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Poetry 2012

When I am Gone
Cora Lee Thomas

When I am gone
River Skagit continues to flow
Sun shines evermore
Rain drops fall to Earth
Trees burst with green in the
Spring and stand naked in the
Crisp Autumn breeze
Moon wakes every Night to gaze upon
Golden Love sleeping in the West

When I am gone
Wind rustles branches of
Strong Cedar
Clouds soar across vast Skies

When I am gone
Mount Sauk stands tall
Unwavering through seasons
Alpine butterflies dance among bright colored
Floral friends

When I am gone
Cycle of Life
Does not stammer
Does not stop

When I am gone
My beating heart resides in
Mossy covered Earth
My blood these
Raging waters flow
My limbs reaching branches of the Old Ones
My body immense summit of
Mount Baker
My eyes white light of Moon and
Golden rays of Sun

When I am gone
I have not gone far
I live inherently within


Cancer is a Barking Dog
Lisa deCrais

Cancer is a barking dog
that lives behind my dear friend’s eyes.
I cautiously enter the room where she lays
and carefully lean in
to kiss her once plump cheek.
She quietly assures me that it is not contagious
it is hers alone; fierce and painful,
wreaking havoc from the inside
as I quietly hold her hand.


A Love/Hate Relationship

Cate Foster

I love that I am tall
it’s impossible
not to be noticed
in a crowd

I hate that I am tall
it’s impossible
not to be noticed
in a crowd

I love that I have curves
knowing that you can’t
look me in the eye
works to my advantage

I hate that I have curves
knowing that you won’t
look me in the eye

demeans and diminishes me

I love that I am strong
always the one to
get things done
men love that
in the beginning

I hate that I am strong
always the one to
get things done
men hate that
in the end

love me, hate me
I’ll take it or leave it
I love that I am


Beautiful Darkness
Natasha Lynn Haining

I fell into a world
where the story wasn’t mine
Stickers carved to fit
The covers and the spine
and all the while
I find it rather
pleasing to the eye
I must admit
And then contradict
The style isn’t quite mine.


Lonely Girl
Jessica Louise Hoffart

lonely girl
has lost her path


m  e  a  n  d  e  r  e  d

into dirt




for better footing

skeleton trees


sanguine sky

fades      into

twilight blue

thoughts racing

so she runs

runs                    runs               runs

she runs away

her thoughts                    chase               her


Sonnet #10
Carrie A Purcell

A sonnet is a little song in a little stanza, that is, a little room.
What happens between the walls and on the walls, well,
that’s anybody’s business.  Let’s get past the looming
separation.  Here are pictures set in surveying cells
at edges of word worlds. Here are tunes wombing their ways
to sea by granite mazes.  Let’s graze the tips of our fingers across wrists.
Let’s listen for this to crop up again after we go gray.
After all, nothing’s new under our young sun; we still run to kiss
or kill each other, knelling the coming numbness each year with cake.
Promenade with limeade across that fretful stage.   Prime
your photo receptors with memories for your foremothers’ sake.
Your way in and way out are already decided; the question for your time-
being being if your cell, set by other cells, will make a home.
The question is the color of your music before you are laid in loam.


Amanda Martin Sandino

Odd, and damp-cold
though odd and hot
oldly so

noises of up and down stop
with an empty pressure

those manifestations, many
ripping from and out and ward

leaping railings between
and down, sound of down
and down and down and stop.

the enumeration of all
numbered pages
numbered volumes and spaces

how they would burn
and such noise!


Logan Rush Compau

Will you read this?
they want a performance, not a tale
abused foam axes of a child
reveal my attempts at breaking
from this armor, fear
of picking up the real struggle
one we live through or we hope to so
will you read this?
I love the song but miss the chorus
some days it’s too faint
when fences vanish and I’m devoured
everywhere seems too far
but bear with me as I forget
the page but remember the words
will you read this?
Demons attempt to kill our authors
and scribble my face in a burnt homes charcoal
I’ve ceased to stare upon that piece
though it hangs off the branches
and freezes in streets like the feared
I run home but never want to be alone
I’m written down and stand for you now
Will you read this?


