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 Sparrows of Dyslexia”
By George Asdel, Atascadero
Like a flock of noisy sparrows, images enter my brain
through my eyes, and ears, some upside down,
some backwards with much chattering — moments
later, calmed, ideas formed, they fly out in creative ways.
In school, I was successful in art and music,
but struggled to read, to finish tests, to keep from failing.
Labeled: bright, but lazy, a daydreamer — can do better.
Put in classes that didn’t challenge me.
Put in classes with disruptive students.
At seventeen I was a popular story teller on Catalina Island
telling ancient stories of the constellations to groups of Scouts and people from yachts in the harbor.
We sat in a clearing on a cliff
looking down at phosphorescent surf,
looking up at a trillion stars in the summer night.
I graduated from a university.
Taught students in neglected inner city schools.
Directed camps for all ages.
Now a professional artist in galleries,
puppeteer, writer of puppet plays,
poet, creator of books and award winning poems,
musician, singer in many choirs over the years.
Now with age and experience,
appreciated are the challenges and gifts of dyslexia,
tamed is the cacophony of wild sparrows.
~ ~ ~
By Kathy Hansen
With articulated fingers,
I pull a silken stream of words from my body,
Minute thread of consciousness
held up against the bright world.
Anchored by only this one thread,
I cast myself into space,
Dangle and swing from here to who knows where,
Tying impossible things together.
Word by glistening, hard fought word,
wrenched from gut to hand to pen,
I write my paradigm across the path.
I weave a shiny net to catch your mind.
~ ~ ~
By Corrina Veesart, Los Osos
Touch is like a river ripple,
you to me, me to you,
by touch alone.
Heart on heart, hand holding
calls out loudly
like animal instinct,
I, without sight or sound,
crave contact, need connection
animal to animal
soul to soul
without my native sign language
just hands touching.
speaks louder than a river’s thunder,
happiness, sadness, hello, goodbye, anger, apologies, moving on …
by the language of touch
Why is it that hugs matter so?
Perhaps because the sting of rain and snow
and for once I can communicate
lingering in your embrace.
~ ~ ~
“Place and space”
By Tess Goodnowott, San Luis Obispo
Place and space
present in space, lost in place
conglomeration of silent words
shaping lips \ audibly emerging
twisted in the body, reverberating within the brain
back and forth
back and forth
relentless silent chatter.
You told me you couldn’t do it right now,
that you couldn’t be with me.
Then I see you so in love with her.
You call me, you are all smiles;
think about all you have broken.
Foreign speech making shapes
Mouth and lips coerced into movement
the sounds they produce
and what rattles within.
Who are you anymore.
~ ~ ~
By Jon Clarke, San Luis Obispo
Some things you take to your grave.
Some things you live with,
and you die with.
Something you did,
something done to you.
It eats at you
It just never goes away.
You never forget it.
You never think, it’s behind me.
It makes you want to cry
when everyone else is laughing.
Everyone is talking,
having a good time,
but not you.
You keep quiet.
You think about this thing.
Not a good time, not for you.
Some times are not good.
Some things gnaw away the good in you.
And you take it to your grave.
~ ~ ~
By Debra Prijatel Perkinson, San Luis Obispo
Engrained in little minds – like a seed
Germinate, root and grow
Possessing a lifetime
Today do not matter
And, the teacher no longer cares or worries about the outcomes
They have forgotten
The student may now release that which no longer serves
They get to create a new existence
One of bliss and honoring
One’s own personal power known as the
‘The gift’ some say ‘the lesson’
~ ~ ~
By Melinda Kincaid, San Luis Obispo
We are all artists, begging for expression.
Exposing imposter candy grams.
Seeking sleeping Giants; wanting to wake the insides
And loose our cannons.
Unsuspecting wanderers walk into the light and shadow of fresh stretched canvas.
Pooling, drooling; Words or Verse; Rhythms and Melodies; Structures uncovered.
We toddle atop wobbly outcroppings; Stuttering and spitting, spirited symphony, until cacophony breeds Velocity, and We are spent in our expression.
Confession: We fear it’s nonsense with no substance
But, we are incumbents, Hell-bent; circumventing this fear, to bring voice, to what we feel we have no choice, but to release.
Release, Relent, Refill,
This Vastness has no Match in Housed and Harnessed Property.
~ ~ ~
By Carmen Fojo, Los Osos
The heart is a musical instrument with its own rhythm and timbre.
Although shaped like a bagpipe, it is sonorous as a piano,
has the plaintiveness of a cello, and the determination of a drum.
It incessantly plays a live symphony.
When the heart meets another with similar rhythm and tone
they form a bond, and together achieve
the most lyrical movements of the symphony,
likened to a Bach variation or cantata.
Ah, but if the bond is disrupted through interference and fear
the heart then goes into shock and breaks;
that is when the symphonic movement ends,
as it modulates to a minor key for healing.
In time, the heart may meet another and intone lyrically again;
or it may come to the truth that all hearts
play in unison, when dissonance, and diverse chords
are allowed to take a part in the symphony.
The heart may even enlarge to intone with the universal rhythms
of the planets and stars, since they too are musical instruments
with which a heart that found the Light can bond.
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~