A Poet’s Haven~Alan Boles, Administrator~Poet in the Spotlight

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Our Choice For This Early Tuesday Afternoons

Best Poem And Our Poet In The Spotlight,

Josie Cook


An Unexpected Summons

Come, you fragile poets filled with the sea’s liquid.

Come and leak your speech upon our parched beaches!

Come and sing with the ocean’s primordial influences.

Come and sanctify our living dictionary.

Come and listen to our seas–rivers–the many lakes.

Come and offer a levy to our tributaries.

Come and accompany us.

Come with your mask of shifting personas falling away.

Come with your torches burning.

Come add your bouquet to the existing aroma.

Come bring your artfulness for our sake of the art.

Come with your lacerations, tender and red.

Come with your heart brilliant or obscure.

Come with your words for the distinguished dead.

Then go to the notorious graves and remember their souls.

And recite all of your remembrances.

Yes, come and find your passion; your true natural ability:

The marriage of thoughts to be esteemed hydration.

–J. E. Cook ©2016

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My poetry on The Dear John Show

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Welcome to The Dear John Show, Sunday 16th June 2019, live poetry readings of works by poets from across the world, here on Facebook. With Nina Thilo, Christine Barker, Chris Edridge and myself, Your Host, John Kavanagh.

My poem is the first one read by Christine Barker at this link on Facebook.

 

A Ride Around the Lake

Going into the woods
Among the brambles
Upon my horse’s smooth
Back,
Footing at times
A bit too slippery
For this ride,
Over the hills
Of Kiser’s lake,
Passing under low branches
And ducking,
As the mud sucks at her
Hooves,
I can feel her blood
Pulsing beneath her
Skin,
Smoke in the air,
She does not spook,
Not even when the pheasants
Fly out of the low bushes,
Or when we see deer
Drinking from the streams,
We jump over a fallen tree,
In the thickest part of the
Woods, my eyes feel almost
Closed with the darkness
During broad daylight,
Marshes here and there,
With golds and browns
Reflecting on the surfaces,
Herons among the tall grasses,
Inlets of the lake
Muddy and full of minnows,
An old apple tree
Surrounded by wild berries
Catches my eyes,
The ghost resides there
From a skating accident
Many years ago,
She fell through the thin ice
Her body recovered too late
For her to survive,
The icy waters causing too
Much damage,
In her hand now,
A frozen apple of red,
Captured in time,
Today it is warm
Unlike the day she passed,
Paintings of rowboats against
Starry nights were hung
In her childhood home
Her pale locks of hair
Tucked in a dresser drawer
From her first haircut,
Along with a first tooth lost,
Some yellowed school papers, and
Her doodles of winter sparrows,
It is said, her mother
Had hair the color of roses
After her death,
The girl reappears at this
particular Apple tree,
Greeting onlookers with her
Gentle smile,
Her white ice skates over her shoulder,
And a rusty compass hanging
Around her slender neck,
I whisper, “I’m not trespassing,
My horse loves apples, too”
The bright sun rays cutting
Through reveal her tears
On white cheeks that shine like
Diamonds,
She returns, “let the horse eat”
This touches my ears,
My eyes blink at the light,
I think about vodka over ice,
And the gin she had before
Her encounter with the pure, clean
Snow on the lake’s surface,
It was a party of teens that night,
Skating together,
She was the only unlucky one
To fall into freezing waters,
This would bring tears to anyone’s
Eyes,
I still can’t remember the date
Of this sad event,
But, her story is told
Around campfires,
So her legend never dies,
Her ghostly image is mild
And friendly–not scary at all,
Pale blue eyes,
A straight, narrow nose,
Looks a lot like her surviving
Brother,
Many call it a screwed-up
Family,
With many things buried
In their closets,
I actually think the tree
Is quite beautiful
But isolated from view,
She must be lonely here,
With her own sorrows,
It is so plain and simple
To me now,
That I am here,
Light glaring off the marshes
And her pretending to be happy
Beneath this apple tree,
I feel sick inside
Looking at her tired body,
Thinking about the broken
Hearts of her past,
She looks chilly,
As a flock of blackbirds
Pass over us,
Her words still ringing
Inside my head,
As she fades into the
Foilage of green,
I know I must go back. –J. E. Cook © 2019

Sunday Morning featured Poetry

I appreciate being the featured poet of this location where poetry flourishes weekly! 

