Saturday, January 10, 2009

December (c, d, e)

December (e)


Poems are like flies
or a cloud of gnats
Buzzing in front of your face
Getting in your eyes
Blurring your vision
making you blink
Asking for attention

But when the moon rises
They turn into moths
And if you place yourself at just the right angle
You can catch one
Hold it in your hands
And count the beats of its wings.

- - Eric Moes

December (d)


I don’t write about the Ancestors
I don’t know them
They don’t know me

Oh sure, they may have written a Haiku
Or Koan that brought a Samurai to his knees
With a mental marble rolling around in his head

But what is real about that now?
How about a haiku about mortgage backed securities?

That homeless guy’s limp is my koan
My utility bill offers me a chance of meditation
Sure you can write about peach tree blossoms
or strawberries at the edge of the cliff
But you’re missing the Nirvana in that can of boiled spinach in your kitchen cupboard.

- - Eric Moes

December (c)


I had a train set
With a little village nestled in a paper mache' hillside
As a child it was real to me
A thousand times Godzilla loomed over that hill
ready to spew his radioactive breath down upon the villagers
Sometimes I stopped him
Sometimes I didn't
God I loved that village

- - Eric Moes

December (b)

December (b)

I want this world

Bright black stone
Marching sky
Soft drift of things discarded . . .

I want this world
To break my heart.

No, not what you think,
Not the cloying grief of loss, but more

The bright sad fact of the world
Of the whole world - -
Its taste, its touch
Its perfect aching presence.

That's what I mean.
The end of mind; and
Baptism in the great dark river,

Just here! Where
The vast and breaking world
Is simply home.

- - Amos Clifford

Friday, January 9, 2009

December (a)

December (a)

On Bear Creek

One thousand days.
These are all that this life
has left for you.
You stand on the broad
shoulder of a bridge,
rest the hands that you love
on its rough wooden rail
and it is autumn.
Sycamore leaves
large as dinner plates,
large as desire
rain gold and green
in even the slightest breeze.
Below, Bear Creek is
supple, electric, strong,
singing, singing.
The ouzel bobs
and glides,
at home, at home.
You breathe, an act
of power, of timeless beauty.
With one thousand days
can even this season
show you, at last,
who and what you are?
Or is the stream of
your mind, your heart,
your life,
ever and finally
a mystery?
On Bear Creek
a turtle slips silent
from its stone and
enters the dark waters.
It is at home.
Another day
has gone.

- - Amos Clifford

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

November (d, e)

November (e, untitled)

Sweating and shivering and glancing overhead
they bent in the field,
Elmers, Ezekials and Judiths.

The precious wheat
hard hands cut and bound
& hurried to shelter.

Threatened by ambiguous winds -
helped by a friendly moon -
they worked till moonset.
Half the night.

They ate their porridge
when sleet beat
against November walls.

On this strangely balmy November night,
a full moon with a jet stream across it.
I have no idea where
the food I ate tonight was grown.

Elmer's bones lie crumbling.
Less than 1% of what he knew has reached me -
less than that is even usable.

Same again: like my body,
all I know will become mulch.

Hey, what will stand here
400 years from now - a Chinese Mosque?
I know someone said that.

But I forget who.

- - Deanna Hopper

November (d, untitled)

When the moon is
splendidly lopsided

limping along, glorious &

I think, "like my life," though
25% of my DNA
is the same as a banana's
and it is way, way time

to be past this
particular baloney

or maybe time to
just get drunk and stay drunk

wouldja pass me that beer please

When the moon is full
I am astounded
my bra's too tight
we're so perfect together

I can barely breathe

- - Deanna Hopper

November (c)

November (c)

Revelation Angels

I have the night
and the road
and your voice on the radio

You are telling me
of revelation angels
fey and wild, who

Spill from ordinary lovers
and fools sixteen hundred
furlongs of deep blood, who

Wield with fiery blades
fell fury, burn and leave
only dim ash, brittle memory, and

In the warm gravel, the
rhythm of your voice
I hear how you love

Your radio story
how it binds together
the pieces of your life; and

I am thinking of how
I have come to love
the light of winter

Its long reach
into hidden places
the way it holds

A red river
of plum leaves
at rest on the damp earth

How tenderly it reveals
the vibrant green gospel
of new grass

Each blade
a revelation,
an angel.

