East Valley Poets

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EVP Poem of the Month

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                                                                                                March 2021

                                                                                    by Kaya Kotzen, EVP Poet

Where Did You Go?

My blue plastic Adirondack chair represented happiness

in front of my home, sitting on the edge of the driveway.

Yesterday, it disappeared.

Stolen? or did someone think it was put out there

to be given away, for free or for the trash?

No matter, the end result was the same.

The big stone on the seat to hold it

there in case winds came was now on the ground.

The chair was behind my mobile home until this fall,

when I moved it out as I proceeded to unload things

that I did not need.

I sat in it in the driveway a few times, in the sun

when the rest of my home and porch were shaded

and sitting there brought me some moments of

joy and seeing it, I knew I was home, when I pulled my car in.

But I guess someone else needed it too, maybe

more than I did, but had they asked,

I would have given it to them, instead of being left

feeling that a small piece of me in that chair

had been ripped away and taken from me.

Buddhists would say this is about attachment and

learning to let go.

Maybe so.

But I just know that I can still see that blue chair of happiness

beside my driveway, in front of my home.

Even though it is now gone, it has left its mark.

A nice memory and some peaceful moments there

much like life, all too short lived.


                                                                                             January 2021


                                                                                by Sergio Mosqueda, EVP Poet       


                                                           For Kathy Holland

With poetry I Pray with poetry I rejoice.

                        With poetry I declare my cause

                                                             With poetry I rest my case.

With poetry I’ve gotten to realize God

                                                  With poetry I’ve gotten 

                                                              To shake hands with  the Devil.

Because of poetry I have been loved

                                      And slighted and shunned.

                                                  With poetry I have filled-in the blanks.

With Poetry I‘ve covered my tracks

                                                  In poetry I’ve buried my secrets

                                                                          with poetry I’ve told the Truth.

With poetry I am getting closer

                                      to know who I am

                                                   Unhesitant, I’ll roll the dice of poetry

Over and over. Pocket the purse

                                      lick my self-inflicted wounds.


 Unwritten poetry,

                          my ashes scattered, surrendering

                                                                                  to the wind.


                                                                                            May-June 2020    

                                                                                  by Rhonda Brown, EVP Poet


Finding another whose mind

Resonates with yours

Is a less than frequent occurrence

Energizing when it happens

Nourishing the spirit

Drawing out the best in us

Sustaining the heart

Hoping for good things for one another


Persistence and patient perseverance.


                                                                                           February-March 2020          

                                                                                          by Bill Brown, EVP Poet

                                                                                                 Innocent Play

“Look what we dug up, Sergeant Brown!”

Young ones drop their find onto the MP Station counter

Innocent eyes see a toy or a treasure under rust and dirt

Experienced ones detect outline of fins of a mortar round


Useless metal lump or volatile ordinance

That is the question

Best left to experts

While we wait at a distance outside

Our disposal guy determines its

"one of the leftovers”

More waiting while a retired

Wehrmacht officer is found

For him the war is still not over

Death lurks as he gently prods the shell

Time and weather have completely disabled it

Off to our range for safe disposal by controlled explosion

Bill Brown, February 10, 2020

Author’s note:

Large tracts of farmland in Southeast Asia and Africa are unusable due to left-over land mines and other ordinance.  Each year many draft animals, agricultural workers, and even children are maimed and killed decades after the conflicts have ended.  Several volunteer groups courageously work to undo this sowing of death and destruction.


