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.
by Gabrielle Blair
These last forty years you and I’ve 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 “thing.”
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.
Winter’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.
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
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
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.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com