Shana Hirsch

slugs on wet sidewalk
Writing their slimy stories
words don’t come fast


Drowned Leaves
Melissa Pighin

The sedative aroma of coffee
And cigarettes permeated the air—
So exhaustively that the fall colors
Did not appear dynamic and brilliant,
Hanging loftily from their imperial perches.
But quite the contrary:
Wasted, tired, dead.

I was not so fortunate to have a cigarette
But sincerely wish I had acquired one.
The site seemed so bleak and somber,
Sitting on that city bench.
Trees were now soaked with discouragement
Rich purple veins attached to a source of life—
Swaying, rustling, yet limp.
Very much alive, very much dead:
An oppressive background of drowned leaves.


Spring rain
Shana Hirsch

Robin doesn’t mind
that he is drenched in diamonds
the earth is ripe with worms


Sunday Start at the Swamp
Jasleena Grewal

Ortho dribbled down the drain
bubbly estrogen swirls for froggies in
hermaphroditic limbo,
Oversized olive heads lollop on
spoiled bilateral form
webbed helicase

Rubber ducky sheds polymer feathers
into a Bp-A broth, a tadpole slurps
persistent polygons,
in his fresh yoc,
routed for demented, miniscule fate

Filtered falsehoods, swallowed with
swamp water
Ortho won’t terminate
the baby boy, lolloping head
demented, miniscule
corkscrew limbs
It dribbles down the drain.


Sestina to the Sea
Teris Ivan Winkler

Pounding the docks for a boat on which to work,
I can smell kelp, diesel oil, and rotting jellyfish
caught in the on-board nets.  Such things
are what draws me to this jagged
and battered coastal town.  Like the salmon I seek,
I’m drawn to my demise, in search of rebirth.

Others follow Buddha or Christ for rebirth,
and for some, any of these may truly work.
But for me it’s a salty salvation I seek.
An animal, I taste the sea in the air.  Like a fish,
I taste life in the sea.  I see myself in the jagged
rocks as well; victim to all the cruel harsh things

life on land has to offer.  The sea washes these things
from my shoulders and skin, inducing a birth
of  peace.  Even when her surface is jagged
peaks and wind screams through her valleys, she works
to sooth my soul.  When my mood grows bitter and selfish,
her storms are the solace I seek.

Many fear the alien world they cannot see
beneath the sea’s changing skin.  A world of things
that need no air, that need no light.  Crazy fish
that glow, like some angelic afterbirth.
Needless to say, for them the sea cannot work
to mend their souls.  Her touch would seem jagged,

as city streets are to me.  A skyline, jagged
against the setting sun is beautiful, but I’ve seen
the sky turn to fire as I worked
to harvest the sea’s precious fruit.  Cities are made of things
that were never alive; never sprouted, never born,
merely conceived and built.  Simple, grand, even foolish

sometimes, but never alive.  In cities humans flourish
like insects, stacking themselves on one another under jagged
roofs, only to be consumed by the system they were born
from.  It is money over enlightenment that they seek;
satisfaction over happiness.  The sounds of the city sting
my ears and the air burns my eyes.  What is it worth

to put up with such things when I know how to smooth the jagged
edges of my soul?  My survival, like that of a fish, it seems,
is dependent on the sea.  Everything about her is my salvation;
my rebirth.


thistle in the afternoon
Heather Leigh Miles

fleshy pads like tongues
kiss me back
green, then sweet, then licorice
forever warm in the center
delicately petaled flower
spiny fortress
saltwater pooling in the mayonnaise
afraid to drink the wine because it might wash away
the memory of the taste
i miss sharing life with you.


On Eggshells
Erin Sanchez

Five o’clock approaches
Hurry, hurry
A place for everything,
and everything in its place.

The minute hand advances
To your positions,
don’t make a sound.

The diesel engine dies
Dinner’s on,
kids are quiet.

Eyes dart around the room
Hold your breath,
wait. . .


Chelsea Carter

Someone is wearing
my husband’s skin;
his smile is gone
green eyes now white.

