POEMS BY MEMBERS
and his single jingle are
you can count on. "He sings his happy
whip-poor-will off and on all night long
sometimes. "I figure he sings
till heís through," my Grandma Guffey
answered long ago as she gathered-up
her lying-down cottony gown
after Iíd climbed upon the feathery bed
and readied myself to snuggle up close
in my little nest beside her.
I thought back on her words
this morning when I heard our new
neighbors complain about a lack
of sleep and all the absurd, confounded
bird-singing at night around here.
They had tried to deter the
by slamming doors and clapping hands.
It had not worked. They booed him
and hooted like owls until their tired
bodies could bear no more. The young
couple looked whipped-down
by a whippoorwill.
Somehow, it seems plain wrong
to even try to hush a bird
owning just one song.
She once took things apart.
Kitchen timers, VCRs, assorted lawn care implementsó
each became smaller,
something unlike what once was, something easier to
handle and control.
She took delight in every screw and spring, stroked each
slender wire and string
until shiny scraps lay strewn about the carpet.
She once ran over a possum
with her pickup.
Her first pass produced only a small jerk of the wheel,
left the creature intact, its feet waving wildly, its eyes still
So she rolled over it again until the tires kicked up bits of
bone, segments of tail,
until possum pieces littered the pavement.
She once saw Robert twice a
She shaved off sprouts of his
nose hair, the white globes
of both his knees,
the curl of his ear, the stalks of three fingers down to the
His flesh pared away in ropes of pallid pulp
until, like a turnip, he was gone.
She once wrote a poem.
Then she split a stanza, held each word to her ear to hear
rearranged the margins, uncovered buried adjectives and
played with verbs and voices cluttering the floor
until she was left with only paper.
Our parents on the front
cardboard fans from Bogart's Funeral Home
for air conditioning.
We're in our tent, a blanket over chairs,
and we don't mind the oven effect,
or playing tag and statue in the August sun.
No computers, no video games,
just lying in the grass
and laughing with my friends.
INFAMOUS SHOW @ APARTMENT #6
Our banter echoes from lack of furniture,
like comics of old we act, interact, and
steal a crowd of one, a visitor, the girl
of my housemate. Live laugher mocks
television, gratis we live like Saturday
Night Live. Each swift to comment and
twofold to laugh which bellows, staccato
for the neighborhood to manage. Coffee
and tea prolong our performance. Finally,
the curtain falls with a visit from the cops.
We can stand alone
Though we don't like it.
We are whole alone
Though we don't feel it.
Life goes on alone
Though sometimes we don't wish it.
MOST WANT FROM GOD
ďAnd after the fire came a
gentle whisper.Ē I Kings 19:12
Most want from God
a Niagara drenching
like you get upon
to the bottom
of the great falls
where you walk out into
tons of free-fall river.
You bow, lose your gibber
in the roar and wonder why
you bothered with the yellow slicker.
But what most get
is a chintzy
which you learn
for God drenches with
the small and odd.
RAISE YOUR BANNERS
is He who is in me,
Far greater than my vanquished enemy.
This way and that he peers
God's true children upon their knees,
A wild, roaring lion who
hunts his prey,
Seeks to devour him before he can pray.
Only through Redemption is
Only through God's Word we faithfully hear.
We know the triumph that's
ours in life.
Jesus fought our battles, won all our strife.
Sing with great glory,
rejoice with His praise,
Shout "HE IS COMING SOON," your banners raise!
I sat beneath the
absorbing Keats in ecstasy
but looked up from my book
when ruffling wings distracted me.
Departing from the
a robin chose a nearby limb
to preen with lordly mien,
affording me full view of him.
Suffused by sentiment, I
communion with this feathered prince
and knew he felt It too,
this bonding Spirit so intense.
And sure that he must
what Someone guiding us had planned,
I gave a welcome wave
for him to come perch on my hand.
I thought this way we could
all that we felt yet could not say--
but he, rejecting me,
just shook his head, and flew away.
