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Tarzana, California — 7 Comments

  1. Westside Women’s Writer’s group: Kathi Stafford, Millicent Borges Accardi, Susan Rogers, Georgia Jones-Davis, Maja Trochimczyk, Lois Jones!

  2. Poem for Poets for Change

    EMILY AT AUSCHWITZ
    by Georgia Jones-Davis

    She wore the thin
    leather boots bought in Haight-
    Ashbury. On the ride
    back to Krakow
    a disturbance crept up on her,
    a disturbance she could not recognize.

    Joseph, her great-grandfather,
    arrived in one of the last transports,
    never left.

    Does blood murmur to its own
    through ash that still dirties the air,
    bone whisper to its own
    through dust piled beneath the soles?

    In this place where the dead survive
    did Joseph’s fire-digested eyes
    know Emily on sight,
    the daughter of his daughter’s daughter,
    a link in the dying chain

    miraculously alive.

    (c) 2011 by Georgia Jones-Davis
    Blue Poodle (Finishing Line Press)

  3. Poem for Poets for Change

    THE TOKUGAWA KIMONO
    for Kotama Okada

    by Susan Rogers

    He was born into a fighting world, into the lineage of samurai. His father was an Oda. His mother,Tokugawa. He inherited the blood-steeped past of both. But his heart held light. His given mission: to rewrite the warrior world into peace. In the Japanese Collection at the Pacific Asia Museum there is a child’s kimono with his family crest displayed in a long, clear box. The crest on the child’s kimono reminds me of my fighting thoughts: the car that sliced in front of me today, the woman at the bank who stole my place in line. But I remember Kotama who placed the Oda and Tokugawa crests on the fence of his house in Atami so he would never forget his past and judge the conflict he saw, the rancor he felt in others. Every day he would pass those crests and practice humility, offering apology for his ancestors. We are all children of warriors. We all once knew light. The image on the child’s kimono suggests fidelity. An old man at the water’s edge rakes sand. An old woman next to him holds a broom. Together they make a stand against the chaos of their world, sweeping the beach clean.

    at the water’s edge
    a child digs a moat in sand
    over and over

  4. Renovation

    It’s Sunday and he makes the mistake
    of brandy. The flooring nearly done.

    A terrible error, stepping back
    to admire grout and rimed borders
    like old battlefields he’d rather forget.

    In no motion at all, he feels
    the wall of malice, limbs freezing,
    wires hanging from trees.

    His wife, the work has ceased.
    The solidity of existence pressing

    against a metal fence prompts
    the man to drop to his knees.
    A changed man, returned to no fanfare.

    As cars go by, triumphant against
    the task at hand, he suffers. Across
    the bathroom floor, he picks up his cutter

    and begins again. Day after day, he crawls.
    Every combat bone in his body, every
    thing he can remember is a wall he cannot

    shake. Hanoi. Ho Chi Mihn. The moon
    in the open vault of heaven calls out to him.
    A holy city inside his head. There is no material

    he is familiar with, there. Pain
    is not locatable. Not above his waist,
    not where he can reach it.
    Not even stones are this everlasting.

  5. I posted the poem I read on my blog; it is inspired by artwork of Beth Shibata commemorating the prisoners of the Japanese-American Internment Camp at Manzanar and dedicated to one of the former prisoners, painter Henry Fukuhara who organized annual plein air workshops of artists at Manzanar. APC Gallery in Torrance held the exhibitions, and Poets of Site from Pasadena started writing poems about the art. It is the fourth year that we have done that, the fourteenth year of the art project.

    http://poetrylaurels.blogspot.com/2011/09/one-hundred-thousand-poets-for-change.html

    SKYDANCE

    ~ to Henry Fukuhara and the prisoners of Manzanar

    the mountains rose and fell
    with their glory useless –
    trapped in time they did not
    think they’d make it –
    days so long, stretched
    to the horizon, mindless

    and the sky danced above them
    avalanche of paper cranes

    it was not a time for joy
    the landscape said –
    bleak, unforgiving,
    it was not that time yet –
    in gaps between minutes
    a shadow rose, a breath

    and the sky danced above them
    spring dreams of paper cranes

    contours remembered,
    felt in the fingertips
    filled the world with color
    faded pastels, knowing,
    pale rainbow, hues
    of distance, peace, serenity

    and the sky danced above them
    paper cranes, oh, paper cranes

  6. Pax Kathi Stafford

    And I will give peace in this land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid. Lev. 26.6

    Deanna Kay tells me my toys wake up

    each night at two a.m. and hold

    wars without my permission. She lives next door,

    Her Swedish faith in magic unbroken

    by desert. Tumbleweeds skritter their dry

    realities against the adobe wall

    While Deanna whispers to me about mayhem,

    Barbies with toy swords and motorcycles

    ready for duels and sudden death.

    Ken drives his tank against the battle

    line, his olive khakis covering his thin

    limbs. Flares pulse out rigid scales as

    Another bomb clamors and

    he loses a leg. Deanna Kay rips

    the head off a blond doll and it goes

    Pop in the night and we hear her father’s

    heavy thud as we dive under quilts etched

    in lingonberries. A decade later we will

    Fret over friends caught in a draft, over napalm

    that curls above their path

    in a jungle with no arid hope.

    Channel Four will fling out bodies torn

    in dying color. O Deanna, where is sweet

    sleep and the hope that the

    Cycle of violence will ever break

    like a toy, a childish phase

    we will put down at last?

    Turn from mischief,

    breathe in the hymn of peace.

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