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.
“When I’m Sixty-Four”
By Will Jones, San Luis Obispo
Blew through sixty-four like the Roadrunner
past Wile E. Coyote, like a Koufax fastball
past a helpless rookie, like a drunk
through a red light on Saturday night.
Now, on the short side of seventy,
that once unimaginable age reserved
for grandparents born in the old country,
their tongues and palates still thick
with musical accents you didn’t understand
until half way through grade school,
time has played its famous trick on you,
the trick of fooling you into believing
you’re still young, like believing the pea
is under the middle shell, but always
getting it wrong no matter how closely
you follow the carny’s fast moving hands.
Now, despite the exercise, the reasonable diet,
the abandonment of bad habits, the yearly physical
brings you bad news, news that leads
to this and that test, one indignity after another,
and you find yourself yearning for sixty-four
with the same intensity you once scoffed
at that unimaginable age when you first heard
that silly song so many decades ago.
~ ~ ~
By Mike Broadhurt, Cambria
More than a miracle:
life’s blessing with no name.
No fear, no plans, no questions
Only a future
And, asking no more than love’s warmth
My universe is that instant:
as time relentlessly moves on.
Insane swings in check
still, seeking no more than love’s warmth
experience grows the moment.
Attention less promised
We are home,
bursting with new life
Sparkling reality of untapped promise
wanting no more than love’s warmth
The future’s work begins
Time now for miracles
~ ~ ~
“Couldn’t Sleep — Wouldn’t Sleep”
By Patti Sullivan, San Luis Obispo
after watching Pal Joey
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered am I
after reading and listening to the latest news
it takes a lot of delusion to survive this world
sometimes you’d think there is nothing but hate
as I sing in the shower full of the delusion of the self
I’ve become Rita Hayworth singing of her Joey
… beguiled again … a child again …
the beautiful fakery of the movies the voice belonging to someone else
she’s a tremendous fraud full of truth
I’m full of it too flinging my pretend luxurious red hair
crooning away and making up lyrics
Bewitched — dreaming of peace for all of us
Bothered — dreaming we all get along like lovers
and Bewildered — wondering what became of our world
is there enough soap left to beguile one another
into the acceptance of difference
or will it end up on the cutting room floor, all quiet on the set.
~ ~ ~
“I Want My Mommy!”
By Debra Davis Hinkle, San Luis Obispo
Whenever I’m sick,
I always want my mom.
It doesn’t matter how
old I am or
what is wrong with me.
I want my mom,
What she couldn’t make better
she made bearable.
~ ~ ~
“Caught in a Storm”
By Sherry Eiselen, Cambria
Caught in a storm, rain puddles at my feet.
Mud slicks my path.
Hard, hard rain
Dark, dark sky.
Confused, I stop. Stuck.
No hand to hold but my own.
No place to be but where I am.
Alone, I stop. Wait.
I close my eyes and look inside.
Until the sharp edge of truth cuts clean.
I blink away the fog, the noise, the messy rest of it.
Until an internal bell strikes a clear tone
And sets my compass.
Clear, I step. Up.
~ ~ ~
By Jerry Douglas Smith, San Luis Obispo
Invisible, silent beginning Bang,
eventually explodes bell-rung
into soundless, swirled galaxies
Dawn caresses conch-pink clouds
and nucleic-acid-life’s single family
Species flow in all directions,
savoring every breath
Brown-breast earth, love-warm sun,
artery rivers reflect life-webs
threading back billions of years
Wordless death welcomes:
our cellular engines ground
by time’s millstone into the grist
from which all silently form
~ ~ ~
By Sandra Lee, Atascadero
she looks and looks
searching peering gazing
endlessly into the Vacant windows of the
eyes wide and aching
feathers wet and
dripping with grey
her scrabbling crooks
their grip on the sill
stumbling in the darkness
she tosses backward
the white cloth of
to the Deserted
and makes her way down the
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~