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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #42

  • Section A: Jan 15, 2016
  • Section B: Feb 15, 2016
  • Section C: Mar 15, 2016
  • Section D: Apr 15, 2016
  • Section E: May 15, 2016
  • Section F: .................................................................. Jun 15, 2016

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

    Not all poems are on paper!

      DEW 3

      Early morning on the Monterey Peninsula.

      [A rose]


      The medicine man began the dance
      out beyond the silent walls

      his rattle shaking away the fear
      feathers moving through the air

      the smoke of knowledge weaves around
      to claim the space from here to there

      grabbing hold between the legs
      the haunting center of it all

      destined to a new beginning
      flight will take us through the air

      as we climb into the sky
      the fear is gone the night is clear

      the path will lead forever on . . .

    Stephen Brown

    San Jose, CA


      Here I am, an old man
      waking up late at night,
      disturbed by dreams
      clawing for attention.
      Strange dreams of anger and rage.
      Fierce furies are on the loose
      during fickle sleep at this age,
      fading into shadows unknown
      the moment I come to myself.

      Into darkness I must descend
      to recover old rubbish
      discarded in youthful days
      when feelings became so painful.
      Barely forgotten the pain
      just settled into the bones
      as a constant reminder,
      a reminder not heeded for years:
      Attend! Tender Attention!

      I have become used to pain,
      less fightened by feelings.
      it is time to climb down,
      to sift carefully through my rubbish
      and salvage some fragments of my life.

    Franz Speckhoff

    Carmel, CA

      © Helene Constant

      In my youth I fought to preserve my independence; only later did I realize that no one was interested in taking it away and I'm stuck with it. I've been looking for a job for so long that my resume is in an archaic language; my references are from a city buried in the sand. Looking for a job is my three dimensional fantasy: today I'm a technical writer, tomorrow a librarian. I try to remember my invented job history but it's not my strong suit. My strong suit used to be my short skirt.

      My endless search for employment has become my job. Like my longing for a romantic relationship, it's based on skills I wish I had. My last real job was in the fund-raising department of a non-profit. We worked at donated desks with drawers that didn't open, on donated telephones without hold buttons, while we beguiled our budget of several million dollars out of thin air.

      I long to pack myself a lunch with carrot sticks, and enjoy the sound of my nylon-clad legs sliding against each other while I eye a good-looking man in a suit. I imagine meekly saying, "yes sir," while tied up with heavy-duty orange extension cords. I have remained unemployed, sending off the same resume day after day, and inventing poses for myself in cover letters. I practice my smile in the mirror but it's as if something was grabbing the edge of the glass, trying to climb out through it.

      In desperation I went to a temp agency. I was tested and evaluated on how well I could write a simple declarative sentence. All their temp jobs turned out to be in fields for which I'm over qualified—fields above which I float like a vibratory awareness.

      Finally the agency found a job they didn't care about and sent me out. I had at the ready several lovely lunchboxes, one covered in fake fur. The night before my first working day I packed a thoughtful repast, not omitting ample healthful snacks. I can no longer go without food because I'm starving for so much in life. Now I always have food, in my car, in my briefcase, in my bike bag. I have to eat low-cal because I'm like one of those new cars, every time you hit the brake you collect energy. Every time I sit down, my body takes all my loose energy and piles it on the batteries of my hips and buttocks.

      In my temp office I was positioned at a dusty desk behind an opening in the wall, looking out at the front door. The windowsill had a sign Please ring bell for service. "Heh, heh, a gracious hello," I'd carol in Lily Tomlin's voice. Not many people wandered into my office, and once in, they disappeared forever. If you phoned, and I needed to transfer you chances were you'd be lost in a telephonic quagmire, your voice echoing endlessly.

      The previous occupant of that desk died of boredom; she was found slumped at the desk, her head fallen into an egg salad sandwich which had gone bad in her lunchbox. On the rug all around me were paper clips in various stages of unbending, like bodies decomposing into the loam of the carpet. I dusted my desk and discovered an old typewriter buried in it. Typewriters demand words: they are an open mouth. The return key is what does it: the rhythm of the bell when you finally finish a line. The back and forth motion, is like a piston pumping out words. Like sex, writing is better with the sound turned up.

