“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” — John F. Kennedy

Do You Enjoy poetrywatch?

Artwork by Hilary Cole

Want to see it continue? Then please, send your poems to us and let the Whatcom Watch share them with our readership! Seriously, we really do want your roughly 25-line poems though length is by no means a deal-breaker; it’s how you use those lines. Featuring or specific to Whatcom County and issues addressed by Whatcom Watch such as government, the environment and media. Send your poems to: poetry@whatcomwatch.org and let’s make magic happen.

Boris Schleinkofer, poetrywatch editor Subject matter is unlimited, but poetry featuring or specific to Whatcom County and issues addressed by Whatcom Watch (government, the environment and media) will likely get first preference. Please keep it to around 25 lines; otherwise, we might have to edit your work to fit. Don’t make yourself unprintable. Send poems and your short, two- or three-sentence bios as a word document attachment to poetry@whatcomwatch.org. The deadline is the first day of the month. Please understand that acceptance and final appearance of pieces are subject to space constraints and editorial requirements. By submitting, authors give Whatcom Watch permission for one-time publication rights in the paper and electronic editions.


            by Steve Hood

As wildfires consume the rainforest,
animals flee for their lives,

isolated in rooms of a compound
of a messianic cult in the woods,
we pray to plutocracy unregulated,

as smoke fills the air of my town
near British Columbia forest fires,

we won’t have to bother with voting
anymore because the stupid goons
will always cheat, lie, threaten lives,

as I douse myself with gasoline,
sit on the Capitol steps with a lighter,

when fascism finally overwhelms
the hot land, bright blazes race
down hills, consume neighborhoods,

as democracy burns up, corporate
flamethrowers spray liquid fire.

Steve Hood is an attorney, poet, and political activist who has lived in Bellingham since about 2003.

Home Waters

by Matthew Campbell Roberts

You walk over green stones
into a new life.
Cottonwood leaves carry the year’s
message downstream.
The dipper dives shallow currents for larvae.
There’s no time for looking back,
the river says, move seaward
toward unconquerable light.

In a side-channel, your own beginning
and detritus swirl
as you wade beaver’s pool
and admire its fortress of
gnawed alder branches.
Let the island’s forest
bathe you in its holy air.
Isn’t this why we are here?

Now you cross the river for home
and walk the familiar
path until swallows turn invisible,
and the land you know doesn’t exist anymore.
Deer graze alfalfa fields;
white eyes glow in green dusk.
Anything is possible.


Matthew Campbell Roberts earned a B.A. in English from Western Washington University and an M.F.A. from Eastern Washington University. He teaches college composition and creative writing classes and lives in Bellingham.

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