Judith Yarrow

The Immigrant

He came, an immigrant, my father’s father,
to these lush valleys, marshlands, streams,
the hills glacier-scraped to subsoil
glacier-covered with stones, gravel, and silt.
On land grown over with fir and alder, he found
timber for house and barn, wood for cooking
in the dark mornings and long, dark afternoons
of rainy winters, green and damp as any
Norwegian spring, a paradise.
………………………………………With work
and luck, a lot of work—and luck is what you make it—
a man could raise a family here, build
a farm to last through all the generations.
No more beatings at the hand of the sea, no more
renting land, no more logging for the bosses.
A wife, children, beds filling room
after room, and neighbors near
enough to help but not to crowd.

……………………………………..A man could live a life
and forget how things change beyond calculation:
children grown, and gone, the barn slowly
melting into the earth of its timbers,
family and farm both long altered,
his hard-shelled dreams now gone to weed,
though he’d find traces still of what he planted.


“The Immigrant” is reprinted from New to North America: Writings by Immigrants, Their Children and Grandchildren (1997).


Long-time Seattle resident, Judith Yarrow is a poet, artist, editor. She has published two poetry chapbooks, The Immigrant and Borderlands. Her poems have appeared in Cicada, Clear-cut: An Anthology of Seattle Writers, Duckabush Journal, Edge: International Arts Interface, Bellowing Ark, North Country Anvil, and elsewhere. She lives with her husband in Southeast Seattle.

Georgia S. McDade

Real Peace


Real peace means no war, of course.
But real peace demands so much more
……..than no war.
Though no war is an excellent
Peace requires no fear of war.

The physical body must be safe.
There is more than adequate food,
……..shelter, attire.
And there is no worry that any one—not
……..to mention all three—will disappear.
This physical body gets preventive
……..medical and dental care and
……..treatment when needed.
And there is no worry that benefits will
……..be reduced or exhausted nor service

The mental body must be at least equally
……..safe; some might argue safer.
Peace provides space for education,
……..a good, solid education full of
……..knowledgeable teachers who
……..recognize the humanity of all and do
……..not see differences as inferiority.
……..Questioning without fear of
……..repercussion is ever the case.

Peace also allows spiritual development
……..of any and every variety.
Again there is no fear.

The stress created by the lack of any one
……..of the above can shatter peace,
……..shatter peace overtly or maybe simply
……..covertly, but shatter peace nevertheless.
……..And all of us are not always like the
……..oyster; the stress does not always
……..result in our creating pearls though
……..this stress may indeed make us shells
……..of ourselves.
Finally, real peace allows us to pursue
……..happiness as we see fit when that
……..pursuit harms no one.
And opportunity and justice permeate
……..this paradise.

The ever-present governor without
……..exception recognizes that no pursuit
……..of the ultimate personhood and real
……..peace diminishes another or the


This poem was written for the Abe Keller Peace Fund, 11/22/12. “The Abe Keller Peace Education Fund was organized in 1998 to address peace-education needs in the Puget Sound community through fund-raising and grant-making for worthy peace-education activities.”


Georgia S. McDade lives in Seattle. The charter member of the African American Writer’s Alliance (AAWA) began reading her stories in public in 1991.  She regularly contributed opinion pieces for Pacific Newspapers, especially the South District Journal, and reported for KBCS (91.3 FM).  Emphasizing that “Good writing can force us to think and think critically; we can theorize, organize, analyze, and synthesize better,” McDade conducts writing workshops.  Her works include Travel Tips for Dream Trips, about her six-month, solo trip around the world; Outside the Cave  and Outside the Cave II, collections of poetry; and numerous essays and stories.

Jeanne Gordner

River Float – 1950

Three Children and I on inflated mattresses
…….drifted Toutle River’s snowmelt water
…….eddied quietly to a narrow gorge where

the river narrowed between rocky cliffs
dropped steeply…… surged
white water roiling and spinning
…… past boulders and downed trees.

Toutle’s steep descent tossed us
airborne into whirlpools…… under water and
above again ….in confined passage
between cliffs and reaching driftwood.

water’s roar and echo
. overwhelming our screams, hurled us
……over deep holes…… under tree limbs
………………………. like homing fish.

…….Half a mile downstream the canyon
…….opened and Toutle quieted to the percussion of
…….water against stony beach.

