Archive | Poetry

Obsessions, Compulsions and Conversations with Cats by Pat West

Dickens slept facing north. He’d even rearrange furniture in hotel rooms.
The man swore by baked apples and their ability to prevent seasickness.
Favorite recipe: apples soaked in a sherry bath, filled with apricot marmalade
and drizzled with sherry syrup. He thought pears a lesser fruit.

John Cheever wearing his only suit, would take the elevator
to a maid’s room in the basement of his apartment building,
strip to his boxers and scribble short stories. At eleven
he’d have a secret slug of whiskey, at noon two martinis
and a Turkey Monte Cristo sandwich before afternoon gin and tonics.

William Faulkner typed with his toes. Stories about his drinking
might make one think he just poured bourbon into a bowl
and never ate. Not so, the man loved salmon croquettes,
made right from the recipe on the back of the salmon tin.

Eudora Welty straight pinned her pages together,
when they grew too long for the room
she put them on the table, a patchwork quilt
you could read in any direction. Her writing
filled with stuffed eggs, seafood
gumbo, beaten biscuits and Vicksburg Potato Salad,
richest food in Southern literature.

Capote wrote horizontal on a couch, cigarette and coffee
handy. Editing took place in the afternoon and his drinks
went from coffee to mint tea to sherry to martinis.
Evenings he ate Italian Summer Pudding: creamy chocolate
mascarpone and macerated raspberries, with layers
of coffee-and rum-soaked ladyfingers.

While living in Key West, Ernest Hemingway worked
in a pair of oversized loafers, typewriter chest-high
and only discussed the day’s writing
with his six-toed cats. He thought regular-toed cats
poor listeners. His recipe, Pan-Fried Mountain Trout,
remains a secret. He stopped each day’s work

About the Author: Pat West

PatWestBio

Pat Phillips West lives in Olympia, WA. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in Haunted Waters Press, Persimmon Tree, VoiceCatcher, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, Gold Man Review and elsewhere.

Book Club by Patricia Wellingham-Jones

Ten women, at first unknown
to each other, gather each month
in the rear of the old library.
Shadows haunt the back spaces
behind the racks of books,
the computers are shut and silent.

The women shove two tables together,
settle with their cups and books.
The first round is social
chitchat and by now, two years later,
our stories interweave
and overlap.

One woman clears her throat,
the talk subsides, questions begin.
For an hour the air is filled
with lively discussion, thoughtful
silence. Even, on occasion, tears
and always laughter.

What seems a marvel is the way
the book club has spilled into friendships.
We support one member’s chorus,
attend a play with another, drop off books
and stay for tea, visit at the market,
post office, café.

Our small town book club
is not small to us.

About the Author: Patricia Wellingham-Jones

PatriciaWellingham-JonesPatricia Wellingham-Jones is a widely published former psychology researcher and writer/editor. She has a special interest in healing writing, with poems recently in The Widow’s Handbook (Kent State University Press). Chapbooks include Don’t Turn Away: poems about breast cancer, End-Cycle: poems about caregiving, Apple Blossoms at Eye Level, Voices on the Land and Hormone Stew.

Listen by Pat West

My parents died
when I was a baby.
Family and friends passed me around.
Nine cities in six years.
Never stayed in one place
long enough to sign a lease.
You want to know more?
Before my grams died,
she told me when an intruder
appears in my dreams, it’s an omen
to move. First time, in San Francisco
I missed the signal. Next day,
an earthquake caused a fifty foot section
of the Oakland Bay Bridge to collapse
right behind my car. In Miami,
after Andrew blasted through my apartment,
I paid attention. I’m not making this up.
Thought about Toledo, but nothing happens
in that town, so I headed north
to Boston just in time for Fleet Week,
and a long string of dull men
with tattoos of serpents and dragons.
This time I didn’t wait for an intruder,
tossed a coin between here and Portland,
Seattle won. Grams also said,
when I came close to home
she’d send me a sign. Few days later,
I heard her whisper, Stay a while,
find a man to yawn with in the morning.
Then you saunter into my life.
You think I’m crazy. Here’s crazy.
When you look at me, I’m an exotic belly dancer.
When you touch me, I hear wolves.
When you kiss me, I’m one of them.

