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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #44

  • Section A: January 15, 2017
  • Section B: February 15, 2017
  • Section C: March 15, 2017
  • Section D: April 15, 2017
  • Section E: May 15, 2017
  • Section F: .................................................................. June 15, 2017

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      UNTITLED

      Crow struts
      along the road
      hop bopping
      as crows will do

      on the ground
      head bobbing
      the yellow
      brown mountains
      begin to once again
      appear from out of the dark

      head up
      morsel searching
      telling the trees
      that the time has come
      to shed the night
      cast off the dark

      so the twitter creatures
      can begin to talk

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      UNTITLED

      Preamble:
      Small tremors of love ignite feelings so fresh
      decades of living melt into a clear pond
      where, upon reflection among ripples
      created by thoughts, your life clearly viewed
      becomes you.

      Lately, my love becomes as though arrow-born,
      soars straight, stops at appropriate landing, announces itself,
      and returns to its quiver, ready to be dispatched again.

      These moments arrive at random, unbidden friends
      calling, some frequent visitors, others long ago
      messengers enhance my joy of being.

      And I wonder, when did I first know love?
      Was it when a wet-nurse gave to drink?
      When my father held me in the palm of his hand?
      When my mother knit while the click of wooden needles
      matched well the beat of my small heart?

      My children, conceived under the canopy of caring.
      I harbor deep love beyond any, for these offsprings
      who know how to dance among the tremors of my love.

      How can I not love nature? Ever-present beauty calls to me.
      Be it mountain or ocean sent, or the path of bee or hummingbird
      ever so easily swirling among temporarily perfect blooms.

      And I cannot forget those people, who reveal thoughts with ease,
      know how to listen with attention laced with trusting caring
      to create an intimacy where all involved flourish.

      And those tremors of love from beyond, without warning
      arrive with superb swiftness to mate with my love within
      to create more of splendid, easily shared euphoria.

      With Father's Day nearing, I recall my father's love
      so fully given to each of his three daughters
      as each one knew he loved her best!

      Sometimes, my father will arrive from beyond,
      visit briefly as my need arises and I will sense the scent of his pipe
      and touch of his wool sport jacket to know I am tended from afar.

      My life does not feel brief. My days add up to many
      and when they are spent, I imagine small tremors of love
      will be found bouncing about those whom I loved.

    Illia Thompson
    Illia99@aol.com

    Sacramento, CA

      MUSIC OF LOVE

      I used to sprawl in the last pew of the church, the one closest to the double doors at the back of the room, the escape route denied to me during those long practice sessions. In this Methodist edifice, there were long cushions of dark green velvet whose dusty yet comforting softness would cradle me as I lay on my back, one leg hiked across the other knee, or on my sides, legs tucked up, shoes kicked to the floor, the inevitable book held reverently before my youthful face.

      Sometimes beams of bright sunlight would shaft into the space, and I would be distracted by the dancing motes and their swirling whirlpools. Sometimes my book would slowly sink to my chest while I gazed at backlit stained glass windows whose stories would come to life so that I too felt the spread of my angel wings or sat stroking soft lamb wool while sitting at the feet of that glowing figure in the white robe.

      Sometimes I even tuned in to the music soaring through the cathedral rafters—ethereal notes light as air, pounding marches a call to action, familiar refrains of hymns shared year after year after year. I could identify the padded strike of the organ foot pedals, the thump and scrape as levers were pushed and pulled, the quick flip and crackle as a page was turned—these were the orchestra of my mother's music.

      She would sit on that polished bench, both hands flying across the two tiers of black and white keys, leaning forward or rocking back as the notes dictated, her feet moving independently over the pedals in a dance both beautiful and mystifying to a young girl with no musical talent of her own. The rows of copper pipes standing shoulder to shoulder above the ancient organ would sing their throaty songs, filling the air with a blanket of sound that became the backdrop of my youth.

      At that time I often squirmed with the unfairness of being forced to stay there while she practiced, but I know now that those moments of soaring music and imaginative journeys were precious pages written in my story of family love.

