Southwest Family Poetry

THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK
by Trey Peeler

When people look I
avert my eyes.
I refuse to lose this battle of subterfuge.
The troubled life I lead
forces me to move with God speed,
when a moment of vulnerability could kill my
reputation and position, leaving me utterly disgraced.
So with tears in my eyes,
I shield my face.
Afraid of exposing a wink of weakness,
I demonstrate power by remaining speechless.
Suspicious of the blood-sucking leeches,
I devised a plan, and assigned the task
to protect the man behind the mask.

The lonely path to Havasupai.  Photo by Jennifer Boley

The lonely Path to Havasupai.
Photo by Jennifer Boley

A Desert Spiny Lizard suns himself in Havasupai.  Photo by Jennifer Boley

A Desert Spiny Lizard suns himself in Havasupai.
Photo by Jennifer Boley

THE THING BETWEEN MY EYES
by Trey Peeler

I let the thing between my eyes
analyze my life’s ills.
While I lay my sounds down like braille,
there’s no telling if what I’m selling might sell.
Only time will tell —
what I’m thinking
and how others will relate to the message
unless it’s interesting, thought-provoking.
And I’m not joking when I say I endeavor
to be the number-one selling poet ever.

The thing between my eyes
allows my ambitions to unfurl, such as
flowers blossoming in summer months.
I want my name to be spoken on every street corner
and be the topic at barber shops —
my life story passed down from one generation to the next.
I got BIG plans.
And in the event of my demise,
what took me from the bottom to the top
was the thing between my eyes.

THE SUN AND THE MOON
by Trey Peeler

The light of my life,
Allowing me to see
The beauty of the planet,
And all those things I take for granted.
My vision of heaven is you.
All day you’re up working
So hard at shining.
To you there is no equal,
Because of you, everything is just beautiful.
You give life to my people,
From your rays of shine.
If I come too close, I’ll go blind.
You’re the light of my life, even though
I know you’ll never be all mine.
Afterall, what’s the beauty
In keeping a sweet butterfly in a cage?
I’m such a slave to your rays,
Only you contain what I need to resume.
But every star needs some rest,
Come share your nights with me,
THE MOON!

Sunrise in Havasupai.  Photo by Jennifer Boley

Sunrise in 
Photo by Jennifer Boley

Bighorn sheep enjoying a drink from Havasu Creek.  Photo by Jennifer Boley

Bighorn Sheep enjoying a drink from Havasu Creek.
Photo by Jennifer Boley

PUT LOVE FIRST
by Trey Peeler

The best advice I can offer
to my sisters and brothers:
Everything you do,
do it with love.
Cast out any doubts whether
things may or may not work out.
And the lie, “Fake it until you make it”
no longer gets us by.
All the happy-go-lucky
thoughts are hung out to dry.
You’ll be lucky to go happy
when it happens,
and negativity engulfs
you and me.
The world you’ve known
is no longer your own.
You found yourself feeling foolishly
at wit’s end about to surrender and give in
as a swelling balloon, a breath away from a burst.
It’s about time you search your soul,
regain control, and above all else,
put love first.

WILDFIRE ON THE RIM

Poem and Photo by Gene Po Wong

I know you are standing there,
But confused about which one you are.

Perhaps you are the morning light peeking through the vapor-filled canyon;
I hesitate to say you are the haze or the smoke.

Mist, fog, smoke or smog,
I must look intently to see the wagon train.

Wildfire commands the rim top,
Havasupai inhabit the canyon below.

Admire the one that brightens the angels’ eyes,

You and I, we are family.

DREAMING by

NANCY CONNINGTON

Dreams evasive

Eluding the now

Shattering thoughts

As ice on a bough

Catch the dream

It is soft, swift.

Ascend skyward

To stray aloft.

SNOW by

NANCY CONNINGTON

Slithering

Sliding,

Blinding,

Blizzard,

Becalm.

GHOSTS BY

NANCY CONNINGTON

In dark corners

Memories lie crumbled, abandoned,

Cherished no more.

PUPPY-HEAD by

NANCY CONNINGTON

Shakespeare, Shakespeare,

You missed the mark.

Shakespeare, Shakespeare,

This puppy-head don’t bark.

REAL POEM by

PEG VANCE MILLAR

I know a real poem

when I see it.

It slices razor-sharp into my heart.

I whisper, “This is it!”

And I lie bleeding,

The victim of a piercing

Bit of art.

To look at me, you’d never know I’m wounded.

The vacuum growls along,

the food is cooked,

the clothes will tumble dry.

I’ll not recover.

You’d never know it,

even if you looked.

A SEPARATION by CAROLYN SCHUM

Frustruation — ended.

Numbness. Release.

A vital part of life cut away.

Will it, like

An amputated limb,

Hurt after it’s gone?

AN ENDING by CAROLYN SCHUM

Wrapped in their own bleak uncertainites.

Strangers are the most

Vocal mourners.

Questions hang like a pall.

What remains unburied

To haunt us?

PROOF OF LIFE by SUSAN LAUFMAN

I was talking with my friend,

wondering aloud, “What is

so different about life now?”

“Lists,” she said.

“We used to make lists.”

Now we live in a quiet,

easygoing community.

Things go on. Or they don’t.

You can take part. Or not.

Now my surroundings are

neutral to me.

I don’t feel at “home” here.

It’s more like:

“How did I get here?”

But I am here.

And Life seems like it’s not

Life.

Her answer fell in front of me

Like a brown autumn leaf.

My to-do list.

I didn’t make a list today.

I didn’t make one yesterday.

Or any day this week.

When was the last one

I made?

Probably a reminder of a

dental appointment.

Weeks ago.

The list shapes the day.

Proof that you’re part of life.

I used to busily scratch

through those tasks.

And complete them.

Then I could say,

“I was busy today.

Now I say,

“What did I do today?

Where’s the proof?”

The list says, “I’m here!

I did this! I’m living!”

From now on,

I will make my list

Of very important to-do’s.

First item: Breathe.

Photo by GENE PO WONG

Wildfire in the Canyon.  Photo by Gene Po Wong

Wildfire in the Canyon
Photo by Gene Po Wong