Friday, December 30, 2005

US wiretap leak inquiry launched - Financial Times -

US wiretap leak inquiry launched - Financial Times -

The arrogance of power in this administration continues. There are serious constitutional questions about the authority the President has to undertake domestic spying and yet the Justice Department is looking for a whistleblowers?

Second Annual New Year's Day Readings

THE WRITERS PLACE will sponsor the Second Annual New Year's Day Reading with hostess SHARON EIKER on NEW YEAR'S DAY (not New Year's Eve) January 1, 2006.

Below is a partial schedule of what will happen throughout the day. If you're interested in reading, and have not been given a time to read please join us, as after 9pm the mic is open to all that would like to read their work (please limit your reading to a 3-5 minute duration.

Noon -1:00pm Social Hour
1:00 - 2:00pm TWP Board Members and Friends
2:00 - 2:45pm DJ Sweeney Trio
2:45 - 3:00pm Break
3:00 - 4:00pm KC Writer's Group hosted by Judith
4:00 - 5:00pm Collaborators hosted by Phyllis Becker
5:00 - 6:00pm KC Poetry Society hosted by Missy Rassmussen and MichaelWells
7:00 - 8:00pm Latino Writers Collective hosted by Angela Cervantes
8:00 - 9:00pm Open Mic Regulars including Music by Joe Schnebelen
9:00 - Mid-Night -- OPEN MIC anyone is welcome

Attendance cost is on a donation basis, suggested donations being $3 for members and $5 for non-members.

Chili supper on going. $5.00 for bowl that can be refilled.Soft drinks, Beer, Red and White Wine will be available for a donation of $1 to defray costs.

The Writers Place is located at 3607 Pennsylvania - Kansas City, MO 64111

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Christmas Gift from Wife

For Christmas my wife Cathy, gave me a beautiful leather journal by Oberon Design of Santa Rosa, California. The one she selected was the forest pattern.

Cathy said one of the reasons she selected this one was that she liked the historical note on the significance of the forest:

Forest - The forest is a refuge. In this realm of green half light one cannot define distance, only the mystery of the moment, the discovery of what is near but hidden. In human history the forest has always represented the psyche, a place of unknown dangers or initiations. It is a safe and beautiful place for those at ease with solitude and quiet, the hermit or forest dwellers, friends of creatures great and small.

I too found this this interesting. Certainly writing poetry often is about discovery and finding the hidden inner voice. At any rate, it is indeed a gift I will get much use out of as well as treasure. The journal allows for inserts so once it is full, I can simply pull the old one and replace it with the new one. I have found in recent times I am starting more of my first drafts with pen and paper as opposed to on beginning them on the computer. This of course lends itself well to that practice.

This causes me to wonder how many poets still utilize pen and paper for early drafts as opposed to computer. What are some of of the favorite utensils of poets for creating their work?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The afternoon of the night before Christmas

It's a quiet moment... well, nearly. Wife is on the tread mill behind me and hast the TV on the food channel, but I am relaxed and feel apart from the recent frenzy. Sipping my diet coke, the shopping done the rat race over. We'll go to my son's house this afternoon to celebrate the Christmas holiday with him.

There were Cardinals visiting the bird feeder this morning. It has been rainy here. It is like a stationary front just stopped over Kansas City. I guess that is what stationary fronts do. The sky looks like it could just hang here like it is for days. The rain is like big splotches of water. If this were to turn to snow, I believe we'd get tons of it.

I haven't written since Thursday, and that was just to journal. . But I'd like to. Just haven't had the time, so this is sort of my journal substitution today.

Read a couple of blogs today.... Ivy, Eileen, Christine. By the way - Christine's The Salt Daughter is out. You can buy it here. I've read it and if you enjoy Christine's unique voice, you'll love this book. It is so classically Christine!

In the news, more on the Bush Spy machine here where U.S. companies were helping cultivate data. A San Francisco Chronicle editorial is sharply critical of the Bush administration on the point of domestic spying.

Well that's it for the afternoon.

