Author Archives: douglas wilton

David’s 90th Birthday on Anna Maria Island



February 2014 ≈ Number 29


cover 2013.indd


This issue of Elephant Mountain Online features Damian John, Daen Davidson-Couch, Mark mealing, Brad Bradley, Doug Wilton, Rachel McGown, Sage Wilton and Philip Sarsons.
Three of these writers appeared in the recent trade paperback edition of Elephant Mountain, our annual selection from this online magazine. Now available in local bookstores: Lots of photos to remind you of winter’s hidden secret (Summer!)

JOIN THE CAVALCADE: Send your poetry, short fiction and art to

We’ll publish it here (if it meets our lofty editorial standards) and if it makes the cut you will see it in our next fine paperback edition.

is a venue for both page and performance poets. Page poets can learn more about the value of sound/performance and anyone can use it as a stage to rehearse a piece for the next Slam.
BOM is also a way to try out stuff you’re thinking of publishing. Elephant Mountain gives Slam and other writers a venue for pieces that work better on the page and enables them to get public print exposure.

The Booksmyth Open Mic usually occurs on the last Friday of the month so the next one will probably be on Friday Feb 28.
Doors open: 7:30, Readings/Performances start at 8.

We welcome both new or experienced writers and spoken word poets.


Doug Wilton


doug wilton ≈ valentine for a dying friend




valentine for a dying friend


the last time i saw you Caro
in a bed in palliative care
it was clear
that you don’t need to go on a diet

skin draped over those fine bones
but you were remarkably interested
in my work and the life that was going on
around you and would go on
without you

and almost enjoying the new adventure
entering the voyage with an excitement
that reminded me of how small children
enter the new adventure of life

not knowing or caring what came before
just as you don’t know or much care
what may come after

when we last spoke i recalled how
soon after my mother’s death she appeared
at the foot of her grandchild’s bed
and told him that she was in a good place
and not to worry

in recounting that event i clearly saw
that she still lived in little Adion’s heart
and that we who must die will live on

in the hearts that remember something of us
that they will pass on to those
who will love and remember them

so i leave this gift Caro
woven from what we shared
in this life that is deeper than a dream
and rounded with
something stranger than a sleep 


Hashem Shaabani ≈ seven reasons why i should die


Hashem Shaabani

Hashem Shaabani


An Arab-Iranian poet has been executed in Iran for “waging war on God” and threatening national security, human rights groups say.

Hashem Shaabani was executed in an unidentified prison in late January, the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre writes.

He had been sentenced to death in July 2012 by the Ahvaz Islamic Revolutionary Court for muharibih (“waging war on God”), sowing corruption on earth, propaganda against the Islamic Republic and acting against national security, it adds.

Shaabani, a member of the Arabic-speaking Ahvazis ethnic minority, was the founder of an organisation promoting Arabic culture and literature in Iran known as the Dialogue Institute and was popular for his Arabic and Persian poems, Al Jazeera reports.

It adds the 32-year-old often spoke out against the treatment of ethnic Arabs in the province of Khuzestan.

Following is the translation of a poem that Shaabani smuggled out of prison.





For seven days they shouted at me: You are waging war on Allah!

Saturday: Because you are an Arab.

Sunday: Well, you are from Ahvaz.

Monday: Remember you are Iranian.

Tuesday: You mock the sacred Revolution.

Wednesday: Didn’t you raise your voice for others?

Thursday: You are a poet and a bard.

Friday: You’re a man, isn’t that enough to die?


Philip W. Sarsons ≈ The Shorelines of Johnson’s Landing



I just had an article come out in our Star - – so having a spot in the Elephant Mtn network is rather timely. If there were room for a preliminary blurb to the poem, perhaps something like:

Poetry brings closer the things which are challenging to express. Especially the esoteric which by its nature is inherently elusive. In sixty-four poems, ‘The Book of Gardens: A Lover’s Manual for Planet Earth,’ reveal the study of mindfulness meditation as given to us in the I-Ching, the Chinese classic ‘book of changes.’ These poems become the bridge, something ever-at-the-ready to cross, travelling into a landscape which otherwise remains foreign. Below is an excerpt from the long-poem at the back of the book “The Shorelines of Johnson’s Landing” which points toward that territory of a pure reverie, a common and unceasing longing, seemingly unique to each of us. Proceeds from this book will be donated to the Johnson’s Landing Community to aid in the recovery and transition from the largest landslide to hit the area in 12,000 years. Copies can be purchased at at Otter Books, Shanti Yoga, and BookSymth. Best – Phil





