Tressa Brittin Berman


Lost and Found

Balboa Park reminds me
of my grandmother’s lawn in Queens
It reminds me of the cattails
by the swamp in New England
where my brother and I caught tadpoles we brought home to Mother, by hand re-arranged with rice paper flowers
cut with Noguchi precision
standing tall in a Japanese vase

Balboa Park reminds me of
our old black cat
as I watch a feral beast watch me
steps out from the bushes to sniff the day then disappears back into the woods like God The feral cat reminds me of the time
the black cat broke the Japanese vase
into a hundred shattered pieces
glued together by Mother, by hand
the broken side turned forever to the wall

Balboa Park reminds me of things I used to love:
a ruffled black sweater, a boy too young to marry me, a sparkling silver pin.
The Maori women gave me a pin of a pugi dog
when my lover died, and they held my hand
and said te kio ora, na, na, na…
A pugi dog looks back at its tail because,
the Maori women said,
sometimes you have to look backwards to go on

I used to love a place
where the Southern Cross stretches
across the South Pacific sky
Places with names like Milingibbi, Yolungu, Woolongong below the belt of Capricorn
that vast hole of night
absorbs the daylight of New York City

Balboa Park reminds me of the dogs
in Central Park, where well-heeled dog walkers
read me the creed:

Balboa Lake lies like a curl in the arm of the San Fernando valley
shimmers with shards of memory lullaby waves that call, recall, recede

Tressa Brittin Berman

© 2013

Rich Ferguson Quote…


“One must have steady hands and thoughts when performing an autopsy on a memory. Carefully fingerprint it, check its dental work, take photos and a blood sample to determine if the memory is close to the heart. If so, consider holding on to it, otherwise gently let it go. But be careful: one slip of the mind, one slip of the knife and it all becomes delusion, revisionist history.”

–  Rich Ferguson

“Buddy” by Keven Bellows

I sometimes think the Jim he is becoming
may be the Jim who was. Buddy
swinging on a fence
around a New England clapboard
with a wide porch, where
his grandfather rocked rain or shine.

Summers in Still River away from parents–
Buddy’s happiest hours. When not
sitting with the man in the rocker,
retired by alcohol long before his time,
he was practicing his swing
with a found golf club
on the course behind the property,
scrounging balls to earn pocket change.

Always easiest on his own, Buddy thrived
in this odd company that included Emerson and Thoreau,
favorites of his wellborn grandfather,
a 19th century gentleman, who left him
an abiding affection for men of few words—
memories undiminished through eight decades.

More boy at the gate
eager for adventure,
than the grandfather he now is,
Jim’s reservoir of resilience is Buddy,
whose arrival incites the onset of summer,
lazy days lengthening, lure of tall grass,
leaves turned inside out looking for rain.

Unfailingly courteous, grateful
for love that surrounds without confining,
the solitary boy reclaims the man,
makes us comfortable on the porch,
while he makes for the fence
across an invisible lawn.

Keven Bellows

Photo by VC Ferry

© 2011

“Gramma Barbara’s Pie” by Candice Rosales



Barb is out of the pie-making business.

I am broken and disjunct struck dumb
in cold kitchen with no heart.
Oh, Barb.
The spot on tart-sweet of her apple
won’t greet the burnished maples.
Not this fall.
No taut crusts cut and rolled in dusky
morning hours while we slept
rock-like cranking out
nutmeg and clove-addled dreams.
under warm blankets of cold comfort.
crisco cans and pyrex tins marked
sunday like a waxing crescent.
What now, Barb?
I lack the exactitude to
carry on your craft.
My pumpkin curdles to repellent chunks.
My crust is stubborn and overworked.
My graceless fingers rip and poke
what you coaxed instantly to perfection.
The sweetness you dotted and dusted
is gone.
And I’d trade anything at all
for one more bite.
© 2010


“At The Lake” by L. K. Thayer (family foto montage by Kelly Pratt)

(“The Big Kids and The Little Kids”)

(Mitch Thayer, Kelly Pratt, Leslie Thayer, Lisa Thayer, Kari Pratt, Steve Pratt, Grandpa L. G. Pratt)

we rode upon broomstick horses

galloping through the thick thorn forest

dragonflies hovering

plucking the plumpest raspberries

ripe and sweet from the crowded bushes

generously heaving

(Mitch & Steve)

inexhaustible, our imaginations

followed every footprint

our shadows danced,

lit by the man in the moon

we left no stone or cartwheel unturned

felt the moss squish between our toes

washed our bare feet in the sand

of the blue lake


she was always there to greet us

and make friends again

the lake,

loyal and lucid, the sound of her

reassuring shore beckoned

waiting to cup us in her watery hand

guiding us

float our dog paddling cherub bodies


as her loving waves caressed

our rosebud cheeks

(Grandma Audrey & Westie)