Here's wishing all the Stick Poet readers a very enjoyable and safe holiday!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Thursday, December 22, 2005

True Poets

"The true poet is all the time a visionary and whether with friends or not, as much alone as a man on his death bed." ~W.B. Yeats

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Ivy Responds

Ivy responds to the five random facts.

And here's my though about the earthquakes. She is such a world traveler - she's like a moving target! Still, two! Wow, that is incredible? Were they in different cities - I wonder?

Good Poetry

Good poetry is like a good woman. Mysterious, deep with emotion, brilliant in color and self empowering.


Monday, December 19, 2005

Mostly journaling and tinkering...

I did a little writing on the weekend - but not much. Mostly journaling and tinkering with some previously written poems. Sunday evening did family stuff and addressed Christmas cards. Oh, yeah... I squeezed some shopping around all that.

In this rat-race time of year I thought this my be a good quote to share....

"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting." ~e.e. cummings, 1955

Howl at 50 - dublin - dublin life

Howl at 50 - dublin - dublin life

An Irish Celebration of Howl - January 5th in Dublin

Bush says leaking spy program a �shameful act� - Politics -

Bush says leaking spy program a shameful act - Politics -

Excuse me? The violation is shameful!

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
This is inscribed on the steps to the Statute of Liberty. Words of one much wiser than this President.

Proper Irish wake toasts McCarthy twice

Robert Bly read poetry. McCarthy's longtime friend Louise Klas told a story. A woman who had had dinner with McCarthy and Jesse Ventura -- at the same time -- shared what it was like to sit in a room with two larger-than-life characters. And a Catholic nun who has never stopped preaching against war sang a song of peace.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A spark of madness!

"You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it." ~Robin Williams

I actually think you have to exercise that madness to keep it in shape. Sort of a use it or lose it philosophy.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Maybe I Should Be Reading

The winter chill returned and brought with it more white power today. Not a lot, but enough to require extra care for the many shoppers out and about. I spent the better part of the day out. I have to may yet another trip out tonight.

Juggling some words earlier but I am only half heartedly into it. I want to be more serious, but that is a battle that pits will and mind against each other. That struggle is not often a pretty sight.

Perhaps I should be reading instead.

Oh, I see Cindy posted her random facts. I'm not sure if I am more impressed by no. 2 or no. 5.

Friday, December 16, 2005

You Get To Me

Under my skin you crawl
In a full body takeover
Within the streams of conscious
Even to the tributaries of subconscious
Down to my very nuclear core

Bush Authorized Domestic Spying

Bush Authorized Domestic Spying

The New York Times is reporting President Bush signed a secret order in 2002 authorizing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens despite previous legal prohibitions against such domestic spying.

The news comes as the debate over the reauthorization of the Patriots Act come to a critical point today in the U.S. Senate.

Further indication that Congress MUST have more transparency availability to it where government surveillance is concerned. There has to be oversight to protect the civil liberties of American citizens.

Quoting from the Washington Post story:

Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies at George Washington University, said the secret order may amount to the president authorizing criminal activity.

"This is as shocking a revelation as we have ever seen from the Bush administration. It is, I believe, the first time a president has authorized government agencies to violate a specific criminal prohibition and eavesdrop on Americans."


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Five Random Facts

I've been tagged by James

Here are five random facts about me:

1. My Junior and Senior year of high school I would sometimes wear a Suziphone home from school.

2. Since registering to vote at age 18 I have only missed one election and it was a minor municipal bond issue.

3. I married my high school sweetheart.

4. My left ear is pierced.

5. Prefer white wines to red - especially Chardonnay

The assignment is to record five random facts, then tag five people. I made it a little harder by trying to think of things you might not know about me from reading my web-log. The remainder is to tag five additional folk. I nominate: Ivy - Christine - Deborah - Amy - Cindy

Achieving Success at Life

So I get this e-mail from a friend who has picked up a copy of the Park University Scribe and tells me I have four poems in the new issue. Then proceeds to add: "Damn Michael, overachiever."

I found the whole thing humorous. Still, I wish I could plead guilty as charged. My writing and especially my submission of work is just about as disorganized as the rest of my life. I've seen worse, but that is of little consolation. I only acknowledge the fact as a basis for those who don't know me to have some point of reference. I fall somewhere between points A and C.