We waded ashore
…. heard nests of song in alder and aspen
.. . felt sun’s heat.

Elated with our venture
we trudged the road back to camp and
abandoned ourselves again and again
…… to river’s icy race and swirl,
………. its fluid passage between rock and rock. Until

too weary to tramp the road again
we sat and watched water patterns
interlace and elongate westward
watched as sun slid behind trees
its last light dancing in the river.



(In 1980 Mt. St. Helens erupted, filling the gorge with muck and trees)


Jeanne Gordner grew up in Longview Washington, then enrolled in Reed College, majoring in Political Science.  Lloyd Reynolds introduced her to modern poetry, and she has been writing ever since. Eventually she became a teacher and taught for several years in Yakima, and then substituted in Oak Harbor schools when her family moved to Whidbey Island.  She returned to Olympia and was one of the original members of Olympia Poetry Network, which has enriched her writing life in many ways. Currently she lives in a retirement community and participates in a writing class. She has published three chapbooks.  

Kim Loomis-Bennett

Marnie Clark


Every time he got to me, every time he lay on me,
I wore a path to a thistle-choked ravine.

Past the garden, past father’s grave,
when step-father got his hands up my skirt,

prodded into me—Marnie, my darling, my dove
his calluses against my raw thighs, my neck when I struggled.

I’d stare across the ravine—blue hills like frozen waves.
A stern breeze scrubbed his stench from my skin.


He was awfully quiet; how Mother knew I couldn’t say.
After he left, I saw her sharp face peering in the shed window.

I slid off an old bench, yanked my dress into place.
She stared in like I was a stranger—I stared back.

Mother ranted at my gaunt figure when I couldn’t eat,
lost my job at Hoyt’s café—mostly she missed my pay.

I paced my room at night, always a book in hand,
always a lantern glowing low, softly reading Bible lore.

Her face soft, my little sister Helen
hugged her ragdoll, lulled to sleep by my footfall.


Mother gave me pills to start my monthlies,
banished her husband to a cellar room—Marnie, my dove.

Helen asked why her daddy slept down with the spiders;
I said they caught his bad ideas, wrapped them in webs.


I was sent to work at an all-woman’s hotel, west of us in Seattle,
rode the train out, ready for liberty, even if only as a Lincoln Hotel maid.

I found amusement in foreign travelers’ voices,
odd curios in waterfront shops, the long shadows of tall buildings,

even a tinge of contentment in polishing mahogany furniture,
making up brass beds with horsehair mattresses.

The mist off Elliot Bay washed my mind. Mt Rainer’s white peak
oversaw my dreams. Outside my window in the worker’s quarters,

fog leaned against the heavy green of the cedar trees,
mellowed wagon and car traffic, held the slight light of the lilacs.


I counted how many rooms I’d clean before Helen could be safe,
counted on getting a little house—away from him.

I turned calendar pages, the days adding up so slowly.
Poured my savings onto my bed, the money measly in my hands.


Another maid showed me the new Hillside Brothel
on Tenth Avenue South—I listened in the hall,

heard the man’s moans, the short time he was in and out,
saw the cash, knew I could do that.

At first I spent the extra on a white silk wrap,
rouges, perfumes and creams, trinkets and toys for Helen.

Later, I found my way into gambling parties, lost
track of my Hillside wages, worked extra to make it back.


Mother wrote: Helen moved away for a bit,
I threw away the coat you sent. Stay away.

Making beds by day, lying on them all night,
the counted-on money never amounted to much.

The dark over the city, the dark over the ocean—
my hopes tangled up in linen.



Kim Loomis-Bennett is a life-long resident of Washington State, besides a detour into Oregon where she met her husband. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in The November 3rd Club, The Copperfield Review, Poet’s Quarterly, and Hippocampus Magazine. Her most recent work is included in The Prose-Poem Project.  She teaches at Centralia College. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University and will graduate with her MFA, January 2014. She lives in Lewis County with her family. Her work, Soiled Doves: A Poetic Sequence, published in 2011, is available as an ebook.