Someone with
no boundaries no limits
has won my husband’s battle,
his fight.

His eyes reflect
the change of state
and when I see it
I sprint for a gate.

I don’t know
what to do with him;
it is his skin,
though wearing thin.

This man behind
the mask that fits
could be the end of me
one lick.

Something isn’t
right inside,
the one I knew
I can’t find.

He does those wretched
things we hate
and with a smile
laughs at pain.

I don’t know what
to do with him,
this man inside
my husband’s skin.


315.31: Expressive Language Disorder
Carrie A Purcell

Cassandra reflects in the mirror
that perhaps her hair had been a trifle
too wild, her words too repetitive—
only two ‘dies’ next time instead of three.
She drags a comb through shuddered locks,
considers that no curse was needed
to make her cursed; only lying prophets
are ever believed anyway.
Resolves not to count the days until
tricky Odysseus should conjure
his all conquering horse.
Resolves again against Apollo’s satisfaction
at seeing, sometime, her cower. No coward, she!
But only those watching say that,
those walking know better.


Interwoven Strands
Kat Seidemann

This sweater is purled of memories and cross-stitched with deep sighs
This sweater knew how to make perfect chicken and dumplings, but
This sweater has forgotten the technique and the recipe
This sweater will never forget how to make a perfect vodka gimlet
This sweater hasn’t been to the cleaners in years, but
This sweater doesn’t get out much anymore
This sweater will not teach you Spanish
This sweater declares I will never live in Puerto Rico
This sweater often says the wrong thing, but
This sweater (almost) always means well
This sweater doesn’t mean to imply you need to go on a diet, but
This sweater hides a lot of flaws and holds a lot of secrets
This sweater can be dressed up, or
This sweater can dress you down
This sweater knows the lyrics to one thousand songs, yet
This sweater hums nothing but Brown Eyed Girl
This sweater itches to belong to a writer
This sweater believes there are no bad words, only hard feelings, but
This sweater has learned that there is bad grammar
This sweater will wash out your mouth with bar soap
This sweater once belonged to the unraveled
This sweater has been a necessity, an embarrassment, and a treasure
This sweater was owned by my mother
This sweater is my inheritance
This sweater cost me too damned much


The Object of All Pink Lost
Chelsea Carter

Subtle, bold, or sharp
soft, sweet, or sour
diluted red, more fragile red
Was pink, the strongest of powers

Invokes love, romance and hate
opens the lonely gate
locks the holy fate
Was pink, the curse of constraint

This history unfolds
we’ve all been told
the magic beholds
Was pink, the kiss he desired.

Those dreams weren’t bold
nor hearts left out cold
barefoot, purpose sold
Was pink, the skirt she admired

So beautifully, we’re wired
unmercifully devout
untamed without
Was pink, identity required

Was pink, direction of fire.


Thicker Skin
Erin Sanchez

Skin once as thin as vellum
transparent as plastic wrap
judgment would penetrate
my frailty and reserve

Like yellow Starling eyes
yours scan for prey
to accuse of privilege
blind to the looking glass

Assumptions pass your lips
disguised in academic jargon
your words like spears
now fall dull upon my skin

I know where I come from
and claim nothing more
cast your labels and theories
they pierce nothing but silence


Political Haiku
Drew Stone

Me, politically
Thoughtful, for we the people
We have the answer

To have good posture
My political leaning
Variable, man

Being sure or right
Makes the other person wrong
Victim or offense

I am political,
Thoughtful, for those of us
We have answers

Good posture is
My political leanings
Variable man,

Sure of being right or
Makes the other person wrong
Victim or crime

I am political,
Thoughtful, for those of us
We have answers

Good posture is
My political sentiments
Chance of a man

Of course they are right or
Makes the other person wrong
Crime victim or

I am politically,
Pensive, for the of us
We have answers

Good posture is
My political feelings
Chance of a man

Of course they are right or
Make the other person wrong
Crime victim or

I am politically
Pensive for us
We have answers

Good posture is
My political sentiments
Chance of a man

Of course they are right or
Make the other person wrong
Victim of a crime or

***English-Hindi-English to Bulgarian to English
**** English-Hindi-English-Bulgarian-English-Yiddish to English
***** English-Hindi-English-Bulgarian-English-Yiddish-English-French to English


