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Letter Box — Newsletter #35

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Carmel, CA

    DOTSON'S CAT

    all through the nights the cat
    tromps around on the roof most
    especially in the mornings about
    the same time as the tiny birds
    wake up and well before the larger
    birds and crows who sleep
    latest I think

    this morning the cat

    there are actually two cats
    and this morning one is outside
    when the cat inside

    signals by audibly illicit
    sofa scratches a desire to
    be removed so I arise from
    my deep dream of peace

    and release him

    and to check the time which
    the tiny birds speak to ambiguously
    I flip on the kitchen switch
    like one nanosecond and my neural
    eyes are emblazoned and
    engraved with a vivid flash

    and wandering hesitantly back
    to bed with this hit that splash
    of counter edge clock and
    microwave could be inter-edited
    in any given dream sequence
    could be a waking day frame
    could be written into a screenplay
    interphrased could be filmed
    in fact easily interphased

    so what would be best
    as a framing of place
    which should I choose

    dream file
    sleepwalking file
    awaking file
    amaking file

    life is suddenly
    filled with assorted cats
    enframed

    which is not to mention
    yet ghost cats
    apparitioning

    WHICH WAY DOTH THE CAT
    CLAW?

    WHICH WAY DOTH THE CAT
    CLAW?

    which side is this in
    which side is out
    which is most alive most
    valuable or interesting
    to pursue perhaps
    a cat scan would do

    the cat that is both
    of them seem to float
    somewhat freely through
    my holding here
    these clues

John Dotson

Marina, CA

Journal entries for and about my son, age 2.

This was a truly hectic day... A special part of the day though, came at the end when I was putting you to sleep.

Forgive my indulging in a cute story about you but at bed time you didn't want to settle down. So, while I rocked you, you decided to try and distract me by saying 'night night' to the chair, the bed, the lobster and crab we saw today, and anything else you could think of. The last two really made me melt though—you said night night to the Christmas tree and to Santa Claus, then promptly nodded off. It was the perfect closure for Christmas, a child bidding goodnight to lights and magic.

I wish I could capture your innocence, put it in a sealed bottle and cradle it with stars. Then one day when I became old and gray and the irony and cynicism of aging began to get to me, I could open the starry bottle and experience again the elusive essence of all that makes our species truly unique. This reminder of our capacity for wonder is a gift to caretakers of the youngest among us, a priceless treasure that disappears like quicksilver into the folds of time. What wouldn't any of us give to feel the world that way again?

****

Sometimes upheaval is necessary, it is part of life. But humans grow and adjust and do what our species does best, adapt to the surrounding circumstances. We have done that with your arrival in our lives. My life, on the eve of my 40th birthday, is definitely different than at any other time. You have altered me to the core, there is nothing else like being a mother. I am not the same person I was just two years ago. I have learned more than I thought was possible about patience, curiosity, fun and love and I think I am definitely better for it. I had never, before you, examined us as a species because there is little to nothing that a non-parent can know about how a human creates itself out of a few molecules of DNA and goes on to have a personality, an independent will, a mind capable of orchestrating the miracles of language, movement, self-awareness.

I don't think scientists and sociologists have a real grasp on it either—there is nothing that can replace daily contact with a being in its natural environment, whether that is a middle class home or a hut in the desert. This is why I pay attention, why I am an observer as well as a participant, because I know that this opportunity for growth and knowledge is irreplaceable. I am so glad you are in my life—I hope I don't forget to tell you that as often as you need to hear it. Fascinating, intricate dance. I am having the time of my life.

Olga Chandler

Big Sur, CA

    THE NAKED DEATH

    This fleeting life.
    This transient, ever-changing world.
    Time and no time, again, look
    what falls from my shoulders,
    my hands cannot grasp understanding.
    When fear comes again to me,
    come to me, my king of silence,
    my lord of the moon.
    Pierce my shut heart where
    every dark root grows.
    There beside the bitter boulders
    of my being release me from
    this prison. Plant instead
    a few seeds of mercy, and move
    the stones of solitude
    that bruise me so deceptively.
    Why should I shudder for you?
    Dear is the spring twilight.
    Dear the fragrance of my tears.
    I who would linger forever
    now linger on.
    Show me, my prince of spring,
    what it is like when the white
    morning opens and rises
    from your breath.
    Never leave me.
    Show me what every April
    promises and every august fulfills.
    Laugh at me, naked in your garden.
    Sustain me, bright one, or else lose
    your way with me, lead me
    to my destination.
    Let every leaf fall and the naked
    death of a lover still proclaim you.

    A FAR AWAY CANYON

    The mountains held no memories. The mountains stood beneath
    the storm oblivious to time, oblivious to sentiment, apart from
    the thoughts held in the minds of those who slept in a little
    house at their base. The mountains stood beneath the hidden
    full moon of January accepting with massive inhuman strength,
    the storm on their shoulders.

    I stood a long time at the window watching the gray, hourless
    peaks, trying to mimic their indifference. But the wind, fierce
    as jealousy or green envy blew from the west, the rain
    fell sideways...

