At Tartines Corner Bakery Café in San Francisco

— Dennis Richardson

Across the street in the second floor bay window
Stands a woman in a red sweater on the phone
Looking down at the café like she wished she were here.
A waitress, wrapped in her summer towel-like skirt,
Semidredlocked hair pulled back in its semidredlocked tail,
Circulates through the crowd looking for a missing person.
Next to me a man reads the Metro as he drinks
His cappuccino picking at the fingers of his bear claw,
Oblivious of the child counting the wrinkles on his forehead.
Tables, crowded with people sharing spaces,
Friends, lovers, singles, some with babies, dogs, books
All loosely held in place by the static electricity
Generated by the friction of our thoughts.
A woman with her green sparkle purse enters.
Everything stops. There is something about the way
She looks at the eclairs like she is eating their brown
Chocolate coats with her eyes. The soft powdered snow
On the cream puffs beginning to melt.
Satisfied for the moment, I finish my cup of coffee, put on my
Cap and blank face and head out into the deceptive world
Where everything that is good is sometimes bad,
Where I sometimes say no when I really want to say yes.

Your Obituary

— Charles Albert

If you haven’t already composed
one for yourself, mentally,
on the way to someone else’s funeral,
how does this one suit you?

“Passed into eternal rest three days ago,
beloved friend, mentor, sibling, teammate–
or whatever it was, exactly, you were trying for.
We feel the loss in our hearts.
You were a private person, forced into
a more public life than you wanted.
At least that’s what your
lack of style in clothes and haircut implied.

A person of unrealized potential
and missed opportunities–
and we won’t go into your annoying habits,
until the reception
at which, we should add, there will only be a cash bar,
in the spirit of some secret knowledge
of the cheapskate you really were.”

 

The Snake River Stampede

— Larry T. Hollist

A birthday I’ll never forget
Was the year we went to
The Snake River Stampede.

Uncle Dave way payin’
So the treats kept commin’
Dogs, nachos, cotton candy
Snow cones flavored with
Blue, or red, or yellow or green.
Cousin Ted thought that all
Flavors at once was a dream.

There was bull riddin’
Calf and team ropin’
Saddle and bareback ridin’.
A cowboy who herded his steers
With a whip as his only tool.

There were steer wrestlin’
With their hazers
And clowns with their trick mules.
Pat Boone also sang his tunes.

What I remember most was
The brown – eye freckle-faced girl with
Whisks of dirty blond hair escaping
From the sides of her western hat,
And a braided pony tail halfway down her back.
She was wearing a blue plaid button-up blouse
Tight Wranglers jeans and cowboy boots.

Ae fond kiss and then we severed;
Ae farewell, for then and forever!
For I was a green horn from the East
And she was a barrel rider from the West.

 

Expecting Poetry: a pantoum

— Diane L. Moomey

I

“New bones for old”, they’d cried aloud—
I’d sleep with knives and staples,
the shaman of titanium—
I’d sleep and dream of verse.

 

The knives and staples; then the days
I’d fill with paint and paper,
with brush and sleep and dreams of verse,
of sonnet and pantoum.

The hours of paint and paper; days
of water, paper—white.
Of meter:  sonnet and pantoum;
vermilions and umbers.

However,

II
every page still paper-white
while paragraphs are parsed
(no umbers or vermilions,)
parsed within the femur.

Whole paragraphs are parsed within:
(the knitting of new sinew,
scansion deep within the femur,
purling of new bones.)

The knitting of new sinew. Dactyls
hover out of reach.
The purling of new bones, instead
of metric feet. My pentams

hover out of reach. I sleep
and do not dream of verse
nor of re-growing metric feet
but only of ice cream.

I cannot rhyme, and do not dream
of anything except ice cream.

Echocardiogram

— Lawrence T Hollist

Lying half naked on my bed
Wishing I was a Greek Adonis;
Then I wouldn’t be lying here
With the girl from the steno pool
Taking notes of my heart.

The heart that no longer beats smoothly

The heart that no longer beats as one.
But a heart that sounds like it is pumping slugs.

So here is your first crush.
Here is where your parents
Taught you to love.
Here is where first met your son
Here is your wedding day.
Here is your love for your wife today.

Ah here, here is the problem
You don’t let go of the hurt
You don’t forgive.

untitled: Words of Muhammad Ali

— Lawrence T Hollist

Words of Muhammad Ali:

I float like a butterfly,
sting like a bee.
His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see. 

 

I’m so fast that last night
I turned off the light
Quicker than a spark
I was in bed before the room was dark.

For this fight, I’ve wrestled with alligators,
I’ve tussled with a whale.
I done handcuffed lightning
And thrown thunder in jail.
You know I’m bad.
just last week, I murdered a rock,
Injured a stone, hospitalized a brick.
I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.
I’m so fast, man,
I can run through a hurricane and don’t get wet.
When George Foreman meets me,
He’ll pay his debt.
I can drown the drink of water, and kill a dead tree.
Wait till you see Muhammad Ali.

 

The man who views the world at 50
the same as he did at 20
has wasted 30 years of his life.