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Alan L Boles of A Poet’s Haven~AdminOur Choice For This Sunday Morning;

Features, J. E. Cook’s poetry for Our Poet’s poetry Of The Week selection on Sunday.

Josie Cook is an active poet in several writing groups and locations and the poem below is the featured selection.

A Ride Around the Lake

Going into the woods
Among the brambles
Upon my horse’s smooth
Back,
Footing at times
A bit too slippery
For this ride,
Over the hills
Of Kiser’s lake,
Passing under low branches
And ducking,
As the mud sucks at her
Hooves,
I can feel her blood
Pulsing beneath her
Skin,
Smoke in the air,
She does not spook,
Not even when the pheasants
Fly out of the low bushes,
Or when we see deer
Drinking from the streams,
We jump over a fallen tree,
In the thickest part of the
Woods, my eyes feel almost
Closed with the darkness
During broad daylight,
Marshes here and there,
With golds and browns
Reflecting on the surfaces,
Herons among the tall grasses,
Inlets of the lake
Muddy and full of minnows,
An old apple tree
Surrounded by wild berries
Catches my eyes,
The ghost resides there
From a skating accident
Many years ago,
She fell through the thin ice
Her body recovered too late
For her to survive,
The icy waters causing too
Much damage,
In her hand now,
A frozen apple of red,
Captured in time,
Today it is warm
Unlike the day she passed,
Paintings of rowboats against
Starry nights were hung
In her childhood home
Her pale locks of hair
Tucked in a dresser drawer
From her first haircut,
Along with a first tooth lost,
Some yellowed school papers, and
Her doodles of winter sparrows,
It is said, her mother
Had hair the color of roses
After her death,
The girl reappears at this
particular Apple tree,
Greeting onlookers with her
Gentle smile,
Her white ice skates over her shoulder,
And a rusty compass hanging
Around her slender neck,
I whisper, “I’m not trespassing,
My horse loves apples, too”
The bright sun rays cutting
Through reveal her tears
On white cheeks that shine like
Diamonds,
She returns, “let the horse eat”
This touches my ears,
My eyes blink at the light,
I think about vodka over ice,
And the gin she had before
Her encounter with the pure, clean
Snow on the lake’s surface,
It was a party of teens that night,
Skating together,
She was the only unlucky one
To fall into freezing waters,
This would bring tears to anyone’s
Eyes,
I still can’t remember the date
Of this sad event,
But, her story is told
Around campfires,
So her legend never dies,
Her ghostly image is mild
And friendly–not scary at all,
Pale blue eyes,
A straight, narrow nose,
Looks a lot like her surviving
Brother,
Many call it a screwed-up
Family,
With many things buried
In their closets,
I actually think the tree
Is quite beautiful
But isolated from view,
She must be lonely here,
With her own sorrows,
It is so plain and simple
To me now,
That I am here,
Light glaring off the marshes
And her pretending to be happy
Beneath this apple tree,
I feel sick inside
Looking at her tired body,
Thinking about the broken
Hearts of her past,
She looks chilly,
As a flock of blackbirds
Pass over us,
Her words still ringing
Inside my head,
As she fades into the
Foliage of green,
I know I must go back. –J. E. Cook © 2019

The Dear John Show

Another Poem of mine included in the live show this Sunday. 

Welcome to The Dear John Show, Sunday 26th May 2019. Live poetry readings from around the world, here on Facebook. With Nina Thilo, Christine Barker, Chris Edridge and myself, Your Host, John Kavanagh.

Visions in my Sleep

I am looking for the most
Beautiful place on Earth,
With long, blue & green views,
And silhouettes of black twisted trees
On the distant skylines,
Fields of sunflowers in a variety of
Colors,
Sweet air drifting in on a slight breeze.

Endless expectations with lovely views,
Possibilities for fresh blue waters with
Cascades of showering droplets
Among the grasses of flowing fields.

