Autumn 2005 Edition
October through December

 © 2005, 2006 Sol Magazine

Sol Magazine, A Poetry Journal.  A ten year project conceived by volunteers interested in the education of poets.   www.sol-magazine.org


DEDICATION TO PRIOR VOLUNTEERS:   Craig Tigerman, Paula Marie Bentley, Betty Ann Whitney, Bonnie Williams and Mary Burlingame.  Your combined terms of service to Sol Magazine add up to twenty-five years.  Without your selfless dedication and creative abilities, Sol Magazine would not have come so far.  Our warmest regards and best wishes in your future endeavors.

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EDITOR'S CHOICE (This poem is from the STAND UP, SPEAK OUT category.)

FIRST PLACE ~ Winner of a $50.00 electronic book gift certificate.

Holocaust Burial

like birds
propelled through air
slide into spaces
arms falling outward
almost weightless
they curl together
but not forgotten
weighted in memory

Anna Wilke, Conroe, TX, USA

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We asked our poets to bring an ancient celeb into the present, keep their personality and philosophy, but give them a modern job in the new world.  Some of the poems we received were outrageously funny, others quite ironic, but all were worth reading.  Thanks so much for sharing your writing with us.  We regret we could not publish all poems in this category.
FIRST PLACE ~ Winner of a $10.00 electronic book gift certificate

Marie Antoinette, Social Worker

I leave my overstuffed life for the Projects,
the shotgun houses, their fetid smells
and skin-and-bone lives of grands soucis
where big-eyed children hide in the folds

of a mother's ragged skirt. Before I learned
you can't help someone until you've stood
in their shoes, I said, Let them eat cake,
when they claimed they had no bread.

I would share my joie de vivre, give it
all away, let them stand in my shoes,
wear my gowns, drive my car, but my husband says,
Mon Dieu, don't lose your head.

Sandi Stromberg, Houston, TX, USA

William Shakespeare, Astronaut

For all the magic grace of words
Strung end to end in flawless line
I would not trade the endless night
For any straight or slanted rhyme

Whether thought be swift and fluid
Soaring like nature's free-winged fowl
Or stiff as manmade metal flyers
Matters not to one above them all

The clouds part as velvet curtains
As stars shine down, pin point on cue
One for each fretting face below
Turned upward in ignorant awe

As I walk upon breathless night
Strutting player bereft of sound
For all the world, an audience
To this, my hour upon the stage

Betty Dobson, Halifax, NS, CAN

The Marquis de Sade: Shop assistant, ladies footwear.

My expert hands slide her warm flesh
between slight leather straps, close bonds.
(Compression, Mrs. Morrison,
is so good for the sole!)

Defenseless in an open-toe,
her sensual taut skin condemned
to pose impaled on common eyes.
(The scandals, Mrs. M! Oh! The sandals, Mrs. M!)

"They feel too tight? But, surely not?"
She tempts this wayward soul! (Madam,
if I were but your dentist…oh!
"No, No Nannette! No Novocain!")

"Walk up and down". (But worry not
should you impress my guilty foot;
among these racks of black sling-backs,
such pleasures rarely last, or stay).

My pinched heart's scarlet fantasies
arise with each poor-fit of fashion
for, all the while, stiletto thin
desire snaps at the heel of passion.

Phill Doran, Johannesburg, RSA

Alexander the Great, Daycare Teacher

Within these walls, my word is law.
I put the children in rows
And run inspection from their heads
To their Snoopy-sneakered toes.

These kids can dream tremendous dreams.
They build forts with cardboard blocks
And storm plastic castles, but I'm
Too smart for them to outfox.

Some days they try to eat the clay,
Or they spill the fingerpaints.
I've learned to take it all in stride.
They are children, and not saints.

I laugh in the face of defeat –
Kids only learn when they fail.
You can't scare me – I teach daycare.
Beside that, all perils pale.

You say my children have grown strange?
Don't complain about their state.
I will not teach them to be good.
I will teach them to be great.

Elizabeth Barrette, Charleston, IL, USA

Muhammad bin Tughlaq, Chief Engineer

I,  Muhammed bin Tughlaq,
the king of kings and maker of roads
now make fly-over over fly-over.
What can I do?

My soul that used to make
gossamer roads
wells in the air
and stinking motels

has to hang in air full-lighted
Babylon gardens of the day
where a million could sit
to watch the failing cricket stars.