- -Amos Clifford

November (a, b)

November (b)

The Tao of Words

"Plowing all year the paper field"
word after word line follows line
what the ancients have sown
strive to glean year in year out
a writer may pass through each season
but lives in hope of a harvest every day

"Still better mad than dull"
shut in for more than a week
passing days on notebook pages
for all I know and care
everything's as I have written
fanciful and inspired my world
black and white as my words

-Pat Nolan

November (a)

Goodnight PZI

Based on, and written in the style of, the children's book Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Zendo,
Goodnight Moon
Goodnight orange tree
Outside in full bloom.

Goodnight kitchen
Goodnight clock
Goodnight water
Boiling in the pot.

Goodnight cushions,
Placed here and there
Goodnight Kathy's
Funny little chair.

Goodnight teachers,
Rachel and John
And to their wisdom
That paves the journey we're on.

Goodnight trees
Blowing in the breeze
Goodnight Joyce
Who waters each week.

Goodnight altar
Candle and flame
Goodnight Buddha, Kwan Yin
And what's her name.

Goodnight Donation box
Goodnight volunteers
Goodnight sesshin and sutra service
And to those we hold dear.

Goodnight Temple Bell
Bowl, sticks and chimes
Goodnight Gregory
Our keeper of the time.

Goodnight basket
Full of pretty little cups
Goodnight Ryla,
Goodnight to her pups.

Goodnight Brian
Goodnight Zen, Art and Life
And to his insight and spirit
That he shares Thursday nights.

Goodnight all you Rakusus
Bowed heads, Namaste
Goodnight incense and dharma talks
Goodnight end of day.

Goodnight darkness
Goodnight key and lock
Goodnight bodhisattvas
Goodnight Barack.

- -Kathleen McGuire

October (e)

October (e, untitled)

You fall in the sea

& are drenched

with salt & stars.

O moon – gassho of


- - Thaisa Frank

October (d)

October (d, untitled)

Standing up to

my belly button

in the Russian River

Off West Side Road

The current heading the way

of the setting sun

Whistling a tune

From the Men In Hats

I love this place

The cotton woods

Forgetting the words

living the life

the heart of a drifter

- -Li Po, aka Pat Nolan

October (b, c)

October (c, untitled)

Looking through the screened window
her left cheek appears
just past the swooping redwood branch.
Moon, bone, son, swoon,
I'm getting lost in this bright, soft light.
Holding out my palm
I see all those braided lines,
like meanders at a river's mouth.

In the morning she's still bright
among the small clouds made orange
by the sun just below earth's rim.
Such a slow journey, such patience.
Damn this coffee tastes good.

- -Chris Gaffney

October (b, untitled)

Sitting in the temple of redwood columns,
bats are silent shadows swooping
in the vaults above
the full moon light slanting in
through the latticed leaf windows
accompanied by the choir
of frogs and crickets.
Buddha's reasons and
Bodhidharma's devices
are preached here
without words or gestures.

-- Gregory Wonderwheel

October (a)

October (a)


That man,
who accepted the stolen TV with a wink,
will run into a burning mobile home
next spring
to rescue an old woman.

The woman in the Volvo,
weaving in traffic
while furtively talking on her cell phone,
peels 20 pounds of potatoes each Friday evening
to take home fries to the shelter
every Saturday morning.

And even I, who was so rude to the clerk this morning,
have been known
to bring flowers
to the bereaved.

- -Ellen Skagerberg

September (a, b, c, d, e)

September (e)

The Full Moon

The moon is full
The moon is full
I am happy
Cause the moon is full.

-Claire, aged 7

September (d, untitled)

In a dream I embraced a
large hard white sphere
trapped in its magnetic hold

I chased a child's blue ball
down a wild icy river

simple silver moon is there
anything you desire of me?

-Amaryllis Fletcher

September (c)

The Road Home

even on back roads
I find I have velocity
and direction

I have come from
I'm not quite sure
where I am going
I don't much care

the sign says Nirvana
I'm not there though
I only know
I am somewhere south of there
filled with this feeling
and aware of it

how I keep leaving behind
the very thing
I am looking for

but then life is for living
time is a spiral
and every road
the road home.

-Ric Masten

September (b)

dharma and no more

the dainty cat is growing fat.
she reposes on the rocking chair
laps at pregnant stomach hair.

o the kitty's belly is replete
stuffed with mousies tiny feet
this be her baby's bloody meat

digested for the milky teat.
o she is a happy carnivore
this be her dharma and no more.

