at the party
on rising too quickly
when i am angry
the tall survivor
red moon
mudslide (3/22)
stumpy teeth love(8/01)
Poems I wrote in Korea(8/01)
the rhyming bastards (poetry group, with new poems after each meeting)
more of the rhyming bastards (NEW)
my san fran poets
acrostic... 4th grade (NEW)

Stumpy Teeth Papa

His bottom lip caresses those stumpy left-over teeth
And he grins about those 2 packs of cigarettes
That he traded in for his top set in Sing-Sing.
Skinny black skull, his eyes fill with laughter
And his arms wrap around me while he watches over
The frying chicken, hands me the poker to grab some corn-on-the-cob
That he cooks in a big vat, oh, and there's rice and beans, pork ribs.
Everyone is sitting on the plastic chairs, chewing on their lips,
Filling cups with ice and soda. Even the little one
Gets ice and soda, cries if denied. The tough tiny transit cop,
Mother of 5, changes a diaper and asks me, "are you pregnant?"
"No. Why, should I be?" My hand to belly. Eyebrows raised.
Here there are strong family trees, though the houses are rotten.
I love this poverty, the blaring TV, the crumbs on the carpet,
and these bodies soaking up the day, the laughter, the liquor,
no big huge goals.
They aren't trying.
They live on through those toddlers chasing each other.
They live as long as they can, and then topple over
into waiting arms.

I love Buddha.
I love yoga.
I love mountains.
I love fields.
I love silence.
I love solitude.
I love family.
I love myself.
I love my momma.
I love my brother.
I love my pappa.
I love my aunts and uncles and cousins.
I love to work.
I love to be organized.
I love to be on time.
I love learning.
I love mysterious connections.
I love the crystal in the mud.
I love throwing my arms open.
I love hanging upside down.
I love making people smile.
I love discovering worlds.
I love peering into the grit and inner-workings of lives.
I love knowing anything could happen.
I love open doors.
I love leaving them swinging.
I love helping to create something off-kilter.
I love twisting the normal into odd.
I love new approaches.
I love loving.
-Betina Hershey

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