Saturday, September 5, 2020

Lakshman Bulusu ----------------------------- poem

SPECIALLY CHALLENGED
By Lakshman Bulusu

I am specially challenged—
The experts call it OCD, BPD, depression—
The words ‘mental illness’ resonate in my mind,
my life shattered like a well-crafted antique,
splintered to pieces.
Moment by moment, this thought eclipses me.
Until one day, I realize I have to come out of this darkness.
Even the night has the moon and the stars
and the day has its light.

I thrill in gardening:
plant seeds of marigold and sunflowers,
till the soil in furrows with a cultivator or a garden hoe,
water daily using a green watering can
with patience as far as my passion can hold.
Behold each blossom, a newborn seasonal beauty.

I take to painting, try to imitate Jean-Michel,
create faces with expressions of 
joy, gloom, anger, despair—
in ages of a child, aged, blonde, and old-aged—
in ranges of white, black, brown, and 
the versatility of light.

I resort to basketball. In a court set up in my backyard
practice shooting the ball into the hoop.
Sometimes I play alone yet overcome the solitude 
by living in the next throw, this time to make it a better one.

The music of the Beatles’ Come Together and Michael Jackson’s Thriller
the song and beat rocking through the speakers
overwhelm me as I drive through the countryside flanked by green fields. 

I recite hymns of Lord Ram at an ancient temple,
sometimes so immersed it becomes a soliloquy.
Every chant of it chases the blues away that kept chasing me.

I engage in literature, sonnet to free verse,
a monologue or a dialogue, as an inspiration 
to those sharing my space.
I write poems to characterize myself in a comic vein.


I venture out in the open, take a sojourn at the beach.
I find solace in that I can challenge my challenge.
A signal of mental wellness:
At the end of the evening, relaxing in a chair, 
sipping tea, and acknowledging passers by.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Two poems ----------- by Wendy Beamish


LOST

When I was young
And wild and joyful,
I met a mystic sage
She had a dark and golden heart
And promised me endless light

Being greedy and wanting
more happiness
I barely listened to her
song
And blithely followed her
As she spiraled down

To uplift you,
She told me,
I will take you
through the
Deepest darkness
Blackest blight
Searing sadness
And when you rise
you will break the
Surface
Like a swimmer
Bursting into the light

Following her down,
I became lost
in infinite night
in piercing pain
in tireless tragedy

Without the sage,
Doubt and Panic
overtook me
knowing I would
never be the same

But I fought,
lost
Going up
Going down
And up and down
Again and again

And years passed
this way
As I fought to break
the surface

And sometimes I thought
I saw the light
Other times
I was soaked in darkness

And each time
I was near
The light
I healed a little

And then I
realized
The light was not
Joy
But
Wisdom





Inspiration Lost


Perfectionism is
spotless white gloves,
freshly fallen snow,
unblemished porcelain skin.

But perfectionism
is parallelizing
when you're in
its grip

And inspiration
becomes mere
Respiration

Perfectionism is
the hammer that comes down
on the nail,
the noose that hangs,
the seal on the coffin,

Perfectionism is
drowning in your
own idealism

Unable to
reach my ideals
Inspiration
becomes mere
Respiration

Perfectionism
has stopped me,
death by asphyxiation 
by a Tyrant
of my own making

And when can I breathe
just a ... little
I wonder

Who decides what perfect is?

For if beauty is in the eye of the beholder,
perfect can take on many forms,
leaving it amorphous

The answer cannot
be
stopping
or
Holding tight to harrowing idealism
but
finding away
to
Exist between the lines

To allow mere respiration
To become inspiration













Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Podcast featuring Koon Woon

Hello folks,

If you have wondered about your editor for this venue, here is a podcast (Town Hall presentation, Seattle) featuring me with a bit about where I am coming from.

https://inthemoment.libsyn.com/67-shin-yu-pai-koon-woon-lyric-world

Peace

Koon

John Grey ..................... three poems


ON A MOUNTAIN ROAD, YOU’RE DRIVING, I’M WATCHING

As I immerse myself
in the scenery,
you grip tight
to the steering wheel,
concentrate on winding
with the winding road,
not against it.

What do I care
if there’s a deep ravine
on one side,
a towering cliff on the other.
I’m part of the mountains.
You’re maneuvering
the turns, the twists,
of the one part
of this spectacular landscape
that is indisputably human.

My reverie
takes me to the very top
of the highest peak.
Your close attention
has you where you are
at any given moment.