      My life begins to resemble a labyrinth walk, an exploration of sacred geometry. The power emanates not from the shape of the maze, it is the act of walking it, around and around, that leads to resonance with the sacred. The basic urge of humanity is to prove that we exist, that we are real. Our deepest self-knowledge was carved as graffiti on walls in ancient Pompeii. "I was here," it says. It was carved in the past tense, even back then. We know we are vanishing, getting smaller and smaller in the infinite dark. When we reach the end of the galaxy the handwriting on the wall is sure to be "Kilroy was here."

    Helen Constant

    Tucson, AZ


      Some people travel far looking for things
      They know when they find them, the joy that brings
      Perfection to life will be theirs to keep
      And find when these things go the cost is steep

      Others give up the search, far beyond faith
      Believing that happiness is a wraith
      Haunting the memory of childhood days
      Concluding with the "wise" that money pays

      A few find their hearts broken, and in this
      Is exactly what's so easy to miss
      That a broken heart finally lets go
      Of everything you thought you could know

      At last letting love like a river flow
      Not holding it back but letting it show

    Chris Lovette

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    Section E: .................................................................. May 15, 2016

    Del Rey Oaks, CA


      Spring will arrive again
           as it always has

      before and after
           then and now.

      The scent of it
            lain in the mind.

      Blossoms poking their heads
            above the snow.

      Whiteness reflecting color
           to the edge of time.

      Through halls of memory
           down the cascade
                 of time
                       long gone.

      Past the hellish
            fire bound sites
                  that float on the surface
                       then disappear.

      Rolling on and on
           grinding the granite
                       into sand.

      Standing at an angle
           to the sun.

      Watching shadows
           on the moon.

      The pain.
            of others

      The journey wanders on.

      All of the gods
           from all of the lands
                  have settled
                       into above.

      The shallow plain
           that protects this earth
                  holds us all
                       under a blanket
                             of air

      By now
           we had
                 witnessed it
                       from afar.

      On our way to the moon.

      Yet cannot believe
            how small we are

      But an un-nameable force
           that put this rocky globe
                 right where it is. . .

      a hurtling mass
            bound through the universe
                 to who knows where.

    Stephen Brown

    San Jose, CA


      No music and no sound
      fills the room of the old couple
      after the motor of the fridge cuts off.
      He reads his magazine in his chair.
      She reads her book in her chair.
      The silence between them stretches and thickens,
      alive and touching them.

      The silence is pregnant with his absence,
      squeezing blood out of her hands and feet.
      A chill intrudes upon her mind.
      She feels alone, abandoned.
      Overwhelmed by sadness
      she gives in to tears.

      The silence is pregnant with her presence,
      washing over his body.
      Lost in his mind he feels nothing
      until a sense of well-being wells up so strongly
      it can pierce his mind.
      He looks up. He sees her tears.
      Clueless and touched by her pain,
      accepting ignorance again
      he gets up and takes her in his arms.
      On their own her cold hands move
      finding their familiar place
      deep under his arms.
      She takes a deep breath.

    Franz Speckhoff

    Tucson, AZ

      TUCSON AZ, 2016

      The roses bloom
           in the Spring
      A blind soldier
           talks to me
      About going back
      To Wyoming tomorrow

      Where the ice
           is now melting
      Off the ponds
      And we no longer need
      To break the ice
      To water the horses

      MEDITATIONS (5-8-2016)

      Whose hopes are pure and innocent
      When hopelessness would be more apt

      Of dancing in air
      Like Fred Astaire
      I am most fond
      Yet I know
      It renders poison
      In my soul

      So drink, say I
      Forget the sturdy ant
      Plodding in seeming monotony

      Until I am brought
      To beg at their store
      Having nothing but an open hand
      Filled to the brim
      With my despair

      Drink up, Fool
      I say, drink up
      Numbness is my only friend

      A deathÕs head friend
      DeathÕs head, again

      Of all I hold dear
      The dearest is to let go!