I, the king of kings, who could make
chariot-roads that ran
from sea to sea, from coast to coast
from one temple to the other

I, who could drag, with their limbs intact
entire populace along my carved passages
is simply undone now
by my own motorable National Highway No. 1

Arun Gaur, Panchkula, Haryana, IND


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We asked Sol's poets to write a poem about about any major social issue that they were willing to stand up and speak out for or against.  Politics was allowed, but not religion.  In return, we received many strong poems, so many, in fact, that we could only include a few here.  It was quite difficult judging the poems first, and the content of the poems second.  So many viewpoints!  Only one thing in common:  You were willing to stand up and share your ideas. Thank you all for sending in this thought-provoking, eye-opening work.
FIRST PLACE ~ Winner of a $10.00 electronic book gift certificate.

Holocaust Burial

like birds
propelled through air
slide into spaces
arms falling outward
almost weightless
they curl together
but not forgotten
weighted in memory

Anna Wilke, Conroe, TX, USA

Kindred Sisters

We have no voices,
women of Eastern Congo,
held as slaves, gang raped

under horrific circumstances,
live in constant terror
for selves, spouses, children,
reviled by our husbands,
suffer abandonment,
are rejected
through no fault
of our own.  We cry out
to the world - you hear
us not, ignore our plight.

We have no voices,
now weep our intense pain
...in silence.

Sharon Rothenfluch Cooper, Portland, Oregon USA

A Sonnet for Global Warming

Poets evoke coming apocalypse,
Puppets hang disjointed and unstrung.
Dreamers toss and turn in nightmare's grip,
Prophets give the urban wasteland tongue.
Some rough beast slouched ashore and brought
A warning none would hear when all was said.
Look what the ocean's hand has wrought
When scarcely stirring from its ancient bed.
High tide and higher, relentless waters roll.
How many shining cities must we drown?
One hundred feet; a billion homeless souls.
What price New York? Miami? London town?

I'll speak you plain: Katrina was Act I.
All coasts will look like that in times to come.

Tiel Aisha Ansari, Portland, OR, USA


She's still the same person--
who walked down the aisle
as my flower boy,
back in seventy-four.

Only her name has changed
and her sex,
and her parental status
of Momma, instead of Dad.

She still likes pizza
and video games
and snuggling with her daughter
before bedtime.

And I
practice saying she--
remembering that family
is all that really matters
in the end.

Diane M. Davis, Chelmsford, MA

Tito's temperature is 103

But Maria can't take him to the doctor
Because she has to work
And even if she didn't have to work
She doesn't have a car
And even if she had a car
She doesn't have insurance
And even if she had insurance
She doesn't speak English
And even if she spoke English
She's illegal

Tito's temperature is 104

SJ Baldock, Lancaster, TX, USA
Table Talk

Ralph's anger about the Iraqi war
Flowed over the dinning room
Like giblet gravy on mashed potatoes.
Fifteen adults agreed with his sentiments
But preferred to discuss their stand
In a peaceful rather than hostile manner.
Even the turkey was tempted to tuck
In his stuffing and trot next door.

Lois Lay Castiglioni, Galveston, TX, USA
What If They Called an Election and Nobody Came?

One vote, no confidence
Down the government goes
Barely a leg beneath them from the start

Minority games, coalition deals
"Give me this, I'll vote for that
But if you've no more money, honey..."

Mud flung, rumors spun
"The Grits are all crooks" but
"Your Tory mama wears jack boots"

No platform, no issues
The Rhinos had the right idea
A platform two and a half feet high

Vote Rhino, vote Green
Give an Independent a break
Hey, did someone mention the NDP?

Christmas time, campaign time
Brave the ten-foot drifts
And get the turkeys off the Hill!

Betty Dobson, Halifax, NS, CAN
World Exclusive

Is this dark mass of earth all mine alone,
bequeathed to me by virtue of some line?
God-given, only we may think it home;
‘Keep to your soil and I shall cling to mine’.
Your foreign skin and turn of phrase betray
dark roots, which may not rest here nor should try
to burrow themselves, creeping where I lay;
‘Move on, your shadow hurts this cautious eye’.
And yet, what truth approves this brutal stance?
No truth but fear, unjust and which demands
we bar the unknown damn their circumstance,
absolved through righteous washing of our hands.
I stand with open arms against the fists
and furies of the isolationists.

Phill Doran, Johannesburg, RSA
A Game, You Say?

What shame!
How lame
to let issues beget
a stronger issue yet
because we did not stay the course
when first we met a Trojan horse.
What can be said
to those now dead
if we do not take stands
for war on foreign lands?
A coward runs.
He drops his guns.

