Poetry Niche – June 2022


by Steve Griffin

The vivid hues of flowers are muted by the dust.
The radiant green of leaves now dully turned to rust.
The nightly coquetries of dews,
Prove but a faithless lover’s ruse.
The empurpled glory of jacaranda bloom,
lie in dusty heaps beneath a gardener’s broom.
The barbed-wire whine of the cicadas,
disturb the heated air.
Pelican bereft, the listless lake,
looks skyward with a vacant stare.
The hills adorned in somber gowns,
Gaze down with pensive eyes.
Furrowed fields lie fallow like dusty, open thighs,
beneath the knife-blue, sterile, unresponsive skies.
All await with bated breath the groom with all his train,
his attendant, cloudy lords and life producing rain.

Autumn Years

by Gabrielle Blair

These last forty years you and Ive been together.
Spring has past, Summer
s gone, now Autumn weather.
Note wrinkles, furrows, graying hair grown thin,
Paunches, spare tires, flabby thighs, drooping skin.
Our voices familiar, thoughts left trailing …
Forgetting a name – call something a
Small kindnesses shown reveal that we care,
Hurt feelings let go, still moments we share.
Things left unsaid, sometimes deeds misconstrued;
Sadness dispersed with a joke understood.
s approaching, be mindful of cold!
Keep home fires burning, as all must grow old.
Smiling and laughing, we cling to the fun.

For light-hearted joy’s kept loves web re-spun.

Latin Dancers

by John Sacelli 

Latin Dancers dance as ever

the men erect and proud

the ladies carried by the tempo

of marimba, conga, castanet. 

Yet the rhythm of the dance has slowed

at first almost imperceptibly

and then more definite until

the figures of the dancers seem more distant,

moving less like men and women,

than dolls, puppets, marionettes.

They are retreating, falling into memory

moving off into the darkness

of old ideas, ideals and dreams.

The motion of the dance remains

yet flickers like the passion

of the past.

Love Is Love

by Michael Warren

A poet wrote that love is gold
while others say it’s blind
but all I know is what I hold
when you, my love, are kind.
Though words are whirling in my mind
words can be bought and sold
and gold’s a metal that was mined
and made in bricks, so hard and cold –
no, love is love, my love, as we grow old,
then when you’re sitting by the fire
where dying embers of desire
flicker like stories often told,
I’ll come and find you, touch your hand

Morning Meditation

by Bill Frayer

Sliding silently into the murky pond

my wooden paddle breaks the glass

pushing ripples, gurgling softly, surging

the kayak towards the cabin on the point

nestled among the pointed firs

emerging from the morning mist.

Past a lonely, weathered dock

waiting patiently on crooked

greasy green slime-covered legs,

shadows of fish, lurking furtively

as the far-away loon hoots,

as a hazy sun peeks with anticipation

over the blackened hulk of the mountain.

I feel my stomach growl.

Smells like fresh cut grass

as I push through the lily pads.

I’m startled as a great heron descends

gliding to his perch on a half-submerged

dried needleless spruce sapling

to resume his silent, wary vigil.

My reel whirs, worm and bobber

plop near a lone turtle sitting silently

on an algae-coated rock.  A dragonfly

alights on the end of my pole

joining our community of morning lake life

we share at this moment.

I think of the fish slithering

beneath our loud silence.

Perchance A Pandemic

by John Allett  

There he lay in hospital

Aching from his head to his toes

All because he couldn’t keep 

His fingers from his nose.

Or maybe the virus entered farther south

Through the opening of his mouth

Or perhaps on the fly 

The virus entered through an eye.

Maybe, despite his many plans,

He forgot to wash his hands

Perhaps he was not insistent

On keeping others distant. 

Or was it on some quick errand or task

That he forgot to wear a mask.

Anyway, this tiny point of entry

For whatever reason it did happen

Caused him to shiver, shake and sicken

While the virus did multiply and quicken.

But the virus lacking transport of its own

Its quest for survival is ultimately blown

So, in a battle long and hard fought

It is the virus that will end up ‘de la mort’


by John Thomas Dodds

From the collection:

The Year of Living Dangerously

since we are all going somewhere

those not mired in the past

are always ahead of themselves,

living in an ever evolving future

stop for a second

put on the brakes

it could change the world

as we know it


for one second only


in that moment

a thought of kindness

just one

think of it/then don’t

we have tried holding hands

around the world

it hasn’t worked

in part because it need not be

it’s our hearts and minds

that have to touch

 if but a millisecond

to set us on our way

to be free

The Knife Sharpener

 by Jack Voller

we hear only his whistle at night, distinctive, unmistakable.

but no customary cry of “afilador,

no litany of the tools to which his craft is given.

only the enigmatic whistle, diatonic, rising and falling,

haunting, plaintive, evocative,

piercing the night air with brilliant clarity.

but though we look we never see him.  no one can.

and we return to our houses in silence,

the uncanny having left us mute

some say he fell in love with a woman whose knives he sharpened,

loving her fiercely though she was above his station,

elegant and beautiful, fierce in her passions, haughty.

his love for her was hopeless but helplessly it grew

until one night, two nights, five nights she was not there.

weeks passed.  months. 

she was gone.

some believe he went to find her, found her with a lover

and in a storm of passion slew them both before taking his own life.

others say he found her, declared his love, and they lived in bliss

until her sudden death, tragic and unexplained, sent him back

to the town of his birth in black despair.

still others say he has never found her, that he wanders the night,

his enigmatic whistle a signal to her that he still seeks her,

still loves her, and that he will wander in search of her forever.


In a future issue I will discuss haiku poetry as well as senryu, tanka, and sijo. Here is an example of a classic haiku.

freshly fallen snow –

opening a new package

of typing paper

Nick Avis. From “The Haiku Anthology. Revised Edition.” (Ed. Cor van den Heuvel, 1991)

The image of the unblemished white snow reverberates with that of the new sheets of white typing paper. Imagine the fresh, start that looking at the new snow has instilled in the writer, suggesting he will begin a poem, story or even a novel.

A perfect haiku to start a New Year!

Mel was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA. After earning his Master’s Degree in English, he taught literature and writing in California, Illinois, Arizona, and at Stanground College in Cambridgeshire, England. For seven years, he and his wife lived in a small motor home, traveling the US, Canada, and Mexico.

In 2018, he won the grand prize for a haiku in the Setouchi Matsuyama contest in Matsuyama, Japan.

In 2019, Red Moon Press published his book of haiku, The Weight of Snowflakes. In 2020, Finishing Line Press published his book of free verse poetry, Memories.

He is regularly published in magazines in the U.S, U.K, Canada, and Australia.

June 2022 Issue

El Ojo del Lago – Home Page

For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com

For more information about Lake Chapala visit: chapala.com

Mel Goldberg
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