    Chris Lovette

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    Creative Edge Home Page Section D: .................................................................. April 15, 2016

    Del Rey Oaks, CA


      those damn daffodills
      in the white vase
      on the table
      in my kitchen today

      speaks of a long past time
      when I was in the yard
      during a blizzard
      covering each one

      sprung from the soil
      of Colorado plain
      too early to survive
      with out your help

      a pot or pan
      covered with a sheet

      protecting us all
      from the raging storm
      that blew through that house

      freezing up near my heart
      that image of long ago
      which I cling to
      even today
      in times of pain

      armour to help
      in the seventh decade
      beyond the gate.
      walls to hide
      the raging storm

    Stephen Brown

    San Jose, CA


      I feel safe and at peace
      stretched out shoulder to shoulder
      next to my pet lion
      his wild mane his head his hide
      a dusty rusty red
      playfully he starts pawing me
      with no trace of malice
      the weight of his paws on my chest
      takes my breath away
      I ask to stop he goes on
      I shout not too loud
      afraid he might become angry
      he stretches next to me again
      with divine nonchalance
      and the smile of a sphinx

    Franz Speckhoff

    Fair Oaks, CA


      (for Mathew)

      He plops his diaper-clad bottom
      squarely in my lap
      his spiderman shoes
      one quarter the size of my own
      are gleefully kicked off
      abandoned on the living room rug
      as he snuggles in close
      gifting me with the unmistakable
      scent of little boy.

      Which car do you want? he lisps
      blue eyes excited
      the green one or the purple one?
      His pudgy fingers
      offer the choices
      for my earnest inspection.
      The purple one I say.

      His glossy blond head bows
      and he carefully
      considers my choice
      You can have the green one
      he responds
      clutching the chosen purple
      one to his chest
      he offers the green one
      It's a fast car too!
      He wants me to feel good
      even though
      he gets the better toy.

      We race the cars
      up and down my arms
      and when I zoom
      my car across his
      tummy he giggles
      and squirms
      and quickly tucks
      his own car
      down my shirt
      past the top two buttons
      until the folds of cloth
      capture the prize and
      he loses his tiny grip.

      Surprised, he searches my face
      then inspects the shirt
      where did it go? he asks
      patting my chest and belly carefully
      as I hold in my laughter
      and allow the toy
      to fall further into my lap.
      He twists his compact body towards me
      pulls out the neck of my shirt
      and peers inside
      amazed at the
      instantaneous disappearance.

      Here it is! I crow
      as I let the errant
      car fall from the
      bottom of my hem.
      He snatches it up
      obviously relieved
      that it wasn't gone forever
      and promptly
      tucks it down my shirt again
      and the game starts over.

      When did I stop
      finding joy in
      the simple moments that
      fill my life?
      When did the wonder of
      unexplained events
      get overrun by a
      lack of curiosity?

      I feel his warm body
      and send a thankful prayer
      that this young soul
      is here to teach me
      once again.

    Carol Mathew-Rogers

    Tucson, AZ


      The One is Two
      The Two is Three
      The Three is One

      Anger threatens
      Violence destroys
      Fear imprisons

      Disperse, Disperse, Disperse

      The new dispensation comes:

      Tolerance, Love, Power


      A Buddhist monk came to his hometown
      high in the Tibetan Himalayas

      The town was quiet
      Chinese soldiers were everywhere

      The monk went to an old temple
      he had known it since boyhood

      At the door there was a sign
      in Chinese and Tibetan
      "Keep out! Entry forbidden!"

      He calmly opened the door and went in
      took a mat out of his pack and a sutra
      sat down on the mat
      and began to read

      After a while a Chinese soldier burst through the door, rifle in hand

      The monk kept on reading
      The soldier barked at himÊ
      "What are you reading?"

      The monk looked up and said
      "A sutra, as I do every day."

      The soldier was furious!
      "Don't you know the sutras have been banned
      And this temple is off limits!"
      Raising his rifle and pointing it at the monk he shouted: "Do you know I have the power to shoot you right now?"
      The monk smiled and said:
      "Do you know I have the power to let you?"

    Chris Lovette

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    Creative Edge Home Page Section C: .................................................................. March 15, 2016

    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 the night.

      Away from the soul of earth,
             that patient mother of all.

      Battered now beyond belief
             by one of its creatures.

      Into a pile of floating dust.

      The others gathered on this stage
             to mourn and cry the fading sky.

      Waiting for the ship to sail in
             beneath the raising sun.

    Stephen Brown

    San Jose, CA


      In their narrow kitchen
      out of the blue
      with one swift blow
      he killed his mother.

