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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #7

  • Section A: July 15, 1998
  • Section B: August 15, 1998
  • Section C: September 15, 1998
  • Section D: October 15, 1998
  • Section E: November 15, 1998
  • Section F: .................................................................. December 15, 1998

    Salinas, CA

    Our Bible study group was asked to define "grace."
    The Internet gave me this Bible verse...

    For by grace you have been saved through faith,
    and this is not your doing; it is the gift of God,
    not the result of works, so that no one may boast.

    (Ephesians 2:8-9)

    Then I wrote these poems which define "grace" to me.

      A HAIKU

      Grace is from God
      You don't have to earn this gift
      Grace is love for us

      A CINQUAIN

      Grace
      Loving faith
      Given by God
      Fills us with joy
      Love

    Sally G. Poile
    Sallytutor@aol.com

    Soquel, CA

      ABSURD

      The trick is being comfortable with contradictions,
      knowing that I'm to look and never know.
      Then, resigned, accepting of things as pointless,
      yet remaining curious about my approaching death.

      Knowing that I'm to look and never know,
      wondering still as wisdom asks--why look at all?
      Yet remaining curious about my approaching death--
      wondering what, if anything, is beyond?

      Wondering still as wisdom asks--why look at all?
      What is the insistence on understanding:
      wondering what, if anything, is beyond,
      not wanting it all to end empty and absurd.

      What is the insistence on understanding?
      Succumbing to an existential despair--
      not wanting it all to end empty and absurd,
      knowing I am everything everyone thinks I am.

      Succumbing to an existential despair--
      wondering if I am ridiculous and superfluous,
      knowing I am everything everyone thinks I am.
      and at the same time none of those things.

      Wondering if I am ridiculous and superfluous--
      still, I have a heart full of wonder and doubt,
      and at the same time none of those things.
      The trick is being comfortable with contradictions.

      STATES OF GRACE

      Rounding a city corner
      to a tiered flowerstall
      immediately after a rain;
      standing eye deep
      in loitering fragrances,
      the sidewalk glistening
      smeared traffic lights.

      Or deep in bed
      being told a story
      by you, full of detail,
      whispers of affirmation,
      makes me think of banks
      of candlelight
      on the rim of a winter night.

      Or when I close my eyes
      after seeing you
      so close,
      your face becoming
      fairy lights drifting
      in the dark of me.

      Or, uncertain among strangers,
      I think of you and smile
      and one of them says, "What?"
      I reply, "Just thinking
      of something, of someone,"
      and that, "of someone,"
      is delicious to say,
      is a buzz and sibilant,
      is something I want to say
      again, careful of the words,
      "of," and "someone."
      Of the saying of someone
      I am safe in a said grace
      of the love of someone.

    Donald Marsh
    marsh@cruzio.com
    (To receive one of these free original poems emailed each Monday, contact Donald Marsh.)

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    Section E: .................................................................. November 15, 1998

    Carmel Valley, CA My chosen life's purpose is to live my life with an open heart. Here is the symbol for my commitment to look into my heart for all things.

    [Looking into heart image]

    Ann "Walking Tree" McSwiggin
    AMcswiggin@aol.com

    Jacksonville, NC

      TRUTH

      In the end
      the vision unfolds
      whatever our path
      becomes

      fear
      is the absence
      of truth

      fear
      is the absence
      of love

      but when the heart
      is open
      to space
      and to time

      the answers come

      in ways
      we could never
      expect

    Ingrid Middleton
    IMiddleton@aol.com

    Soquel, CA

      THINGS FALLING APART

      Barn with swaybacked beam
      just
      sits down
      pachyderm,
      folds fetal
      in splinter
      ricks.

      Man
      on a lunch-hour street
      stops,
      slowly
      chews the air.
      Knows
      he has lost
      faith.
      Clatters down on crosswalk,
      severed
      puppet strings.

      Things falling apart
      to
      make
      a kaleidoscopic
      compost pile,
      a fervent heating,
      a somnambulant turning,
      an arising of
      the autochthonal voice
      saying
      I am I want I dare.

