What life does, is this

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

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

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 End Here

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 

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

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

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

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

Late August Morning

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 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