Every week a group of Laguna Honda residents gathers together to explore the joys and challenges of poetry. Some come with past writing experience, some with curiosity and no writing experience. Each resident brings his or her enthusiasm and passion for self-expression.
All of these residents have some type of physical challenge with which they cope on a daily basis. As one poet, Paul Hendrickson, writes, “Devastating strokes/ change the rules/ of the game I’m playing.” While the “rules” may have changed and daily life with a disability is a new “game,” the imaginations of these poets know no bounds. The poets are committed to being seen and heard as full, multi-faceted human beings. Their poems illustrate their vitality, their sensitivity, and their engagement with the world around them.
This anthology celebrates the 11th edition of Kaleidoscope, and in it the poets continue to explore a wide range of ideas and topics. In “Speed,” A. Faye Hicks reflects upon her life’s journey. “I speed around curves / of shame and pain, / I stop at the signs of weakness. / I dance at the doorways / of love and gain.” Shirley Middleton envisions a new era in “This is the Year.” “I imagine the six o’clock news today. / Peace and plenty broke out all over the world.”
Denise Perlman experiments with language in “Ode to D.” “. . . to be departed to the distances of the drunken soul, / to be definitely desirous of the distance of life.” The joys and delights of life are encouraged in Mitchell Zeftel’s “This Classic Fun Day.” “. . . it’s okay / to slouch away a day / because life can be fun, / so chew on Milk Duds, / lick on all-day suckers. / It’s truly okay to have fun.”
Every week I watch these poets put pen to paper, searching for words to describe their inner and outer worlds. While this can be a daunting process for anyone, the spirit that fills the poetry room is one of fearlessness. Again and again, I witness how creativity and self-expression are not limited by one’s circumstances. As poet Paul Hendrickson says: “Everyone has a voice, he or she just needs to find it.”
As always, the Laguna Honda poetry group offers Kaleidoscope to the reader in hopes that he or she will be nourished by the poems and inspired by the courage and commitment it took to create them.
It continues to be my privilege to work with each of these poets and to learn from all of them. My sincere thanks to friends and colleagues for their assistance with this project. Special thanks to Yvonne Cannon, Vicky Julian and Penny Scott for their editorial assistance and to Richard Goldberg for the cover design and artwork. Special thanks also to the Social Services Department at Laguna Honda for its continued support.
Sharon Pretti, LCSW
Editor and Poetry Group Facilitator