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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #43

  • Section A: July 15, 2016
  • Section B: August 15, 2016
  • Section C: September 15, 2016
  • Section D: October 15, 2016
  • Section E: November 15, 2016
  • Section F: .................................................................. December 15, 2016

    Del Rey Oaks, CA


      Where did poet go?

      Hiding behind the screen so that we can see, what is?

      Not what could have been.

      The glare of the rising sun washing the dark of night.

      The new day to be born clean.

      Where is poet?

    Stephen Brown

    San Jose, CA


      From the narrow canyon across the street
      green cumulus clouds billow
      and rise with a bright green coat
      our scrub oaks have put on
      to greet the green hills stretching
      to meet their white fluffy brethren
      drifting stately in formation
      across the azure sky of March.

      A pair of finches explores
      with hectic urgency tight corners
      of the gutters of our house
      for a protected nesting place
      twittering angrily at the intruder
      reading his newspaper below.

      All this billowing green glowing
      floating and drifting bursting urgency
      all this abundance thrives frugally
      on water and sun and you and I
      standing by invited to pay attention
      and more attention only
      until we are filled with abundance
      and become drunk on green.

    Franz Spickhoff

    Tucsan, AZ


      The full moon at perigee
      bounces light glossy glowing
      off the palm leaves
      in a light breeze

      The cats have all fled the house
      the wife lays asleep

      The motorcars on the boulevard
      almost make me weep

      If nuclear missiles meet each other
      up in the air

      and fireworks like lightning
      finally cause us to care

      The never dying that lives
      gives when everything gives

    Chris Lovette

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      Section E: .................................................................. November 15, 2016

      Del Rey Oaks, CA


        If we ignore them,
        not see them
        we who stand at the top
        of the shaking mountain,
        will not see, will not know.

        The bottom is gone.
        The top no longer stands.

        Homeless in America 2016.


      Stephen Brown

      Carmel, CA



        Eclipse back

        [Sculpture back]

        Black Madona Aurora Consurgens

        [Black Madona]

      John Dotson

      Tucsan, AZ


        Brother Buddhist, Jew
        You were part of my teenage years
        In those terrible days of drugs and war
        You kept your head together and wrote us "Suzanne"

        River walker, always our lover
        Holding forth your sad and wise assessment for us

        I remember when I had a Martin guitar
        And played music and sang on the sidewalk
        In the little faux-Telegraph Avenue district by the U of A
        I played "Suzanne" with a few simple chords

        Leonard, you took it around the world
        With all your other favorites

        I boomed my voice two blocks down 4th Avenue Tucson
        A street singer's voice, no mic
        The college kids gave the 60-year old man spare change
        Thanks to you and the other musicians whose songs I sang

        Leonard, you had some strange integrity
        Inner directed and focused
        On all the things
        Only you could see
        And you shared their silhouettes with us
        Like the silhouettes of mountain ranges
        Seen from the valley just before dawn

      Chris Lovette

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      Section D: .................................................................. October 15, 2016

      Del Rey Oaks, CA

      Here are two poems that I wrote in the 60's. They seem as pertinent today as then.


        I almost hit a spotted dog
        along his careless way.

        My car it moved up swiftly
        the bumper slick and chrome.

        I swerved to miss him desperate
        the breaks applied full force,
        the rubber peeled in moving sheets
        upon the pavement stone.

        I wouldn't have tried so hard you see
        if I had been alone,
        but others they were watching me
        and death they don't condone.

        On movie film and TV sets
        In prison walls alone.

        On another day in another place
        I hit a fluffy cat.

        No one sat there watching me
        I'm sure they do not care . . .

        But god I feel alone!


        Cars Cars gulping air
        and spewing

        the lemming to the sea

        and man . . .

        Cars Cars gulping air
        and spewing gas

      Stephen Brown

      Carmel, CA


        Exploding all grid-like compulsive ideas
        the lava flow of remembrance

        intensifies and saturates and deepens
        with molten forces primordial
        and unconditional trust

        in this our very participation
        here in the very LIFE of the whole

        world that is now


        that the handing-over is the crux
        of the chiasm in the crucifixing

        we might say culpa felixing
        on holy saturn's day

        with the holiest of holy paradoxing
        the cosmic shifting shaking

        through the deepest of the deep
        depths of seismic metanoia

        when the handing-over
        is handed-over in truth

        these deadly powers freely accepted
        with the not-knowing what we do

        and the knowing acutely
        how much it matters

        and thus giving thanks and praise
        in the very presence

        of these specifically substantial
        historical realities

      John Dotson

      Tucsan, AZ

        ROCK SOLID

        Mama grew up poor
        On Tobacco Road in old Kentuck'
        But she was not poor white trash
        Poor white trash
        Don't go to church on Sundays
        And my Mama's family did
        Every time