    Carol Mathew-Rogers
    Carol@creative-edge.org

    Carmel, CA

    The deep background for this structure is my childhood in upper eastern Tennessee. There was a door there, and the door is still there. I can freely walk through this door no matter where I am on Earth, no matter how old I am, no matter what drama is unfolding. Through this door, past, present, and future form a threshold—which I can pass through facing one way, let's say an Alpha direction, or facing the other way, let's say, an Omega direction. As I continue this life journey through time, and yet free of time, I experience this doorway as a veil comprised of many veils—and one veil. Born in the Milky Way, we all may say. . .

    The [Pentecost veil] is one component in a larger installation titled [Antechamber]. Veil is 51" x 26" x 3.5." Antechamber is 77" x 34" x 23."

      PENTECOST VEIL, ANTECHAMBER

      [Pentecost Veil, Antechamber]

    John Dotson
    flute@acharantos.com

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    Section E: .................................................................. May 15, 2017

    Del Rey Oaks, CA

      THROUGH THE UNIVERSE

      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
                    rocks to sand.
      Standing at an angle
             to the sun.
      Watching shadows
             on the moon.
      The pain.
             of others
                    flicker images.
      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
      The 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
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Tucsan, AZ

      APACHE TEARS

      Did you ever see them?
      Little orbs of obsidian
      Grape sized
      Someone dubbed them Apache Tears

      You used to find them
      At many volcanic sites around the Southwest
      Molten glass blown skyward
      Falling back as Apache Tears

      Luz lays in bed at her son's
      Hooked up to oxygen for her asthma
      Blood pressure pills every day
      She lies thin and yellow as old paper

      She is alone all day
      While her son works
      Until he comes home to watch television

      Her husband was an Apache too
      A Marine veteran of World War Two
      Older than she and long gone too

      Luz hangs on to her life's thin thread
      Perhaps because she is Apache
      Perhaps because she is human

      ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES TRUCK #6110

      "Brush and Bulky Pickup"
      It says in a two by eight foot decal
      On the side of the truck.
      A crew of six inmates
      Two drivers
      And a deputy sheriff overseer
      Load the camps' debris into the back of the truck
      Into the compactor that leads
      Into the belly of the truck

      The paloverde trees are blooming yellow
      With lacy leafy tendrils falling from the branches
      The mesquites stand silently

      Denise and Gary abandoned their camp
      And Vinnie his not long after
      But Debby and Ron are here
      To rescue a carload
      Of what fits into my car
      And watch the rest
      Including the huge tent
      Go into the belly of the truck

    Chris Lovette
    chris_lovette@yahoo.com

    San Jose, CA

      GRIEF INTERRUPTED

      How dare the sun shine today
      so brilliant and bright
      filling her chair with shimmering light.

      How dare the mockingbird mock
      your sadness about her absence
      filling silent space with ecstatic song.

      How dare five dying sunflowers beam
      across this dark space
      edging darkness with glowing gold.

      When hungry you eat
      when thirsty you drink
      when sleepy you sleep
      breathing in breathing out
      so marvelous so mundane.

    Franz Spickhoff
    franzox@gmail.com

    Sacramento, CA

      NORMAL

      We live in the light. Mostly.
      Our home is a village
      Perhaps a city.

      Our bodies encased in fabric
      Smooth glass against our fingertips
      Waxy balm on our lips.
      We know that we are not
      The whole world.

      Although this thought only
      Comes to us sporadically.
      Looking up from the
      Garbage can at night
      The stars speak to us.

      Crushing a spider
      We feel that much safer.

      We know the deer at the
      Edge of the woods must pass
      A watchful night.

      And fishes glide under
      Tons of salty water
      Even darker before the
      Sun rises.

      We are outnumbered
      By birds
      Less organized
      Than bees or ants.

      Yet our village, our mirrors
      Are the world to us.

      Our voices, our songs
      Fill the silence
      That we never hear.

      Our tongues, our throats
      Touch the animals that
      We tell ourselves that we are not.

      The wild place always
      Outside, away, apart.
      Within we are
      Tamed, surrounded
      Separated.
      Under the glow
      Of our many lamps.

    David Chase
    1davechase@gmail.com

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      Section D: .................................................................. April 15, 2017

      Del Rey Oaks, CA

        COMING TO THE EDGE

        Coming to the edge
               where it is foggy to the ground
                      but warm.

