Who am I? ‘Gift,’ ‘On Bishop’s Peak’ and other insights into identity from SLO County poets

Bishop Peak.
Bishop Peak.

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 throughout the month.

[»» Start at the beginning]





By John Rollefson, San Luis Obispo

The sky’s begun to drip

As I sit here savoring the

Late afternoon sunshine.

I wasn’t expecting this gift,

An outburst of silent weeping,

Hinted evidence of a mysterious

Sadness, gracious but unexpected

~ ~ ~

“On Bishop’s Peak”

By Chris Cooper, San Luis Obispo

That day we walked on Bishop’s Peak,

my sister took a profile photo of me.

Almost a stereotyped poet: half-mask

of tousled hair, cloudy hills behind me,

brooding set to my jaw and cheek.

A late-winter smell of new grass, green

and breathing from wet roots, was all about us.

Her bared arms reminded me of swans, though

her face and hair made me think of a duck.

I smiled at that and she smiled back, not

knowing why but sharing the earned pleasure

of siblings, our long love and reckoning of

each other, the little anniversaries of shared days.

~ ~ ~


By Sarah Newfield-Green, Grover Beach

I drive toward a white moon

The tangerine sun

behind me

What magic

can alter one’s perception in a little beach town

~ ~ ~

“The End of Drought”

By Mari O’Brien, San Luis Obispo

Rain is falling steadily.

The parched tapestry of blade and leaf

Arches almost imperceptibly

Toward the gift from above

My dog has mellowed contentedly at my feet

She dozes in the circle

Of my new love

Trusting me in new ways

Returning in her fashion

The devotion lavished on her for so many years.

My desire for you emanates from me

In sinuous tendrils

Curling and arching and spiraling

In time to music

To eclectic riffs

Melodies, harmonies, and words

That so reflect our essences

Alone and together

I rejoice in cadence with the Earth

Refreshed by mid-fall deliverance

~ ~ ~

“My Lava Flow”

By Nan J. Cole, San Luis Obispo

Bubble, burst, blast, flow.

My blaze is contained by the Earth that has let me grow.

I glow and go with the waves and contours of the soil below.

Meander and cool in the wind that tempers my moves.

Destruction, eruption, rejuvenation, creation.

A pattern of existence that remains ever-changing.

I trust, I must believe that my remains will breed love.

To nourish and fuel life to our future world.

Restoring beauty and richness to a land needing forgiveness.

Compassion through transformation.

Birthing bounty to our Earth worth reclaiming.

~ ~ ~


By James Lockshaw

In the beginning, there was only gravity.

It was like an invisible fog

In a quantum universe.

There was nothing for it to cling to.

Then came the “LITTLE BANG”.

Gravity started to convert into ghost particles

And other forms of matter and energy

Things it could coalesce with.

As the universe became dimpled with matter and energy

The gravity fog thinned

And the conversion slowed.

Dimples joined making larger and larger matter deposits,

Which eventually collapse into black holes

Where gravity reigns.

In the black hole the matter-energy

Is converted back to gravity

And evaporates back into the fog.

You ask “What is gravity?”

Beats me!

~ ~ ~

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

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