held by rain and cloud upon this hill

the wind blows, the house creaks, the jays

descend, and the woodpecker and mice fall

into their slow invasion: the owl by night

hawks and eagles by day, even in this rain

the chipmunk keeping ridiculous company


up from the lakeside, the wish to be down

by the shore, rising so full. for there, returns

all dreams of Otherness: the secrets of a surface

the whole bird flocking, its song backward in its throat

its wishing guided no less by insane fancy; for the wish to be

beside the sea is far within, under the sediments of fear fusing

with the flux of fascination how the deciduous worry

of wind beside the conifers embrace of it


. there is a driftwood at the waters edge knowing of a slow river

a slow river which has made its nest inside a mountain

letting hard tides fall slowly, their bodies into footprints

and footfalls and fossils guiding them onward

and downward – though all be onward

down to where the lake slipped

and keeps falling upon itself

. and unto every day
: the turn of zodiac

the impetus of Flood

each life by each life

this damning economy two lips of flame

cupping an always invincible shadow, moving

as a lake textured by but a patch of wind


yet let not these shadows rule

but simply be that a shadow be known

for the sweet do all too often conceal

their sweetness even from themselves

to pursue a malnourished light

deep unto some darkness

again and
again – but not these trees :

blind and bright chorus

who knew of music before the clouds of early day

crawling up this mountain of late fall

and day

operatic inevitable and loving it


for the tree itself is too but a shadow


and let not

the below waves down this hill

be of too great interest either : but after

where one can still hear in the wave

the vacationing stream the knowledge of mountainside

past the million temples – trees or stone – all of the single alter joyously

unignorant of sacrifice


: unto this beach the sunken and broken

are made whole in sand ; warmed and warming

the oceans anterior to these mountains

the Atlantis to the Atlanteans

Pangaea not sunk but risen aching erect, yet crippled, aging in the stretching sun
crumbling . . .


so these ashes too will be of use

where every creek cuts itself into tributaries reaching until reached

for there is nothing unless for these trees forevergiving the breath of their

round excellence

nothing except the longing of nothing

except     night crammed with night

night sky in a prisoners robe

alternating lament with wonder

eroticized only by gods into day

and the certain beauty of the daisy feigning innocence

disguising the sorrow germinated – cultured – on the passions

on clamour while unfathomably silence is

bathing in the sun with no one watching


Daen Davidson-Couch ≈ GREY MARRIAGES


Daen Davidson-Couch

Daen Davidson-Couch















grey marriages


the long plains of black as night, as crow
an unseen face, images dissolving, in the

sun, celebration, of winds waking a cloud
the shades of white

rice paper, laid upon her painter’s table
as black and white

create grey marriages, moving as slow
as the ancient turtle, as fast as a hungry

cry at dawn
a small bowl of green tea

a Chinese opera playing, so sweet, delicate lovers
oh, the first kiss, and the last

so very opaque, and strikingly calm
the night and the day, as song

a hint of spring, upon my easel
grey marriages, absorbed in the wind

we dine, in our hearts, between
the light and the dark

grey marriages, the chi of quiet’s

music, so thin, as we wait

together, a partner of contrast
the kind night, invites a day

of shadows and simplicity
for the Chinese brush painter’s

way of making her quiet
a grey marriage, of brush and symphony

a celebration of what is


rachel mcgown ≈ home






You’re home
I know it’s true, I can see it with my own eyes
you’re standing in the kitchen
you came it through the front door
your uniform is crisp and shines with medals
Proof of how heroic this whole tragedy was

So I see, that you’re home now
But you’re looking around like you’ve never been here
like you didn’t lay that floor with your bare hands
like we weren’t married in this very room
like you didn’t make love to me on that table right before you left me

You left me
you left me
and they tell me that you’re home now
but all you see are dreams
and all I see are ghosts

You left me
And it’s taken years to figure out how to breath
years to teach my heart to beat around he breaks
years to learn my life without you in it
to convince myself that I could

But you’re home now
you came in through the front door
wearing that same look
the one you had every time I said

I love you

the one that’s waiting for me to take it back

You’re home now and I don’t know if I can back track over
the years I pretended I was fine more hours than I slept
the years I prayed almost as much as I cried
the years I told myself I didn’t need you
the years I almost believed it

But you’re home now
and I can try

You’re home now

You’re home now


brad bradley ≈




cloud pretending

cloud becoming


take history for example: a silver hue, almost
invisible; almost never. only when mentioned,
as a matter of fact. “i am
responsible,” i then admit, “for my vessel.
there, i said it. are you happy now?” her
quizzical look. “i’m just saying that i am way
outta shape.
my wings are like bricks.” she wedges antlers
into the blowhole, keyhole, into the shifting
window, hollers into
the void,
“bring me your love! bring me your best
antlers morph into a surgical straw and broken
neck. weather leaks out. w e a t h e r   l e a k s .   w   
e    a      t     h    e       r       .
silver seepage. “i am thirstier
than medical literature. i am danger
in the language.” “c’mon! c’mon! push
air! maintain density!
yer not vapour yet!
ah ha!
a new silver lining.
what’d i tell ya?”
again she pushes her fingers through,
“what’d i tell ya huh?”
my heart elastic and smooth. now,
take history for example, and evolve into additional fluids.
means more than wetter, yes.”