    I thought of a far away canyon where we had walked only a few
    days before. (Do you think it will rain soon, the trembling
    trees seemed to be asking. We had no idea.)
    I remembered the fragrance of shade in that forest glen.
    I dreamt of redwoods whispering in the mountain quietness.
    I imagined an animal walking on the same trail we had walked,
    droplets of moisture on his hungry muzzle and his fur, damp
    and smooth with the fecund smell of a wet, saturated beast.
    And then for a moment, 'trapped' as we were, by a storm in that
    little house I wished with a pang of longing that I were some-
    where else. I drew back the curtain just noticing again those
    timeless gray peaks staring down and wondered: where, where...

©2001

David Wayne Dunn

Monterey, CA

    A PROMISE TO MYSELF

    Full Expression:
    Two words I roll around my tongue
    To taste the flavors of their meaning
    Two words which hold entire worlds
    Waiting to be found
    Not hidden as I fear.

    The ticket in
    Exacts a price
    That few will pay
    But I am here
    To turn my pockets inside out
    And gaze at what they hold
    And wonder at the meaning
    Of every scrap of gold.

    GETTING CLOSE

    Being looked at, heard, and seen
    Getting close, is what I mean
    To myself and to another
    Closer than the average lover.

    Sharing pain that's often hard
    Pain that keeps us on our guard
    Strangers to ourselves as well
    Hiding all there is to tell.

    Hiding all there is to feel
    Like nervous gerbils on a wheel
    Round and round we race all day
    Determined not to face the way

    God made us in His image, yet
    We turn our backs and never let
    Our true selves shine, our true selves thrive
    We walk through life but half alive.

    I know it's not too late for me
    To face myself courageously!

Duffie Bart

Carmel, CA

    THE CASABLANCA LILY

    Ah, the fragrant white lily
    with the orange stamen
    and luxurious scent

    How bravely you face
    the ripening of summer,
    the fade of petal,
    mouth of the fly

    The earth revolves;
    what can you say or do,
    subject to whatever
    seasons pulse you

    You stand elegant now
    for this moment
    without a choice
    but to bloom until the end
    of your next beginning

    IN RESOUNDANCE

    Enshrouded in the bible black night,
    the unknown inhales me
    into its darkest womb
    There, we are one pulse again

    The extraneous is put to rest
    in the ancient caves of origin

    Swimming in a silvery pond of moon beams,
    my song re-chords integration

    Darkness develops the day's film

    I am developed and digested,
    dissolving and re-forming

    In the ebb and flow of tidal rhythm,
    in resoundance with the seas below

Carolyn Mary Kleefeld

Colorado Springs, CO

    THOUGHTFUL PURSUIT

    The search is endless,
    The cup never full,
    Thirst never quenched,
    Love never found,
    Are these the questions?

    Or—
    are they the answers.

    THE BEGINNING—OF WISDOM

    I want to know what makes the moon
    so bright.

    What candle does she carry in her fullness
    that—even the brightest star fails in
    comparison to her glory.

    What secret did she find in her waning?

    I want to know what makes a single
    bird reach out with its song an hour
    before sunrise.

    I want to know why the top branch of a
    tree never bends,

    Nor—does it move,

    When birds gather in silent attention,
    waiting—with anticipation, for the first
    rays of the sun.

    What are they thinking?

    How long has this ritual been enacted, how
    did I miss seeing the worship they carry,

    How long have I been asleep?

    Today, I surrender the search for the
    meaning of life, and take up the dance

    To learn—the secrets of nature.

    THE HEART'S REPLY

    Poetry is prayer manifested.
    It is—the asking,
    And—the answer.
    How then, do we critique a prayer.

I am filled with awe and appreciation for all of you. Not just the writer's who contribute to The Creative Edge, but all the silent reader's of this incredible newsletter. Poetry and story telling require an audience to truly fulfill its destiny. Thank you, silent readers.

Through the A'musings, and through the poetry I witness my own great desire to know my spiritual soul. Thank you all for weaving your own golden thread into the tapestry of life. And especially thank you for daring to be different. For in our differences—we are alike.

A personal note to, Doree Bart. Thank you, dear friend, for loving the printed page as much as I do. It makes me feel less like a dinosaur.

Patricia Ann Doneson

Carmel Valley, CA

    RAPT AND BLISSFUL SEEING

    Early morning now,
    a crescent moon lingers,
    a white torch in an ashen dawn.
    I listen to the overture,
    birdsong whistling from the hillside thickets,
    the fooffall of the gray fox
    half-remembered from night's passage,
    discover a consolation
    with which to begin one more day.

    REDEMPTION

    At the raw edge of the hillside,
    where wind scours
    flakes of shale to whiteness,
    nothing grows.

    Onto the slope
    below the bare rim,
    I toss
    each remnant of foliage,
    bud and leaf, seed
    stem, blossom
    when they fade.

    From this compost
    what has perished
    may resurrect
    or not.

    NOW AND THEN

    "At birth you were handed a ticket... beneath every journey
    the ticket to this journey in one direction."

