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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #41

  • Section A: July 15, 2015
  • Section B: August 15, 2015
  • Section C: September 15, 2015
  • Section D: October15, 2015
  • Section E: November15, 2015
  • Section F: .................................................................. December 15, 2015

    Del Rey Oaks, CA


      into the golf resort
      who's name we cannot say
      because they will sue us.

      Located on land
      that was stolen
      by the Spanish

      from the Indian people
      who had been here
      since before time.

      Then it was stolen
      by the Americans
      for Manifest Destiny.

      Then stolen
      by the Railroad
      for fortune.

      Then stolen
      by the rich
      for themselves

      there is a dead skunk in the middle of the road

    Stephen Brown

    Carmel, CA


      the most important
      conversations are the ones
      we are engaging

      in truth not confined
      to past-present-future time
      nor by near-and-far

      the mystery core
      is that we might be open
      wholeheartedly to

      having them at all

    John Dotson

    Rockland, CA

    From an eight year old!


    Christopher Hawley

    Carmel Valley, CA

      FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2015

      Friday evening news via E-mail from Paris: My cousin Miriam and family are safe. A simple announcement, a lone sentence, across the continents, over 5500 miles away, to let my fear evaporate. Yet its essence lingered, left me with unrest, as the current carpet of consequences unrolled with ever increasing cause for dismay. And, suddenly, to my surprise, I become again the small daughter of German parents, who after entering Portugal as newlyweds, became parents to two daughter during their over six year stay, left that country in 1941 for safe haven in The United States of America. Four visas finally attained. I, newly six years old, recall the rough seas that held us as we crossed the Atlantic, a two week journey, where my sister and I seemed to be the only passengers not afflicted by seasickness, before we landed at Ellis Island—Statue of Liberty, upholding her torch—grey upon grey. Cement buildings, lengths of dusky walls, as I rested on hard suitcases, covered by father's heavy woolen coat. Our family of four, seeking refuge, became a unit trying to find welcome in a strange country, wanting to fit in. I felt as though I would be sliced open and wondered what I would find therein. Though I knew the strength of my father, ever the patriarch, his fear that Salazar would come under the influence of Franco questioned our safety in Portugal, the haven he sought after feeling and fleeing Hitler's impending wrath.

      And, today, messages from afar arrive via media, or spoken words directed at me. People show signs of no longer being hospitable to refugees, judging them by place of birth rather than nature of character. What would my life have become, had our small family not entered the United States of America in the dark year of 1941?

    Illia Thompson

    Monterey, CA


      Who Are Those People?
      Do They Belong Here With Us?
      They Look Much Like Us.

      Are They Different?
      I DonŐt Know, How Can You Tell?
      There Must Be Some Way.

      They Live Where? Really?
      Is That Where They Want To Live?
      Usually It's Not!

      Shouldn't We Help Them?
      With So Many, How Can We?
      We Must Find A Way!

      The Tag "Those People"
      Can Mean "We're Likely Better."
      Please Use Sparingly!

    Ray Cyr

    Carmel, CA

      woke up this morning in contemplation ...

      of how those forces—the Force that through the green fuse drives the flower—that we experience as ARCHAIC infuse the magical/mythic/mental, and all... all efficiencies and deficiencies...

      this is not simply causal or dimensional or temporal... not simply "linear-sequential"...

      when we examine our own lives, and consider world life, without an awaring of the immediacies of the archaic, we are split off from origin...

      then the archetypally based complexes prevail...

      and the dangers of this splitting into deficient magic, deficient myth, deficient mental-rationalizations, fill the bloody headlines hour by hour...

      the integration leads us always to respect the ever-present

      [ volcano and stars]

    John Dotson

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    Section E: .................................................................. November 15, 2015

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

    I love making my own "books" the latest has the title "Edge of Time." Here is one of the poems in it, which actually was written in one of the black bound sketchbooks that follow me everywhere.


      I wrote my way across the sky
      sailing toward the new born night.

