May 7, 2015

Blue Sunset, a poem for spring

Blue Sunset

Cleone Lake swims in sunset paint
a fog burns off to warm us enough to
fish for bullheads to feed Freddie
the dog.
We could ocean swimMarch or not. I point:
“Greg! Grab your bike.” We peddle north,
build a bonfire, and swim beyond the breakers.
With no hope to catch seals in bare hands, we
surf waves until our skins turn blue as the sky.
I shiver, flick water off my fingers at Freddie.
We press our skins close to
the flames and spin—
vertical barbecue spits return us to color
s of sand.
We flop into a pile of sea shells, find an arrowhead
in a scatter of flints, and wonder at the Pomos who
once made arrowheads sharp enough to shoot rabbits
a campfire spit for their own dinner.

Did they use this arrowhead?
Did their two boys swim as fast?
Did the two study red in a sunset
and lick rabbit
fat off their fingers?
I think so. 

January 1, 2015

Taste, a poem to kiss in a new year


Eyes steal color
from winter—
black snows of
My wings call
for your help—
songs found in
spring trees.

Love’s promise
confounds interest
each day, melodies
don’t light the dark.

We grip branches
in spring and eye
summer fruit
with beaks near
the ass of death.
I hide from seasons
only nature knows
and expect nothing.
My light fades when
love hides in fog.
Fruit rots my tongue
when I don’t taste
what I should kiss.


Art by Anne Abrams

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December 25, 2014

If We Deserved Two Suns, a poem for hope

If We Deserved Two Suns   

If winter gives us holiday,
then hope won’t have to wait
for red berries, so renewal won’t
have to wait for sunflower seeds,
so resolution won’t have to wait
for another orbit of the planet.  
One sun plus one sun gives us
two summers and two springs
in every year, so we can
send winter to the moon
where gray is in style.

Green leaves fade to green,
water freezes into water again.   
Swimmers splash in two Julys,
bicycle wheels spin two Mays,
and maple syrup tongues love
both March sugar-offs.

The solitude of winter loves
those who need the nip
of hell to rate heaven, so
winter should live well
in the quiet of the moon.
For those who hope  
for peace on earth,  
how many holidays
are needed to reimagine
hopes for life beyond
a winter stormed  
by war?   

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December 18, 2014

Rondeau At The Train Stop By Erin Belieu

Rondeau At The Train Stop

It bothers me: the genital smell of the bay
drifting toward me on the T stop, the train
circling the city like a dingy, year-round
Christmas display. The Puritans were right! Sin
is everywhere in Massachusetts, hell-bound

in the population. it bothers me
because it’s summer now and sticky – no rain
to cool things down; heat like a wound
that will not close. Too hot, these shameful
percolations of the body that bloom
between strangers on a train. It bothers me

now that I’m alone and singles foam
around the city, bothered by the lather, the rings
of sweat. Know this bay’s a watery animal, hind-end
perpetually raised: a wanting posture, pain
so apparent, wanting so much that it bothers me.

Rondeau At The Train Stop By Erin Belieu.



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December 13, 2014

Secret Colors, 1830—a poem for Esmee

Secret Colors, 1830

As I walk towards the gray porch
of my father’s house, I want to cry.

After an afternoon with Esmee’s lips,
I see how ignorant is my happiness.
To learn it, my skin must turn black
and whip cuts on my back must bleed.
I love the
words unalienable rights,
but life in a gray Latin school and
life in a gray Sunday school is a
without the living colors in
songs of my African girlfriend.

During my afternoon in a library
a history book tattles on America:
how a Revolutionary War teased
America free from King George.
It was an un-castled chess game
because the real war was against
the black folks who made us rich.
Tom Jefferson complained against
England importing African slaves,
but they gave him great wealth.

I spend afternoons with Esmee only
if I accept the hatred of every white
boy in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
If love is blind, seeing eyes are sad.
How can I open the door and live
again in my father’s gray world
while I hold her colors in secret?

December 3, 2014

New poem by Walt Whitman

New poem by that upstart poet, Walt Whitman:
“To Bryant, the Poet of Nature”



October 1, 2014

Cut No Lilies, a gospel song by an imaginary writer

(This is a gospel song by Esmee,
a character in the novel-in-progress,
Finding Color. She’s borrowed a lyrical
theme from a spiritual that originates
in the Carolinas of 1820s. It’s written
for piano, choir, and congregation.)

Cut No Lilies

I run down the valley while I pray:
Jesus is dead and God’s gone away.
This I heard a man in a gray hat say.
He lies ’cause I need my God today.
He lies ’cause I need my God today.

We sing for the mothers and the children, too.
We sing for the mountains and the ocean blue.
There’s spirit in the lakes and the rocks and trees,
there’s the spirit every time I fall on my knees.

I fall on my knees because I need you so—
Please, son of Jesus, don’t let me go.
Don’t let me go. Don’t let me go.
Please, son of Jesus, don’t let me go.

Cut no lilies for me today:
this is not my cryin’ day.
Cut no lilies for me today:
this is not my cryin’ day.

(Art by Anne Abrams)

September 28, 2014

Position Needed, a poem for peace

Position Needed

United States Secretary of Peace:
an Executive Cabinet position to
be appointed by enlightenment
itself. This Secretary may not be
removed by any president ever.
Secretary of Defense answers to
Secretary of Peace who has veto
power over anything it says or does.
The United States Secretary of Peace
answers to no one but to peace itself. 

  (Photo by Anne Abrams)

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January 10, 2013

From Treasure Island, by Robert Lewis Stephenson

Painting by N. C. Wyeth

Painting by N. C. Wyeth

The fire lit in me when I first read the novel as a boy, was
extinguished when I finished my own novel, Tesora.
Reading it now, however, allows me to sail again,
back to my own boyhood days—to find the treasures
of adventure and good writing.

From Treasure Island, by Robert Lewis Stephenson:

“Livesey,” said the squire, “you will give up this wretched practice at once. Tomorrow I start for Bristol. In three weeks’ time—three weeks!—two weeks—ten days—we’ll have the best ship, sir, and the choicest crew in England. Hawkins shall come as cabin-boy. You’ll make a famous cabin-boy, Hawkins. You, Livesey, are ship’s doctor; I am admiral. We’ll take Redruth, Joyce, and Hunter. We’ll have favourable winds, a quick passage, and not the least difficulty in finding the spot, and money to eat, to roll in, to play duck and drake with ever after.”

November 25, 2012

Anaïs Nin on the Unfamiliar in Books

Anaïs Nin on Embracing the Unfamiliar

It’s the personal insecurities of leadership which lead to paranoia, the need to control the freedom of individual and social personalities, and finally to mass violence. It’s been true throughout history from Atilla The Hun to Obama. It’s the responsibility of each artist to sieze his or her own piece of space, whether it’s geographic or psychic, and to produce art within his or her own chaos of freedom. “A room of one’s own,” yes?

Nin says:

The men who built America were the genuine physical adventurers in a physical world. This world once built, we need adventurers in the realm of art and science. If we suppress the adventure of the spirit, we will have the anarchist and the rebel, who will burst out from too narrow confines in the form of violence and crime.


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