July 2000 Café Society's Poetry News Update
Do you have any poetry news or comments for the Readers' Letters section? If so, mail me on the email link at the bottom of this page. Competitions and calls for submissions can be announced here free.

An Interview With

As a writer of song and poetry in his youth, Bob kept a low profile regarding his work until 1994 when a cycling accident resulting in head injury drastically altered his life and opened a floodgate of creativity that would later help steer him to a course of recovery.

Much of Bob's work deals with the madness of head trauma and mood disorder while always keeping a watchful eye for emotional fulfillment.

Bob hopes to use his writing to communicate a message of support to others dealing with this disorder. Bob (also known as Doomwheels in the kite sailing world) maintains a website that features excerpts from 3 books of his poetry: http://www.ravencroft.com/doomwheels/poetry.html (look for a total rebuild in the late summer). Once an extreme sportsman and a business owner, Bob has recently given up house and home to travel to foreign lands on a journey of self renewal. Along the way he has chronicled his experiences in a travel journal that he hopes to edit into book form and share with friends.

Poetry L & T: When did you first start writing poetry, Bob, and why?

Bob Childs: I started writing poetry in my late teens as I traveled across America broken hearted and searching for who-knows-what as young people sometimes do. A seldom interrupted period of silence lasted more than 10 years before I would begin again. After sustaining a head injury caused by a cycling accident, my urge to write ignited and the ensuing madness became the fuel. I would continue to write feverishly for more than 3 years sometimes working (well into the early morning) on 2-3 pieces daily. Writing became a source of therapy for me throughout the difficult years that would follow.

Poetry L & T: You say that the style of your writing was changed by an accident. Do you think it became more serious or morose, or perhaps simply more emotionally intense?

Bob Childs:One interesting symptom of head injury is losing the internal sensor that tells us when and where it is appropriate to say certain things. It can become a situation where nothing is too personal to share in great detail. For someone who writes, this could be a useful tool or an unintentional weapon.

I developed my poetry as an instrument to put my thoughts and visions into words. During this period, the happenings in my life were quite out of control. To say nothing about these events and internalize them only made me question if they were really happening at all. The madman doubts his madness. Putting it down on paper in the form of poetry offered me the chance to make it real to myself and to others. It also provided the opportunity to add an artistic twist to an event that could allow me to "make it my own" and gain a little control over those aspects of my life.

My writing certainly did become more intense and sometimes graphic. My favorite pieces are those that paint the most gruesome pictures, but they are not intended to shock just for the effect. They are written with complete honesty. Though my poems sometimes use imagery that may appear directed for shock, the images are natural and true to the state of mind in which the pieces were written.

What Would The Neighbors Think?
© Bob Childs, 9-18-97

It truly is agony
Enduring these moments
When I wish I could just
Step out of my skin and
Expose my skeleton
To show from the inside out
How my bones connect
How my blood circulates
A real first hand view of
How I experience pain
But, oh what a mess!
All that blood and guts
So untidy!
So impolite to be walking around
Without your skin just to make a point
Better to keep it hidden
Better to keep all that blood inside
You know…
"Wouldn't want to offend the neighbors"
So try to keep calm
Keep it quiet
Try to keep your skin on
No sense in disturbing everyone
Just to make a point

Poetry L & T:What was the most difficult, or disconcerting aspect of writing in this altered way?

Bob Childs:The years following my accident truly were an intense period for me. Sometimes the writing itself could be rather consuming although the overall experience of writing was positive. With every piece I labored to crack myself open as if to pour me into a glass to be held up to the light for closer inspection. This constant examination of mind and emotion was relentless and exhausting at times. On other occasions a piece would give the sensation of writing itself leaving me to wonder for days/weeks about what the real message was. This "guiding of the hand" was nothing spiritual, but came from the part of my mind held prisoner in a demented state. I read them now with better understanding.

Braids On The Wall
© Bob Childs, 3-30-98

With my bare hands I'll
Strip the veins out of my body and
Braid them down the wall
As I drift into a dream

Glass fingertips take my pulse
Reflections of their intentions flicker
On the ceiling
They mean nothing to me
Take your hands off!

I'd sooner drool the brain from my head
And mash it between my fingers
Than explain this all to you
One more time

If I were to tell you how I feel about myself
You would have to understand how I must
Feel about you
Sitting there shaking your head
Writing in your little book
Looking for a visible sign

"Well here's your sign!!"
I'll scream out to you
Splattered red across your face
"Take it! And plenty more..."

And when I've filled you up
I'll hate you too
Hating all!
And hating how I sit in the corner
Crying for you
All of you

Alone again and
Stripped of my veins
Braiding them down the wall
As I drift into yet another dream.

Poetry L & T:What message do you hope to communicate to people who read your poetry?

Bob Childs:I hope to send a message to people immersed in the same madness that I lived with, that they are understood and in good company. I found that obtaining information about head trauma was the key to my recovery. By learning to understand my condition, I was able to guide myself to a stronger place. By writing about it, I was able to express my thoughts in a way that I otherwise could not. As poetry was a part of my recovery, I hope my words can be a message of understanding to those still lost.

