginning I made mistakes
      every novice makes, searched
      Roget's Thesaurus for adjectives,
      included hapless similes,
      tied up my poems with last line bows,
      failed to give a reader credit
      for intelligence to recognize
      the subtext of a metaphor.

      I'm never going to be a famous poet,
      read my prize-winning poems
      at the Dodge Poetry Festival
      in New Jersey, with the I likes of
      Jane Hirshfield or Marge Piercy,
      never going to receive an honorary
      scholarly degree from a najor university,
      or present a commencement address.

      I will, however, continue
      to scribble down idle thoughts
      in the hope that somewhere
      in my untidy gray matter
      a jewel of lyricism
      will eventually find its way home.

    Laura Bayless

    Carmel, CA


      Grace notes from finch throats
      Raindrops ringing in the pines
      Crows hold caucus now

    John Dotson

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    Section D: .................................................................. October 15, 2014

    Del Rey Oaks, CA








    Stephen Brown

    Monterey, CA


      My shadow grows long as
             Sun warms my back

      My shadow leads me
             to gnarled oak
                    glowing in first

      Sea lies quiet; great bowl of comfort
             I stand still so my
                    dreams find me
                           to cast seeds for

      I turn and walk toward the Sun
             My head is down
                    Rainbow orbs
                           on my lashes

    Kyla Cyr

    Monterey, CA


      My heart is wider now than in my youth,
      Mellowed from weathering storms of salt tears.
      I have melted into a honeyed peace,
      Knowing that each moment is enough,
      Each breath sufficient to renew my living.

      In the middle of life, thinking myself alone,
      I fell into the depth of sorrow,
      Found a wounded child who needed me
      To nurture and befriend, she who was myself,
      Clothed in a grown-up body.

      Alone beside the sea
      I walked the wind-swept sand,
      Gathered stones and broken shells,
      Fragments of tiny lives shattered like mine.
      As I walked I watched the sunset
      Shimmering through deep crimson clouds,
      Deepening to purple hue, reminding me that
      Each day brings newness.
      Darkness becomes light,
      Sorrow contains a certain joy.
      Every breath leads me home.

    Shirley Tofte

    Carmel, CA


      [Sculpture Photo]

      ". . . reading not primarily what we see but how we do not see that we are where we presume not to be."

    John Dotson

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    Section C: .................................................................. September 15, 2014

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      8/15/2014 5:58 AM

      across the edge of time
      the line began its move
      back and forth
      through the light
      and then the dark

      to sweep the broken
      faded memories clear

      there is really no line
      between my poetry
      and my drawings,
      between my memory
      and the monsters
      between youth and age

      it becomes the wheel
      at the purple horizon.

    Stephen Brown

    Marina, CA

      The other day on Yahoo I saw an incredible YouTube video. There was a local talent show competition, and a man and his daughter came out. She was severely disabled, unable to move her legs, barely able to move her arms, and likely developmentally disabled as well. So, the father danced around her wheelchair, picked her up, and danced her around the stage to cheers and clapping and her smiles and utter delight. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house, including mine. It is rare to see such a display of pure grace and undiluted love.

      I mention this because it helps to see and think about what our species sometimes does to demonstrate the apex of our possibilities. The news is chock full of horror, from immigrant border children being warehoused in deplorable conditions to a plane full of innocent vacationing civilians being shot down by Ukrainian rebels. Reading this, it is easy to despair, to have the warped view expressed by the fictional alien species in the novel The Host— that we are a violent, destructive earthly race that should be subsumed or eliminated so as not to damage the planet or each other.

      And so, to watch this lovely dance was heartening, a reminder that the events in the news are not, by any means, all that we are. We are also beauty, elegance, and deep, bountiful connection. We are compassion, empathy, and are fully capable of loyalty to the idea that we, all of us, have value and dignity. Sometimes, as with this video, it is visible to all. Sometimes it is just felt, a sense of knowledge that we are, in the final tally, a species worthy of being planetary caretakers. Yes, we are flawed, and elimination of all violence is not within our reach, and may never be. But at the core, we are this man and his daughter on a stage, showing the universe that all, truly, is not lost.