beautiful, bountiful, bliss filled summers

roll off my memory like pearls dropping

one by one, off a necklace in need of repair


I gather up and tuck safely

in a jewel box

just as my grandmother Audrey

would’ve done

in the dense lilting air

mosquito bitten arms wave

in remembrance of innocence

of youth unencumbered

the balmy summers of nature’s breast

beating like the wings

of a morning dove

soft, gentle, humid

clinging to the child

in all of us

L. K. Thayer

© 2010

Thank you cousin,

Kelly Pratt

Aunt Janet, Uncle Dick Pratt, Florence, Mae & Audrey
At The Lake…
    • Kelly Pratt, Creative Life Coach I’m marveling at talent today. Specifically my cousin Lisa K. Thayer… This is one poem that she wrote that many of my friends from Fargo and Detroit Lakes can relate to… you can find her work at

      10 hours ago ·
    • Kari Bishop Kel..a little too early to cry but Lisa’s poem touched my heart. Happy, grateful tears of our incredible summers.

      10 hours ago ·
    • Leslie Thayer Mann Very cool Kel… Do you know the year on this or could estimate based on Steve’s age?

“The Hidden Picture” by Roz Levine

I hid my face like a turtle

Scrunching facial features
Deep into my collar bone
Turning my head from view
When daddy dropped me
At Queens College
When I scurried from his white truck
When I prayed no one I knew
No one who knew me
No one who could gossip
Rumor mills of my life
Would see the truth
How I arrived
At this university
Of higher learning
In a truck driven by my father.
Bye Sis, dad would say
Have a good day
You too, dad
I’d mumble
Too selfish and stupid
To get the facts, ma’am
That he had a back breaking
Ball busting day ahead of him
With ten hours of hard work
Lifting heavy packages
Loading boxes and goods
Driving in New York’s snarled traffic.
I was too young and unaware
To understand the concept of family
How a loving dad got up early
To drive me to school
How he’d arrive home
To have supper with us
Kiss my mom
Kiss me and my brother
Kiss us with his dirty hands
With his grease stained work clothes
Kiss us so we’d know
He’d be there for us
Dirty clothes
Dirty hands
Dirty truck
All of him
Would always be there
No matter what he drove
No matter what he carried in this life.

Roz Levine

L. K. Thayer’s Foto Fetish

© 2010

“It Was The Sweetness I Was After” by Ariana Trinneer

It was the sweetness I was after.
The unfettered taste
of something present wrapped
and full of potential.
Yesterday I hung my bones out to dry
in the winter sun.
Clean and white they burned
like the bleach eaten rocks
we used to skip along the river.
Do you remember
when we laughed all the time
or is that just something I made up?
The accumulation of memory is useless
and that’s the bald headed truth.
A collection of spent seeds
to bury,
to blow.

It’s still me deep down,
It’s still me.
but there’s never any time now for knee buckling gazes,
when the world ricochets—
a flock of black words
against the window pane.
And the gap in my chest stretches so wide
that my hands gripping shoulders
over crossed chest
are not enough.
If I could just shake out
the misconceptions,
let them fly
with this northern wind
through the skeleton trees,
let loose the metallic taste
of disillusion
until my thoughts run sweet.
There is a big difference
between fearing the worst
and believing the best.

Ariana Trinneer

L. K. Thayer’s Foto Fetish

© 2010

“Truth In The Telling” by Julie Dolcemaschio

Truth spoke of the past
When northern lights
Were the new high
And patches on life rafts
Were a contribution worth noting

It told of days
Filled with sex and jealousy
But the demon sword-swallowers
Were the ultimate draw

A walk on the beach at midnight
Meant words were spoken quickly
And only then never to be uttered again

The luminescent waves
Would record the honey-filled poems
For their gift to live by

The quill speaks of the present
And finds solace in the memory of words
If the truth as she knows it can be written down
Then it stays forever true

So sayeth the brave lass

In possession of the dry pen

I am 20,000 leagues out of my league
And the time for goodbyes comes and goes
But the suffering lingers
Who will speak of the future when
Angels are so hard to find

I have met my share
And have a few perched on my shoulder
One who tells me of the past
And two who will show me the future

It will hold Grenache and frozen grapes
On a hot summer day
If they are lucky

And if it is true
That there is one man for every woman
And one woman for every man

I should like to snare the right choices
In a net of their choosing
So that happiness can be read
Even when the pen runs dry

The gift lives her own truth now

Truth drives the pen to run free

Julie Dolcemaschio

Photo by VC Ferry

© 2010

“A Passion Play” by L. K. Thayer

we twirled and we danced

she led, I followed as best I could

as memories burst forth

from childhood

in the days that turned into mirrors

when life was full of innocence

of daisy chains & training bras

hopscotch & hula hoops

can we ever recall the steps

that have been

erased by worn out saddle shoes

can we embrace

how nothing mattered

& everyday

was a passion play

L. K. Thayer

Photo by VC Ferry

All Rights Reserved

© 2010