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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Journal Bits 4-19-2012 to 4-17-2012

Spring showers falling today. I've been inside - cleaning and thought I'd take a break and post some Journal Bits...

Since April 19th, 2012


4-19-2012 "Went out and got dinner for us last night to rent two movies for us last night and strawberry shortcake dessert. Rented two movies for us to watch and they were bombs..."


4-20-2012  [Copied this from a post by Kelli Russell Agodon... made me smile though seriously I think some truth lies therein... I believe that poets simply have their own humor that almost no one else gets. It just goes with the territory.]  "Sometimes being a poet feels as if you're in your own comedy."


4-20-2012 Reading at Crossroads Tonight:  I read, The Geese Returned TodayWhirly Girl, If I may Ask and I Offered You Wine.


4-22-2012  "unconsciously you stunk/in right field and something/about your shirt - your non-regulation//It all came to a head/when you were pulled/after too many errors/too much pic-neck/maybe too many Brauts//finishing out the game on the pic-neck table bench/and the search for your glove/ someone said they thought/someone put it in a trash can."


4-24-2012 Listening to Madeline Albright on Morning Joe talk about here heritage as well as her new memoir, Prague Winter. Fascinating stuff. I want to read this book.


4-27-2012 "why is it that things/mattering seem such a loss/that mattering seems beyond control/like you are urinating/down your pants legs/that it's just happening/that's all there is.//Your pissed on legs don't move/they don't run to hide/they don't seek fresh trousers/they just stand/without a care.






Friday, April 27, 2012

Our Modern Culture

"I think that one possible definition of our modern culture is that it is one in which nine-tenths of our intellectuals can't read any poetry." ~ Randall Jarrell

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Late for Confession Tuesday

Dear reader:  It's late, I know. But I'm here just the same. It's been a week and a day since my last confession. I'll be very up front with you, I'm a little testy as I've been to both the dentist and an ENT specialist. You know the scope thingy down the nasal passage? Not so fun.

I confess that I had not been to the dentist in quite a while.  I will be making another trip back in May. {Sigh}

I confess that I started reading a new book today. Remembering Randall ...  a memoir of poet Randall Jarrell. Yes, that would be the same Mr. Jarrell who's quote resides up just under the blog title. I'll let you know what I think of it when I finish it.

I confess there seem to be more birds in and around our yard lately. Did someone tell them I was bird watching this spring as ask them to drop by? It's like they are hosting a Meet Up! right here. I confess this is kinda enjoyable.  If I have to start cleaning white wash off my car windshields soon I may rethink that.

One of our dogs brought  a cousin of Alvin to our back door this past week. I refuse to accept that it was more then a very distant relation of the famed Chipmunk. I confess this is not viewed on the same level of the many birds.

Well that's the best this cranky man can do for today.  Have a great week!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Good Time for creative endeavors

Based upon my bio-rhythms for today:

You are in good shape. This period is favorable for creative endeavors. Rest and idleness should not be indulged, as this is a good time to start a new business, expand your sphere of influence, or make new acquaintances. You have a positive influence on people and situations. You'll be able to prove yourself easily. Use this time productively.

Physical state: Positive

Emotional state: Positive

Intellectual state: Positive

Intuitive state: Negative

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Economics of Art

Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen write anthems about the travails of the working man; we line up for the revival of “Death of a Salesman.” John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson hold festivals and fundraisers when farmers suffer. Taxpayers bail out the auto industry and Wall Street and the banks. There’s a sense that manufacturing, or the agrarian economy, is what this country is really about. But culture was, for a while, what America did best: We produce and export creativity around the world. So why aren’t we lamenting the plight of its practitioners? Bureau of Labor Statistics confirm that creative industries have been some of the hardest hit during the Bush years and the Great Recession.