-Leif Halvorson

September (a)

As If These Things Are True
(Little Boy)

it's enough to live as if these things are true:
August 6th 1945, 8:15 am

the red brush pastes the summer
brown California grass

thunder has brought us here
up from the firmament

who has torn this island
this vast continent asunder

to grapple with fraility
scent of one red flower
hard afternoon heat

-Leif Halvorson

August ( a, b, c, d, e )

August (e, untitled)

There was no overt blessing.
The wolf looked at me
With strange light eyes.

He held an embroidered fan.
It was broken, and glistened.

Like all the beautiful things I had ever seen,
A red jewel, a distant castle,
The shell whorl, the forest,
It seemed to promise some other, better, world.

There is no other world, he said.
I was terrified.

As the water rose
He put his arms around me.

The water ran through the house,
Loosening, lifting. As it coursed,
He held my crumbling body.

You see? He said. It is all right.
You have succeeded,
Beyond any dream

Or melody of a dream.

-Deanna Hopper

August (d)

Moon Shot

Much like an astronaut
Minus all that gear

I go up
certainly into.

There are words are all over the page
Like craters and streaks on her dusty surface
Looking for linkages

That unexpected worm hole
That takes you
From the written word
to another galaxy
to crying
to thought
to laughter

Children are told
The thing is made up of green cheese
So I sit down
And chart my next course to the moon
with a big slice of it next to me.

- -Eric Moes

August (c)


Weaving through the dark and silver hours,
Weaving, the luscious night has passed away,
and barely-light reveals the dainty work –
- a perfect web –
- my heart's too small, my hands
too few, to hold, enfold, this single perfect joy.
Harmonious, glistening, crystalline!
The orderly play of dry and sticky cords
across the garden path in dew and light.

Good morning to the light that gilds my joy,
good morning to the little shivering leaves,
good morning, Mrs. Ant and Mrs. Snail,
oh thank you, yes, I think it's lovely too.
Today I weave such garments for a bride –
- you know the little fluttery moth I mean –
Of thread, one thread, that binds all hearts together.

The uninitiate can never guess.
I boast an art of but a single thread.
It arches through the solemn redwood grove,
and straggles through the dusty basement corner;
it vibrates in the wind when all is dark,
communing each to each, engaging all.

And I can hardly wait to end my rest,
to weave again, to walk on air,
to fling with eager hands the silk adown;
where does the drift of silk alight it now?

You, Reader, Bride, this lovely thread will bind
your heart to me.
And from just such a tender
heart as yours, will I, enfolding, drink the wedding wine.

- -Deanna Hopper

August (b)

Another Poem About Torture

Just us two, you and I,
Let us make a pact with each other
for gentleness.

I will not force you to read this.
You will not strike me or yell.

I'll touch hand to paper
and only with your consent
lead your eye along

the barbed wire fence of words;
invite you gently
to this solemn walk

down the corridor of bolted doors.
The burden of knowing is heavy
but lighter if we share it.

Then come, more hands, more!

Yet because of gentleness,
no scorn shall be given
for any reason

including turning away.

- -Deanna Hopper

August (a)


From tangling summer leaves, the moon
finds its way through tilted blinds
to the sofa where I lie,
and touches cautiously the small room
where mother, with her suitcases, sleeps.

Oh mother dear, what shall I do?
"Memory by memory the mind –"
erosion fills the house like sea-water.
Our traps hang from our arms
like Dickens' ghosts'.

Habits of mind, souls' disarray,
set in the economic dream-life
of a self-proclaimed great nation
gone to bloat.

Among near-empty aisles
the neat shelves bulge with glossy goods.
the young man at the meat counter says,
"Thank you for coming by."
My gilded cage prevents action
as surely as did Hamlet's.

Oh what, what, what shall we do? Mother?
The music is dying with a dying fall,
but minus the pretty girl with the hyacinths.

Well-dressed refugees
erect a makeshift altar in the airport terminal.
They tape the Pope, the Queen Mother,
and Diana, Princess of Wales,
torn from magazines,
to it.

What shall we do?

- -Deanna Hopper

July (b, c, d, e)

July (e)

Another Revolt Against The Moon

Maybe I don't want to write full moon poetry
Maybe I'm not in the mood
Maybe I'm not feeling it right now . . .
Everyone 'gets it' except me. . .
Jesus Christ!

What makes that glowing rock in the sky
So Goddamned special?
Why is it the arbiter of depth?
I curse you!
I deny your power
Your tides are a fiction!

Why can't I write an ode to the rotting cottage cheese in
my fridge?