      DARK SOUND

      Too comprehensible--
      the familiar
      confusion and fear
      in self-induced darkness.

      In the dark, every step
      is dangerous;
      each step scuffing
      for mercy.

      Step toward
      the ringing of the bell.
      What can be more
      generous
      than to surrender
      to clarity?

      What of those that
      never find the way?
      Or those that won't?
      Are some meant
      to dwell in shadows?

      Does such a sound
      ever begin or end?

      We are not the bell,
      we are the ringing.

    Donald Marsh
    marsh@cruzio.com
    (To receive one of these free original poems emailed each Monday, contact Donald Marsh.)

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    Section D: .................................................................. October 15, 1998

    Salt Lake City, UT

    In a recent class we were learning how to massage babies--learning by helping students remember their own experiences with touch. We got used to not only thinking, but feeling some of our memories.

    These are some of the earliest memories involving touch--who, when and what context. Not surprisingly, many more remember their father's touch--perhaps because a mother is so symbiotic and so like the self...

    One student wrote: "I don't remember how old I was, but I remember my grandfather always holding me...He held my hands and stroked my head and since I never knew my real father, I learned what love was through him."

    Another, remembered the feeling of sinking into a complete peace while being held as a baby by her father. "His arms were under my bottom and my arms around his neck looking over his strong Swiss shoulders." She remembered feeling safe--that nothing could harm her and that her heart was full of reverence and love... A father's touch, it seems, has an intense feeling of safety and protection.

    Yolanda told us about her grandfather--he held her as she watched television. She was crying as she told us she had forgotten how important this was for her until now--his smell, his touch, his voice and his laughter.

    One woman however, did remember her grandmother. "She read to me with her hands around my little body. I also remember long baths in the kitchen sink."

    I recalled my own grandmother, washing my hair when I would spend the night on Sundays. Her strong, somewhat brisk German gardening hands would massage my scalp in a gentle, warm way--reminding me I had hair for a reason!

    Keri told us her experience of falling off a ladder at 7 or 8 to find her eyebrow sliced open before her mother came to rescue. "I lay in the hospital and she held and rocked me." Then her memories turned to the ice cream, popsicles and food they served. "I don't remember what the pain was like, just the love of her touch and the calmness of her voice."

    Sonya told us about her father coming home from work to ask if he could hold her.

    Cheryl remembered sitting on her mother's sofa as her boyfriend touched her, though not in a healthy or nurturing way.

    We talked about the reality that touch isn't always good and when we are little, how hard that is to distinguish--the good touch, from the bad touch.

    For most of us, we realized how important touch was. Richard recalled early touch--knowing his mother made him feel safe. "Hugs were always free, the bond between my mother and I was so strong that when I call her, she'll pick up the phone before it rings."

    Dawn, however, remembered being 5 and living in Italy with her mother when she was left alone with a baby sitter. She watched the lady knit her a small yellow skirt, which she promptly put on excited that someone took this time and effort for her to wear a new skirt. When her mother returned, however, she didn't like the skirt and spanked her for bouncing around the house. "That is my memory. Painful touch." She said too, the sitter left quickly and never came back--but Dawn still has the yellow skirt.

    Some of the class became uncomfortably sad. We realized, most of us don't have an ideal situation but rather a collection of experiences that have made us who we are. How with, or without touch--we needed it--still do. Perhaps this is why many of us end up in places like massage school--where we can touch and be touched--finding our true mission in life because of what we need most of all!

    Ingrid Middleton
    IMiddleton@aol.com

    Soquel, CA

    Long time ago I walked a girl home from rehearsal. It was summer and people walked home then. We talked and flirted. We had all our magnificent lives ahead of us and we talked of what we wanted to do. She said she was going to be an actress and a writer like James Thurber. I said I was going to sit in the stands and watch. Be a spectator. I wondered where that came from and felt so stupid for the rest of the walk; how was I going to make out saying a thing like that? Well, the girl went on to write, win an award, drink too much, and die of cancer too young. Me, I'm still spectating.

      THE MALL WATCH

      He comes twitching from Mrs See's,
      white candy bag offered;
      she rises slowly from a low wall.
      Every event in her long life
      has a line on her face.