Looking at my submissions during the past year, they have not been substantially up from the year before. I go in spurts. I do believe my writing overall has become more focused this year and you would think that lends itself to more material to submit.

Much of my life is disorganized. It is easy to get into a mode of accepting disorganized. I think there are two reasons. One is my ADD and the other is spending nineteen years in a job that is pretty much crisis driven. I can plan and I do, but I know just as sure as I come to work that a crisis will arrive too. In fact, if I don't come to the office that crisis is still going to arrive. So it is not uncommon for me to lumber through each day just moving from one crisis to the next. It means that circumstances dictate my work habits and being already handicapped by ADD I sort of just get carried through life's stream. Only some days it is more like a river current.
In almost every area of my life I realize I need to find more consistency. I am trying to achieve that little by little.

Maybe I don't really want to be an overachiever. Still, it would be nice to look at my writing, what has been published, the quality of it. The quality of my family life and work overall a year from now and be able to say that I can see an improvement in all of these areas because I found I could be consistent in my efforts and over the long haul, it paid off.

Pentagon accused of spying on Americans |

Pentagon accused of spying on Americans |

Let's see... we went through crap this with Nixon.

This is a classic example of why Congress needs to overhaul the Patriots Act. It should NEVER be made permanent and should "often" be subject to review and scrutiny.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The President Speaks - Anyone Care Anymore?

I sat this morning in the doctor's office awaiting an appointment. A television mounted on the wall was on, and the President was giving his fourth in a series of speeches on the war. I looked at those seated in the room. Not a one of them seemed the least bit interested in what he had to say. There were three women, one other man, besides myself as well as some younger children, at the point in time in which I took note.

As I listened to him, I heard really nothing new. Except he mentioned that our pre-war intelligence had been wrong. I don't believe I've ever heard him admit that as plainly as he did today. Still, he said under the same circumstances he'd do it again and the actions were still justified. As I heard those words a chill went up my spine. Then I thought, I wonder how many members of Congress allow him the latitude to do so... again, under the same circumstances?



"I've got this group of friends that are quite bohemian and we get drunk, get the poetry books out and read. It sounds so pretentious but it's one of my favourite things." ~ Sienna Miller

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Essay and poetry collections leave lasting impressions - The Quad-City Times Newspaper

Susan Flansburg recommends:
Whether the folks on your Christmas gift list fancy humor or sobriety, academia or spirituality, books make thoughtful gifts. Indeed, books of poetry and essays — which bear repeated reading — make lasting and intimate choices that will please both giver and receiver for years.

Emotions On the Page

"How much has to be explored and discarded before reaching the naked flesh of feeling." ~Claude Debussy

Writing when in a particularly emotional ebb, at least from my own experience, tends to produce one of two results, both which are extremes. Vividly succinct images that can take you quickly to a place and time. Or just plain crap. Flat, rambling that seems like a wasted exercise in futility. It seems rarely there is anything that falls in that cavern between these two points.


Monday, December 12, 2005

This and That on Monday

Saturday morning, while shoveled snow from our walk and drive I was struck by the starkness of the sky and the sun trying in desperation to break through a tiny perforation in the cloud cover. The image was so striking that I took my camera-phone and shot a photo of it. The result seen here is very strange.

Last night, I journaled and watched my wife as she sat at the desk beading. She had an assortment of mixed beads and a long metal tool which she used to move beads into smaller groupings based upon the color. It was so cool to watch her because it struck me as through she was a paint artist making very distinctive strokes this way and that. The end result too was interesting because the groupings then resembled a painters pallet.

I am struck by how we respond to things - external stimuli. Each of our senses. Pictures, sights, or even just colors themselves. Smells - there are so many of them during the holiday season that we become accustomed to. And sounds particularly intrigue me. How some music excites us and other we just want away from.

On the drive in this morning, my wife had an Anne Murray CD on. I'm not big on country but Murray is one of those artists that has a style that I think hangs just on the edge of country but is still different. I enjoy her music. One of the songs I especially enjoy is Daydream Believer, first done by the Monkees - and I think that is one of the reasons I like it. It takes me back to "The Time" - and it has always kind of reminded me of my wife anyway. Her middle name is Jean and we were high school sweethearts. Married young, not much money. I identify with the song.

