Poet's Showcase

Warning: On Standing Holding Signs
By Anne Haehl

"Behind you, look
BEHIND you!"
a dozen voices joined in warning.

But Buffalo Bob
could never pick out
the Peanut Gallery's warnings
from their screams.

Even Howdy, try as he might,
could not sort out the yells
to learn Mr. Bluster's evil schemes
or Clarabelle's approach
with a seltzer bottle.

I used to think,
if I were there, I'd tell them
to shut up, and let someone
just one
get the warning across.

Something also
drowns out our warnings

-- Anne L. Haehl lives in Lawrence.

The Fall
By Joy Clumsky

Eleven days beyond August,
After the dawn's early light,
The planes, they plunged
From the spacious skies,
And, as the hours slouched by like slugs,
More than towers collapsed.
Hope mutated to fading cinders,
Carried on errant winds,
Sown over fruited plains.
Security metastasized
Into soundless screams,
Running feet, masked faces,
Humankind wafting like apparitions
down tunneled lairs of dreams deferred.
Wishes for ever-after accord
Were doused by jet fuel and tears.
Trust? It reeked like seared flesh
And brimstone fires.
Stilled were heart-songs
By the dissonance
Of discordant sirens.
Television's dire messengers of doom
Gave proof through the night
Of the unthinkable
In biblical proportions.

Eleven days beyond August,
The world, it was a glass half-empty,
A desert devoid of rainbows
And all other harbingers of hope.

Eleven days beyond August,
It felt like the twilight's last gleaming.

Arise, we will, from the ashes
And become another form of ourselves,
Mining before-the-fall memories
Like gold in our minds,
Our legs brushed by amber waves of grain,
Worldly-wise eyes cast often
To the skies,
To the spacious skies of Home.

-- Joy Clumsky teaches creative writing at Lawrence High School.


Searing enmity so vast
as to cause someone to strap on
an arsenal of destruction
walk to where humanity plays
and press the fiery button.

Madness -- sheer lunacy.
Inexplicable, or is it?
mind races to find a rationale:
primal evil exploding?
misguided religious zeal?
devotion to a mad-cause?
materialism sought and denied?
centuries of suffering?
freedom from ... captivity?
marathon ideas and no end.

The laws of civility
reversed and disdained.
"what the world needs now is hate, sweet hate."
"revenge makes the world go around."
"bitter rage changes everything."
or to quote from the revised
standard version of all things
bright and beautiful:

"No greater hate has any man
but that he gives up his life
to repay an enemy."
what a way to live, and die.
sad, so sad that even my tears
implode behind dry sockets.

-- Lee Carlson lives in Lawrence.

-- Poet's Showcase features work by area poets. Submit your poetry via e-mail with a subject line of Poet's Showcase to mpaget@ljworld.com or send typewritten (not handwritten) submissions to Mindie Paget, 645 N.H., Lawrence 66044, attn: Poet's Showcase. Teen writers should submit their work to the 18 & Under page at teens@ljworld.com.


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