So this is  most important to me:

Friendship is a priceless gift that cannot be bought nor sold,
but its value is far greater than a mountain made of gold;
for gold is cold & lifeless – it can neither see nor hear,
in time of trouble its powerless to cheer —
it has no ears to listen, no heart to understand,
it cannot bring you comfort or reach out a helping hand.
So when you ask God for a gift, be thankful if He sends
not diamonds, pearls or riches but the love of real true friends.

Flicker

— Tiffany Oallesma Galicia

the tabby doesn’t belong to him
she lives in one of the white stucco houses down the street
but she purrs as she circles him
she’s affectionate and familiar
even though he knows nothing about her

hey, how are you
his hands follow the curve of the woman’s back
he feels the rise and fall of her chest against his
he kisses her neck, inhaling the scent of orchids and honeysuckle
he gazes into her eyes
and sees longing and vulnerability
the sunset and sunrise
the flicker of fiery embers
I can’t, she says
as his lips touch hers

she never did belong to him
so when she stopped showing up
he stopped looking
the flicker of light extinguished at sunset.

 

Guarding Steph Curry

— Lawrence T Hollist

Coach said, “If he is shooting from the parking lot
you must meet him at the car door.
If he is shooting from the tarmac
Meet him at the plane door.”

The problem is that he is shooting from
This side of the funeral pyre.
So I meet him at death’s door.

If I get there in time he starts to drive
Until I’m two steps below the arc.
Steph then steps back for the three.

Or he will dribble between the legs,
Behind his back, despite being in his grill
Somehow he gets past me,
Then posing as Superman flying through the air
With the ball in his left hand
He flicks the ball up past our 7 foot
Shoot blocker, up so high it collects moisture.
In the meantime, Steph has crashed landed on his belly among
The photographers in time to
Watch the ball return to earth and
Scorch the net as it
Goes through the hoop.

Bee, Bowl, Box, Boat

— Casey FitzSimons

            our dreams gestate
            like mutant bees …
                 —Carol Wade Lundberg

I

I brought down the small
glass Pyrex dish, upended it
over the fuzzy bee nosing
around in coffee grounds
on the counter, the bee
who seemed to take no notice of it
or me. Sliding
a postcard, a thin magazine reply-card,
under it, under him,
I righted the bowl, the bee
clinging to the card upside down.
I shook him
into the bowl, covered it with plastic wrap
as he hummed and nibbled, set it
in the Lucite box.

II

To use the box I’d needed to
take out the boat
that Judy gave me, the boat
of newspaper and muslin and string
that’s not a model of any boat
but a symbol for a vessel
afloat on some invisible
dream-sea. My house is full
of dust and airborne talc. That’s why
I’d bought the box—to protect the boat.

III

I thought the bee might work his way
over the lip of the bowl, squeeze
under the plastic wrap and out
and would puzzle
about his presence in the clear box
from which there was surely
no escape, but a view.

 

My Beloved Sister Nancy

— Lawrence T Hollist

Mesa, AZ Feb or March 1959
(Voice of Grandpa Orson L. Hollist)

My angel sister dear
I have come to right a wrong,
A sin of omission,
That has been left undone these
20 plus years.

I’m sorry

I’m soo sorry

Please forgive me.

It was not lack of love
Or selfishness
But poverty that had robbed
You of the remembrance
That you have deserved.

In the intermediate time
You have not been forgotten.
I’ve named my second daughter after you.
Only mom’s saintliness to be honored first.

You would be so proud of your namesake.
She has so much of your love and charity in her.
She has and will touch many lives
For good bearing your name.

I can’t tell you the guilt I felt
After you came to Sunny Slopes,
The TB sanitarium,
To nurse me back to health
And then to have TB consume you.

More than that to have you
Laid among strangers
Without anything to mark
That you had even walked the earth.

So now with my eldest Taylor
We give you this marker
To show others where you lay.
Please once again forgive us for this long delay.

(Dedicated to the memory  of
Nancy Elva Hollist Nelson
16 Feb. 1906 – 26 Dec. 1938)

 

Spring and Fall: The Transformation of M.C. Escher and J. Taylor Hollist

— Lawrence T Hollist

Although I am absolutely without training in the exact sciences, I often seem to have more in common with mathematicians than with my fellow-artists.
– M.C. Escher

 

Gander Cornelis

Leads his gaggle north past

Past the town where the Escher family lives
Past the river next to the town
Past the orange, yellow, and red tulips
Past the smells of freshly plowed earth
Past the farmers in the fields.
Preparing for spring planting.

The days grow longer
Springs transforms into summer
Summer flies by
Then summer transforms into fall
As the nights grow long once again.

With the last of the hay cut and stored away
A Gaggle flies past
Past the farmers chopping corn for silage
Past the smell of the dying and decomposing leaves
Past the red the yellows the oranges of the fall foliage

Past the river next to the town,
The town where the Hollist family lives.
Being led south

By Taylor the gander.

