Poets’ Brew – July

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Donna Raforth


Their numbers are growing
Those who no longer
stand before me
or behind
or next to me

I feel the absence
of my beloveds
as a tightness
in my forehead
above the bridge
of my nose
between my eyes

Maybe I’m
into the distance
to see

Linda Brown

Alzheimer’s Lurks in the Shadows

each sunday doing crossword puzzles
memorizing words that contain an “X”
left handed baseball players
stock symbols for mutual funds
matching names to faces
creating mnemonics to make the association again
eating almonds
dipping broccoli
cod liver oil and vitamin e
avoiding deodorants
aluminum pans, aspartame
and last names
driven by fear to find the keys
to the car
to the door
to the safety deposit box
to the meaning of life
searching for words phrases sentences
the great aunt on mother’s side of the family
with loose dentures
lost between the generations
between the semicolons
pulling names out of the air
connecting the dots
naming strangers in the family photo album

feeling dotty
a tire gone flat
a bent spoke on the wheel
a butterfly emerging as caterpillar
none of the pieces of the puzzle fit
the connections have been shaved off
jokes go awol
their punch lines wander
in far off lands
stories unfold in disarray
even poems
end before their time

Dotty Armstrong

Walking in the Water at the Aquatic Center

Sliding into the artificial river,
I think two things: one,
the water is a divine temperature;
two, these people are OLD.
Three women, slightly older than me
sweep through the manufactured gentle rapids,
smile as if they are waltzing
in a warm version of the Yakima River.
I am not sure I want to join this club.

This oldness thing gets me every time.
When I am walking on the Greenway
feeling young and spry, suddenly,
my knee ouches
my back whimpers.
When I visit a friend younger than me
at her assisted living home
I am shocked at the ancients
ambling around. It does look
comfortable though, with a lobby
full of deep chairs and a sign on the wall
that announces “Happy Hour.”

In this temperature-perfect water,
I can stroll along, muscles active
but no pressure on my old bones.
For just a minute I imagine
I am in a real river.
In the distance
I can see the mountains.

Leon Petty

I Cannot Stop Screaming

Had my teeth cleaned today
and in the next stall a little boy
had this jagged way of crying
as he was trying to tell the dentist
to keep his mother fuckin hands off of him
and it reminded me again
of how
everyone is always screaming
and how
that when anyone else screams
it puts us in touch
with our own incessant screaming

I really don’t exactly know
when I realized I was screaming
but it just makes sense
it was at the moment I left the womb
and I have noticed
that people who
have been well nurtured in their lives
don’t have to listen to their own screams
as much as people that were not

it has been very unfortunate for me
to become a savant of screaming

So many times I could have had
a friendly relationship with someone
but I could hear them screaming
and it’s not that I scorned or chided their screams
It’s that they could tell I could hear them scream
and that made them very uncomfortable
and parenthetically
it has proven to be impossible for me
to explain to anyone
how OK it is
to scream

So I have given up
on trying to get to know people
that cannot accept
that they are screaming

It’s such a sad destructive thing
that almost everyone wants to appear brave
even as it has become easy for me to see
their overt cowardice
as their whole life
is directed by

In the beginning was the Scream
and the Scream was with God
and the Scream went before God
and on the seventh day
all of the creation of God
began to scream
and on the eighth day
God heard his self begin to scream
and in the end
upon the Omega
the Scream was with God
and the Scream had become God

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