      He is dressed as a harried stock clerk,
      is one desperate mincing step away
      from being a sad vengeful queen.

      He has two fingers in metal splints;
      broken, she feels compelled to explain,
      by friends who don't understand him.

      He says awful things late at night;
      she spends window afternoons
      wondering what she ever did
      to deserve the life she has.

      He tenders chocolate candy,
      full of near hysterical blinks.
      Mindful of what her doctor said,
      she shakes her head pleased,
      thanking him with a smile
      ravaged ghost--young again.

      They exchange an unprepared look
      only microseconds enduring
      and know they love each other anyway.

      They walk on the mall,
      a bag of Mrs See's candy
      held in splinted fingers,
      back to the squabble and shopping
      of everyday hates and hurts,
      their arms encircling everything.

    Donald Marsh
    marsh@cruzio.com
    (To receive one of these free original poems emailed each Monday, contact Donald Marsh.)

    Carmel Valley, CA

    Last year at a Touch Drawing Gathering this image came through which I shared with the whole group. I saw it as a picture of a woman as a tree walking into the future--a tumultuous sky ahead. Her tree body was strong looking, and her fingers and feet had the remnants of roots hanging from them. Her full branch leaf hair was flowing behind her. I was not conscious at the time of the meaning; I just knew it held significance. (Touch Drawing is a method of intuitive painting by finger touch.)

    [Walking tree woman image]

    A short time later I was seeing a healer. I had been working on issues of stress in my current life. She told me that I had much sadness and pain in this life for not being welcomed and recognized for my soul essence. But that I WAS welcomed and recognized in another life time and I was called WALKING TREE! I was stunned and very moved. I was told more about how I function in this world as tree energy and I paid attention since this "truth" had actually come through me onto the paper ( I have a running battle with not trusting my own knowing).

    Shortly thereafter my mother suddenly died. I was glad for her; it was her time. I knew she was free now, yet I was feeling depressed. I went to a Dream Group session feeling awful and shared a current dream. In the dream I was being urged by many people to "get out there" and I was resisting, telling them I wasn't up to it because I was grieving my mothers death. As I described the people, the leader made the comment "Oh, they are all like WALKING TREES!" That woke me up and after further work on this dream I saw that my "bad" feeling was not about my mother dying but about my own unlived life.

    I went home that day and organized a Touch Drawing workshop. Assisting others in their own magical mystical journey through the transformational arts sure connects me with my passion and joy to become the most fully alive human being I can. Much of my discomfort has been about living someone else's life rather than honoring my own soul essence.

    I began to faithfully devote myself to meditation. I faced a terrifying truth that I did not want to see; I came to terms with knowing that it was in my best interest to leave my 31 year marriage. My husband and I are now living in separate homes and slowly going through the separation process with love and compassion on both our parts. Looking back in my life I see the many times I have had to pull myself out by the roots and move forward in order to be true to myself. It is frightening, painful, difficult and very worth it.

    Each time I left that which was not in my best interest there appeared another choice that led me to greater health and happiness. At this year's gathering, a new image came forth--twin men facing each other with multiple rings of energy where their ears should be.

    [Listening men image]

    I think my message to myself is to have a disciplined strong committed energy to listen to myself, to continue to know my own truth and tune into my Inner Being as I honor Walking Tree. I am holding this as my intention. Listening Men sits in full view at my daily meditation spot. What, I wonder, will come forth in this coming year, what new insights and happenings will I be writing about a year from now? I can't imagine. Maybe more Touch Drawings will tell me.

    Ann "Walking Tree" McSwiggin
    AMcswiggin@aol.com

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    Section C: .................................................................. September 15, 1998

    Creative Edge LBOL shares this final poem from A Year on the Avenue, thanks to Two Dog Press!

      POEM FOR DAD 1929-1993

      l do not visit his grave. He is not there.
      They have scrapped the migrant ship
      That brought Dad to Menzies.
      A wog planted on foreign sand,
      He found love in a spectacle factory.
      Watched her whose future seemed interpreted.
      In the shifting edges of a new world,
      You grew new leaves as a sapling.
      And in the ache of marriage, it is the grief I was born for.
      "Your father, Jos, is dying."

