I Hope This Peace March

I hope this Peace March is gonna make a big difference on this Earth.

I hope the Earth feels better.  Peace means no War.

It means no “W”’s on the flags. 

Cooper-Woods Darby, Age 7

Time Capsule

You have in your hands a time capsule, capturing the state of mind, the hearts and hopes, of some of the Great Peace Marchers in 1986.  The Poetry Anthology committee met in the Bookmobile, planned to offer these poems to publishers for outreach and financial help, but the project did not survive Survival Mode. Frank Sahlem had the collection until September, ‘99, and passed it on to me at Carpinteria.

Like the Marcher who said  “I think we should take whoever God sends us and make marchers of them,” I have included everything from Frank’s folder here, plus a few new items


Reading these pages now, years later, dusty and maybe tear-stained or wind- and rain-blown, I can almost feel the campground feelings: the camaraderie, the loneliness, the courage and fear and hopes and determination that kept us saying “We’re Still Here” all those dusty, windy, rainy miles.  I thank all of you for capturing and sharing those moments. We’re Still Here, aren’t we, and we’re passing on the gift. If you have something to add, let’s figure out how to make a Millennium edition.  Sue Guist, sueg@allover.com

PO Box 1623, Morgan Hill CA 95038

Dear Folks Back Home,

What’s it like on the Great Peace March?  Cold and miserable.  Up to our ankles in mud as we stand shivering in the chow line.  My cup filled one half with hot pea soup – the other half with cold, heavy rain.  My pizza: sprinkled not with grated cheese, but drizzled with rain, rain, rain.  And fierce winds, 50 mph, blowing a nasty sand storm in our mouths.  Twelve cases of hypothermia.  Twelve peace marchers treated with hot soup, hot food.  Some placed naked in a sleeping bag with another naked (warm) body.

What’s it like on the Great Peace March?  Hot and happy.  Sweltering sun for many miles as we walk singing our hearts out.  Sun screen, sun visors, sun glasses.  Heavenly nights.  The million grains of sand in our eyes replaced by a billion brilliant stars in our eyes.  Five hundred peace marchers holding hands in a circle as round as the moon.  Two people touching lips in a yellow tent/cocoon.

What’s it like on the Great Peace March?  Sad and lonely.  My walking companion with whom I laughed and talked and sang…my survival partner who helped me with my laundry, my tent…my body’s delight who shared my sleeping bag…my soul mate is gone. She left the March.  But hundreds of warm, wonderful, attractive, talented women remain.  A guy could fall in love ten times a day. Already I’m getting sweet on someone.

What’s it like to be on the Great Peace March?  Elation and joy.  The children who run out of class to greet us.  The old folks in nursing homes who roll out on wheelchairs to meet us.  Entire towns adopt us.  Donations, love and kisses. I love every second of this great adventure. I want it to go on forever.

But please write soon for the greatest joy on the Great Peace March is simply a letter from home.

Gene Gordon

I am the furnace

this is a new housing start

the government doesn’t know about

i haven’t filed the plan


you might not recognize it

it has no walls

the plumbing is a stream

the bookshelves are trees

the hallways are interstates

imagination is the window

the roof is nothing but faith


i am the furnace

Frank Sahlem



      greeting from grizzled

stranger to new acquaintance:

      cold desert sandstorm

Frank Sahlem


How to Stop War – A Manifesto

It used to take masses of men

to fight wars.

Now it takes masses of men and women

to make weapons:

a very few can fight

a very big war –

a very final war –

using nuclear bombs.

We used to say

“If people refuse to fight,

war will end.”

Now we must say,

“War will end

if people refuse

to make weapons,

or if people stand between

the war-making few

and the terrible buttons they can push.

If we stand between politicians

and those who get rich

from owning plants

where arms are made –

with our money –

there will be no arms.

And without arms,

who can make war?


It’s still people who can stop war.


Franklin Folsom

In the Desert

in the desert

i’m losing a dream


slipping from my frozen fingers


drying in the arroyo bed.


in the desert

where the weather hurts

too much to tell

we crawl into shells

gasping in frayed pain

at what endurance means.

we are alive

and nothing more.


in the desert

four obscure nights.

just as the nightsky

forbids the stars from swelling

my body forbids my eyes from flying

so I lie under the darkest cover of night,

allowing my own eyes to swell.

watching the stars fly.

the lighted finger of the moon

points my way to sleep.


in the desert

I surround myself

having outrun my words

but not my grief.

