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 What- com 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.


Jazz Festival, August 2021

by Milton Krieger

Summer’s socked us in since June
Thursday reached a hundred, through smoke, Friday stayed murky,
What will Saturday bring?

There’ve been lawn and porch pop-ups,
sporadic gigs at brew pubs,
but now comes The Jazz Project-Samson Winery Festival.

Driving north through parched and silent fields, smoke still low,
little stirs but my anticipation
for a music I’ve never played
but cherished since my teens.

People gather under a tent, around the lawn,
with baskets of food, umbrellas.
Few in the crowd are under sixty … what’s new?

But there’s what might be a bridal party
With a fabulous pair of red high heels,
a welcome slash of color.
More sedate jazz familiars of a certain age
reacquaint and hustle memories:
“Were you there when …?”

The music starts.
Greta scats, stretches lyrics to Brazil,
tenor sax bobs and weaves,
piano and bass keep and push the tempo.
Then come Dmitri’s fleugel, Josh’s tenor,
fronting Bill’s piano, Jeff’s bass, Jud’s drum kit.
My mid-last century music’s groove returns,
I revisit seven decades’ joys.

The drive home spools me back
to Corona, Delta … what else is on the way?
Still, one day’s music matters.

Milton Krieger taught at Western, 1970-2003, and published “The Less Subdued Excitement: A Century of Jazz in Bellingham and Whatcom County, Washington” in 2012 (both the city and county libraries have copies).


Sand Dollar 

by Seren Fargo

no matter where I go
the hoverfly
six feet away 

a field of poppies
defies distancing rules 

a silver lining
on the storm cloud—
eviction moratorium 

wall calendar
another month of outings

a torn face mask
washes ashore 

covid relief check—
how once a sand dollar
felt like a treasure 


Seren Fargo has written and published Japanese-form poetry since 2009, and coordinates the Bellingham Haiku Group. She is also an editor of the new rengay journal, Tandem. She loves to incorporate her experiences in the natural world into her poems.