Thursday, December 01, 2005

Jetty Fishing

Grandpa would fish on the
L-shaped jetty at Shark River Inlet,
On the north side where the
Rocks calmed the sea summer nights
As the moon faded out of the
Flat horizon.

He’d walk the mile of boardwalk
From Ocean Grove in the dusk
With the same chipped rod he’d wrapped
And varnished on the kitchen table,
Clamped to it the one decent piece of gear
He owned, a twenty-year old Meek reel,
With new line each spring and a small bucktail
Lure at the end of the leader, waiting

For the water to clear after a tide-rise
That rolled the water clear from tip
Of the jetty to the north tide-pool where the
Summer flounder feed in the flat sand
Just near the boulders.

He’d cast out from
The breakers and drag the line in staccato
Jerks again and again, saying nothing to
The others except Al who’d not fish but
Come with pipe tobacco and a dry match.
If there was no action in a half-hour or so,
He’d add a piece of pork rind usually
Used for the blues earlier in the season
And swear it’d draw em like laughing gulls
Chatter at the shadow of Venus
Reflected on the sea’s inconstant surface.

Once, in a low tide of spring,
When the foot of the jetty was dry and
Open, he took me walking across the sand
Ripples and troughs where salt water still
Pooled, and showed me spots where,
In such-and-such a year he’d hooked
A flounder, always remembering the exact
Conditions of tide and weather and
How the fish had fought, he following
Its capture line back to the jetty leaving
A trail of confused foot prints in curves
And swells across the untouched sand.

Then we’d walk back the jetty, and
He’d show me the spots from there,
Pointing to each as if it was
The one sure thing in the world, even
When hidden below the savagery
Of the tide pulled by a pale moon.

By David King

Copyright 2005 by David King.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry 360 with permission of the author.


Friday, October 07, 2005

Midlife Chrysalis

When you were just a babe

(you still are, but you know what I mean)
lying around in a crib
the mobile over your head
was like a fan,
going around and around,
about as exciting as life got those days.
You got a little older
And to fan changed meaning.
You ran around in the yard
Flailing your arms over your head
You were “fanning” around.
Life was sweet
Before long,
Boys had caught your eye
And a fan was something
Used to dry that nail polish.
Had to keep yourself looking good
(what’s that you say . . . still doing nails huh?)
Next stage of a fan-
Music groupie
Hard core
Dyed in the wool
Music groupie,
Be it Elvis,
Dave of the Monkies
Or Manilow…
Pretty soon
College came
Hot dorms
No air in sight
You came to naturally
Dry your hair
And you bought a fan.
That helped some.
Next stage in life
You became a wife
You got a house
And a spouse
Mantel there with fireplace
Now your fan had a different face
One of floral d├ęcor…
But oh, there’s more…
Now fan means
To make a dash
And grab a magazine
For hot flash
means fan like crazy.
Fan away Miz Daisy…
And get the oxygen tank

There’s a boa ‘round her neck.

Is it constricting?

Can she get air?

Get an ambulance

We’re all a nervous wreck.

She’s passing out-

Does anybody care?

What’s that you say?

“There’s six snakes now-

all red-“ Great day-

Save us all somehow!

Train those snakes

Don’t make ‘em too tight

Look, now some are purple

Oh what a fright.

Loosen that thing

Drape it on your chest

Let it just swing

Yeah, that feels the best.

Take a deep breath

Now exhale- ahhhh.

Isn’t that better?

Yeah, better by far.

‘Cause word was
that like me…
she walked on the wild side
This former PTA mom
The one who always baked cookies
Kept everything all neat and clean
Kept her feelings on the inside.
Must have been that midlife thing
The one that had her buy a Mustang
A convertible, red to be exact,
It matched her hat…
Such change her age did bring…
You’d see her coming
Purple boa stretched out in the wind
Hat beside her on the seat
Usually with a red hat friend
Both of them smiling… sunning…
And maybe just to be wild
A pair of dice hanging down
In utter rebellion against good taste
Besides at fifty, she dared anyone
To denounce that smile…
Especially on the romance aisle
We like those books
Both her and me…
One day I felt a lust for lust
And found a lookout I could trust.
No one around the romance aisle
‘twas there a frown replaced my smile
When wandered my friend from lookout post
‘Twas her betrayal that hurt the most.
Just to browse through one or two
Or three or four
Heck, before I knew it
It was even more.
And my friend back there
With the eagle eye
Had seen some shoes
She had to try
To my dismay,
My pedestal got lowered a bit
When I turned around
I had a fit.
“Reverend Thomas,” I stuttered
as my face turned red.
I closed the tome of bath and bed.
He had the tact and blessed grace
To help a woman save her face.
“Comparison shopping today I see,”
then he looked and laughed at me.
“The subtle ones are over there,”
with sweeping hand, he pointed where.
“My wife reads ‘em every one.”
My face glowing like the sun.
Then came friend with shoes in hand
Ready for the checkout stand
I smirked at her with hint of malice
“Just don’t work at Buckingham Palace.”
Her face turned red
As the hat on my head
But I shook it off instead
Cause I’m
Living life to the brim,
I’m full of spunk and desire.
My red hat runneth over
Ready to set the world on fire
Hobbies to try, places to go
Classes to take
New folks to know.
My nest is empty
My mind is not
A busy calendar
Is what I have got.
Fill it to the brim with enthusiasm,
fill it to the brim with fun,
fill it to the brim with compassion,
Until my days are done…
And when I die,
please don’t wear black
Put some purple on your back…
Play some jazz
Eat some cake
Don’t just cry
For heaven’s sake.
Or better yet
You can wear red
To celebrate my life instead.
Just like I’d wear on girl’s night out…
When I’d even circled the date
Making sure he wouldn’t forget…
He did anyway.
“It’s girls’ night,” I laughed
as I put on my feather boa
adjusted my hat – fixed my face,
pushed my worries away…
“A frozen dinner’s in the fridge.
I won’t be home ‘til late.”
He glanced up from the classifieds
And then had this to say…
“You go charge your battery dear.
Have fun with your friends.
let down your hair and chill a while,
Go enjoy your stay…”
“I’ll stay home with Sara Lee.
She makes a mean cheesecake.
Go off in that bright red hat
And celebrate the day.”
He knows when I come back home
With batteries all charged up
The Energizer Bunny’s back
And sometimes wants to play…
After Girls’ Night Out.
So wouldn’t you say…
That fifty is the new thirty
Sounds good to me
I’m just getting my second wind
How about you?
Fifty is the new thirty
That makes sixty become forty
And seventy is fifty girlfriend…
Do you agree too?
So look out life, here we come
A force to be reckoned with
Each and every one
And our numbers aren’t few.
No fading into the woodwork for us
Invisible we are not
Gaining the attention
To which we are due…
How about you?
Cause you’re One Hot Mama-
There’s a song by that name