"Oh, wonderful stinking slurry of putrescent cheese rind
Harboring billions of farting and dying bacteria
I've put you in a can, in the fridge, to consume you . . .
To spoon you up, slather you with jelly, and gulp you
down. . . "
What do you think of that?
Do you shake your fists wildly at me?
Stomp around the house like a child with no toys?
Do you call me your god. . .
Your muse. . .

Sometimes I just don't feel inspired
Sometimes I don't know what I am feeling
Alone in this room,
Engaged in a battle of wits with this fungus filled
Finally, there is music in the air!
And it's not coming from the cheese.

Eric Moes

July (d)


trip into dark mountains

over which the moon looms

but not for long as

the sun rises and strips

of willows are fresh with green flashes


July (c)

full moon over the high sierra washes out Jupiter
fairy festival sparkles on the rippling lake
a good friend's wife is sitting just a little too close
the water moon stretches between reflections near and
touch, and retreat

- - anon

July (b)

Full Moon

They say
The moon was ripped out of the Earth
In collision with a planet long gone

Still molten
She began her gravitational embrace
close in
Fourteen times bigger in the sky

The Earth spun faster back then
And tidal bulges flung the young moon
Like a lasso in space
Slowing her rotation
And opening the embrace

Still she circles out
Two inches more each year
And the Earth imperceptibly
spins slower

One day
In the great distant future
They will be locked in a gaze
Earth showing one face to the moon
As the moon now does to the earth

Walking past the redwoods
On the bank of the Gualala
The full moon would not let me go

I felt the longing of her violent birth
As she followed me
From tree to tree

- - Vince Whitcomb

July (a)

July (a)

All Things Considered on a Monday Morning in the USA

She suspends a tear fogging the lens
Of her driving glasses;
Sad stories on the radio.
A wire-haired woman,
Fishes her books from ruin,
Gentle brown hands smoothing each page,
The Tempest makes her pause she says,
As she sets them on a shelf up high to dry.

Another inspiration, down in New Orleans;
But Oh Man, back when she was 23, with lots of swing
And that rum thing – Ooo Lord Sugar Mama,
Came from every corner as she passed,
Gimme mo' a dat Cha-Ching;
A moist slip for her dress.

Now, that City is a broken down mess,
Limping against its unsteady backbone,
Progress made at an arthritic pace.

It was all she could take.

And it was not to say she did not hear
Their discomfort or disappointment over lost summer fun,
The Royal Hawaiian Luau,
Fresh pineapple in the sun.
There were plenty of gifts never received,
Words of love never believed –

So, when the young girl from Bakersfield came on
To tell her tale of woe, it was like OMG, my hair got wet
In the rain, and I had to sleep in the car, and
Dad, what a dope, thought he packed the tent stakes;
And, well, Mom had just had it;
Not even a soupcon of French milled soap
To be found in this Six Flags campsite:
How low can you go?

It was then she pulled the car over to the side of the road,
Where the forget-me-nots grow in the spring,
And sobbed in the memories.
Not one of them thought to take a blanket and a book
To read by an icy river on a hot summer day
Under an ancient tree for almost free.

- -Jane Rogan

June (e)

June (e)

The Visit

When there is no Full Moon
No quarter moon,
Not even a sliver of a silvery smile
in the sky
Is when I know.

For it is in the Great Darkness that she comes to me.

I go outside and look up
and wait.

And pretty soon,
sure enough,
here she comes,
tossing me stars
as she sails on by
riding on a single silver thread of night.

--Kathleen McGuire

Friday, January 2, 2009

June (c, d)

June (d, untitled trio)

the black sky lightens
to the chirping
of a single bird


morning shafts of light
a flurry of dust motes


No ripe wild raspberries, yet
such sweet perfect unripeness
in this very moment

Bill Krumbein

June (c)

Cup In Hand

"Light mist stretches across the river"
I stand above at my window
cup in hand still as any tree

in concert with awesome beauty
a blank day waiting for me
to fill with joy and worry
that I have done this all my
life makes it all of my life
tiny details dwarf the grandeur
animated by the spin of wheels
I have to bow take my leave

the trees sigh stand their ground

Pat Nolan

June (a, b)

June (b, untitled)

sitting on the patio,
I see two full moons.
one seen through the maple leaves,
one seen in the reflection of the window.
or is it
one moon with two reflections?
one reflection in the sky,
the other reflection in the window
reflecting the sky?
Oh my,
do I have to decide
which one?
which two?
the moon in the window
appears less obscured, fuller, and brighter,
while the moon in the sky is mostly hidden behind the leaves.
the night is cooling after the hot day,
the sounds of distant traffic
remind me that there are places to go.

