Can you see me? - By Peggie Guzman 

I saw you flit to the very top, 

Confident and sure 

The view is fantastic, you said 

all blue and white and green 

Unbelievable, you said 

Can you see me? I asked 

Fresh snow on the mountain 

White and purple, you said 

Can you see me? I said 

The river runs free and wild 

White caps, sandbars 

Osprey aloft, you said 

Can you see me! I shouted 

Eagles flying high 

A view to forever, 

Beyond and beyond, you said 

Can you see me? I whispered 

Can you? I sighed

Kisses - By Peggie Guzman 

   Warm, no hot.  Near my eye.  My eye sees nothing.  So soft and hot.  A kiss?  A kiss moving down my temple to my ear, along my jaw and then to my chin.  I turned into the kiss hoping it would go on and on.  It did. On my neck and I felt it moving down.   

  I also felt hands on my arms pulling and lifting.  I didn’t resist.  I was being lifted somewhere.  Somewhere curved like a hug wrapping all around me.  The kiss was still there when I perceived rather than heard a distant murmur.  Was it the one with the soft kisses?  I wanted to stretch out that warmth, sink into it.  But no.  The voice was further away. The words were blurry and unknowable but very close and still too far away for those kisses. 

   A shake and a louder voice calling my name.  The unkissed eye saw a little light, a ruined landscape and a gray, gray sky. 

   Voices became clearer now. 

   “Medic” I heard, “the chopper landed just over that ridge.  It’s too far to carry her so we’ll have to triage right here and right now.  

   Another voice “Get a bandage on her head.  Pressure directly on the wound.  Stop the bleeding near her eye first. “ 

   “It looks like the bullet missed the eye, but I doubt she can see anything at all right now”. 

  “Is she conscious?” 

   As they rolled my body onto the stretcher, I groaned.  The kiss was gone and I longed for the comfort and warmth of it.  I began to realize what had happened to me. I had been hit and my unit was here with me giving aid. 

“Where?”  I mumbled. 

“Take it easy soldier” the voice said “we’re going for a stroll.  Hang tight we’ll be in the air shortly. You’ll make it, now we have to hustle.”   

   Loud and close to my ear, I heard “scramble, she’s stable for now but go, go, go.” 

I felt a smile in those words and slowly went back to the dream of that soft, hot kiss.

The Riddle of Randy - By Dan'l McLlhenny  

Depending on how he threw the ball,  the wall  produced a multitude of reactions; pop-ups, line drives, chop suey gounders, even blistering fast earth grazers.  Talking 

exercise and reactive response this ball at the wall challenge was as engaging as the pitchback invention.  Unlike the web-net feature though, causing the horsehide, stitched sphere to spring back at its tosser as prompted. Using the wall option mimicked a harsher reaction not at all the implying one method better than the other. 

However, to the inventor's credit the pitchback was portable and far less stressful to the ball.  

For a fascinated ball playing kid like Randy the one on one wall game was a serious activity of self-imposed physicality.  He regularly threw day after day, hour by hour 

in blissful amusement. Enhanced keenly by his rich imagination. Randy - a sidearmer pitched like Dodger ace Don Drysdale. He creating epic battles played-out in fantasy, World Series skirmishes verses Yankee pinstripe suiters such as Whitey Ford.  All in his head stuff - vivid, genuine, innocent emulations of his heroes, Randy assumed those famous few including the eloquent in the moment - play by play of Major League Baseball announcers. The spoken word, real time - storytelling of Vin Scully’s voice as the up-beat Dodger spokesman even crept into these idle times of fun. 

Life scoots along handily enough without our help but if daydream games run their course hours do mysteriously evaporate into thin air.  Having an imagination is a good thing in your youth to whittle down chunks of time before the dinner bell bongs or as a harmless substitute for adolescent boredom. But what if there were no suitable knee-jerk reactive tool immediately available; no wall, no pitchback device? Randy had another solution on hand right in his own backyard.  He could just as easily hit rocks. Not  in a mischievous way or in anger either. He’d loft a rock and bat the bugger over the family fruit trees into Mr. Quigley's vacant pasture.    

Just as concrete walls and asphalt streets surfaces limit the life of a baseball cover… 

so goes the damage done by otherwise resting rocks hand tossed-up and swung at by old wooden Louisville Slugger bats.  “And that shot is outta here, monumentally gone!” Long before Fantasy Baseball became a thing kids all over America followed their big league idols in imaginary pursuits to pass the time. For Randy, a rock ball game was equally as interesting. Depending on the time of year if assorted smallish rocks were already over harvested. Randy would busy himself hitting the discarded limes or lemons, clearing nature's natural spills with a well-practiced swing leaving his bat wafting aromatic fresh smells of dripping wet citrus smashes. He doubted Quigley ever noticed the randomly dispersed fruity discards in the mostly well overgrown weed patch of a pasture. 

