Category: Poems from the book Dragonfly Tomorrows & Dog-eared Yesterdays

“The Sixties” won a blue ribbon for First Place in “Flashback to the ’60s” poetry at the 2017 Marin County Fair. I wrote it specifically to enter in the fair in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. I’m honored, and find it slightly ironic given that my knowledge of America in the 1960s is purely secondhand. However, a lot of my older friends who were alive then say I was born in the wrong generation, or perhaps, am some reincarnated hippie. The 1960s remain my favorite period in both music and American history. Given my affinity for that time period, I’m happy this poem did so well at the fair. Although I had entered in various categories over the years, 2017 was the first time I had won a blue ribbon at the Marin County Fair. In fact, I won two, so go check out “Lift Off!” next!

The Sixties

We were more than just hippies,
artfully clad in paisley and beads,
dancing in circles, hugging trees,
for in these short years,
we brought about revolutions, peacefully.

We made pilgrimage
to North Beach and Greenwich Village
and settled in the Haight,
making music about this world’s fate.

Joining hands, united by songs,
we dreamed of a time where we all got along—
an evolution of humanity,
where each and every soul could live free.

As we lazed upon the grasses,
we took every journey of the mind,
sought out all the truth we could find,
rediscovering ancient spirituality,
while forging the way for a brand new reality.

We explored traditions beyond our family,
seeking out new ways to be,
loving, living, communally,
surrounded by nature’s endless beauty.

We marched together in harmony,
people gathered together as vast as the sea,
fighting for our brothers and sisters to be free—
free from Jim Crow’s tyranny.

We stood up against an unjust war,
questioning just what we were fighting for.
Linked our arms together with strangers,
united for justice and peace.

As a generation came together,
this great nation changed forever,
inching closer towards a dream.

County Fair Winners Poems from the book Dragonfly Tomorrows & Dog-eared Yesterdays

“Lift Off!” won a blue ribbon for First Place in Fair Themed Poetry. “Let the Funshine In!” was the 2017 theme for the Marin County Fair. As I was preparing my entries for county fairs this year, I wrote this poem to capture the magic of attending the fair which celebrates both long held traditions and new technology. County fair season has become one of my favorite yearly experiences. I am grateful to the 2017 Marin County Fair for awarding a blue ribbon to this poem. This year the my first year where I received a blue ribbon at the Marin fair. In fact, I received two, so please, after you read “Lift Off!” check out “The Sixties” as well.

 

Lift Off!

Mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons
romping around in the sweet summer sun,
gazing at paintings and sculptures that won,
and creating memories for years to come.

Faces erupting in huge, silly grins,
wrapped in the awe of experience,
exploring centuries old traditions,
and trying fascinating new inventions.

Preserving the artistry of yesterday,
quilting and canning is here to stay.
Decked out in ribbons of red and blue
farm animals happily call out to you.

Couples walk the fairgrounds hand in hand,
enjoying the notes flowing from the bandstand.
Fried food fragrance fills the air,
informing your nose that it’s at the fair.

Glowing rides illuminate the midway
as families unite in fun for a day.
Fireworks ignite a summertime sky,
as the Ferris wheel turns, oh, so high.

Kids try their luck at games of chance.
Winning toy prizes sparks a joyful dance.
Folks cheer loudly as the animals race.
There’s something so magic about this place.

Yes, it’s that amazing time of year again,
when you can let the fun shine in!
Why are you just standing there, son?
C’mon! Lift off! The fair has begun!

County Fair Winners Poems from the book Dragonfly Tomorrows & Dog-eared Yesterdays

This haiku was inspired by my seeing a mouse wiggling around on my street on a sunny spring day. It was such an unusual sight to see a mouse outside in broad daylight, so I decided to capture the moment in a poem. “Street Mouse” won a 2nd place red ribbon for “Any Other Haiku” at the 2017 Marin County Fair. This was my first time ever submitting a haiku to any fair, so I am quite happy with the results. Thank you so much to the judges!