Gregory Wonderwheel

June (a)


A hill so high
it almost
reaches the moon.

A hill covered in green grass
soft as a bed.

A windowless red room
deep within the hill.
A stern mandarin matron serves tea.
Her face expressionless.

She waves a manicured hand
at a bolted door.
It has a little grated window.

The eyes looking through it
do not see you.

They see some other dream.

Deanna Hopper

May (b, c, d, e)

May (e)

The Best Time to Plant

The moonlight interrupted our dinner, you so quickly and cleverly
Put together; it burst over the fence in an unexpected place in the sky
Like a Super Hero ready to take all our struggles away.
There was nothing to do but eat, slap mosquitoes
And talk about the day.
The lavender candle wax was not supposed to drip,
But it was soft and warm, a tiny sculpted body,
Taking form with the press of my finger; my identity
Now cast for anyone to steal.

Oh just take it. I can always grow another one.

Jane Rogan

May (d)

Moon Talk from Jemma

Look at the moon!
It's really not moving.
We're moving.
It's so bright.
I can see my shadow.
(She dances in the moonlight, watching her shadow.)
You know, Vikki, I put my shoe outside with something in it like a rock or
some moss and my mom puts a present in it after I go to sleep and takes
rock or whatever. When the moon is full.

Vikki Kath

May (c, untitled)

so - Jesus finally

ate Cain -

and liked it!

Joyce Pointe

May (b)

Moon Gargle

I'm thinking the full moon doesn't give a rat's ass
That I have a pile of work in the next room
That needs to get done.

I think of all those monster movies when I was a kid
All the weird creatures that lived on the moon
Crawling in and out, taking earth men as prisoners
God, my mind wanted it to be real

Then I think of all the creatures living on me
In my pores, in my hair, in my mouth
Eating dried flaky bits of skin

And how my shadow can eclipse whole civilizations of ants
One footstep can obliterate thousands of tiny organisms without my
What's real to them? Do they write me poems?
Do they have piles of work waiting for them in the next room?

-Eric Moes

May (a)

May (a)

The Cold Mountain is a Killer

Everyone loves Han Shan's* poems.
No one knows what he says.
His words are as frosty as the highest mountains.
His meaning is as out of reach as the coldest mountains.
Hiking to the summit of Han Shan is deadly.
If you persevere in your climb
and are able to take one more step off the ice cold peak,
you awaken in the warm valley where grasses abound.
Wading through the myriad verdant spears
you meet Han Shan
on the tip of each green blade
as it pierces your heart.

(*The Chinese poet Han Shan's name means Cold Mountain)

Gregory Wonderwheel

April (e)

April (e)

Full Moon
In Memoriam N.H.

a snarl in the window screen
enough to let any insect smaller
than a moth in
bird feeder's empty
seed lies under water in buckets &
around its pole -
some scattered in the compost

list all the things to see
little differences
took place overnight
cats who came to lurk
by the patio woodpile
waiting for the birds who
won't come too wet today

I'm not taking care of anyone today
no soothing another's wild pain
today I'm writing badly with a good pen
an instrument a viewer your witness

brown dying limbs & leaves
soon enough the skeleton will be evident
washed clean by two day's rain
a prop plane passes over unseen
irrelevant to this garden & man & poem


how we are talking
over whiskey about our children
our last conversation
although I'm the only one who knows

our children turn us soft with hope
& that's the way we want to be
you'll never dance at your daughter's wedding
that's worse than dying
probably easy except for big pain
but to move through our time
& see those dear others appended
higgledy-piggledy to our trajectory

along the curve little stars
a birth - - a burst - - a bunch - - a blessing


take this game differently
enter from another angle
imagine that the white-yellow moon
stain of the water glass
acid raising up out
of the paper to ring
itself round in perfect circles

acid used to make paper
paper used to store words
words used to think differently
thinking used to even scores

Keith Kumasen Abbot

April (d)

April (d, untitled)

I don't live anywhere
dream into the night sky
emerging overhead
we look to you
a spotlight
walking us across
the parking lot
i don't choose to drive
i just walk around
singing extol
join in praises
to a fulgent moon
in blank verse
takes me anywhere i want to go

in shadow or light
cast iridescence
along the path
been outside lately?
taking nectar from the poppy
magic from the moon
no end in sight
tea suits me just fine
I can pour coffee for you
a new friend at the coffee shop

Jan Peters