Double Identity

–Sathvik Nair

 

It started with
Do you wear feathers in your hair?
Can you shoot an arrow?
To telling the Starbucks barista “Sam”
Instead of “Sameer”
Or “Nik”
Instead of “Nikhil”
Do you speak Indian?
Where’s your turban?
Do you worship cows?
They ask
While we play sitar and bamboo flutes
Go to temples and Diwali parties
We tell them (and ourselves)
We are every bit American as they are
We watch Friends and Flash
We eat In-N-Out and Chipotle
We wear V-necks and skinny jeans
We listen to Mendelssohn and Minaj.
But maybe, is it all a facade, a mirage?

Persona Poem

— Casey FitzSimons

If I were Dorothy Parker, holding forth
at lunch, dazzling my male companions, I’d
have bought and paid for status through womanhood,
sipping from a champagne flute attention

paid me through ritual courtesy, eating
with a tiny pickle fork the morsels
of recognition I’d get for flexing verbal
strength while belonging to the weaker sex.

I’d extemporize on being un-
enfranchised, thief of influence all the while.
I’d be remembered for my quips and put-downs,
how I’d banished the complacence of

my male friends, bashed the laudable works
of allies, just to have a sonnet read.

 

Ode, with Wings

— Diane Lee Moomey

Had I loved you as a farmer, a farmer,
I’d have had to drive all day
for just a glimpse of you
across your lower pasture,
deep in wheat grass, deep. Instead

you flew me upside down.

Had I loved you as a fisherman, a fisherman,
I’d need to row all night
to find the place we last dropped anchor,
and with a glass, the perfect glass,
might see your nets. Instead,

you flew me upside down. Instead,

I loved you in the air, the air. You wore
new wings, and in your father’s plane
so proudly lent, you flew me upside down.
Because I loved you there, all skies

belong to you. No need
to drive, to row. Every sky
belongs to you.

rice, mice

— Casey FitzSimons

on opening the kitchen drawer
turds in silverware
and a clattering from the runners
onto pots
and cookie sheets below

not a single grain remains
there’s no accounting
for the whole new box of Uncle Ben’s
it should have been
in a mouseproof tin

the rest carted off I thought
in commodious cheeks
to waiting broods where the lawn grass
goes unmowed
but no

this time for California packing
a still-sealed attic box
a corner torn
two years ago hauled here
at my insistence—baby clothes

tight-folded
I look at them in elegy
two years unused

hold up a footie jumper
gravity down-tugging its feet
in each foot an ounce of rice
trotted three floors up
delivered through
the nibbled corner

instinct knew better than I did,
they’d be for winter after winter
indefinitely safe

 

Weathers

— Diane Lee Moomey

I

Another night wind, wet wind, bears
the breaths of owl and cougar, flings
pine limbs down, these crash
to wet ground, wet hunters
stalk prey,
wet prey,
can’t wait,
dark wet feet. Water howls down
spouts; clay bowls, ivy bowls
smash flat onto bricks. Out there,
dark there, one shriek — something small.
I wrap myself in woolen shawl.

II

A midday sun: all color gone
from cliffs, from sky, from shadows, empty
doorways— the village
sleeps. Waves of far-off hills break blue
on gray horizons. Tawny stone lifts
sheer above this valley floor, its glassy
facets flashing yellow, white.
A raven circles low above
the melting road. I wish
I had another sweater to take off.

 

A Leap of Faith

— Lawrence T Hollist

Before the boat reached the shore,
So excited she could not wait,
Young Mary Chilton leapt to her fate.
Braving the waves on that cold December day
Not knowing what the new world would bring her way.

Thus, Mary was the first woman as traditions says
To touch that mythical rock,
First known as Forefather’s Rock,
Now called Plymouth Rock.

Mary had seen so much in her young days,
Her mother excommunicated from England’s church,
Her father beaten for his beliefs
Could this new land be much worse?

Yet before the winter was done
The Chilton family would be just one.
Leaving Mary then a young teenager
A ward to someone who until recently was a stranger.

I am sure like the others Mary learned from their native friend
Tisquantum or Squanto, on how to survive in this new lands.
I am sure she was overjoyed to join in the three-day feast,
That included: venison, turkey, lobster, sq uash, beans, corn and clams.

For some the trails of those early years
Might have shaken their faith
Or made them bitter towards their maker.
Yet, through all of her years it seems that Mary’s faith
Just grew and grew as her years grew more and more.

With-in her last will and testament,
Mary made her finial testimony,
“…hopeing to receive full pardon and remission of all my sins;
And Salvation through the alone merrits of Jesus Christ my redeemer”

 

The Engagement

— Jenny Luu

High on the mountaintop
in the dark of night,
we see a shimmering sea
of florescent orange lights.
A twinkle here and a sparkle there,
no currents, only man-made waves –
cellular, radio, satellite –
connecting you, me, and the world…
wide web, surfing an intangible
ocean, as the lights flicker
and shimmer.  We admire
the cool night breeze, the smell
of dry grass, the sound
of singing crickets, the feel
of soft dirt on the bottom
of our soles, as we breathe in
the fresh air, high above
the orange ocean.