About the Author: Pat West

PatWestBio

Pat Phillips West lives in Olympia, WA. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in Haunted Waters Press, Persimmon Tree, VoiceCatcher, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, Gold Man Review and elsewhere.

The Truth by Æverett

Sea of Fog by Yannick Pulver via Unsplash

It dies slowly, panicking, shivering in the threadbare sheet of its own skin.

The light fades and the cold creeps in.

It begs. Begs for air.

There is no air. The others have stolen it all away. So it will suffocate.

Suffocate under the dense weight of fear and hopelessness.

Suffocate with the world in all Her glory.

About the Author: Æverett Æverett

Æverett lives in the northern hemisphere and enjoys Rammstein and Star Trek. He writes both poetry and fiction and dabbles in gardening and soap making. She has two wonderfully old cats, and a dearly beloved dog. He also plays in linguistics, studying German, Norwegian, Russian, Arabic, a bit of Elvish, and developing Cardassian. Language is fascinating, enlightening, and inspirational. She’s happily married to her work with which she shares delusions of demon hunters, detectives, starships, androids, and a home on the outskirts of a small northern town. He’s enjoyed writing since childhood and the process can be downright therapeutic when it’s not making him pull his hair out. It’s really about the work and words and seeing without preconceptions.

Tuesday by Patricia Wellingham-Jones

Every Tuesday the ritual unfolded:
the basket of willow rods,
Dad’s white broadcloth shirts
stiff with starch, the coke bottle
with sprinkler head attached,
the careful folding of dampened lengths
rolled into long sausages—
shirts, napkins, tablecloths, blouses,
the full cotton skirts in their gardens
of red and yellow, blue or green checks,
Scottish plaids gathered into a circle
on a tight waistband.

Even on Tuesday in July’s broiling sun,
that female figure bent over the narrow board,
left hand crimping and smoothing the cloth,
right arm in long sweeps of the hot iron, pushing
the tip lightly into the points of collars,
the box of pleats, the hundreds of gathers.

Every Tuesday of my childhood
I watched my mother turn down lunch dates,
tell friends she was busy, dodge my father’s caresses,
put away card games, rub her arthritic arms
with deep sighs. I saw her regard the slim board
with a look I couldn’t decipher
while the hangers of fresh crisp cottons
waited for the next wearing,
the first spill, the curl-up-in-a-chair crease.

By the time I reached twelve, I vowed
I would wear wrinkles and
Tuesday would be a day
made for fun.

About the Author: Patricia Wellingham-Jones

PatriciaWellingham-JonesPatricia Wellingham-Jones is a widely published former psychology researcher and writer/editor. She has a special interest in healing writing, with poems recently in The Widow’s Handbook (Kent State University Press). Chapbooks include Don’t Turn Away: poems about breast cancer, End-Cycle: poems about caregiving, Apple Blossoms at Eye Level, Voices on the Land and Hormone Stew.

The Smell and Taste of Things Remain Poised a Long Time by Pat West

After a line by Marcel Proust

Winters my mother stirred her rustic root vegetable stew
in a kitchen dizzy with steam. The aroma of rosemary
and turmeric saturating the entire house.

That scent of sawdust circled my grandfather.
A man who used lathe, grinder, chisel, plane
and rip saw. A man with hands rough as a rasp.

A summer evening in Kentucky
visiting my sister. Glasses of Shanghai silk
merlot, savoring black cherry, currant, cedar
and green olive, still so clear on my tongue.

Damp air, heavy with seawater,
sunlight cathedraling through a torn place in the clouds.
My husband and I on the north cusp of Pike Place Market,
where we shared Etta’s Dungeness crab cakes
with tomatillo cocktail sauce, tangy yet sweet.

The smell of fresh-cut grass that June evening
we spread a blanket in the backyard,
under a sky whose wide-apart edges
would spend all night coming together.