Linda Bierds


At hand: the rounded shapes—cloud white, the scissors—sharp,
two dozen toothpick pegs, a vial of amber glue.
It’s February, London, 1953,
and he’s at play, James Watson: the cardboard shapes,

two dozen toothpick pegs, a vial of amber glue.
White hexagons, pentagons, peg-pierced at the corners—
he’s at play, James Watson, turning cardboard shapes
this way, that. And where is the star-shot elegance

when hexagons, pentagons, peg-pierced at the corners,
slip into their pliant, spiral-flung alignments?
Where is that star-shot elegance? This way? That?
He slips together lines of slender pegs that quickly

split in two. (Pliant, spiral-flung, one line meant
solitude. But one to one? Pristine redundancy.)
He slips. Together, lines of slender pegs quickly
conjugate. White hexagons, white pentagons:

not solitude but—one, two, one—pristine redundancy.
So close the spiral shape, now. Salt and sugar atoms
congregate: white hexagons, white pentagons.
So close the bud, the egg, the laboratory lamb,

the salt and sugar atoms’ spiral shape. So close—
it’s February, London, 1953—
the blossom, egg, the salutary lamb. So close
at hand, the rounded shapes—cloud white, the scissors—sharp.


“DNA” is reprinted from Virginia Quarterly Review and First Hand (G. P. Putnam and Sons, 2005).

Linda Bierds – DNA from UW College of Arts & Sciences on Vimeo.


Linda Bierds was born in Wilmington, Delaware. Her family settled in Seattle when she was seven. She earned her BA and MA, with an emphasis in fiction, from the University of Washington. Her many collections of poetry include Flights of the Harvest Mare (1985); Heart and Perimeter (1991); The Ghost Trio (1994), which was a Notable Book Selection by the American Library Association; The Profile Makers (1997); The Seconds (2001); First Hand (2005); and Flight: New and Selected Poems (2008). Bierds is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the Poetry Society of America, and the MacArthur Foundation. She teaches English and writing at the University of Washington, and lives on Bainbridge Island.


Don Kentop

The Brown Building

We smoked cigarettes at NYU, spoke
of Eisenhower, Khrushchev, Joe McCarthy.
Before the Beats, before Elvis, we puffed
on Camels, flicked our ashes on the floor,
and rode elevators to our classes
in what was known once as the Asch Building.

There were no markers to commemorate,
or to even whisper of the fire
of nineteen-eleven. Today, three are mounted
on the building. Cast from molten bronze,
they tell the story, yet are placed too high
to run your fingers on the frozen names.
In different times, instead of sewing shirts
Molly Gerstein might have sat beside us
during freshman English; Ida Brodsky,
a sleeve setter — or a science major? —
and Jacob Klein might have been a friend.
Kate Leone was too young for college.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory sewed
the high necked blouses worn by Gibson Girls.
The shop took up the top three floors, the eighth,
the ninth, and tenth, which were consumed by flames
one Saturday in March at quitting time.
The holocaust still radiates today.
One hundred and forty-six, immigrant men
and women, were burned or jumped to death. Some leapt
in twos and threes while holding hands, their skirts
on fire, from the same window spaces
we looked through for spring in Greenwich Village,
impatient for McSorley’s nickel ale.



Don Kentop attended NYU in the mid 1950’s before the fiftieth anniversary of the Triangle fire, at a time when public interest in the fire was at a low. He writes, “There were no markers on the building at the time. The discovery, decades later, of the fact that I attended classes in the very building the fire took place, caused me to write ‘The Brown Building.’ However, there was so much more to say, and I was hooked. The next year was spent writing ‘Frozen In Fire. A Documentary In Verse.'” Don lives now in Seattle.

Sean Bentley


The cathedral was swathed in scrims
and scaffolding; sandblasters scoured
off the grime of the century.
We’d found the door like the loose
end of a bandage to begin the unraveling.

Now from the observation deck halfway up St. Paul’s,
from which London flowed
lava-like in all directions, sun-shot
and hazy, we spiraled down hardwood steps,
537, like maple seedlings toward terra firma,
past grafittoed names knifed into stucco
two, three hundred years ago,
stairs buffed, darkened, eroded
by generations of feet, the pious or curious.

Through occasional windows like arrow slits
the city revealed itself but we were encased
in the entrails of history. We continued
to the crypt, cool and oddly
bright to help us see the residents
beneath, behind, stone slabs incised
with names and dates like the walls,
with lore, with epitaphs. Henry Moore,
his plaque as angled and unMoore-like
as the rest, Samuel Johnson, Bulwer-
Lytton, the great Turner at our feet
and back, and back, to Blake,
bust black, globe-pated and pugnacious.

