About Us


Thaine H. Allison Jr. 9.15.01
My Friend in the Park

In other days when I was in need, you listened to my long stories, your ears cocked to take in every detail
Intent you did not respond, it was your patience that made us fast friends
Your voice always muted by din of traffic, screams of sirens, laughter of children, sometimes cooing of lovers or pidgins, you offered no judgment
You were the patient one, always there, always my friend
I needed an ear, solitude as I sat with you on many afternoons, watching comings and goings, a healing time for me
Now you have heard too many screams, too many sirens, your eyes have seen too much agony
Your muteness in other days served me well, perhaps I can be of service now?
As you served me in your muted solitude, perhaps I can give you a voice this day
Should I clean the dust from your eyes, scour your back of grime and grief, sweep your hair?
Is now the time to clear a path for others who seek your council to find their way to your bench?
You heard the sounds of the planes screeching their violent last breath, saw the fire, the anguish from innocent bye-standers
How painful it is for you not to be able speak up and calm fears, tell families of the missing your thoughts and condolences for their grief
Your eyes have seen too many die these last few days, your ears have heard to many screams of the dying and the dead, let me speak to help unburden your heart
You've heard the call to war, the angry words of those who lost a friend, a father, a mother, a child, a parent
The list of those lost, of those who suffer still, is too long to contemplate, but you remember, you heard their voices, one by one
The firemen, the policemen, the president, voices of the living, the dying
Your heart, like mine, carries a heavy burden this day, searching for answers, longing for peace, rejecting revenge
You listen for all of us, eyes and ears grow heavy from the burden of the losses
Thanks for listening all these years, I will lend my voice for you to speak
Patiently we wait for peace in our time, thanks again my friend in the park, next time you will speak, I will listen

© Copyright 9/21/01 Thaine H. Allison, Jr.

Larry Jaffe, 9.15.01
Poets For Peace Announces Mission 911

my dear friends,

i am working with Russian born poet and cofounder of Poets for Peace Ilya Kaminsky to create a series of readings to take place during the second week of October (8-14) to benefit the red cross and other organizations asisting with the situation in NYC. All proceeds from the readings will go directly to them. If you are a poet or a host please come to this peaceful call to arms. we are moving very quickly on this project i need to hear from you right away. lets do something very creative and constructive and show the world how strong our community is. and lets show the people of new york that they are not alone.

the web site: http://www.poets4peace.com/911.htm
much love to you

Neil Aitken 9.15.01
(New York City, September 11, 2001)

this morning comes
full of dark words
twin towers burning
while people die inside
and outside ourselves
emptied with knives
and terror

stones fall from gray worlds
above our open eyes

fists are no match
for police cars covered with debris
the slow rain of bodies from the sky
paper scattering,
unsigned, unknown,

dust so heavy and sharp
the lungs are torn
from breathing
eyes tear

those with skin
are still gray
and wordless
walking out
and away

we can fear
we can die
we can live
we will walk on

so many stories
lie at our feet
broken, rough
twisted steel
and concrete verbs
pronouns faint
distant beats
in this long sentence
of night

a woman's shoe
rests on a street corner
blocks away from its twin

someone will find it
and bring it home

(Copyright Neil Aitken 2001)
Neil Aitken

Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 9.14.01
Poetry Can Change the World

Last night at Green, there was a poetry reading dedicated to the victims of the Tuesday New York City and Pentagon attacks. Poets gathered to show their emotions and love, and the local community of Culver City came to support. The atmosphere was rather subdued, but the poets still showed what this artistic community is made of: love. Some read their poems inspired by the tragic event (Damon, Kwame, Jelena, D-Lite, Raymond, Artus Mansoir), and others joined in with their messages of intercultural and interracial understanding, tolerance and unity. The audience was encouraged to get on the mic as well if they wanted to share their thoughts and feelings, and that resulted in a very moving and inspiring personal account of a young Persian woman who lived through the Iran Revolution. Her message was one of peace and tolerance, which was the general tone of the whole reading, notwithstanding some opinions that the US should retaliate. Still, the evening ended with a message of love, and we hope that this message reaches farther than the poetry community, farther than this city, and is adopted by the whole nation, because violence begets only more violence, and love begets more love. At this time, love is what we all need desperately.