        On the table in the kitchen
               is a compass.

        Can it point the way?

        It has been there for months
               since we returned
                      to worship the sun once more.

        Will it point the way?

      Stephen Brown
      SteveArtis@aol.com

      Tucsan, AZ

        VIGIL

        And many a night
        The Knight would rise from his chamber
        To stare in to the Void
        Yet discerning no thing

        A three a m train
        Blows its horn
        On the main line
        South to the Pacific Coast of Mexico

        The rolling stock pounds the rails
        Sending its tune a mile away
        And the whistle blows again
        Past the sleepers on the Mexican side of town

        The belly must be fed
        Apple sauce and pita bread
        There is no delicacy here
        Just hanging folds of fat

      Chris Lovette
      chris_lovette@yahoo.com

      San Jose, CA

      Escalante Canyon

        TWO WORLDS

        We live in a new world.
        A daily fill of images,
        reading magazines,
        surrounded by ads.
        A weekly dose of spectacles.
        Select a TV show.
        Go to Disneyland.
        You feel free and in control.
        Still there is this bitter taste.

        We come from an older world
        where images are etched
        by wind and water
        where spectacles are staged
        by light and thunder.
        Signs of flash floods tell you,
        manging boulders remind you
        the shadow behind you whispers
        "You are not in control."
        The taste of ancient memories.

        When you enter this world
        you adapt to its rhythm
        you submit when you must.
        Except for your pace
        your food and your shelter
        you control nothing.
        Soon the bitter taste is gone.

      Franz Spickhoff
      franzox@gmail.com

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      Section C: .................................................................. March 15, 2017

      Del Rey Oaks, CA

      This poem is a bit old, I was walking by the Monterey Library and saw this little plastic shoe with all kinds of bling on it laying in the gutter. I am sending it because I am, to paraphrase a Greek Fisherman, "I am fillered up with politics!"

        THE SHINY SILVER SHOE
        September 6, 2007- 1:57 pm

        the shiny silver shoe
        lost its little girl

        decided to sit down
        in the gutter
        by the library
        to figure it out

        what to do

        laying in the litter
        beside the road
        far from home
        and the little girl
        with a fancy dress
        that always made
        the two
        look so nice
        at the parties
        with friends
        playing pin the tail
        on the donkey
        and laughing
        drinking cool aid
        till it came out of their noses

        oh little shoe
        I hope you find
        your little girl

        and dance away
        till a new dawn

      Stephen Brown
      SteveArtis@aol.com

      Carmel, CA

        1. Past fifty it's hard to find new sacrificial victims to blame for ones unhappiness. All these years I've been waiting for the soulful perfection of others to appear like a magical key and unlock my heart. Then I would be filled with loving-kindness; it would roll in like fog, without effort.

        2. Every day I wake up, and I crawl out of bed,
        Waiting for love to make its way
        Through the war zone in my head.

        Every day I turn away from the glass
        where an old woman sits frowning
        as wind blasts pages from her calendar.

        Every day I wait for the parole board
        To decide I no longer need
        Solitary confinement.

        Every night I stare out into dreams
        Ready to fly if only
        I could find my hands.

      Helene Constant
      helenethebean@att.net

      Tucsan, AZ

        FEBRUARY, 1981

        the lacy curtains sheer and patterned
        sometimes rippled outward on
        a breath of the sky
        through the open window
        to the moon high in the branches
        of a black leafless silhouette
        against a black sky

        the little hope of flesh had passed
        our bed was quiet
        my lover lay asleep
        I left the bed
        left the room through the curtained window
        the curtain kissed my naked flesh once more
        I climbed the leafless tree
        and watched and watched the sky
        until with bright and splashing tears
        the moon began to cry.

      Chris Lovette
      chris_lovette@yahoo.com

      San Jose, CA

        REPOSE

        Your head in the blue sky
        your feet in the blue lake
        your back at rest against your pack.

        You are a mountain
        of food for two ants
        crawling up your arms.

        You are an invisible speck
        for the juniper Pine
        clinging to the top of the granite cliff.