After I dropped my wife off at work - I did change the tempo a bit. Sometimes I listen to NPR when driving alone (a practice that is not sanctioned by the family as a whole) but I popped in a cheap version of The Messiah by the London Symphony Orchestra and some choir. I picked it up for a whole "buck" at Target. Handel had to be just absolutely brilliant. I love the majestic flow of this oratorio - but especially For Unto Us a Child is Born and of course most of all Hallelujah! For the Lord God Omnipoent Reigneth, otherwise known as the Hallelujah Chorus.

The Messiah was first performed in Dublin in 1742, around Easter before a more-than-capacity audience. In London, the next year the clergy attempted to close the theater because such music about God should never be performed in a playhouse. Still, the performance did occur. King George II, attending the London premiere and was so moved by the Hallelujah Chorus that he rose and remained standing until its end. This of course prompted the rest of the audience to rise to their feet (it was common that when the King stood, everyone stood as well) and so the tradition carries over to this day when this magnificent piece is played. I indeed get goose bumps and tingles up my spine when I hear this in a large group.

In a final note - I was saddened to learn today of the passing of Eugene McCarthy. He was 89, which hardly seems possible. To many I suspect Gene is simply an asterisk at the bottom of a page in a history book. But it could be argued that McCarthy had a significant impact upon this country. His 1968 campaign for President helped frame a changing view of the Vietnam War into something many came to see as "morally indefensible" (God, the more things change the more they stay the same).

McCarthy's entry into the '68 campaign stunned President Johnson when he finished second in New Hampshire with 42 % to Johnson's 49%. It was such a shock that to this day, many believe McCarthy won New Hampshire.

In his later life - McCarthy turned to poetry. He has already written and published books and essays but became a quite serious poet. The poet Robert Lowell and he became close.
Having been asked at one point to assess former President Carter's poetry, McCarthy said it could only be compared with that of other presidents: not as good as Lincoln's and shorter than John Quincy Adams. He could be brutally honest and of course that with his Irish wit was something to behold.

McCarthy authored a number of books... I recall reading The Limits of Power: America's Role in the World when I was in high school. Funny how much that book seems to make sense today.

A few McCarthy Quotes:

"The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is inefficiency. An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty."

"Nixon is the kind of guy who, if you were drowning twenty feet from shore, would throw you a fifteen-foot rope."

"As long as the differences and diversities of mankind exist, democracy must allow for compromise, for accommodation, and for the recognition of differences."

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Creativity Well

Our first winter snow storm hit Wednesday. Thursday was so bad - our office closed. Friday was one of those days you just never want to do because it just shouldn't be allowed to have to go back into the office when you already feel the weekend in you bones. But I did go in and it was a day that was crisis driven. Everyone's crisis was on my desk or the next call ringing. I took an hour and a half vacation time just to get the hell out of Dodge early.

The streets are mostly clear of the snow. Yards are still heaped in dirty mashed potatoes. God, remember the days when you could make snow ice cream without fear of toxic waste.

I've ventured out into the shopping crowds some yesterday with my wife and daughter. We planned well and for the most part avoided the worst of the crowds. Tonight is grocery shopping. Otherwise I've stuck close to home and done chores around the house and little of no writing other than journaling and some crappy attempts at a few things that have popped into my head.

I have some more cleaning to do... I'd like to find our Christmas lights for the bush out front. I have located some of our lights but not the ones I really want for what I plan to do this year.
Perhaps later this evening I can get some reading done or watch Law & Order. That is something we often watch together. Cathy will often watch that while she is working on a beading project.

My creativity well is feeling low at this point and I suppose it will take some priming to get it to flow. Not that I need any pressure but I did want to have six new poems to submit mid- January to an annual lit review magazine. I do have a couple of items I could pull from but I want some new material anyway so there is no point in waiting.