You’ve heard it before

But ain’t it true

You’re one hot mama.

Reading romance books

You brought home from the store

It stokes your fire

You’re one hot mama.

Wearing shells when it’s cold

Almost nothing when it’s not

Yeah ain’t it true

You’re one hot mama.

Who cares if you’ve got lines

Yeah maybe one or two

But what lies beneath

Is one hot mama

who remembers periods
When they weren’t just
Something at the end of a sentence,
Punctuation like a dot or a dash-
Now my life is punctuated
By fanning myself from a hot flash.
In younger days, we studied
Dangling participles and split infinitives,
Now there’s something quite definitive
About my taste-
It’s for dangling earrings and banana splits
And I don’t give a rip if it’s good for my shape.
The bigger the fish…
The bigger the SPLASH!

By Phyl Johnson

Copyright 2005 by Phyl Johnson.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry 360 with permission of the author.


Monday, September 12, 2005

Not Merely Friends

Not Merely Friends
but Lovers Past
with feelings still uncertain

And when we meet
the kisses warm
but only on the cheek

The arms embrace
in tender touch
strange and yet familiar

The caring real
the wishes warm
but passion in restraint

Somehow so strange
to care for you
Unnatural not to love

By Robert E. Downing

Copyright 2005 by Robert E. Downing.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry 360 with permission of the author.


Monday, June 27, 2005

Be Gentle

Poet Eddie Dowe reads his work at the Rally for Social Justice held in Yorktown on Saturday, 25 June 2005.

PLEASE NOTE: This photograph is Copyright (c) 2005 by Cathy Dixson and is used here by permission. This photograph may not be used further without the written permission of Cathy Dixson. All rights reserved.

Across this field their words
leap like suicides from their lips
and rise above them like knives
but be gentle

Across this field
in this same blue air we breathe
they plan our murder
but be gentle

Across this field
where our shadows are the same
beautiful and black
be gentle

Across this field
as the dark birds gather
in their arms let our arms
cradle children
so be gentle

Across this field
today is not tomorrow
and even though yesterday
wears the black dress of a widow
be gentle

Across this field
of bodies and blood
bones and ghosts
they are afraid of the graves between us
so be gentle

Across this field
drop the stones to the grass
and open the wide prayer of your arms
to call their names
and be gentle

Across this field
where love lurks like a thief
where hope bleeds in its cage
here where we gather with the dead
be gentle

Across this field
I have seen them smile
and they have given birth
and their kness have touched this warm earth
be gentle

Across this field
you can hear them calling
calling for help
kiss them when they arrive

By Eddie Dowe
Read at the Yorktown Rally for Social Justice, June 25, 2005.

Copyright 2005 by Eddie Dow.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry 360 with permission of the author.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Quintessence of Dust

. . . lost between two infinities,
the infinitely large and the infinitely small
- Blaise Pascal -

Among the khaki husks of last Fall's weeds
in Henry Second's Umberland a small
white flower leans in slightest zephyrs, bends
beneath the weight of but a cabbage moth,
then bobbing once again erect when free.

The chill of early evening settles on
a field beside a clear May stream about
a boisterous Saxon band emerging from
marauding raids against the Norman king’s
dominion over lands that once were theirs.

Through star-pricked deepest night, an aging fire
beside the forest’s foot protects the warmth
of slumber’s innocence while not one league
away, among the cooling ashes of
a manor house the grotesque slaughtered sleep.

The gray beginnings of the day arise
above the coughing embers’ dying glow,
while horses and dark grumbling men awake
to preparations for the violence
ancestral vengeance passed on to its kin.

Inside the great depression of a boot
beside a fire's heap, a small white bloom
lies flat among the skeletons of last
Fall's weeds where yet another flower will
tomorrow sway to merest thoughts of wind.

By Peter Freas
As published at The Mindworm.

Copyright 2005 by Pete Freas.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry 360 with permission of the author.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

On the canvas

Dreams are like
white clouds spread against
the blue skies of my thought.
The rain drops fall
making me recall,
the typical smell of a
newly furnished room
and of flowers in half bloom
in the dim light
of your lies,
sitting crossed legged,
you begged.
If only I could forget and forgive
and your dreams live.
I enigmatically weighed,
the sorrows
you had given me,
and without looking
in your eyes,
I knew something would die
in you and me.

Copyright 2004-2005 by Asma Karim Mirza.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry 360 with permission of the author.