Selected Poems 2021, Topanga, California Part 3, April 30

The Canyon ChronicleBy The Canyon Chronicle

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Selected Poems 2021, Topanga, California Part 3, April 30
Dress Pink in Drama Never use pink in a poem was a loving teacher’s only rule. What’s uncool about mauve sunsets often modulate to pink? Pink tulips, blush on peaches, my daughter’s salmon prom dress, matching lipstick. A pink satin blouse when I was eight. Eight pink buttons. Pink can paint a sweet perfection. I began to question her brutish exclusion. Could she have suffered incarnadine traumas? But she was too smart. I finally got it. She was goading us to prove her mistaken. Drop the cliché; dress pink in drama! I changed my life. Chopped off a finger with pinking shears. Nicked my toe. Licked the blood. Left pink stains on the porcelain stove. Pondered the Pink River Dolphin’s glow. Stole a prize Clingstone from a Georgia peach grove, a spritz of pink on its pretty skin. I bit into it; it was sheltering a nosh of slimy pink maggots. My teacher had this pixie smile. —Florence Weinberger California Morning Song Olive tree bent on the hill, bathed in expectancy. Lavender, and white stone. Sea wind turns the world transparent. Jade shell Pink Perfection camellia water-cuts in sand mutate on the zigzag border between wholeness and coming undone. The horizon a gold line, broken by tankers and tall ships, between visible and unseen. How loneliness ends though you are far from home. How a sailor becomes the oceans she sails across. — Mary Kay Rummel From “The Lifeline Trembles,” 2014 Blue Light Award; former Poet Laureate, Ventura County
Into the Still Dark Morning
I don’t want to budge, but
night is preparing to welcome day,
and I don’t want to miss the play.
It will not happen soon again.

I want to be part of it.
To feel the wind on my face,
to hear the trees singing with bird chatter.
I must go now; the curtain is rising.

There will be transformations.
A different person will return,
and that is why I go out
Into the darkness.

—Janet Goldberg

April Comes to the Valley
I see egrets
fold unfold fold
upriver and down
white flecks tossed
against fresh green
South Mountain

The last of winter
makes a run to the top
drops a tight frost
but spring invites us
to a baby egret kind of day

A truck tinkles happy poetry
through tidy neighborhoods
baby egrets ask for ice cream
papa egret snacks on lizards
snapped from garden walls

The mother flaps anxious
warns of coyotes
bobcats crows
mentions nothing
about boys with smiles
that slide to the backseat
of their ‘57 Chevy

She says nothing
about spring in Montana
about a young girl
a handsome boy
until I find her poem
“Blue Flowers
After Rain”

—Anita McLaughlin
The reference to “Blue Flowers” is a nod to her mother, Eleanor Weaver, which McLaughlin said she “never understood.”
...what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?
—Robert Hayden, Those Winter Sundays

Not yet allowed to cross the street
I waited patiently at the corner,
peering down the block, until he appeared
walking home from the F train.

I, who have
traveled the world,
seen many wonders,
believe that no
wilderness trek,
no safari thrill,
has ever compared
to the moment I would spot him,
my five-year-old heart racing,
small frame bouncing up and down,
waving, screaming Daddy, Daddy,

and he would laugh,
drop his briefcase,
lift me high above the world,
challenge me to guess
which sweaty palm held
a piece of bubblegum
or penny candy.

Oblivious to his
long and burdensome day,
I long assumed that my joy,
my earthshaking happiness,
was all that consumed us both.

—Anita Pulier

They call her Paris
She is every romance
Heart beating
Every walk
hands touching
Every kiss
hardly breathing
Every glance
Shyness coming
Her body wraps around me like she’s known me all her life
And when she moves
It’s like a tender trap I cannot escape
She guides me
Then I don’t know where
She breathes me
And I no longer care
When she takes me
I know another kind of place
And back we go
Ethereal kinds of space
Ahhhhh….Paris….elegant and bold

—Renee Di Palma

The war for peace
The war for land
The war for resources
The war for empire

Dividing lines mark the earth
but sever the bodies
Walls build themselves
before the concrete is spun

The war for power
The war for revenge
The war for racial purity

Death elevated now
like a rising stock
its wand of chemicals
more valuable than
its slice by
bullet blade bomb
a death contest sponsored by Rules of War
blistered blood
nerves jangled into silence

The war for gods
The war for minds
The war for liberty

Too many wounds
from benign neglect
Who recovers with
posthumous band-aids?

The war for
The war for
The war for peace.