Katherine K. Shaw

When the heat waves bend
familiar cold provides ease
ceasing sudden increases
whenever glimpses tread ahead

When the heat waves bend
floods and rapids recede
breeding delusions naught
then settle amidst actuality

Fronting silence which guards
forfends sighted blaze
and left me detached
When the heat waves bend


Chelsea Carter


Overtook me
Strong, as a laugher’s warrant
Grave leaked blue
Distant barking above
Guttural screams,
Fear of fire
Too long a story,
The grit is gone
Lived it,


Thumping, shuffling,
The troubled sleep in desperate hours
Physically disgusted,
Burned black
Rough and dull
Frantic straits,
Shift and twist, slacken the resin
Jangled above,
Little Knife out of reach.



January Rivers Floodstage, 1966
Denise M. Calvetti Michaels


I was one of thousands.  In two years
I’d come home, finish my degree,
apply to law school.

Late at night you saved me.
In a bar, the truck near the river, you were there,
listening, under the moon and stars.

I never realized.
It’s been 35 years since the end of the war.
We met in the middle of the fighting.


The marine I met, a local boy back from ‘Nam
who drank to shake the war, January rivers
flood stage—the Eel, the Mad, the Little

and the Klamath, our windshield scoured
by gale-swept limbs, needles of redwoods,
Barbra Streisand on the radio in the Chevy

pickup truck, a plaintive song like the dark-spell
plunge of a Raymond Carver blue collar narrative
when we swerve hair-pin curves back of town.


From the end of the Korean War until 1973, every American male
between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six (including, famously,
Elvis Presley), was subject to conscription for two years of military
service. (Raymond Carter, A Writer’s Life)


One a.m. Black Russians on ice in a tavern
Carver’s wife may have worked graveyard,

Ray at home with two babies in diapers,
trying to write short stories.


I was running away to write, poet runaway.

A bottle of red wine on the table, cracked crab in a blue bowl.

Lit major, sonnets near the fire.

Closing night, invited to the drama teacher’s cabin on Humboldt Bay.


Have courage.  Be brave, and keep asking, Mr. Marks, American
Government, Sequoia High, when I leave to attend college.


Keys clot, computer screen a labyrinth of rubble and ache, rubble and ache,
words failing.

A midlife woman writer sojourns to an interlude of war, an exile, to prod
logjams, inkpen in her hand to break the spell, the longing, clouds clearing,
myths in the distance.


spe(l)l, Old Eng from Gothic spill, meaning tale, story, statement


To tell this story from Jim’s point of view, begin with tale.


like a girl I loved in Vietnam,
incantation you murmur
I have not forgotten,
tactile as ribbons
loosed from my hair,

blouse deep ditch maroon
you unbutton, a girl
across the ocean
entwining us between the pages
of American history lessons.


Kelle Grace Gaddis

Leggy wines red, ruby, white and pink
half held tenderly in low-light, a spent lover’s grip
around an empty glass.
Too exhausted to let go.
Unwilling to imagine life
beyond the soft velvety kisses of these
smoky, tawny and floral muses whose
siren’s call promise relief from sorrow.
These hollow voices whisper inside your head
until they raise to shameless shouts
more, more, more!
The implausibility of change
who, like me, insist you forgive everyone
including yourself.
Are you afraid you’ll realize you are no longer young?
Are you more brilliant by the glass?
With a grin you tell me not to nag.
Your hands wrap around a new ones body
You tug and pull at her foil even as we discuss
your health and my unhappiness.
Sticking your screw in deep, uncorking her
while saying it is me you really love.
Holding her up before putting her down
Insisting, all the while, it is meaningless.