Yvonne  Byrd Nunn,  Hermleigh, TX, USA
Politically Correct

Isn't it funny
how the people who demand tolerance
are no more tolerant than anyone else
of being directly contradicted?

Isn't it funny
how so many who take stands against prejudice
find it easy to prejudge motives
and think the worst of others?

Isn't it funny
how bias has been turned backwards
putting members of traditionally dominant groups
automatically in the wrong?

We did away with ethnic jokes.
We did away with sexist jokes.
But a lot of the "funny" things left
aren't really funny either.

Katherine Swarts, Houston, TX, USA
Give Us a Chance

Give people with disabilities a chance.
Some of us can't hear or see
Or walk
Or understand what we read.

Please don't mind when we want to turn on the captions,
Please don't hang up just because it's a Relay operator,
Please try not to look away when you speak,
And don't make fun of the way I speak.

Please don't park in my space
Or build your doors too narrow;
An elevator or a ramp always helps;
You may look down at me, but please don't look down on me.

We have a right to have our voices heard,
Whether they are computer generated
Or expressed with our hands.
We're all human beings just like you.
Give us a chance!

Philip Christopher Woodward, Raleigh, NC, USA

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The premise of this contest was to write a poem about any small change recently made or intended that could have a major impact self or family.  We received many poetic snapshots, some touching, other humorous, all insightful.  Thank you for sharing your work.
FIRST PLACE ~ Winner of a $10.00 electronic book gift certificate.


Loose clothing
the first sign it was working --
my daily walks, Cooking Light recipes...

So hard some mornings
to pry me from my warm bed
for a chilly walk around a neighborhood
I'd seen before.

But Dad quit smoking cold-turkey
after sixty years

I am my father's daughter

repeated as a mantra on days
one more block seemed impossible

Seventy pounds later, it was obvious
I was.

Deborah P Kolodji, Temple City, CA  USA

Oatmeal Glow

Oatmeal is humdrum, gooey lumps
that float in a river of milk.
No added sweetner makes it
a glum experience.  It sticks
to the ribs and fills the interstices
...but...doesn't feed the soul.

I yearn for change, something
that will spark the bowl and raise
my spirits.  I slice and dice a mango,
fold it into the cereal.  Goodbye
dairy flow - sweet juices coat
and separate, raise it to perfection,
and voile, a dream of heaven is born.
Lips and tongue taste, then,
flavor races to the brain saying,
this is culinary art.

Sharon Rothenfluch Cooper, Portland, OR, USA

Closet Avoidance

I am going to clean out my closet.
Who knows what strange things I might find?
Perhaps in a trunk, I'll find a lost sock
or a book or a hint of the past.  Who knows?  Certainly not I.

Who knows what strange things I might find?
I'm fearful I might turn up a ghost (in a matter of speaking)
or a book or a hint of the past.  Who knows?  Certainly not I.
I'm a serial packrat and an unrepentant procrastinator; my family is baffled.

I'm fearful I might turn up a ghost (in a matter of speaking.)
Maybe I really should put the whole thing off - for now.
I'm a serial packrat and an unrepentant procrastinator; my family is baffled.
I am going to clean out my closet.

Maybe tomorrow.

Randi Clarken, Hillborough, NJ, USA

Things to Do

Clean the house
Wash the car
Tell him it's all over

Get a haircut
File my nails
Quit my job tomorrow

Call my parents
Write to friends
One way flight to Maui

Make a list
Fold and tuck
Dream a little longer

Betty Dobson, Halifax, NS, CAN

will not
again wear
a shirt and tie.
No sir, no "Yes sir!"
Home at 6 for supper,
gathered around the table.
A happy home, as it should be.
A calm and content father lacking
a collar, under which he may get hot,
freed of the shackle of the merchant's knot.
On this day in nineteen sixty-three,
my mother's husband died alone
"In harness" my uncle says.
In his shirtsleeves and tie
behind a small desk.
Today I'm free
of that tight,

Phill Doran, Johannesburg, RSA
It's Fun to be Free

I let go
of a grudge today
or it let go of me!
At the first wind
of spring
the stubble ignited
holding the wings.
It's fun to be free.
Heart and mind
not battling within!
My eyes softer
my voice sweeter
and in my arms
your love
as I hold you
without the weight
of the Grudge.

