Friday, June 1, 2012


Working on an introduction for a new collection of poems but cringe at the idea of doing something conventional or predictable. Any ideas? This is what I've come up with so far... The thoughts expressed in this collection are strictly my own and do not represent the teachings of my old department nor the official positions of a well-intended editor any of several previous religions current or former lovers known literary traditions or my ancestral tribe

Friday, May 25, 2012

I hate re-writing

but sadly I'm sitting on dozens of poems that feel like they are 90 to 95% there but definitely not finished. I'm having a hard time working on new things while knowing there are poems I've already written that need a lot of work. I'm the Octomom Poet. Squeezing out new ones has become more important that caring for the ones I already have. Maybe I'll get a visit from the Poetry Social Worker, who will find a home for the older ones and raise them properly? Or maybe there's a workshop to help me with this?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What you dream while he's away at Model United Nations

I. Perched up in a high corner of his room you hear his alarm and see him motionless you never lost your fear of SIDS it sounds your own alarm He’ll grope for the snooze button and sleep in late because he can he sleeps well in hotel beds they're newer and bigger than his own and because you’re not there with your muted morning sounds and the unspoken lure of white mocha II. He’s a well-prepared diplomat with detailed policies and positions but he’s caught by surprise when the ambassador from Zimbabwe gets all precious and blocks his resolution Bono shows up to smooth things over but these things take time so everyone agrees settle things over World of Warcraft and Red Bull over ice III. Trouble finds him because he’s still really young and lacks street smarts A brown belt (while better than nothing) can’t stop the vicious gang from Singapore who target young, healthy quarry so they can knock them out and harvest their organs IV. There’s a big dance on the last night and he meets a nice girl maybe not as nice as you’d hope but nice enough for him to loosen up and dance You worry that she’s a little more experienced a second child with a rapacious older sister her parents have full cable you know she’s seen it all She talks about Burning Man and getting her own place Her face morphs into something predatory you wonder if there’s a Latin word for Skankasaurous Rex and you scream a scream he’ll never hear V. He appears old and it takes a while for you to know it’s him If he’s that old it means you’re either frail or dead and you wonder if you’re seeing him from now or through the lens of the Summerlands VI. He comes home intact and you’re both tired him from his travels and you from fevered dreams

Friday, March 2, 2012

Grave Accent

The grave accent is a diacritical mark used in Breton, Calalan, Corsican, Dutch, French, Greek, Italian, Mohawk, Norwegian, Occitan, Portuguese, Ligurian, Scottish Gaelic, Vietnamese, Welsh, Romansh, and other languages. Until very recently I misunderstood what this term actually meant.

there’s the meaning we believe
the real meaning known to everyone else
and we’ve no idea they’re separate things

I was certain that term
grave accent
meant the reverent tone
reserved for graveside services
our dignified whispers
saved only for the grieving and the dead

But no, it’s a linguistic thing
a diacritical mark taught in the academe
and known from Corsica to Wales

First used by the ancient Greeks
it marks a lower pitch to accentuate
the higher pitch that follows

On this mournful day
I hear grieving Tuscans
gently intone

he died
with virtue
and was carried here

I was wrong
I didn’t know
but in my providential world
where graveside visits are rare
and higher pitches follow
my tone would have been
just right

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Dad turns 80


To begin each day
early and with purpose

To know the first secret of life
showing up

To imagine results
before they’re achieved

To plant and harvest
hunt and dress

To build monuments
outlasting us all

To have loved and lost
remembered both

To guide those who’ll listen
Give back where needed

To balance the certainty of faith
with the magic of wonder

To create a legacy and pass it along

Arriving a commoner, retiring a king

This is a life well lived

My Dad turned 80 this month. We have never pretended to understand each other well, but I've grown to love and respect him. He can't imagine a hobby that doesn't involve firearms or power tools, and I can't imagine a waking moment without the joy of language. Here's to genetic mutations.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sorting and Pitching

Something about this time of the year, I'm going through piles of old stuff and pitching what I don't want or need. It's easy with material things. If you doubt that, you haven't any clothes left from the 80s.

With writing it's different. I can store five years of work on a $4 jump drive. Just don't ask me to find anything quickly.

I did manage to find the outline for a workshop I led last May on the Poetry of Protest. It was a lot of fun, great turnout, and forced me to gather together some examples from my own work:

- Artist of Discarded Instruments (returning veterans)
- What Do You Fear? (Bush White House rejection of poets)
- Julia, Who Can Speak Now (Sudanese refugees)
- Trudy, From Cameron Parish (British Petroleum Oil Spill)

Protest is hard work and I'm tired. Starting to think about more uplifting topics like love and redemption. What are you writing about? Inspire me. You know how.