Occasionally Mr. Quigley rode his horse on his five-acre miniature back forty. Never off the well-trodden perimeter trail. He was with the mounted horseman's posse and had all the flashy tack riders placed on their horses for parades. And If he had ever noticed any of Randy’s hi-arching home run spoils he never said a word. You could say the backyard and the field beyond was Randy’s sanctuary, an alternate playground where a boy could get away from it all if friends or other players were nowhere to be found.  He never had to be coaxed into amusing himself; it came quite naturally which had its own merit in La Mesa back then when the 1960’s were just beginning to leave their mark.

Yesterday Evening - By Dan'l McILhenny  

Yesterday evening 

Sitting together, sunset neared 

A cloud cornucopia made memorable skyscapes 

Layers of thinnish cloud-whites 

Highlighted against deepened azures 

Wind-tossed lingerings 

Shapes evolve ~ as intricate webworks 

Seemingly elastic  

Heads tilted back 

Our eyes gaze - seeing 

racing contrails aloft 

Passenger jet plumes 

Remains stitched-in exhaustively   

Headed  in a hurry south bullets 

Their nextings unimportant 

To our shore perch sensing place 

And West . . . 

One tiring, sparkling Sun slowly 

Dismisses this calendar date 

Teasing through bandish low hung clouds 

Momentarily ducking out of sight 

Then demanding its  

Final dazzling shine before us 

A last beautiful curtain call 

An obvious cool  

Wraps around now 

Gone the solar radiance 

Some distant cloudlings drink-up 

Fleeting pastels bashfully showing off 

New alluring hues only to assume 

Grays as darkness waltzes toward night 

Along the Pacific Coast

Lizard Races of May - By Dan'l Mcllhenny 

Today as any that cometh our way 

Is fine for the Lizard Races of May 

When reptile smiles number 

More than a few 

And push-ups seem second 

Nature too! 

We watch the path as much as 

The bushes we do 

To see them brave dashing 

Quick like the breeze 

A bit faster than Santa dares go 

Should they grow tired - 

Exhausted sprinters galore 

It won’t last so long you know 

Before resuming their dart abouts 

Ah . . . the shouts and excitement 

While we keep our keen eyes peeled 

On the Lizard Races of May

Orange Grove Cowgirl Sue - By Dan'l Mcllhenny 

Was it those black and white  

50’s Cowboy shows 

Glowing from TV screens 

Or costumed Palomino riders 

Their steeds tacked out so they gleam 

Parading avenue confluences 

Where Hollywood meets Vine 

Leave a fine set of impressions 

On an eager child's mind 

Like Orange Grove cowgirl Sue  

A young girl’s passing fancy 

Shakes her dreamworld loose 

Then reality takes the reins again 

Oh please... drive to Pickwick Stables 

Mom and Daddy please... 

There may be ponies in the paddock 

Swishing their tails upon the breeze 

Speaking equine lingo 

Easily understood  

By Orange Grove cowgirl Sue  

A straw hat and pointy boots 

Worn out with intention  

Pencil drawing done now 

Of course, crayon colored in  

A horse head shape she cuts-out & 

Tethered mane fixed to a beam of wood 

That ‘ol mop handle’s lookin’ good 

She rode and rode around the yard 

From front to back and then again 

Rides Orange Grove cowgirl Sue  

  

At last one day it happened 

Way south of the Burbank hills 

A horse that she could call her own 

But she’d have to pay the bills 

For feed and gear and atmosphere 

Where the Valles family roams 

Right next door to Sue’s La Mesa citrus home 

Penny’s her new companion 

Inseparable are the two 

Says Orange Grove cowgirl Sue 

Written 4/19/2020 by: Dan’l McIlhenny~ McMinnville, Oregon

Pink Moon Lament - By Dan'l McIlhenny 

Last night a pink moon 

Skipped over Oregon 

Bigger than normal some say 

While others never noticed 

At a non-descript moment 

A voice behind a face  

Flickered out forever 

Vanishing from 

Our human aliveness status 

He, that person, a songwriter 

Gave us a bathtub full 

Of original tunes 

Not just campfire favorites  

But more so… 

Slice of life oratories 

On who we are, how we live & 

What we do - even things 

We don’t do because we avoid things 

Then pass them on for someone 

Else  

In his unique wordsmithing 

You could liken his songs 

To Norman Rockwell paintings 

For their stark portrayal 

Subject matter 

Although our author 

Drove his chariot 

Into troubled waters 

Detailing rawness of humanness, 

It was always 

In amazing fashion - 

A palatable dose 

Of storytelling at its 

Finest 

This troubadour seldom  

Took the easy way out 

Leaving us bluntness 

Often humorous but 

 Without doubt - thought provoking  

In some way 

He gave the rest of us voice 

Meaning; here’s a vision 

What do you make of us,  

Or it? 