This Is The Wild Place
© Bob Childs, 9-10-97

Shhh, listen!
So delicate a sound as this
So subtle the air that breathes across
This field of sedge
Gentle waves roll across and
Lap against a shoreline of aspen
Cascading falls of yellow green
Flow from the canopy and
Flood across the earth

I lay against these rocks
Red as my blood
I swim through this wind
Warm as my skin
I rest in the sunlight
Bright as this dream that
Carries me from one moment
Into the next
From today into yesterday
Yesterday into tomorrow
Tomorrow to this moment

Do you hear it?
The voice singing
Can you hear it or
Am I losing my mind?
So familiar that song
Whispered to me from
Between the lines in my hand

This is the wild place!
And I am here
Right in the middle of it!
I am alone, yes
But I belong here
I am necessary!
And it is my presence
That makes all this possible


Poetry L & T:You have been travelling in Europe a lot recently. Did you write any poems about some of the countries you've seen, that you would like to share here?

Bob Childs:It has been a little over a year now since I packed everything I own into storage and took off to wander western Europe alone. I have left much behind, but the scenes I have witnessed along my way have been extraordinary. Throughout my travels I kept a daily journal that I am now editing into book form. This was a new experience for me, and a great way to include others in my journey. I have posted the first 3 chapters on a website just for your readers: http://www.ravencroft.com/doomwheels/aal/amerlost.html What starts as a travel log, unfolds as a story of self discovery. Training myself to remain constantly aware of my thoughts and my surroundings left me with a thorough narrative of my journey and the memory of countless remarkable moments.

Mother's Tears
Bob Childs, 8-3-99

She hollers and spits and becomes unwoven
Pleading and hovering above the young man
On her face are the smudges of an afternoon's
Drunk on the hot streets of Rome
She pounds his back but
He will not yield
She presses her face into his almost
Burning him with her cigarette
He didn't notice
I know she is frustrated that
He can't hear her crying as she orbits about him
Deep space seems to isolate her
Tears lost amongst the stars
I think perhaps she is like the moon
And that he must be her son.

Poetry L & T: You have a lot of love poetry on your site, which I have enjoyed reading. Do you consider yourself to be romantic, or someone who wishes to explore the senses through an art form (such as poetry)?

Bob Childs:A romantic? Hmmm, I guess I am guilty of being the saver of little notes and ribbons. The search for love has historically caused me to write in heavy downpours.

The book "As do all things" was the first time I was able to write about the highs and lows of love in a single relationship. It was an opportunity to chronicle a relationship from beginning to end detailing the range of emotions we apperceive from love and love lost.

Who the book was written about is less important now. I have found love again although I will not write about this one. This is something I will keep for my own.

Settlers Park
Bob Childs, 2-3-98

Breeze in my hair
Sun in my eyes
You on my mind

Lips on my lips
Hand in my hand
Heart in my heart

Dreams of a day
Remembrance of a time
Taste of the moment

Hands to the earth
Head in the stars
And you by my side.

Poetry L & T:As a poet with a website, you probably consider the Internet to be useful to poets. In what ways has it helped you?

Bob Childs: In most cases I consider the www to be an unlimited source of information, creativity and self expression. Never before has the average person had access to a media that allows people to connect to the world in such a manner. Artists that would otherwise be seen only by few can use simple tools to display their art to a world of interested viewers. Those not interested can click and pass it by.

Personally, it has helped me to connect with people who relate to the things I write about. It has helped to promote my books, but most importantly, I am able to share my works with others and connect with people who inspire and influence me in return.

Poetry L & T: Do you ever see anything in amateur poetry (on newsgroups or websites) that irritates you?

Bob Childs:Who told you that?! (laughing)

I admit that I stopped reading newsgroups long ago. I believe they are a wonderful forum for people to share their works and receive critique, but unfortunately the anonymity of the internet too often mutates a few otherwise nice helpful people into the cruel slayers of a young writer's enthusiasm.

I call it "small world focus" when a person's opinion becomes so important that they take every opportunity to lash out at others armed with unsolicited censure and protected by obscurity.

Sometimes these people have a valid point, but most often their only point is that they are right and you don't belong. A word of thoughtful criticism and encouragement goes much further in my opinion.

Poetry L & T:I have to abandon my journalistic detachment long enough to say - I thorougly agree with you there, Bob... so, on to the next question (not connected to that subject) - Do you ever turn any of your poems into songs?

Bob Childs: I used to write songs long ago while in a band during the 80's, however I don't like many. I appreciate the use of format often applied to poetry and music, but also value the ability to bend and break those guides. Although I try to explore all different styles of poetry, the free-flowing style that I prefer offers me the chance to say exactly what I mean with few, purposely chosen words unrestricted by verse and rhyme. There are those who can do this with song as well and I am immensely impressed by this talent. It is one I do not possess.

Poetry L & T: As someone who appears to very much enjoy travel and open spaces, do you think that the hectic lifestyle of working in cities could adversely affect a poet's ability to write?

Bob Childs:I doubt it. As people are often my unknowing subjects, I have found plenty to write about while wondering through city streets. I am quite taken by the people most influenced by city life. Those whose lives are governed by the struggle for survival on the streets (while black suits roll by in Mercedes) intrigue me the most. I find the contrast of the human condition fascinating.
© Bob Childs, 10-19-99

Muttering to himself
Wobbling wildly at the waist
He is hardly even standing
He fidgets with his pants
Hiking them up 'til he shows the
High side of his socks

He only wants a smoke and some
Light conversation with the woman in the
Gift shop window
She fusses with her displays to look busy as he
Giggles and babbles at her
A hysterical grin breaks his face

The woman gives a confirming nod to
The approaching police as he
Drools another proverb across her countertop

Guess it's time to go now
Back to the busy streets
Back into the cold
Sun hung low in the winter sky
Better light up another smoke
The last creature comfort of a
Life on the streets.