Street Mouse

A mouse sunbathing
on hot concrete, rolling like
a pup, belly up.

 

View all award winning poems past and present from different county fairs by visiting the County Fair Winners category.

County Fair Winners Poems from the book Dragonfly Tomorrows & Dog-eared Yesterdays

I wrote about my first dog, Sally, specifically in order to enter the 2017 Marin County Fair’s “My Pet” creative writing category. It received a third place ribbon. My gratitude and thanks to the judges! Read all the county fair winning poetry both past and present by visiting the County Fair Winners category.

My beloved childhood pet poodle passed away on Independence Day in 1999 at age 13 during a vacation in Texas. I was 16 at the time, and she had been a huge part of my life for as long as I could remember. Please, please take care of your pets around the holidays as they are often frightened by fireworks. The poem below is lovingly dedicated to her memory.

Sally

Sally dog

My first doggy had curls as black as charcoal,
but even more beautiful was her sweet soul.
My Sally, dear Sally, how I loved her so!
I met her when I was just three years old.

Forever, forever, my heart, she stole
with sweet puppy kisses worth more than gold.
Oh Sally, dear Sally, I watched her get old.
Together like sisters, we both did grow.

I shall never forget that fourth of July.
The loss of our canine—torrents we did cry!
My Sally, dear Sally, she ran off in fright
as fireworks crackled on that clear Texas night.

Many family dogs have since come to play,
joining my dear Sally in my heart these days,
but the love of such a gentle friend never fades.
Having known a dog’s love, we are left changed.

County Fair Winners Poems from the book Dragonfly Tomorrows & Dog-eared Yesterdays

Silver Ribbon This year was my first time entering the Alameda County Fair. They treat their poets really well there. Each exhibiting poet was invited to read their poem or poems at the fair. If you’re a poet in the bay area, I’d highly recommend entering next year. The fair was loads of fun, too!

My poem, “Expectations of a Future” is on display ther until July 9th, so if you can make it to Pleasanton, go check it out. It won a Silver Award rosette. I uploaded a video of my reading to my Youtube.

Expectations of a Future

We are but overgrown children,
souls colliding,
trained in a time that no longer exists
for a world that never will,
stumbling through our days
with outdated road maps,
clinging to memories
of a previous normality,
encountering the fallacies
of an unpredictable future,
learning to bounce.

County Fair Winners Poems from the book Dragonfly Tomorrows & Dog-eared Yesterdays

Blanton-Kiowa Line

From Blanton up to Kiowa ran the Santa Fe,
her whistles lay silent to this very day.
It all started in 1902 by the DE&G,
stretching across the land just as far as you could see.

Passing through the towns that dotted the Great Plains,
she carried many a man and grain,
transporting stories of love and pain,
even running up those Great Salt Plains.

For ninety odd years, her tracks, they sang
as the street crossing bells, so sweetly they rang,
where the Rock Island line once met the Santa Fe,
greeting passengers as they went on their way.

Bought up by K&E back in 1997,
this line ceased to be—gone to train track heaven.
Old maps and books alone now speak of her station.
Her tool house leaves no trace of its foundation.

Her bridges have now fallen into the river.
No more freight shall she deliver.
The line still vivisects the landscape—
a scarred reminder of past escapes.

The land is divided by a barrier of green—
a line of trees that once shielded folks from the heat
slices through squares of red dirt, hay, and wheat.
In this land that once tilled itself to dust,
only a few tracks remain, just left to rust.

Now no one remembers ole W.B. Blanton,
nor the big white sign for his namesake junction.
He worked the rails from the south to the west,
once touted in the papers as one of the best.

So when you’re out walking that Pine Pass Trail,
just remember the story of these mighty rails.
If they could only talk, the stories they’d surely tell
of the Blanton-Kiowa line that once ran so swell.

Oklahoma Poems Poems from the book Dragonfly Tomorrows & Dog-eared Yesterdays