Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rock and Roll in NZ

I’ve been hearing from colleagues (higher ed folks and poets) about the 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand's second biggest city. Sadly, this most recent earthquake (there was a whopper last September) hit during the middle of the day, causing plenty of damage, injury and loss of life.

I haven’t heard of any fatalities or major injuries within my circle but the news is still flowing in. Along with the rest of the world, our thoughts, hearts and prayers are with those people in Christchurch - especially those people still trapped in buildings and those waiting for updates about their loved ones.

For those wondering how they can help, the International Red Cross is always a good bet at We helped with Haiti and will help with this one.

If their poets and sports teams are any indication, New Zealanders are a resilient lot and they will come out of this tragic situation with courage and grace.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Failed Entombments

There’s a grim finality
to having your body
lowered into the ground
but failed entombments
happen sometimes
and when they do
they make for high drama

When the Chilean miners
facing depths of their own despair
defied death and rose
from their underworld graves
we found ourselves cheering
for their girlfriends and wives

and when Yeshua Ben Yosef
rolled the stone away
from his pre-ordained crypt
it gave us the plot twist
all new faiths require

Nothing says surprise finish
quite like reversing a death
we thought was foregone
when we feel the power
of that first grateful breath
and accept the odd gift
of a rare second chance

inspired by POW Prompt 21 with the full knowledge that this one will be all over the map.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Writer's Road Trip

Just returned from the South Coast Writers Conference in Gold Beach, Oregon. Met lots of memorable writers and characters, and came away with two notepads filled with ideas and possibilities. One of the highlights: meeting Naseem Rakha, author of The Crying Tree, and discussing the ways she makes her readers swoon. The pen (and word processor) are well rested and ready to resume...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Echoes of James Dean

The way you moved still hums

The lines you delivered still echo

Your dreams were ours, magnified

Thanks for helping me get teen anger

After a film festival in your honor, wow

Tears for your death pre-dated my time

But for a few seconds, who knows what might have been?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A New Day on the Nile

When the price of wheat
is only the beginning

when a hungry girl finds strength
to raise her fist

when the boy leading his donkey
says enough

when grandmothers reject the fear
they’ve endured

when horses slow their pace
while entering crowds

when uniforms on clotheslines
stay un-ironed

when the harmony of sisters
blend as one

when a kiss gives thanks
for restraint

when every prayer
for every god is heard

when the sun comes up
and everything has changed

these things will mark
a new day on the Nile

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Oh Hide Those Hills of Snow

April, hide your hills of snow
they’re bursting from your frock

The customers who frequent here
quite often stare in shock

We’re here to serve mint lattes
not to bend and pout and wink

Forget how tips grow bigger
when your customers see pink

Inspired by POW prompt 19 from Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, Act 4 Scene 1.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Goose at Counting Zeros

I was never swayed by numbers.
our mutual rejection drove me straight
to the arms of letters, who embraced me
after no more than that first glance

I saw numbers make classmates cringe
especially the negative ones
while letters yearned to live together
performing acts of creation
forming words, then sentences
then stories that made me smile

As a young athlete, some numbers made us
weep and slam locker doors
while letters formed the language of learning
and winning when it was due
We earned and wore ours with pride
and yeah, they got us the girls

Numbers told the cost
for rites of passage in a world
filled with cannibalism and greed
and when we got the bill and learned
how even the sacred can be counted
our burdens got heavier

When we added letters after our names
in hopes of changing the world
it made for a magical passage
through new doors they caused to open

In the smelly, dusty marketplace
numbers made some people whores
desperate to steal from neighbors
sell flour sacks filled with stones
dance like exploited chimps

Too many numbers betrayed
grandmothers in mournful stories
of working at the drive-up window
discarding their dreams
slinging freedom fries

Being a goose at counting zeros
hasn’t left me lacking
I’ve seen numbers corrupt others
while letters save the world
and having felt the difference
I never had to choose

Inspired by POW prompt 18, what are you a goose at?