POEMS BY MEMBERS
TRITINA FOR THOSE WHO DIE
Lawrence W. Thomas
Successive generations come
but sometimes end before they’ve run their course.
The children would be saddened if they knew.
We say goodbye to many that
too often prior to their time to go
because they failed somehow to stay the course
through accidents, disease,
or war of course;
the older ones must bury those they knew--
the younger ones who should not need to go
and never knew they had to go
THANKS FOR NOTHING
Re: A Cookbook for Poor Poets and Others
by Ann Rogers, NY: Scribner,1966.
There is a cookbook made for
and whether they are penniless, or just
unable to write well, they qualify.
They need the cheapest food available.
We know this part applies to most of us.
And what besides stone soup can we afford?
We know it all is inconvenient;
too many dollar entrees sure add up.
So what’s for breakfast, pauper? Maybe grit?
(You have to order in the singular,
my friend.) There are no leftovers, let’s get
that straight. Take biscuits with no gravy; you’ve
been left out of the gravy train. For lunch
cook up some campfire beans with fat-free crumbs.
For supper, more variety: hot broth,
some carrot coins, a roast ham bone, and mock
the turtle soup, and some Depression cake.
I’m way too poor for Poorman’s Steak, I’ll choose
the no-meat chili, please. And for dessert,
let’s pass the humble pie. It’s good for you.
ERNIE AT THE MALL FOOD COURT
Dewell H. Byrd
He walks with a focus
as if he’s a cat stalking a bird.
On this non-school rainy day
Ernie weaves his way through
the crowded mall food court.
No dirty table is safe, no bit
of litter escapes his attention.
Light blue shirt, dark blue pants,
phone receiver in his right ear
with speaker banging his chest,
dust rag and gum scraper in
hip pocket, Timex dangles on
his right wrist, Ernie looks at no one.
He shuffles on as consistent as gravity.
Moving, moving, moving---
a chair out of place, a stray tray,
waste bin full, dusty railing.
He requires no supervision,
does his job, helps fellow workers.
On his day off Ernie sits on a bench
on the boardwalk down by the bay,
tosses bits of bread to the pigeons
---iridescent flow of feathers.
They come closer with each toss,
take last crumbs from his hands,
scuttle away searching, searching.
Ernie leans back, hooks his elbows
over the bench, a faint smile on the
left side of his mouth, eyes half closed,
watches pelicans skim over the water,
day dreams, fly away, fly away,
I’ll fly away.
CUBA, MY MOTHER
To thine own self be true.
nearly ninety of her years
and I walk through wide doors and wide halls
of the nursing home
for long years
my mother wears a face like folded parchment
frail spotted hands
no longer willing to obey
but inside she smiles and says
it’s the big joke one
thing about which she’s sure:
she feels nine
maybe that explains it all
creating a paper
carnation the beads
all the grinning behind homely joys
and those stories she spins
it may just be her way of letting the inside
sing louder and louder
as the outside
I MUST NOT COMPLAIN
O Lord how much You have constantly loved,
and always cared for me,
Much more than anyone would ever dream of, even long for,
or still dare to see,
Under a vast umbrella of Your precious shed blood, here I
stand completely free,
Seated with You in heavenly places, my renewed heart can
behold Your sanctity,
To trust in You, to walk with You, and call on You, while in
my humble humanity,
Now, O My Lord, with
awe I bow before You, with the
greatest longing for infinity,
On You I build my daily hope, my love, my joy, my peace,
my present destiny,
Till all my earthly life is spent, I wait for You each hour,
the greatest dignity,
Lord Jesus, with Your resurrection, enrich my soul
with grace and charity,
Of which Your fragrant Word foretells, would gently cover
up my past identity,
Mercy and riches from Your royal Fatherly heart, You gave
to conceal my poverty,
Performing in my life Your miracles; those tell of the great
favor of Your Majesty,
Lord, hold my hands, never leave me till I share Your
gracious, splendid royalty,
And dwell with You forever to enjoy Your awesome gift,
my granted liberty,
In You is all my rest, my strength, my selflessly awarded and
No more suffering, sorrowing tears! Just rejoicing with Your
angels in perpetuity.
