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.


Queen Right

by Chuck Luckmann

Keeping bees can be pornographic—
Virgin queen copulates with twenty guys
Afterwards she works in the dark—
Her pheromones keep the hive humming
Until her ovaries give out.

Each queen, human or bee, has purpose;
Observe my mate of thirty-eight years.
No hive lives for long without them,
Soul mates extraordinaire,
Wave stingers but seldom use them.

Every day a queen bee lays a thousand eggs,
Such a large family on the way—
Most of them hard-working girls
Making bee bread, nectar and pollen,
While drones loaf and dream until winter.

The queen-right hive or home
Purrs happily when you enter
(All happy families are the same);
But should they lose the mother bee,
The colony exhales a frightful scream.


Chuck Luckmann has lived happily in Whatcom County for twenty-eight years, raising a family and keeping a few beehives for honey. 



by Janet Riley

he lies powerless
as if the curve of my cheek against
his wing or the brushing of snow from his breast
would save him

he’s just stunned you say
putting your hands together like prayer
as his face turns into sleep

yesterday, flying above us
we must have heard him sing 

now cupped in my hands
his head is a fallen weight:

a hinge sprung and those remaining feathers
stuck to the window-glass
in a downy circle
breathing its way to bird-heaven

by the forest path
we carve a hollow for his bones
that will rest in the warm roots of cedars 


Janet Riley was born and raised in London, UK. After travelling much of the globe in earlier days, she now is content to stay put in the beauty of the PNW.