      And are you nothing but a dream, Dad?
      The photographs have all been scattered--
      The leaded sea and the St.Kilda Marina,
      And the silly hat you sometimes wore.
      What do we do to those we need?
      We look for communion at each heartbeat.
      My crawl-marks stemmed across the lino.
      Make me a present of that kitchen, a bottle
      Filled with their voices and buttery bakery smells.
      I was 2, he was 31.
      "Your father, Jos, is dying."

      I am a wounded man with your memories
      And, in the sky, I seek your happy face.
      I measure my childhood in sights and sounds.
      Yet I would ask for something certain.
      To visit the swings again, to walk to the milkbar.
      Watching the calendar I see the colour of soft flesh
      How you piggybacked my laugh on strong shoulders.
      Oh! simple, humble man.
      Your death is colourless and without any senses.

      The trees in the park unveil cool stars.
      The canals of Veendam coursed through your paintings.
      Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! I grew in spurts, like the hands of a clock,
      And you, bathing the child not seducing the secretary.
      Grew through knowing me in samurai suits and Batman.
      With Shintaro, I threw mental star-knives at Festival Hall.
      With my utility belt, I kerpowed the cushions on the couch.
      In a jiffy, I was through the sixties.
      Summer is evaporating the dew from the leaves.
      "Your father, Jos, is dying."

      I hear you in the flowing of my mind.
      I shall have your step, Dad.
      When my life is the pause before death, and
      Your eyes twinkle and the Benson & Hedges breath,
      You, smiling and worn out, still smile.
      How could you not be broken?
      Working as a husband works; loving as a father loves.
      We saw the windmills of Holland as Apollo landed That year.
      I didn't know it was your flowering time.

      I do not know what to say to you, Dad.
      The Deli in Chapel Street and the Dagwood sandwiches.
      Or the milkshakes there, in my woolly blazer.
      Or, perhaps, I hear other thoughts.
      Out of seeing, out of reach.
      The memories of a teenager are too flaccid.
      Though time has big edges, love is not reduced by it.
      What remains? The house, the pool, mineral structures
      Span undying. Leaves float in ephemeral light...
      And lay at my feet. I hear a voice saying,
      "Your father, Jos, is dying."

      Your first heart attack was as sudden as a soccer goal
      A leaf slowly curls in the shuddering air
      And your jokes were still as dry. The slack parched mouth,
      Fear riding hard in my veins
      "Don't worry, Sonny. See Mum's OK."
      The hospital flowers wilt in the certainty of replacement.
      And, in the backyard, when you were hammering
      Wood bits, tiles, even a church pew from a garage sale
      One roams in these sacred places knowing nothing else
      Gently the sun goes down while sixty winters fell.

      I watch you; I, of the folk who remain in the race.
      Long hair down the academic corridors of my youth.
      There's an art in letting your son have his way.
      And you, renovating and painting,
      I no longer wonder at what you were like before.
      Dad.
      Dad.
      You made a house in my heart forever.
      Struggling away, my head is full of remorse, and
      grief is this raving bitter dark in my mouth.

      l search in vain for the point it started.
      Beyond the brief space of human time.
      I know, in seeing, his grand-children, life became his,
      A semi-transparent awning between seasons.
      No longer a foreign language. Yet it is breathless, unbreathable,
      If, when I am alone, you do not come to me.
      I would not wish you hack to suffer again.
      The very last time I saw you I was hugged like a child
      And now, only in dreams, will I be able to feel those arms.

    Paul Kloppenborg

    Athens Avenue Poetry Circle.

    A Year on the Avenue is available at most online bookstores and from Two Dog Press.

    In Limbo, USA

      UNTITLED

      1
      One last note for today...
      another question, regarding clarity--
      and perception--
      and personal revelation--
      can these, even the directions we originally thought were ours
      change and be as good?
      Do we follow a path even if it looks dark?
      Or, does necessity remove the embarassment of choice?

