18 July 2009

Katrina Carmichael

Katrina Carmichael

The Question of Purpose

All of life is purpose, purpose, purpose
And yet I've found none. Drastically easier to
Deal with a purpose when sure of the pureness
Of God. My first fountain of doubt burst through
When I was twelve -- the first time I put my
Bible down. I saw hate, hate, hate. Hateful
Crimes, hateful minds, hateful times-- all denied.
Those who read only the Word, the faithful,
Their tombs cry the creed, "Turn the other cheek;
Look no further than your own purposeful space."
How odd--that God would reward those who seek
Him, while others gape at a martyr's burnt face.
I can't battle that which I do not believe
But I can beg, plead, let no purpose bleed me.

Katrina Carmichael was born in Atlanta, Georgia, where she first fell in love with the arts. She started her artistic career at the ripe age of three when she discovered dance and theatre. Since then, Katrina has written and published numerous plays, poems, and short fiction pieces. She holds an M.A. in Professional Writing with an emphasis in poetry from Kennesaw State University and a B.F.A. in Theatre Arts from Boston University.

(author retains copyright)


04 July 2009

Juanita Lewison-Snyder

Craig Teichen

Sharran Windwalker

Juanita Lewison-Snyder

third world

since school is now forbidden,
the closest they can get to news of the outside world
is at the feet of their eldest schoolmate,
who despite the risks, still braids her hair
with tantalizing stories they all know are made up
but none-the-less hopeful,
against a backdrop of soldiers
patrolling their lives daily with words & bayonets,
using rules like grenades to toss randomly
into doorways opened to the heat .

among girls
10 is the new 21--
ripe enough to spill alcohol down their small throats,
stroke dark hair away from eyes stinging with tears,
carving name & rank in their cherry blossom backs
as if their feet were planted deep
in the red mud along the riverbank.

boys fare no better,
a type of livestock to be prodded along dusty roads with sticks,
not to be trusted least they bite and grow horns of their own.
these, laugh the soldiers, regard with an wary eye
and the butt of your rifle.

the years roll on
and thin-boned dogs continue to roam
the ditches and back alleys of suburbia
looking for scraps among debris,
and skittish children still mill in dark places
awaiting the chance to gather for a good story.

I am a poet currently living on the beautiful southern Oregon coast. My work has appeared in such publications as The Beacon, Oceana, Loggers World, The Model Horse Gazette, The Hobby Horse News, and The Brayer. My great-grandfather ran an underground press at the turn of the century in Mexico and was often imprisioned by the government. I guess that's where I got my big mouth.

(author retains copyright)

Craig Teichen

All Your Weapons

le beau monde: AK-47s, M-16s, Apache helicopters

how kind are all your weapons? have they heroes to endure?
do they always aim for numbers? is their lock on us secure?

at their barrel's end, a flower? do they put on love a spin?
in the carriage of their motion does each flower child win?

is their priming powder ready? does their action have a stall?
does the script belong to many? of the dead have they recall?

so when we get through history ... pray ... what nations do they claim?
does armistice mean liberty and Hitler have a name?

how kind are all your weapons? have they bothered death before?
do they have a sense of duty ... namely: let's just stick to war?

do the dreams of others matter? should we listen to their Troy?
does their fire-power chatter mean each soldier's a good boy?

and while their strength here is not shy and people's hopes go broke
it's comforting to know the lie: that war is good for folk

Craig Teichen is a long-standing Chicago resident, poet and short-story writer. He is also a gay rights, anti-war activist.

(author retains copyright)

Sharran Windwalker

Let the World Change You

It seems quite obvious
hardships, pain and suffering
are for most the norm.
It seems equally true
that most who live in rich nations
are quite blinded to this fact –
unless the fact can sell commercial time
and it is splashed on the TV
or headlined in the newspaper –

Ignoring the plight of millions
cannot be so easy, can it?
Apparently, it can.
Just call it “cognitive dissonance.”
Call it lack of empathy.
Call it lack of compassion.
But really, it’s lack of awareness.

I met a fellow-traveller
who had seen many parts of this world,
– not the touristy-type places
splashed as bill-boards on ocean-fronts –
but places where everyday is a struggle
and each struggle, an adventure.

He claimed the people he met
in those skeletal places
changed his outlook on life.
It was there he saw compassion come alive
for the very first time.
It was there people showed him life
is neither about money nor possessions,
nor about finding happiness.

It was there he heard laughter as from a child –
free and sincere.
There he tasted food fully appreciated
and there he found
he could give thanks for life
for each day there is a miracle –
not of survival as many believe
but of joyful acceptance.

Sharran is a "natural" kind of natural person. For example, he won't drive a car, preferring to walk or bicycle wherever he goes, and molding the procurement of his simple needs around these two basic modes of transportation. Hence, Sharran senses much more of the world around him than do most people. This keen environmental awareness is reflected in much of his poetry.

(author retains copyright)