Poetry

Posted: Friday, February 26, 2010

Hare Today, Owl Tomorrow

By Richard Stokes

My skis whisper over hare tracks

laid down since last night's snow. A

breeze from the north nips my face,

but the sun lies, tells me it's warmer

than it is. I'm as carefree as the hare, then

his tracks disappear in disturbed snow

tufts of hair and blood, one life

merged with another.

WIND CHILL, FORTY BELOW

By Richard Stokes

Winter bubble of arctic air brims

with bone-cold Canadian air pours

over coastal mountains like water

over a dam, tears snow from ridges.

Shrouds the morning sun with icy crystals

rips froth from waves, obscures Douglas shore.

Children cling to street signs

struggle for footing on polished ice.

Garbage pails captured by icy gusts

bang down surrendered streets,

clatter against light posts and parked cars,

chase pedestrians into doorways.

Crows, a dozen or so, press low

into hard swept snow, their feathers fluffed

like ground nesting birds on eggs. Then

to a soundless signal we all lift into the wind,

flash like kites on long lines,

disappear.

To a soundless signal they lift into the wind,

flash like black kites on long lines,

and disappear.

Two Women Talking

By Richard Stokes

across the small table, sitting toward

the front half of their chairs, torsos

angled forward, four hands, close,

occasionally one reaching for another,

a touch to accent a word or phrase.

Waiters move between tables,

dishes clatter, someone laughs loudly,

but the two, eyes locked,

exist in a quiet bubble

of mutual attention.

• Richard Stokes, a Georgian by birth, moved to Juneau in 197l to become a charter member of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, retiring in 1994. Since 2004 he has worked as a seasonal naturalist guide for Gastineau Guiding and, in addition, is currently a relief driver for Care-A-Van. He is serving his sixth year on the board of Discovery Southeast whose mission is to connect people (particularly children) with nature. He has published both prose and poetry. Locally and most recently, his work has appeared in the 2007, 2008 and 2009 issues of Tidal Echoes (UAS) and for the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 Poetry Omnibus (poems on Capital Transit). His poetry tends to focus on nature which he loves and aging which he is doing. His wife, Jane, is a Juneau artist.

TATTOO

By Charity Green

tattoo: a scar & sacrifice

a bold stroke wrought

with cold device

pain inflicted,

inked, addicted

a soul in symbol, distinct between the me and you

to seal the overflow, bear up beneath, draw down above the true

it's splayed across your back; design

of reddened heart cracked blue in twain

and the single word 'salvation', borne on two wings

crossed in bones and other fiery broken things.

you've sinned, been cleansed

reparations made, you bent again - but finally resolved

you signed beneath the underline

for a relentless possibility, permanent, divine

a devil's contract broke on skin

seen in the mirror, the image doubles twin

a fractured glance of you in grief & doubt

for us to view your heart within-without

tattoo: this once and daily cut

to staunch your blood

and hold you shut.

• Charity Green is in love with her rich and intense life in Alaska. She looks for ways to share her appreciation for life here with people around her. "I'm on a committed, intentional, difficult but wonderful path to artistic expression, 'starving-artist' style but supplemented by the joys of my Alaskan lifestyle," she says.

For Daphne, a forwarded message

By Sybil Davis

In the frozen, moonlit night

Gold Creek rushes over glacial pebbles,

but what I hear are the words of Daphne -

fourteen-year-old Daphne who survived

the Haiti quake.

"Mama, mama, I'm coming"

"Mama, mama, I'm coming"

Daphne, who escaped her collapsed home.

Jumped on a motorcycle for hire,

arrived alone

to find "broken people" in the market ruins -

Daphne, who found her mother,

lifeless, dumped

into a wheelbarrow.

She froze; colder than this moonlit night,

watched her only parent, broken and wheeled away.

"I wanted to die,"

she whispered, quiet as mist rising from this creek

so quiet the NY Times reporter could barely hear.

"I feel her.

She is always with me,

like a wind on my back"

In the quiet rose-hued dawn

Gold Creek rustles over icy rocks

whispers -

Your mother's spirit

breathes against your back.

It uplifts you,

protects you,

heals you.

Like the current moving me forward,

Her love urges you back into life.

Yes. We are everywhere, Daphne.

Our mother spirits a wind on your back,

carrying you, like a stream, out to the sea,

and the horizon beyond.

• Sybil Davis is a legislative proofreader and former Director of the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council. In 1975, she founded Juneau Dance Unlimited. In 2006-2007 she and her painter husband, Ken DeRoux, lived in Istanbul, Turkey where she taught Business English. In 2008 they lived in France for 7 months.

Denali, 1980

By Lauren M. Swift

He lopes, undulating through tall grass

and sedge. He runs, a giant stiding against the wind,

they flow, he flows, a river of thick brown fur,

yellow grass, green grass, fireweed playing pink

on his flanks flowing down, down, yet up.

Is he dreaming of catching grayling, salmon, trout?

I had a dream once, I remember as I watched

from the old yellow school bus, that I was not afraid

of the wind, that I too could run with it, against it,

within it and throughout it - wild.

Red Rage

By Marjorie Menzie

"Red is the rage," declares Vogue

With shapely models

Parading the glossy pages

In fiery skirts, short and tight,

Sheer, crimson dresses,

Clinging to breasts and thighs,

Red hats, curved and feathered,

Rouged cheeks framing scarlet lips

Aflame with passion,

Blood-colored shoes, spiked,

Molding dancing feet.

I wrap my red raincoat

Around me and walk out

Into my wet, cold world.

• Marjorie Menzi is a "partially retired" social studies educator who has lived in Juneau for 39 years.



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