Heather Leigh Miles

You spend your whole life waiting
for someone to crack open your heart
like a safe
for someone to care enough about what’s inside
to break in
for someone to need it
to read it
like a favorite book
cherishing intimate lines
weeping for the death of the heroine.
You want to feel what’s inside come rushing out
sweet fragrant milk from a coconut
water pouring frantically from full gutters
spitting down the drain spout
you want to feel
your cup run over
to feel alive and open
in the company of a rain soaked lover.
You do not want someone to come and sit
in your innermost room
needing just to be inside
to hide
from falling rain
wanting only your warmth
uncurious about the safe of your heart
or its contents
to rest by your fire
with a book of their own choosing
waiting out the storm.


Rock Lover
Katie Joy

A man of strength, a man of rock
Muscles hard and skin smooth and thick
Steel arms push iron and muscles lock
Sturdy and stable a house of brick
My lover is strength in body and soft in heart
Contently enraged at the wrongful world
A rock and fortress of righteous pain torn apart
I see you determined and mission pearled
But the world’s imperfections will not cloud your vision
Soft at heart but stable as stone
Exercise a plan of iron and precision
Muscles pumping, sweat dripping, and pain to the bone
As life longs to be lived, I will be your lover
With our new life we have a new world to discover


Stand Up
Jessica Louise Hoffart

you lie there holding on
those threads might save your life
but you end up forgetting,
giving into the moment

those threads might save your life
letting go, you drown
giving into the moment
into his sheets and lies

letting go, you drown
hoping for love
in his sheets and lies
but it may never come

the love you are hoping for
may never come
those threads of truth might save your life
but you lay there holding on
forgetting about the lies


Dinner Leftover
Melissa Pighin

I’d like to be together,
But alas, that depends
On if, when, and whether
You’ve tied up your loose ends.
You told me to wait,
I’ve waited for a year.
But my dear, it’s too late
Our love’s disappeared!
It’s grown lukewarm
Like dinner leftover.
I doubt you will learn
So, I’m turning a cold shoulder.
Love is fleeting,
But my heart’s still beating.


Vanitas Ovum
Heather Leigh Miles

today I am an eggshell
glued to the cutting board where I sit
yesterday I was almost an omelette
fine herbs, souffled and fit
for royalty
or for come and get
but what before seemed heaven-sent
is currency already spent
a mess the housekeeper resents
albumin fixed, sulfuric hints
it’s alchemy, ladies and gents!
yesterday I was a prince
but today
I am an eggshell


A Night with Andrea Gibson
Logan Compau

I got on the bus after she declared her heart
and within my veins her words now live
we never wanted to leave her
hall but all nights must turn
and her poems were delicate while mine are rough
and though you don’t need to express in poem
it sure does get people to listen
to the terrible tragedy because
as we speak we’re breathing inaudible reasons
why bus stops make us feel everything worse
or why we think our lives make us look fat
and covered in worlds of misunderstood nights
with oh so common terrors
and as I text this for lack of pen
we should know we have that place
between skies of crows and dusk
And understood mornings with sun dried docks



I haven’t left you,
I’ve just blown the gig,
found an afterlife, blogs, repetition,
seafood, laundry baskets,
words complicate cleanliness,
eat paychecks, snack on excess
and time pays…it pays…it pays.
I cannot afford words any longer,
can only shop for necessities
and hardware, words, there is no treatment
only advertisements and trash bills,
two player games with nameless neighbors super wal-mart salvation, we met in a cage,
Made choices by moons and backpacks,
Did we ever discover blank pages at sunrise
or life in pink palaces? I was once alphabetic bubbles and balloons,
alive, a life.
Stopping for intoxicants and routines.
let’s bond and seek edible words in my
salad bowl of green meanies and two-tone lies.


Elliott Church

I have no PPFD – the sun and I, we can’t coordinate
Only 5 weeks to go

Could herbaceous shoot annuals confound % bare ground?
Only 4 weeks to go

Unknown dicot cotyledons appearing in quadrats
What is that deciduous sapling?
Only 3 weeks to go

Meter tape is in the car
where did I put that meter sti-(snap)
only 2 weeks to go

Searching for photosynthetic photon flux densities
corresponding to compensation points
Is P. parviflorus of a comparable growth form to U. dioca?

Only 1 week to go