        My Dad's father
        Left the West Virginia coal mines
        When he had enough cash
        To buy a small farm in Ohio

        Dad's boyhood included
        Doing farm chores before daylight
        And coming back to the house for breakfast
        Before taking a long walk to the schoolhouse

        Mama was a beautiful girl
        And my father fell in love with her at College
        Berea College south of Lexington, Kentucky

        In 1855 Berea was the one College in the South
        To be interracial, co-ed, and Christian
        The College especially for poor Appalachian kids
        Who needed a way out of poverty

        My parents married in 1934
        A very tight year for the poor
        But with his degree in physics
        Dad landed a job teaching shop

        Soon after the first baby
        Came World War Two
        And Dad landed a second job
        A night job as a machinist
        Making artillery shells

        In 1945 after the Germans surrendered
        Dad had enough of a nest egg
        And a yearning restlessness
        To strike out for the West Coast

        He halted in Los Angeles
        Staying with relatives
        But intent on reaching Hawaii

        Mama wouldn't have it though
        Something about Japanese torpedoes
        So Los Angeles was their new home

        Dad worked hard, sometimes two jobs
        Though my brother and sister
        Ate a lot of sandwiches of peanut butter or bologna

        By the time I came along in 1951
        Dad was building us a new house
        On an acre lot carved out of the orchards
        In the San Fernando Valley

        Along with everything else
        Dad made the kitchen cabinetry
        And those cabinets were a beautiful sight
        That house was built rock solid

      Chris Lovette

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

      Del Rey Oaks, CA

      There were echoes all around the garden of death café.

        FOUR POEMS FROM 2012

        I went there when I was through
        not sure of
        what I would see
        but stood beside the road
        and waited for the Buddha
        to pass on his white horse
        as he left the palace

        beside the rice bowl
        amidst the tears
        placement of a flower
        took much care

        a rose lain out
        upon the table
        taking thought
        of wooden grain

        spaced as it were
        at the setting sun
        to mark the dark
        crossing the land

        All of the souls
        were aligned
        in perfect rows
        headed toward
        the river Styx
        and Charon's boat

        the path was clear
        for those that know

        the rest will wait
        beneath the moon
        bouncing ripples
        of cold white light
        off the surface
        of the waving sea

        How many mountains
        will we have to climb
        before the ocean
        becomes a sea?

      Stephen Brown

      Fair Oaks, CA

        HIS HANDS

        My oldest son
        the one whose hands
        are creased and cracked
        sometimes bloodied and bruised
        from wielding nail guns and wood saws
        from building fences and
        casting poles in pursuit of fish

        My son who cut off the tip
        of one finger
        and called me from
        the emergency room
        in hopes that I would
        give him support
        even though he
        was 29 years old
        and said I didn't need to come.

        My son
        the older of two
        now sliding down
        the backside of thirty five years
        likes to tease me these days
        calls me an old lady
        with a wicked twinkle
        in his eye
        hugs me often
        but doesn't linger
        the warm scent of
        sawdust and fresh air
        a gift that leaves
        me breathless.

        My son
        who left home
        three times only to return
        to the room I kept trying
        to make my own
        loves another woman now
        gave her a diamond ring
        uses his hands to build
        gifts for his unborn child
        takes his oldest son fishing
        teaches him
        how to reach the
        deepest holes
        and the best way to
        climb a tree and
        build a fire.

        My son
        is my heart
        his hands
        creased and cracked
        holding mine
        living proof of the
        movement of time.

      [James fishing]

      Carol Mathew-Rogers

      Tucsan, AZ


        Prison had not been fun
        Walk so far, then a wall
        Go a few feet the other way
        Then a locked door

        Exercise time:
        Walk down a short hall
        To a locked door
        With a small window

        Through the window
        A view of a big fence
        A small tree amidst the concrete
        Beyond that a huge parking lot

        One day what I prayed for happened
        The Warden wanted to see me
        To review my sentence
        A sentence that seemed to stretch out to eternity

        The Warden frightened me
        He shuffled some papers on his desk
        Took a slow sip of a soft drink
        Then looked back down at his desk

        "There's been a mistake." he said
        "You were never supposed to be here in the first place.
        Somebody else served your time for you."
        That very day I was released

        Fourteen years spent in a cage:
        Oh, I'd been guilty alright
        And I am without regret
        Prison teaches you a lot of things

        But my debt to society has been paid
        I've learned my lesson
        I'll never be going back to prison
        And that makes me one very happy man

      Chris Lovette

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      Section B: .................................................................. August 15, 2016

      Del Rey Oaks, CA

        RETURN TO THE 1960'S

        A telephone rang
                        in the dark of the past

        the cord could not reach
                        into this future.

        it was a party line call
                        of old people who

        whispered their love
                        in the closet

        so mom and dad could hot hear
                        and figure out what was up.

