Poetry Watch

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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

Poetry has a voice in our community, and the Whatcom Watch is adding to its chorus. You all love poetry, right? Well, here you go!
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.
Let’s try to 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-to-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 amd editorial requirements. By submitting, authors give Whatcom Watch express permission for first-time publication rights in paper and electronic editions of current or future volumes of Whatcom Watch.

Watch Your Step

by Bob Markey

What is the most dangerous profession?
In our part of the country, Old timers
would say logging … tree fallers … maybe a
closely related trade, saw-mill workers.
They all drank a lot,
so some people say.

And fishermen … newcomers saw their boats
unloading salmon at the cannery,
heard what they were paying for sockeye … so
became fishermen!

They built boats like the flivvers they arrived
in … had no idea that the tides make sea
water rise and fall eight to ten feet two
times a day … had never seen windstorms at
sea from pitching decks
of flivver-built boats!

A lot of our boys soldiered in wartime,
said it weighs heavy on the mind when you
and your buddies get shot at … and you see
some of them die.

Bob Markey delivered Whatcom Watch newspapers in Bellingham for over 12 years. Last year he moved to Enumclaw to be near his children.


by Lennée Reid

Acid It stings
Salish Sea
My feet in the water
Of the beach at hemp fest
Burn like the roach of a joint
The fire too close to my skin

Base It’s smooth
Olympia bays
My hands in the water
Feet on the shore of Burfoot
Slick like extra smooth conditioner
Running down my arm into the drain

H2o It purified
Holy waters
Gone are the days
Of immersion into sacred Jordan
Living bodies of fresh water
Fracking baptismal pools of cancer risk

Pollution It stings
Slips it boils slicks sickening
Gods attack with waters many ways
To flee before a faucet tsunami
Still we ignore signs on shores

Lennée Reid is the Olympia 2016 Women of the World Poetry Slam representative. She can be read in the monthly Olympia newspaper Works in Progress and the website creativecolloquy.com.