April is National Poetry Month. We’ve invited readers from across the Central Coast to share their best original poems dealing with self-identity and diversity.
Here is a sampling of the poems. We will be posting new poems at sanluisobispo.com/entertainment/books throughout the month.
By Mila Vujovich-La Barre, San Luis Obispo
Friends dying — my age I suspect
Sixth decade and the repercussions of habits or gene pools send people away
Vibrant souls reduced to ashes or eternal rest in a casket
It is a humbling feeling to be the living one in this wild and wonderful world of ours
To cope with the emptiness there is so often in remembering loved ones
I create a shrine of memories in my heart
Knowing that their human forms are intangible forever
I dutifully attend celebrations of life out of respect for the family and other friends
But here and now I am starting a revolution
I say, “Celebrate me now!” and I will celebrate sweet you!
Don’t wait until I am cold and lifeless to tell the stories of how you loved me when
Of how I made you laugh or inspired you
Or how I made you crazy with demands or lavished you with gifts
Yes, you! Remind me how we jumped into the pool with our clothes on
And you! Remind me how we jumped under a wave naked
And you! Let’s reminisce about long nights under tousled sheets
And sunrises in each other’s arms …oh tell me now that you love me
Whisper to me that I make your load lighter — your day brighter
Let this be our remembrance, our celebration of life
Don’t wait — the time is now to kiss me on my soft cheek or on my warm lips
To hold my strong hand … let this be a revolution of love and light and laughter
So, hear my call to arms!
Embrace me now while I am able to hug you back
Look into my shining, open, vibrant eyes
So I can celebrate you as you celebrate me now.
~ ~ ~
“Nothing Is Certain”
By Kevin Patrick Sullivan, San Luis Obispo
from the encaustic collage by Wendy Campbell Smith titled “Nothing is Certain”
Just my death
my true self
and a halo of light
My hands and
my heart hard and soft flowers
I tried to nourish
this go around
My body numbered
every molecule of color
in the darkly
only this is certain
a halo of light.
~ ~ ~
By Chris Schulz, Atascadero
In the cool flow of a river,
I found a child-sized piece
of driftwood partially
submerged in the shallows.
As if I were the curator of this
drifting log; I lifted it from its
basin, placing it on the rocky
shoreline. Its bark peeled off,
trunk worn smooth; I studied
the nicks and markings on
its surface. My hands rubbing
these pictograms to life, reading
the story of its bruised and
battered journey downstream.
In our brief time together, my
hands discovered its heartwood.
We shared the nature of our
authentic selves; I learned about
afterlife of trees, of drifting, floating
and eventually being worn smooth.
~ ~ ~
By Susan Lara, Atascadero
The roar behind my left ear portends a visitation —
A tiny holy spirit.
There he hovers,
Flashing the fire of his breast,
Dipping and probing the pendulous bells,
Speaking in tongues.
The blessing of thankfulness fills my heart,
Not just for this Eden,
But for ancestors fleeing and adventuring,
Leaving their natural histories behind —
Mediterranean blue and Italian cypress,
Edelweiss and heather, hedgehogs and small English robins,
Kauri trees and kiwis in a giant fern forest —
And loving each other
That I might find myself here in this oaken lair,
With this tiny iridescent spirit,
~ ~ ~
By Anne Candelaria, Morro Bay
On the last day of the old year,
the slender branches of a birch
still hold a few gold coin leaves
turning in a crisp wind.
I am content under a winter sun,
combing the days of the year past
for graces bestowed. They play
as on some jaded jukebox,
the merry and the mournful.
By morning, I wake warm in my bed
while the cold wind rakes branches
across the window pane.
The quiet hours carry me
into the New Year,
where the glitter of the future beckons.
What dreams and desires
drift through the ghost
of my young self,
encased in this worn body.
They clamor against forgetfulness.
Yet, all I ask is to walk easy
on this old earth,
and to remember
that I came from the land.
~ ~ ~
“Breath of God”
By Todd Livermore, San Luis Obispo
It´s evening —
I sit and watch the light fade from the sky
Feel the warmth sucked out of the air
Mountains casting their shadows like
a fisherman's net over the water
In a moment —
a web of darkness encompasses me
The lead weights sucking the net towards
the bottom with severity, closing its throat
A dull, gray darkness, slowly becomes an
absence of all light, turning into a blinding black night
A black so deep, so deep, so ... silent
Here in the darkest of darkness, I dare to ask, who am I?
Within a deafening dark silence, I begin to feel the palpitating
thump of my heart, sense the spirit of God’s net
hovering over this body of water
Sense every atom of red blood slithering,
gurgling through webs of veins, feel the little wind
of God's breath rush into the desperate
vacuum of my lungs filling the emptiness
Filling me entirely with God’s Spirit
suddenly I know, as God is, so am I
living, breathing, loving,
Breath of God
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~