      Lighting torches as I went
      hoping to find a vent
      out of
      the other side.

      Waiting to place
      my rocket soul
      on the track

      Wandering now across
      this plain
      at the edge of the
      mountain side.

      "Oh gracious wonder spirit
      where is the edge of time?"

    Stephen Brown

    Carmel Valley, CA


      In autumn the lull of loneliness
      appears more frequently
      requests balance to be assuaged
      by the gift of remembrances.

      As I view anew writings from the past
      penned by myself through lace of years
      I look into the mirror of my words
      surprised to gaze at a friend.

      These many selves endowed with emotions
      transcribed in black on white through flow of ink
      and were they colored red could be viewed
      as scarlet blood drawn from vibrant veins.

      There is comfort in recollections
      announcing family and friendships
      times of love and the energy of conflict
      all led to unexpected grace.

      Autumn whispers of impending chill
      nudges preparation for gathering wood as fuel
      stoked by caring, honors blankets of connection
      and tells family story as tales ward off desolation.

      The art of nestling into memory's place
      triggered by scents and sounds and words
      placed on paper to note collected lore
      assuages waiting waves of loneliness.

    Illia Thompson

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    Section D: .................................................................. October 15, 2015

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

    For years and years I have had an obsession with pomegranates. At one time in the 1980s I made a drawing of them almost everyday for about a year. Don't ask. This is a photograph of the one that I collected last year.



      In my head
      a room full of noise
      doodad voice over
      playing against
      the flicker image.

      A documentary film
      clicking through
      the sprockets
      of a hand cranked projector
      in jitter time

    Stephen Brown

    Berkeley, CA

      TO DREAM

      Dreamer, sleep is your friend
      even when you can't fall asleep
      finally you might and then dream
      of something good, fresh oranges
      juice running over your tongue,
      taste of it, love, lingering a little,

      snowmelt and springtime, blue sky
      and a narrow trail, knapsacks, muse
      and memory of a day walking, past
      the edge of what you wanted, odors
      of chamise, of sage and sassafras

      out the fork of the river nine miles,
      each step out of yourself, moving
      you further, following your own
      heart and hers, rock weirs
      gentle the current, penstemon
      and pines at water's edge, sunlight

      swimming turquoise and trout,
      high up the canyon, cascades,
      water over granite, revelation
      and creation, each drop-
      each step brings you closer.

    Larry Ruth

    Carmel Valley, CA

      (Meteor Shower)

      Watching the heavens ignite more profoundly
      than a planetarium presentation,
      I stand alone in an enclosed yard,
      yet feel no fences around me.

      The meteor dance supported by nearby stars
      and even a silver sliver of moon,
      all display themselves as though presenting
      a well-rehearsed Broadway offering.

      Randomness provides perfection.
      Astronomic distances melt,
      dissolve into prime connection
      on the slide of light and love.

      Missives of caring arrive
      sent from afar by those
      now gone as well as ancestors
      on earth before my presence.

      Current cares evaporate,
      fueled by fires from above.
      My flesh newly invigorated,
      my gratitude deeply known.

    Illia Thompson

    Monterey, CA


      It was July of 1956. In the Spring and Summer of 1956 my father had generously allowed me to take the family car to college at Nebraska Wesleyan University, a Methodist liberal arts college in Lincoln, Nebraska. He made this possible by arranging with his boss in the furniture store where he worked to use the company pickup truck for transportation. The car was a 6-cylinder green 1955 Chevrolet four-door sedan, standard shift, with overdrive, and it was very cool to have it there. During that summer I lived with my cousin Stan in a basement apartment, and drove down to the University of Nebraska daily where I worked for my major professor in physics doing the laborious calculations needed for his PhD research project.