Frances Schiavina, Ardmore, PA, USA
Moving Out

I thought I wanted
to be independent
and not be tripping over people
all the time,
but it sure was nice
when someone else cooked and cleaned!

I thought I wanted
to be mature
and not have to keep everyone
up to date on my schedule,
but I sure liked the financial help
and a handyman on call for free!

I thought I knew what I wanted--
and I've moved only four miles, after all,
and they're still on call for emergencies,
but I've proved human nature
only sees good in what you don't have!

Katherine Swarts, Houston, TX, USA
Your Grave

I tended with love
decorated with flowers
and visited faithfully
each new season dictating
an established color scheme
now sits in disgrace
abandoned to a new love
that grassy knoll
next to you
which I called
my next home
my waiting place
waits silently
sooner than I choose
it will claim me
but life
my new love calls
the party has begun

Anna Wilke, Conroe, TX, USA

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We asked our poets to write about giving or receiving an unexpected gift, past or present, something not monetarily valuable, but nonetheless with much value.  The result was this plethora of poetic gifts.  Thank you for sharing your stories.
FIRST PLACE ~ Winner of a $10.00 electronic book gift certificate.

The Birthday Party

She never said thank you, just tossed
a stack of cards into my lap,
and kept on walking toward the emptiness
she preferred to claim, refusing
to stoop to pleasure. Forty-three

was all she offered. No mention
of the surprise, the cake, the crowd.
No opening for me to say, You're welcome.
A beggar eager for crumbs, I lifted
the rubber band, released the tight wad

of good wishes from their strangle hold
and feasted on each Happy Birthday,
then laid them on her bed
and tucked my silence
under the covers next to hers.

Sandi Stromberg, Houston, TX, USA

Birthday Present

A drop of blood congeals
on her arm, the precious gift
from strangers nameless
yet intimately
part of her now.

Sixteen pints
the doctor said, twice
as much as a body needs --
stopping the unexpected flood from life
at the beginning of another.

Difference between birth and death
measured in blood,
pints freely given, gratefully received --
a baby cries, a father prays...
and a mother smiles.

Deborah P Kolodji, Temple City, CA, USA

Fortuitous Fracture

As I lift holiday decorations from boxes
Often shadows of nostalgia drift over me
Brought on by thoughts of those missing
Anticipating who may exit by next season
However, this year my dear friend Lee

Broke her ankle and moved in with me for care.
We painted mental murals of our 63 years together
Adding splashes of smiles and tears we've shared
Comparable with van Gough paintings.
Her misfortune of falling brought me

The unexpected gift of her constant companionship
Evaporating the dark shadows of December's chill
That traditionally descends on me
And filled my house and heart with contentment
A present I'll reopen with fondness again and again.

Kay Lay Earnest, Smyrna, GA, USA

Object of Desire

It meant nothing much to me.
A bauble, a bagatelle
something I got for free
and thought maybe I could sell
for a dollar or three.

But when you saw
what was in my hand, your eyes
went wide in stunned surprise!
And my jackdaw
acquisitiveness died.

"Take it," I mumbled,
not wanting to be thought too easy.
All of my breezy
confidence crumbled
and left me graceless and uneasy.

I'll never know what it meant to you.
This knick-knack, this flea-mart desiree.
This much I know is true:
Your heart was on my fingertips that day
to crush-- or give away.

Tiel Aisha Ansari, Portland, OR, USA

Annie Laurie's Parting Gift

Name barely remembered
Face long forgotten
Removed by years and
Miles, crisscrossing the country
From job to job,

One tentative life to the next
Running from her youth
The family left behind
Distance and silence

At last by death
Bringing strangered kin
Together to divide
Her life's shattered,
Scattered worth

Betty Dobson, Halifax, NS, CAN


Sweet presence this
Child of a child who was
Fourteen years young
Did you know that in giving her up
You were giving my greatest gift?

SJ Baldock, Lancaster, TX, USA
Poetry in Motion

It started with stickers.
I've always loved the colorful foils,
The delicate vellums, even
Real flowers pressed in plastic sleeves.
I'll just add a few,

I said to myself,
To dress up the paper a bit.
Ah, the paper!  I ran out of it, had to run out
And buy more.  That's when I discovered
Scrapbook stores.

Stickers!  Paper!  Pens that write in glitter!
I covered the kitchen table
With treasures, cut and pasted
Long into the winter nights,
Sleeved pages and slipped them into the binder.

Come Christmas morning, I waited
Impatiently, camera slyly in hand
Behind my back as Mother opened the bag ­
Captured, in a flash, her surprised delight as she saw
The collection I made of my writing: _Poetry in Motion_.

