Poetry · Visual Art

Learning to Listen

by Melany Bell

Please enjoy this poem and images on listening, begat from my very own mind in 2022. Thank you for listening…
The images and poetry are by : ©MELANY BELL 2017-2022 all rights reserved  

Artist Statement:

I am an Ambidextrous Painter, Scientist, Step-Mother, Lover of Lady’s & their Others.
A Whore a Coward, Liar a Judas
A Free-dome seeking Teacher of Our collective Futures
Made to own Our GrandCestors spaces
reinterpretation of
Shape, Sound Frequency, re-speculating the birth of WE
I am the Word & World created on a stage, page, tone or face
Representing, & recreating a state of a Mind, for the race to BE Human.
I am Preaching Precious Story’s
Mirrors we’re constantly living up to reflecting on,
Herstory’s. Infinite iNtelligence too deep to be Respected
all to make rhyming come back
like when the Last Poets just met
When lazy Saturdays meant SMURPH’S
Prince had not yet worn their bottomless pants
I am UN-comforting white pages turned brilliant
With beats on the backs of breakdowns
An Ali of mental graphics
Shakespeare of word gymnastics
To art like butter to fat is
No attempt, just doing I.t.
ashe

Writing

Another Planet

By Jason Larsen

Artist Statement: “In Samuel Corales’ Interactive Creative Writing Class this past quarter, he asked us to list three things that we would take to another planet and three things we would leave on Earth.”

Image courtesy of NASA

I have three Amazon Echo smart devices, and I would take them all with me to another planet.  The first thing is a regular Amazon Echo smart speaker.  The second thing is an Amazon Echo Show screen.  The last thing is my Amazon Fire Smart TV.  This is not the 19th century anymore.  It’s the 21st century.  This new planet is as futuristic as can be.  It keeps tabs on everything that goes on on other planets, including Earth.  My regular Amazon Echo smart speaker can allow me to listen to all the music and radio stations on Earth.  My Amazon Echo Show screen allows me to do that, and watch TV on Amazon Prime Video and IMDB TV as well.  My Amazon Fire Smart TV is the same thing, only in magnified form.

I also have a facial hair trimmer, but I would leave that on Earth.  My mom used to force me to shave every morning before I went to school.  She didn’t want me to look older than I actually was.  However, my skin is very sensitive now, and I can grow as full a beard as ever.  On this new planet, it will seem like it’s November forever.  My point is that looks aren’t everything.  Mr. Rogers and Martin Luther King once said that it is nothing specifically immaterial that should drive you to like a person.  Rather, it is the content of their character.

Poetry · Writing

There’s So Much About You I’ll Never Know

by Kristin

CONTENT WARNING: This poem references domestic abuse, family trauma, suicide, and mental health, and may be triggering for some readers.

There’s so much about you that I’ll never know
I inherited your bloodline and self-contempt
Yet I have so little information on who you really were

I remember your gregarious moods, getting the rest of us to laugh uncontrollably
I remember your jazz album collection, from Ella Fitzgerald to Buddy Rich
I remember your immersion in wine culture, the small vineyard and air-conditioned cellar

But most of all I remember the terror, violence and humiliation 
You unleashed on your wife and two small daughters
Time has given me perspective, but back then
I despised you, hatred consuming the young body I inhabited

When Mom broke the news that your dead body had been found
I cried tears for Mom, so in her sobbing, she wouldn’t feel alone
But I was glad to see you go

Your memorial service embarrassed me,
With your friends and colleagues gushing
What a good man you were.
I thanked them politely, thinking “If they only knew…”

1978, the year you gave up on life, was a long time ago
And now my hazy memories feel incomplete
There’s so much about you I’ll never know.

Written by Kristin


If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse or suicidal ideation, please check out these resources:

National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 800-799-7233

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

Crisis Connections (WA, King County): 866-427-4747

Poetry

Where love leads

3/1/2022
WHERE LOVE LEADS 

Love for the way it feels when your love is shared. 

Love gives us all possibilities  

Love is to choose our better instinct 

Writing stimulates the imagination  

Unconsciousness so I can dream about what I don’t know 

Love is to choose one’s better instinct 

My car brings me joy and comfort 

All the live rings because they are alive in ys. 

Love is to choose our better instinct 

My cellphone is how I interact with the world. 

Love brings our focus to one another’s dignity  

Love is to choose our better instinct! 

Short Story

Boots

A short story by George Beavis.

From the author:

I have been trying, emphasis on trying, to write about my experiences in Vietnam in a way that I hoped would be more understandable to other people. I think, or hope, I have learned some ways to do that. 

