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.
“The Jazz Life”
By Francesca Nemko, San Luis Obispo
I need to be truly living
The Jazz Life.
Spending each day grooving, swinging
Not just dancing around the edge.
I'm literally sick and tired
Of not following my dream
My body feels depleted
Slowly breaking down
For lack of sustenance.
No vitamin or mineral
Or supplement of any kind can do it.
No — only the creative spark
Fully fired up
Let loose to roam
Around the interior of me
Scraping the sides
Churning up the juices
To set free
All that's waiting to be.
Oh, how I yearn to live free
No strings, no ties
Freedom the only prize
Which, for me, is The Jazz Life.
~ ~ ~
By Nina Reinacher, Arroyo Grande
I laugh because I can cry.
I know because I wonder why
I am grounded
So I can fly
This, my pen, my best friend
Writes for me while I question
On darkened roads without an end
Leading me down a path I can’t see,
An unknown road of mystery
The light is cast from this, my pen
As I twist around another bend
Of misty shadowed gravel there
Beneath my feet.
Like leaves, life brushes on my face,
Bristling lines, it leaves a trace
Of winter’s cold and empty space
And radiance of autumn’s grace
While I adapt to nature’s pace,
Seeking crevices of light.
~ ~ ~
By Janice Peters, Morro Bay
Ah, the theater, the magic it brings … letting imagination take wings!
Drama, pathos, mystery, suspense, comedy, laughter, music and dance,
All out there on stage for the audience to see.
But that’s not the best part of theater for me.
I love the auditions, the thrill when you’re cast, highlighting your script, learning lines fast.
Sing the songs in your car, practice dance steps at lunch…then feel like a klutz when you try both at once!
New friends become family as you rehearse the show.
Then “hell week” … already?! Where did the time go?
Am I sure of my lines? Are my costumes OK?
Should I play that one scene in a different way?
Is my character complete, will she seem real?
Will I make the audience feel what I feel?
Then opening night and you wait in the dark, excitement measured by the beat of your heart.
Places everyone, break a leg! (NOT good luck!) The creation’s complete, and now, curtain up!
Step onto the stage, play the scene, do your bit…the audience likes us! Hurray, we’re a hit!
Look forward to weekends all through the run, spending time in the green room, running lines, having fun.
And just when you get every nuance just right, the show’s run is over, and it’s closing night.
After the curtain call, the hugs and the tears, the cast party gifts and program souvenirs,
The family dissolves, separate ways we all go,
With one last “I love you … see you next show!”
~ ~ ~
By Shirley Radcliff Bruton, Atascadero
During my childhood, I sold watermelons
at my grandfather’s roadside stand in the Mojave Desert.
While eating and drinking the sweet red juice,
I spit out the dark, plump seeds.
The hot summer temperatures scorched the ground
and radiated back up, enveloping and smothering
my rebellious self. It removed me from the volatile
internal heat of an indefensible home life. I loved that quiet heat.
In high school I took a modern dance class
and spent the next 11 years devoted to the discipline.
I was able to express my anger, joy, sadness and confusion.
Dancing also opened up a world of music, literature and art.
Performance Art gave me the voice I wanted,
still abstract in delivery, i.e. opening a folding-chair, and
then slamming it shut, over and over and over again
while shouting “Love, Love, Love,” as a couple close by
My closeup photography revealed the details that the human eye
couldn’t see, a fascinating device to probe a little deeper.
The Prana of yoga and writing poetry seemed to arrive
at the same time; both mindful practices into the realm
of cause and effect. The world expanded, expressing
itself as a reflection of my soft easy breath. A kinder,
more accepting observation of life unfolded within me.
~ ~ ~
By Juliane McAdam, Los Osos
The kitchen of my childhood was stocked with
copper-clad Revere Ware pans —
sauce pans, Dutch ovens, skillets.
My parents, mostly my father, cooked;
my job was to wash the pans
and polish the copper bottoms.
At twenty-two, as I prepared to
set off on my own —
graduate school halfway across the country —
my father gave me several of the pans,
pans as old as I was,
enough to stock my own kitchen.
Now, nearly fifty years later,
I still cook with those same pans,
in the kitchen my father used to cook in.
He surely knew that I could
always depend on copper-clad Revere Ware.
But I confess:
I no longer polish the copper bottoms.
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~