                                                                                             June-July 2019

                                                                                    by William Guthrie, EVP Poet

                                                                                       On The Mogollon Rim



                                                                                                                                                                 mogollon rim

                                                                                                                                                                 through the pines at twilight

                                                                                                                                                                 sweet peace

                                                                                                                                                                 infinity and the sun

                                                                                                                                                                 within my reach


                                                                                                                                                 whispering pines

                                                                                                                                                 high above the granite rim

                                                                                                                                                 speak to the stars

                                                                                                                                                 incidentally I listen in

                                                                                                                                                 as nature converses



                                                                                                                       from a granite ledge

                                                                                                                       I watch tomorrow born

                                                                                                                       of yesterday's dream

                                                                                                                       knowing only this peaceful place

                                                                                                                       where nothingness lives



                                                                                                  distant purple

                                                                                                  mazatzal mountains shimmer

                                                                                                  in twilight

                                                                                                  a waving sea of loden

                                                                                                  separates us



                                                                           mares tails        

                                                                           sweep clean a paling azure

                                                                           making room for stars

                                                                           to whisper a sweet lullabye

                                                                           to weary sojourners



William Guthrie, June 14, 2019


                                                                                              November 2018

                                                                                  by Sergio Mosqueda, EVP Poet

                                                                                             The Paths of Faith 

I am God’s son

I am God incarnate

God turned man.

God left his throne

Millions of years ago

To live inside of me,

Inside of she, and you,

Inside the sphinx, and my pet.

God’s in the trees

Outside our homes

Our caves, our holes.

God lives in our walls.

I need not go to heaven

God lodges in our hearts

We are divine.

If I kick God

Outside of me

He would not punish me.

I’d be punishing me

I’d be debasing me

I’d be corrupting me.

I’d live in misery.

Are you, for God’s sake,

Listening to me?



August-September 2018

by Rhonda Brown, EVP Poet


August is not august in her presence―

She’s a blowzy girl

With sunburned skin

And flyaway hair

No dignity

She dances her way through her days

Unmindful that November

Will bring matronly manners

For now

She lifts her arms

In youth and joy

Simply August.



                                                                                                         May 2018  

                                                                                        by Howard Gershkowitz, EVP Poet 

                                                                                             The Magician in the Window   

The view from the 61st floor

is crystal and ice, Jack on the rocks.

The floors below are faded jeans

and forgotten trespasses;

closets filled with dusty collections

of yesterday’s indiscretions.

Up here, the panorama’s unstained

by youthful experiments with love and conflict,

nor darkened by shadowy stairways and weathered doors.

The end never clarifies the means

and castles built on shifting sands

seem little more than irony turned humorous.

In the tower glass, a reflection stares back,

dressed in medieval robes holding an ivory scepter.

My own, personal Merlin recounts my foibles

as they flash past me in ghostly smoke-filled dances


                                                                                                         January 2018

                                                                                            by Helen Spencer Schlie, EVP Poet                

                                                                                         {August 24, 1923 - December 25, 2017}   


Earth brown furrows . . . warmed by the sun

Lie waiting . . . waiting . . .

Womb for the seed . . . nurtured in darkness

Sensing need to reach for light . . . for Life

With strength to thrust aside the clod

To force the spear through matted roots of sod

Then green . . . its vibrant green that sways

Caressed by wind and rain

To reach fulfillment in the harvest of the grain.

Be gentle when you touch bread

Let it not be taken for granted

Let it not lie there, uncared for . . . unwanted

There is so much love in bread

So much of patient toil, so much of sacred soil

So much of love in hands that knead and

Form the loaves . . . to fill the air with warmth of baking

This fragrance, old as history of man

This fragrance known to Deity . . .

Familiar with its touch . . .  its taste

Christ often blessed it

Be gentle . . . when you touch bread.


September-October 2017

by David Nicoll, EVP Poet

The Road Taken

They say it may make all the difference

If you venture where few have explored

And the path with the least resistance

Is often the one that’s preferred.


And it’s one of life’s little conundrums

That we never could seem to recall

Should we be on the High- or the Free- Way

Or should we take this road at all?


But now it no longer matters

As we look back from many years hence

There were three hungry kids in the back seat

And that has made all the difference.


July-August 2017

by Rhonda Brown, EVP Poet

Urban Morning

Clock and radio mesh

At the determined time

Signals are snagged

From the airways

Familiar voices without faces

Drift into sleepers’ consciousness

With the news of local crises

And the state of traffic

Between home and work

Obstacles to be avoided

Hazards detoured around


Eggs or protein bars 

Coffee from home

Or from a drive-through

Tensions of city traffic

Freeway delays

Snarled streets

Drivers too slow or too fast


Fresh beginning

Or a maze to be caught in?