      Late in July Stan and I decided that it would be fun to collect together a group of friends on a Saturday and drive to a lake north of Lincoln, where we would go canoeing. We had a car-top carrier to attach to the car for transporting the canoe, so we were set! We arrived at the lake about 2 pm, and within 15 minutes we were paddling around this lake and having a good time of it. We brought food along for a delightful picnic. In fact it all was coming along so well that we paid little attention to the weather. Maybe that was because all of us were familiar with a little ditty sung on a local AM radio station (FM was just starting up and had not yet become available in car radios). It was used to introduce the weather forecast, "Oh, the weather is cold, the weather is hot, we will have weather, whether or not!"

      Nevertheless, when we did finally survey our surroundings and the weather in particular, we noticed that the sky was getting quite dark, and it was only about 4 pm. All of us were native Nebraskans, and we had experienced more than one tornado watch while growing up. We could see that a thunderstorm was brewing in the southwestern sky, and it looked big enough to spawn a tornado. We decided to get the hell out of there and head for home. As we were packing up gear and tying the canoe back on top of the '55 Chevrolet, the wind out of the west started increasing and there arrived lots of blowing dust. Also it had become dark enough that I turned on the headlights as we drove away from the lake and headed southbound on a gravel road. There was a lot of blowing dust and the wind had become strong enough to bend trees over along the roadside. Well, it was a gravel road, so I didn't want to be going too fast, especially with the limited visibility, but there was a nasty storm coming, so I tried to compromise.

      I had decided that I would drive faster than I would have on a bright sunny day, but still not so fast as to be absolutely dangerous/stupid. I proceeded with that assumption for another 15 or so seconds, until the wind let up for a moment, and a tree beside the road straightened up, revealing a STOP sign about 60 yards ahead. It was instantly clear to me, and probably to my passengers, that when we arrived at the intersection, WE WOULD NOT BE STOPPED. No problem, I thought, we'll just have to run the STOP sign. A second later it was clear to me that this was not good news, because I could see that it was a T intersection, and we were traveling on the wrong part of the T. As we slid through the intersection I remember it being unusually quiet in the car. We were then down in the cornfield that was beyond the intersection. Luckily, we did not take out the farmer's fence, because he had left the gate to the cornfield OPEN.

      I could tell that the soil in the field seemed to be kind of soft, but dry. If I let the car come to a full stop we would have been STUCK, and the storm was still coming. So it came to me. Put it in low gear, step on it, execute a U-turn in the corn, and drive back up through the open gate and head on east on the main gravel road, away from the storm. And that was exactly what I did. For another few seconds it remained quiet in the car, and then it wasn't.

      You might have thought that the problem was simple and I had successfully solved it. That was true, sort of . . . The problem was actually much worse that you can tell from the story so far. Luckily, that problem was solved by the odds. You see, as we had just about reached the T, an eastbound car passed through the intersection in front of us, when we were perhaps less than 20 feet from the intersection. He was also on a gravel road and fleeing the storm, and I bet we scared him. Our survival was all about timing. Returning to Lincoln, we stopped at our favorite drive-in for the best onion rings in town, and we had much to talk about. Perhaps you have heard about the notion of unlived lives. Maybe this was a case of "unwritten obits."

    Ray Cyr

    Carmel, CA

      This is a sculpture of mine. It holds many stories. At the center of it, posed, is a photograph of my Aunt Lillia Mae Hall, who died in 1928. This is among the trans-temporal factors—and there are many generated here. As with all my sculptures, this one is a composite of many moving and movable sub-segments.

    [ trans-temporal generator]

    John Dotson

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    Section C: .................................................................. September 15, 2015

    Del Rey Oaks, CA


      now setting
      began the sun
      holding for all
      to see
      ancient ways
      across the silver bay
      rainbow fog
      beneath the sun
      light filling sky
      mystery hidden
      covered to begin
      pearl place
      in soul
      the legend says
      we cannot cross
      the golden grass
      where the samurai warrior
      sword in hand
      arrows poised
      to draw the bow
      praise the Buddha
      purple lilac glow
      the red
      raising with the sun

    Stephen Brown

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    Section B: .................................................................. August 15, 2015

    Del Rey Oaks, CA


      On the shore of life and time
      owl stood beside the lamp
      waiting for the new born day
      to crack the edge of night
      away from the soul of earth
      patient mother of us all
      battered now beyond belief
      by one of its creature into dust

      the others gather upon the stage
      to cry the darkened sky
      waiting for a sailing ship
      in bound from beneath the sun
      bearing Pandora's gift

    According to Edith Hamilton, Pandora was the first woman. She was given a box that she was not to open, but did, and evil escaped into the world, but she closed it quick enough to keep in hope.