      2
      We can no more
      put God in a box
      than a school
      than a person
      than a job--

      We can only find
      what we know of God
      when we realize
      the small
      quiet piece
      that brings
      peace
      and perfect
      moments
      of joy

      3
      My heart says... don't do anything until we are ready...
      I hope it doesn't take too long!
      I have so many people counting on me--in too many places...

      I am enjoying the moments...
      Waiting for God...
      The one I have inside...

    Ingrid Middleton
    IMiddleton@aol.com

    Soquel, CA

      PASSENGER MANIFEST

      We are carried
      by galaxies--
      grand sizzling pinwheels
      spinning through space
      everything
      being spun
      from the stuff of creation

      Our galaxy carries frogs
      with their immune systems
      on their skins

      It carries
      caterpillars containing
      flight

      A couple dancing
      near dawn
      with hands on hips

      Planets with only
      meek bacteria

      Elephants
      that mourn

      Ants that navigate
      by objects
      everywhere careening

      Myths that
      move us
      neutrinos that can't
      be caught

      It carries
      minds that invent
      everything
      every moment

      It carries each thing
      in such dignity
      such longing
      such mystery
      in an endless
      emptiness

    Donald Marsh
    marsh@cruzio.com
    (To receive one of these free original poems emailed each Monday, contact Donald Marsh.)

    Pacific Grove, CA

    A NEW MILLENNIUM'S RESOLUTION

    New beginnings present opportunities to renew and improve ourselves. And if the tick of a new year can motivate us individually, the thunderous clap of a new millennium can arouse us collectively.

    Certainly some pervasive change is in order. Our relationships with each other and with the environment are so troubled that there might not be much left to celebrate come the dawn of the next millennium.

    Coupled with this unique numerological opportunity for reflection is a unique tool for group reflection: the Internet, the most egalitarian means of mass communication yet to evolve on this planet. It enables one individual to propose to the entire group a resolution for the year 2000 (or 2001, if we also want to resolve to be accurate).

    The best resolutions recognize simple truths and commit to adhering to them, sometimes using affirmations as an aide.

    A resolution for a millennium looks to the big picture and the long term. That means all of us, the whole earth, and for generations, starting with our children.

    Indeed, attitudes towards other peoples and other species are molded during childhood and difficult to change population-wide thereafter. A successful model for inculcating values, via a daily recitation in schools, is America's Pledge of Allegiance.

    The unifying effect of such a pledge is easily appreciated. However, the flip side of a strong sense of national (or religious) cohesiveness is often the conviction that other peoples are less important or worthy. To say nothing of other species.

    A more inclusive sense of belonging needs to be fostered. By widening the group to which we feel connected, we narrow the group we feel justified in exploiting. Eventually the extent of the former eliminates the latter.

    In addition to patriotism, we can expand the loyalty we aspire to instill. It is time to adopt a more visionary and all-encompassing "world pledge" as a New Millennium's Resolution:

    I propose this:

    A Recognition of Unity

    "I recognize a vital unity linking me with all humanity and humanity with all life,
    acknowledging that where none prevails over another,
    each may prosper and all may continue."

    Bill Sander
    wsandtt@redshift.com

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    Section B: .................................................................. August 15, 1998

    Creative Edge LBOL shares these two poems from A Year on the Avenue, thanks to Two Dog Press!

      LOSING THE MUSE

      I cannot write a poem

      I am suffering
      from constipation of the brain,
      my mind is tongue-tied,
      my imagination's
      toner cartridge
      is so low that
      sharp blacks are dull gray
      and my descenders
      are descending
      into the dark cavern
      of dreamless nightfall

      Give me some intellectual Ex-Lax
      so that morning will wake me
      with fresh and pungent
      dew-soaked inspiration--
      a torrent of words
      flooding the toilet of my senses
      and spilling onto the tile floor

    Linda Leavitt

      CATTERAL

      My silly cat
      won't stay where she's sat
      when you come back, that's not where she's at
      How about that?

      She'll warm up the sack,
      or share in a snack,
      but she won't rub my back,
      a noticeable lack.

      She fights twist ties and strings,
      and such nefarious things,
      she doesn't bark when the door bell rings,
      but when she's hungry, she sings.