From my listenership 

My interpretation of 

His cavalcade poetry 

Meshed in melody 

Easily latched onto song 

He told his character-rich tales 

Unapologetically 

Here it is Pilgrim… 

Suck this one into your head! 

So long John Prine - 

One of America’s greatest 

Songster Laureate spokesman 

Armed with a guitar  

And a hell of a lot to share in song 

About we the people - 

Good, Bad or otherwise! 

Rest in Peace ~~~ Dan’l 

John Prine was 73 at his passing 

Written 4/8/2020

Perimeter Road - By Dan'l McILhenny  

Rural landscape surroundings 

A walkers delight away 

Backyard fences strung low 

Say our heaven sits here neighbor 

Beyond that...Ag-fields stretch out 

Flat as pancakes 

March manicured - planted, growing 

In Earth’s rich Willamette Valley soil 

Some for grape, grain or grasses 

Distant hillsides reach up for sunlight 

Display orchards, berry patches and vineyards 

While hide-in-sight places appear natural 

Like no man's land ~ 

Mixed forested Oasis’s    

Seemingly undisturbed 

Tree happy Eurasian Doves coo 

And Robin make their presence known 

Singing in counterpoint with Blackbirds  

  At times Oregon wind invites Dairy perfume 

To waft through when the beacon broadcast aligns 

Across the highway airplanes and helicopters 

Comings and goings add to the din 

In a cacophony of human made sounds 

Gun range pot shots pop... 

Mowers, leaf blowers and repair hammers 

Pound out of sync solo’s 

In absolute non-orchestral fashion 

And yet it’s home 

We chose this habitat along  

Perimeter Road

Olive Trees - By Marjorie Block 

Heavy wooden shutters stand open. 

Warm air and July sun stream into the room 

of the convent, my refuge for three weeks. 

 

At the window I inhale the unfamiliar 

countryside of Umbria: the scent of ripe fruit and earth 

the row after row of olive trees rooted in dry and stony soil. 

 

How I welcome the strangeness -- 

to be unknown 

unavailable for condolence. 

 

On one tier an old woman wearing a long black robe appears. 

Like one of the hags of fate. As ancient as this sanctuary. 

She moves slowly, dragging a thick black hose 

up the side of a hill and around the demented beauty of each tree-- 

bent and gnarled as her own body bent by pain or prayer. 

 

A presence about her touches me in a way I need it to. 

She turns slowly and looks up at my window. 

I raise my hand. 

She lifts the hose. 

Acknowledging loss so new 

I barely know its name. 

Hysteria in the Kitchen - By Linda Burk 

The commotion was getting louder. Cautiously looking around the corner, I couldn’t see anyone in the kitchen. What was happening? My eyes were drawn to the junk drawer. Could it be a mouse or worse a rat? I cautiously opened the drawer an inch or two. Utensils were quivering, jumping, and squealing. The ringleader seemed to be the packet of yeast. I noticed a diabolical shade on the label. Stunned, I opened the drawer the whole way. I quickly covered my ears to block out the screeching. The anger, frustration, and fear poured out in waves and knocked me to the floor. The spatula was the first to jump on me. “Are you responsible for confining us in this small space? We can’t breathe and I hate butting up against the soup spoon." Finally gathering my wits about me I said, "Things are not so bad. You've been together for a long time. What’s the difference now?" With a shudder the spatula murmured, “That instant yeast has really gotten a rise out of us. We were fine until it came along. Then we realized that we weren’t free, and we may never see the light of day, or worse. And you might just throw us in the trash, and we will never be together again. It was such a nightmare!" "What can I do to calm things down?” I asked. “Talk to us and tell us we are not useless, and you'll use us to make wonderful cookies and pancakes again. And that we are not disposable, like that packet of yeast . . . Oh yea . . . disposable.” I heard a cheer from all in the utensil drawer and quickly separated the yeast by putting it in a sealed jar so it couldn't stir up any more trouble.

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