US EAST COAST JOURNAL
by Patrick Harvey
We came on the Blue line
to Arlington memorial
from the visitor centre walked uphill
amid a group of soldiers
pleasantly informal, taking photos,
towards the Kennedy grave and eternal flame.
In front of it the words of his inaugural speech
set in a stone semicircle
Ask what you can do for your country.
Further up the hill
the crowds thinning in heavy rain
at a circular stone pergola
we turned towards the changing of the guard-
our soldiers, sheltering
down in the guard room-
above, spectators in the wet waiting then
back to the visitor centre past bursting azaleas
by ourselves and drenched.
Travel on the Red line, then bus via UMass
building site since the 80s
underground parking has already collapsed,
thanks to using off-spec materials.
The white Kennedy library
floating on the waterfront,
our guide wearing jacket and tie,
we tour around the basement,
in booths, the TV debate with Nixon,
Cuba crisis and confrontation with Krushchev
at the Vienna summit photo of Jackie with Mr K.
Feted on the trips to Berlin and Ireland
And finally fateful Dallas.
Jackie didnít want visitors to leave feeling sad.
I had been emotional throughout
tears never far away.
JFK had vision, a willingness to learn
a new frontier of presidency
he put the people at the centre
a break with the past,
At the end of his 100 days
Trump claims this too, his words are empty.
Walked the greened Highline
came upon Whitney Museum and the Biennial
lucky we didnít follow our DK guide
which has it on Museum mile on the Upper East Side.
This outburst of political protest
in paintings and installations.
Occupy Museum calls to task
the money men who buy museums
built on the debts of struggling artists.
Hummel figures on a treadmill,
in thrall to their mobiles,
the museumís transparent west face
mirrors multiple scenes from a broken city life.
This generationís discontent with inequality
must shake the status quo
and break with the empty Trump.
by Karyn Newman
Another trip around the sun in the year I turned fifty one.
I look behind, I look ahead
at where Iíve been, and where
the next year might lead.
Some birthdays seem sharp, even in rear view.
I remember well turning twenty one.
Dancing rock and roll with my dad, my sister had too much to drink.
A group of us camped out in the back yard overnight,
Diane and Keith slept in their car, with their feet out the back.
But eight? Eighteen, twenty eight? Those days are lost to me.
Sands through the hourglass, spent.
When young, hours and days shiny with potential shimmered ahead
as time held its breath, and released gently.
Now weeks and months rush by, stormy wind through the trees.
I try to grasp them all, hold them to me.
Precious, untapped promise of what can be.
How have I spent the coin of the last 365 days?
My fiftieth was fab, sparkling fun and friend filled.
Other days are also easy - historic times.
Brexit shocked, the results ripple still.
America got Trumped, interesting days ahead.
A new kitchen at home, a new office at work
and holidays for exploring the world.
Body bits are hurting, there seems more of that,
lots of laughter, friendship, and wine.
A year of change, yet only just behind.
What will I remember, when Iím sixty four?
The calendar on my wall rustles, days like leaves
call me to fill them with stuff that matters.
Maintaining friendships, making new adventures,
even keeping the old routines.
Some things I remember clearly, see with sharp focused lens
others blur behind me, Iíve taken my glasses off.
Most days of the year have disappeared in the dark.
Yet they all serve to form me, to be part of my choices
the direction of where I want to go, of where I want to be.
The days ahead still glisten with possibility.
Best get on with it.
RICHMOND RIVERSIDE AT NIGHT
by Camilla Reeve
Night spread itself before me,
thick, soft and otherworldly
as a velvet stole. Rare points of brightness glowed
from stars, riding lights on little boats,
and glimmers from curtained rooms
that made the dark feel darker.
The Inn behind me with its crowd of drinkers
pulsed small and tinny, as if a miniature
of Richmondís nightlife were sketched in ink.
Ahead, a world where half a moon was hung
against its cloudy wrap of indigo,
where every gleam that showed
was matched by night-timeís blackest robes
making pretend no human stood there,
no voices called from friend to friend,
no evening merriment was nearly at an end
but never had been in this world at all,
just swarming lights like fireflies in the shade
and air for once not warm or cool but radiant
with all the energy and beauty of a place Ė
Eden perceived as night instead of day,
love seen as what enfolds to keep us safe.
by Jane Sherwin
When Autumn tinges coloured hues
hidden odours waft,
tenuous harmony emerges.
a vibrant evening sun,
and nature gleams exquisitely,
chrome, orange, lemon,
ochre, umber, red.
by Jenny Messer
Puffins, Guillemots, Razor Bills,
washed up on the shores,
from Wales to the beaches
as far as Northern France.
The winter storms battered the British Isles
doing so much damage
to homes and livelihoods,
did more than we could know.
These beautiful birds,
would normally be ready to mate,
being round bodied
from their fill of winter fish.
Now lying battered and starved to death,
washed in on stormy seas,
along with the myriad
flotsam and jetsam.
Farewell beautiful birds.