Elizabeth Barrette, Charleston, IL, USA
All in the Timing

There was a time when we thought we had time.
In our minds, we were right;
my body was the one who got it all wrong.
Whoever thinks about time and age?
We didn't.

one by one:
the doctors suggested it, prescribed it
and we tried it all -
well, just about all, anyway.

We'd pretty much come to the end
of dealing with my needles and drugs and tests and procedures,
and of his naughty magazines - and those other procedures.
You know why.
We thought enough was enough.

But, that one last time
when we thought we were out of time
it all came out right.
Whoever would have expected twins?
We did.

Randi Clarken, Hillsborough, NJ, USA

Tissue wrapped, size of no account,
trembling hands open the gift.
Nestled in its snowy wrap
lays the pendant.  Stones wink
at me, catch specks of fractured light.

Soft sheen surrounds
a myriad of seed pearls
set gracefully against
the scrolls of gold.  Grandma
got it on her wedding day

and my memory sees
it sparkling around her neck,
as my granddaughter
puts it around mine.
Treasured keepsakes are forever.

Sharon Rothenfluch Cooper, Portland, Oregon, USA
The Gift of a Lifetime

Warm, before I know of warmth (or I).
what passes through (or for),
these eyes?

Instinct (before I know of names)
moves me.
Drawn on under an anxious need.
A wanting constriction,
an exacting action.

A shock, before I know of thought,
wells, deep.
Consumed by my compliance
into a vacuum of momentum,
responding to the rush of

air, before I know to breathe,
in light
and sound,
and in the touch
of being.

Phill Doran, Johannesburg, RSA
Giftless Holiday for Peace

I am not of heart and joyful spirit
as I look upon this new years celebration
as one of selfish, assuring security
I'm so very saddened and worry for us all.
Life that we've been given, may not continue

Bearing the ravages brought upon ourselves.
Unreasonable suffering that must be mournfully
accepted by all beings less deserving of.
Restless holidays without the 'Gift' of Peace for all
saddens our abused Earth, with reminders

that we are all privileged tenants; all
are to feel the wrath of environmental fury,
being invulnerably Omnipotent over what seems
to be, we the feeble, less than grandeur,
human life.

Brave Military, Family,  Friends,
we support your life rescuing efforts with
our love and generous aid forthcoming ...
Please know
that we all care.

Louie Levy, Thousand Oaks, CA, USA
The Secret Recipe

My grandmother taught me to make caramel candy,
She was taught by her grandmother.
She talked over the worn kettle,
One cup of sugar, plus
one cup dark corn syrup, overflowing.

She measured everything in her hand,
tablespoon of vanilla, pinch of salt.
I poured in the pecans,
three cups, plus a handful,
for good measure.

The sugar and syrup frothed in time,
called up by her voice when she said, now boil
for seven minutes.
She handed me the old spoon,
the same used by her grandmother.

Scrape and stir, scrape and stir, she chanted.
I talked over the worn kettle,
Scrape and stir, scrape and stir.
I let her taste the caramel candy.
My grandmother smiled and said, Done.

Deseree Probasco, Conroe, TX, USA
Christmas Blessing

I've trekked many a December mall
in my years,
I've bought many a present
for many a friend
and many a relative--

I've opened many a Christmas present
in my years,
I've received many a sweater
and many a book
and many a necklace or box of candy--

I've seen all sides
of the holiday season--
the mad rush of shopping that
can kill the holiday spirit,
the expensive gift and the stocking stuffer--

but the best gift I ever received
came one night when I returned exhausted
and cranky from a day of frantic shopping,
and my little girl greeted me with a hug and kiss
and "Welcome home, Mommy, I love you."

Katherine Swarts, Houston, TX, USA
Her Gift

a finely chiseled heart
one feather
cardinal red
placed at my door
by an elderly Tortie cat

the morning after
a vigil watch
laboring excursions
of one small
Chihuahua chest

Anna Wilke, Conroe, TX, USA

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Aplomado Falcon Literary News Online:  Poetry & writing events from anywhere in Texas! Houston, Dallas, Austin, The Woodlands, the Bay Area, etc.  If you wish your event posted at our website, send a complete event blurb with contact information to:  Sol.Events@prodigy.net

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Questions?  E-mail Mary Margaret Carlisle : Sol.Editor@prodigy.net

Mary Margaret Carlisle, Executive Director
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