On that note I'll end this post with a quote from Robert Byrne who said, "Winter is nature's way of saying, "Up yours."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Poetry & Mortality

Recently I discovered an richly rewarding poetry journal online that I wanted to share here. In a day or two when I have more time I must add it to my sidebar links. The Journal Kritya is edited by Dr Rati Saxena a Hindi poet, translator and Sanskrit scholar.

I especially found an interview with poet laureate Billy Collins that was in the most recent issue fascinating reading. In response to a question posed by the interviewer Collins hit upon something that I found a great deal of identity with. I have often talked of the connection between mortality and poetry and the following discourse by Collins I felt was putting the subject in profoundly simple but beautiful terms.

"The underlying theme of Western poetry is mortality. The theme of carpe diem asks us to seize the day because we have only a limited number of them. To see life through the lens of death is to approach the condition of gratitude for the gift (or simply the fact) of our existence. And as Wallace Stevens said, Death is the mother of beauty. Only the perishable can be beautiful, which is why we are unmoved by artificial flowers." ~ Billy Collins in an interview by the Iranian poet and translator Farideh Hassanzadeh [source]

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Great Meeting Last Night at WriterHouse

KC METRO VERSE meeting last night was among our best. There was so much discussion and the elevation of ideas was so refreshing.

Accessibility in poetry and in fact the meaning of art itself was widely discussed.
In addition, we had time for some great poems. I have to say that I only hope that we can continue to have meetings that are this enlightening.

The fact that the members served a German chocolate cake in my honor or that they presented me with a congratulatory card and a framed copy of my poem Coming Out has nothing to do with the how good the meeting was. This was just the icing on the cake.

Tomorrow night is an open-mic at the Plaza Library - a whole new venue. It's sponsored by three organizations and will be an opportunity to present material to hopefully a whole new crowd.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Quote of the day...

"Nations grown corrupt
Love bondage more than liberty;
Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty." ~John Milton

afrol News - CIA prisoners "taken to North Africa"

afrol News - CIA prisoners "taken to North Africa"

Following the uproar in Europe over the alleged torture of CIA prisoners in prisons on European soil, Washington is reported to have moved the prisoners to "somewhere in North Africa" well ahead of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's trip to Berlin and Brussels. While no concrete country is named, it expected that the CIA torture victims are now held in Egypt and/or Morocco.

AP Wire | 12/06/2005 | Romania, Poland scrutinized over prisons

AP Wire | 12/06/2005 | Romania, Poland scrutinized over prisons

Romania and Poland, came under increasing fire Tuesday amid widening reports that they hosted secret CIA prisons for the United States renditions.

Bush poem spells trouble for Pakistani leader - South and Central Asia -

Bush poem spells trouble for Pakistani leader - South and Central Asia -

Patient and steady with all he must bear,
Ready to meet every challenge with care,
Easy in manner, yet solid as steel,
Strong in his faith, refreshingly real.
Isn't afraid to propose what is bold,
Doesn't conform to the usual mold,
Eyes that have foresight, for hindsight wont do,
Never back down when he sees what is true,
Tell it all straight, and means it all too.

Going forward and knowing he's right,
Even when doubted for why he would fight,
Over and over he makes his case clear
Reaching to touch the ones who won't hear.

Growing in strength, he won't be unnerved
Ever assuring he'll stand by his word.

Wanting the world to join his firm stand,
Bracing for war, but praying for peace,
Using his power so evil cease,
So much a leader and worthy of trust,
Here stands a man who will do what he must.


Monday, December 05, 2005

Guardian Unlimited Politics | Special Reports | Rice defends US treatment of terror suspects



"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities." ~Dr. Theodore Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss

Making The Most of It

Sorting out the allegory,
Dividing up the spoils
To which we are entitled
According to some archaic law
Of our own.

These times are not the norm
And we can’t quite recall normalcy
Aside from the time the catfish jumped
A good three feet above the water,
The summer the moon froze in full mode
For two straight months.

I remember old folks telling of strange sightings
In the northern sky, and they claim the winter was harsh
That year and the women all spoke in language
That would have mortified their own sensibilities
Any other time.