The evening star against dark blue skies
Filled with pinpoint lights,
Pastures of horses & ponies roaming freely,
With moon against the black indigo at
Midnight,
Purifying richness in the hills of green.

Fading silver lights at dawn as the woods fill
With watchers of the night like weasels and
Raccoons and the lonely owls up high.

It’s a dream and it is mine. I am hypnotized by
The beauty of it in the visions I see. Gorgeous
Views with mild darkness set after the remains
Of the day.

To disappear from my bed into this world would
Be pleasant with a life of freezing coldness gone
Forever with roads of climbing beauty before me
Often without any real stress to bother me.

Reality returns in my old house with fifty plus years
Spent and my battered coffeepot filling the air
As it brews with a scent of waking,
As I think about the philosophy of living and death
Of strangers,
Dreadful histories glancing through my brain,
Outside my window, the birds sing and their pretty
Voices sooth my ears hiding the pain of all my years. –J. E. Cook © 2019

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Memory Lane

Memory Lane

Taking in the beauty
Of the countryside
Rows of hay fields smelling so
Sweetly,
The apple orchards,
And the birches with their delicate
Leaves moving in the wind,
The woods are so full
Of miraculous treasures
Old fossiled bones, hiding creatures,
And so much more,
Here away from all the people,
Like wandering through a dream world
In a state of dizzy adventure
With a shuttering effect against time,
Apparitions in the trees above
Playing and becoming orbs to float about
In the cool, deep green
Of it,
With the smell of moss and earthy specks of dirt
As bands of light stream in,
The trees forming a delicate lattice
To defuse all the brightness
Stickers and briers on the border,
Visions bringing about strange
Circumstances inside my head,
Nothing became permanent to me
From trampling through those lovely woods
Except being enchanted by its beauty
And still thinking of him,
This one is gone,
The male that caused her to love him,
My solitary ways and moodiness
The result,
Locking myself away with a pile of books
Watching movies alone,
That feeling of melting in light
Always present
Our stolen time is gone forever,
I wait in the fields for your return
Even though I know it was not possible
Dusk has arrived,
I could smell your presence
Here in a world so green
But it is not human
There is nothing I miss more than your
loving touch,
I am aware you are now in another
World that I can’t access,

Except for this; the field of awareness
I’m without you,
Pollen in my hair, grass on my clothing
Your name is still on my lips
As I call it and no answer will ever
Arrive,
Your old letters inside a box
Buried deep in my closet,
Folds of your penned words
Still there,
If I chose to read them again,
My desperate mind on you.
We did belong to each other once
The mistake was you gave me up,
Time spent apart,
However, I still read to you in
The silent dark,
Sometimes gazing out the window
Thinking about the trails in our life
And being turned away
Knowing it was called a mistake
Delirious sometimes from lack of rest,
Peculiar moments not so distant,
Realizing you were only a man
Not some weed among the brambles
Looking for riches in the deep soil,
Just a man that lost his mission,
Our life truncated together to serve
Others and accommodate them,
All I wanted is our happiness to
Survive and be our story of life
But, it is a cautionary tale
Of a love gone bad leaping into
Blackness where I remain, the injured female,
By the monster you revealed living
Inside you,
Causing a flurry of panic
To me, that was an imaginary being
Until the horror was real
The absence of love,
I can’t speculate over that is banished
To memories that I can only access
Through my dreams.–J. E. Cook © 2019

Lee Todd Lacks This is incredible, Josie. The sublime natural imagery, the disarmingly powerful shift between the speaker’s vision of the forest and her recollection of a wayward lover. Beautifully written!