Poetry L & T:Finally Bob, do you have any advice for young poets who wish to improve their work enough to get published, or established on the Internet?

Bob Childs:I believe the steps to writing well is to know your audience, be original, remain true to yourself, and read as much as you can from other writers to gain insight to steps 1, 2 and 3.

Regarding publishing? Well, most writers have experienced the struggle of finding empathetic publishers, but the opportunities do exist. The internet also offers countless possibilities for submission. Great sites such as Poetry Life and Times run by people who support the arts are wonderful forums for developing an audience.

My advice? Educate yourself, find your message, and be honest to your readers. For me, it is not about how many people read your words, but how many lives are touched by them.

Poetry L & T:Thank you for the interview, Bob.

Bob Childs:It was a pleasure. Thank you in return for your support now and in the past.

More of Bob's Poems

Bob in action sport kiting
Mary Fell
© Bob Childs, 11-6-98

Always an arms length away
A babe in the hands of stone
Unafraid of the wind
A Swallow eager to feel the sky
Longing for the uncertainty of air to
Surround her body like an
Island sinking beneath the clouds

But no bird flies without wings
No island floats on the wind
Now her words burn black on my tongue
Her touch weighs wet on my skin
And I think...
How deep a river if I cried one tear
For every day that I knew her
Now I wonder if I ever really knew her
At all.

© Bob Childs, 9-6-99

Even from here I can sense her devotion
For hours she has knelt silent on the chapel floor
Bruised knees before the virgin
She has crawled and cried until she is beyond words
Beyond reproach, she is with God
Someone as foreign to prayer as I would have
Little idea what this means to her
I know more of stone than of saints
I'm sure that somewhere someone cries for her too
On Earth or in Heaven, it is hard to say.

Flight #2018
© Bob Childs, 3-2-99

Sitting on the broad, vinyl seats of the airport I try to
Sly a peek at the attractive girl sitting across from me
Without being noticed.
My eyes survey her face in blinks
Anticipating the roaming of her own
I wonder what it is that has led her here to
Board this plane for London

She pulls out a picture from her purse and
Stumbles awkwardly into a laugh
Her face pops and fizzles and she can
Hardly release her gaze to
Place it back into her bag

Now her secret is known
Clear as the grin still wired on her lips…
She is in love!

Bob Childs 3-2-99

Through the Eyes of Children
© Bob Childs 10-13-98

The dusty road behind our house
Led to the old miner's graveyard where
We used to play as kids
An afternoon's hike would lead us to
New adventure amongst the
Fallen markers of stone
Broken and strewn about
Once carefully laid for some
Now forgotten soul

How odd it was to have walked up on
Another living being on that late summer day
The irreverent red of their sports car was
Almost an insult to the spirituality of this place
She sat leaning back across the hood as he
Lifted her skirt up to her hips
She wriggled a little and locked her legs
Around his waist as he pressed
Himself into her

Shocked and fixated by this
Shameful act of adulthood
We watched petrified like fossils from
Behind the fence as he
Engulfed her with his mouth
We spied from far enough away that
We would not be spotted but
Not so far that we could not hear
Her belly moaning and calling out

It would be many years later before
I would understand what she meant by
"Please, please stop!"

To read more of Bob's poetry Click here

To contact him, email: [email protected]


Dear Poets,

This issue features an interview with poet and sport kiting expert Bob Childs, AKA Doomwheels, who has recently updated his websites with details of his new books, published by Shhh No Talking.

There is also a review of Andrew Belsey's new chapbook, Four Line Poems, after the Featured Poets section.

Featured poets this month include Neil Ray, Charlotte Mair, Ward Kelley and Jan Sand.

I recently received a leaflet from the Capricorn International Poetry and Short Story Competition organizers, regarding the July 2000 competition, ending on the 31st July - just in time to announce it in this issue. You can find the details at the end of the page, just above the Readers' Letters section. Any comments on this issue or back issues can be emailed to me on the link at the bottom of the page. Please indicate whether you would like such comments to be included in the Letters section.

Any poetry submissions should be in plain text in the body of an email, with a small jpeg picture attached, also a bio, preferably with the URLs of any ezines mentioned, so that they can be shown as links. This will increase chances of inclusion, especially if a submission is sent late in the month, as it saves me time to get a picture and bio at the same time. Further submission guidelines are available on request.

Best Regards,


Featured poets this month include Neil Ray, Ward Kelley, Charlotte Mair and Jan Sand.

Neil Ray sometimes writes prose poems that run on without carriage returns, as in "Moonlight On The Moccasin Run" (one of my favourites of his poems).

Many thanks to all contributors.

Neil Ray

is 44 years old, and lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He is married and has two children. He currently works in the floral industry, as a floral wholesaler. He graduated from Terry Sanford Senior High School in 1974. He attended Richmond Technical Institute, for one year, and then joined the US Air Force. He left the Air Force in 1979, and has recently worked at several jobs, until his current position, which he has held for the last seven years.

Neil has a member of the Writer's Ink Guild since 1994, and is the editor of the Guild's newsletter, The Ink Pad. The newsletter has been in publication for the last three years, and is currently up to 750 copies, per issue.

Neil Ray has been published in numerous anthologies: Meditations (Iliad Press, 1994), A Tapestry of Thoughts (Watermark Press, 1995), Homecoming (Old Mountain Press, 1999) and the local newspaper, Fayetteville Observer-Times. He currently has a chapbook out, "Quest…of the Plebeians" (FlamingHeart Productions, 1999). He has conducted workshops for the North Carolina Poetry Society, Poetry to the People, and several workshops at Hoke County Senior High, (Mrs. Timmins, Senior English), and at West Hoke Middle School, (Ms. Fazzio, Ms. Phillips, Ms. Curtis, Ms. Cannon, 8th grade English), Ms. Archambeau (7th grade English), and Ms. Byrd (6th grade English).