RECIPE FOR LAMB SHANKS
Laurence W. Thomas
Coming out of the butcher
discover a ticket still trembling
under your windshield wiper
because in your rush you parked
a foot from the curb. One inch
closer would have made the difference.
One inch farther away, and going slower,
you would have missed the rear-view mirror
on the Taurus, and you and the owner
wouldnít have gone at it like bulls
arriving with tickets in hand. Proceed
home to a mailbox of brochures and bills,
immerse your shanks in bubbly hot water
and simmer until dinner is ready.
Diane Auser Stefan
The mist inches up the
gently blurring every branch, every blade.
For an hour the view from my window is dreamlike.
Then the sun, also inching, comes with hot magic
chasing the mist away.
Trapped in tall and wild growth
remnants of the mist remain.
How, with sunís heat all around?
So, down I venture, down, down the hill
to see how mist by sun was missed.
And there ethereal, fragile weeds I see,
real touchable, living, breathing, growing.
Weeds, yes--yet always trapped mist to me.
I WISH I WERE A
wise and quiet thing
When at her daily work she kisses flowers.
Bright butterfly is what I'd like to be.
Crass cricket creaks and loudly twangs his string;
Throughout the sleepless night, he shouts for hours.
(Why can't he drowse like me, nocturnally?)
Smart butterfly has this philosophy,
That silence in its subtle way empowers
The one who grasps its meaning, deep and true.
Should sunny day digress to drenching showers,
Then under glossy leaf you'll see her cling,
Not uttering one dark or gloomy view,
Just fluttering her optimistic hue
While waiting for the joy the sun will bring.
PATIENCE IN THE
A yellow meadow spider waits upside down
on its web over impatiens under a window.
It has been there for days, always in the same place,
its zigzag perch precise architecture in space.
The web is attached by one
to our roof where it shelters the window,
and by downward strands to flowers below
where insects come, unaware.
How does a spider stay
healthy like that,
perfectly still for hours, and why upside down
on a vertical web in weather and wind
doing nothing but waiting? Does it sleep?
Yesterday a pale yellow
butterfly hung there
unmoving, probably dead, while the spider
wrapped the butterfly's body. To ripen?
I wonder what happened to the wings? Perhaps
they fell away among the
flowers like other petals.
One of these days I'll touch the web.
But the spider is beautiful with yellow stripes and dots
that make a harlequin out of a black danger.
The calves of my lips
Are but scrawny and dips
Into a black chasm
So deep itís hard to raise 'em.
Please, help me to grow
Fruit of thanksgiving to sow
Unto Your holy name just so.
Itís the reason Iím prone
Before your Holy throne
To confess Iíve thrown
Away my pride and sins.
I want to begin anew again,
The growing of healthy cows
For my lips to house
Such beautiful fruits in praise
As holy adoration to raise
Unto You, my God and King
In worship until it rings
And my voice doth sing.
HAIKU/ SENRYU FOR MAY
first day of May
child forgets to go barefoot
till Mom mentions it
not even the squirrels
on the walking trail
spring term ended
but campus still noisy
white when I picked it
but yellow this morning
the small brown butterfly
on my arm
the prom knight
and his lady
dressed in chain mail
hot southern May
five inches of rain
then the tree frogs
ABOVE THEIR RAISINS
By aliens, two ripe grapes
in the San Juaquin Valley
of California were overheard
in whispered conversation.
In the waning weeks of
they talked about growing old . . .
and wrinkled. They knew too well
the fate of older brothers, who,
when withered, were boxed
and sold as raisins.
This, they did not want.
They did not like the dark
of sealed containers, nor refrigerators
that would set them shivering
their way through death,
nor human predators
that would devour them
in midnight snacks.
Proud to be grapes,
they preferred the touch of wind
swaying them in clusters,
outdoors in open space.
They preferred to remain firm,
suspended from the vine,
surrendering only to mockingbirds
in days before the wrinkles.
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