For the first month of this year, I asked
the Poets to write about new beginnings, looking ahead--some prompts that I gave to entice them, were: Great Expectations,
Time, or Note to future Generations. As always, they were welcome to send in any poem that they were working on
now or a favorite from the past.
There is nowhere to get away
the noise the smell the dirt
hordes of people everywhere
crises to avert
Clothes to launder and to fold
to be washed
to sweep and then to mop
to be squashed
this place and sleep tonight
There has to be a place
A taste of the uncivilized
Away from woe and haste
Around the curve and up the hill
Under the curving arch
Appears a world that’s far removed
From time’s relentless march
Fog blurs the edges dreamily
Illusions here abound
No buzzing phones or voices raised
Just peace on earth is found
hustle here is paramount
in that place there’s rest
Over the bridge into the fog
It’s quiet there, and blessed
On seventh avenue
near the diagonal crossing Sandy Boulevard,
thousands of crows fill the street trees,
line the roof tops, the power lines,
every pole and perch in sight.
Crows are flocking to Portland,
crossing every border.
They like our progressive politics,
the entrepreneurial business climate.
Crows are innovators, dressed in mod black,
always in touch with fashion and the latest
will spread east toward high ground.
No walls will stop them
although the hawks we brought in
and built nests for on the river bridges
chased them from downtown.
The hawks won a battle
but the crows are here for the war.
The city is prime picking and they’ve cornered
trash removal, rooftop security.
Murder incorporated, they fill the overhead
people just drive on.
and my buddies are loading up on ammo,
oiling our guns, dressed in camo.
We know a fight when we see one
and we’re damned if crows will take our town.
We do like the way they look on the high wires though,
the black gear and cocky attitude, free air and all that.
Maybe we’ll make a truce, carve out
be room for us and the crows.
but there’ll be a price. No free lunch,
no camping on the rooftops.
So far the crows say no deal, but we’ll see.
In This Place
In this place I write poetry because
land, nature, forces greater than myself
nourish my soul.
Because people who lived before
speak to me,
My story and theirs intertwine.
In this place I write poetry because
the contradiction of beauty and
danger mirrors the mystery within me.
Because there is a deep disconnect
between this place of majesty which
is also a place of death,
dreams shattered and
families ripped apart.
In this place I write poetry,
here in the Sonoran Desert.
America’s become a brazen giant
Influencing foreign policies from sea to sea
Standing against communism and green electricity
Refugees fleeing war, criminal violence and natural disasters.
Mild-eyed welcoming mother, has your beacon burned out?
Mighty woman, stand against the red-faced men who scoff and shout.
They’ve turned the light out and keep locking the golden
They glut on the pomp and rally
We’ve forgotten the hardships
Journeys of ancestors that persevered
to venture here
a place to belong, safety and shelter.
there is a taint of white supremacy, backed by a less than grand old party bandying conditional charity and bankrupted morality.
Craggy, fear mongering shades of Jim Crow, Frank Burns and McCarthy
They cry that the yearning wretched must be properly vetted,
Children must be separated, caged, they’re parents berated
On the other side of the border asylum seekers must wait,
Until they give up on dreams of false fairy tales,
Braving kidnap, forced prostitution, gangs and rape.
People shout for walls, bans, ICE raids and racial profiling
They’re not Norwegians, they’re from shithole countries!
Limit the flow of diversity, deaf to refugees
Crying, “America! What do you want from me?
Will you ever let me and mine in to breathe freely?
This disgraceful state of the union poisoning our society
Is not more perfect, but blindly refusing to really see,
The dawning of a new age of autocracy.
Is this what you really want us to be?
2020 is here
for the world
to move into
out of bed
with the right
or left foot?
with the in breath
the out breath?
did you place
and be in the world
up and share
From My Window
From my window
The rising sun
Spreads her quilt of color
Across the Salish Sea
Blanket eastern forms
Awaken sleepy island forests
Dim nighttime’s city lights
Tints Cascading ridges.
Kneeling in homage before
Her backlit shadow
Angles into drifting clouds
Transfixed by fleeting beauty
My new day has begun.