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Featured Poet: Lynne Thompson

California, USA

Twilight of the Iguana


(Una Historia de Los Poetas)


One thousand open doors.

Keys.  Moon spills.

Trembling blades of grass,

 singing, we are still alive.


A red sun pours from their eyes

and quasars and pulsars.

Rain-hair.  Lives enshrined

in a meadow's dark mysteries.


In a boiling kettle, gingery soap.

In transition, mariposa fluttering.

Fish and the reflections of fish.  

Nights' storied colors buried in caves.


Antique forests' laurel and thyme

to be deciphered by elusive lovers. 

What they always will be,

chosen, invented posthumously:


shadow and defiant root,

panpipes of ivory and bone,

the lilies of a crazy cosmos

when the Portuguese arrivedaEUR|.


Mama taught me ugly


every summer morning

when she'd wake us up,

untangle our slim brown legs

nightly knitted into coverlets

in the darkness

while we slept.

Yawning, we'd stumble-fall,

playful as baby Persians,

into the bathroom, share

shower, half-brush teeth,

scramble for scrambled eggs

& bacon, then dress uniformly:

shorts, t-shirts, open-toed sandals

and march into her for the Rite

of the Braiding of the Little Girls Hair.


Mama always began the ceremony

with them, one before the other,

then visa versa

every other day.

The one with green eyes

had 1000 loose, soft curls

and took longer but

mama didn't mind

and always sang

steal away

for the first 40 minutes

brushing, then ending

by binding the 2 butt-long braids

together at their bottoms

with tri-colored ribbons rescued

from an old cigarbox.


After   you could still see

the chaotic ringlets burst

merrily from those braids,

flapping about like the tails

of friendly mermaids.


The other one had dark eyes

black as oriental pools

where zen masters are said

to mine secrets;

she had no curls

but mama didn't mind

and worked rhythmically

for 60 minutes to put ringlets

in her arrow-straight hair

then tied them

with white silk threads,

whistling to herself, softly,

while running peapod-shaped combs

through the strands

like she was unfurling gypsy strands.


After   you could still see

that hair reflecting shine

like the shine of the enamel boxes

atop an antique wicker table

on mama's side of the bed.


Finally, she didn't waste any time

with me, sing or whistle,

just briskly combed, brushed, spit

down the nappy strays, 10 minutes tops.


Then out we all went,

happy, freed,

if only for a summer,

to innocent play,

my mother's lovely daughters

and me.



What Poverty Does


Poverty sits on the side of a road

frying day-old bread and bananas.

Cups one dove brown hand upward for alms.

Wraps a serape tight against cold with the other.

Follows abuela into Bugambilia Restaurante

where she sells dolls, candy and scraps of colored yarn.


Poverty stares through the eyes of old men in le jardin

who, having seen it all, have seen

too much, but still hope.


It clips the wings of el pajaros fleeing

La Parroquia's steeples at six o'clock.

At 6:15, it stills the laughter of los ninos

who play with a crippled cat that has no home

& whistles through the bared teeth of roof dogs

playing war games with the bones of bony chickens.


Poverty rolls up the cobblestones en la noche

then, unable to sleep, encircles its arms

around the wide hips of aging women in the dark.



(in tribute to the artist, William H. Johnson)


Bend me backwards, baby, 

and hold my hand up high.

Woncha bend me backwards, baby, 

and hold my hand up high?

If you'll wrap your arms around me,  

you & I can flit and fly!


O, honky-tonk me, baby,

dance me right on out my shoes.

You know you honky-tonk me, baby;

woncha dance me * right on out these shoes?

With your cheek so close to mine, dear,

you sho' can shimmy-shake my blues.


My man looks so good tonight that

I don't care what folks may say.

They say we look too fine tonight, love,

so we don't care what folks may say.

The man can talk his ole jive number,

but we're fine as hell here anyway.


So, bend me backwards, baby *

hold our hands up to the sky.

Dip and bend me backwards, baby,

and hold our hands up to the sky.

With your strong black arms around me,

you & I will flee and fly!




Lynne Thompson is a native of Los Angeles with a

Caribbean heritage. Her first chapbook, We Arrive By

Accumulation, was published in 2002 and

other work has appeared or is forthcoming in Indiana

Review, Louisiana Literature,Rattle, Runes, Solo and

Pearl as well as on the websites

and She can be reached at

poetess151 at earthlink dot net



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