The shades of your glasses

 Some people thrive in fear, some in times of joy
While others await for a miracle to come
And wash away all the sins that have left them numb;
I have to stay strong and tall, not just a dumb toy
That only witnesses life’s unbearable flaws
With content, while all our dreams and ambitions,
Are wiped before our eyes leaving behind the cause
We wished we all had sworn as our sole mission.
Now, with all my munitions in hand, I will fight
For all that remains and give all my heart and soul
To the fallen soldiers that had crowning foresight.
As for those who relish in this complaisant role,
Be present and set down your gray tinted glasses;
After all, even the darkest of storms passes.

—Aileen Roungou


There was a time when people did what their fathers did.
Or mothers depending upon their gender.

There was a time when people did so many things,
Things to just survive.
Their skills were many, 
their tasks even more. 
hunt, gather, cook, build, tend.
A person did it all or simply died.

What was it like 
to know that what you did at any given time 
was critical to your survival?
To your family’s?
What was it like to have to do something that truly mattered?

Today, in this age of specialization, is it any different?
Has anything changed in the last 2000 years?
4000 years?

We still “want” to survive.
But today, I think we want more.
We want to learn, to understand, to “live”,
To make things better for ourselves, for our families, for each other.

The change, I think is that now, we “want” to make a difference.
What we do matters.

—Paul Causey

In Forgotten Tin Cans

 Filtered light through
Leaves unfurled
Casting shadows all about.
Dancing flowers with petaled skirts
Stretch to be caressed 
By drops dripping from branch to branch,
Limb to limb.

The storm has passed, leaving swollen
Streams to carry seasoned
Leaves away to nourish life
Anew far, far away.

Uncovered in the flood bits of glass,
Broken bottles, their notes of
Desperation gone and lost forever,
And a lone forgotten tin can,
Rusted around the edges, dented and no
Less worse for wear, 
Mired in the muck and mud left behind.
Inside the smell of rain 
Fresh upon the air, escaping
With a sigh to fill the void
Left by fleeting clouds.
Its clean, sharp edges 
Cut through the haze.
It speaks of growth, of life, of forgiveness,
Of love reborn.
A welcome unto Spring.

—Paul Causey

The Shot

He decides to make a move. 
Is it on impulse?
Or necessity.
He commits to a
a choice, an action;
That no matter what,
He is willing to accept
All that happens next.

Anticipation of
Water splashing high
Onto the woolen dress suit 
Sized to perfection
By the skilled hands
Of a local tailor.

Cleaning isn’t cheap
Nor is it a quick task
Might take weeks
To get it back from the shop 
And at least forty bucks
For the jacket top alone. 
Pants? Twenty-six.

Leather shoes from
Bovine skin wrapped 
Expertly around soles, 
Ankles and toes.
Layered over a nylon
Sock that reaches

Soaked in cold water 
Clinging to the taught, tender 
Skin beneath it.

Hadn’t the clothing themselves 
Proven to be unnecessarily 
And yet this decision
Will only add more
Of that discomfort
To the mix.

Oh well!
No need to worry about all of those details now. He needs to get somewhere, quick!
Like his life depends on it.
And he takes the leap,
I wonder if he knew
That a camera caught
Him in mid-air and froze him in history
Just before the consequence
of his decision
Could ever be seen or felt.

—Ivory Smith 

Siempre Adelantar

                            I dance along the edge
                      becoming increasingly aware
                      of how close I am to falling.
                   It is not knowing what I will find
                      when I fall that terrifies me.

                          Each move in this dance
                    makes my journey more dangerous.
                    I may lose what little control I have.
                          But still I continue to dance.

                           Who will pick up the pieces?
                      Will there be any pieces to pick up?
                           Who will I have become
                      when I am put back together?

                              I have at various times,
                                      in my life,
                              avoided pressing questions.
                                   limited my choices
                         lest the next step would change me,
                         would necessitate a change  in my life
                                 that I did not want to face.

                                      If the tears start,
                                  when will they end?
                                      Will they end?

—Laura A. Smith

Dear Brother

I saw a picture of you in the photo album the other day and I thought of you. I remember you taught me how to fight so you would always win. It was fun and eventually I caught on to your sneaky ways.

I remember you taught me how to play football with your friends and how I was always the one that played the dummy.

As an older brother, you were the best. You told me not to do the things you did because you knew I would get into trouble; and you were right. I still wanted to do them though because you did.

