Spotlight Poet December 2018…

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Our featured poet of the month is Cheryl Wilcox.

Cheryl was born in the immigrant city of the world, Lawrence Massachusetts and has split her life between New England and the Midwest.
Cheryl, who now works as a media consultant for Gannett Satellite information center as part of the Local Q team, graduated from college in New England and majored in Journalism and Commercial Art.

Cheryl first joined LNP two and a half to three years ago after a meet the groups event and started calling into the LNP radio shows about two and a half years ago. She started writing poetry at approximately ten years of age Just before she turned 25 she took a twenty-five year hiatus from writing poetry and did not return to it until she came across Allpoetry just over four years ago.

When asked what or who inspired you to write poetry Cheryl responded, ” My father handed me a journal and told me to write my thoughts down when I was about 8 years old. I was always in trouble for speaking my mind so he thought it best I close my mouth and jot it down so I suppose that along with my love of nature is how I began to write poetry.”

Cheryl describes the LNP poets as “a wonderful group of talented poets and people. All so wonderfully supportive of each other.” She says her most valuable experience in the LNP group has been the family atmosphere and kinship which she describes as absolutely amazing saying “I love the diversity of poetry and people. We are all connected and the Late Night Poets group demonstrates the best facets of humanity.”

Cheryl has had several poems published throughout the years. Some of the publications include Page & Spine Magazine which was the first publication to pay her for her work. Other publications include Orb Literary Magazine, Whispers of the Heart as well as several anthologies over the years, as well as on AP, including Vol. 1 and 2 of the LNP Anthologies.
She is currently putting together a series of character sketcyhes that she would love to publish at some point but I has no desire to seek any other publication at this time.

Cheryl’s favorite authors are Harper Lee, Khaled Hosseini and Maeve Binchy 

Her favorite poets are C. Raymond Beran, Sylvia Plath, Rupi Kuar and many of the amazing poets on Allpoetry

Her favorite poems are What Is A Friend by C. Raymond Beran, Flounder by Natasha Thretheway and the night had a thousand eyes By Francis William Bourdillion

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What is a Friend?

By: C. Raymond Beran

What is a friend? It is a person with whom you dare to be yourself. Your soul can be naked with him or her.

They seem to ask of you to put on nothing, only to be what you are. They do not want you to be better or worse.

When you are with your friend, you feel as a prisoner feels who has been declared innocent. You do not have to be on your guard. You can say what you think, – so long as it is genuinely you.

Your friend understands those contradictions in your nature that lead others to misjudge you. with your friend you breathe freely. You can avow your little vanities and envies and hates and vicious sparks, your meannesses and absurdities and,- in opening them up to your friend, they are lost, dissolved on the white ocean of his or her loyalty. A Friend understands.

You do not have to be careful. You can abuse them, neglect them, tolerate them. Best of all, you can keep still with her or him.

It makes no matter. Your Friend like you- He or She is like fire that purges to the bone. They understand. They understand. You can weep with them, sin with them, laugh with them, pray with them.

Through it all – and underneath – your friend sees, knows and loves you. A friend? what is a friend? Just one, I repeat, with whom you dare to be yourself.

~~~~~~~

Flounder
BY NATASHA TRETHEWEY

Here, she said, put this on your head.
She handed me a hat.
You ’bout as white as your dad,
and you gone stay like that.

Aunt Sugar rolled her nylons down
around each bony ankle,
and I rolled down my white knee socks
letting my thin legs dangle,

circling them just above water
and silver backs of minnows
flitting here then there between
the sun spots and the shadows.

This is how you hold the pole
to cast the line out straight.
Now put that worm on your hook,
throw it out and wait.

She sat spitting tobacco juice
into a coffee cup.
Hunkered down when she felt the bite,
jerked the pole straight up

reeling and tugging hard at the fish
that wriggled and tried to fight back.
A flounder, she said, and you can tell
’cause one of its sides is black.

The other side is white, she said.
It landed with a thump.
I stood there watching that fish flip-flop,
switch sides with every jump.

~~~~~~~~~~~

The Night Has A Thousand Eyes
By: Francis William Bourdillon

The night has a thousand eyes,
And the day but one;
Yet the light of the bright world dies
With the dying sun.

The mind has a thousand eyes,
And the heart but one:
Yet the light of a whole life dies
When love is done.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Something few people know about Cheryl is that she is co-owner and co-administer of a blind dating site for the visually impaired and does stand up comedy a couple of times a year.

For non-poetry projects Cheryl is currently working on a couple of Habitat Houses and working to get a 24 hour soup kitchen in her community.

Two of her favorite bands and musicians include Foreigner and Ed Sheeran but she says, there are many more.

Her favorite websites are Instagram ,Youtube and of course All Poetry.

Cheryl’s hobbies and interests include blogging about life and painting. She says “I love painting life’s vibrant colors through oils, acrylics and water colors.”

Cheryl has several favorite quotes but says the one that impacted her life the most was this one
“Grief can destroy you –or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. OR you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn’t allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it. But when it’s over and you’re alone, you begin to see that it wasn’t just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together or worrying over a high electric bill. It was everything, it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it. The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can’t get off your knees for a long time, you’re driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss. And the ache is always there, but one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life.”
Dean Koontz, Odd Hours

“I am but a grain of sand in the ocean riding the waves”…..cwilcox