Who am I? ‘Light Touch in the Woods’ and other poems exploring self-identity

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]




“Light Touch in the Woods”

By Bonnie Young, Arroyo Grande

I draw open the curtain

to this thicket of eucalyptus,

limbs stretching up before me,

slithering bare skin against

the morning blue, waiting

to be splashed by sun

and transformed chameleon-like

out of shadows into shafts

of gold. I reach out to be held

in stillness and dare to pray.

When that early hour fades into

evening and shifts to darkness,

these eucalypti stretch

their tall, bare limbs into the night

like the pale strong arms of women,

shivering as they shimmy

out of their clothes in dark’s chill.

Each silver-white form twists and turns

like a sculpture come to life,

breathing in and passing on

the white fire of moonlight.

~ ~ ~

“Jacked up home again”

By Kevin Drabinski, San Luis Obispo

It had rained

And rained again

Then cleared off

And in the early early morn

Like a soft black blue blanket that reaches

To the four corners

Of an earthly bed

The sky – even this close to the city

The sky hung

With families of the smallest stars

Right down to the edges

Of its hilly horizons

Those vast and brilliant distances

Of time and space

Their ancient splendor

Spoke to that which was old in me

To the utterance of my true name at the birth of my soul

To that first breathy kiss that drew me into existence

And I laughed with the sky

And who couldn’t hear it?

Rocking and rolling

On the whispers of eternity

~ ~ ~

“the seat of honor”

By RL Sendra, Nipomo

there is a reason that you talk

and god listens.

there is profound solace

in the consolation of a friend

who hears your heartache,

treating it like gold,

in the tender hands of infinity.

there is a purpose for seeing

the night sky stars,

feeling awe and wonder,

in such exquisiteness.

there is treasure in knowing

our undying interdependence.

all of life in call and response.

ecstasy came to meet you here,

just for your flabbergasted knowingmaking

you royalty in the seat of significance.

this is why you keep coming back,

to the garden, as the honored guest.

so I ask you, as you’ve been called to task before,

in silence again, the question with no answer,

the heart that knows your purpose.

~ ~ ~


By Ivan BrownOtter, Cayucos

Trying to find myself

I trek into the wilderness

of northwestern Montana

Voices of Chief Seattle

and Black Elk

echo off the far canyon wall

Man didn’t create

the web of life

He is but a thread in it

What he does to the web

he does to himself

The Great Spirit

lives at the center

of the web

The center is everywhere

and within each of us

I feel the tug of threads

through rock people

deer people

wind and rain


tall grass and sun

I am part of

the web of life too

~ ~ ~

“Narrows of Zion”

By Rosemary Wilvert, San Luis Obispo

Thunderheads in the highlands

summer afternoon hangs hot in the valley

I chill to my neck in a swimming hole

waiting out a storm surge

to see how far I can walk

the next morning into the slot canyon

Cold water rushing my knees a mile in

amber walls curving into lavender

I find a stout willow stick for a third leg

Ochre sandstone burnishes orange

in a shaft of sunshine

shadows deepen purple

Narrowed current climbs my thighs

My fingertips reach opposite

thousand-foot-high walls

three miles in

I must see what’s

around the next bend

Water funneling waist-high

I caress polished stone

one more time

give in

let the flow

buoy me and my stick

wider and wider back down the canyon

~ ~ ~


By William Beck, San Luis Obispo

If I were a West Coast hummingbird

I’d float the on shore breeze

Or fly so high ‘til only a speck

cruising, diving, wherever I please.

Been clocked at 50 per

not bad for being so tiny

my strength I gather from nectar

keeps my colors bright and shiny

Greyhounds chase the fake rabbit

thoroughbreds pummel the track

But me with my wings reved up

could already be there and back.

Don’t mean to sound so brazen

Mother nature creates a way

to mold each creature special,

“viva la difference” we say

My flight plans can box the compass

routes go up, down, forward and back

boy have they come in handy

To ward off a sneak attack!

Don’t count me out too small

there’s more of me to know

If your interests still peak

To the internet, you must go.

~ ~ ~

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

~ ~ ~

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