I am trapped

in the collapsing light of my tent.

through the dry pool of my tears

the cactus speaks.

there’s little water

and enough for everyone to drink.


in the desert

an underground rumbling,

a mountain wanting to form.

the hands of the sky press down.

patience,  the earth knows.

fear rumbles through our veins

and returns as courage.

faith, the heart knows.


in the desert

first clear night.

we attach eyes

affix our face to the skies,

stars slippery in the rising shadows of space.

we wipe memories from our brow,

crawl into sleep,

reciting prayers of tectonic magic

walking the forbidden miles of day.


in the desert

where the weather strips us down

to whom we are

we shed our skins

ready to move into our hearts

where we’ve never been before.

we are alive

like never before.


in the desert

i’m remembering my dream


spreading like spring wildflowers,


burning into us like high noon.

Steve Brigham

Decade, American, Psyche

That old ‘50’s anxiety possesses me occasionally.  I jump at every sound expecting it to be the sirens calling me to duck and cover. This is my most compromised tear-filled loveless position, crumpled beneath the repressive wood and metal of desk and chair, hands over my head.  Eisenhower’s crackling mumbled father figure voice doesn’t soothe me but floods me with more masculine tears. 

Such moments make me long for the simplicity of the 40’s, with gallant tuxedos blowing raucous jazz full of gangster lingo made comical.  Romantic simplicities blossom but merely briefly in these painful high-heels that tap-dance through trivia marathons where war bond speeches are made hourly.  It takes a Truman to bomb one era out of existence and instantly make born a full-grown nuclear age.

But these nostalgic sentiments slip away swiftly when my boisterous 60’s come to mind, painting the morning with bursting pop pastels, talking the capuccino afternoon Dylanesque inspirations, visionary evenings of economic and ecological democracy and nights of passionate electric psychedelic eternal rock.  Yet in my exuberance, I can’t control the mind-altering paranoia that factionalizes the movement for ending terrible war.  Such experiments create a fashionably unquenchable thirst in this throw-away society, replacing one nude encounter group for another guru with spaghetti hair, breaking hearts with a nutcracker.  This form of burn-out was once my religion, yet the planet turned me, clasping sitars and guitars, flipping hot teriyaki hamburgers into the shocked unsconed lap of a nervous New Yorker babbling a symphonic structuralist song of Nietzche, numbers theory, and nipple envy. 

My expectations and preconceptions were traumatically seized when East and West met, in the angry crowds of Calcutta, and the ecstatic silent Zen gardens of Kyoto. It was in Times Square that the future seemed to already have passed.  A post nuclear world of shadow people and fallout air.  But my faith was and is deeply reborn every day by the verses of heavenly music that plays in deep silent meditations. 

I float moodily through my ‘70’s that quietly restructure opposing elements.  The wailing of folksy long-haired millionaires make melancholy the underlying pains in our luxurious pleasures.  Bittersweet harmonies celebrate shaky cooperative ventures, dirty health food restaurant-collectives bite the realtor’s dust.  Talk no more of politics and don’t work so hard ‘cause there’s glittery clothes to redress the forbidden opposite sex – and now the jumping yahoos forget themselves and their elegantly cussing speeches in favor of securing acres of mountain land and back-to-the-farm.  The disco craze dizzies me, these consecutive one night stands with gurus in platform shoes. 

Such a decade fades into these harsh contrasting ‘80’s.  The insistent desperation of billionaire computer commuters poisoning their own drinking water.  The age of a terrorist lifestyle that fear makes anger strike out randomly. Aspirins, luxury liners, airport counters are in my nightmares.  My ‘80’s are a surreal science fiction world whose roots are constant irony.  Here is where I grow my sanity, a flower boldly blooming in a wintry junkyard. 

Andrew Mayer


Peace is Achieved

Peace is achieved when I can go inside my mind with my thought and contemplate peace and its source…

Then I can see hear and feel what peace is all about and bring to this life what I have learned.

Jim Smith

Serenity’s Silent Song

Rings of light,

dancing on a pond,

where a stone was thrown

beneath the moon.


Frank Holmgren

Reflections From Within

Growing, changing

Awakening bit by bit, day by day

Insight flashes/fades/flashes...

No two moments feel alike.


My soul's in constant conflict with my fears

My path demands that these subside

    because fulfillment cannot be achieved

    by creating rooms — or minds — which cannot be


Who is this journey really for?

Are we saving the world — or saving ourselves?


Are we the world?


The pursuit of Truth demands utter honesty

Steadily carving away the bullshit

Lopping off the comforting self-deceptions

Recognizing and accepting

    the bare,hard, laughable realities

    when kind Intuition permits us a glimpse.

