"Noriko" by Ivy C. Machida

Fair as a pink rose at dawn
Your porcelain skin
And glowing cheeks
Tell of the manifold joys
You must embrace in life.

As I peel petal by petal
The essence of you unfurl -
Your sparkling smile
And virtuous heart
Sing out in melodious harmony

Like lilies in the field
Spilling their fragrance in the air
The chirping cry of cicadas
And love-call of songbirds
Mingle in consensual soft refrain

Extolling your manifest allure
Espousing a rapturous song of you.

And that man beside you,
Breathes he all the sweetness
And sensuous scents of you
Engulfing, surrounding, submerging
And drowning him

In the ecstatic wonder and
Minefield of your charms.

"The Poet's Wall" by Ivy C. Machida

Walls separate, walls shield, walls crumble

A sprawling walled-in hideaway
A sacred spread of greenery
A haven of bliss and tranquility
Secluded from raucous sound and sight

A rippling, meandering rivulet
Glided around rustic rocks and trees
Flowering shrubs and blooming stalks
In tune with nature's hues and themes.

Alone in the vast embrace of earth and sky
Sheltered beneath the cloak at dawn and dusk
He sat and mused with his rocks and stones
And penned his mystic melancholic tones

In zen-like reverence; lamenting, eulogizing
Bemoaning his long-departed love
Who left before her time in that cloistered grove
They snugly tilled and toiled, away from all.

Bereft now of human warmth and touch
He nursed and tended the flowering plants
And gently nestled her favorite ones
Grieving with each remembered loss and pain.

One spring day when the sun was out
Half-hidden by a cottony cloud
A gust of wind swirled around him
Rustling the winsome sweet Forget-me-not

As he knelt to caress the wavering plant
The wandering wind gushed swiftly by his ear
As she whispered, "Take heart, do not fret, I am here"
He felt her stirring deep within, but the wind was gone.

He clasped his hands as the tears fell,
And praised his caring, doting deity.

He lingered long in his wooded habitat
Amidst the lustrous green and fragrant scents
And songbirds zigzagging in the air
Deriving strength to meet each dewy day.

And it came about, one day abruptly
When he felt the stab within his heart -
A call to relinquish all that's stark and earthly
And in zen-like meditative stance, take his leave.

He felt his knees buckling as he weeded,
His legs stiffening and his chest suffocating -
His mind spiraled toward a passing cloud
Hailing it as he reached out for a ride.

He cried to his deity
Yielding a reality that came his way.

He heeded the call to smash the wall
That protected all in his secluded hermitage
To let them fade and fall like all things archaic -
His rocks and trees and worldly whims.

I watched as he bade adieu to what he cherished most -
The tears oozing like his roving rivulet
Streaming down his barren neck and heaving chest
To reach the nooks and crags of his grieving heart

The time is nigh to scrap this brief temporal span
Return to dust what once was dust assuredly
And retreat sublime to the void of Zen tranquility
Eternally thus entwined with the rustling wind

In a garden anew with seeds of love and affection
A heavenly harvest reap forevermore.

"I Doubt" by Joe Zanghi

I doubt. . .
I doubt things will get better
You know what I’m talking about. . .
I doubt my hair will regrow
Aging vs anti-aging
Anti-aging is all the rage these days, but it’s really nothing new.
Someday, science may inject stem cells as a cure
for whatever ails you
The future is uncertain; this I know

I doubt. . .
If fact, I’m full out doubts”
I doubt I’ll ever bowl a perfect game
I doubt I’ll ever get a hole-in-one
I doubt that I’ll live to 101
I doubt I’ll ever win the lottery
A stroke of luck—the odds of winning, 100 million to one
The lucky winner: one day the person is a penniless bum
The next, that person is now blessed with life of fun
And all the person did to earn this was: to take a chance
“Everything in life is luck,” I once heard Donald Trump say.
A man who also said, “The point is that you can’t be too greedy.”
What a pig, that pussy grabbing president of the USA.

They say, “life isn’t fair.”
Isn’t that the greatest understatement ever made.
A lot of it—Luck—depends on where you were born.
I doubt. . .
I doubt in world Peace
I doubt wars will end
I doubt Jesus will come back again

In fact, I doubt there is a God
Preachers, oh, they’ll tell you what to believe
But if you knew nothing about the Bible
And instead tuned on the TV
On the screen, there was a story of some Super Man
Who created a planet 13.6 billion years ago
Looking down, watching our every move
Who has a plan. . . and a judgment day
If you believe this, I will sell you swamp land
Or you’d vote for a con man
Is everything like reality TV?
Are we living in the Twilight Zone?

I doubt sayings like “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Sometimes, I clearly hear myself say, “No Fucking way!”
Doubt is not fake
Doubt is acceptable, certainty is absurd
“Buddhism is not a creed, it is a doubt” said Gilbert K. Chesterton

And I believe, the sun will come up tomorrow
The sun will come up whether I’ll awake to see it, or not.

And I doubt. . .
I doubt that I’ll get laid tonight.