      To protect socks and loose feathers,
      she's kept on a tether,
      would I part with her? Never!
      We're together forever.

    Mike Timonin

    Athens Avenue Poetry Circle.

    A Year on the Avenue is available at most online bookstores and from Two Dog Press.

    In Limbo, USA

      UNTITLED

      Massaged a smoker today
      putting my hands over her body
      in such a way
      that I wouldn't really feel it
      or know it

      Because she is the one keeping me here
      while I could be watching truckers
      from the highway
      or snorting Pixie Sticks
      at rest stops
      between road warriors
      and bike riders

      Maybe we don't choose
      because pain of one loss
      is greater than pain of holding
      on to everything
      which I do very well
      but it is causing cancer
      in my soul

      I can't let go
      so I feel overloaded
      overwhelmed
      overqualified
      overcooked
      overdone--

      trying to hold on to everything
      knowing it would be easier
      and much more free
      to simply
      Let
      --go
      and
      ---Let
      ---------------GOD!

    Ingrid Middleton
    IMiddleton@aol.com

    Monterey, CA

      BEING

      To work is not my favorite thing
      I'd so much rather play and sing
      For me it's very much a fact
      No virtue lies in some contract
      That says I must sustain the drive
      To be a slave from 9 to 5
      No thanks, I'd rather stay in bed
      Where I can read and sleep instead.

      It's so much fun to walk about
      It's true I have no single doubt
      That letting thoughts go through my mind
      Is my idea of the best kind
      Of life to live, I don't need drive
      To feel that I am quite alive
      I love to dream, I hate to strive
      To simply Be is when I thrive!

    Duffie Bart
    Doro10000@aol.com

    Soquel, CA

      STAND AS A COIN ON EDGE

      Success and failure
      are but sides
      of the same coin.

      No matter,
      the end's the same-
      another toss of the coin.

      And the coin flip goes on
      until the greater gamble
      is presented-

      To stand as a coin on edge-
      then open the heart to all
      in the slowly spinning world.

    Donald Marsh
    marsh@cruzio.com
    (To receive one of these free original poems emailed each Monday, contact Donald Marsh.)

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    Section A: .................................................................. July 15, 1998

    Creative Edge LBOL shares these two poems from A Year on the Avenue, thanks to Two Dog Press!

      SHADES

      I nightmared once,
      but now I sleep beauty
      and dream impossibility.

      I was absent once,
      but now I sleep restless
      knowing boxes are Santa chimneys.

      I was blind once,
      but now I sleep color,
      confusing my dreams with hues.

      I was in love once.

    Tessa Gonzalez

      OXALIS (BERMUDA BUTTERCUP)

      Beneath a light frost
      of wild-bandied Irises,
      Oxalis coil on upright limbs
      As throats of clover foliage,
      voice a gentle impasse along summer grottoes.
      Vivid tenors on tuft and leafy vein
      wilt to a rose-petaled scordato
      as axils twist in revolution
      to the light fugue of an early sun.

      Nearer to hand,
      fleshy bulbs on wrinkled lips
      small intractable tongues,
      root a strained chorus
      from a pistils fragrance.

      Nearer to hand
      the warm earth
      of ash and sand and peat
      the porous shoots and stems
      whose tubers of an alien ministry
      minister to the forging souls of soil.

      Nearer to hand
      sky gardened and purveyed
      onto an orrery's lens whose prism
      cracks a celestial view.

      Closer to God,
      clinging vine of vines
      Life's pergolas and trellis
      lift and graph onto this windowed creation
      nearer to hand.

    David Hunter Sutherland

    Athens Avenue Poetry Circle.

    A Year on the Avenue is available at most online bookstores and from Two Dog Press.

    Monterey, CA

      LIVING IN MY HEAD

      Why is it I live in my head?
      Is it so cozy there?
      So comfy, restful, and secure?
      From all that is unfair?

      The answer is oh yes indeed:
      I won't let the feelings in;
      I'm thus protected from the pain
      That feelings often bring.