When reading an article on Salon by SCOTT TIMBERG I was struck particularly by the above paragraph.  I know it's easy to look at artists (in their many forms) and pooh-pooh the notion that they are importantly contributing to society.  But let's explore a list of some that represent art in society.  Yes, there are painters and sculptors, but also musicians, writers (of all types). Producers, photographers, camera men, people in a variety of film and stage productions working in lighting, set design are all artists as wells as architects, actors, entertainers of all kinds. Publishers, dancers and choreographers. I could go on and on but you start to see that without these people life as we know it would get rather dull. No pictures, no movies, no theater or television. No music to listen to in drive time. Soon it would simply be be eat sleep and work... repeat.  No libraries to visit. No books of any kind  to read. Seriously folks, I'm getting pretty depressed just thinking about a world without these people.

So how bad is it for artists?  How many are we talking about? For the answer to this I turn to the Artists In The Workforce Study -  the first look at 21st century labor trends among working artists.

Some interesting facts:


  • Artists represent almost 2 million people. One of the largest segments of the workforce... only slightly less then active duty military that are at 2.2 million and comprise about 1.4 % of the total workforce.
  • Artists earn an aggregate income of about $70 billion annually. 
  • Between 1970 and 1990 the number of artists nearly doubled.
  • Between 1990 and 2005 the number slowed to a growth of about 16% which was comparable with the rest of the workforce.

  • Some gender figures as they relate to the artist workforce - Men outnumber women in architecture, announcing, music, production and photography while women outnumber men in the fields of dance, design and writing. Yes, women outnumber men in writing. 
  • Artists are entrepreneurial. 3.5 times more likely to be self employed.
  • Artists tend to be underemployed and only work part of the year.
  • Artists tend to earn less then workers with similar levels of education. In 2005 the median income from all sources was $34,800 only slightly more then the $30,100 median income for the total labor force but less then the $43,200 median for all professionals. 
  • Artists are twice as likely to have a college degree then the rest of the work force. 
Perhaps if more people were aware of some of these factors there would be less of the "oh he/she is just a writer" mentality at work when people think about artists.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lazy Saturday Afternoon


I realized today that the Iris on the south side of our home are in bloom. I loved the way Iris flowers look. The frail yet complexity they display.  The color here is simply amazing!  They've probably been open a few days now. Hate that I didn't see them till today because they don't last terribly long. Where they come up I don't necessarily see the spot every day so it's easy to miss them.

I read last night at Crossroads Coffee House. Good sized crowd last night. Speaking of visuals, while we read last night a painter stood on the side of the riser and started with a white canvass and by the time the night of reading was over had created a strikingly picture a a woman that was titled "futility." I wish I could tell you the artists name but sadly I got off without it.

You might think the act of painting while people are reading would be distracting but I didn't find it to take anything away from the readings and rather enjoyed the two together.

Located some hard copy of some stuff I wrote in that past that I no longer had computer files for so I need some time trying to refine some of the poems, several of them were keepers so I'm glad I rand across the hard copies. So looks like I'll be working on some rewrites over the next few weeks.

A couple of notable items from BLOGLAND for poets and other writers:

Check out Kelli Agodon's  How I Prepare for a Weeklong Writing Residency... Kelli has one of the most insightful blogs and if it's not on your routine reading list then I recommend that you add it right now. 


Another blog I recommend in general is Writing Our Way Home. A lot of positive vibe and advice for writers or people in general. Often good interviews.





Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thought for the day

"The bully believes he has an unquestionable right to enforce compliance upon others."  - Clayton T Grassant

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Confession Tuesday

It's that time again...

Dear Reader:  It's been one week ago since my last confession.

I confess that I'm working on my laptop that is not plugged in and have one eye on the battery indicator as I type this. I confess this may be rushed.

My fantasy baseball team is preforming slightly under my expectation but I confess that I'm not sweating about it. It is starting off this week's series doing better but overall it remains competitive and that's all I can ask for now. I can tweak things as the season wears on.

I'm just about to fill up another journal and I have another brand-spanking new one awaiting in the wings. I confess that I get a rush as I start another new one that is without chicken scratching and sloppy handwriting from writing in the car when someone else is driving. Let me make it clear, I DO NOT JOURNAL and DRIVE.

