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 Norma Wightman, Morro Bay
What ifs rule her thinking this
sullen morning as she looks
out at dirty snow turning to
slush in her yard.
She pours strong coffee into
a crazed ceramic mug and
thinks about her life as
decisions she didn’t make.
Lack of choice wasn’t an
issue. She’d drifted into
many jobs. Men had come and
gone. None seemed a better
choice than living alone.
Today is her sixtieth birthday.
How will she celebrate —
visit the book store, buy a first
edition, indulge in a vintage
cabernet to sip by the fire?
Refilling her mug, she raises it
like a sanctified chalice, pledging
her commitment to living –
to whatever end.
~ ~ ~
“The Toast-and-Coffee Poet”
By Robert C. Pavlik, San Luis Obispo
Why do you soak your toast in coffee?
I don’t soak.
Well, you end up with a butter slick on the top and crumbs at the bottom of your cup.
The toast chunks tumble on your tongue.
Then don’t drink my coffee.
Why do you dunk, anyway?
I learned it at the kitchen table in Cleveland, Ohio when I was just a kid.
All my elders dunked.
They had bad teeth (or dentures) so it was probably an easy way to deal with hard toast or day-old bread.
Nothing went to waste.
My morning java is an analogy for life itself:
Savor the flavor.
Drink to the dregs.
Wash up and get to work.
~ ~ ~
By Michaelann Dimitrijevich, Atascadero
When I was an infant,
my parents were told I’d never walk.
Instead I became a star athlete.
As an alcoholic,
I got the gift of sobriety.
I’ve been blessed with second chances,
but what I cherish most
is what will pass through my life only once.
Like my husband, with his big eyelashes,
whose devotion goes beyond vows.
My parents, married seventy years,
and their unconditional love.
Friends who are like family,
and pets who are friends—
this smiling cat,
my guardian of fourteen years,
and this quirky red horse
who renewed my trust—
they all carry me
when I’m crippled.
~ ~ ~
“You Are Me”
By Morgann Tayllor, Templeton
Hey little girl
you break my heart
looking out from your
A wistful child
with hair of corn silk
arms wrapped around yourself
that say you need a hug!
You are me,
he, she and we
hearts that ache and break
in all colors and cultures
as the world weeps
its fear, hurt
Lay down your arms, world
open up your arms
little girl, I’ll give you
~ ~ ~
“Where Are You From?”
By Mary Fahey, Pismo Beach
I’m from a concrete forest, inhabited by street-smart hoodlums,
Dumb as dirt pseudo-intellectuals and people like us.
I’m from museums, libraries, theaters, parks and zoos,
Night clubs, jazz joints and neon noise.
I’m from trolley rides to Coney Island
A Nathan’s hot dog slathered with mustard on a toasted bun
Throngs who came to escape the city heat and humidity
And spread their blankets so close together that you
Could walk from boardwalk to ocean without stepping on sand.
I’m from Saturday afternoons at the Prospect movie house where
A white clad matron and red uniformed usher patrolled the aisles
And kept order in the theater filled with fidgety, boisterous children
Who munched candy and popcorn and booed or cheered the action on the screen
I’m from steel-toed work boots that glide along a beam sixty stories high,
Before the age of hard hats and safety belts.
I’m from Red Cross™ shoes and a cotton house dress
Stretched across soft bosom and belly.
I’m from a flighty boy-crazy sister and
Serious brother, lover of classical music.
I’m from a plethora of aunts, uncles and cousins
With whom we played an endless game of poker,
Sang, laughed, teased, argued and made up, or not.
A kaliescope by the delicious dysfunction of family.
~ ~ ~
By Theodore Frampton, San Luis Obispo
And all of the sudden I found myself,
With broken bottles and a barbed-wire fence,
And as I watched —as the sun set,
I felt the wind wrap around my neck,
And I fell in love with the dirt,
I taste the blood —as it is wet,
And all of the sudden I’m lost again.
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~