Poetry Niche – February 2024

Go for Broke

Susa Silvermarie

Time is on

our hands.

Motionless

it hangs like a joke

next to the boat

we thought was moving.

Our lives stand still

for the big Exam.

Go for broke,

reel in

real meanings.

There’s a good reason

time is in

our hands.

******

On Becoming a Memory

Allison Quattrocchi

“What happens, happens and then you are gone.”
“Brief but spectacular.”

“Life comes with an expiration date.”

Such thoughts dance with the diminishing days

Revolving, evolving – like a movie life plays;

Chocolate and ice cream and myriad adventures

The landscape of living — its infinite sensations

Frequent the memory as age advances

Revealing how I have lived.

Retired now, feeling less relevant,

Less tolerant of toxic behavior;

Rejoicing in the peace alive in me,

Not needing anything I don’t savor;

Grateful and loving just to Be,

Able to take time to really See,

Until there will be just a memory of me!

******

Despite It All

Catherine A. MacKenzie

Amid the darkness

And despair and doom,

View the blazing sun

And azure sky…

Or the silvery moon

And nightly black

When the living rest

After a day of light.

Grasp your hands

And flex your fingers,

Be grateful for

Limbs that move:

Legs to carry

You through the day

And arms to fold

On your chest at night.

Feel blessed for breath

That wakes you

Every morning,

For the power to yawn

And stretch,

To frown

Or smile,

To greet a new day.

In this new normal

Of a not-so-gentle world

Of confusion and chaos

Be kind,

For we share one life.

Be thankful for tears,

For to love is to cry and

To die is to have lived.

Despite doom

And despair

Be grateful

To be alive,

To see the sun

And the moon,

For what is the alternative.

******

Pajarito

Tom Dailey

I never knew her name, but call her Little Bird—Pajarito.

If I had to guess,

For identification purposes, I’d say

An Anglo, Female,

Her ‘please’ and ‘thank you’

Unaccented to my gringo ear.

A few brown and crooked teeth

Did not disrupt a scent of softness

On her breath.

Not yet middle-aged—

Hard to tell in her emaciated state,

But still with something

Wistful inside.

Skin yellow over tan, tight, and drawn toward the bones—

Muscles bereft, no breasts and a body

That had never reached puberty,

Or got there and decided to turn back.

Bird-like, a mess of coarse

Dusty red hair.

It was difficult to look into her sunken eyes:

Defenseless, and probing.

As you can imagine she dressed shabbily,

But with a certain flair.

I first noticed her a few months ago;

She’d made a place for herself

At the top of some concrete steps

Behind the farmacia:

A nest for her landings.

One expected fluffs of down

To sprout from beneath her arms,

And, really!

Exposed like that?

Where the trucks unload?

She must have felt protected by

The fourteen steps.

I’d sometimes spy her under

A scramble of filthy blankets and

In and among

A torn box or two and other

Detritus.

I pitied her the few plastic bottles nearby

For their esthetically-challenged remains of

An artificially red liquid…

But that pity well is way too shallow.

Sort of a mystery though:

I’d been thinking American,

But that sign—

Cardboard sign—

To claim this

Her landing and Not—

The pharmacy’s property.

That sign

She wrote in Spanish.

After the fourteen steps became too much of a challenge,

The nest was somehow brought down to the sidewalk

Where she sat with its stuffing around her,

Legs extended, leaning against the outside wall

Of a restaurant

That would never open,

At the base of the steps,

A single tattoo on her taut belly

Bare and exposed

Almost down to the crotch—

A search for comfort I suppose.

I looked away.

Extending a tiny cup of a hand,

Her final ‘please’ was softly spoken. 

I gave her twenty pesos

And what was meant to be a sympathetic smile.

But as I walked away, the insufficiency of both gestures

Moved me to further action on her behalf.

I came home to assemble—

With more determination than thought—

A care package of bottled water, apple, nutrition bar.

But even that still missed the mark:

She was beyond money, food and water.

The shape of her skull

Gave an unsettling meaning

To her condition.

The next morning,

Not more than a day ago at this writing,

She and all her nest were gone—

As if they’d never been—

And I wonder where she came from,

And where and how she went.

******

Spirit Evolution

Susa Silvermarie

 Four wings,

I feel them on my back,

like butterfly wings,

fluttering up and down

in a figure eight.

Invisible as infinity.

I decide to believe in them.

And oh! Here comes

the buffeting Wind,

seven years fierce.

Wind I must thank you.

I do accept

your transformation, I do.

But now I beg

your gentleness.

Let me rest, rest,

a hundred years of rest.

I give no thought

to my old life,

no thought

to chrysalis or wind.

I trust the strength

of my wings,

the terrible power

of their vulnerability.

In the natural ease

of change, I move,

lightly,

to a new way of living.

The whole of humanity

flutters up

free of expectations,

to the newborn future.

******

The Poet Got Loose

Robert D. Lopez

Something happened to me

That I do not understand

The Poet got loose on my life

Suffered with me and stayed

Till there is not bird

But the one who can save my life

And it could be an Eagle

But they are so common

To writers and I need a Hawk

Who gets just part of the prey

The main heart of a thing

My own self in each action

A truth against spaceness

Some wall between death.


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


Mel Goldberg
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