August Postcard Poetry Fest

As September arrives with cooler temperatures and gentle rain, the memories of August slowly begin to fade.

This signals the end of the August Postcard Poetry Fest and the time we can share our poems on our own blogs and submit to the 56 Days of August Anthology.

This year, I did something a bit different and created a watercolor pencil painting which I took down to Minuteman Press to have made into postcards which included the year of the fest, my return address and the name of the painting, “My Beautiful Backyard”. This allowed me to share a bit of visual art as well as written word despite my not having time to do individual art collages like some other participants do.

This postcard was inspired by a backpacking trip to 3rd Beach, where after living here for 18 years, I finally saw my first orcas in the wild. It was an amazing and magical experience. I did three beach backpacking trips this summer, so many of my poems were inspired by my time on the coast, (in previous years, they were inspired by the mountains) hence, my first poem of the month…

25590352 My Beautiful Back Yard

The Gift

Windswept Northwest Coast…
The crashing of waves/crying of gulls…
A dorsal fin breaks the water…
The hunt is on…
Excitement on the beach…
As the pod appears…
Orcas in the wild, a very special gift…

Tahoma

Anticipation…
The destination draws nearer…
Muscles Ache and breath is hard…
Change in the wind…
Good, or bad?
One more bend, one more knoll…
Finally, the moment…
The clouds part, she is revealed.
It is a glorious day!
The mountain is out

Thunder

Change is coming…
Winds whip through the trees…
That unmistakeable scent in the air…
Skin tingles and the mind excites…
CRACK! BOOM!
The sky opens and roars…
Ice and rain pour down in fury…
In an instant, it is gone…
Quiet…
We stand in the coolness…
Refreshed and invigorated…

Poly Ticks

Hatred… Bigotry… Ignorance…
Saddened and disgusted by news…
I unplug and go outside…
I weep for others, I fear the future…
Looking to the grassy meadows…
I wonder…
Is there a nice Irish farmer…
looking for…
an aging mail order bride…
Build me a pottery studio and
I’ll milk your cows…

I am

I was told to make myself small…
Don’t be too loud, or opinionated…
Don’t draw attention to yourself…
Be sweet and demure…
Alas…
I am too tall, too wild…
too bold and far too full of fire…
I am not what I was raised to be
I am fire and thunder…
Love me or hate me…
I am what I was meant to be…

Pokemon

Yes, that was me in the park…
Playing a child’s game…
A pleasant diversion from life…
from politics, work and stress…
Laughing with others…
Gotta collect them all…
Take that you youngin’s….
Your gym just got taken…
by a woman old enough
to be your grandmother…

Heatwave

The heat of summer…
humid, oppressive…
unlike our area…
Swollen feet and ankles…
Tiredness…
Yet, an opportunity…
run through the sprinklers…
and around the house…
Starkers.

Luna

Can’t sleep…
So much on my mind…
Tossing and turning…
Then, I notice…
She is in sky, full and bright…
Mother moon…
Sleep is for another night…
For now is the time to bask
in the silvery light
and learn her secrets…

Street Art

Chalk!
Every Friday at noon…
Artists gather to reclaim space…
to build community…
To bring joy to others…
Hey you! Wanna draw?
Kids from a local club…
Business people off the street…
Homeless from the bus…
All drawing, sharing…
An hour of happiness…

PoPo

Days visibly getting shorter…
Back to school sales…
Trips not taken…
Projects not completed…
How did this happen?
Where did summer go?
Mourning…
Until the mail arrives…
Filled with poetry
and post cards…

What If

I admired you from afar….
Certain that you were…
Taken, Too handsome…
Too creative…
Too smart…
Too sought after for me…
Then, you moved away…
Single and Lonely..
Leaving me to wonder…
What if?

Vocation

Work…
A trying vocation…
Mentally exhausting…
Confronting the pain
and anguish of others…
Listening, Calming…
Returning anger
with compassion…
exhausted, sad,
ready to give up..
Until someone says…
You made it better…

The Coast

Mystery surrounds us…
A distant fog horn sounds warning…
Trekking down the rocky coast
all but what is in reach is veiled…
We drop our packs, wet with
sweat and heavy fog, we wait…
First, a treetop on a bluff, then
a seastack…
layers being peeled away…
Finally!
The Northwest coast revealed
and illuminated, in all her glory.

Wildfire!

