Willow Rock Poetry

In the Willow Rock Writers newsletter for April 2011, I invited folks to send in their poetry in celebration of National Poetry Month. We received some lovely poems, reprinted below. Thank you to everyone who contributed!

This Is My Beloved
By Mary Rose Betten

I divine words
dream words
drive words
persistence accelerates
demands cohesion
Switch off
that car radio
Turn on
some air
Answer loves command
Get Down
Sticky note it
Don’t be a
Pull over
Set it free
I park
where none dare
the void
words burst
warm upon
my thighs
My forehead
comes to rest
the steering wheel
Cooled in
sweet surrender

My Santa Barbara
By Bud Stuart

My Santa Barbara is a Dream.
For all these years that’s what it’s been.
From a splendid Biltmore Sunday brunch,
When long ago we stopped for lunch,
To this year now, it all still clicks,
We still  enjoy a magic mix.
Our setting sun will light the sea,
As well as mountains majesty.
With such beauty all around,
So many fun “to do’s” abound.
Perhaps to the Polo Fields you’d go,
With horses flying, to and fro.
A Sunday with such fun and food,
Creates a Santa Barbara mood.
You’d rather see a play you say?
The historic Lobero’s not far away.
Or if you prefer a smaller stage,
The Center or Ensemble are all the rage.
We even have a Santa Barbara Symphony,
World class music you’ll soon agree.
Our SB Ballet trips the light fantastic,
Some are modern, others classic.
Plus you won’t even need your car,
For nothing’s really very far.
It’s a city that’s built for walking,
With endless great restaurants for talking.

Whether you desire rice and beans,
Or this planet’s very top cuisines,
Santa Barbara’s always standing tall,
For, you see, we have them all.!
Then for your mental satisfaction,
You will find a lot of action.
Museums like the Karpeles
Bring living history to us.
Our Santa Barbara Museum of Art,
Each and every year it does it’s part.
While high upon the hill we see
A Museum of Natural History.
Activities too many to mention
Constantly call for our attention.
An evening sail on the Double Dolphin.
Or at the Muni a fun filled day of golfin’.
We even have our own Show Grounds,
Where endless fun events abound.
For a town that does not have great size,
Our Santa Barbara always takes First Prize.
For beauty or activity,
There is no better place to be.
So thank you Fate for what we’ve gained.
Perhaps these lines have now explained.
What Santa Barbara means you see,
Is Paradise on Earth for me.

By Evelyn Burroughs

bold crow bold crow

stands in my intersection

daring not to 

surrender the 

right of way,

not inclined to 

fly off, as others 

of his ilk do

when people approach

bold crow, bold crow

dismisses my bullying

him out of my way

to stand in a puddle

instead, drinks boldly

of run-off sprinkler 

water from lawns nearby

as if he owns

the intersection     

or at least this 

pool over which 

he hovers, then casts        

a beak-eye disdain

at my car for

disturbing the 

webbed ripples of a 

crow-puddle just right 

this day-- as if   

to reprimand me with

“Did you really have to do that?”

bold crow - bold crow 

stands, drinks, glares 

after my clearing

his intersection so --

that he might resume   

being beyond bold

and blameless.

At the Table
By Evelyn Burroughs

At his cluttered table

only a left over

Christmas center piece plant and me

show signs of life.

Plant and human

come to rest like thane companions surviving a torturous trek.

A flattening out before the step to decision.

Where to from here?

From the plane of third options and kinsmen,

MacBeth’s quandary resonates:

Steeped in thus far, going back is a greater leaping o’er

Than standing still.

Weighing in at the table:

Plant reminds woman how it arrived

at the table weeks ago—

when its leaves were greener, soil moister, stems taller, and

hopes higher for both of them

to have found a haven.

His table now holds them hostage

in this landscape where

plant and woman breathe in futility. Woman

remembers the last plant brought into his house

to the table --left alone in an unnurturing space dark ,

its life sacrificed for the scraps of

attention she might garner from his sparse light and tepid touch.

In this nothing hour at the table

plant and woman in coiled clutch feel

their presence shrinking

 unable to rise above the dense undergrowth of


Sweet Thing* Laments
By Evelyn Burroughs

A slow night
Cars cruisin’ by but not stoppin’
Usually hungry Johns, Eds, Willys--
Even a Doris  (I seen it all)
Peering out from tinted windows
   rolled halfway up     or down
Nobody’s appetite need feeding 
Just as well

I aint feeling it tonight.
My baby Sarah still sick with the flu
-- the doctor say
She can’t keep nothin’ down, hot with fever all over
Bobbie D won’t let me take off to stay with her
She cry when I leave the flat.
I ask him   What can one evenin’ matter?
   His stable’s deep – ‘leven walkers in the Ville alone
He say      Your time   my time
                 you off your back put me on my heels   

So I stroll this Euclid Blvd,
peering back into tinted windows 
     Bmers, Caddies & Chevy pickups
hoping to spot a daddy who see  a 
sick little girl he need to watch over

before the darkness swallow her up.

*Sweet Thing is one of the women, a prostitute, described in Nina Simone’s “Four Women”

Conversation with a 2-year-old
By Cindy Bousquet Harris

Do you want cereal?
No, I want cereal.
Let's change "diapey" first.
(Wail of dismay.)
I don't want to change diapey.
Because I don't want to change diapey.
I think we've got some circular reasoning 
going on here.
(More wailing, kicking, and squirming 
as I attempt to situate her 
on the changing pad.)
You need to help Mommy.
(More kicking and squirming.)
Do you want a time-out?
(More squirming.)
DO you want a time-out?