He is the host of two open mike events in Fayetteville. "Java Jams" every Sunday night at the Coffee Scene, and "Poetic Expressions" every first Friday of the month, at Artistic X-pressions. Both located in Westwood Shopping Center. He will be hosting a new children's open mike event at Barnes and Noble, on the first Thursday of each month, and was requested by the North Carolina Poetry Society, to assist in the Awards Day presentations in May. He is the champion of the Fayetteville 2000 Poetry Slam Season. Neil is also the in coming chairman of The Membership Development and Projects Committee for the North Carolina Poetry Society.

Says Neil: "...Although, I have no teaching background or certificates to say such. All of my school workshops have come at the request of the teachers themselves, after witnessing my performances at the open mikes, or some other literary event. I truly enjoy working with the kids, because, I can see something special burning in their eyes, during the presentation of the workshop, but it is the poetry writing at the end, that gives them the greatest pleasure. That makes it all worthwhile."

Moonlight On the Mocassin Run
Neil D. Ray Copyright 1996
(Published in the Writer's Ink Guild Anthology, Homecoming, (Old Mountain Press, 1999)

The message reads clear upon the diamond studded waters of Lake Boratone. The promise foretold by prophets are now whispers. Its aromatic breath bows marshgrass and waterlillies. The exotic dance of fireflies are performed in shadows, held in the grasp of mist blue fingers. While the symphony of cricket, toad, and nightbird, beguile the twisting currents moving through the shallows. Lovers cascade silhouettes upon heartbeats that lap a cappella to cuddling shores. Passion had a fragrance of jasmine and a color of smoke blue. Omnipotent are these over splendid auras and palliates of emotions. Here you will find the imagination of lovers and fools, sufficiently cloaked under the spell of a gypsy moon. And they receive the blessings of a thousand crane, who have reserved the priviledge of speaking with God, personally.

Neil D. Ray Copyright 1996

The baying of hounds penetrates the darkness--filling its air.
A short respite concludes with the resignation of this sanctuary.
Unseen hands grasp souvenirs of flesh and blood, while
unstable legs traverse a treacherous path, winding endlessly
across cerebral landscapes, which was
at one time fertile ground.
Short, painful breaths, in continual rhythm, accompany the
dipping and dodging of swiftly moving shadows.
Eyes gaze into the vast mystery seeking a reference point.
Yet, not one star is willing to expose
its celestial beacon, to one who desires to be lost,
but prays to be found.

Was there not a place called "Eden"? Did not someone
speak of Utopia, or was it heaven in a foreign tongue?
Was not the grass green? The sun warm and bright?
The water cool and the earth young?
Who spoke of these things? Where are they now?
What became of Camelot?
For there is nothing to bound the beast, nor the system
which so amorously nurtured its development.
Its ravenous appetite devours all resemblance of
those memories and their fragile elements.
Leaving only scraps. Tiny remnants of life
as it was and was not.

No longer are the voices familiar, but they are distant.
A bittersweet salvation to nocturnal ambitions.
Oh, to dream again, far from the confines of that
melancholy room and its perverted isolation.
To be awakened by subtle fragrances, that knock before
sliding beneath the painted door.
A silver, gray curtain rises slowly above the horizontal stage,
and the revelations of one hundred or just one;
Have come and gone a natural course, leaving
a trail littered with numerous questions.
While all evidence concerning that existence, were lost
in currents of briskly flowing water.

A Child's Room
Neil D. Ray Copyright 1996

Lay down gently on the bed, face buried deep
in a pillow, that still carries the fragrance.
It adds substance to the weight of emotions,
pressed tight against the covers, while hands
clutch to hold on. Toys, books, furniture are
in silent lament, of one who's existence is now
a spirit, moving in the walls, looking down from
the ceiling, walking softly across the floor. A
soul finds peace in prayers, whispered like a
breeze through an open window. And the door
closed and locked, is always open to hearts that
love and remember.

When She Comes Around
Neil D. Ray Copyright 1997

Subtle innocence radiates from her face,
as waves rolling gently to vagabond shores
Tiny ships sail in these emotional seas
before slipping into secluded coves
to anchor deep.

Soothing sweet nectar flows
from raspberry petals to procreate rivers and streams
coursing over Sunday afternoon dreams,
We drift on golden sprayed lakes, as darkness descends
singing evening serenades

Clear deep pools reflect
sentimental notions of romantic castaways,
portioned one touch away from paradise.
There beneath the waterfall, cascading its blessings,
is pure salvation.

Sunday Morning
Neil D. Ray Copyright 1999

As the sun rose slowly above the trees, 
   white in the sky.  
You understood it to be a new beginning.
Today, you are not concerned about food or dress. 
You do not require the assistance of others.  
Preparations for this journey begun long before the arrival of this star. 
You gather nothing.  
You bear no fear.  
You do not tarry with time,
   and its insignificance.
You step onto this road, 
   that you have built with faith and love, 
      bound for a place that is eternal.  
Accepting your position in the heavens, 
   you will watch us compose our own destinies.

No longer weary.
No longer troubled
You are at peace,  
   held within the sweet embrace, 
      of he  who creates all things magnificent.

And you take your leave  
   as the sun rises into the sky.