    Stephen Brown

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    Section A: .................................................................. July 15, 2015

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

    In 1977 I was on the island of Crete and I wrote this poem. I think that with Greece in the news that it would be a good time to share it. One of my favorite writers is Nikos Kazantahis, I was delighted to learn, after I returned from Crete and visiting his grave site that he was very interested in the orient and even wrote a travel log of Asia. To me his work reflects some of the basic Buddhists ideas. I hope that you enjoy this poem.


      Down crumbled
             wall street
                   Boo . . . da
                                      head gone
                                             god head
                                                    Boo . . . da!

      Feb 5, 1977
      It is entirely possible that upon this day that the sun began and our lives were cast. Down those stairs of crumbled stone on which we mount this bas-relief of life the cosmic thunder again is heard. When the Bodi satava lost its head.Ę

    Stephen Brown

    Marina, CA


      I just watched a really powerful music video of a song titled "Tiny Hearts," sung by a single mother raising four young children. In it, she sings "I know who I am, tiny hearts are in my hands" and that this is what gives her life meaning. It touched me, because I can relate. I no longer have a tiny heart in my hands, since you are now almost a man, ready to walk haphazardly but bravely up to the threshold of adulthood and into your own future. But I remember. I remember having this incredible precious life that was brand new to the world, relying on me and your father to guide its tiny heart to strength and fruition. I think every caring mother feels this, no matter how old her children get; that their hearts are linked to yours, that their path is for you to help forge, that their growth really is in your hands and that the responsibility for this is both terrifying and wondrous. As this diary can attest, I agree with this young mother—being a parent is at the core of what gives my life meaning. Work is nothing by comparison; my strength, my joy, my life force, all come from you and your father. I am lucky to have had a co-parent, a man who is strong and loving and willing to share this incredible journey with me. Together we have watched you bloom and grow, and are trying to be prepared for the huge changes ahead. But he and you share a different bond than you and I—just as strong and loving, but distinct. He is modeling what it is like to be a good man, how to be a responsible and loving male in this increasingly complex world. While I am a mom, connected to you in ways I can't even begin to explain. I am still nurturer, the one you still come to if you fall before you remember that you need to be independent and self sufficient, the one who carried you before you took your first gulp of air, the source of questions to be asked and answered. Our relationship is the typical push and pull of adolescence, but at the core I am still Mom, still the one holding a heart in my hands, hoping to be ready to release it into the world. I fully understand that soon the tiny heart of years ago will be nothing more than a memory and I will fade into the background of your world, a normal part of growing up. I know letting go will be a painful process for both you and us, but I will try to show nothing but support and encouragement as you step into your own heart, and away from mine. Inside, of course, will be a maelstrom of the pain of separation, but it will be mixed with pride that you are an intelligent, capable, and wonderful person. And, in quiet moments, I will remember your early growing seasons and marvel at how far we have traveled from the age of tiny hearts. I wish you a good journey, my son, and hope that maybe someday you too will hold a tiny heart in your hands.

    Olga Chandler

    Carmel Valley, CA


      Without writing
      I would be at a loss
      to chart my life alone
      to go forth from the shores
      to sail the seas of new beginnings

      I summon words to heal the wounds
      to allow age old remembrances
      to bounce cares among the waves
      to soften in the saline spray

      words become my life raft
      a solid plank of weathered wood
      large enough to hold me well
      sturdy enough to bring me home

      words nestle on lines of blue
      offer me pillow on which to rest
      a comforter into which I can nestle
      an anchor when I drift amiss

    Illia Thompson

    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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