Letter Box — Newsletter #37
Vancouver, British Columbia
This is something I wrote after reading some of the contributions on your site. I write a lot but never anything vaguely resembling poetry—have never tried and didn't really here either, this just sort of "happened" and I didn't feel I should mess with it, didn't know what to change it into. I'm rambling though...and it feels odd to send this off to you but here I go.
Some small thing you wrote
I was me but now I am
That small thing with
For that small thing you wrote,
The words come pouring in
If this is true
Jean Callahan Crowe
Carmel Valley, CA
Here are the Journal Entries I promised to send.
"Times like this everything in the world becomes personal."
I write these lines, these scraps of thought plucked from the minds of authors whose books I consume, my appetite for reading insatiable. For a great portion of life I responded as if everything was personal, as if each injustice and injury were my province, my obligation to remedy. Lately I've been better able to choose my times, my empathies and elixirs, offerings of advice relegated to the rag-bin of restraint.
I feel myself becoming insular, less affected by emotional storms brewing around me. The wind stirs. I take note and reach for my raincoat even before the first drops fall. My convictions reside under my ribs, in my veins, in embers banked at my core, but not spilling from my tongue. I disagree silently, snatch back the quick retort, the unguarded reply. I am used to not being heard, to having radical perspectives. It matters less whether or not I add to the commotion.
Still, the time arrives when I throw all discretion to the scavengers and toss a verbal bomb into the debate. I brace myself for the inevitable ricochet, polish my armor for the next rash moment. This is a mystery I go home and live with, this screening and measuring, concealing and revealing, each word torn loose from my flesh a double-edged sword.
Why do I write in a journal?
I write because people don't listen. In the journal, on the lines and pages I speak without care how I will be heard, or if I will be heard. I see their faces, watch their expressions change when I say something that doesn't fit in their box, their book of rules. I hear the absurd questions they ask because they have not understood.
Here I can say there is no "father" god, no Allah, no deity managing the details of the world. I can also say I retain a sense of wonder at the mystery of life, its dichotomy of complexity and randomness, how I don't know the why and the meaning—and it is more than anyone can classify and cram into some comfort zone of absolute answers. It is here I can rant against the cruelties and injustices perpetrated by those who hold power over other human beings or animals. It is here I can say that men continue to commit acts of aggression rather than negotiate for the health of all people and the planet, believing they are justified by whatever ideology they claim.
Here no one labels me "feminist" or "lost soul" or "wrong," or tries to alter my view. The page does not offer the ever-negating opposing opinion, the positive rebuttal to what is perceived as negative simply because it differs. In the journal I am neither right nor scandalous, neither unreasonable nor rational. No one looks at me with a blank stare, as if I have spoken a foreign language, one without translation. In the journal I am not outside looking in upon an exclusive club. Here I am inside the unlimited world of writing, of listening for whatever needs to be spoken without appraisal of its merit, without comparison to the a statistical majority.
Colorado Springs, CO
I received a very interesting e-mail this morning concerning my poem, Until Now. [See below. Reprinted from LBOL#14 (Section C—March 15, 2002)] It was a thank you and the person told me it made them cry. They quoted two of the stanzas and told me they read and reread this poem. The surprise of this e-mail was that I rose this morning wondering why I keep writing, does it have meaning, is it touching anyone. And like a message from the heavens...in comes this e-mail. I have no idea who sent it, I know their e-mail address, but they didn't sign a name. Well, what is life without risk...so, I answered the e-mail. Such a message deserves a response.
The last time I received a response to one of my poems, New Horizons, it prompted a reply from a young man in prison. He wrote to tell me how much that poem meant to him. Poets, this poet, can travel a thousand miles with a single response. So, I continue this journey.
Late in the blooming
Not realizing, until now, that the
Not seeing, until now, the
Not capable, until now,
Not trusting, until now, that
Patricia Ann Doneson
DOC, Bunker Hill, IN
Well the time has come, parole is upon my doorstep. On July 11th my freedom will be provisionally returned. It's been a long road, yet I'm no worse for the wear. In fact I'm better for it.
I've accomplished a little, a vocational certificate in music theory, a high school diploma, an Associate degree from Indiana University and a pretty good hand at doing art work. Granted, none of which are going to make me a living, but will allow me self respect and esteem which will.
Over the years I have had many conversations with you via our correspondence. I enjoyed the Creative Edge immensely, and the never ending creative processes which I have hence been encouraged to pursue. Donald, tapping into my own creative ability squeezed all the anger and vileness from my being and filled me with peace and contentment, kind of like a jelly doughnut. (What a metaphor, eh?)
How do I thank you enough? Thank you for listening, taking your time to share, for your words of encouragement. Thank you for making me feel valuable by printing my words/cartoons. But most of all, thank you for your friendship. In your infinite wisdom you've taught me what that really is. Quite a different thing to empower than to enable. You believing in me, it allowed me to believe in myself.
What now? I plan to work through the fall if possible in a factory, then in the winter I will decide upon furthering my education full-time or continuing by correspondence. Part of me wonders why school is important at this stage of life. I mean, with so many years inside I cannot imagine anyone wanting to hire me. More over, with (just a) Bachelors degree they won't be opening doors that are already bolted shut by the prison time. But, for personal satisfaction I want to finish that which I've started, as expensive as it might be.
It's weird, years ago when I started corresponding, I was a psychological mess. A product of years of chronic drug use and horrific self-image. I needed to be incarcerated! Today I've got friendships that have lasted for years.
I've rattled on enough. Soon you'll get an E-mail from me, from the free world. I hope we can continue our friendship outside. Again, my sincere gratitude.
Big Sur, CA
THE DRAGON DIES
Spanish gypsy music rode the tides
Today you reappear,
I leave with unseeing eyes,
The dragon sings; the dragon dies—
OF THE LIZARD'S BREATH
We bathe in a shower
Garlands of flaming roses,
And in this
We know not
Carolyn Mary Kleefeld
Fair Oaks, CA
Heat rising from
Gazing, now, into shining blue,
In his arms,
Carol Lynn Mathew-Rogers
Big Sur, CA
humbled by change,
humbled by death, by life, by beauty
humbled by delicate flowers.
humbled by grace, and all that i've been given.
humbled by what is, humbled by what never was,
He claimed to have made major rank
So he goes by Gizmo
That is when I first met them,
Ray was big.
I stole four oak pallets
Ray and Gizmo helped haul
I had been fired from my job that day
The next day it was cold
I remembered the words Ray had spoken
So I walked back through the desert
Ray and I had a game of chess
It didn't stay on the ground
Ray got a fire going
Ray moved on, but Gizmo is still there
DOC, Huntsville, TX
Please find my poem you can print in the Newsletter.
FOR YOU THAN YOU
If you plan to go
When people stop up and try
And if your memory serves
dreams are what make life
"CHOKYI LODRO" (Knowledge Of Dharma)
PO Box 32
Huntsville, TX 77348
Carmel Valley, CA
Aging is my favorite time
Is silence a canvas
If you put them together
Is truth always true
Does the earth touch the sky?
When I breathe am I helping
Whatever I ask
EXORCISM OF NICE
Nice is empty
Look out, friend.
Says Nice, Okay.
WHERE I'M GOING
I have been ill
It disappoints me
Alas, I find
A little voice inside
The journey never ends
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 Letter Box On-line. 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.