Sad Love Lines

Sad Love Lines

On this day, I write these saddest lines…
The night was a shattered eclipse
and the blue stars were shivering in a very distant land.
This night, the wind raked the sky of color and sung about it.
Tonight, I can write about it.
I loved him, and sometimes he loved me, too.
Through all of our nights like this one, he held me in his arms,
While I kissed him again and again,
under the endless sky of darkness.
He loved me sometimes, and I loved him, too.
How could he not have loved me?
His great blue eyes still seeing me.
Tonight, I can write the saddest story.
To think that I do not have him. To feel that I have lost him.
To hear the immense silence, still more immense without his love.
these verses stick in my soul like the dew to the pink roses.
What does it matter that my love could not keep him here?
The nights are shattered because he is not with me.
In the distance, someone is singing about this.
In the distance–almost every night,
My soul is not satisfied since I lost him.
My sights are searching for him still
as though to go to him.
My heart looks for him still, and he is not with me.
The same night waking among the same trees
Beyond me.
of that time, that is no longer the same.
I love him, that’s certain, but how I loved him is mine always.
My voice has tried to find a way to touch him.
Another’s love, he was in the end. Like my kisses before,
He is gone.
His voice. His beautiful body. His infinite blue eyes.
I no longer have him, that’s certain, but maybe he will remember me.
Love is so short often, forgetting is too long.
Because of these nights,
like this one in which I held him,
my soul, has lost him and those are static embraces.
Though this is a lasting pain that makes me suffer,
and these will be the last verses that I write for him.
Or, maybe, not. –J. E. Cook © 2019 (in memory of you)

~Loved to Death~

Loved to Death

Loved to Death
 
I don’t love you for the roses growing in the color of topaz and burgundy,
in your garden of nevermore upon those
Mountain terraces that blanket the entrances of
The smokey hills flourishing among the rises and peaks,
or for the red, death-scented carnations that bring fiery heat to my inner core
When I remember the ending of our union.
 
I love you as one loves certain obscure slightness in reason,
On days of frustration,
So secretly, between this shadowy junction of your inner thighs,
and with my inner tendencies exposing your fresh awakening inside my embracing hold,
As my endless kisses translate my wanting.
 
I love you as the trees of spring are blooming but also carrying in
Their intoxicating fragrances,
the light from these flowers is not hidden, within these branches,
and thanks to your love this tight aroma rises between us,
from this coupling and lives dimly inside my body for days at a time.
 
I love you without knowing how you move me to be with you,
I love you directly without prejudice thoughts;
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to do so,
except in this tranquil way in which I am not alone but with you,
so close that you are upon my chest each night,
so close that our eyes meet in my dreams of you. –J. E. Cook © 2019

flowers2

Pacific by Tom Drury

Pacific

Well, I have read two of his books back to back.

This one is a bit weak at the end, I felt it took another turn towards the ending. There are some crazy twists inside this novel. However, this turn is peaceful with a beautiful view! 

I do admire going back to these characters! I do like visiting them again.

There is a mystery at times, passion in some relationships, there are imaginative qualities, too. Drury’s freeform is something I admire because I use it often in my writing, too. He catches the small town feel, flavor, closeness and it is nice to read here inside these pages. Moral codes are tested along the way as this story unfolds and builds with these characters and their shared connections.

Going back to Grouse County, I love the New Luddites that emerge with Micah as he goes out on his own to another place. Charlotte is an active voice in his world. She seems to ground him.

Lyris is fighting with her ghosts and her past. Tiny is still being the bad guy with his petty movements in this community. Surprises enter and laughs are involved. The Laughing Bandit is exposed in time. A shipping giant is missing nine packages and Tiny’s car drifts along the snow-covered highways. He stops at the tavern and he encounters Sandra Zulma. Then, things change.

Louise is someone I admire and I like hearing her voice. Hans Cook is taking care of her mother by being there. Mary Montrose dreams vividly. Louise has a close connection with Mary. They know what each other is thinking by their connection. They are agreeable in most cases after discussion. Mary saw Louise in her dream and she thought she was a beautiful woman and told Hans this. Dan supports Louise through her loss.

Micah wants to buy a California smoke but isn’t old enough. “I saw you at the marijuana doc’s” (p.171). A man takes a silver case out and hands Micah a joint. Micah thanks him. This man, Mark invites Micah to stay with him and his girlfriend on the beach. She is Beth with the freckles, green eyes, and strawberry blonde hair. They hang out eating curry and drinking red wine together. Beth paints and doesn’t sleep well. Her and Micah connect. They sit on the porch together and watch the moon. “down to the sea”(p.173).