That last thing you want
is for is to both go over the side.
That’d be a thousand feet drop for you.
Six thousand for me.














GALE

An indifferent waking,
she invokes a comedy,
her thumb-twiddle
taking on great importance,
her twisted mouth
more for balance than effect.

And then out pop her toes
from the end of the sheets,
flaked with red paint,
wiggling like piglets
sucking on the teats of the morning.
 
Her arms stretch wide
as lungs retrieve some of the oxygen
gone missing in the night,
then knuckles rub eyes
so vision can move forward.

She lifts herself up on her elbows,
swings legs around,
touches the floor gingerly
like dipping feet in cold water.

Seated side-saddle on the bed,
this is her first portrait sitting
for the day.
Sun warms to the task.
Light is eager to begin.
First, a masterpiece.
Then coffee.













TRASH ON THE SIDEWALK

The battered rusty truck stops.
Old furniture left out on a sidewalk
is loaded onto the back.

Maybe a table with one misshapen leg.
Or a television that needs a thump on the side
to get a picture.
Or a bookcase that’s missing a shelf.

Someone inside the house
glimpses a broken chair being lifted
and they may see the hands
but never the face
of the one taking it.

And the guy doing that lifting
can see something move in the window
out of the corner of his eye
but he turns his head away.
It’s enough they know that
their trash is being taken away.
No need for them to see the one
for whom all this is treasure.

The truck drives off.
The sidewalk is clear.
The castoffs will go
to make his apartment more livable.

The family is relieved
that the junk is off their hands.
He’s anonymous
until his truck gets it to its destination.












Monday, August 10, 2020

Friday, May 22, 2020

Lenora Rain-Lee Good ---------------- three poems


This While
            --by Lenora Rain-Lee Good

I lie next to you this night
listen to your soft snores
feel your chest move up
move down, enjoy your
body so close to mine

and fear this is
our last time together.

A thousand miles and more
separate our homes; I fear
you won't return,
and I cannot come to you.

Age holds us both
in its iron grip; only one way
for us to break free.

I so want to share
with you the years we have left
to treasure you,
to hold you close and tell you
I love you—
but your heart belongs
to the Salish Sea.

If you ask, will the Sea call me,
allow me to be with you?
You and she have years
together; a history you and I
can never share.

I swing between happiness
you have her to love
and tears it is not me.

I do not sleep while we are
together; I lie awake
listen to  your soft breaths
feel your chest move up,
move down
                    keep you
covered so you don't chill
as you dream of that distant sea

and marvel
you chose me

for at least this while.




Without End
            --by Lenora Rain-Lee Good

i

The clock measures time with
the monotony of a well-made quartz
movement. Barely audible, ticks and tocks
count the minutes of my life;
the pendulum no longer swings
with youthful abandon of self-
absorbed lovers walking through
the park swinging entwined hands
with each step into their future--
a pastel colored dream.

With inexorable precision the
metronome keeps perfect time,
measures the beat of heart,
of song, of life, of death.
The sky grays with predawn light
birds chirp and call the sun.
They live, they sing, they eat,
they die. Where do they bury their dead?


ii

I miss you, I tell my son.
Why? He asks, somewhat surprised
and maybe a little embarrassed.
Oh, I reply, no reason—
maybe the garbage needs taking out.

He laughs, and says
he's going to die. Not soon
I quickly say. No, he laughs
at least not to my knowledge—
but I don't control that.

We all will die. Our bodies
no longer home to our souls.
In his youth, he pictures himself
worldly wise, accepting.

I wonder his reaction when I die
when I can no longer laugh with him
comfort him. How, then will he think
on death's inevitability?


iii

Reiki music softly
repeats on my stereo.

The wind sneaks
a chill into the house.

Birds squabble for
seed and territory.

El NiƱo disrupts
our weather pattern.

I smile. The
butterfly beats wings
near a mulberry bush
in a land far away.




Kubota-sama Dreams in Silk
            --by Lenora Rain-Lee Good

His hand, steady, gentle
takes narrow bands of silk
places tiny stitches
silk puckers
mini hills, mini canyons
dyes of love.

Vibrant colors emerge
purple     blue     pink     golden
the four seasons
in kimono to grace a wall
to grace a body.

Dreams of silk
flare when the wearer
turns in unAsian haste
to betray western clothes
beneath
garish     loud.

Kimono evoke
samurai
chivalry
gentility of sword
and seppuku.