If I have it has only been the result of each of my classmates and the way they have approached each of the tasks and the creativity each has shown plus the encouragement of Michael January, Samuel and the other CM people.

Without their encouragement I would have just left it hanging and not put the effort into it.  It is by no means a work of art, but I feel good that I rewrote it, reworked it and the ideas. The encouragement helped me to keep going on it and I feel very good about that. Who cares about the story. Not me. I do care that I was encouraged and “finished” it!!!!

Boots 

by George Beavis

Watching the news and the camera panned over a dead body covered by a tarp. A foot with a brand new boot sticking out. 

I remember my laces were being pulled tight and wrapped around my ankle twice and knotted. 

After that, we knocked about for a while and then went for a walk. I got pretty wet and muddy. By night time we were back where we started. I was taken off the foot and set on the ground. That didn’t always happen. Sometimes we were so tired we were never taken off and set on the floor. 

Days marched by like that in an endless line until one day when we were out walking and a big explosion knocked us down. 

I woke up in a dark closet. When the door was left open I could look around. My partner, who I considered “Left” wasn’t near me. It got dark again and I was scared. After a while, my eyes began to adjust to the dark in the closet. I looked around and saw other boots lined up. Some singles. Some pairs. 

I just sat there all day for maybe months, so I was able to study the other boots even in the darkish light in the closet. Some were brand new and never really got a chance to even have their soles broken in. Some were badly worn, their toes all scuffed and scared, with their soles worn thin. 

A few boots away was a pair that were all spit-shined and regulation-like. Probably never worked a day in his life, you know the type. I bet he was fragged. 

Mostly we just sat in here and no one paid any attention to us like we had outlived our usefulness. One time someone came and got one of the singles, threw it in the trash then slammed the door. 

** 

I hated that locker. It gave me the willies. If I saw a boot belonging to someone I knew had died, I would throw it out. I didn’t throw out pairs ‘cause it seemed a shame when there was still life in them. When I got ready to rotate back to the states I snagged a pair that looked pretty new and stuffed them in my bag. 

I didn’t try them on until I got back home. I thought they might be good for camping or hiking. I wasn’t trying to be a poser or anything. When I put them on I knew I had made a bad mistake. All the lumps and bumps of the original owner’s feet were still there on the inside. Just walking around in them they reminded me with every step that they weren’t mine. I took them off and set them in the garage for a few years. Every time I saw them they would remind me of that bloody closet and all the dead boots. I eventually threw them out. They were just like an albatross hung around a sailor’s neck to punish.

Poetry

Hummingbird Tongues

by Neysa Peterson
March 9, 2022

Beating wings thrum
Hummingbird tongue
Slender needle
Sipping nectar

Simply nourishing
Watching with wonder
Senses soothed
Spirit renewed

Image clings
When disquiet rings
Solace sought again
Where do I begin

With beating wings
Nourishing
Watching with wonder  
Hummingbird tongues

Writing

Hope for 2022

By Sarah L. Blum, Nurse and Vietnam Veteran

Content Warning: mentions of violence, mental health, suicide

The poem by Amanda Gorman, New Day’s Lyric, ends with a focus on coming together. I believe that is the key. There is so much hatred and violence which drives us apart from one another. In times of great pain whether from the pandemic, the insurrection, personal health issues, wartime memories, family stress, divorce, etc. we need connection and support. I know there are some young people right now suffering with depression and anxiety and their vision for themselves is bleak, so they focus on ending their lives. What if they had connections they could count on with people who care about them and can help them see beyond their pain? What if they had support available to themselves regularly, people who could hear them and hear their pain without judgement? What if we as a nation of people, all different kinds of people could come together and support each other rather than judge each other, unite rather than divide us from each other.

How do we save the best of our democracy together? I remember after the attacks in 2001, that we did come together in our collective response to being attacked from outside. Why is it we cannot join together in the same way after being attacked by our own? Think back to how our nation split apart over slavery. There was a member of Congress who literally attacked and beat up another member with a cane because the attacker wanted to keep his slaves and the victim wanted to free the slaves. That level of violence and viciousness is what we are dealing with today. It is all around us and growing in intensity.

Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Mandela, and many other spiritual leaders have shown us the way to peace and how to stand in love in the face of all that. It takes commitment and courage to stand up and be brutally beaten to show our love for peace no matter what! The people I know who can do that are veterans. They are and have been showing the way for decades. We who have been through the worst on behalf of our country and have and are healing and growing from it may be the ones who lead the way to bringing all of us together. The only way we can restore peace and our democracy is through love and nonviolence. I say let us be the leaders for that and walk together forward to a new way of living and being in our society. Let us show that we are a multiracial community and society respecting each other, hearing each other and supporting each other and our shared values.