Until well warmed, parched, awed,
we gravitated to the crypt café
where across from the tea dispenser
a great placard served as tombstone
for those who’d lain here before the first
cathedral fell in the Great Fire.
Including–holy crow!–King Ethelred,
died 1016. It sank in
as we chewed our sandwiches, absorbing
the ancient holy space transmogrified

to museum. We bought our postcards
and replicas of Roman coins and exited
into the blast of summer London, the stink
of tourist buses. The priest intoned
as the door shut
about this week’s Iraqi deaths, the Sudanese,
the war, wars, never far despite the lessons
we should have learned since Ethelred ruled.

We wished for peace, change
as incremental, imperceptible as the bending
of all those sturdy stairs to the persistent
will of foot after foot after patient foot.


Sean Bentley is currently focusing on photography, as well as nonfiction. But it’s probably just a phase. He is the son of Nelson and Beth Bentley, and born in Seattle.  He was coeditor of Fine Madness magazine from 1984 to 2006, and is president 1998-2000 of Friends of Nelson Bentley. Visit the web site for a list of Sean Bentley’s publications, sample poetry and fiction, etc. He lives in Bellevue and works as a technical writer for Tyler Technology. Sean Bentley’s poetry collections include: Grace & Desolation: New Poems (Cune Press, 1996),  Instances: Poems (Confluence Press, 1979), and Into the Bright Oasis (Jawbone Press, 1976).

Pat Hurshell

Vienna Charm, Vienna Smiles
And the Gargoyles


In Vienna all the other Americans (not the Brits, not even
……..the Canadians) were and are light-
hearted, delighted by Viennese charm. They love the operettas,
……..the funny dialect songs, the operas
that make the audience always cry while they cheer and they
……..love the wine, of course.

Also the schnitzel. Viennese street-smiles are never shy,
……..greetings forever nice welcomes-filled
charm–beams so you know Vienna means Good Will, Jolly Folks,
……..Friendly Facts (except on the buses —
never on the buses – where Viennese faces stay blank, defenses
……..high the way they’ve been taught in
the old carefulnesses, cautious as raccoons crouched bland
……..against strangers, those others riding
too who might know some secret the rider should maybe hide).

In the wine-houses – their name Heureigers – or This Year’s – lets
……..you know these wines are brand new,
freshly pressed for now-imbibing – no bad memories hang around
……..with the grapes for those who don’t
like much to remember what went on before. It’s not as hard

for survivor Jews who came back home to live as you might think.
……..They know what they know, just
like the stony heads of the high-up gargoyles still staring down or
……..out over passersby in the silence

that hovers over all the visitors who marvel at this still-ancient baroque
……..in always-present modernity where
I myself lived once. How odd to think about South Africa and Germany
……..neatly adjusting to their own pasts.
My mother never forgot how she went once to some women’s club
……..In Seattle where Eleanor Roosevelt
explained to the women (I think this was around 1942) that Jewish
……..refugee children wouldn’t really feel
at home in the States so really it was better for them to stay over there
……..with their own families. My family
didn’t take a child either. I was sitting in a Viennese synagogue when
……..I remembered that.


Pat Hurshell, U.W. Ph.D. in English, has received Ford and Woodrow Wilson grants for her research on Jewish women and the Shoah;  When Silence Speaks, When Women Sorrow: Rue & Difference in the Lamentations for the Six Million won the U.W. Engl. Department’s Robert Heilman Distinguished Dissertation Award. She taught for the U.W. English and Women Studies Departments from 1978-1997 and is the founder and coordinator of the U.W. Jewish Women’s Lives Project [1986- ]. Seattle-born, in her first life she sang for 26 years in European opera houses  (Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, plus those in New York, New Orleans, Chicago, and Seattle). Her poems have been heard on Oregon radio’s Literary Café, & published in a variety of journals, including Best American Poetry, 2009. She is currently translating the German Shoah poems of Gertrude Kolmar, Hilde Domain and Rose Auslander as well as preparing a book of her own poems.

Dan Lamberton

The Abundance of Rain


I have some confessions to make—
they have to do with this century
and how much I don’t want to be led
along by it any further. They have to do
with today being nothing about tomorrow,
but, rather, about history and how
all I know is before me, that is, before
I was, and I confess that
I search through old photographs
for reminders of who I am. If the people
in early Nebraska somehow hung pictures
of their old homes in Virginia
on the sod walls above their gritty beds,
and I am the grandchild made through them,
then I still carry their dissolved walls
in me, and I confess I want mostly what is past.