The pursuit of Truth:

    man's universal unconscious preoccupation.

Each minute's advance along the path,

    every infinitesimal growth-change in an


    moves humanity closer,

    ever closer,

    to the Truth

    we have always known we must be.

Frank Holmgren

(These 2 poems were printed in "Darma Voice" (September, 1986;


And What Would Heaven Be

And what would heaven be

with earth

And what would earth be

with heaven



Heaven and Earth


All beings come

into form


Catherine. BY 35

Reaching out to beauty

Reaching out to beauty

looking through a window or windshield,

Seeing a sunrise evoke magic.

Watching a  playground full with fun,


flickering before each reality’s eyes

I imagine

missiles’ white arches,

vibrant orange clouds

bellowing devastation

loss bound to infinity


leaving only the universe growing as a face of God.


The leaves swirl in gusts

following momentary patterns.

Wrapped in comfort from Grum’s black 1951 pea coat

I sit holding my own body and breathe

trying to heal the raw pain.

My huddled tears fall along the sloping green hill

in autumn.

My heartbeat,         , is a prayer

its very existence

a joyous overture with yours as I feel

your continuous pulse –

a planet of heartbeats praying.


ENVISIONING a world without weapons

I walk

sharing touchstones and a possible powerful reality

one step at a time

one blister after another.

mile after mile

wearing blue ribbons through the rain and sun,

sweat and chill.

In the vision I find a strengthening face of God. 

Valerie Gaddis

The Fires In Our S-O-U-L-S

(A marching song)

Though our bodies may be tired

and we may be burning holes into the

bottoms of our s-o-l-e-s,

We will hold our heads up higher

‘cause you can’t put out the fires that are

burning in our s-o-u-l-s.


Though our bellies may be shrinking

and our sneakers may be stinking

after marching on our s-o-l-e-s,

We will hold our heads up higher

‘cause you can’t put out the fires that are

burning in our s-o-u-l-s.

Yes it’s true, we’ll get through,

and you can’t deny the glory of our goals;

Yes it’s true, we’ll get through,

‘cause you can’t put out the fires in our souls.

As our hair is getting longer,

and our legs are getting stronger

and we use up many cans of Dr. Scholl’s,

You may think that we are liars

but you can’t put out the fires that are



burning in the bottoms of our souls!

Jeff-Free Turnbull


Every Step

3 months poetryless

time to open the dream-head again.



deposit your fears

step between these words,

discover me as i discover me.

chunk up the fire

and wait for conversation to begin.

today it will be served

with plastic on paper plates.

suck the outside in

we will change the weather as we go.

the outcome of these events will matter.

even god may take note.


its late

even darkness has fallen asleep.

in the REM of night

a heaviness of breath.

the grass plays its water marble game

inviting bare feet

and a warm body or two.


we lie out in the fields,

under the stars lying in their fields

watching us.

for hours they watch

and with entrance into sleep

follow us inside. 

peace begins in the

first bells of tibetan morning.

continues at the tips of waking’s first stretch.

beating even the sunrise

from reaching the outside first.

watch the light fly

from horizon to eye

back to horizon again.

honor the pain of waking up

even if the sun sometimes sleeps in.

savor your breakfast

fill your stomach with eight miles

pack your lunch with seven more.


out on the road

notice your feet close to the tarred earth.

forgive your legs

forgive the pain

that has left no muscle unburned.

remember the cheers

remember the ugly stares.


swallow the love

and yes

swallow the hate.


you have grown stronger

remembering every step

and every step has already

left its mark (cont.)

Every Step (cont.)


walk and know one day

the world will walk with you.

walk and remember

your grandmother’s grandmother

watching from a candlelit room.

walk and remember

your grandchild’s grandchild

watching from a future womb.


after dinner

after the glow and shadow of evening

midnight arrives

a new day

five hours away.


let the day go.

let the miles go.

let the people go.



the brilliant notes of peace

filter through the silence

and are heard by all people in their sleep.

tomorrow their dreams will remember them.

enter sleep knowing peace watches over you.

yes, tonight peace.

and tomorrow

we must learn it again.

Steven Brigham

Great Peace Marchers

Please Take Me With You in Your Hearts

I was with you at the start,

full of wonderment and awe –

but you stole away my heart

in Barstow, because of what I saw.


You reached out and touched me,

with your faces full of hope and pride –

and talking with you helped me see,

what keeps you at your stride.


When I ventured out to see your camp,

my emotions tore in half –

knowing how insignificant I am,

made helping you an impossible task.


Tho I tried to help and gave you food,

I wanted to scoop up all of you –

and really be of some good,

I died to trudge along too. 


