Larry Laurence

for J.W.


Three angels manifest themselves at a bar. They make it known
to the mind of the bartender, This day is our birthday.

No. Three baleen whales, a gray, a blue, & a humpback,
swim into a bar. They sing in high-pitched vocalizations & clicks,
This day is our birthday.

No. Three rocks, an igneous, a metamorphic, & a sedimentary,
roll into a bar. In Morse code they knock against themselves
to the bartender, Today is our birthday.

No. Three weeds, a sheep sorrel, a redstem filaree, & a Canada
goldenrod, seed themselves at a bar. Utilizing the slight air
currents available they rustle to the bartender, Today’s. . .

No. Three trees, a Jenny sycamore, a paw paw, & a blossoming pear. . .

An anaconda, a coachwhip, & a Texas blind snake. . .

OK, a swift, a chicken hawk, & a blue jay. . .

OK, OK. Three subnuclear particles appear & do not appear
simultaneously in various unknowable interstices of realities themselves
barely conceivable at the bar & outside the bar. They harmonize

in vibrations at once audible & inaudible to the bartender
in such a way to at last, at long last, prove senseless the dichotomy
of the observer & the observed, Today’s our birthday!

No matter, says the bartender. We, all of us,
gallop terribly against each other’s bodies.



“INCLUSIVE OF HELLO AND GOODBYE” originally appeared in POOL, A Journal of


Larry Laurence lives in Seattle and works as a rehabilitation counselor. Books are Life  of The Bones To Come, Black Heron Press, (a National Poetry Month selection by NACS, National Association Of College Stores) and Scenes Beginning With The Footbridge At The Lake, Brooding Heron Press. Poems appear in the anthologies How Much Earth: The Fresno Poets, Roundhouse Press, Jack Straw Writers, Jack Straw Productions. Awards include grants from Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture and Artist Trust plus a residency at Squaw Valley Community Of Writers. He studied poetry (and growing up) under Philip Levine.

Caitlin Elizabeth Thomson

The First Night


How strange it felt, to pile leaves on top
of my wool sweater. Tie orange sleeve to orange sleeve
before laying my head down.
My brother covered my body with leaves and needles,
so I could be nothing worth notice
and warm. Food was hard to find
before we discovered roots for winter,
rosehips for spring. In the summer and fall
bounty overwhelmed us. The longings we once held
for mattresses, refrigerators, lamps,
replaced by lakes and loons before the sun rose.
Knitting scraps of wool into sweaters.
Praying every day, earnest words
to the God we could all now feel coming.


“The First Night” is reprinted from Labletter.

Caitlin Elizabeth Thomson is a Canadian who married an American. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous places, including: The Literary Review of Canada, The Liner, Echolocation, Labletter, and The Moth. Her second chapbook Incident Reports is forthcoming from Hyacinth Girl Press. She lives in Bellingham.



Terry Martin




Orange light quiets the sky.
Color stains trees
into lengthening shade.

Lean back in your chair,
feet bare in tickling grass,
while the sun sinks behind the hill.

Sparrows flit
from limb to limb
in the orchard.

The smell of apples
becoming themselves
can ripen you, too.

Feel the air begin
to cool your shoulders,
kissing your face, blessing it.

Catch the earth’s pulse
through the soles of your feet.
Listen to the dark arrive.

Fill your empty place
with this horizon.
Hold it all lightly,

like that. Just like that.
Sit here, home,
the taste of evening in your mouth.


Terry Martin is the author of The Secret Language of Women (Blue Begonia Press, 2006) and Wishboats, published by Blue Begonia Press in 2000, winner of the Judges’ Choice Award at Bumbershoot Book Fair. Over 200 of Martin’s poems, essays, and articles have appeared in numerous publications. Hiker, river-watcher, and lover of the arts, Terry lives with her family in Yakima, and teaches in the English Department at Central Washington University in Ellensburg. She is the recipient of CWU’s Distinguished Professor Teaching Award, and in 2003 was honored as Washington Professor of the Year by the CASE/Carnegie Foundation–a national teaching award given to recognize extraordinary commitment and contribution to undergraduate education.


An Invitation to Submit


If you are a poet currently living in Washington State, and you have not yet been included in The Far Field online, I want to invite you to submit work. This invitation includes students (though I will publish poets under age 18 without a last name).

Send three to five poems in a single attachment, along with a short bio that includes your city, to Previously published poems are preferred, but not required.  In fact, a growing list of poets count The Far Field as their first publication.  I’m very proud of that.  I can’t guarantee publication, but I would like to read your work.