—S. Pearl Sharp
© 2020

Broken Pieces
All was if and maybe and meanwhile. The chorus
sang full of weed, a reflection on the acoustics
in the church, and—when does it ever seem all right—
When will that be again? The empirical
wish of a stupid requirement for happiness. Was that
what it was? And, they lived happily ever after is the phrase
perhaps you were looking for, a timid cool minute inside
your head when you used to believe otherwise, back in the slow
when time when it was not the new normal and, man,
it is not just us; it is global and inflated and then you know
it is terrifying. Did they take a census this year? 2020.
America, I seem to remember ten years ago
the government wanted to know our household income,
and what we did for a living.
This year? The form was all about age and race
and you could fill in whatever “other” you wanted.
Like a weakness, a mere description of how it was not
supposed to be.

—Millicent Borges-Accardi
Originally appeared in PANK
Mile-Hi Ennui
Love, all day I peer
out the window at the glass
canyons of the city, an abyss
stretching toward the mountains;
or maybe it’s my own life
reflected in the anonymity
of people and traffic.
I don’t know.
I hate this city, landlocked,
insular, and suffocating
with its people who glare
at me. “Are you Spanish?”
Not even the memory of your smile
illuminates a better way for me to go,
an escape plan.

Lights flicker across the city,
spilling their gold. Light
has such a brief existence,
old as it is, dimming into a petal’s fall,
into shadows. Footsteps
and voices fade, dusk beckons.
Days, months, years pass
as I languish in this place.

When I am with you
Your words and smile are one.
Your arms go around me
and I am warm.

But when you go
your words darken into a maze,
with too many false exits
and entrances, and my life,
like Colfax Avenue
uncoils from the byways
and stretches into a snake
30 miles long
without glottis or tongue.
Mile-Hi Ennui

—Elaine Alarcon

Am Sleeping Beauty waking with
the kiss of Vaccination.

The seven dwarves who kept watch,
Loneliness, Deprivation, Fear, Unhappiness,
Despair, Sleepy and Dopey, off duty.

My eyes, awake now,
See new colors
Greens of spring
The white of my dog’s fur
After thirteen months of grey.

I went to the café
Masked in its almost empty space
Lone Rangers all around me
Seeking Tonto
And his horse.

—Jane Marla Robbins

The Pumpkin Eater
For Lorraine

My friends are always in the next room,
I can hear their voices and their laughter,
Bright with sparkle like the ripples in a valley pool, late afternoon,
on someone’s birthday.

My friends are always in 1975, or 86, or 2001,
drinking wine spo-dee-o-dee, seeing The Stones in San Francisco,
chasing Hollywood fame, living in a caboose, running afoul of the law,
strutting on stages, slinging hash, praying, working for Vidal Sassoon,
falling in love and waiting for the end of the world.

My friends sit forever around a campfire,
under California coastal shooting stars,
ribald voices raised beneath the moon until silenced by the park ranger,
for singing “Puff the Magic Dragon” too loud.

My friends are always just up ahead,
walking a Santa Barbara hillside trail, one darkest, moonless night,
there I dropped behind, daring to feel embraced by blackness,
got scared and ran to catch up with them.
My friends are always at the bar of the Rosarito Beach Hotel,
or Vasquez Rocks, The Hollywood Bowl, lost for eternity in a corn maze,
at the Dodger game, coloring Easter Eggs, doing Vegas,
or standing at the edge of the sea.

My friends are right over there, in Lorraine’s backyard,
standing in a circle, children too, singing a Christmas carol,
all lit up with comradery, ever alive in the glow of that holy night.
And there I keep them very well.

—Kathie Gibboney
In This House
in this house
where a dining table would be
is an open floor
and this morning
a slow dance
craggy kneed
knotty shouldered
till inside eyes see
forested sun dappled
wildfire forged beauty
till salty tears fall and
honeysuckled vines rise
round ankles and wise hips
dragonflies alight fingertips
till you feel the feast
you could keep laying
rolling swinging swaying
resolving into staying
revving in stillness
till glistening you
sense the sweetness
we all crave
is held here
in our own heart
ripe to hold us
no matter how long
we’ve been hungry
hours years lifetimes
we are home

—Kara Masters
Dandelion Love
I was a small Dandelion growing in the ground
Then my heart began to grow when you first came around
I was a weed, so young and weak
My heart just fell beneath your feet
I saw your face and could barely speak.

My heart is yours until the end
When I’m old and grey and can’t even bend
Your strength still carries me away
You made me who I am today
What good would life be if I didn’t have you
Your Wisdom, Laughter and all you do.

The Dandelion is now a Rose
With many thorns sometimes exposed
My heart has never changed you see
Since the day you proposed to me.

—Callie E. Moos
The Canyon Chronicle

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April 30, 2021

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