home again, still coming down off my D.C. high. Final night there, I
hit the first half of Riverdale Book Shop's standing room only
monthly read, got myself a copy of Spiraeas journal of literature and
art, then binged at Mango's and you want to talk about righteous? Ask
Patrick Washington of Generation 2000, who coincidentally went on to
win the slam at Cafe Myth.com (Denise Johnson took #2 place.) Yeah
yeah yeah I'm STILL talking about that grooviest of new D.C. venues,
graced last night with the slamtastic surprise feature Gayle Danley.
Anyone wanting to get on Cafe Myth.com mailing list, contact Nicki
Miller at SlamAgent_at_aol.com
to sell the Austin poetry scene short, my first night home East Side
B&W Poets had its own standing room only read at Ebony Sun Java
House, featuring Valerie Bridgeman Davis, accompanied by Element, her
son with his own voice to be reckoned with. Valerie will soon be
visiting Cheryl Latif's Poetic Brew venue at Claire de Lune in San
Diego. For details, e mail Cheryl at clatif_at_concentric.net
week's theme: Memorial Day
for Issue #82: Coffee Tribute: Happiness is just a thing called Joe.
for Issue #83: Second Generation: Poetry by the offspring of poets.
those of you not familiar with the U.S. observance called Memorial
Day: originally known as Decoration Day, it was established in 1868
to commemorate the dead from the Civil War. Over the years it came to
serve as a day to remember all U.S. men and women killed or missing
in action in all wars. I do not advocate war, on the contrary.
However, World War I Canadian Lieut.-Col. John McCrae's poem, "In
Flanders Field" has ranked among my faves for decades. This
week's featured poetry is dedicated not just to U.S. men and women
killed or MIA in war, but to all who hold high the torch.
thanks to all who have contributed your poetry.
Gene Hatfield is a Viet Nam vet. His poem "Mia" was first
brought to my attention by Sandra Vinson, Literary Editor for "The
Wall" website. The poem, which appears on
http://www.thewall-usa.com/ is included in the MAP with the poet's
permission. The title does not refer to "Missing In Action."
long time ago or maybe only yesterday,
met a girl, and she had beautiful black hair,
eyes to match.
first she looked at me with doubt,
I was a stranger in a land with little trust.
as time went on we grew closer, and closer...
day she came to see me,
every day we talked.
talked of happy things, and things to come.
day I left on patrol, and when I returned
could she be I asked
no one seemed to know...
I found out why. This precious person
lived in a village in Viet Nam.
died of kindness, killed by VC
coming to me to talk...
will never forget you
will always be in my thoughts and dreams...
by enemy fire
1999 Gene Hatfield
Sanjay C. Kuttan of Singapore does not celebrate Memorial Day, but
asked that I include the following poem for this week's theme:
of Silenced Echoes (June 4, 1989)
the red bricks of Tiananmen Square
bones and dreams
mason's cement for a new Nation.
flag tainted with her children's blood.
within many hearts
within, they remain;
tombstone of memories
inferno of tears
ablaze with despair
the flame of your heart
foment, for a thousand years.
tear stained cheeks
in the gnarled face
the smiling Dragon.
1999 Sanjay C. Kuttan
Sometimes I solicit poems for this section, as with the next, by
Larry Jaffe. Oh, and congrats on the arrival of Larry's newest
grandson Giovanni, whose own webpage at
http://www.lgjaffe.com/giovanni.htm includes this poem.
embraced your wings today
could feel the spiritual epiphany
you climbed goddess towers
ascended to your own form of heaven
could feel you grace god’s wings
your own spiritual touch
was happy for you my friend
felt your knowing glances
affinity sprinkled with allure
kindness speaks for itself
you climbed yet another staircase of transformation
wanted to write only of beauty today
tired of the human course of events
thought of you my friend
thought of you…
Melissa McEver of Austin, Texas, sent me this poem for an earlier
theme, but got it in late. What the heck, I'll run it for you anyway,
eyes as seen through a soft-focus lens
in the world seen, like velvet-kissed harnessed light
a flash that gleamed the day flesh introduced your spirit
a bright light that must have been.
is what the world may see, but there is more.
softness cannot hide the paralysis
harnesses your light, the restraint of your face
hold the flashes in.
close eye notices.
in the light-whiteness of your insides,
piercing, flashing, bruising holes
perfect memory burrows through your skin.
you must hold yourself against their punctures.
yourself against any opening, to light, to shadow.
green-gold gleam is a one-way mirror
most true whiteness behind.
you learned to paralyze yourself--there was no other way.
sparks of light still escape in a soft moment,
I meet your eyes from across a holy war
1999 Melissa McEver