In Loving Memory of My Grandmother - Bernice Melvin (1904-1999)

Neil D. Ray Copyright 1999

I write alluring poetry for you, past the kissing hour.
From the depths of shadows emerge passionate phrases.
Emphatic emotions refreshing dew for a morning flower
Escalating visions perpetuate erotic hearts in exotic places.
Daylight emancipates caricatures to tease and frustrate senses
I am enticed by their tempestuous dance onto a simple floor
The embrace reflective of impassioned lovers, amorous acquaintances.
A kiss sweet aphrodisia, our palliates yearning for more
I introduce your name to the wind, and pray it conveys my message.
It is privilege to elements responding to the essence in the quill
Thus again, I have given life to a romantic passage.
As the parent encourages the child to do his will
I affectionately return to the page again and again
I make love to you with each stroke of my pen.

Neil D. Ray Copyright 1999

From her balcony, she laid still every frantic spirit
Dancing upon the twisting, stage beneath her.
A sensuous muse streams effortlessly from her fingertips
Giving life to her world, with sincere, passionate strokes.
Who would ever suspect God to be a woman,
Living downtown in a third floor apartment where
The players and the preachers, the socialites and the serfs,
Are manifested in frames, of oil, water, and paste.
She sips a vintage Chardonnay, which was given
By a lover, that she accepts on occasion.
Even now, he comes bearing gifts of affection
That must endure as memories until his return.
Unless she can capture him upon the canvas.
Thus suspending him to this place.

Nights Like This
Neil D. Ray Copyright 1999

The snow decorated the Delaware countryside with an
icing frosty white, and the dark gray pan promised more
from the baker's hands.

The large two story farmhouse had ninety-five years
of stories in its walls, and the painful ones made
its bones, creak and moan.

Her moccasin covered feet slapped lightly on the
hardwood floor, then muffled skips across that
old sun flower printed rug.

A late blooming flower child of the sixties, she had returned
to ancestral haunts, sojourned by the specters of death,
taxes and no where else to go.

She could acknowledge that her life had gone full
circle at least three times, the evidence seen in glossy
eight by tens, of color and black and white.

Shadows danced on the living room walls, to a
melody played by flickering candles, four beats
hard....four beats soft.

The graying embers popped and hissed, as she stroked them
to life, with the long, black poker; while enjoying the feel of its
handle in her hand.

A log is placed on the fire, and she returns to the Victorian sofa,
where two white Persians, prowl for a place to lounge or
just to be cuddled.

Tonight, as with so many nights before, they are loyal
and affectionate surrogates, for hearts drifting easily as the
wind driven flakes, twisting past her window.

Ten years after the fact, she could confidently admit that
Colombian Red and homemade wine, was a splendid aphrodisiac or
a soothing sedative....depending on the need.

There will be no knocks at the door this evening, unless perhaps,
the wind attempting to gain entrance....with its icy face pressed
hard against the window panes.

Later, as the moon and snow compliment each others presence
in an illustrious promenade, and the large dark house begins
to speak through shadows,

She will share a place with two old friends, snuggled tightly in a
heavy, patch quilt made by her great-grandmother, and so
perfect for nights like this.

[email protected]

Charlotte Mair

is one of David Jackson's editors at Artvilla, and has designed and maintained Web pages for Elisha Porat, Charlotte's Web, Shoptillyadrop Virtual Mall, BarNone Coffeehouse.

She is a former singer-musician ; born of Irish decent family named Coughlan , February 14/49, presently residing on the lower mainland of British Columbia, Canada.

Always a fighter and very passionate by nature, she has never allowed her lifes circumstances to pull her down. It is in fact lifes journeys and episodes that have inspired this writer not to give up and to make known her love of life through her writing and poetic endeavors.

In a period of two years almost 100 poems have been in various hard copy Antholigies, Newsletters, Newpapers and many websites in United Kingdom, Ireland and across the United States.

Poetic Voices of America - Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum
W. Virginia, USA - 1999 *ISBN 0-923242-64-3
Crossroads - Iliad Press
Sterling Heights - MI, USA - 1999
Feelings - Cader Publishing
Sterling Heights - MI, USA - 1999 *ISBN 1-885206-69-0
President's Recognition for Literary
Excellence, MI, USA - 2000
No Love Lost - Hidden Brook Press
Toronto, Ontario, CD - 1999
No Love Lost II - Hidden Brook Press
Toronto, Ontario CD - 2000
The Open Window - Hidden Brook Press
Toronto, Ontario, CD - 1999 *ISBN 0-9699598-4-2
The Open Window II - Hidden Brook Press
Toronto, Ontario, CD - 2000
Illuminations lll - Hidden Brook Press
Toronto, Ontario, CD - 1999
Cherished Poems of the Western World
- Famous Poets
Hollywood, Ca, USA - /99 * ISBN 0-96414989

NEWSLETTERS: Wildlife Rescue Association of British
Burnaby, BC, CD - 1999 * ISSN 1188-5106
Poemata - The Canadian Poetry Association
Toronto, Ontario - 1999 * ISSN 1203-6595

Toronto, Ontario - 1999 * 107-3295-11

WEBSITES - Published on multilpe Websites including Canada & United States, Britain & Ireland - 1999 & 2000:
Dublin Writer's Workshop, - Ireland
Deep Underground - Alternative Poetry Site, U.K
Poetry Repair - United States
Lady In The Lake - Los Angelos, U.S.A.
Above Ground Testing - Trenton, Ontario, Canada
Survivor's Poetry Site