I confess that I have been in a funk these past few weeks and I'm still in one. I'm not happy about it but it's the product of some external things that I don't have control over.

This week I hope to get to the library. I confess that I see lots of reading in my immediate future.


Monday, April 16, 2012

The Mag 113: Visions in Red


Red Roofs, Marc Chagall, 1954



Visions in Red


In the night of my many sighs
I see the roofs of our village 
rushing with red

I sit along the way 
pretending not 
to see my wedding day
this way

I am both in my own view
but along the way as well
my bouquet in hand

but I smell nothing 
though the taste of copper
is strong in the air
like I'm sucking on coins

my groom stands over us all
and ladles the blood of every Passover
on us all - even the Jew we call the Christ

I am clothed and yet nakedly vulnerable
before my groom, before God,
before the whole of the town 


Michael A. Wells


Mag 113




Friday, April 13, 2012

KC area man Chosen Missouri Poet Laureate


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Gov. Jay Nixon has appointed a retired professor from Northwest Missouri State University as the state's third poet laureate.

The selection of Lee's Summit resident William Trowbridge was announced Friday. He will serve a two-year term, giving presentations and lectures on poetry to school, community and civic groups throughout Missouri.
Trowbridge has published eight collections of poems, and his works have been reprinted in more than 30 anthologies and textbooks. He was on the faculty of Northwest Missouri State in Maryville from 1971 to 1998.
He succeeds David Clewell, a professor of English at Webster University.   [Source]

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Poetry Thought for the Day

"A joke is like an explosion - there's just this little smoke and it's gone. A poem is like a much. much richer joke." Adam Zagajewski, AGNI online, 2004

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Confession Tuesday Broken Back Edition

Dear Reader:

It's been on week since my last confession.  One back breaking week.


I confess our garage needed cleaning out.  We have a two car garage but I don't believe we've ever parked two cars in it at the same time. We have packed one in on occasion but this has been rare. We don't have a formal basement as such. There is a lower level finished family room where some people might have a basement but for us the garage area has been used mostly for storage from day one. I would add that it has not been organized storage in any sense of the word.

This past week we have been cleaning  it out. It's been a back braking task and I confess that yesterday evening we had a chiropractic visit that we moved up from it's scheduled Wednesday night time slot because we were both so sore.

Things I've parted with - Not of course an inclusive list but some items include:

  • various books
  • two pipes-  I smoked a pipe years ago. In fact I smoked a pipe  late in my high school days. (I confess nothing more then traditional pipe tobacco)
  • old material from previous political campaigns I was involved in
  • some wall plaques
  • VHS tapes & movies
  • Misc. papers saved over the years
  • fantasy baseball magazines
  • old watch
  • old yard signs
  • broken fan
  • old carpeting
I confess that we are not yet finished.

I confess that with lent over I have now had and enjoyed a diet coke.





Sunday, April 08, 2012

Easter Break

Wishing all A Happy Easter!

I'm taking a break from cleaning in the garage. Made a last minute check to my fantasy team to see if any lineup changes are in order. Made a slight adjustment.Seeing as how it is noon could explain the fact that I'm hungry.
I can't sit here long want to get back to work. I hope not to work too late tonight want to be able to relax a bit and the write.

I've thrown out some interesting things from my past. Maybe I'll list some here this week.


Saturday, April 07, 2012

Journal Bits

It's been a while since I've done a journal bits post but then I've not posted very much lately. The week I've been working in the garage - major spring cleaning and reading some in the evening and writing a bit each day.

From the pages of my journal - these following bits, quotes, thoughts....

Thursday, March 22, 2012:  A vacation day today, I've made a trip to the Midwest Gemological Society looking for information about my dad's grave. While I did not find it for certain, I did find a listing  date for an obituary. It was in 2005 and those archives are not available on line. I will need to contact the paper and order a micro-fish in order to see a copy of it. [Note: it appears he survived all his siblings and I am fearful that no prior arrangements for burial were mad and therefor he may not have a grave site but have been cremated.]