Teachers, if you encounter a particularly excellent student poem, please encourage your student to submit it to The Far Field. I’ve received some wonderful poems that way.

My goal is to represent our state’s poetry communities in a very broad sense–so I am especially interested in voices that are un- or under-represented here.  I look forward to  showcasing unconventional poetry, spoken-word videos, poetry that verges on other genres (including visual art). And I’m hoping to hear from all corners of the state, and the big middle.

I am also interested in brief essays that relate to poetry in Washington State. For example, see Rebecca Frevert’s piece on her poetry kiosk in Everett, Jim Freeman’s shout out for Whidbey Island’s Poetry Slams, and Jim Deatherage’s description of an inspired collaboration between the Creative Writing and Photography classes at Richland High School.  Write to me first to inquire.

Thank you to all who have trusted me with your work already. I am privileged to read and publish poems that represent this thriving community of writers. I look forward to more poems and no repeats.  When my appointment concludes in February 2014, this site will remain as a resource, and let’s face it, a kind of brag. Look what our state’s got.



J. Glenn Evans


After Theodore Roethke (1908-1963)


To take, to take?
I feel that mist.
As though my boiler was busted
I think my bones forgot.
Like half-gone love I hug my memories.
O for a vision of what’s to come,
Heavenly music across the bay,
Echo of the Lord’s message,
Full jolly, a string
Melodious and,
On the straightaway
Lost among the firs and wood songs
Wind flashes by
To hold conference with me
Where mountains converse,
And leap over shoulders,
Of an old man
Racing like a fool.
If only I could go back
To gather memories holding sway,
Coming back this way,
The passions of my day,
Floating on a sea of memories
In a house of beautiful memories
Now that time is gone:
I’m old and life is done


Founder of PoetsWest and Activists for a Better World, J. Glenn Evans hosts PoetsWest at KSER 90.7FM, a nationally syndicated weekly radio show, and is author of four books of poetry: Deadly Mistress, Window in the Sky, Seattle Poems and Buffalo Tracks, author of three novels, Broker Jim, Zeke’s Revenge and Wayfarers, several community histories and numerous political essays, co-produced a movie, “Christmas Mountain,” with Mark Miller, co-staring Slim Pickens, and is a former stockbroker-investment banker.  Part Cherokee, native of Oklahoma.  Evans has lived in Seattle since 1960.  Listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.



Map of my Travels


I just added another page to The Far Field: visit “Map” (on the menu above) to see a few highlights of my Poet Laureate travels.  Not nearly all–you can take a look at the “Archives” to see where I’ve traveled over the past year and a half.  But this map (which is a work in progress) is a good way to keep track of the geographical range of my events. It includes photos and links to poets and poetry. I plan to push a pin into all 39 counties before I turn in my Poet Laureate badge in February 2014.  KF



Mark Simpson

Sweet Plenitude


The Aurora Borealis reminds me
of the disappointed—
the bum on the street, the little girl
not invited to the party.
Early one fall I saw it.
I stood on the back patio at 3am
looking northward,
and made out, finally, the streaked sky—
washed out colors indistinct
against the dark.
3am for this, I thought, retuning to bed,
the magnetic flexure of air carrying on
its vexed dance without me.
The bum wakes from his cold nap
and the little girl turns on the TV.
I lie sleepless for the rest of the night.
What has become of the fullness
we have been promised?
In the wood lot, owls have left
the bones of mice—
so many under the green pines.
Day after day of enumeration.
The sun’s white disk behind early fog,
too weak to cast shadows—
so that things must stand for themselves,
frost-edged, claiming their own territory.


“Sweet Plenitude” is reprinted from The New Poet.

Mark Simpson’s work has appeared in a number of magazines, including Hiram Poetry Review, Cream City Review, Faultline, and Poetry Quarterly, and online in Full of Crow, Albatross, and Dialogist. He works in Seattle as writer for an instructional design firm. A chapbook, Fat Chance, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.


Ben Holiday

I met Ben Holiday through the wonderful Red Badge Project at Joint Base Lewis McChord. I’m happy to have the chance to post one of his poems.–KF


The Gray Man

There are many colors that we are,
and many colors that weve seen.
The most common of these colors,
are red, blue and green.

Red is for the anger,
the fury and all the rage

Blue is for the lost ones,
and for the worst of our days.

Green is for envy and jealousy
and like a tree it grows,

But there is one color,
few have ever seen,
or will ever know.
The one color that is gray,
the one that never shows.

