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Boris Schleinkofer, poetrywatch editor

“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” — John F. Kennedy

Do You Enjoy poetrywatch?

Artwork by Hilary Cole

Want to see it continue? Then please, send your poems to us and let the Whatcom Watch share them with our readership! Seriously, we really do want your roughly 25-line poems though length is by no means a deal-breaker; it’s how you use those lines. Featuring or specific to Whatcom County and issues addressed by Whatcom Watch such as government, the environment and media. Send your poems to: poetry@whatcomwatch.org and let’s make magic happen.

Subject matter is unlimited, but poetry featuring or specific to Whatcom County and issues addressed by Whatcom Watch (government, the environment and media) will likely get first preference.

Please keep it to around 25 lines; otherwise, we might have to edit your work to fit. Don’t make yourself unprintable.

Send poems and your short, two- or three-sentence bios as a word document attachment to poetry@whatcomwatch.org.

The deadline is the first day of the month.

Please understand that acceptance and final appearance of pieces are subject to space constraints and editorial requirements. By submitting, authors give Whatcom Watch permission for one-time publication rights in the paper and electronic editions.



by Sharon Robinson

The worst part of INJUSTICE
Must be the pain
Even worse than the fear
Of coercive power
That causes the pain.

Or maybe it’s the powerlessness
To the trauma inflicted
While seeing the blindness
Of those malicious fists pound
Their Prejudice, rage, toxic self-pity.

It is always the fault of the victim
That gives INJUSTICE its definition
And justifies unleashing the vicious
Violence, malice, cruelty or evil
In the name of something good.

Could not the worst of all
Be that arrogance that always knows best
What is good for others
Whom they also define
To strip of the will to be a person.

The infirm, the misunderstood, beaten down
Or just old, out of work, peculiar, holy
Subjected to the raging blind illusions
Dancing in congratulatory smugness
To a flat earth of conformity they hallow.

Can they make the victim
Fit their ugly phantasies
Thus worthy of being shot down?
Or just transform the eagle scream
To a “Fuck You” from the lacerated grandmother?

Where is God?  Still on the cross?
Or present with those so struck down
With their innocence intact as a virgin
Comforted at last by a gentle power
That lifts beyond the cry to joy, clearly seen.

Sharon Robinson is a local poet who finds these troubled times affect the subjects of her poems as well as her life.  She has completed a manuscript of political commentary.



by Richard G. Tucker

After the little bird had given the last gold leaf to the poorest family, it flew south down the Kangra Valley to where the Dalai Lama was breaking out a new deck of cards. He waited in a forest clearing, alone but for the critters gathering around.

Soon three old monks appeared from Dharamsala. They sat in a circle with His Holiness and the game began. The cards dealt with slender fingers, smooth from decades of guiding the prayer beads along.

The bidding was a quiet murmur, no reaction to winning or losing, the peaceful smiles never fading. When the Dalai Lama had a weak hand, he thought of the words of Krishnamurti, “I don’t mind what happens.”

Richard G. Tucker has published work of this type before with Whatcom Watch and has several songs published with Peer Intl., for which he receives biannual royalties.