        You feel the cool presences
        of ants, lake, pines and cliff
        as a single white cloud casts a shadow.

        Your own presence
        among this plentitude
        quite natural and unremarkable.

      Franz Spickhoff
      franzox@gmail.com

      Carmel, CA

      Monstrance is an altar dedicated to the Great Mother in all her aspects.
      The image shown is a detail, about 20"X15" of a sculpture that is nearly 7' tall, 3' wide, 2' deep. The whole piece weighs about 300 lbs.

        MONSTRANCE

        [Sculpture]

      John Dotson
      flute@acharantos.com

      Carmel Valley, CA

        FLAX

        "FLAX" the label on the back
        of the white linen nightgown
        full-length, pure-white
        three bone buttons along
        front neckline opening.

        Bought ever-so-many years ago
        worn regularly during all seasons
        washed and sun-dried, weather permitting.

        I loved that nightgown
        spacious, sturdy, yet lightweight,
        this garment, perfect attire, embraced me
        to welcome rest into dreamtime.

        Yesterday, I notice a tear.
        elongated, irreparable,
        along the neckline.

        Ceremoniously, almost piously,
        I cut the linen into featherweight
        squares, rags, transformed
        lovingly into their next service.

        I fold, touch each small part
        recognize its entirety, even
        in change, each holds an essence
        of its former existence.

        Now, resting in a drawer
        next to more sturdy kitchen towels
        these servants, recall former use,
        nestle comfortably into their companions

        Today, I write in appreciation
        of warmth afforded me in the past,
        the intimacy of shared sleep
        in the comfort of white linen
        fostering well-cradled dreamtime.

        A new nightgown, my companion.
        pale satin sheen, holds me well
        and likely will for many years.
        Maybe for all those nights remaining.

        Until I transform into another realm
        leave my words as well-worn threads
        of comfort for those who held me
        during their reveries.

      Illia Thompson
      i.thompson33@icloud.com

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      Section B: .................................................................. February 15, 2017

      Del Rey Oaks, CA

        PRISM FEELINGS

        When the purple sun is standing
        complete against the sky

        A glowing white crane starts its flight line
        for all mankind to see

        Working for a new beginning
        holding to the virgin light

        Raising flight is gained the prism
        giving us the cryptic sight

        Emotions feeling
        thoughts in crystal

        Sainted waves will touch the wall
        glancing up toward the light stone

        The prism feeling stands alone

      Stephen Brown
      SteveArtis@aol.com

      Salinas, CA

        [Stone face]

        PIETERSITE'S OMEN

        The burning rubble tumbles from the ridge
        To valley floors where water once ran clear,
        Illuminates a long sustaining bridge
        Whose last passage across is growing near.

        The omens of an elemental force
        Hint toward a shift of global reaching range,
        With power to disrupt the current course
        And clear space for a fundamental change.

        Combustible mythologies collide
        With embers of a disillusioned dream.
        Cool waters that confront the fiery slide
        Transform a stream into creative steam.

        The flow may not prevent destruction, now,
        But carries reconstructive plans in tow.

      Laura Carley
      lcarley11@Yahoo.com

      Tucsan, AZ

        HAIKU 99,000

        it was all very
        simple until it
        got complicated

        UNTITLED

        Who am I
        That death doesn't desert me
        But waits patiently
        At my doorstep?

      Chris Lovette
      chris_lovette@yahoo.com

      Fair Oaks, CA

        UNTITLED

        I am a spy in the house of me. I live in disguise, my metaphoric black fedora slanted across my forehead, my belted trench coat flapping wide as I stride with purpose through dark and stormy nights. Though the streetlamps cast weak spotlights all around me, the black gloom successfully hides the parts of me for which I search.

        Before, when I was younger, I avoided this work, not wanting to admit there were cave-like places of deception and fear where drunken addicts and scarred felons allowed what little joy they had left in their dank lives to wither into smoke like the endless cigarettes that burned their stained fingers.

        Before, when I was younger, I followed only the lure of the light, believing that happiness only sprang from cool clear water whose shining surface reflected a multitude of sparkling gems. I would reach with sure hands under the surface only when I knew for certain that what would emerge gripped in my dripping palm would be a characteristic worthy of a storybook princess: kindheartedness or generosity or maybe even serenity and peace.