The First Fifty Years. Authored and illustrated by Charlotte Gai Mair, Published by Charlotte Mair @ Hidden Brook Press, 412 - 701 King Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada - 1999

The Reflection - The Spring 1998 Iliad Literary Awards Program
Peace - The 1998 Nature Awards Program
Message in the Sand - The 1998 Browning Awards Program
Forget Me Not - The 1998 Longfellow Awards Program
The First Fifty Years - Chapbook Competition 1998

David Ingram - Channel 4 Talk Show Host, Book Reviewer
Ward Kelley - Writer - Indianapolis , USA *2000
People's Poetry Newsletter - Toronto, Canada *2000
Recently-written Book review for Elisha Porat:

Mike McCardell - Newsreporter, BCTV News, Channel 8, Burnaby, BC *1999

Ahhhh Life
© Charlotte Gai Mair

When life becomes the Springer show
guess its time to turn the channel
on that little square box
voice your opinion within
waste no time
running down lost highways
that's where you lost your way
to begin with
Look into the light

when you see the Jones
standing at the gates
and you will

Know that
all the tea in you know where
wont buy peace from you know who
and that grand old house
might as well be a shack
for it creaks and moans
and leaks and groans
of self-indulged poison
and that Lotus
is nothin' but ol' tin Lizzy
putt - puttin' down the streets
greed and want.

© Charlotte Gai Mair

When the day was young,
the song flowed freely from her lips.
In heart a fragile rose did bloom.
Befall the angry rapids, swept by love,
to steal a kiss of freedoms song from June.

He was the music on the ocean of life,
whispering on the wind to be, he was the wind,
a feather floating along the lea of completeness;
A distant cloud of dust, an endless entity.

Alas, a sweet song eludes the tongue.
Echoing songs now haunt a summer gone.
A cloud of autumn mist has carried the tunesmith
and stilled the ear for the lost arias song.

In Dreams or Wake? 
© Charlotte Gai Mair

Riding riding Galloping swiftly through the hollowness the vastness of my missing you My steed is strong and swift gallant in his fight Still reflecting armor blinds my way groping find my way? I call upon sanctioned rays of light to stop this gripping motion Stop demons tearing at my cloak wearing at my cloak, daring me take will as Seas roar connotations I war this pearl-scaled rogue Steal away from fire steal away Save this weakened maiden's heart from night.

Skid Row Dance
© Charlotte Gai Mair

Wrinkled, jaundiced hands, clutch old brown bags
slinking down streets in timeworn linen
reeking absorbed old royal white
greasy hair, half balding, missing teeth
glassy hollow eyes stare straight
onlookers glare distrust in humankind
homeless nomads in gaunt spectacle beg
while bustling traffic screeches
horns onslaught shatter hush
dowdy coat of grey, tattered, smelling of musty dust
scraggily wire-haired terrier, barks to acknowledge lost trust
while government liquor stores summon
beckon him towards his quest, his lust

Sun swelters on new day dawn in shanty town
he should move on, a bench to lay for now
to rest his dizzy, dry mouth, floating expectations of royally white
no angels halo him in rest
flashing cherry red
paddy wagons, slowly edge
men in blue, strutting cocky muscles
nab old sots
in self-preservation
flailing wildly
as billy club downs old sot drops
sirens howl
jungle skid dance is over for now
till sober release form the old hoosegow!

[email protected]

Ward Kelley

is a 49 year old business executive with 3,600 people in the division reporting to him. In a sense, he maintains that the daimon that propels his occupation also propels his poetry. He tells me: "Gertrude Stein once said, "If Mr. Robert Frost is at all good as a poet, it is because he is a farmer -- really in his mind a farmer, I mean."

"Am I a businessman who writes poetry, or a very minor poet successful at business? Who knows? But my daimon propelled me into such a good financial position that I could now quit my business dealings and comfortably write poetry the rest of my life . . . yet I am afraid to quit for fear my daimon will leave me, or my greed will taunt me for decades."

Formerly Ward managed distribution centers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Arizona and Illinois. He now lives with his wife outside of Indianapolis and is currently toiling with much determination on their second crop of children, having adopted four wonderful girls and fostered several others.

Ward is new to publishing his work, but he has been fortunate enough to enjoy some initial successes, and has published 398 pieces since late '96. Current successes are: being nominated for the 1999 Pushcart; completing an interview with Israeli poet Elisha Porat (1996 winner of the Prime Minister Prize for Literature); being accepted by Rattle for the second time; Sunstone, Porcupine Literary Magazine; the Ezines Pif, 2River View, Oblique and Offcourse; and by print magazines Potpourri and Skylark -- each for the third time. He was also selected as the Featured Poet by the Ezine Seeker, and the Canadian Ezine, Pyrowords.

The Astrophysicist's Partner Speaks

Two novels, "Divine Murder" and "Keenly Alive, Tony,"
are represented by The Sternig & Byrne Literary Agency

Of the 398 published pieces, some have found their way into:

The GSU Review
The Listening Eye
The Lucid Stone
Mad Poets Review
The Old Red Kimono
Porcupine Literary Magazine
River King
Sulphur River Review

Busily Boiling
© Ward Kelley

Gushers, like an effusion of sunlight,
explosions of mirth, or the unexpected
support from an adversary, penetrate
the brain as willfully as a virus . . .

there is a foreign thrust to these little
germs that come busily boiling the
already rippling waters of my mind . . .
my mind, my mind, now there is the

proper recipient for these little bugs,
and I have prepared for this onslaught
all my past lives; so I am ready for
their ministrations, indeed I welcome

my tiny friends and bring them quickly
inside where I can dissect their miniscule
alien minds, and there I find the kernels
that I can roll like nearly invisible marbles,

or seeds, yes seeds, across the furrows
of my brain more like the plowing of
a page, a page, the pure expanse of
whiteness, of snow, where my little friends

sprout and expand their leaves or words
who go creeping outward, spreading across
my purity, for I am, you know, as innocent
of death as any newborn, any fetus; no,

no, it's true, it's true, for each and every
virus can tell you how a fascination
with suicide can only take root in total
disregard for death, and this then is the

identity of my dual nature of a gusher.