On mornings when my muscles harbor a rusty ache,
my husband’s old, blue sweatshirt feels like a hug.
Even though he’s been gone twenty-five years,
and it’s been washed hundreds of times,
I inhale his cologne, fresh, spicy oak moss.

About the Author: Pat West

PatWestBio

Pat Phillips West lives in Olympia, WA. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in Haunted Waters Press, Persimmon Tree, VoiceCatcher, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, Gold Man Review and elsewhere.

Instant Mystic: Stirred, not shaken by Jeanette McGurk

Stealthy and luxurious.
The original super spy.
It creeps in unnoticed until it is everywhere,
thick,
quick sand of the air.

You see something,
an arm reaching out to take you within.
But it is only a tree branch.
A lonely blanket heavy with chill.

It feels deceivingly safe.
Right until CRASH!

Then it is gone.
No trace left behind.
Only the memory of a lover’s breath on the back of your neck.

About the Author: Jeanette McGurk

jeanette_mcgurkJeanette McGurk is a Graphic Designer who entered the world of writing through advertising. She discovered writing a lot of truth with a little fluff is a lot more fun than the other way round. Now that she is no longer spending time making air conditioners, tile floors, IT and Botox sound sexy, she writes about the unglamorous yet wonderful moments of life for people like herself; in other words, anyone looking for interesting ways to put off cleaning and doing laundry.

She is a curmudgeon and doesn’t Twit or Instagram. She has heard the blog is dead but since she has finally figured out how to do it, that is the museum where you can locate her writings. http://jmcpb.blogspot.com/.

Eye of the Forest by Patricia Wellingham-Jones

The Green Man sidles
between the trunks,
leaves no shadow
of his presence,
breathes soft mysteries
that travel on currents
sweeping through branches.
No matter how sparse the forest
or dense the woods,
when you walk among copse
or country of trees
The Green Man watches.

About the Author: Patricia Wellingham-Jones

PatriciaWellingham-JonesPatricia Wellingham-Jones is a widely published former psychology researcher and writer/editor. She has a special interest in healing writing, with poems recently in The Widow’s Handbook (Kent State University Press). Chapbooks include Don’t Turn Away: poems about breast cancer, End-Cycle: poems about caregiving, Apple Blossoms at Eye Level, Voices on the Land and Hormone Stew.

Something About the Sound of Wind and Water by Pat West

A wedge of geese circles overhead,
honking as if asking for directions.

There’s a nearby creek I hear
but can’t see, and the solitary cries

of jays, and the low Coke-bottle whistle
of wind through tall trees.

At the top of the hill, there’s a bench
at what feels like

the edge of the world. A place
where earth speaks to sky.

I find it difficult to understand
but here the unfilled-in parts of me

become whole. In this spot,
I am not afraid

of love or fire or fault lines.
Nowhere else do I find

it possible to imagine
my own nonexistence

and feel okay.
Here I sit

empty-handed, taking
pleasure in the long, deep trough of silence

where the ghosts of those I love
linger on my tongue.

About the Author: Pat West

PatWestBio

Pat Phillips West lives in Olympia, WA. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in Haunted Waters Press, Persimmon Tree, VoiceCatcher, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, Gold Man Review and elsewhere.

Metacreation – by Patricia Wellingham-Jones

She blows fireballs
from her mystic lips
in a sheltered pool
behind flowered walls.

Water slick as oil rings
radiates from her glowing skin.
Lightning stabs in silent slashes
between curtains of rain.

The arch of window,
intricate carve of wooden rail
enclose her in the watery womb.
She focuses her being, creates fire.

About the Author: Patricia Wellingham-Jones

PatriciaWellingham-JonesPatricia Wellingham-Jones is a widely published former psychology researcher and writer/editor. She has a special interest in healing writing, with poems recently in The Widow’s Handbook (Kent State University Press). Chapbooks include Don’t Turn Away: poems about breast cancer, End-Cycle: poems about caregiving, Apple Blossoms at Eye Level, Voices on the Land and Hormone Stew.

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