It seems we all adjust to these changes sooner or later.
The wind is always shifting and desires are nothing more
Than wants- not needs.

Graphite is a smooth remedy
And taken under strict orders from doctors
It can ease the entry to even the most mysterious
Openings in life.

We all look for our chances.
Opportunity comes and goes
But mostly hangs out
In Jackson Hole.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Duhamel & Carbo - At Butler University Feb 16

Visiting Writers Series

• Poets Denise Duhamel and Nick Carbó, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16, Robertson Hall Johnson Room. Duhamel's books of poetry include, most recently, "Two and Two," which features a long poem about 9/11 constructed from words people posted on the Internet immediately afterward. Carbó, her husband, most recently published "Andalusian Dawn," a book of poems, and edited "PinoyPoetics: A Collection of Autobiographical and Critical Essays on Filipino and Filipino American Poetics."

For more information, call (317) 232-1878

Butler University . 4600 Sunset Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46208

Friday, December 02, 2005


Cast iron rims encrusted in clay
appealing to the masses.
Don't go there-
the crowd caters to the mindset
of Yogi Berra.
I read the boxscore daily.
The body count,
and the game goes on.
We're in extra innings
you know.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Yesterday I was not feeling well.

I did not write.

Did not read.

Did not make an appearance at the WP Open Mic.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

There are times...

When no other words will do.

The Night Stand Game

HOLLYWOOD has been boosting sales in a very unlikely area: poetry books. Sales of two poetry books, one by Elizabeth Bishop and another by E.E. Cummings, more than doubled in some stores in the last month after actress Cameron Diaz read works by the two great American poets in the movie "In Her Shoes."

WHAT are you reading? An inventory of my night stand currently has the following:

  • Early Occult Memory System of the Lower Midwest - B.H. Fairchild
  • Conamara Blues - Poems - John O'Donohue
  • The Poetry of Pope John Paul II - Roman Triptych Meditations
  • A Company of Readers - W.H. Auden, Jacques Barzun and Lional Trilling
  • Her Husband - Hughes and Plath - A Marriage - Diane Middlebrook
  • Sylvia Plath - A Critical Study - Tim Kendall
  • Wintering - Kate Moses
  • Oh Sweet Dancer - W.B. Yeats and Margot Ruddoch Correspondence - Roger McHugh
  • John Ashbery - Selected Poems - John Ashbery
  • The Best American Poetry 2005 - edited by Robert Pinsky

The last book... I picked it up at Barnes & Noble yesterday while browsing there with my wife. Cathy brought it to me and I flipped through it and proclaimed it a gem! The irony of this is that poetry is not really her thing. It has a really good and quite varied selection from a number of very outstanding journals. That I recall off the top of my head - The Hudson Review, Poetry, Sycamore Review, Slate, Ploughshares, New Letters, 32 Poems, Fence and of course The New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly just to name a few.

So, what's on your night stand?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

You are what you write...

"A poet's autobiography is his poetry. Anything else is just a footnote." ~Yevgeny Yentushenko, The Sole Survivor, 1982

I'm presently working on a self-portrait poem - hence I found this quote to be relevant.

Friday, November 25, 2005

An idea - bling!

As I was journaling this morning, an idea came to me that I was intrigued by. I was thinking about all the drafts of poems that I have started and squiggled lines through short phrases that once on the page, I decided did not work. There are many such aborted word clusters that litter the pages of my writing journals. They are at minimum, short thoughts that were cast off as unacceptable for one reason or the other. I was sort of viewing them today as like "out takes" from a film.

I am presently working on a draft of a poem that represents an abstract self-portrait. I suppose it was such abstract thinking that allowed me to toy with the idea of creating a poem from these cast off lines from various different poetic efforts. I have of course, in the past, recycled lines that I thought were good but did not work in a particular poem. But this is something different. This is about using only discarded poem parts to create a whole. So I am noting this here as a reminder in the weeks to come to spend some time on this as a new project. Something to do on a rainy day.

I suppose this is probably not original. Anyone else out there tried this?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving from Stick Poet

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." ~Thornton Wilder

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thankful - Hungry Poets

KC Metro Verse - celebrated Thanksgiving at the WriterHouse last night. Seen at the left, Pat Berge (squinting from the reflection) is showing how many thanksgivings this group of writers has endured together.

