Merced County Times Newspaper
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Community In Poetry, Edition #3

April is National Poetry Month!


Dear Readers,

April is National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate poetry and poets. This is the third issue of “Community in Poetry,” which will run throughout the month of April in honor of National Poetry Month. 


Fireworks (2004)


My favorite ones are the failed ones,
of course,
the kind that only barely ever
make it off the ground,
explode in utero.
It’s apropos and very silly,
but the ones that never make
that final atmospheric climax
seem more human,
not so luminous
and closer the ground.
I wonder if they feel the way that I feel,
a sheet beneath my shoulders,
and the backs of my thighs burned
from another failed excursion to the sun,
and I wonder
if they wish that they were
colorful and
and much as I wish you were here.
I imagine
that you’d smile at me,
savoring the moment
lit by thousands of self-sacrificing lightbulbs
that are smiling as they die,
and you would lay your arms around me
in that way
that makes me little
and we’d collectively imagine
that the spectacle
was us,
exploding fireworks
across a summer sky.

I’m still cold,
and still lonely,
despite everybody’s company,
and the occasional refusal
of a lit match and a fuse
to reattatch
is somehow leaving me
and somewhat thrilled.
It’s a comfort to think,
that not every dream
is meant to be fulfilled.

My favorite ones are the failed ones,
I think, 
second only to the ones that split out small
the way the pieces of a thing
can be a better thing
than anything,
the ones that burn continuously smaller,
remain falling
like a handful of dropped stars.

Noelle D.W. Chandler is a poet, playwright and arts educator from Wheaton, MD who lives with her husband and son in Merced, CA. She works as an arts education consultant for the Merced County Office of Education and helped found the Phoenix Creative Collective in 2018.



Passover Palms


Friday night on our back porch
we face double palms reaching high,
bamboo almost taking over.

my own open palms reflect
a settling in to quarantine;
my man’s wide shoulders carry me
through these never empty streets.

the laughter of our kids floats
from Santa Clara through the phone,
no longer in the house at 9.

train horns keep getting louder,
echoed by ambulances;
colors seem strangely brighter.

yet our roses continue
to blossom after this last rain
that seemed more like a great flood.


Christina Lux is Associate Director of the Center for the Humanities at UC Merced. Her poetry has appeared on National Public Radio, in the Houston Chronicle, and in various journals and books.



The Merced County Times will publish poems in print and online that celebrate our lives, uplift our spirits, speak on important issues, and offer hope to our community. Please feel free to send your poem to Kim McMillon at [email protected] with your name, a one or two line bio, and a photo (optional). The poem should be specifically created for this column and no longer than 30 lines. You retain all rights to your poem. The poem should be an original work that would be helpful to people coping in these challenging times. You do not need to be a poet. Poetry is from the heart. It is the use of words to expand our horizons, to move beyond pain, hurt, whatever you are feeling, to come to love. It may not be that for all people, but whatever has you reaching for the pen is perfect. If the poet is less than 16 years of age, please send a note that says we may publish with the parent’s approval. 

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