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Deborah Fruchey

Author & Editor

Buddha Beach

Nature rarely piles rocks in a tower
3 or more sitting on each other like hats
Hikers do it to mark the trail
to say “you are here”
Strangers do it on Buddha Beach
to show you “it is here”
but do not tell you what it is

There are such piles
at every vortex in Sedona
but on Buddha Beach
the trail is the only flat ground
Piles as prolific as weeds in the dirt
on the swooping branches of trees
in the midst of the gentle current

Come back another season
and rangers have scattered them
Yet another crop grows
towers of aha! among the trees

gods can be found everywhere
but they like it here

 

 

First Prize, Nature

100th Ina Coolbrith Annual Poetry Contest

Camping, Near Modesto

Nubbins and twigs and
less hygienic things
are poking through my socks
as I walk back through the woods
from peeing on hot and cold running
pine needles.

Wobbly with winey air,
I flip off the flashlight
and the felty black comes flailing down,
crash-landing in slow motion
on my  inner city-state.
The silence is crusted
and  broken, like snow.
The stars
are savage things,
they need
nothing at all from me.

O, slowest brother, born to the middle,
O brother of riddles,
who waits behind every fire:
if ever we reach
a night like this,
and if it should awaken in me
anything less than terror and abject love

pick up your heart, I beg  you,
pick up your mind
like an axe made of bullets and wool,
and kindly
kill me.

(2nd Honorable Mention,

Ina Coolbrith Annual Poetry Contest, 2010, Category: Nature)   

Lost

Someone always is.
It doesn’t matter how.
The state is complete in itself
like a mushroom or a grave.

Someone is lost,
and the place they’re in
fits nowhere on their agenda,
won’t show on maps
or satellite photographs.

Someone is lost.
Whether adult or child,
they are afraid,
haunted by disappearing earth.
A world that once contained
hairdryers, fences, crowds
now is only a track among the bracken.

Someone is lost.
Whether or not there are search parties
doesn’t matter to them.
They are just as lost
as if no helicopters were churning.

Someone is lost
and it might not be a forest;
it could be a love affair or a hospital bed.
All we can do is report that we’re searching.

Someone is lost.
It happens sometimes.
Sometimes,
that’s the end of the story.


(Third Prize
Ina Coolbrith Annual Poetry Contest 2011, Category: Journeys)

 

Roadside Motel

The doorknobs are grimy

The carpet nap is worn bald

A desk clerk stares through you

and back at his TV

You write down a name,

any name, it doesn’t matter

You were never here and she wasn’t with you

She palms the key under rhine-stoned fingernails

 

The wall unit rattles and thumps

The quilt is thin as a bandaid strip

You guess the sheets are molted gray

but you never see them

She chews gum the entire time

After, you wait idly for a serial killer

to jump out of the shower stall

Place like this, a person could disappear easy

like a courtesy soap or shampoo

get replaced with an identical item

by sundown

 

 

(Third Prize winner:

 Bay Area Poets Dinner 2016, Spaces & Places category)

Geisha: portrait in a hot tub

Curled on the wooden edge
of a damp and frothy hour,
white as a geisha, wrapped,
like a towel, around Wonder
drowsy with hunger I try
to add us up
by the random sum of his parts.

The knobbly knees,
the toes like crickets,
lax, irrelevant; the fingers
rolled, the eyelids
curled, the eyebrows
odd, imported, as if from
some blurred and ginger Manchu dynasty.
O timid Samurai,
those lips of softened, melted wax
that scholar’s face
so delicate and
brutalised

does not explain
the way you ruffled
my shy idiocies, dug up
my trilobite passions,
knelt, and brought
hot tea to my heart --
stayed
to see I drank it.

 

(First Prize:
Benicia Love Poetry Contest, 2009)

Advice from Eden

Most of our lovers
are wearing too much,
even if all they have on
is their skin.

Love means being
naked
with somebody,
whether or not
you ever get undressed.

 

Second Prize,
2013 Benicia Love Poetry Contest

FIDDLE: A Sexual Philosophy

I honestly don’t care
how many fiddles there are
in the orchestra.
I just don’t
play second.

 


(2nd Honorable Mention

Bay Area Poet’s Dinner 2009, Category: Humor)

Where It All Happened

In a year, there is silence
at Ground Zero.
All the body parts
have been mailed back -
but not enough for everyone.
Someone is just a stain,
a gout of corruption on a tire tread
driven ankle deep in ash that day
over lumps that were the dead.
“He knows where the bodies are buried”
is forevermore an obscene joke; and if
Bin Laden doesn’t know the punchline,
how can we?

Someone I love is just a mote
on a migrating updraught in Spain.                        

 

 

(Second Prize:
Bay Area Poets Dinner 2012, Category: Spaces & Places)