ISSN 1551-8086
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  April 2015
volume 12 number 1
-table of contents-
  home   (archived)
  contributing poets
  Adeolu Emmanuel Adesanya
  Lynn Albanese
  Steven Alvarez
  Jonathan Beale
  Stefanie Bennett
  Jack G. Bowman
  Jennifer Bradpiece
  Don Kingfisher Campbell
  Michael Aaron Casares
  Beverly M. Collins
  William Crawford
  Pijush Kanti Deb
  Elisabeth Adwin Edwards
  John Elison
  Emily Fernandez
  Jeanie Greensfelder
  John Grey
  David Herrle
  Sonika Jaggi
  Strider Marcus Jones
  Phillip Larrea
  Emma Lee
  Marieta Maglas
  Matt McGee
  Christopher Mulrooney
  Dave Nordling
  Toti O'Brien
  Greg Patrick
  James G Piatt
  Frank Praeger
  April Salzano
  David Scriven
  LB Sedlacek
  Danielle Smith
  Jan Steckel
  Carl Stillwell
  Tim Tipton
  Philomena van Rijswijk
  Wanda Vanhoy Smith
  mailing list
Carl Stillwell
April 2015



photo by richard lee miller

    "I am a retired teacher who taught for over 30 years in mostly the Los Angeles Unified school District. I was born during the Great Depression in Oklahoma and came to California in 1959 and have lived here ever since. My pen name was inspired by the Joads struggle for survival in The Grapes of Wrath and the songs and life of Woody Gutherie. I have poems published in Blue Collar Review, Canary, Lummox, November 3 poetry blog, Pearl, Prism, Revolutionary Poets Brigade--Los Angeles, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Journal and Struggle. I also have poems included in the anthologies, An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind/Poets on 911 and In the Arms of Words: Poems for Tsunami Relief." CaLokie (aka Carl Stilwell).



A Bible Belt Polonaise

I met Richard Brand, my freshman roommate at Oklahoma
Baptist University, while we were both high school juniors
He was playing a Chopin's Polonaise on a Steinway
at a church social in the spacious living room
of an affluent Southern Baptist deacon

As his bony shoulders pumped, his long fingers flew
furiously across the keyboard with a power I wouldn't have
believed possible for someone with so frail a frame
It was the first time, I had ever liked anything classical

The last time I saw him, he drove me home
in his '40 Plymouth coupe
I had just returned from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago
and looked forward to telling him of white bucked college
quarterbacks and high-heeled blonde beauty queens
I had seen testify at Youth for Christ rallies
about the unspeakable joy they had found
the moment they BOWED their heads
CLOSED their eyes and asked JESUS
to come into their HEARTS

I knew he was"madly for Adlai"
when most of us "liked Ike"
and that he might've believed evolution was true
but I still wasn't ready for what
he told me

He could no longer prostrate himself before the god
of our Bible Belt fathers
His eyes had been opened and could never
be closed again

He recommended I read J.B. Phillips' book,
Your God is too Small

Before I got out of his car, he grasped my left wrist
and pleaded in an anguished voice, "Please--
don't pray for me"

I'd like to visit the North Carolina oak grove
where he shot himself
kneel before a mound of brown and yellow leaves
piled within circle of ash-white stones
and let him know

I never prayed for him

I read Your God is too Small

I thank him for helping me
free my mind
I've yet to hear anyone play
a better Polonaise

copyright 2015 Carl Stillwell