      Barely nineteen her favorite son
      it never entered his mind
      this was his only way
      to set the child free

      He christened her that day
      in a language unfamiliar
      a language working through sound
      not meaning—he called her Mad'm.

      Without a word she rose
      from this carnage
      she must have known to keep him
      she will lose her child and find a son.

      The mystery of this baptism
      lasted long beyond her grave
      today her blood on his hands
      becomes barely visible

    Franz Speckhoff

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    Creative Edge Home Page Section B: .................................................................. February 15, 2016

    Del Rey Oaks, CA


      The men now sit
      around the table
      in the café

      telling and talking
      each in turn
      adding to the tale
      that binds them
      to this place

      of generations
      spent at sea
      staring into
      the mermaids face

    Stephen Brown

    San Jose, CA


      Into the maw of the ravine
      lined with bIack rocks
      slippery from the last shower
      glistening in the setting sun.
      Eyes fixed three steps ahead
      feet in a blur
      finding a fleeting hold
      on shifting rock
      almost dancing as they move
      down and down and down and down.

      The pace to too fast
      no time for decisions
      feet decide which step to make.
      I let go of fear
      I let go of myself
      a rhythm settles in
      moving light focused timeless.
      waking up at the bottom
      I find myself again
      alive amazed exhilarated.

    Franz Spickhoff

    Monterey, CA


      To Know Our Starr-Cat,
      You Must Admire And Respect
      Her Beautiful Tail.

      To Know Our Starr-Cat,
      You Must Admire And Respect
      Her Beautiful Ears.

      To Know Our Starr-Cat,
      You Must Admire And Respect
      Her Amazing Voice.

      To Know Our Starr-Cat,
      You Must Admire And Respect
      Her Piercing Blue Eyes.

      To Know Our Starr-Cat,
      You Must Admire And Respect
      Her Teeth And Her Claws.

      We Know Our Starr-Cat,
      More A Presence Than A Pet,
      A Bringer Of Love.

    Ray Cyr

    Carmel, CA

    In process!

      [ Ezekiel's Wheels]

    John Dotson

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    Creative Edge Home Page Section A: .................................................................. January 15, 2016

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      QUESTION 2015

      Swallowed by hospital monster
            deep in its bowels.

      So far away, yet so close,
             to the River Styx.

      Abundant fear crossing lines
      of constant reflection.

      Placing arrows across the sky.
      flying towards what unknown fear?

      . . . Destined to what conclusion?

    Stephen Brown

    San Jose, CA

      RED DOTS

      Across the flood plain, peopled
      by barrel cacti, dotted
      by wisps of smoke trees, softened
      with round mounds of bristle brush, carved
      by three deep gashes of dry creeks
      we see a thin yellow line
      of a trail snaking up
      into the saddle of the mountain ridge
      you could not see the red dots
      barely moving barely visible
      only for perfect distance vision.

      Today I walk with a red shirt
      up this trail, moving briskly
      breathing hard, alive until
      I shrink in this stony expanse
      to become a red dot
      a mote invisible until
      a shaft of light makes it glow
      adrift in a wisp of air
      for a brief moment.

    Franz Spickhoff

    Monterey, CA

      (A Haiku Narration in Real Time)

      Getting Windows 10:
      Take A Deep Breath, Watch The Screen
      How Long Will This Take?

      Checking Requirements?
      What Is That Supposed To Mean?
      Trust But Verify?

      The Screen Goes To Black!
      I'm Not Supposed To Panic.
      Move Mouse, Screen Comes Back!

      Fifteen Minutes Pass.
      Must Trust The Moving Green Bar.
      Patience, Man, Patience!

      Six Percent Complete!
      Then, Twenty Seven Percent.
      Thirty Five Percent, Hot Damn!

      Oh Goodie! Half-Way.
      Half-Way To Where, I Wonder?
      Half-Way To Progress.

      Past Two-Thirds, I Cheer!
      Optimism, Stay With Me!
      Still One-Third To Go.
      Ninety Five Percent!
      Windows 10, You Are The Man!
      Ninety Nine Percent.

      Good To Remember,
      That You Are Now Committed!
      It's Your Windows 10.

    Ray Cyr

    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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