• Wordless Whisper – Karl Abrams
  • What Mates AMerica, America? – Hal Bogotch
  • The Return – krista schwimmeer
  • All You Are – Ronald K. McKinley
  • Almost There – Janet Phelan
  • Sacred Places – Jim Smith
  • LAPD Why Did You Tow? – Ray Chase
Wordless Whisper


By Karl Abrams


While the foggy mountains of San Jacinto,
still wear their early morning winter clouds
like misty half darkened haloes,
I still wait to see you again.
Usually you’re just too far away to see
except in foggy sacred dreams.
It is there that a transformative glow of some prehistoric dawn
mixes with changeless ever-changing waterfalls
that then roll away in awe and splendor
leaving a soft pine smell in a cold starry night
that first speaks in thunder and vision
and then guides as a wordless whisper
of where yet to start again.
What Makes America, America?


Is it a wild ideal?  Is it a fair square deal?
Is it a mountain of dough?  Is it a cool free throw?


Is it the pet rock craze?  Is it the summer days?
Is it an ice cream scoop?  Is it the pigeon poop?


Is it a riot girl?  Is it the Tilt-a-Whirl?
Is it the bold bebop?  Is it a new damp mop?


Is it the zoot suit gas?  Is it a deep morass?
Is it the edge of night?  Is it a chick delight?


Is it the Jesus shtick?  Is it an Exxon slick?
Is it a B-52?  Is it Siouxsie Sioux?


Is it a matchbox car?  Is it a steel guitar?
Is it the Wolfman Jack?  Is it the future back?


Is it a punctured lung?  Is it Mao Tse-tung?
Is it a coiled rope?  Is it undying hope?


–Hal Bogotch
The Return


It is true, then:
there is a kind of holiness
that stalks you
when your heart,
stoned & pitted by
everyday acrimony & atrocity
seeks the Cave of Dissolution.
Then, the Holy hounds you
on certain, strong paws
startling you with a snarl
as she easily strides through
the heavens & hells concocted by you
to block the entrance to your final lair.
As she leaps at you, she becomes
the aurora borealis blazing
through even your bones to reveal 
at last, the Wondrous Self!
And so, the treasure is gained.
The cave dissolves.
There is nothing left to do
but Return.


–krista schwimmer
       All You Are


By Ronald K. McKinley       
One particle at a time 
    Arrange yourself
         Place your beliefs
                   around your kin
Nest your loves
           far from any void
The smallest part
          of who you are
               can not be lost
  You are more
          than what you see
    The light and significant
The words on this page
        Sent you out
Flux and Flow
   Pulsed to your step
The Sun has set
        Rises somewhere else
You slow down
        But do not stop
Some is revealed
         not what is lost
Born here
          Dead somewhere else
Hear all you can
         but do not listen
What you know
          can not be taught
Lost is sometimes found
       Start before you begin
You will never be behind.
         All you Are
               is more than enough
Almost There


It’s only a year or two
until it all falls apart
You walk through the darkling streets
away from the tiny mountain village
as the lasts streetlamp illuminates
an apron of falling snow
unfurling in the oval amber glow


No one has walked this way for hours,
maybe days
There are no tracks to follow
no signs to let you know
if you’ve really strayed too far this time


The world here is solitary
its secrets lie buried
you can’t tell where the street ends
and the woods begin
everything has fused
into a great, glistening way


and you know too much
and you now what that means
in times like these


Every step takes you further
and deeper
and stronger
experience peeling off
and melting away
leaving you light
condensed to the crystalline form
of what you must do


A nearby spruce groans
a branch splintering off
under its icy white weight


No one would ever know
if you didn’t turn back


Somewhere, a tight knot is loosened
your last restraints fall away


The wind scissors your breath
the sky gathers its folds around you


you are almost there


–Janet Phelan
Sacred Places


By Jim Smith


There are sacred places in the woods
first recognized by the Tongva people
and revered to this day.


And who would not stand in awe of a mountain spring
or a mighty rock thrusting towards heaven
amid the woodland silence, and the subtle sounds.


The sacred is where you find it.
Here in Venice, the hidden Redwood,
Japanese gardens and impossible flowers.


And walking toward the center, the Circle,
there is a Temple on a rise of ground,
Inside is a space like the Greeks once knew.


In ancient times they looked up in awe at the mighty Apollo,
or the wise Athena, until their calm places 
were pulled down by Barbarians, blind to the sacred.


Inside our Temple, the deified Abbot looks down
and watches us through the journeys of our lives
as we embrace the Sacred, or turn away.
LAPD Why Did You Tow?


Late November morning before the sun was up
Heard a motor running wondered what the fuck
It was two cop cars not hard to mistake
Flashing lights on top four cops just in case


I opened the door and the man said Hey
Get your things get out we’re towing it away
Not my motorhome I need it every day
Get your things get out we’re towning it any way


LAPD why do you hate me so
LAPD something I gotta know
Was it something that I said or did
Hey I’m a legal citizen


Said you were only doing your job
Taking your orders from the rank above
I wouldn’t ever want your job
Your little tow cost me over nine hun


You didn’t have to tow me away
Didn’t want to hear what I had to say
That anger on your face is not ok
You didn’t have to tow me away


LAPD why do you hate me so
LAPD something I gotta know
Was it something that I said or did
Hey I’m a legal citizen


Why do you hate me so
Your attitude has got to go
You never smiled at me ya know
I paid taxes forty years or more


Why do you hate me so
Something I got to know
Why did you tow
Why did you tow
Why did you tow
Why did you tow


–Ray Chase


Categories: Poetry

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