Poets’ Brew – December

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Jim Thielman

Christmas 2020

Imagine you are everything that is:
galaxies, universes, gnats, flowers, mesons.
Say that pain in your right shoulder
is a star being born, a bud blossoming.
Say anything, anything at all.
A flock of birds is not a flock of birds
but a feeling inside you of things flying
inside you, your gut, your spine, your heart
your brain and landing on the tree
of your veins and arteries, so that
you fly without leaving the ground,
you sigh without weeping over the past,
because you know the birds will sing
in the morning, your heart song,
know you love yourself enough
to love others. You feel your way
to hope for the whole world
and the town you inhabit
and the place where you live
and type these words on the computer,
words that usually, you would write
longhand first, but you are listening
to an interview with musician
Jon Batiste and while he is strumming
your soul with his voice and piano
you are freed up to say what you mean,
that it is Christmas and God is again
an infant to take in your arms and
hold to stop it’s crying over all the world
and its pain. Next you tell the child,
“Don’t worry, everything will be alright,”
and the child falls asleep in your arms.

Terry E. Lockett


    For Nick

One winter when I was small
I felt sorry for discarded Christmas trees,
and hatched a plan to rescue them.
Propelled by tenacious hope,

my reluctant, fearless, brother and I
in knit hats, red mittens and snow boots
huffed through the snow flurry of our alley,
stacking forsaken trees on our sled

until two-deep furrows trailed us home.
We stuck them in snow heavy as soil
around our clubhouse, a motley forest-
ragged yellow and green, shreds of silver tinsel

and red garlands still clinging to their branches.
After dark, by lantern light, their gold glimmered!
I was so convinced they’d grow roots,
our parents let us keep them.

Only one- in a silver coffee can- survived till spring.
But the force of my brother drawing that heavy sled,
and the tolerance my parents gave as a gift
firmly rooted those trees within me.

Ethan Ries


driving over snowy hilltops
overlooking the next valley
the next small town
where you know you are just as
much a stranger there
as you are at home

the pressure
weighing down on you
so much you feel you are being
into the earth’s crust

as empty as
the last brown bottle
as endless as time
the feeling of free falling

last night’s cigarette
pressed against your lips
on the frosty roof top
above the chimneys
bellowing smoke

above the trees and the roof tops
the sun’s last rays peeking over
the horizon
you are high as a sparrow
free falling into tomorrow

Chuck Forster

To praise what is left, what never left 

Conservative or liberal,
indigenous or immigrant,
gay, straight, queer.
It has been a long, long year. 

So, let us now shuck the dark, stinking husk 
of anger and fear
Re-turn to:
sage and rabbitbrush,
autumn’s rain,
softened, scented soil,
insinuating shoots.
Crescent moon,
dusk, painted horizon. 

Our children
strong, handsome,
willing nay, eager!
gaily stride into not knowing,
undaunted, gladly uncertain.
Remember We once thus strode forth. 

starling’s clumsy waddle, cackling banter, 
hasty launch, abrupt return,
cat’s languid, yogic stretch
or clownish assault on dragonfly and drifting seed; 
further afield coyote, hawk, owl and elk
sisters and brothers all
necessary as breath, as tears. 

in the mountains, oh the mountains!
Brilliant deep December blanket envelops
spruce and fir
massive topographic beasts
clutching boulders, rooting deep,
emerald snow-laden boughs
rise tall and true.
A deep inhale
scent of ever-green-earth, veined rock, singing water. 

Let us gratefully re-collect.
Exquisite beauty and grace are everywhere  
n the mundane and the marvelous.
Let us see and smile and love.
We hold we are!
the earth.

Polo Lara Muñoz
                  Yakima, Wash.


I am the son of a maiden
lovely as rain
with the sun-reddened cheeks
of ripe apples,

sublime as the flight
of an eagle
on a summer afternoon….

But the record of my birth
names me son of a waif
left in the forest….

That is what I am
tender as a fawn

why I have the memory
of a blind bird

the childhood
of a barren tree

why I am the ghost
of an orange grove at the edge of the road….

The troubled moan
of a distant volcano

the sigh of a birch
alone in the meadow

the voice a wolf uses
to fill the moon with his sorrow…

Dotty Armstrong


cries the Press Secretary!
They are everywhere,
in the oval office bathrooms,
on the breakfast tray,
small anonymous notes
written in the black ink
of White House pens,
one word only
in careful calligraphy,

“A mole, no doubt,” thinks
the leader of the free world,
although there is hardly
any staff left at the White House.
Who? He scratches his head
even though it messes
with his coiffure. A Navy Seal
gone astray? A CIA operative
he got fired? But no,
he finds a cache of blank notes
in her dresser drawer…

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