May-June 2017

by Howard Gershkowitz, EVP Poet

A Slow Walk


There’s a blue sky above the smog of discontent,

an endless boardwalk beyond the clutch of stale emotions,

a stretch of sand so soft

it absorbs the residue of disenchanted dreams.


Rivulets of rain wash stale memories down the beach

as the weight of loneliness dissolves in tears.

The debris of disappointment evaporates

in the hush of a new day.


Eyes wide; awake; alert;

the gulls sweep lazily along the shore

to the smell of salt and sunrise

as hand in hand, we walk barefoot

leaving footprints in the sand.



February-March 2017

by Bill Brown, EVP Poet

Band of Brothers

Greater love as no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

 John 15: 13


Gentles and commoners stand shoulder to shoulder on the field of Agincourt

Harry’s Band of Brothers facing the arrayed power of the French

Lance and longbow ready to repel ant assault.

The armored knighthood of France charge forward on their steeds

Meeting a sky-filled cloud of yew-wood shafts

Yard-long arrows decimate the flower of French nobility

Victory belongs to the yeomen archers.


English, Dutch, Mexican, Pima

All are just Marines crawling up the Suribachi slopes

Volcanic caves stew out sulfurous steam and Nambu rounds

No place to hide, black sand no good for digging in

Each life depends on the others of the Few and he Proud.

Half-dozen survive to the top

Flag is fastened to a pole and raised on a rock pile

Creating the iconic photo of the war

Only three survive to receive honor and fame.

American troops stand ready to protect the Germans

from the godless commie hoards

MP's ready to protect them from the

barbarian American hoards

Good ol’ southerner, lover of drinking and wenching;

Giant Black man from Oakland, frequenter of gay bath houses;

College boy, concert and museum goer;

Together form of one these teams.

Bermuda love triangle of Black lover and Aryan wife has broken up

Cuckolded spouse stealing a tracked 105MM solution

To blow up their rendezvous in the village.

Plan A is to arrest without harm,

But the armored monster doesn’t stop

Plan B is all that is left

Time for help from the L.A.W.* team

Quick gesture starts my own people toward safety

Launch tube flares in the darkness

Shaped charge blasts molten copper through plated side

Blowback slams me to the mud.

Countdown to oblivion has started

Only a few seconds to the Big Bang

But my boys are back (size does matter)

Dragging me out of the blast zone.

Sun-bright conflagration consumes machine and perp

But all my parts still seem to be there

Gender preference and life-style don’t seem that important now

No man left behind

Is all that matters.


*L.A.W. — Light Anti-tank Weapon — From the 1960’s, a tube-launched rocket with a shaped charge fired from the shoulder.



November-December 2016

by Eva Willis, EVP Poet

                                                                                                          Wildflower Hillside 

profusion of orange, red and purple wildflowers

delight as I walk through them

leaning over to take in their heavenly scent

ranges of mountains, the highest snow-capped,

make me feel expansive and,

at the same time, small

a blanket of grayish-blue sky

salted with cottony clouds,

drifting and causing dancing shadows

the richness and pervasiveness of green

grass, ponderosa pine and fir

soothing to the eye and the soul


Let the field be joyful (psalm 96:12)

Let the hills be joyful together (psalm 98:8)


October 2016

by Bill Guthrie, EVP Poet

How Can I Keep From Singing

                                                                                                                                                                 My life flows on in endless song;

                                                                                                                             Above earth's lamentation,

                                                                                                                                        I hear the sweet, tho' far-off hymn

                                                                                                                          That hails a new creation;

                                                                                                                                    Thro' all the tumult and the strife

                                                                                                                        I hear the music ringing;

                                                                                                                                It finds an echo in my soul —

                                                                                                                                   How can I keep from singing?  