Granted, we live in two directions. There should be,
for the young, the chance to make children. But once
made, have them look backward. Start
with pictures of the unclothed, with Eakins’ nude men
along a tug-of-war rope, their haunches in the grass,
and their heels dug in, and their arms showing they’re no
different from me. A little differently muscled perhaps,
more formed by old work, by scythes and stone boats,
but they look like I do and they died. But first they enjoyed
themselves. And look next at unclothed women, Muybridge’s
panels of them, pouring water on each other’s heads,
picking up children. They have nothing Victorian
about them. They lived through all that and survived.

There’s a haystack, “1947, Near Norfolk, Nebraska,”
in a Wright Morris photo. And I know that
each of those straws were arranged
by the physics of elbows
and the leverage of hayforks
and that elbows and hayforks
depended upon the occasional abundance of rain.

So that’s it. It’s about rain, and how I am
drawn back into it. Remember how we lay
together, in that wood-paneled room near Seattle
with rain washing down so hard we felt
what we were doing was cleaned the second
it happened? It’s not that our future was rain,
but that its sound was a sound we both knew,
that took us out to itself and we heard, “There
has always been rain and there has always, therefore,
been you. Even more, there have always been
numberless thousands of you, not just
now, not just all of you now who are blind,
but there was always this sound, rain’s and yours,
pounding the outside and inside of walls
like these, and the Indians’ leather walls,
and the hopeless poor people’s walls,
and also, alas, the walls of all those
whose ears are closed and who think
they’re creating the future.”

“The Abundance of Rain” is reprinted from a broadside by Ian Boyden, Crab Quill Press.


Dan Lamberton has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Washington and has published poems nationally in journals and magazines such as Sojourners, Northern Lights, and Poetry Northwest. He is the author of On the River through the Valley of Fire: The Collaborative Ceramics of Frank Boyden and Tom Coleman (American Museum of Ceramic Art, 2008). His essay, “Randlett’s Roethke:  It Was All So Visual”  considering Mary Randlett’s late photos of Theodore Roethke, appears in the 2013 Spring & Summer Photography issue of Poetry Northwest. Lamberton has delivered, throughout the state, over 60 lectures on Washington’s poets for Humanities Washington. He has also lectured in Seattle for the Teachers as Scholars program, sponsored by the Seattle Arts and Lectures Series, and has taught a summer course at the University of Washington called “A Sense of Where We Are: Literature and History of the Pacific Northwest,” and completed a northwest literary history anthology in cooperation with the University of Washington history department. Dan is Professor of English and Humanities Program Director at Walla Walla University.


Gloria Burgess

The Open Door
for my ancestors and our children

i wasn’t there…..i didn’t stand at the threshold
of the open door…..my back wasn’t wracked
beneath a ceiling so low even children lay prone
my spirit wasn’t riven…..i wasn’t cowed
bloodied……..shamed……..no one stripped me
of my name…..i wasn’t there…..i wasn’t at Goreé
or anywhere along that shore

i was born inside the golden door
and i’m here by grace standing on the shoulders
of women and men stout in spirit fierce in soul
and oh by the blessed sanctity of God
though i wasn’t hounded through that open door
or driven to cross a merciless sea i still
have the sting of salt in my soul nightmares
of a watery grave…..i still search furtively
for signs of my tribe outstretched hands a cool
drinka water calabash smile……i still tread softly
muted by the glare of ghostly strangers…….i still push back
the rising bile when a glassy-eyed elder looks too long
or wide…..i’ve learned to question all kinds of kings
to stand firm on the laps of queens…..some days
i can’t tell the difference and fall to my knees
dragged down by the tide all over again


“The Open Door” is reprinted from Gathering Ground (University of Michigan Press); The Open Door (Red Oak Press).


Gloria Burgess’s poetry celebrates the spiritual and evocative oral traditions of her ancestry—African, Native American, and Celtic. Her poetry appears in diverse publications, including The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Gathering Ground, The Open Door, and Journey of the Rose. In her latest book, Dare to Wear Your Soul on the Outside, she weaves in threads of inspirational poetry, narrative, and reflections, along with the touching story of her father’s life-changing relationship with Nobel Laureate William Faulkner. www.gloriaburgess.com