I can’t go along and knew it from the start,

restlessness deals me a fit –

I beg you to take me with you in your heart,



Lisa Butts , Barstow

The People

These are the people who will not accept

What some say is fate.

And the feeling  the feeling

Is great   so great!


Theirs is a dream so wonderful

That few dare to dream it.

They take each step with determination.

And others will see that they really

Do mean it.


They sing of a world of peace and love

And the sunshine pours down on

Them from above. 


Their power lies in their simplicity

And their unified spirit of hope.

A power so strong that through

Any hardship they will cope.


They accept each challenge day by day

And refuse to yield to what others

May say.


These are the people who will not accept

What some say is fate.

They say it is not too late.

And the feeling  the feeling

Is great  so great!

Amy Feltus

The Spirit of Youth And The Wisdom of Age

The spirit of youth might rescue this world

in yearning for beauty and truth sublime,

But dreaming itself has never done more

than waste everyone’s precious time.


The wisdom of age might rescue this world

by using the knowledge of history.

But elders are usually listless and snide,

having lost faith in life’s mystery.


Therefore, in order to rescue this world

I offer this brief proposition:

All the world’s children should learn from their elders

while maintaining youth’s high ambition.


And while all the youngsters are doing their parts,

the elders, as well, have a task to fulfill;

They should recapture the dreams of their hearts

while maintaining discipline, knowledge, and skill.


In reaching this goal we can stifle our strife,

and man’s evolution will turn a new page;

For we can regain our great purpose in life

By joining youth’s spirit with wisdom of age. 


Jeff-Free Turnbull

We’re Walking for Us All

Where are we going?

and why are we going?

and what are we gonna do?

We’re on our way to D.C.


What’ll we see there?

People that DO care!

What’ll be the big surprise?

We’re gonna take the nooks down

Before your very eyes

We’re on our way –

We’re reaching out –

We need support –

To bring about –

The end of bombs

That could destroy us all

Yes we’re walking, we’re walking

for us all.

LOVE is our tool

PEACE, our school

We’re walking for us all


We’re walking for us all!

Freda Amsel

Writers Walking for Peace

For those in need of truth

We radiate beyond

Acceptable background levels of propaganda

Unearthing, enriching and exploding

The rich veins of reality

Buried in the yellowcake of lies.


For those in need of more than truth

We walk the epic we write

Listening to high desert winds

And mountain rains

Speaking in poems

And rustling raingear

Seeking the sun-myths that renew.

Tom Benner

Truth, the Liberator

If truth were turned to water

and rained across the land,

There’s not be one unhappy soul,

nor tear-stained grain of sand.

If truth could be the very wind

which fills each void and pocket,

Man could speak the bravest thought

and none would dare to mock it. 

Jeff Free Turnbull

Thought Things

Our world is wallowing in Plenty and Poverty at the same time.

The highest form of life on earth contemplates self destruction.

Our PROTECTION is more dangerous than our enemies.

We are taught to hate and fear our own species/

800 billion dollars, time, energy, effort and resources, for Killing Equipment this year – that we don’t dare use.

The Military cannot protect themselves or their employers.

Survival is the first order of the Universe.

You must not commit our genocide.

The total cost of war today makes the enemy look good.

Each generation, in each country, brainwashes its youth into believing that the only way to solve a problem is to slaughter our own species.

There is little security in Death or Bankruptcy.

People don’t make wars, they just get to fight them – and pay for them.

We are responsible for what we do, and don’t do.

We are not happy with what you have done, what you are doing, your lack of results, and your lack of efforts.

We do not wish to die as heroes or victims, or prepare new heroes for the coming generation.

MANKIND is more important than Nations.

After the slaughter, the waste, and the cost, we negotiate.

We are always good. - They are always bad.

Is God happy or content to witness his highest creation slaughter each other?

Man’s needs and wants are basically the same and there is enough for All.

Is it justifiable for man to slaughter his own species to promote jobs?

We have bought the end with our taxes and our complacency, and we have brainwashed our own to use it regardless of consequences.

Doing nothing perpetuates the problem. 

You can make a difference! 

Together, We can make a difference! 


Dale Malleck

Empty I Come

Empty I come into the world

a cry of joy my mind unfurls

the memories that I shall store

remembering when I was a boy

the loves I lost—and those I keep

the dear departed—the tears I weep

for when the end draws very near

I shall cry a happy tear

so lucky for life with its ups and downs

I laughed, I cried—with smiles and frowns

I came with life—with Death I go

my memories gone like melted snow.