Puff of smoke on a distant ridge…
Explodes into a massive plume…
Wind spreads the devastation…
We watch from below,
mesmerized by the power…
Later, fire engines race
down the winding roads…
My heart beat quickens…
Memories of my own days
on the fire line…
The passion is still inside.

Loss

Twenty five years…
And now you’re gone…
I never appreciated you…
We don’t know what we
have until it’s gone…
This morning I had to
take a cold shower…
Because…
I can’t afford a new
hot water heater
until pay day

Thieves

Amazon prime box…
left out for pickup…
In a short period of time,
it was gone…
Stolen, by someone with
no respect or care for others…
I hope they appreciate
the dead, rotting raccoon
that was left out
for animal control.…

Big Cedar

A legend has fallen…
One of the greatest…
People came from all over
to marvel at your majesty….
For a thousand years,
you reigned…
In a storm, you fell…
Split in two, crashing to earth…
Your death will provide life
for many more cedar trees…
As you you become
the soil from which new
life will spring at Kalaloch…

Misogyny

Oh newbie…
You are so predictable…
Uncertain, insecure…
You ask for help, then argue…
You attempt to mansplain
as you eavesdrop…
Make no mistake,
You are not my equal…
I will watch you fail…
Silently, with a sweet smile…

Skirt

Walking through the park…
A woman compliments
my skirt as it flows…
Greens, blues and golds….
Blowing gracefully in the wind…
Swaying as my hips move…
Accentuating my form…
Its story, even more
beautiful than it is…
Seen in a second hand
store by a friend…
Who thought it was for me…

This Old House

Old house…
You need a garden wall…
and paint, and back steps…
and drywall, and a new roof…
At every turn, you need more…
This summer, I was going to
get the hottub fixed…
And then… the water heater
finally died… foiled again!
I knew what you were when
I fell in love with you.

On The Street

I am not your sweetie, nor babe….
I do not have to turn around…
I do not have to approach your car…
I do not have to talk to you…
I do not have to pay you attention…
Since you persisted, you learned
about fiery redheaded wrath….
You were schooled in how not
to speak to a woman….
You were made an example
for the crowed who laughed
at you fleeing the angry woman…
Did you pee yourself a little bit?

Wicked Wind

Nineteen years ago…
You changed my life…
A photo of one just like you
crossed my feed today…
The memories came back…
pummeling me like your winds…
The blowing sand, the pain…
The cracking of my spine and pelvis…
What is a microburst? Some ask…
It is something that can end,
or change your life…
Today, I am much stronger for it.

Sojourn

Falling asleep to the sound of
Crashing surf….
Awakening to the silly giggle of
Bald Eagles in the trees above…
Exploring tidal pools and discovering
life hidden beneath the waves…
Running down the shoreline
free as a child, or one of the
gulls who fly out of my path…
This is my soul, this is healing.

Appreciation

Sensual, Glorious! I want to bask
in your warmth forever…
I took you for granted, never gave
you a second thought…
Because you were always there…
To do my bidding at any time…
And then you weren’t.
I won’t make that mistake again…
Oh hot water heater, I shall
appreciate you every day!

What You Are

Just kidding…
Again and again…
The “jokes” cut to the quick…
Nothing personal…
It’s just the way you are, you say.
Anything that causes another pain
most certainly is personal…
When asked to find others more
suited to “how you are” you said,
I knew better than to hang out
with you in the first place…
“How you are” is mean.

Around the Campfire

Old USFS firefighting manual…
Menstruating women are not
allowed on the fire line in
Grizzly Bear country…
Laughed at decades later around
the campfire…
The joke of the night…
Grizzly Bears will walk through
fire for a menstruating woman.

Geoduck

College mascot…
Tenacious digger…
Official state clam…
Booster of the local economy…
Sounds like Gooey…
Expensive, sought after
gourmet delicacy…
Looks like foreskin…
I just can’t…

Rialto

An icon for centuries…
Standing tall on the rugged coast…
Once part of an imposing cliff on
the mainland…
Later, a mighty sentential overseeing
all that washed away around it…
Water, freezing and thawing
continues to create and destroy…
Now, a pile of rubble on the beach…
Forever changing the landscape…
Captured in photos, hearts
and memories

Mother

Explaining coastal tides to one
who did not grow up by the sea…
Twice daily cycles, created by
by gravitational pull…
Influenced by the sun and moon…
Predictions are only that, one
must pay attention to be safe…
All the science…
What can not be conveyed
is the mystery and magic of
the heartbeat of
mother earth…

Respite

Living by the sun, moon
and tides….
Exploring pools created by
receding ocean…
Marveling at the creatures
who live below, briefly in view…
Hiking across rocky headlands
Napping, reading and
writing when the tide is in
Marveling at mother moon
and gazing at the stars…
Life is perfect here….