Poetry interwoven with pain
shimmer together
in narrow
bands of silk
simple
elegant
regal
dreams of Kubota-sama
become kimono.


Inspired by the book Opulence, The Kimonos and Robes of Itchiku Kubota

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Three poems ---- John Grey


MAGGIE

She was all about morning light and lost causes.
Had she been born fifty years before,
she’s have taken up arms in the Spanish Civil war.
But her window looked out on discrimination.
And battered wives. And raids on gay bars.
And kids handed rifles and pointed toward the jungle.

She marched more than some armies
but with placards not weaponry.
And she paid for that more than once –
a blackjack across the skull for example,
or a family that just stopped speaking to her.

She was shot at in the South once.
The redneck missed but she figured next time,
she wouldn’t be so lucky.
But she was lucky.
At least, as much as a woman who lived in 
a low-rent flea-trap in the Bronx
could be said to live in sight of fortune’s smile.

She volunteered in foodbanks,
found shelter for the homeless,
read poetry to inmates,
some of it her own.
She never saw herself as a saint.
Just someone who rose to that morning light.
no matter where the darkness had taken her.

She never married. Nor did she have children.
Her long hair went silver in her thirties.
And then, when AIDS came for her friends,
she tended the dying, accosted the indifferent.

Maggie died in ’93, unreported by the newspapers.
The news even took its time getting out to the ones who knew her.
She’d become more of a hermit by then.
Her health was failing. Her spirit was like a purse
down to its last few grubby pennies.
I like to think that, even in the end,
she kept abreast of the light of the new day.
But then I always like to think.
Maggie liked to do.  



ISABELLE                                                                                Page One

Fourteen guys you dated.
The first at fifteen,
the last at twenty-five.
One reminded you of your father.
He wasn’t the one you married.
You figure ‘dated’ for an odd kind of word.
Did a movie with friends count?
What about an accidental meeting in a coffee shop?

Will was handsome.
The competition got too fierce,
Dan was cheerful.
That got obnoxious after a while.
You were with Paul for over a year
so the details squeeze together
but you do remember how
there was this kind of acceptance
that he was the one
you’d be spending the rest of your life with
but that fizzled.
And there was Frank.
He really had the mean gene.

Fourteen guys it was.
And surely, they all left some kind
of a mark on you.
None a bruise, thankfully.
But a place in the heart –
even for Joshua
who’s now in an institution.
You could see that coming.
His kisses always felt like symptoms.

Jerry is the one you finally said yes to.
He was the second to ask that question.
Strangely, the two of you didn’t date all that much.
You just hung together.
Neither had much money.
That seemed the cheapest way to honor the arrangement.





ISABELLE                                                                 Page Two

And marriage was just hanging
at a whole other level.
You ate out from time to time
but only because the two of you were hungry
and neither felt like cooking.
And you went out to the movies together.
But that was before the neighborhood was wired for cable.
Maybe that was the problem
with thirteen of the fourteen.
They had no idea how to just be some place.

You’ve been together twenty years now.
You’ve worked. You’ve traveled.
You’ve had kids. And, of course, your own home. 
If it really is a date, then it sure is a long one.
If you’re still just chilling
then you have redefined the word.



THE MOUNTAINEERS

No point in further discussions.
The slopes before us will not hear of it.
And the peak itself points the way,
to inspire, to intimidate, or both.

We are not heroes. Not particularly smart.
But, unlike most dreams, ours take shape.
They rise up before us on the path we’ve taken.
No way we could ever turn around.

Here in the mountains, words know their place.
And so, does normal, from blinding ice glint
to the rumble of distant avalanches
and that stomach-punch of a drop below.

And the rocks’ chilling faces
are out-ogred by the creeping clouds
and a pure-white goat steps lightly up an incline,
grandstanding while we step shakily.

In the village, we were warned of
sudden weather shifts, told of those
who never returned. Even at lower levels,
there is no small talk. 

But here we are, having settled our
affairs, triple-kissed our loved ones, 
calmed their fears with our excitement,
and have struggled halfway toward the summit.

And in the mountains, there is nothing
we can say to each other. We just go on.
We know what we have set out to do.
Dangerous yes but, as ever, in our best interests.













Lakshman Bulusu ----------------------------- poem

SPECIALLY CHALLENGED By Lakshman Bulusu I am specially challenged— The experts call it OCD, BPD, depression— The words ‘mental ill...