Saturday night, March 24, 2010: I've  spent time on Ancestry Dot Com tonight working on family history & found more things on my father including two collage photos [sophomore and senior years] also dis some searching about Cathy's family. It's easy to get lost [time wise] doing this.

In other news my poem "Sis" was accepted by Montucky Review.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012: Today was the last day of filing and I entered the Blue Sub 8 Democratic Committee race at the very last minute.

Thursday evening, March 29th, 2012:  It's approaching 9:00PM and I just ate almost a pint of Black Walnut ice-cream. I'm in a bit of a self-destructive mood...

Saturday evening March 31st, 2012: Again I'm dealing with negative crap from others.

"Someone told me you can't/like the simplicity of these two/words that should pair off at different corners/of the ring that don't /belong to any social circles together."

April 1st, 2012: "All the room was silent even/as words from your mouth/filled the air with pollen/my eyes and throat itchy from/the allergen words "you can't".

April 2nd, 2012: Quote by Fay Weldon BBC, January 2, 1992 -"A poem almost exists because of the pattern of space around it."  In thinking about Weldon's words - On the page, a pattern of ink and white page are the parameters that confirm the existence. [like a foot print] Every poem [written] has a presence upon the page and at the same time it has another whole dimension that occurs in the form of sound... If read in a room it can occupy the normal silence [briefly].

April 3rd, 2012:  "It's an everything bagel/what more does it need?"

April 4th, 2012:  "Someone said they saw a bit /of the arctic circle just off Manhattan/ and the infrastructure is unsettled/by rising water levels but just this morning/I heard a Senator talk of global warming /and Greek myths in the same/run on sentence..."

April 5th, 2012. "His and her closets say so much/about class, about possessions/about archetypes..."
"At first approach relationships/are shell games requiring/great attention span."






Wednesday, April 04, 2012

What I'm Reading...

Tonight I am settling in with a copy of FALL HIGHER by Dean Young.  After a little reading I'll tackle a new poem draft for day four of poetry month.


Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Poetry Month Thought #2

"Becoming a poet involves the end of a kind of innocence. It is about being critical, separate. Experience is no longer just experience. It becomes material." ~ Vicki Feaver, How Poets Work, 1996












Confession Tuesday - Lent on auto pilot edition


Dear Friend… it’s a week since my last confession; a whole frink’n week already. 

To the confessional…. 

It’s been a week of rain and sunshine. I confess that I can take no blame or credit for either.  

It’s been a trying week. I confess that it has been a week of anger and frustration and uncertainty; all of things that I don’t like.  I confess that it also is a week in which change has been on my mind a lot. Some perhaps good and some perhaps not so, but either way he thought of changes is always unsettling to me. 

I confess that I’m usually thinking about poetry month many weeks before it ever arrives but not this one. I confess too that I often wrangle internally with the pros and cons of setting out to write a poem-a-day during poetry month. The pressure to produce, the expectations, the thought of failure, all that kind of stuff that causes you lunch to spin heavy in your stomach like a cement mixer sloshing a load before it dumps It out.  All that said, I simply went about writing a draft of a poem each of the first two nights of the month and never put any pressure on myself o do so.  Both seem to be real workable drafts… Yeah! 

I confess that one day last week I was on auto pilot when I stopped on the way to work at the local Quick Trip, aced in and filled up a 44 oz. glass, paid and went to the car where I took a sip and realized I had gotten Diet Coke instead of iced tea from the fountain.  I pitched the drink and stopped down the road for a tea. Other than that mistaken sip, I have continued my sacrifice of Diet Coke for Lent.   

My wife and I saw the movie Mirror Mirror over the weekend. It’s a fascinating twist on the Snow White story. Julia Roberts was great in a most unconventional role for her.  I recommend it!  I confess he trip to the movies with Cathy was my high point of the week.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Poetry Month Thought #1

"A poem almost exists because of the pattern of space around it." ~ Fay Weldon, BBC January 2, 1992