Weeding Goosefoot*

October 18, 2015

WEEDING GOOSEFOOT by Angela Belcaster
2015 Merit Award
By Angela Belcaster

Weeding Goosefoot

I am weeding in my sleep.
Goosefoot, this time.
I have to look it up when I wake:

It really does resemble
the sweet leathered foot of a goose —
how many times I’ve knelt
brown-kneed, supplicant-positioned,
then ripped them out of the ground?

Tricky, this weeding business. They bite back some,
the ones who seem to know
the stutters in my immunology,
my hundred and seven Achilles’s heels.

Truth: we are appalled by each other’s strangeness.

Me, walking about,
searching for the next unmatched thing to rip out,
they, wanting nothing more
than dirt, sun, and mercy.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2015 by Angela Belcaster. Broadside illustrated by Mat Hudson.

In the Dance Studio*

September 14, 2014

Angela Belcaster - In the Dance Studio
In the Dance Studio
By Angela Belcaster
2014 Merit Award

Sofia, my daughter:
Your blonde hair’s broke free of gravity again,
Lifted by a whirlwind of notes
your toes and shoulders and arms ascend.

At your age I hid
in closets, under beds, in trees,
I climbed and deflected and crouched
And turned my body into dance
only when I dreamed

Sofia, look:

Your dark leather dance shoes
are the only thing holding you from breaking free
from flying up into the slipstream, into the music;
Think them into black crows and rise when you are ready You’re Persephone my dear; rewritten the story thus:
Once freed by this spring, you’re not going back,
just try and make you.

If love can change lives
then I am saved.

It’s half my genes in you, dancing.

*Copyright 2014 by Angela Belcaster. Broadside designed by Anita K. Boyle, Egress Studio. Illustration by Angela Boyle, Flying Dodo Publications.


May 2, 2014

Taste for Poetry, Bellingham, WA

At the annual Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest fundraising dinner, Taste for Poetry, after the culinary wizards at Ciao Thyme filled the guests with delicious food, and the featured poet, Angela Belcaster, filled the guests with tasty poetry, it was time to take pen to paper. It has become something of a tradition to create exquisite corpse poems, passing the sheet up one long side of each table. Here are the results of this year’s efforts, each line written by a separate guest who could see only the last-written line (the writer’s words, caps and punctuation preserved, where legible):

“Gratitude to the Plants, the sun-facing light-changing leaf”
Gratitude to the loam and the darkness that lives beneath
Gratitude to the dizziness of the carousel of life.
Finding truth in the lamb meatballs
My heart beats at the sight of the beets
But my eyes are still in the potato’s
Which are truly the spuds of my childhood.
Sprout in spring and by Fall — rich round — sustaining
. . . . .
Opening line from “Prayer for the Great Family” by Gary Snyder

“There you were, and it was like spring—like the first fair water with light on it, hitting the eyes.”
And here I am & it’s just like winter
Too many winters makes for a dull knife
But dull or sharp, knives cut
inscribing hieroglyphics on the skin
There is nothing more loud that the quiet of the din
And nothing so deep as the well you fall into
Uh… so that happened…
. . . . .
Opening line from “There you were, and it was like spring” by Mary Oliver

“Towards evening, shining silver globes…a vast field of dandelions backlit by the slanting sun.”
Dancing naked in wide circles, singing “oho” to the sky
Bright, light, sparkling… Freedom.
A gift from the Gods
A chorus girl whose legs were slightly chubby
dances the dance of love and life, light and air
knee deep in mud embrace the spring
oooh, mud pie, my my o my, ooh hoo
and the earth spewed forth mud in the form of pie
and Pythagoras said Mud in the eye!
. . . . .
Opening line from “Dandelions on North Garden Street” by Lorna Murphy

“Beneath an intensely hot sun new landscapes hover and shimmer in the air.”
I breath deep
overwhelmed by the beautiful field of poppies
weeds masked the flower’s scent
while birds sing songs of the unsung
Roberta reels from the blue — un swung
to dance between the rain drops
Something only Gene Kelly could do
Well that’s what they said — but they haven’t seen me naked.
Oh Yah! Yes, Yes
. . . . .
Opening line from “Poems from Ish River Country” by Robert Sund

“Then old man sunset takes a stroll down the reach”
He stumbles, bumbles, and fumbles
then gets up and sweeps the tired earth
or maybe just watches birds fly, leaves rustle, and butterflies flit
Sleeping, dreaming sort of days, wondering
Why, when the miracle of blood moons,
And the mystery of the Constellations meet,
Where the twins dance and the rams do bleat
I sit and ponder my past and only wonder.
. . . . .
Opening line from “Squalicum” by Erik Burge

A spontaneous (and unofficial) poem with no opening line, passed from hand to hand among diners