    Frank Bidart—Little Fugue

    All Sunday afternoon the sea rolls ashore. I weigh the
    ultimate shortness of life, the journey in one direction, this
    human anthology of organic matter, lasting anywhere from
    shortly after conception to more than century...

    Sirens interrupt my meditations, a different drama playing
    out in the cove. Two small boats circle. Rescue vehicles with
    flashing lights stand in wait on Scenic Drive. The Met Life
    blimp hovers in the sky over the celebrity golf tournament.

    One boat speeds off, perhaps having saved a careless rock
    climber or weary scuba diver, perhaps not. The surf is
    treacherous anytime.

    Heedless of tragedy lurking in ocean's mesmerizing swells,
    small children wade into foaming breakers. No one thinks it
    will happen to them. I am all too aware

    veteran of loss after loss, the last one as recent as Friday, a
    primitive cluster of multiplying cells. So little to grieve over,
    so inconsequential each of us.

    What about all that life between now and then, then
    and now.

    BETWEEN SEASONS

    "Nature and books belong to the eyes that see them"
    Emerson

    Swirling mosaics of foam cast
    white spray over a rugged arm of shoreline,
    cascade between wet stone fingers.

    From a hilltop bench
    I stroke the blue cloth canopy overhead.
    A pool of sunlight shimmers
    beyond twin peaks to the south.

    All along the trail pastel
    ambivalence of early wildflower petals
    emerges from bare sticks
    of dormant brush.

    Even as the last ivory tufts
    of spent blossoms drift
    in the wind, new buds open.
    Nature has no problem,
    co-exists in two seasons.

    I live somewhere in between,
    read a dialect of transition in landscapes,
    more complicated than fallow and prolific,
    mimic the seacoast in December.

Laura Bayless

Monterey, CA

    ROSES

    Winter roses fade
    Leaving lingering scents.
    Once proud perfection
    Reduced to essence,

    Destined to return to earth
    From which
    In springtime,
    Vibrant new roses.

    WHO AM ?

    Who am today?
    Tried and true
    Or towering courage?
    Somewhere in between,
    I'll venture
    On a great
    Unknown adventure,
    Stepping lightly
    Steps of joy
    Steps of boldness
    Giant strides
    Over chasms
    Over stones
    Over water bridges wide.
    Who am I today?
    Only I can now decide.

Shirley Tofte

Rancho Santa Fe, CA

I so love receiving your newsletter!

Lisa Smith

Carmel Valley, CA

    PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE PAST

    Overlooking New York City
    illuminated darkness
    sways with visual movement.
    Night refuses to sleep.

    My sister and I sort out
    Mother's belongings.
    More than nine years
    separate us, yet closeness reigns.

    We sit at the walnut dining table,
    piled high with photograph albums.
    We make stacks for ourselves,
    our absent middle sister, and
    cousins. We divide our past,
    poignant glimpses back.

    Each photo carefully weighed,
    asked which place it wants to travel next.
    Our hands blacken with residue
    from dark pages that crumble, tear, or
    even resist our deliberate touch.

    My first wedding day shows no clue
    to future sharp tear of divorce.
    Further on, our boy and our girl
    tumble for a playful decade
    between heavy embossed covers.

    This slice of love no longer here,
    surprisingly still cuts deep into my flesh
    fresh burning under silken scar thought
    forever healed with another marriage
    and sheer gladness of living.

    Later this clear night,
    in slumber's hold
    I return to betrayal's place
    live again abandonment,
    become acquainted with that
    woman within, almost half my age
    and ache for her, remember her well.

    In morning light, the view serene.
    A tender covering of clean snow
    gently cradles the entire city.
    Photos torn out of my past, disposed.
    The negatives still present.

    FARM CHILD

    David, dark-eyed, black haired, porcelain skin,
    blushed by nature's frequent kiss.

    He played in garden soil, tasted fresh harvest,
    and drank milk warm from udder's hold.

    As seasons turned, he gently grew, sat tall by
    father's side and steered heavy tractors.

    One day, he fell twice his height and the doctor
    placed a metal plate inside his head.

    Childhood gone with surgeon's care and
    inserted intruder pressed against his brain.

    Sweetness left this country soul and shadows
    walked both day and night beside this boy.

    He wrote in black ink of the world's need to
    prove that he should live, demanded sign.

    On his eighteenth birthday, he called his
    mother not to enter the family house alone.

    He took the cold gun, deliberately placed it
    against his weary head, and shot himself.

    No portrait I know of this first born son, who,
    that day, tore a hole in the pastoral setting.

    Our grandfather, David, took sulfuric acid
    when he found the world could not hold him.

    I always loved the lyrical sound of David, but
    chose not to call either son by that name.

Illia Thompson

Thank you for your creative offerings!

I invite readers to share their own creative works with a few words about the context of their work for either the new Letter Box On-line or regular hard copy version. I look for work and comments I feel support understanding and encouragement of the creative process, and hence, the process of life.

Submit your name, city and state with your works to Donald@creative-edge.org for publication. I also encourage you to approve adding your E-mail address. Submit images in 72dpi GIF, JPEG or TIFF format.

The Editor

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