WHO DONE IT?
Two houses in four weeks,
a possible villain’s touch.
Of arson this reeks.
The first was more timid and meek
with only partial damage
to its one-story, gray physique.
The second reached a much higher peak;
for hours to the house the flames clutched.
Yes, of arson this reeks.
Townspeople, neighbors, and curious kids sneak
a peek with too recent of memories and such
of the first of two houses in four weeks.
Spraying on the inferno the hoses leek,
but the wind plays in as a crutch
to the heat, and the spray falls weak,
crashing down on each thing that made her home unique:
Billy’s ball, Sue’s Dolly Dutch, and grandmother’s oak hutch.
Of arson this reeks.
Two houses burned down in four weeks.
SIGN OF SPRING
No seasonal lack
of garb to bare
Spring fires seeds
A friend of warmth
and winter's foe
A faithful lover
who will never go
Saplings and flora
delight to sing
for beloved spring
HAIKU FOR APRIL
three feet of snow
on April first
March wind in April
even the crows have trouble
with pine tree landings
after winter clothes are stored
Had she known how the story would end,
I wonder if she would have followed script.
She might have decided that the means
could not possibly justify the ends.
If I were in her place, I would have chosen
a different delicacy to eat that day—
a pear, perhaps, or a cluster of cherries.
Yes, I would have done whatever necessary
to stay far from that forbidden fruit.
THE HOW AND WHY OF IT
Diane Auser Stefan
so many forms
for penning poems—
blank verse, prose, narrative,
all ways for poets to share—
challenging us to be precise,
to be honest, true and very clear
so our readers can see into our hearts.
SOME SING LOVE SONGS, WE
SANG THE BLUES
Lights are low, clouds fill
reds and blues thicken the air.
Calloused fingers bang notes
as a piano moans with every stab.
Clack Clack Clack
sticks on a drum rim.
A grunge guitar screams its heart out.
Silence all around
don’t miss a single note.
A voice tattered with tobacco
weeps into a microphone,
passions of love and loss
searching and still searching.
Lovers in the crowd hear music,
but we hear warmth and comfort.
A bow slides to and fro
sweet music bleeding the heart strings.
The music swings
like a chime from a window.
Taking off like a ship from its port
smooth like a flame on candle wick,
flutter the room on angel's wing.
A rolling stone gathers no moss
Free to all, none can own,
touching all, with no regrets.
Wrapping cold hearts in a gentle coat,
what truer love can be found?
A comfort none can doubt
not a single unsound whim.
Pat Pat Pat
Slight tears begin to dab
slide to the tip of nose.
Over now. It’s not fair.
Hearts sigh and exit the scene.
BACK YARD, JULY
He plopped his toddler
frame onto my lap,
gripped my wrist with one cherub
hand to steady himself, and jutted
his other towards the frenzied sky.
Small digits flexed and recoiled
as he stretched to reach embers
falling through the humid atmosphere.
My ears caught garbled child-speak –
a long lost language
of animation, tossed away
and forgotten with age.
Freeda Baker Nichols
A cool breeze
upon my face.
Much earlier, the sun
had tumbled out-of-sight,
leaving pink-red clouds,
the silhouetted trees,
a warmer tomorrow–
a day without wind.
Quietness settled comfortably
about the mountains.
Newly awakened flowers
sprayed the evening
with their perfumed presence.
Their colors, tomorrow,
in the sunlight,
the artist’s pastel paints.
I chose to be content
with this fair evening
in April, if only
the moment would
last long enough
for me to savor
A LION ON MAIN STREET
One time when I went to
to pay my water bill, I heard a voice
on short-wave radio report some trouble
with a dog awakened from its nap.
As savage as a lion, the
dog that lay
in shade beneath a car refused to grant
the rightful owner, finished with her shopping,
admittance to the car to drive it home.
Then from the back room the
advised the radio dispatcher:
"Call Becky at the bank. That's old Sparky.
Her dog. She'll go take care of him."
I paid my bill and walked
I'd learned a definition of small town.
VISIT WORKSHOP FOR