A woman who loves flowers and exquisite corpses
flows and exudes cormorants
but birds are just rats with wings
they fly above their baser natures
And swoop below the sky
on a wing and an updraft left to their own devices
the hippo and the hyena lay down together on a Sunday afternoon
They conspired to steal third base
In haste they discussed Kafka, cockroaches, the phases of the moon
allowing their appetites to emerge, dripping saliva to flow
give me a napkin for my chin
let me grasp my pain

Ciao Thyme - Taste for Poetry

Today, Tuesday, April 15, 2014, is your last chance to purchase a ticket to Taste for Poetry — the sensational dining extravaganza that supports the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest. This year’s dinner (on Tuesday, April 22) will feature Moroccan-inspired fare by the Ciao Thyme kitchen magicians, poetic interludes by Angela Belcaster and excellent company around the table.

Go now: Brown Paper Tickets!

poetry plaques on view!

August 22, 2013

2013 - plaque - Belcaster

The 2013 Sue Boynton Poetry Contest Walk Award poems are now installed on plaques in front of the Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Avenue. They will remain in place until summer 2014. Stroll by and read some poetry!

April Night*

August 21, 2013

Angela Belcaster - April Night
2013 Walk Award
By Angela Belcaster

I saw a spin of cherry blossoms lifted
from the curb by the wind, a pink
eddy whirled and spun;
a bubblegum cyclone, a startle of petals turning
under the brown street light.

It was a clean spring
and I thought of you,

but gravity and sense held me,
not bearing to step into things such as this
that dream their own weather, as in mountains,
as in love, as in gods, unable to bear the thought
of what chaos might be caused —
of what chaos I have caused —
by my trespass
by the memory, the familiar falling

of petals onto wet ground.

*Copyright 2013 by Angela Belcaster. Placard designed and illustrated by Anita K. Boyle Egress Studio.

Spring Cleaning*

February 3, 2011

By Angela Belcaster
2008 Walk Award
Placard design by Egress Studio

We turn our heart inside out
and shake it for all it’s worth.
Get the dust out, let it rise in a cloud of grit.
Pin it on the line and give it a good beating,
let it hang in the sun till it’s warm, the valves,
those loosened Chordae tendinae flapping,
the wind whistling through its parts:
A good airing out.

Worry that a storm will come, and what we don’t know
is: the heart hopes it is so and while we sleep
it starts: the murmur in the chest,
the sound the doctor never hears, the knock against
our ribs, the bang of empty cup on the boney bars.

We watch the clouds and wait
until that last moment to take it in; the sky
coming down now in jigsaw sideways pieces,
the clothespins tumbling to the ground,
hold it close, bent as we run for the house,
it beats and beats and beats its wish for the feel
of just a little rain, of storm,
          of hurricane, even.

*Copyright 2008 by Angela Belcaster. This poem appears in POETRY WALK: Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest – The First Five Years. Info: Book! Placard design by Egress Studio.

Rain Words*

September 28, 2010

Placard design by Egress Studio
2009 Merit Award
By Angela Belcaster

Rain on the grey of galvanized tin,
rain on the roofs, rain in the basements, moss
rooting into our shoulders the shaded side
toss salt for good luck and look down:
it becomes sea before it hits the ground.

Rain on the cemetery so much
that things long settled shift. Terse rain.
Kryptonite rain, Rain with a half-life
of ten thousand years. Notched rain.
Rain we cannot speak.

The itch of our rain hairshirts; rancorous rain,
we knew, all along, that we have conjured
all       this       rain.

Rain sonata dampened notes, rain on the Pleiades.
Rain in hell, rain nails on barn windows,
rain for dinner again; a cloudburst over our tables.

And just when we think we’ve become it,
And just when we think we know
our watery, weakened hearts, we look down:
An entire epistemology in a puddle at our feet.
Untouched amid, still blurry
something new and green is rising.

*Copyright 2009 by Angela Belcaster. This poem is included in POETRY WALK: Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest – The First Five Years. Info: Book! Placard design by Egress Studio.

That Fragile Helix*

July 30, 2010

2007 Walk Award
That Fragile Helix
By Angela Belcaster

That fragile helix hugging itself
has come a long way—broke down, repaired,
and shaped
     by so many things.
An unwearied walker across time, consider
     the places
your genetic code has been.

Sequenced from the same stuff, each of us,
but taken other drawn out and different treks,
finding its traveler’s joy in the
bright and leathery fruits of our differences.

And when we meet what things we have to speak of:
willows, sand, the din of desert caravan, ice and
the gardens at Alexandria, the glare of the sun
in Seoul at midday, the voluptuousness
of a peach,
our genetics peering out from behind the skirts
     of who we think we are,

*Copyright 2007 by Angela Belcaster. This poem appears in POETRY WALK: Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest – The First Five Years. Info: Book!

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