I ordered and sent five extra cards to friends who were not in my group. These poems were based on recent conversations, Facebook posts or projects they are working on.

Facts of Life

Money…
The root of all evil…
Sadly, a necessity…
Capitalism, Commercialism,
all taint our way of life…
We survive by escaping…
to the ocean, the mountains
the desert, and into our art…
We shall thrive!
As we know how
to feed our souls…

Life

Water…
It is everything and everywhere…
It gives us life…
We cry salty tears when sad…
sweat it out through our pores
when exerting ourselves…
Oceans, lakes and rivers
provide escape…
It falls from the sky and seeps
deep into the earth…
Our sacred duty is to protect.

Joy

Love…
A stolen smile…
a touch of the hand…
The flutter of one’s heart
when the other is near…
A feeling of loss when
separation is too long…
A joyful glow when together…
an inspiration to others.
Hope…

PoPo

A walk to the mailbox…
junk, bills, the odd jury summons…
One more thing to take
to the recycle bin or
that elicits stress…
Except in August!
Mailboxes are filled
with hand made art,
lovely photos and poems.
Mail is fun again

Change

A new home…
So much different than the old…
A drier climate, a different
kind of people…
So much adjustment and
new ways of life to learn…
New adventures…
Missing friends and loved
ones…
Building new relationships

The End

Summer’s oppressive heat
fades, bowing to morning
chill in the air…
Leaves begin to turn…
Children prepare to go
back to school as news
of pumpkin spice fill
social media…
The last post card is
dropped in the mail…

And then my final post to the Facebook group…

An early start….
Because August is often filled with chaos….
I did not want to disappoint
those waiting anxiously for the mail…
Hoping for a bit of art, a lovely photo
and some poetry…
Written in batches when inspired
by the power and beauty of nature
whilst on backpacking trips.
Five final cards are sent to
their destinations….
And it is done.

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To learn more about the August Postcard Poetry Fest, you can click here: http://paulenelson.com/august-poetry-postcard-fest/

To learn more about the 56 Days of August Anthology, you can click here: http://www.56daysofaugust.com/

 

~L


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The Power of Words

I was reminded last night at the World Aids Day event at the Tacoma Art Museum how powerful words are.

Words have great power

The power to create laughter…

The power to bring tears…

The power to harm…

the power to heal…

The power to discourage…

The power to encourage…

The power to create…

The power to destroy…

The power to share love…

The power to spread hate…

The power to bring truth…

The power to manipulate with lies…

The power of words can change the world

The power to educate…

The power to influence…

The power to ignite passion…

The power to bring people together for a common cause…

The power to spark revolution…

The power to create change…

We should all strive to find and use our voices

To choose and use our words to work toward a better world.

Our words… Your words, are important!


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Response to Art, AIDS, America Exhibit at TAM

art aids america

I was proud to have a piece of poetry accepted and to be invited to read at tonight’s Tacoma Art Museum’s World Aids Day event.

My friend Elizabeth Beck (who encouraged me to submit because I had missed the call) opened the show, her sister and my friend Jennifer Chushcoff was also a featured poet and I closed out the show.

We wrote “reaction” pieces based on our experiences at the Art, AIDS, America exhibit.

My poem was a reaction to not only the exhibit, but to the dichotomy between the Dia De Los Muertos event and the AAA exhibit.