Sandra is seeking Jack in the woods. Lyris is seeking out Micah through Joan. At the beach, Lyris calls his name, and he forgets the lost match. He hugs her. They walk down the Pacific and she enters the water. They wade in the surf together. Lyris’s yellow dress floats on the water’s surface. The gulls are silent but present above them. A ship is on the horizon and they stand hand in hand. The waves hitting them but they are never moving. It is over.

Two different communities brought together here. Haunted souls with promises and circumstances.
But, there is peace at the end.

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I like this cover image; however, mine looked like the above image. 

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Another cover image: I prefer the one above with the colors and bridge!

Another Poem of mine Read by Nina

Listen in, and hear my poem read by Nina Thilo and how beautifully she does it!

The poem is called Undying Love.

 

Undying Love

Every time I close my eyes

I’m right back

With you,

The cream sheers billowing

In the spring breeze

With the lavender lilacs

In full bloom,

Open windows welcoming

The exquisite

Fragrance inside,

Where we are entwined

Among the cool satin sheets

Enjoying each other’s

Company

And embracing almost

Too wildly

With our passions

Heated up,

Sharing endless kisses

While our bodies

mold with intense

Emotion for each other.

No matter how much

Time goes by

I will always remember

Those sultry minutes together

With unlimited loving for

Each other,

Our connection

Was truly strong

And indifferent

To any obstacles,

We nurtured

And openly

Expressed our

Love for each other

With unforgettable

Shared expressions

Of true romance,

Something no one

Can rob us of,

Because this enduring

connection

never

Died.  –J. E. Cook © 2019

We always did the garden together.
It had plenty of variety

and always had sunflowers and the lilac trees were near it.

Sweet & Crazy, A novel by Patty Dann

Sweet & Crazy

 

Many funny moments & many sad thoughts, too.

At thirty-nine, Hanna Painter has returned to her hometown of Ash Creek, Ohio. Her husband, Ed is dying of cancer inside their home. Pete is four when his father passes away there. This is the start of Hanna’s journey without her husband by her side.

Hanna, a young widow and her son trying to go on after the death of her husband. Now, a single mom that had hopes of a bigger family instead of a smaller one. Pete becomes a five-year-old expressing so much laughter while his mother grieves inside for what she had once and it is gone. Her close friends and her dreams are keeping her afloat.

Little Pete tells his mom, “Now you’re a window,” he says this after his dad dies in their home. He is quicky, and a comical boy often during this story.

Hanna is teaching older women to write about their lives at the local YMCA and she also works at the local library. Eventually, Pete starts kindergarten and he quickly finds a best friend, named Omar, the Indian son of Mazur, who runs the local cleaners in a strip mall in their town.

Pete wants to keep of his father’s stuff and he moves most of it to his closet for safe keeping. Their neighbor, Thomas becomes a central person in their lives. September 11 becomes an important topic among these characters as the story unfolds and shows us what they felt about it. Thomas works as a cooper at the eighteenth-century colonial restoration outside of town that he calls The Hill. However, he also leaves town often on business. During one of his road trips, a girl appears in his drive. She is driving a flashy sports car and Hanna sees her from her kitchen window.

Hanna, Thomas, and Pete form a  new family together. The Twin Towers are attacked and changes appear in their community.

Prejudice thoughts are a recurring device towards the end of this book. Mazur and his family are a target in the community and Hanna finds herself puzzled by this and the why behind it. Maureen enters Thomas’s life and in turn, she enters into Hanna’s too. The Hill is a setting where the characters often meet or retreat to during the story. Hanna’s dreams are central, too as these characters grow closer to each other.

I’m on page 144 of 208 of Sweet & Crazy: and, Pete asks his mother about the mailman, “Why is he wearing those special gloves?”

The whole story is about Hanna and her life. The ending leaves me thinking about some of the other characters and what happened to them. However, I think Hanna finds what she is looking for through Thomas in the end.

Patty Dann’s writing is very poetic throughout this novel and a joy to read.

Sweet & Crazy