Artist's note:
Sylvia Plath (1931-1963) American poet, published her first poem at the age of eight. Suicidal from a young age, she endured, at various times, electroshock and psychotherapy. She married the poet Ted Hughes, who went on to become England's poet laureate. The marriage lasted seven years, but failed when Hughes left her for another woman. Months later, Plath killed herself with cooking gas. In a macabre twist of irony, the woman for whom Hughes left Plath also gassed herself to death. Another poet-suicide, Anne Sexton, wrote of frequent drinking dates at the Ritz with Plath: "Often, very often, Sylvia and I would talk at length about our first suicides; at length, in detail, and in depth between the free potato chips. Suicide is, after all, the opposite of a poem."

The Very Fiber
© Ward Kelley

I cannot seem to bring my body
to the yes . . . what is there about
this conspiracy of atoms that denies
the embracing of the yes?

My thoughts say yes, my spirit
yearns to absorb the yes, but
the very fiber of my heart
pushes, pushes it away . . .

there is no help, no eye,
no pill strong enough
to make my body
see how the way

to be is to
not be.
No, no,
it says,

I am



Artist's note:
Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) writes of a trip to India where he sought out the celebrated Hindu teacher, Sri Krishna Menon: "The teacher in this tradition always answers questions. He doesn't tell you anything you are not yet ready to hear. So I said, Yes, I have a question. Since in Hindu thinking everything in the universe is a manifestation of divinity itself, how should we say no to anything in the world? How should we say no to brutality, to stupidity, to vulgarity, to thoughtlessness? And he answered, 'For me and for you -- the way is to say yes'."

Laboring in the Fields
© Ward Kelley

The memory of the soul is acute,
but not the same as the memory
of the mind; the two divulge in

ways that are not readily real
or apparent to our own wisdom
who seeks to sift seeds of some

importance from the wheat fields
of our lives. The mind might try
to recall an event to support some

impression or opinion, then conclude
here is a truth -- see the event shows
us how I am correct; the soul discounts

events and instead seeks out repetition
of similar behaviors then concludes --
see, I am still me, or I am always me.

In this way I am a thief who remarks
at great luck or fortunate possessions,
but in the end will go to some other jail,

for I will always be a thief, one who
invents complex schemes to seek out
then grab the same seeds that others

appear to find quite easily.

[email protected]

Self-portrait by Jan Sand

JAN SAND, poet and illustrator from New York, is a regular contributor to Poetry Life & Times. and the newsgroup alt.arts.poetry.comments. A great deal of his work is about animals, or science fiction.

Recently Jan was published by Kedco Studios Artist Profile Press, on their latest CD ROM e-book, "A Way With Words (Poetry Real and Surreal), which also includes complete books by Dale Houstman, Sara L. Russell and Keith Gabriel Hendricks. Jan's illustrated book on the CD is called "Wild Figments And Odd Conjectures", which is also sold separately, in a limited-edition "single" CD.

To see an illustrated article about Jan's poems, visit the November '98 issue of Poetry Life & Times, and scroll down past the Editor's Letter.

© Jan Sand

I hear their small melodies
Against the velvet black
Of early morning hours.
They orchestrate the undulations
Of the hiss of rustling leaves.
Sussurating tires on long and lonely highway drives
Resonate with their songs.
Their voices rise in my own throat
To hear the rising past,
Of places and events long gone.
Sizzling thunderstorms that dropped their rains,
Walked with flashing growls through the sky
While my mother and my father
And I stood in wait beneath the street awning of a store.
The monochirps of a baby sparrow
Couched upon a bed of cotton
In a blue striped kitchen bowl.
It prospered there to fly beneath a wall tapestry
And, rescued again, paused upon the precipice
Of our windowsill before its flight
Into the forever of the past.
These and other songs sing faintly
From fortunate silences and my songs respond.

© Jan Sand

The points of stars
Carve the universe into my brain.
The white ball moon
Rolls across the pin pierced night.
The stage of Earth
Rocks to tip this dark wonder
To the Sun
That, like an angry housewife
Scours away the black to blue.
Steam puff clouds browse
Across the sterile sky
And fall in bloody crash
To dark horizon
To be hid beneath black shroud.

© Jan Sand

The phrase leaks out from
The miasma of my thoughts,
Bubbles up from roiling images
Which beset my mind.
Written down, it wriggles,
Captured like a worm
Imprisoned in a petri dish.
Like DNA it seeks components
To link, to extend.
I try to nourish it with odd ideas.
Sometimes it sickens,
Sometimes it dies
When it finds my offerings
The best of them are voracious,
Devouring everything in reach,
Growing rhymes like warts,
Howling, stamping their feet
In relentless rhythms.
Sometimes they bite.
In the end, the healthy ones
Walk away without a backward glance.

