Poet’s Corner: Wanderers, The Voice of Nomura San, A Product of His Time

Here is the latest installment of Poet’s Corner, presented by the Edmonds-based EPIC Poetry Group.


Progress moves
ever forward
paths followed
create the footprints
of our destiny

the fertility of dreams
pinpoint the road
to our destination

who we are
is either a matter
of choice
or circumstance

disconnected from “polite society”

the homeless roam
urban streets

lacking a homeowners association
they live in
unsightly encampments

surrounded by
abandoned shopping carts,
mounds of trash

we stay clear of them

looking to avoid the malady
that brought them here

they have become the untouchables
a blight on the urban landscape

untrustworthy squatters
eliciting fear and loathing

through the pain
of their wanderings

they are forced
to move

to creep through
the shadows

like ships lost
in the night

colliding with storms
of unchecked emotions

how many;
lead to
this time
this place

to address
their situation
flow freely

those in power,
stand patiently
in line

as if awaiting
the coronation
of a King,

the throne
remains empty.

Gerald Bigelow

~ ~ ~ ~

The Voice of Nomura San
(Looking out to Look in)

Gazing out the windows of quonset huts

Artist Kenjiro Nomura must look inside
to understand the world outside of himself

the world outside where he belongs
has been taken away

seen through confinement
everything framed like a picture

I love you America
why have you fallen
out of love with me

real love and respect
flow in both directions

what you do to me
you do to you

how can I share the beauty
of trees swaying in the wind

the cavalcade of springtime bouquets
sunshine sparkling on the water

a grey overcast day changing shadows

harvest moon nature’s hurricane lamp
diming as stray clouds drift by

there is no judgment in nature
Why have you unfairly judged me?

rustling leaves
wind blown fragrance

an elemental part
of a creative mind

cannot be imprisoned

You hold my body
Never my spirit
Never my soul

as long as I am here

you are in this concentration camp with me.

imprisoned by your hate and ignorance

Your barbed wire,
high fences,

barbarous guards,
with teeth grinding

looking for any reason
to inflict pain,

undermine my dignity
and that of my fellow prisoners

goes for naught!

as you stare at my art


the looking will never be enough without the understanding.

Gerald Bigelow

~ ~ ~ ~

A Product of His Time

I arrived feeling like an odd colored M&M in a candy dish
the gaze from the coach, a rosy faced man with – a stern look
told me what I was in for

he stood sizing up the new arrivals to the high school
back and forth glances moving like the carriage of a typewriter

making mental notes of which sports he was considering
the new recruits were best suited for

when he came to me he hit his mental space bar and carriage return
made a note“Too small”, Too fidgety, too—-?

his midwest Kansas mindset only allowed him
to make comfortable choices and decisions
never to color outside of the lines

I received no invitations to tryout for any of the school’s sports teams

during PE classes the coach was surprised that I could out jump, out run and out maneuver
his most talented basketball players

no offers were forthcoming
he stuck to his guns

not being deterred, I tried out for the Special Services teams
made first string in both basketball and baseball

often playing the high school in both sports
I made sure my performance reminded the coach
who he let slip through his fingers

one day when the coach was especially annoyed by me
he took me aside and read me the riot act

“Bigelow”! “You are noisy and cocky”
even though, you have earned an “A” in PE
I am giving you an “F” because of your attitude
What do you think of that?
well Sir, since I am an honor student and
have no plans to be either a PE teacher
or a coach
The “ F” should be of little consequence

looking back, my retort probably did not serve
as my most shining moment

I waited for the coach to come down from the ceiling
then quickly departed

in the interim, two years had passed and I was a high school Junior,

sitting in the snack bar with friends, 2 weeks prior to the end of summer vacation
the coach strolled in, surveyed the table and roared “Bigelow stand up”!

the coach gave me the once over twice and said, “Bigelow you are coming out for football”!
I guess, at 6 feet tall and 175 pounds
I was no longer Too small, Too fidgety, too —-?

under the coach’s tutelage I learned the game of football,
never to cheat and that academics were more important than sports

In 2008 the coach’s son had contacted me regarding the passing of his father
I was to know that the coach thought highly of me and I should know it!

the social mores of the 1950s and early 1960s
forced the coach to be a product of his time
not allowing him to tell me
what he truly thought of me
and not allowing me to ask.

Gerald Bigelow

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Previously published in the Arizona Centennial Anthology and in Between the Lines, Gerald is a board member for EPIC Group Writers and chairs a monthly poetry group. He edited and contributed to Soundings from the Salish Sea (A Pacific Northwest Poetry Anthology).

In 2019, Gerald was selected to read his poetry with the Washington State Poet Laureate. He helped establish a bi-monthly Poet’s Corner featurette in My Edmonds News to showcase the work of local poets. He has a new book of poetry on Amazon entitled, Memories Looking Through a Screen Door.

Among his other credits, Gerald has read his poetry at the 2019 and 2021 Edmonds Arts Festivals, read and served on a discussion panel for the Edmonds Friends of the Library, participated in poetry readings and a discussion panel at the celebration for the winner of the 2021 Paz Prize for Poetry (Alejandro Perez-Cortez), and acted as manager and a featured poetry reader for Epic Group Writers Poets at the 2022 Day of Remembrance for Japanese Americans held at Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds.


  1. Gerald, your poems bless me EVERY SINGLE TIME!! Heart wrenching, eye opening, and lovely…all at the same time. I feel honored to call you friend.

  2. Gerald…..crossing paths with you again after retirement and working with you in the poetic arts has changed my life. Thank you for your inspiring work and the optimism and encouragement you bring to all of us who are EPIC Writers! Once again, I have been deeply moved by reading your amazing poetry. Blessing to you as you continue writing!

  3. I love your book and read whenever I need inspiration. I am thankful for the years we were neighbors.

  4. I’m so proud of you and certainly proud to have known you as your next-door neighbor.

    My only regret is that I didn’t have the time to let your inspiration and depth of talent inspire me and direct me further.
    Other than to remind me that opportunities for growth are so often right around the corner if we just take the time to look and listen.

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