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.

What Are You Looking At? - By Marjorie Block 

It happens when you’re not looking. 

Sometime after the middle and towards the end 

when it’s easy to miss the fine silver thread 

waving from the middle of your chin. 

 

Unlike the shallows and the crags 

the Rorschachs that shift 

remind you where you’ve been 

where you’re going. 

 

Come closer. Look at the eyes 

resting most of their lives on the pages of books 

where the living and the dead 

wake you-feed you 

with little more than words 

 

and if you’re still-nudge you 

to notice the night sky 

starring Venus-goddess of beauty 

shining in the window 

lighting up the dark.

Man's Best Friend - By Carol Loo 

Dogs are the best, 

of this I can attest. 

They love you no matter what, 

even when you’re in a rut. 

I like to watch them run and play, 

they show us how to enjoy each day. 

They don’t turn on you like people do, 

you know they want to be true to you. 

I wish the dogs could all run free, 

they are such a gift to people like me.

Aunt Adelaide and the Stafford House - By Theresa Kennedy 

I don’t know why but I had the strangest feeling I should walk over, unlock the latch, lift the heavy arched window, and look down. That’s when I saw the jumbled mess of it, far below having landed directly next to the house in a colorful and fetid pile of scarlet and alabaster white. 

The house was one of those overbuilt Second Empire houses constructed in 1884 only a year or so before they went out of style, after their thirty year run of questionable popularity. It had haunted vibes and an overall bad feeling all around, which I attributed of course to my Great Aunt. Aunt Adelaide was an ancient woman of eighty six, inscrutable, quietly sinister and decidedly secretive. She acted as my legal guardian and for the most part baffled and repelled me. Though if the truth were known, I was her protector and she was lucky of it, too, while it lasted. I always felt that if not for me she’d have expired long before she did. The image of her in her cushioned wheelchair decomposing for a whole month before anyone noticed the newspapers piling up, the deathly quiet within or the commonplace urban stench of a rotting corpse sometimes came to me for no apparent reason.   

Aunt Adelaide was a tiny evil woman with skin as white as talcum powder and a large wig that sat atop her head majestically. It was a flipped bob style in a shade of warm chestnut brown, looked like a helmet and in the three years I lived with her in the house, I cannot recall one single occasion in which she was not wearing it. She wore salmon pink lipstick by Avon and was meticulous about her hygiene, and her fingernails which always amazed me considering how much of an invalid she was. She lived in the large, often drafty house alone, except for her grandson who I later discovered was also my second cousin. I had been in the house for two days before I even knew he existed, and Adelaide laughed heartily when he silently loped into the parlor unannounced, his head downcast, his hands clasped nervously in front of him. His entire demeanor was defeated, but he had striking golden brown eyes that emanated an intense melancholy and longing. 

Bradford was in his late thirties when I moved in and despite being Adelaide’s grandson; he lived like a destitute outcast in the enormous freezing basement with the old sawdust burner in the right hand corner, which heated the house. He slept in a large wooden shed that looked like a storybook cottage with two windows in the front and two on each side. It had been outfitted with all the necessities, like heat, and lights, a hot plate to boil water and a large antique metal brass bed with layers of tattered eiderdown quilts and silk coverlets in pale pink and lavender—Adelaide’s castoffs. He kept his ‘room’ in perfect order in the far left hand corner of the basement next to a window which allowed a wide swath of bright sunlight to drift in. There was a chair in the center of the strip of light where he would sit each morning drinking his cup of hot tea, absorbing the faint heat from the sun, with his thin legs crossed and his left ankle gently bobbing up and down, up and down. The other furniture in the roomy shed appeared to be castoffs from Adelaide’s huge collection, which was scattered all throughout the old house.               

Sweet Natural Grasses - By Dan’l McILhenny 

The rattle of cattle bells 

Rings clear across the valley 

As spring opens-up 

Her high green pastures above 

      

The steady rush - the splendid elation 

     When cowboys sing without hesitation 

     And promise their dogies 

     Sweet natural grasses they’ll love 

 

Can’t you see - the best of the west 

Awaits you just beyond this riverbend 

I can hear - your questioning voices  

Ask me... again and again and again 

“When will we get there…  

does this trail really have an end?” 

“I’m no pretender… please believe me 

My sensitive four-legged friends!”  

 

     Daryl’s not your average cowpoke 

     He’s learned to speak some bovine tongue 

     Kind of similar to smiley Wilbur Post 

     Who spoke to Mister Ed for fun

ddff