© Jan Sand

Cold, I am, and bloody tired
To shovel shit and hay and fruit
That these seasick beasts may be inspired
To live and multiply, to graze and root
In the world when dried.
Many came. Many died.

It was Shem who lost the unicorns.
They were so shy. They lived exclusively on grapes.
He is imperious, like most first borns.
And he must have his wines. And then there were the apes.
Those Neanderthals - we thought of them as beasts;
They were not circumcised. They made good leopard feasts.

The dragons simply were too huge.
Their weight had caused the boat to list.
And with that wind and this deluge
We tossed them overboard. They won't be missed.
Japheth did in the flying pigs. They were treyf.
Noah's screams were loud enough to make me deaf.

The dinosaurs bent the bars on their cages.
They ate a lot, and how they stank!
Growling, roaring, they'd bite each other in their rages.
They were too much trouble , to be frank.
Rattling their chains, breaking leg irons,
We gave up and fed them to the lions.

And there were those frightful things from outer space.
They almost seemed intelligent, they spoke,
But not Aramaic, just gabble. Their dispatch was no disgrace.
And, also, we lost the elves, fairies, gnomes - all little folk.
I just barely saved the dodo, and the passenger pigeon.
We all prayed, but there are limits to religion.

Finally, that's the way it goes. The work is lighter.
The rain drums on. The wives are bored to tears.
Noah keeps us in line. Discipline is tighter.
He sings funny songs, quiets down our fears,
Assures us all it will be over soon.
I miss the Sun and yearn to see the Moon.

[email protected]



By Andrew Belsey

Published by The Llwynywll Press, Cardiff.
ISBN 1-873840-00-4

Andrew Belsey was kind enough recently to send me a complimentary copy of this book, after I featured some of the four-line poems in a recent issue of Poetry Life & Times. I enjoyed reading it; it is a light-hearted book that one can dip into at random, opening it at any page - and find something amusing.

The subjects of the poems include love, sex, death, time, joy and sadness. He compresses these subjects into four lines, always rhyming, often using the rhyme to add extra bite to the wry, sometimes dark humour and wit of the poems.

It was the humour I enjoyed most of all, as someone who uses rhyme and metre in humorous poems myself, I was impressed.

Here are a couple of examples that particularly amused me:


If you want to be a poet
But you haven't got the talent,
Put your soul down on paper -
It's a failure, true, but gallant.


Keep away from Russian girls,
Russian girls have got big bums,
Never tangle with Tamara
For Tamara never comes.

(With apologies to our women readers in the Ukraine.)

The book was written during the years 1962 to 1999 and contains some touching and amusing snapshots of a life.

Andrew Belsey was born in 1942 in Hilton on the edge of the East Anglian fenlands. He has lived in Kent, London, Newcastle upon Tyne, Leamington Spa, Cambridge and Cardiff, where, since 1973, he has taught philosophy at Cardiff University.

Andrew Belsey's poems have appeared in a number of print and electronic journals, along with two booklets, Anaximander (Outposts Publications, 1974) and The Weeping Universe (Llwynywll Press, 2000).

Anyone interested in buying this chapbook can contact Andrew Belsey at this email address:

[email protected]

...to find out his mailing address for cheques or International Money Orders. The book will be sent by return of post and will take approximately one week to arrive if sent to the USA from Wales, or a couple of days in the UK.


If you like the poetry and stories of the eminent Israeli poet Elisah Porat, as I do, you will enjoy browsing through these links, which are some of the best places to find his work...

http://www.aa-design.com/idesign/outsiter/songs/elisha/elisha.htm http://www.ariga.com/visions/poetry/porat001.htm

NEIL RAY (a Featured Poet this month)
is Edtitor of THE INK PAD literary newsletter of The Writers' Ink Guild, in association with The Fayetville/Cumberland County Arts Council, Inc.

Anyone wishing to receive (or contribute poetry to) this very informative newsletter can contact Neil Ray on [email protected]
- or find them online at http://www.theartscouncil.com/writersink/index1.html


...Find it at http://www.donmciver.freeservers.com/.

Don McIver was also one of the Poets Of The Week on the Poetry Super Highway for the week June 26th-July 3rd - congratulations, Don!


Theme: An original Poem or Short Story.
No restriction to style, content or length.

Closing Date: 31st July 2000



Plus five additional runners-up prizes of publication in an anthology in the poetry category.
All winners will have their work published in an anthology and receive a complimentary copy.

Entry Fee: £3.00 Sterling (cheque - or money order outside UK)
per poem or short story, £1.00 4th poem and/or story and beyond

There is no limit to the number of entries submitted, provided each one is accompanied by the correct entry fee. Poems and short stories should be titled but not bear the author's name, that should be sent on a separate piece of paper with the author's address and list of titles. Entries may be typed or hand-written (provided they are legible. Cheques/money orders should be made out to The Capricorn International Poetry and Short Story Competition. Winners will be notified by 31st October, 2000.

Send entries, with the appropriate entry fee, to:

Deborah Tutton,
The Capricorn International Poetry and Short Story Competition,
17, West Lea Road,
Bath BA1 3RL


Wonderful! A British poetry website that communicates what the writer feels and makes me think and develop my own ideas. After all, poetry is really a branch of entertainment and we must connect with our audience. Loads of people are keen tell me how clever they are, mostly corporate executives. I don't need poets to do it.

One thing though. Inspiration in Croydon? Oh well, I suppose inspiration is a very personal thing.

Ian Thorpe
[email protected]

September 1998

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Mail me on: [email protected] with any poems, comments for the letters page, news about your poetry site, or forthcoming poetry events.

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