Here are the words I shared tonight…

“Remembrance”

She watched as a woman lovingly created an altar honoring her departed loved ones, who shared stories of her father and mother’s love, of happy memories with her brother…

Then… how quickly the cancer took her aunt’s life and how she had not yet had time to recover from the sudden loss. She continued placing photographs of her loved ones on the altar and returned to her stories of happiness, love and tradition…

Colorful costumes, flowers, candles and ornately decorated offerendas filled with items important to those they were created for graced multiple levels of the museum, all in honor of the dead…

Music played and dancers performed for the beloved dead as children created bright paper flowers, skull masks and participated in other art and craft projects…

It was a Fiesta… for death is part of life and all stages of life are to be celebrated…

She met and spoke to people of many different cultures, some of whom shared traditions of honoring departed loved ones and ancestors…

“How odd”, she thought, that white culture in the Untied States fears death, and does not want to speak of it, more or less celebrate it and those who have passed…

Love was in the air, it was palpable as the love for the ancestors pulsed through the building and out into the world. She could sense that the ancestors knew they were loved and sent their love back in return…

She was so happy she had come as she floated through the event in her ornate costume planning her own night of remembrance in the ancient tradition of her Irish ancestors…

Then she walked down the hall…

Where she was reminded of the stores of the forgotten…

Those who died alone, in agony and unnecessary shame…

Estranged from family and loved ones because of a diagnosis…

She saw graphic depictions of the disease, the suffering, the stigma which was, which is AIDS…

“They are dirty…. sinners…. brought it upon themselves…” 

No compassion, no love, only ignorance, hatred and ostracizing those who needed compassion the most…

Forgotten as friends, lovers, parents, children, cast aside as “damaged”, “dirty” and “shameful” treated as less than human for perceived transgressions…

Gallery by gallery, the pain was exposed, stripped down to raw agony of the mind, body and spirit…

Stripped of dignity…

Denied celebration of life, and death…

Denied remembrance…

In a dark corner, she leaned against the wall, weary, from a heavy heart…

She remembered friends waiting for test results and receiving what at the time was a death sentence, a mark of shame…

A single tear ran down her cheek, smearing her ornate calavera makeup as she walked back down the hall, and out into the world, determined to remember.”

This exhibit will only be shown at three museums nationwide.

It is powerful.

It is provocative.

It is not to be missed!

You can view it at the Tacoma Art Museum through January 10th.

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The Day Before Solstice

The day before solstice
Dark… gray…
oppressive

Reflections on a cycle of pain for many
Death… suicide…
suffering

Concerns swirling through their minds
Out of work… cancer…
overwhelming

Bearing witness to it all
Sadness… pain…
helplessness

Obligations to fulfill
Parties…. cards…
ritual

Doing what needs to be done
art to create… words to write…
busyness

Tomorrow
home full of loved ones… the light returns…
Hope

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“Postcards From the Mountain” now available for pre-order

“Postcards from the Mountain” is a collection of photographs of and poetry inspired by the Cascade and Olympic Mountains in the Great Pacific Northwest created by Tacoma writer and photographer L. Lisa Lawrence

Much of the book is centered around Mt Rainier also known as: Tahoma, Tacobeh, Pooskaus, Tacoma and Ti’ Swaq.

The book was born out of the 2014 August Postcard Poetry Fest, which is the brain child of Paul E Nelson and Lana Ayers.

The book will be available in soft and hard cover (image wrap; no dust cover) versions. It contains 31 pages of photographs and poetry.

You can pre-order the book in either format, with shipping or local pickup.

You may also support a print run of the book and the purchase of an IBSN number so that it can be sold by Amazon by purchasing a ticket to the book release party which will be held on Friday, January 16th (Tacoma location to be determined) which is enough past the holidays that scheduling should not be problematic.

If you are not local/unable to attend the book release party, but want to donate to support the print run and IBSN number, you can donate in $10 increments (you can choose whatever quantity you like) from the drop down menu below.

I hope you enjoy the visual and literary journey through this magical part of the world.


Choose your optiions



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This Old House

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house

This old house has stood for nearly 100 years
It was occupied by Italian immigrants in 1917
It housed families during the great depression
It has seen troops return from two world wars

This old house was built from the forests of the Pacific Northwest
Its beams are thick and sturdy
Its floors are old growth Douglas Fir
Its roof grows moss if not well maintained

This old house is in a historic neighborhood
It has been the home of the Crips gang
It has fallen into disrepair
It has been lovingly restored

This old house is guarded by lion statues in the front
Its old Bay Laurel tree in the back is home to a nest of crows
It is in a vibrant, revitalized community
It is surrounded by friendly, caring, proactive neighbors

This old house will be warm and welcoming
it will host many holiday gatherings
it will offer hospitality to friends, family and neighbors
it will be filled with love

This old house is flawed
This old house is beautiful
This house is a work in progress
This old house is loved

If only this old house could talk

~L

Mood: Peaceful



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