      I well recall when I was small
      My feelings brought me pain;
      My parents, not a happy pair,
      Behaved as though insane.

      And so I fled into my head
      To dream of love and laughter
      Pretending to be somewhere else
      Or hanging from a rafter.

      And as I grew I did not know
      My head was just one part;
      That home is not just in my head
      But mostly in my heart!

    Duffie Bart
    Doro10000@aol.com

    In Limbo, USA

    Where is home? I cannot find it in my heart..
    My husband gone to sea..for six months.
    I am alone
    Trying to make decisions, doing it badly.
    Wanting to be a gypsy, wanting to settle down.
    Wanting to heal
    Wanting to help

    I am currently in North Carolina...Where people are so real you can feel them... Yet I am compelled...To retrace my path...back to Utah...knowing I seldom, if ever find what I am looking for at home...

      UNTITLED

      Today I took a solace
      in the featherbed
      Spread it over the sofa
      my cats
      purred on my
      chest
      overheated with
      fear
      without the cover
      and wondered
      how I could tolerate
      the silence for so long
      when I could be out and about
      making friends and finding people
      who could know me
      But I kept looking outside
      thinking it hadn't just been a week
      and that another bagel
      or run on the beach
      would quench an emptiness
      I decide I can put away
      another day longer
      The bills are piling up
      because I cannot decide
      Stay or go?
      It is pitiful
      I am scrambling
      my head feels full
      my body feels angry
      I cry at the touch
      of a finger
      from anyone
      Yet God...NO ONE GET CLOSE TO ME
      or I might find an answer
      to the hunger
      that cannot be filled
      that refuses to be filled
      Until God comes--trying tell me
      Something

    Ingrid Middleton
    IMiddleton@aol.com

    Soquel, CA

      IN THE ARTIST'S LIFE

      Walking to meet my wife for dinner
      passing a reflecting store window
      seeing my image transparent howling stampede
      on fire stop it God help me I am old
      and disheveled and unbathed with bad teeth
      and stained clothes a failure in a baseball cap
      and shoddy dirty sneakers and dirty fingernails
      must run somewhere but too old to do that
      why do I let this happen I live in a world
      of fantasy a half-assed poet pouting
      because I don't know why the stuff
      people like is any good or if I can do it again
      I don't really know anything except
      I just want to scream and let it all go
      I am sick of solutions and I hate
      fucking spirituality because
      deep down I see death as a solution and rest
      my wife is trapped taking pity on me
      and why am I so little and dirty and selfish
      I wanted to write something no one ever has
      and I hate this Godless life of meaness and me-ness
      on my way to dinner wanting just to be old and then I sit
      and see my wife coming apple fresh and best British
      and all freckled grins iron will walking
      making fists by her thighs and I look and look
      and look and she looks and knows then does that thing
      that burbling a little mocking laugh that says
      aren't we both a piece of work and asks
      "Have you ordered?" and I look and look
      and look some more and she sits and leans and says
      "I said have you ordered," and I say
      "I haven't done anything yet."

    Donald Marsh
    marsh@cruzio.com
    (To receive one of these free original poems emailed each Monday, contact Donald Marsh.)

    Sudbury, MA

      IRELAND

      Thoughts
      of an early
      misted morn
      and
      the memory
      of friends
      I have gathered.

      Long walks,
      hard talks,
      and the
      glow
      of a
      peat fire.

      Poetry.
      Guinness.
      The sound
      ---of
      --violins
      have all
      remained.

      Hot coffee,
      tea for some,
      and daily
      bread.
      Thoughts
      spoken
      and
      some things
      left
      --unsaid...

      A misted
      morn
      ---in
      Boston.
      Clouds
      hangin'
      grey
      and trees
      bend
      their
      -bough.

      This time
      She has
      ---come,
      --here,
      remembering
      --me,
      and kissed
      --my
      ---face
      ----with
      ---the rain.

    Our trip (with David Whyte), one year ago, certainly opened my life to a better understanding of my "Sacred Self."... Ireland, sweet Ireland, and the beauty of her face... It is indeed a blessing for us to "remember."

    Deborah Gibson
    Buugee@aol.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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