Can you see me now from where you are? Is the sun shining or is it dark as night? Are the stars shining?

I’m doing all the things I can to see you, to remember you. The color of your hair, your smile; what you said when I said you didn’t have to go, I love you. 

Can you see me now doing what the living do to remember someone they love? Can you see me trying to explain to my children why you are no longer here? How you died? Or how you lived?

We go on; forward, maybe backward. I’m not really sure, but we do all the things the living do. I wish you could tell me what you do when you are not here, when you’re not remembered anymore. Are you still there? Wherever you are?

Do you still see people living? Or do you see them dying? Is there a difference or is it simply different?

For now, I remember you. It’s what the living do.

—Paul Causey

Flowers and So Much More

 “The flowers are losing their petals and all too fast they fade.”

Did Mahakasyapa smile at the flower in its peak, knowing that that was all there is, the peak of their existence? Or did he smile having been reminded fondly of a dream he once had that faded as he journeyed along on his pilgrimage through life?

When we are young, we have all kinds of dreams, all kinds of plans, paths to destinations unknown. The paths are familiar friends we carry along with us for a while until we find new paths, new dreams, new loves.

Perhaps Mahakasyapa smiled because the flower reminded him of someone in his past or some dream still yet to be fulfilled.

I do not think that flowers, blooming year after year, reflect all there is, but more of what can be. They speak of growth to come and are a harbinger of longevity and strength, the “green” of growing things. I think Mahakasyapa knew this and saw well beyond the impermanence of things into the permanence of all there is.

Perhaps Mahakasyapa saw in that instant the hope of humankind and smiled that the path ahead was illuminated by the whole plant projecting its beauty and life ahead of itself. Look! I am alive! And I will carry on!

What sign do we give as humans that is just as powerful? Just as sincere and true as that of the flower?

There is none, but a smile.

—Paul Causey


Kim Mosley

Cherry Blossoms

Pink, dainty, water-colored flowers, splashed against a white background, propped deliberately on brown, twisty vines that swirl around each other in an open embrace,

A dance that both connects and disconnects at the same time.

The small buds top a procession up the thin, brown surface, where more mature blooms sit, open and bright.

They reach, curved toward a sun-filled sky. Both the vines and blooms create a beauty that withstands time and brings me joy each moment I see them.

—Ivory Smith

A Cast Heron

A bronze bird, this heron belonged to my mother. 
It frowned at me from behind the lamp, 
the line of the eye slanting down to its long beak.
On my lap, its tail of three feathers dig into the soft of my hand. 
Clawed feet poke my leg.
It has never been a comfortable bird. 
Its cast metal feet teeter and make it crash,
but the artisan has taken care to make the feathers flow
over the curve of its body, stylized yet right for the breed.
Its legs curve, limber and strong, as if it could push off into flight.

Wiping the dust from its side, I find a tiny feather, 
cobweb light and grey, a magical thing,
as if this bird were trying to be more fully bird. 
My breath blows it away.

It’s a reminder of the heron we see from our living room window,
one of a long lineage, on the neighbor’s dock for forty years.
My mother’s bird. Turning it over, I see with a small shock
her name. D.Webb, written with careless marker on the belly.
The label must be from the nursing home, from her last days.
So much lost in the fog of time. It is old enough for white corrosion
where the solder joins the legs to the hollow body
and in spots between the wings on the back.

So like my mother—awkward and difficult but with her own beauty.
I run my handkerchief along the back. 
It feels like petting a cat.

—Sarah Webb

Let Me Know I'm Here

Let me know I’m here. I fumble 
in the morning dark. And, as familiar
as a grackle lighting on a sign, I light
upon the textured knob of the lamp, 
at my desk. On. It knows I’m here.

It reveals my last thoughts, actions, in-
actions before I went to bed. Chaos or
order, a to-do list, or tucks of days of 
forgotten solicitations, to which 
I’ve meant to respond, and haven’t. 

I finger for the braille patch, at the rear of
the computer screen, press it. On. It knows 
I’m here. Next, to the kitchen, the 
electric kettle filled with water, I push
down the tongue shaped lever. On. It
knows I’m here. 

I open the back door, step out on
the blue porch, look for the morning
star, the first hint of light. On. It knows 
I am here. 

Opening to the little joys of
morning rituals. I know I’m here.

—Martha Koock Ward