Featured Poem: Furious, Too

Diane McDonough
Cape Cod Branch

 

(after reading fury by Lucille Clifton)

 

Mama’s hand delivers
rhymed and metered stanzas
natural as blue trumpets
of a morning glory vine
unfolding in an incubating sun.

 

Papa fears the shape of those blues
she wears like a crown, fears her thinking
she’s some star like Billie Holliday —
singing her poems as she pulls
wet clothes from the laundry basket,
pins them to the line,
towels and shirts slapping
in the wind like applause.
So in a 1940s cold spell, like Jack Frost,
he freeze-dried those vines,
said, No. You won’t publish no poems in no book.

 

Mama freaked, her eyes severed connection
with everything but her pages,
and she scooped them up,
cradling them like some precious stillborn.
Dashing to the cellar, she threw them
into the belly of the furnace.

 

Papa fertilized the garden with the ashes,
wins prizes for roses, long-caned Bourbons
with lipstick pink petals, and prickly rugosas
he planted in a hedge ‘round the house
crowding out every last morning glory vine.

 

Featured Poem: Canvas of Life

Barbara Clarke
Atlanta Chapter

 

Life’s journey is played out beginning on the upper part of the canvas

bright colors are intermingled at the entrance of a new soul.

Love between us is heighten with hues of a symphony of emotions

when we welcome a new being into our fold.

 

In times of despair and downtrodden state of affairs

dark cacophony of colors swirl around us and

we strive to live above ordinary circumstances that

drag us down to the bottom of the canvas.

 

It is the Creator that lives within us that provides

the White Spirit to push on through the grey abyss

of troubles and tribulations that plague us in this canvas life.

 

When your soul is bleak and the canvas has you stifled

where your creativity seems to have subsided,

you stumble around not being able to bring forth. . . 

 

a friend calls with yellow enlightenment and words of promise

encouraging you to pick up your brush and paint pushing through,

you then see the rainbow that shines through friendship

propelling you to move higher up the canvas

breathing life into the continuation of your masterpiece.

 

The ups and downs of canvas life are captured in your journal,

it holds your most heartfelt sentiments and feelings

about this journey you’re treading on. You paint in your journal

expressions and impressions, memoirs as you move on down

the canvas of life. You speak in your journal about the

emotional highs and lows that ebb and flow from living.

 

When one looks into your journal after you have moved on

into the other realm; gaining insight and a glimpse of the

picture you painted expressing your innermost secrets

and emotions about the canvas of life. They take your memoirs

and hold them in their hearts and keep you alive forevermore

from the picture you created on your journey collage.

 

It is a way of safekeeping you high up on the canvas

for the picture you painted is held within their view

never forgetting the journey you made

and the love they held for you

 

Featured Poem: Genetically Modified

Cornelia DeDona
Member at Large, New York

 
It was December of 2012. Dad was almost eighty.
Dementia had erased his hunger.
He’d subsisted the last few years on cheap cereal 
made from BT corn and ice cream.
He loved ice cream.
 
I moved back home after Dad died. After my divorce.
Leaving Hawaii felt like I had base jumped from Everest.
Forced to endure the gravity of free-fall.    
I boldly believed my DNA would protect me.
 
But, unwittingly, in the ‘90s, 
I  too had become a guinea pig in an experiment. 
I developed an autoimmune disease by age 35, something new to my family.
 
Brain disease and hypothyroidism,
an autoimmune disease, 
linked to GMOs and excess sugar
were still largely ignored by the family doctor.
 
Like everyone else,
I had rationalized the altered food as safe.
 
My stomach wouldn’t dare explode
like the bugs’ who ate the toxic corn.
 
After all, 
I was genetically strong
like Dad.
 
 
BT corn is a genetically modified food, or GMO. A GMO is an organism whose genome has been altered by the techniques of genetic engineering so that its DNA contains one or more genes not commonly found there. Genetically modified “Bt corn” has been equipped with a gene from soil bacteria called Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), which produces the Bt toxin. It’s a pesticide that breaks open the stomach of certain insects and kills them. This pesticide-producing corn entered the food supply in the late 1990s, and over the past decade, the horror stories have started piling up. And the problem with Bt crops goes far beyond the creation of Bt-resistant insects. Native to Central America, papaya was the first genetically modified fruit to be grown in commercial production. The genetically modified varieties, known as Rainbow and SunUp or Sunrise, were developed in Hawaii to resist the papaya ringspot virus.
 

