Books

Who am I? More poems about identity and diversity

dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

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.

[»» Start at the beginning]

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Poems

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“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.

~ ~ ~

“New Life”

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:

first breath,

as time relentlessly moves on.

Exhaustion diminished

Insane swings in check

possibilities unlimited

still, seeking no more than love’s warmth

Immeasurably,

experience grows the moment.

Attention less promised

We are home,

joyous 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,

just because.

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.

~ ~ ~

“Wordless”

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

~ ~ ~

“Forsaken”

By Sandra Lee, Atascadero

she looks and looks

searching peering gazing

endlessly into the Vacant windows of the

Abandoned

and

Forgotten

eyes wide and aching

feathers wet and

Forlorn

dripping with grey

Renunciation

her scrabbling crooks

Relinquishing

their grip on the sill

stumbling in the darkness

she tosses backward

the white cloth of

Surrender

Waves goodbye

to the Deserted

and makes her way down the

Empty highway

Alone

~ ~ ~

»» There’s more: Click here to read the next set of poems

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San Luis Obispo County poet laureate Jeanie Greensfelder reads her poem "At Sweet Springs Preserve," at the location of the same name, in March 2017.

»» More poems: In troubled times, SLO County poets seek to comfort and inspire

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