Nancy Lambert 9.14.01
It is tremendously important that we always seek the truth, however impossible a goal that might seem. So far there is one inescapable truth in this incident: people are dead, people who in all their lives never dreamed of hurting anybody. In my mind, this holds true for anyone else in the world -- moslems, jews, bosnians, chinese, the list goes on and on -- who has ever been subjected to terror. A government may do it; an individual or a "cell" may perpetrate it, yet it is terror all the same. We must remember this. It is the one understanding that will help us grow from this experience. I believe we are capable -- with god's help (whoever or whatever god means to each of us), manifest in love and compassion for all our fellow human beings.
Nancy Lambert

Kwento 9.14.01
new friends,

i am a new poet to this forum. i originally joined in the hopes of gathering some of your poetry and good energy to take with me on my trip to d.c. later this month during the imf/world bank meetings.

now i am writing you for other, obvious reasons.

i send my wishes of peace and love to everyone, and especially, my condolences to those personally touched by this tragedy.

i am deeply troubled by some specific developments taking shape around the events. i will try keep my comments brief.

1. from the beginning, the u.s. media structure has predictably latched onto and flamed rumors of involvement of arab and islamic peoples in this violence. i implore everyone to work in their own community structures to counter the wave of racism and reactionary response taking hold in the american media and consciousness. our arab and islamic sisters and brothers are already suffering from predictable american racism.

2. there are many people working for global change on a variety of political fronts/issues. most of these activities specifically challenge in some way or another the existing corporate/media/state structure of american society and its global policies. i have no doubt that an event of this magnitude will result in a heightened targeting of such efforts and of those who support them, as well as a likely mass-willing abdication of various liberties and freedoms, in the name of addressing "safety concerns." regardless of your political stance, i ask only that you hear and be aware of these concerns in the coming months and years as the full scope of this event unfolds. we all need to be on "high alert," to borrow a current phrase, as to the attacks and terrorism that will be carried out against any and all who may express a dissenting voice, because in the end, it is ALL of our voices that will be under seige.

3. we are riding the wave of an unprecedented media hype machine at the moment. make no mistake--what you see on cnn, msnbc, et al, is driven by corporate interests. take a look around at the war frenzy the masses are being driven into and it is not hard to realize just how dangerous this machine really is right now. i know i am likely preaching to the choir, but there are alternatives to be aware of. along with npr, etc., i would highly recommend examining the information coming out of the independent media centers. la.indymedia.org, nyc.indymedia.org, dc.inymedia.org are all good counters to the mountain of misinformation and hysteria pouring in through your cable line.

again, peace and love to you all. gather round you your punctuation and grammar, your syntax and phonemes. you will need them in the trying times to come.
with love,

Nancy Lambert 9.13.01
no title

I want to believe it's the same as it was before,
even though I hated it before.
I hated the mad grab for money.
if as they say poetry is emotion
recollected in tranquility,
maybe I'll never write poetry again.
how will I ever be tranquil now?
if this gives weight to the grief
that has tended to float all my life
like a leaf in air descending
from a tree,
but autumn always harbored
the spring.

and now
instead of a leaf,
I see the body of man tumbling.
is the tumbling man proud?
he stands upside down in thin air
against the building he built
as if the earth he reaches for was always
only the sky.

Nancy Lambert
September 13, 2001

Nyaze Vincent 9.13.01
The easiest game to play is cowboys and indians. Bad against Good. It doesn't matter who's bad or who's good--the other side will always disagree. Ignorance is ignorance. The world keeps a'gwan round. We play the game. It's fun, really, to feel so much.

My sympathy to those who lost loved ones. Time not only heals all wounds, but in the final analysis, renders them moot.

[sigh] How else do you think Babylon's fall?


Thaine H. Allison Jr. 9.12.01
In the Memory of the Events of 9/11/01

Choose Peace this Aquarelle Day

Aquarelle is the day
this day
the day after
I remember other days that left my heart low
The days after John Kennedy died
Bobby Kennedy died
Martin Luther King died
The invasion of Cambodia by American bombers and troops
A song recalls the “day the music died”
We all die a little on these days
But we live on
To remember the translucence of it all
We are the ones who speak up for a peaceful, not vengeful solution
We ask that the violence be dampened not escalated
We ask for peace in the hearts of family and friends who lost those closest to them
A nation mourns its loss this night
Let us focus on the love of those who were taken from us<BR.
Justice among men of law is in the courts not the streets or the battlefields
We can see through the provocation and find the light of truth and justice
We must be strong of heart and soul this night
Eager are those among us who want to kill again in the name of those who died
I ask for justice not by war but by peaceful means
The peacemakers are the heroes now, find a way
Let the light shine through the aquarelle night
There is a new day with the passage of the night
The nightmare of the moment
We have the power to chose, choose the nonviolent way
Choose peace
Peace always shines through the layers