Amongst all the other colors he stays,
silent like a ghost
for its these other colors
that keep him hidden
in this mist,
and fog
and smoke.

The Gray Man is everywhere,
even though most dont know,
this man that is invisible
whose identitiy never shows
he sits and waits patiently
for what he knows will come to be.
The actions and the tactics,
of all his foes and enemies
that the oblivious
and the ignorant
and the blind just cant see.

But dont think that The Gray Man
hasn’t seen any other colors in his life,
thats the reason he became gray
because thats the color that survives.
Surviving all of the trials,
all of his enemies schemes and plans
and this survival tactic
is called being The Gray Man.

There are many colors that we are,
and many colors that weve seen.
Most other colors out there fight dirty,
but they dont know
that one color is aware
of the scam, and their whole plan,
the one color that isnt “there”
the one they call …….
The Gray Man


His name is Ben Holiday, some call him Buzz. He is from Spokane Wa. He is ex military and always thinks twice about what he says….The majority of the time he is quiet, he believes it’s far better to listen than it is to speak. He first started writing poetry while injured in an overseas hospital. He doesn’t speak about about what or who he is, instead he’ll use poetry….Poetry is his only voice. Through writing he gained a freedom of perception, which became his salvation….”In his opinion”

Joan Swift



When the doctor holds my upper arm in his two hands,
he bows his head and listens as if he were waiting to hear
the song of a rare endemic bird no one has seen for centuries.
I start to speak, but he shakes his head, does not loosen his grip
on my arm, turns his fingers around the curve
of my skin and listens again.
I am afraid to clear my throat. My toes stay still.
He must hear my heart where it beats
but he is listening to the sound of bones
the way NASA turns its telescopes far over our heads on Mauna Kea
and hears the universe move.

Rain falls so hard on the roof, I think it might break through.
Imagine all those luminous drops that had been the backbone
of a cloud shattered and lying above the orthopedic surgeon’s head
and mine. Soon a puddle, then a trickle into the Wailuku River.
This will mend well, he says, shows me two x-rays.
In the waiting room is a large salt water tank. A zebra moray eel
folds in one corner its brown and white stripes.
I think how it must have no bones at all
or bones so light this eel can wind
around its heaven all night when everyone has left
and dream the dream of breaking into the world.


“Listening to my Bones” is reprinted from The Southern Review.


Joan Swift has published four full-length books of poems, the two most recent both winners of the Washington State Governors Award.  Her most recent poetry collection is the chapbook Snow on A Crocus, Formalities of a Neonaticide, 2010.  Swift’s poems have appeared in The Yale Review, Poetry, The Atlantic, Ploughshares, Puerto del Sol, DoubleTake, The Iowa Review, The Southern Review and dozens of others.  Among the awards she has been granted are three National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships, an Ingram Merrill writing award, a grant from the Washington State Arts Commission, and a  Pushcart Prize.  After graduating from Duke, she earned an M.A. at the University ofWashington where she was a student in Theodore Roethke’s last class. She lives and writes in Edmonds,Washington.

Patty Kinney

How To Talk To Your Schizophrenic Child

Would you like to swing on a star?
Carry moonbeams home in a jar?
– Burl Ives

Point to the Big Dipper
Ask them which star they are?
Explain therapists cannot function
without their wisdom, expertise
Repeat the term Ordinary Genius
sewing it into eyelids
agree it’s okay to Google
your silhouette,
shoplift a shovel,
duct tape thrift store shoes you use
to walk on water

Of course you are Jesus
heart on fire
lit by the tip of a match
and those traffic cameras
are watching, making movies
renaming you through
every intersection sending
CliffsNotes to the CIA

fly your flag
that middle finger
at those aliens who abducted
you last night
but next time they come
tell them to rinse
the chili from the pan.

Intervention is just a jigsaw
dismantled before we find
the last piece

In reality
you’re a wives’ tale
in high def
freight train
waiting to be jumped
carrying toxic waste, nerve gas, the sting of
salt in a new tattoo of
you and you and you.


“How To Talk To Your Schizophrenic Child” appears in the latest issue of Crab Creek Review.


Patty Kinney has been published in The Sun, hipMama, Poetry Motel, Mamaphonic, Poets On The Coast – as well other journals and anthologies online and in print.  She is a recent graduate of the Artist Trust Edge Program for Writers and is very active in the Olympia Poetry Community. She regularly reads at the Olympia Poetry Network’s monthly readings.