Poem of the Week: Truth

Susan Bassler Pickford
Member-at-large (Maine)

 

Middle English “trewthe,” from Old English “trēowth” — fidelity;

akin to Old English “trēowe” — faithful — before 1100s

 

“You can’t handle the truth,” screams Jack Nicholson in a Few Good Men

“Few people can,” I retort in a whisper

The truth is massaged, covered up, dressed down

Like a tired old body

We see it through steely eyes, red eyes and macular distortion

We bend the truth

We torture the truth

And it is

Often camouflaged

Very rarely is the truth

Open, straightforward as a book, or transparent as glass

Because Jack is right

We just can’t handle the bare, unvarnished truth

The faithfulness of facts with reality

The truth that stings, abrades, hurts

The truth that rips the scab off the skin

Exposing the raw tissue of reality

 

Poem of the Week: Mimosas

Thelma A. Giomi
Yucca Branch, NM
 
Yesterday, I walked under a canopy of mimosa trees,
Maybe a dozen,
Who could count the fragrance was so intoxicating,
The shade so soothing.
Then someone pointed out
That mimosas are inherently messy.
Like being in love,
Or acting on what you say you believe—
Beauty and truth will always be messy,
For those who look down.
 
 

Poem of the Week: Surprise

Elizabeth Yale
Bayou City II
 
I could smell it as soon as I walked in the door
breakfast
pancakes, oil on the cast iron skillet
his face so endearing, bedhead still there
“I made us pancakes with peanut butter and honey”
a sign of his ever deepening love
 
a surprise so simple, offered with tea
changes the heart, prefers to let in
the insatiable gratitude of lovers in part
and the grace of the Spirit evoking a grin
overflowing the vessel, to end is to begin
 

Poem of the Week: The Grass Is Damp

By Barb Whitmarsh

Bayou City ll Branch, Texas 

 

The grass is damp with crystalline dew

Orderly white gravestones

They’re wet too

The flags are lowered

Until dawn

What leaps past it all?

A tiny fawn

Innocence growing bolder

Not a chance

For our lost soldiers

With lives ahead

No matter what for

But they were taken

In chaotic war

Cry, yes cry, spill your tears

Life moves forward

For many years

And if you cannot

Bow in prayer

Show in some other way

You care

Whisper endearing words

That many dear brothers

Never heard

Pat some markers

No matter the ranks

For all we can truly give —

Is thanks

Poem of the Week: Apology in D Minor

Barbara Sillery
Cape Cod Branch

 

The sky is falling.
There’s a hole in the ground.
Hug me. Hug me, now.

 

The road is too narrow.
The hill is too steep.
Hug me, hug me quick.

 

I didn’t do it right.
I didn’t do it at all.
Hug me. Hold me. Please.

 

It just happened that’s all.
It does you know—
flat tires, gray hairs, wrong turns,
hurricanes, fires, floods, pestilence,
and then there’s that big one—Woe.
A half a hug would do.

 

It sounds better in French:
Je ne sâis pas pourquoi—
I do not know why, 
but the logic remains as pitiful.
So perhaps, s’il vous plaît,
un petite hug por moi? 

 

So here I stand
awaiting the verdict,
wishing I could
create a reason,
even an unreason
would be nice.
But what if there isn’t?

 

Hug me anyway?

Poem of the Week: My Poem Placed!

Lois Batchelor Howard
Palm Springs Branch

 

A friend said

I must be jumping out of my skin

That’s quite a picture

I see my outsides crumpled

to the floor

…my insides…

a newer younger ‘looks of me’…

jumping and dancing about the room

then about the town

Some time later

when I calmed down a bit

I jumped back into my waiting skin

my excitement and I now ‘one’

waltzing together

in the bright sunlight

shining through the open door

 

Poem of the Week: Comedy

by Susan Bassler
Pickford Member-at-large

Comedy:

Middle English, from Medieval Latin comoedia, from Latin, drama with a happy ending,

 from Greek kōmōidia, from kōmos revel + aeidein to sing    1300s

 

Fifty years ago Carol Burnett

Starred in her comedic variety show

Timeless as vaudeville

Slip on a banana peel

Everyone laughs

But not today

Democrats would point to recycling

Or the cutbacks in garbage men’s pay

Republicans would point to failed farm programs

Or the lapse of the work ethic

Independents would point to ineffective littering rules

The ha-ha’s  would halt in mid-air

The oxygen needed for a hearty guffaw

Sucked out of the prat fall

Political correctness has made fools of us

Comedy If not impossible, becomes anemic

Society has slipped on a banana peel

And we don’t get the joke