Written in Remembrance of those who died 9/11/01 and those who live on 9/12/01
© Thaine H. Allison, Jr. 9/12/2001
Thaine H. Allison, Jr.
Program Director
National Writers Association, Los Angeles Chapter

Zainab Outlaw 9.12.01
I Am a Youthful American Poet with Something to Say

I am only a sophomore in highschool, and the affect of this tragedy has shaken my world as I have known it for my whole life. We have so much anger. But America wouldn't have ever brought up the existance of a country with higher intelligence than we, unless they were our allies. Now that whole mentality is gone, along with the "America is an impenatratable fortress of safety". Which many people enjoyed living their lives by.

~Zainab Outlaw~

Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 9.12.01
(New York City, September 11, 2001)

A crime was perpetrated
All fears broke lose
Like hell
Of glass and melting steel.
Stripped to the bone.
Justice should be done,
You say!
What punishment
Can suit
Such horrendous crime?
The time has come
This day
To vindicate our vengeful action.
Or maybe we should
Concentrate instead
On showing love
As ultimate solution.
Retribution pays
Only by pain.
Haven't we
Had enough already?
The crime was perpetrated
We can barely see
Through our blood-shot eyes.
So, when we rise
To vengeance,
Where do we go?
How do we know what's false
And what is true?
Grant us wisdom this day,
Forgive them,
For they know not what they do!

(Copyright J. Andjelkovic, September 2001)

Kwame Kamau 9.12.01

For your information,
this is not a game.
The sky is falling,
and you're next in line
to get dumped on,
and for more of the same.
You say you've heard it all before?
Well, fine!
Just take the hint.
Does it sound like I'm playin'?
We'll see who laughs last;
that's God's honest truth!
I hope you're listenin' to what I'm sayin' --
or are you too young not to waste your youth?
For your information,
these are the last days;
to think,
it's like we've only just begun.
Kiss me for luck.
I'll need it
(hope it pays).
Now is the time!
We live under the gun.

-- Kwame Kamau
(Copyright Kwame Kamau 2001)

Poetic Voices 9.12.01
Yesterday was a day that will remain in the minds and hearts of every American and most of the people of the worlld. I am moved by letters and comfort I've seen throughout the poetry community and have been praying and thinking about our roles as poets.

Poetic Voices has always had a vision of being a forum where the voices of poets would not only ring out to America and the world, but also as a community of people who reach out to each other.

In light of this, I have decided that over the next few days and weeks, we will be calling on all poets to put their voice out there about these events. We ask that you do what you do best and write. Write poems in honor of America, write poems in comfort to victims and families of victims, write poems about the heroes who rise up out of the dust to risk their lives to save others, and write poems about the strength of the American people in the midst of trials.

Submit these poems to us and we will publish them in a special memorial and commentary section of Poetic Voices. All poems will be published that follow the guidelines. Guidelines are as follows:
1- please include your first and last name in addition to your email address
2- please include the town and state you are from, and if from outside the U.S., the city and country.
3- we will not publish any poem that puts down the United States, that supports the attack on Americans, that puts down our leaders, or is abusive. Our intent is to encourage and support, to speak out against this atrocity.
4- we are interested in children's and students responses in addition to the adult poets who read and publish their work. If you are under the age of 18, please state so, because I would like to have a special page for American youth.
5- please send only one poem per poet and include it in the body of the email. No downloads please.

Again, all poems that meet these guidelines will be published in Poetic Voices. Later today, the pages for these poems will be posted and we hope that every day we can post whatever has come in the previous day - so be sure to check with us each day to hear the voices of our poets.

Please send these poems to gracieamL@aol.com. Do not send them to editor@poeticvoices.com as it will be easier for me to flash mail them down at the aol address and save them.

This is an opportunity for us as a community to stand up together and speak out. Let the voices fo the poets in America and the world be heard as a living testimony to compassion and freedom. Share this letter with every poet you know. We will be accepting these poems for publication until they stop coming in.

