What life does, is this While driving outskirt of town to check on a friend in distress, I saw in rearview mirror a patrol car, lights flashing, follows me. pulled over, wondering what I did wrong. Show me the license, ma'am, he said. I did. You did over speed, he said. Where were you going? To a friend of mine grieving for her parents who died in recent hurricane. I'm sorry, he went on, but you are fined a hundred dollar or more. I winced. Considering your clean record, I'll just give you a warning. Next time, you must pay. I thanked him. Continuing on my way, I was surprised by the trees in oranges, gold and red, in just a week; they changed from a few tints of the end of summer to the deep autumn, full display of the beauty of the season. The small luck of the day and the warning of the officer; the retirees who quickly vanished from the golden age; like October trees signaling for the inevitable winter; winter, the time of respite and restoration for spring; this is what life does; teacher of how all that can be better with some flashlight, like the warning of the cop. (c) Byung A. Fallgren
In my name My first name means "fire flower love". Do I hear "Wow!"? That's what I used to think, wondering my dad must have loved me alright when he gave me that name. Imagine the beautiful fireworks in the night sky celebrating a princess' birth. Imagine a father who named his daughter "Fire flower love." It makes my eyes water, and I used to think him a drunkard, looser and idiot who obeyed his father telling him to be a police officer, against his wish to be a medical doctor. failure; muck; love, pale love; lonely. Having lived as old as I am and doubt all the brilliant love within the name, empty and silent, I would let it free. let this dark world own it. I hope its dormant magic grows wings, fly round the world, shower the love. Then I want them to know, after all, meaning of your name can mean more than you know. (c)Byung A. Fallgren
Grand Teton, overdone praise or not From the pathway, you weren't as grand as I thought you would be like some twisted opinion of truth. Looking back, your peaks show the different side of you: hidden valley in the dark shadow; seems to harbor the grandeur; the narrow, steep ridge twisted and crawls up toward the top, with young man's ardent ambition; persists to uncover the unseen; the reason for cry in the world of darkness, with endless dream of king; wish to turn around to see the whole, with a fresh eye, to meet you, real you. ©Byung A. Fallgren
Perhaps the World Ends Here Joy Harjo (1951--) The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live. The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on. We chase chickens and dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it. It is here that chickens are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women. At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers. Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. The laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table. This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun. We have begun and ended at the table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory. We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here. At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow, we pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks. Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite. Joy Harjo was appointed the new United States poet laureate in 2019. Born in Tusa Oklahoma in 1951. She is a member of the Musoke/Creek Nation.
Light at the Edge Her fingers tap dance around the mound, starting at the little round button at the center, the ritual done each month for decades. The mound and the button lost their youthful bounce; still tricky; the tiny lump comes and go at the touch, fooling the serious fingers. You need an Ultrasound on that spot, says the x-ray technician. Lying on the table as the woman examines to catch the illusive devil, she crosses her fingers. As her heartbeat quickens, the devil floats above the table, grinning. Time for you to go. She shut her eyes. Not yet, I still have lot of things to do! Wait here, the woman tells her. I'll be back with the result. She feels her mouth dry like been dead for days. The woman returns with stiff face. Her heart sinks to the floor. We do not find anything scary, the woman says. a long sigh of relief escapes from her. Thanks. ©Byung A. Fallgren
Curious and Counting Arisa White How do I get in your atmosphere? Tell me about your sign, look me planetarily --those Venuses in your eyes? There was no thought after you and I wrote it down. Wandered to the wailing with my back exposed. My kind of Sunday, your knees buffalo and kicking up plains. We go sockless for beauty. Ribbons unwind bring us to tied, I'm at your symmetry, remembering all your digits and your lucky number mine. Arisa White is a Cave Canem poet whose works is rooted in black women way of knowing. The author of Who's Your Daddy (Augury Books, 2021) among other titles. She is an assistant professor of Singlish and creative writing at Cole College.
At the Apple Orchard We came from the city to pick the apples, green, red and gold, to fill our lungs with the scent of the fruits, even the hidden worm-ridden scent is better than the city air; we came to be surrounded by the atmosphere of the shared goal--to be ripen, ripen only; oh, that mature spirit! wish to drown in it all day long, forever more. We fill our baskets with many hues and aromas, but only one shared goal, to take home; to mix them with our daily lives, to bake pies that bloom in our hearts. ©Byung A. Fallgren
My two poems, Moaning of Moon and Unprecedented, flood have been accepted for Fall printed issue of the Avocet, journal of Nature poetry. Thank you, Charles and Vivian for accepting these pieces.
Late August Morning Touch of the wind lost the summer's heat; older man's coolness, yet the cotton leaves dance in the reverie of yesterdays. North wind, precursor of the snowman that ignores the laughs of the dancing leaves; scheme for the October. ©Byung A. Fallgren
Maple of the Junipers, in my faulty eyes Maple ensconces herself in the middle of the growth, of the junipers in the yard by the house, rising above all the prickly needles. her slender body, lush green leaves, bright in the sun. Come, join us, the junipers had welcomed her, when, as a seed, she fell from the air on a windy night. frightened, wondering if she'd survive. survive she did. flourishing in the cheers of the junipers. Then, alas, I cut her off. gazed at the junipers, who don't know how to say no. Now, happy? I smile at them. Sudden wails of junipers, only in my ears, shivers; rebuke the human-centered behavior that ruined the rare beauty. I pick up the severed maple branch, set it on the trunk, and watch it tumble down. Ah, but the trunk is still there, cuddled in the bosom of the junipers, holding on to the last hope, she will rise again. will she? the thought lingers on, with desire. ©Byung A. Fallgren