The Canyon ChronicleBy The Canyon Chronicle

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Why War When Beauty Abounds? So now let’s let the poetry of our days drift Into May, June, July, August Into the revels of holidays galore Into September, October, November, December Until another year when I play, pray, celebrate, marvel at Ancient miracles with love in my heart. But I can’t help but ask, Where is today’s Moses To strike his staff at river’s edge To lead his people To the Promised Land? When will we stand before mass graves to grieve and see them empty like Mary at the tomb? Will we see our Beloved standing before us saying, “Be not afraid”? Oh, Ukraine. —Flavia (née Stoyanoff) Potenza
Ukraine, 2022

Civilian soldiers,
in a trench,
recognized a comrade
as a local singer—
of course they asked.

He grinned and shook his head.

But these fighters don’t give up,
they joked, pleaded,
begged again.

He stared into the smoke-filled sky
thought for a while,
turned, faced them
and in his deep, rich voice

Birds flyin’ high
You know how I feel
Sun in the sky
It’s a new day
It’s a new dawn
And I’m feeling good

Then a siren wailed.
—Peg Quinn
Haiku Day, April 17
a poet reaches
into the mud of her soul
hunting for the light
and finds it leaking
from all breathing things
—Ann Buxie
young wrens flush with new
flying crash flash into spring
find leafy landings
—Anita McLaughlin
I have a Laughing Buddha in my garden
The neighbor’s dog just visited
And peed all over Budha’s left hand side
He wet my Buddha’s head, his belly
And his heart

And my Buddha’s laughing
Ha ha ha ha
Ha ha ha ha ha.
—Jane Marla Robbins
E. Dickinson advises
to write poetry slant;
it’s how I park my car.
Russia and Ukraine
at war while I shop
Anthropologie’s night stands.
Family, you are my fields
gone wild, my root chakra,
my daily bread.
—Jean Colonomos
poetry may be a shovel
I dig in the dirt
water tomatoes
one hole like
where to put it?
in Fresno or Ojai
does it rhyme?
is there alliteration?
is the shape a supple curve
into soil?

poetry may be anywhere
a cocker spaniel asleep
on a chair, a glass
of Chablis lit by sun
will it lead to a young oak
or to tiny purple flowers?
is poetry the sound of a train
blowing through Santa Paula at
eight o’clock in the morning?
too early for wine
ideal for a poem

poetry may be the clink
of your keys
hitting the yellow bowl
by the door
a nudge
a reminder
that yes
this is the place,
you and poetry
are here
—Anita McLaughlin
Prednisone. They say if I stay on it
I’ll have a face—round as the moon.
Though I love you, Moon.

They add—round as a pizza
And I love pizza.

Or a tennis ball
though I don’t play anymore.

“Have a ball!”
my father always said—

that’s the challenge, that’s the trick.
Now to make the moonlight stick.
—Jane Marla Robbins
House Above our Hands
Inspired by “School’s Out 1975” by Paula Neves
—From the book, ‘Through a Grainy Landscape’

We form the steeple with our fingers and blow
Into our palms, hoping for the whistle sound
Of a new spirited hopefulness. Wishing us forward
To a time when the earth would not be charred
Rough grey and gouged out like a new valley floor.
We want to stop hearing about mandatory evacuations,
the Topanga Boulevard closed to traffic
For nearly a week, thousands of us displaced
To the streets, a friend’s couch or school gymnasium.
One family got off board at Pierce College
and slept in their truck with their chickens.
Fire season comes every week
Of the year now, its drought-filled head rises in the
Rain, it growls and flies when there is not even any
Wind. Helped on by arsons and the sparks from SCE’s
Downed power lines, from years of neglect.
It is what it is, everyone says, looking
Past the back fence to another year of the dry
Creek, and its forgiving smile with embedded boulders
And cracked railroad ties. We pack bags and load
Up cars one more time, dreaming of generators
And the bean soup thawing in the freezer without
Us, the worry and the waste of how it is.
—Millicent Borges-Accardi
*Asante sana moto wa tembo
Nibbling acacia thorns
a giraffe’s lanky stare down
humbles my curiosity
evoking the memory
of a rescued elephant calf
those infant touches
of its fingertip trunk
exploring my face
as I knelt
to the tiny gift
of my heart’s immensity
* Many thanks baby elephant (Maasa)
—Philip Daughtry, Topanga
Home Brew
I pay nosy attention to fermentation of
Saki rice milled near translucency
the busy must working joyous as frogs.

After ten months, lifting my first cup,
high as Genghis Khan ahead of his horses
I toast all sweet conquests of thirst...

one miracle a day, another miracle tomorrow
death overdue as an empty cup
—Philip Daughtry, Topanga
Voice was Always
Kind and strong. It was like walking
Along the dry creek before the winter
Water turns Topanga into a Class
Three rapid. The voice of the raccoon
Snubs and stumbles its integrity
And steals a plum, as a gift
Of hopefulness, a kind gesture
From an otherwise harsh view
Of his best dreams as the squirrel
Hides a corner of his tail beneath
To the railing of the oak bridge
Bearing weight between both
Creek beds straddling a time
When there was a sky and those
People who could would have ventured out
Side of their awful fully tiered minds
Onto freshly made sidewalks
And tables cleared for the next
Eager customer waiting to feel whole again.
—Millicent Borges-Accardi
The Canyon Chronicle

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April 29, 2022