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by Jeanne Rosen Sofen
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Len Anderson

The Forest

Time is a way of sneaking in and out
of eternity. In every house
there should be a room without clocks,
a room like a forest,
where you can be alone
with everything in the world.

When there are too many clocks,
the world has a way
of ending. The end of the world
means it’s time to check the fuse box
and maybe unplug a clock or two.

To walk on our hind legs
requires a certain degree
of balance
learned over the course
of millions of years.

Passing in and out
of eternity asks even more.
Any man who burns another
at the stake
has yet to open Christ’s invitation
to join him in heaven.

Sometimes I dress up
in my heart and other times
in my head. I’m not fool enough
to go around pretending to wear
my soul. I am grateful
when without my knowing
it asks me to step ever so gently
into the forest.

Cave Art

is not what it used to be,
I say, turning off the TV.

It’s late, I’m tired.
Soon leopards
and bearded goats
begin making a long journey
across the wall,
then a lone eagle,
and a salmon
heavy with milt.

Even the trees,
the long grass,
and the unmoving stones
find their voices,
and I hear them.

This is all
very confusing.
What are they
doing on my walls?

Still, when I see a shaman
with a tail, horns,
and three eyes
stoop and kneel,
somehow I can’t help myself
and fall to my knees.

Here I learn to live
my life.

The Day

In the morning a dream returns
to its beginning where I have already
eaten all of my parents’ yellow furniture
and learned fourteen kinds of reality.
Wanting more, I let go of truth.

In the afternoon I see scrub jays are holding down
the day shift while the walls are sullen
and won’t even speak to me, so I strike up a tune
with a stem rose and a thirsty hydrangea,  
open door after door into heaven after heaven
and let go of God.

In the evening I hear the owls punch in
for the night shift and I look up to see the ceiling
is wearing artichoke underwear.  Just then
my love walks in and asks me my one true name
but I can only think of thirty-nine,
so I let go of being.

In the night I can hear the ferocious burning
of tender stars, yet can’t get over
the startling sensibility of trees,
so I lie back, held in the arms
of everything, and let go
of letting go.

Len Anderson is the author of Invented by the Night (2011), Affection for the Unknowable (2003), both from Hummingbird Press, and a chapbook, BEEP: A Version of the History of the Personal Computer Rendered in Free Verse in the Manner of Howl by Allen Ginsberg. He received a nomination for a Pushcart Prize from DMQ Review, is a winner of the Dragonfly Press Poetry Competition and the Mary Lönnberg Smith Poetry Award, and received the 2011 Dragonfly Press Award for Outstanding Literary Achievement. He is a co-founder of Poetry Santa Cruz and lives with his wife in the Live Oak area of Santa Cruz County.

Helene Simkin Jara

Len Anderson
Charles Atkinson
Ellen Bass
Killarney Clary
Helene Simkin Jara
Jake Young
Gary Young

Wallace Baine

Jeanne Rosen Sofen

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