        Now that I am older, though, I have felt the urgent need to walk the hidden streets that zig-zag across the map of my life. I shove my feet into scarred shit-kicker boots, grab my hefty police-issue flashlight and head into the unknown as often as I can. I am scared when I do this, I have to admit, but it doesn't show in the determined set of my jaw or the swagger I pretend as I begin my journey inward. No, I am scared each time because there are so many unforeseen sinkholes and bones of broken dreams that can trip me up and slow me down, and I never know which one will flatten my spirit the way young boys gleefully squash snails and slugs on sunny sidewalks.

        I only know that if I don't go on this quest, if I don't purposefully turn down dark alleys and rustle through the rusted garbage bins of my basic assumptions that I can never really understand or appreciate this gift of my life. I have to sneak up on myself, take surreptitious pictures of my falsehoods and foibles because otherwise I'd never admit to anything other than sweetness and light. Yes, I am a spy in my own house because I am the only one who can save me.

      Carol Mathew-Rogers
      carol@creative-edge.org

      Champlin, MN

        UNTITLED

        He is smiling sweetly
        Talking about his wise love for his sons
        And his best friend.

        He glances at my neck,
        At the crease between my breasts.
        Then he looks again.

        There is a small scratch on his brown, furry forearm
        It's winking at me.

        He has taken my hands
        As I speak of the death of my loved friend.
        His eyes tear as mine do.

        He says I'm pretty.
        He wants me to enjoy dessert,
        As if I'm a woman who should eat dessert.

        And I wonder how late he could stay in the morning.

      Jaymee Kjelland
      jaykjell@gmail.com

      Carmel Valley, CA

        BIG SUR

        A few miles up from the ocean reached by truck on rugged road
        lined with pale pink buckwheat,
        and ruby lit Indian Paintbrush,
        I sit by an old wooden cabin
        feel sun's beginning seduction.

        Rays closer than usual
        probe my skin,
        alert my blood to its glory.
        An easy surrender.
        Myself warmed.
        The sun loves its loving.

        Soon heat becomes too strong.
        I seek overhanging shelter
        bask in slanted shade
        to slake arising passion.

        On the downward return,
        I notice small golden poppies
        strong enough to nod at wind,
        tie themselves to the earth
        before sundown closes their petals.

      Illia Thompson
      i.thompson33@icloud.com

      Carmel, CA

        LOVE IS NOT A WORD

        Love is not a word
        in search of a definition

        Not a matter of grammatology
        font style effects

        My fingers touch your skin
        and the heat transfers

        The deeper lava flows
        hot as your beating heart

        Back and forth I descend
        into the wants of your eyes

        I feel the rise and fall of your breath
        as tears surge out of my face

        For each shattered occasion
        I missed out on your embrace

        And today it is all but too late
        and it is never too late

        for one more morning alive
        for the bliss of the unexpected

        Sunbeams ignite the windowpane
        Dewdrops like supernovae explode

        Holy chaos licks the edges
        of this page as I scroll down

        There are no ordinary days

        Love is not a word

      John Dotson
      flute@acharantos.com

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      Section A: .................................................................. January 15, 2017

      Del Rey Oaks, CA

        SCORCHED BROWN BLACK

        The scorched brown black
               earth telling cinder tales
                      of just passed fire storms

        Lining the road
               to the Monastery
                      at Tassajara.

        In the mountains of the Salinian's
               near the sacred spring
                      of another tribe

        The Buddha chants
               the Bells ring.

        The stones of the walls
               wait on their journey

        To the beach sand
               by the sea. . .

      Stephen Brown
      SteveArtis@aol.com

      Tucsan, AZ

        TUCSON VETERAN'S HOSPITAL, 2016

        The roses bloom
               in the Spring

        In the court yard
               full of blooming roses
        A blind soldier
               talks to me

        About going back
               to Wyoming tomorrow

        Where the ice

        Off the ponds

        We no longer need
               is now melting
        Off the ponds

        We no longer need
               to break through the ice
        To water our horses

      Chris Lovette
      chris_lovette@yahoo.com

      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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