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Alison Parham

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Tom McKoy

Dream Work

The ex-wife used to tell me
her dreams.

I was never interested;
they just did not make sense.

Last night I dreamed
about a bumper sticker.

It read
Marriage is like making sausage.

I spent a long time
trying to figure out what it meant

but that was a dream
as well.

Gleanings from a Lecture on Evolution

Our African ancestor, Homo habilis,
had no weapons
scavenged food from leftover kills
of lions, leopards, alpha predators.
He would scrape the flesh
with a chunk of rock,
crack the bones
with another chunk,
remove the marrow, eat
and run,
before there was a word
for tool,
before there was a word
for fear.

Bristlecone Pines Recollected

How they cluster
at ten thousand feet
on top of a swath
of glacial scree

How some endure
more than four millennia
at Great Basin National Park
on the eastern lip of Nevada

How their needles grow
in sparse bottle-brush patches
just enough for a bit
of slow photosynthesis

How the living parts
hew to the dead
gnarled together
for elemental protection

How it made me feel
to place my palm
on the hard crenelated trunk
that survived thousands of harsh winters

Older than empires
older than measurement
I wanted to write
of a life older than our Gods

Risky Business at the Bank

The woman in line
in front of me
reaches the teller.
She had a difficult experience
at another branch
and needs to talk to someone.
Her legs hurt
and she carries a heavy bag.
Her son could help
but he moved to Seattle.
The woman had a savings account
but had to close it.
She would open another
but it might get hacked
by thieves, or terrorists,
or the “Occupy Movement,”
or the Republican Party.
It is such a risk.

We Go Back

The comfort of talk
with an old friend
a thumb rubbed
on well-worn
sea glass.
Because your memory
is more lucid
than mine,
I look to you
to remember
who I am;
make it worthy
of celebration.

Tom McKoy listens to jazz, writes poems, and watches for miracles in Santa Cruz. He is grateful for the influence of Joe Stroud, the grace of the Emerald Street gang, and the works of the late Jim Harrison.  He was at all three days of Woodstock, still has most of his own teeth, and enjoys travel with his wife, Ellen McCarthy.

Emerald Street Poets
Marcia Adams
Len Anderson
Dane Cervine
Robin Lysne
Joanna Martin
Tom McKoy
Adela Najarro
Maggie Paul
Stuart Presley
Lisa Simon
Phillip Wagner

Featured Artist
Alison Parham


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