        Reflections on the Big Sur fire!

        [A drawing]

      Stephen Brown

      San Jose, CA


        Sitting quietly
        in the warm sun
        a little blue fly
        lands on mv hand.

        You tickled me
        while probing my skin
        with your tiny feet.
        You rush fro and back
        grazing on my skin
        stopping a long time
        to check my fingernail.

        I hear now the buzz of your tribe
        present since early sunrise.
        Your visit would go unnoticed
        at home among books, TV,
        with friends, the hourly news
        and minutes from malls and movies.

        These woods are your home.
        I come as a guest,
        alone and on foot
        scarcely protected
        and no soul for miles.

        Taking a deep breath
        you're startled and fly off
        rejoining your tribe
        waiting for my next visit,
        the next inspection.
        I take another breath,
        shoulder my pack,
        celebrating today.

      Franz Speckhoff

      Fair Oaks, CA

        ROAD TRIP

        I lay in the backseat of my grandfather's cream colored sedan, watching scenery flash by through the open window. Another person, someone who was interested in the make and model of automobiles might be able to tell what kind of car it was. But I was seven years old or so, and not interested in such details so I can't tell you. I do know it was long and lean and the interior had tuck and roll upholstery that felt cool and comforting to my exploring fingers. I don't know if I had a seatbelt on or not—it seems I didn't but maybe I've just forgotten. It was such a long time ago. I remember seeing the golden hills, just over the rim of the windows that flashed in and out of sight as we moved along. They seemed like the smooth skin of giants taking naps in the summer sun; the curve of a hip maybe or the breathtaking line from shoulder to neck of someone focused on greater things than a young girl traveling with her grandpa.

        He sat in the front seat, his favorite brown hat with the jaunty off-white band around the crown perched on his bald head, wire rimmed glasses nestled staunchly on his no-nonsense nose, left arm resting lazily along the open window. He liked to drive my grandpa did, with the same deliberate care and attention that he seemed to give all his actions.

        I wonder now how often he dreamt of never stopping, of keeping the car pointed away from his miniscule California birthplace towards unknown destinations or exotic places or simply someplace different than where he spent his days. I didn't know it then, but he longed to travel the world—had an itch to explore that he was never really able to satisfy.

        My grandmother was a small town girl, not just content to live her life in the familiar byways of San Benito County, but almost adamant in her belief that travel was a waste of time and money. They did take the occasional trip of course, and many summers traveled with us camping across country, but they never went to Europe, never got on a plane to visit Africa or Hawaii or even Alaska. It took all of my grandpa's negotiating skills to get her to agree to the compact cab-over camper they eventually bought, just so their trips with us would be a bit more comfortable.

        Yes, I wonder now if I hadn't been dozing in the back seat, if there hadn't been a list of chores to do back in their aging grey Victorian, if he hadn't fallen in love with a small town girl so many long years ago, that maybe, just maybe, my grandpa Jack might have kept on going in that long, lean cream colored sedan.

      Carol Mathew-Rogers

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      Del Rey Oaks, CA

      Section A: .................................................................. July 15, 2016

      Del Rey Oaks, CA

      People are always saying "There is nothing that we can do about the weather!" Well I disagree, at least for me, I can write about it and maybe understand how important it is.

        2/26/2011 7:09 AM

        light strikes
        morning low
        raking across
        frozen ground
        winters hold
        polishing away
        the frost of dark
        pushing back
        upon the night

      Besides, winter weather is fun to think about if it is hot out side.

      Stephen Brown

      Tucsan, AZ


        Remember the homeless and all the poor
        Don't trust the hungry men, they know the score
        Jailed for stealing bread, crowned Queen a Nation
        Know never to rise above your station

        In Washington money calls ev'ry shot
        On the streets all you have got is your heart
        If it's good there's nothing you haven't got
        And it's easy for love to reach that spot

        Condemned for drinking and all of their sports
        Simple pleasures are treasured, of all sorts
        Overindulgences lead to many shames
        But the Living God goes by Holy Names

      Chris Lovette

      Carmel, CA


        . . .on average, the entire volume of 5 liters of blood in the circulatory system is pumped
        through the heart approximately once per minute . . .

        it is a blessing to wake up
        breathing in the glory?
        of this very day

        this I know this newness

        to be able to look around
        wondering wheresoever
        awake could be leading us

        sisters and brothers

        as we might find ourselves reaching out
        through a solid commitment?
        to our common humanity

        in each and every beating heart
        in every instant blazing forth
        the vortexes of our aliveness
        always already becoming

        what we know not

      John Dotson

      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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