God Bless you all and God Bless America, peace and poetry, Robin Travis-Murphree
Executive Editor
Poetic Voices

Nancy Lambert 9.12.01
Can we work together to bring people together this coming sunday for a special gathering of artists? I will offer my backyard as a meeting place, unless we can get an established venue such as Beyond Baroque to host us. I believe we must act as soon as possible to create an active coalition of people willing to speak out and stand for the many freedoms I believe may be swept aside over the next weeks and months as President Bush declares a war of "good against evil" and militarizes this country. In light of this morning's pronouncements from Washington, I do not believe I am exaggerating the threat. I also believe that, while it is certainly helpful for us to post our feelings of shock and grief to forums such as Litrave and Poetix news and Next, we need to take a step beyond this -- we must act now to create a coalition of artists willing to stand up and speak both throughout and beyond our community. If we are in fact a community of artists, then the time has come for us to demonstrate this to each other and to the rest of the world. We must organize, raise our voices of sanity, and invite everyone -- artists and nonartists alike -- to join us.

I invite suggestions and input from everyone. Tell me what I don't know, help me learn what we can do together to create the world we want it to be -- a world where compassion, rather than vengeance and fear, is the true passion that binds us.

Neil Aitken 9.12.01
I woke yesterday morning to the news of the attack and found myself emptied of emotion and words. At times like these, I long to write -- but cannot find words.

Like Larry, I am grateful for news that all my friends and family are safe, and yet am deeply saddened that many will not have this consolation. So many of our brothers and sisters gone. So much grief.

My prayers are with those families who have suffered losses -- in truth, my prayers are for us all - I doubt that anyone of us has not come through this tragedy untouched in some way.

May peace return - to our country, and to our hearts.


Gary Justice 9.12.01
Larry Jaffe, and my family in the poetic community have shown me wisdom and conscience, given me the maturity so see beyond vengeance.

Justice can't always be blind, and I realize our collective responsibility as members of a global community, and a country trying to hold on to democracy. Express yourself, be part of the process, be informed, share knowledge, support the community.

Prayers of peace, strength in resiliance, Love is the higher power.

Larry Jaffe 9.11.01
This day gives one moment to pause, think, and be thankful for many things despite the horror we have experienced. I of course am thankful that my family and friends are safe. This is not the case for many and my heart goes out to them.

We did not have our reading tonight. I did not think it appropriate despite the desire to be close to friends. I thought it best and still do that I reflect on all that has happened. I look upon the day with such horror. Never in my worst most evil thoughts could I wish this upon anyone. As a Jew I see it through those eyes, as an American I look through yet another set, as a spiritual being I see things even differently. However, no matter what eyes I look through, I cannot conceive of this level of hate and violence.

And herein lies the problem, I cannot conceive of it yet someone else obviously could and did. How difficult it is to look at the world with compassion in the face of such hatred.

I realized that we need more patience for each other and that petty arguments should just be allowed to fall away. Our pettiness as a race gets in the way of our freedom. Forgiveness for such is important. Enemies are not friends you have petty fights with. Those are not real enemies. And it is stupid to hold onto such grudges... Not after today.. Not after seeing what true enemies are like.

I went out for a walk and found myself looking very closely at everyone and everything. All was under my scrutiny. And I realized I could not live like that.. Being so careful that I could not allow myself to be free. So I reversed that concept and took off those chains that inhibited me and I greeted every passerby like we were in the old west and each was comrade or bunkmate or friend. I was not smiling outside.. Nor in... The horror of the day too strong. But I felt better. No, I did not want to hug everyone who walked by.. I just simply wanted to greet them.. And I did so. I felt better for it. I hope they did too.

It is so quiet without airplanes flying overhead.

much love to you

Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 9.11.01
We all are ONE, and what hurts our brothers and sisters hurts us, too. Still, this too shall pass, Nancy. This too shall pass... And all of us will be stronger for it. We are ONE.

Nancy Lambert 9.11.01
As Larry Jaffe has said today, we all need to stay in touch, to remember who we are. Can we use this forum as a way to say what's on our mind and in our heart? I know we can. We stand for everything the horror does not. That's all I can say right now I'm so much in shock by today's events. What do the rest of you think?

Wayman Barnes 9.11.01
I have been asked to open this forum page for people to comment and discuss today's tragedy. Please feel free to write whatever you want or need to. And try to keep your chin up. Everything will be okay, I think.