Area poet embraces Okanogan Highlands artistry

Republic-based poet Ceb ‘Don and co-publisher of Caledonia Pax Cultura, an Okanogan Highlands based literary quarterly.

Republic-based poet Ceb ‘Don and co-publisher of Caledonia Pax Cultura, an Okanogan Highlands based literary quarterly.

TONASKET – After having traveled all over the country, Republic-based poet Ceb ‘Don realized “this is it.”

“Something inside of me, a little voice, told me that this was the place.”

Describing his decision four years ago to come to North Central Washington and live, ‘Don urged a group of Tonasket Alternative High School students Monday that they too “can accomplish their dreams.”

“You’d be amazed by what’s inside,” he said.

A recent winner of the $1000 ‘Return to Creativity’ award, given annually by the State of Washington, ‘Don is also currently ranked fifth at the state level as a poetry slam competitor.

“Being on my own more,” the 27-year-old ‘Don said, “(Writing) is another alternative to talking with friends.”

“I don’t write everyday. Sometimes I take sizable hiatuses from doing any writing at all,” he said. “Sometimes I have free time and feel real inspired. Sometimes I write several things and might be up all night.”

‘Don is also co-publisher since 2004 of “Caledonia Pax Cultura” or Peace through culture in the Highlands, a literary magazine that “never really took off in Tonasket. Most interest is in Republic and Curlew,” he said.

People can submit poems, articles, and interviews of really interesting characters, “a lot of cool people have some pretty cool stories and we kind of shine a light on them.”

At the moment, “I don’t have a day job other than poetry,” ‘Don said.

And his concentration has begun to pay dividends.

“I just put the word out.”

He has been earning a living speaking with students and working alongside teachers, when not performing in Seattle or opening for music acts in and around the Pacific Northwest.

The author of four collections of poems, including: Help Wanted and Off the top of my head, and the tip of my tongue…”

“I feel like all my poetry is an acceptable way to talk with people I don’t know,” ‘Don said.

“Cultural dogma says it matters not who you are, but what you got. ”

“My biggest impetus – or motive is to kind of validate the person inside of everyone who gets so overlooked.”

Lost and Found

I have been half stranded in Utah

A state that is blind to hitchhikers

And gone to sleep in tall brown grass

Under a whole universe of stars.

Its like that in so many places

You’re sure that the people there

Never look up,

Never fell like a speck of dust

Swept up in desert wind,

Like something lost forever

To all the worlds ambitions.

I’ve been a monk meditating

And a lover loving

And always felt like a fish swimming

In the ocean of my body

Bordered nowhere.

I’ve seen my schooling peel and flake

Curling off like crumbling paint.

I’ve seen my fears dry and fade

Like crayon monsters from

drawings I made.

I’ve seen my dreams wake up,

Like animals that hibernate

When the heart is frozen.

I’ve been a poet dancing with words woven

Like bare-foot-steps

Stomping out syllables

Circling into silence.

Like someone mummified before their time

I’ve wrapped myself this way

Uncovering a voice

With something to say.

– from Off the top of my head,

and the tip of my tongue…by Ceb’Don

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