                                                                                                                                   Robert Wadsworth Lowry, August 7, 1868

                                                                                                                                    (only first stanza presented, full poem on page 2)

Lord of my soul

Your sun too has melody

how can I not sing


Your sparrow's song

illuminates my day

how can I not sing

Your starry heavens

whispers sweet hymns to me

how can I not sing

Your Rock is life

to It I shall always cling

how can I not sing

Your sweet spirit lives

for I'm a new creation

how can I not sing

(page 2, the original by Robert Wadsworth Lowry)


My life flows on in endless song;

Above earth's lamentation,

I hear the sweet, tho' far-off hymn

That hails a new creation;

Thro' all the tumult and the strife

I hear the music ringing;

It finds an echo in my soul—

How can I keep from singing?


What tho' my joys and comforts die?

The Lord my Saviour liveth;

What tho' the darkness gather round?

Songs in the night he give

No storm can shake my inmost calm

While to that refuge clinging;

Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,

How can I keep from singing?


I lift my eyes; the cloud grows thin;

I see the blue above it;

And day by day this pathway smoothes,

Since first I learned to love it,

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,

A fountain ever springing;

All things are mine since I am his—

How can I keep from singing?

"This poetic sequence is my homage to that beautiful old song."

                                                                                                                                                       William Guthrie


September 2016

by Bill Brown, EVP Poet

Ex Nihilo

Before the Beginning was Nothing                                            

No height for soaring raptors                                                     

No depth for cavorting dolphins                                                 

 No width for galloping antelope                                                  


No atomic fire to light the stars                                                  

No matter to form the planets                                                    

No time to mark our days                                                          


There is only the eternal Three-in-One                                     

Alpha and Omega                                                                    

Then the Word spoke                                                               

         And there was light                                                                           


Singularity births space itself                                                   

Bursting with incalculable matter and energy                          

    Cosmic clock starts he ticking of time                                           

Interstellar dust clouds coalescing into stars and planets       

 Out of billions, one is just right                                                 

 Just right air for flyers                                                               

Just right water for swimmers                                                  

Just right earth for creepers and runners                                 

  Just right days and seasons for all creatures                             


Just right garden for the Man an Woman                                 

Made in the image of the Three-in One                                   

"Be fruitful and multiply"                                                           

       "Fill the Earth and rule over it"                                                         

And it was very good.                                                              


JULY - August  2016

by Stephanie Frances, EVP Poet

A Dream

I woke from a dream,

Felt it was heaven I’d seen,

Why, “It was Yellowstone,” I screamed!

SO beautiful it was. Pure as cream.

Wow! It was Yellowstone.

I was only a kid,

Even then, it stirred by bones.

We climbed, or tried to, up to Mt. Gallatin

Yes, we did.

Oh, let me get back into my dream.

Hundreds and hundreds of Trout,

Swimming down stream.

This is heaven, I have no doubt,

That the stream came from a majestic fall.

I saw trees, Aspen, Whitebark, Laderpole

Birds and squirrels gave their call,

Rabbits coming out from their holes.

I swam in a river of clear, clear water.

I saw bear that didn’t care if they saw me,

All around me they loitered.

They had better food in all the trees.

I saw beauty as I climbed up Gallatin Mountain.

Yes, in my dream I really did.

From out of the earth spurted a fountain.

Silver, backed buttes,

A family of ducks,

This dream, this dream,

“Don’t leave me,” I scream!

But a dream can only last just so long.

And here I am in this forsaken desert

My dream – my dream,

It faded away like an old song.


JUNE 2016

by David Nicoll, EVP Poet

In recognition of Mothers and Daughters on Mother’s Day 2016.


If I were to choose how a daughter should be

Then you are the model that comes to my mind.

A  mother, a sister, the eldest of three,

Considerate, caring, and one of a kind.

And as the time passes and seasons unwind

You nurture your children unwaveringly,

Ensuring life's lessons get passed up the line

From the roots to the shoots of the family tree.

You have, as you pause at this half-century

A character strong and of substance refined.

You are loving and thoughtful, a blessing to me.

And I feel very humble to know you are mine.

Come what may, if you say blood is thicker than wine,

Then the vintage we share is as rare as can be,

With no shadow of doubt we are from the same vine

For the fruit never falls very far from the tree.