I spend many late afternoons at a local bookstore cafe, watching the customers study, relax, and relate. I am often reminded of other writers—Hemingway and Fitzgerald—who frequented the cafes of Paris and gained inspiration from their clientele. In my own humble way, I hope my poems capture the American flavor of this phenomenon. All walks of life are depicted here.
He stands erect
with a white wizard beard
and long snowy hair
neatly pulled back in a band.
He is wearing a crisp linen shirt
and creased khaki pants
and burnished cowboy boots.
He looks like a leather-bound
of Rip Van Winkle
I can imagine him sitting
With a granddaughter on his knee
Regaling her with stories
Of elves and fairies
Is he an elegant hippie?
What’s with the ironed shirt?
And the shiny boots?
So much care given to the accoutrements
Yet the long hair
Links him to Woodstock
Has he been sleeping
For one hundred years
And rudely awakened
To find himself in the age
Of trimmed goatees
And neon athletic shoes?
What would such a mind
Wonder at this environment?
Snow-capped pine trees
Denuded into sculpted shrubberies
Wild into tame
Is that why his hair
Is so neatly combed
And restrained by the band
And his shirt so pressed
Concessions made to conform
To this day and age?
But secretly at night
His young, limber-limbed lover
Combs his locks
And covers her breasts
With the snow-white hair
Of his vibrant, virile beard
—Carla Joy Martin
I was born in New York City and grew up in St. Andrews, Scotland and Pasadena, California. I have lived in Bakersfield for thirty years now, having raised my two sons here. I have taught piano, art and English. In these “Golden Years” of life, I am a substitute teacher and aspiring poet and children’s book author.
It seems like just the other day
That your dad placed you in my arms
All pink and smooth and warm
And I cooed, “Just think, someday he’ll have whiskers on that sweet little chin.”
But I didn’t really believe it.
And I remember just the other day
When the nurse showed me your footprint
Side-by-side with “a normal baby’s prints,”
And I gasped, “He’ll wear huge shoes someday.”
And wasn’t it just the other day
That you stood proudly up against the wall
Where we measured and marked and figured
And I laughed, “He’ll be taller than his dad someday!”
I know it was just the other day
That you toddled off alone down the trails of Big Sur
And came laughing home to my frantic cries…
And you ran off down the Fremont Peak trails,
Herded home by our faithful Misty…
And you strolled casually around Lake Calabasas,
Riding proudly home in the police car,
Accompanied by the sound of the searching helicopters…
And I sighed, “He’ll strike out on his own someday.”
But I didn’t really believe it.
Then just yesterday, we drove to the University,
Unpacked your razor and your size 13 shoes,
And I drove away
Waving hard in the rear view mirror
Leaving you to strike out on your own…
And me with a six-foot three-inch hole in my heart.
—Joan Lindsay Kerr
Joan Lindsay Kerr
A former teacher and curriculum specialist, Joan Kerr is loving retired life spending time with her children and grandchildren and exploring the world with her husband, Rob. She usually writes travel stories, but finds that poetry is a better genre for moments of strong emotion.
I’m sure I’ll never understand
Why one would end his or her life,
Leaving this world by personal choice,
Deserting family, a husband, a wife;
Deciding it just isn’t worth
One more night
Negating one’s own birth.
Every life is worth the choice
To elevate joy, raise a voice!
Make a positive difference,
Don’t stay inactive on the fence.
Be the change you wish to see;
Do it now!
You know how!
Let’s make life better for you and me.
—Shelley J. Evans
Shelley Evans has been writing poetry most of her life. It was destiny, as she was named after the poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Many of her poems are inspired by the beach and are often written with her feet in the sand at Pismo. One of Shelley’s favorite activities is rhyming her way through life!
Are you guilty?
Do you see what you want to see,
Or do you do you see what might truly be?
Do you look for the negative?
Shoot the messenger pointing out the positive?
Do you lay in wait for the next man to stumble,
then profess that you are oh so humble?
I wonder if you were judged by your own measure,
would God see you with pleasure?
And when you find out you were wrong,
Do you post that, just as strong?
Or are you so caught up in your own bigotry
That you think, “Oh no not me!
I’m the good guy.
It’s not I.”
Have you embraced a victim mentality?
Are you sharing that with your mini-me?
It’s difficult to see
When you deny God’s love for ALL humanity.
The media is smoke and mirrors telling us how to believe.
Blow out the smoke, wipe down the mirror. Seek out truth beyond what you now conceive.
I have lived in Bakersfield for five years. I am currently working on a Bachelor Degree in Psychology and have applied for the Masters Degree program at CSUB. I self-published a book of poems called InkSpots and wrote a screenplay. Lately, however, most of my writing has been academic in nature.
The cobbler in the basement.
his ghost flickers in and out of my imagination.
A cobbler shop once existed in what we called our basement.
Gone long before we moved in.
i heard him some nights
rustling among the attic’s blankets, lamps and boxes,
perhaps looking for his tools among
stored and forgotten items.
what dreams and secrets did he learn watching
me, my brother, my sister?
must be he followed me to california.
may be ghosts get cold.
some nights fresh-worked leather’s scent
pulls my dreams back to boyhood.
his soft steps cross the room,
this specter from my past.
My card says, “Mystery Fan, Bibliophile, Writer, Raconteur.” I have published in non-fiction, fiction and poetry. Reading or viewing TV have always been a part of my life, tending toward suspense, character-driven fiction, biographies, mysteries and biographical non-fiction. Add seasonal NFL games and the Warriors to complete the menu. Currently I enjoy writing creative blank verse poetry.