    Olga Chandler

    Carmel, CA

      [Sculpture Photo]

    John Dotson

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    Section B: .................................................................. August 15, 2014

    Del Rey Oaks, CA


      Off on the left hand side of time,
      near the edge of eternity
      is one very small space.

      Filled by the wise rabbit.

      It would be

      too much drama
      to call it the king or emperor,

      its sexual drives long ago removed,
      mostly because
      of the species reputation
      for reproductive expertise
      and excellence.

      But it does occupy
      a unique position of power

      that permeates.
      From this space.
      Into the cosmos

      directing the order of things

      bigger foes and enemies
      miss the point

      of up right ears
      and tiny voice

      this is not Bugs Bunny
      or even Peter Rabbit

      there is no voice
      to yell and hate

      off on the other
      edge of time
      where the light
      begins to fade
      from its corpulent self
      into a soft grey glow

      waiting souls
      begin to tell
      the tale of their lives

      to the Caryatid*
      who have not spoken
      for centuries

      but not judging

      these souls
      will judge themselves
      by what they have done
      to others.

    From Wikipedia:
    *A caryatid: The Greek term karyatides literally means "maidens of Karyai", an ancient town of Peloponnese. Karyai had a famous temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis in her aspect of Artemis Karyatis: "As Karyatis she rejoiced in the dances of the nut-tree village of Karyai, those Karyatides, who in their ecstatic round-dance carried on their heads baskets of live reeds, as if they were dancing plants.

    Stephen Brown

    Berkeley, CA


      Sunset in the canyon, northern flicker
      and the river singing, shimmering
      leaf against leaf, the rustle
      unremembered, quiet
      applause of the aspen

      Paper-barked trees, hyphal textured
      tendrils infuse life, nurture, expand
      and contract, lithos and litter, woof
      and warp, weave
      exhales, the self deflates, stars
      die, meteors, no sound, the Milky Way
      and galaxies beyond, flame
      and flicker out

      Now, breathe in
      poetry is       our life,       exhaling
      is letting go, syllables sound, patterns
      linger unnoticed in Archean coincidence—
      an aspen songline breeds ecstatic sibilance.

    Larry Ruth

    Fair Oaks, CA

    4 Haiku poems:


      Disheartened angel
      Broken wings left flat on floor
      Her quick escape ends.

      Heartfelt song rises
      Music flung to those at large
      Tears flow down my face.

      Orange dawn in sky
      Flaming heart to light the night
      We celebrate life.

      A big hearted man
      His touch leaves me without breath
      How can I go on?

    Carol Mathew-Rogers

    Carmel, CA


      the most important
      science question that I know
      is do you believe

      the Earth is round and heartbeat
      by heartbeat we are spinning

    John Dotson

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    Section A: .................................................................. July 15, 2014

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

    Not all of my poetry is words only. Some come in drawings like this. 5x7 inches.

      [Steve Brown drawing!]

    Stephen Brown

    Carmel Valley, CA


      Below a narrow path that follows
      the fierce edge of a coastal cliff
      relentless breakers rupture
      against chiseled stone thresholds.

      Dark arrows of pelicans shred
      late afternoon sky into blue tatters.
      Brutal headwind sweeps across
      a summer-parched field above the bluff.

      Facing the storm-worn precipice
      I turn toward each strong gust,
      remain moored in cold blasts,
      determined to prove my resilience.

    Laura Bayless

    Fair Oaks, CA


      She leans over the cold metal railing of the tiny hospital bed, feeling the tight stretch of frozen muscles along the backs of her heavy thighs. The light is dim in this sterile place, and she squints slightly to better focus on the tiny infant lying before her. On her left hand, her simple gold wedding band flashes faint fire for a moment as she waves the magic wand through the still air. The wand, a silver stuffed star dressed in fluttering ribbons of pink, blue and yellow perched on a thin black stem, stirs easy currents over the sleeping baby. In her mind the wand can ensure that each moist breath through those minute lips will keep her fragile chest rising and falling. The mother leans in and whispers her love.

    Carol Mathew-Rogers

    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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