Great crowd - I'm remembering a number of something like I think 16 or 17 people. I did have some wine, so don't hold me to the number.

The KC Metro Verse chapter of the Missouri State Poetry Society & members of the Northland Writers (of which there is some cross-membership) made up bulk of the crowd with a few guests.

After dinner we gathered in circle for readings. Mostly poems written by members - but a few by established poets like Collins and Fairchild.

Pat had the WriterHouse looking elegant. Linens on the table, candles lit everywhere. The atmosphere was so amiable throughout the house.

Makes it had to wait for the Christmas even on December 22 this year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Poetry is revelation

"Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own." ~Salvatore Quasimodo

Double Talk & Iraq

A Very Compelling video - Cheney & Bush on Iraq: [click here]

Of course here is Cheney in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute.

"Disagreement, argument and debate are the essence of democracy. What is not legitimate and what I will again say is dishonest and reprehensible is the suggestion by some U.S. Senators that the President of the United States or any member of his administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence."

Perhaps he need to revisit his own actions in the video.



1800 W. 39TH ST.


NOVEMBER 28th 8PM - 10PM


Monday, November 21, 2005

$8 Billion every month

The war in Iraq cost U.S. Taxpayers $266.7 million dollars for today alone. None of it in the federal budget.

Our children will be paying for this lie.

Is there a correlation?

Recently Ivy posted links to here and here. These two links tell the story of a town - Peterborough, N.H. to be exact that is Demanding taxes from Long-Exempt Artists' Colony know as the MacDowell Colony. MacDowell I recollect has been around something like 100 years. Ivy of course has a special connection to the Colony as she did a fellowship there last year.

Now I see an interesting piece about charitable giving and find that New Hampshire was the most miserly state, according to the Catalogue of Philanthropy's Generosity Index.

So maybe after a hundred years, we should have seen it coming.


Robert Stewart Tonight @ Writers Place

I saw were the 2005 International Poetry Festival was held in Wellington, New Zealand for the third time and drew a disappointing crowd in spite of having attracted an impressive list of sponsors. The centerpiece of the event this year was a documentary film called "Poetry in Wartime", introduced by Sam Hamill, who features in the film and who has founded a worldwide movement, Poets Against War, which now has centers in over thirty countries around the world and membership in the tens of thousands.

I have to wonder if it is time for the International festival to be hosted in another country. Could the U.S. had done better in attracting participants? Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival has been such a big success that it has outgrown the most recent location and is having to move as a result of an inability to gain commitments for greater facilities.

Tonight, Robert Stewart will read poetry at The Writers Place. Mr. Stewart is editor-in-chief of New Letters , New Letters on the Air, and BkMk Press at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he also teaches. The Program will start at 7:30pm.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I'm not going to write... well, maybe

I'm not sure what it is. Doubt or simply being tired or frustration. Perhaps it is only a rebellious nature that wants to open the car door and drag my toes along the gravel road to slow down.

Every now and then I get this feeling like- AUGH! I not going to write again. Then of course it goes away.

Sometimes this last for couple of days. Sometime less. Yesterday, it came and went in a very brief matter of 30 to 45 minutes. Hardly worth mentioning. Except that fact that it was so noticeable and gone almost the next instant seems to make the occurrence in some ways all the more significant. Or at least interesting. So, I mention it here. It will likely sit in the back of my mind as well. At least until it occurs again and then... who knows what I'll do. Probably write.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Any Question That We Have Been Successful...

Phony Theory, False Conflict

Phony Theory, False Conflict

I just love this op-ed piece. Living so close to Kansas and seeing the battle rage there I just shake my head and.... well, we won't go there.

Merwin Wins NBA for Poetry

Pulitzer Prize winner W.S. Merwin, did in fact receive the poetry award for his book, "Migration" at the National Book Awards last night.

The Moderate Voice - Murtha's Anti-War Comments: A Turning Point In More Ways Than One?

Good piece - and while this is significant news, I think the President Bush and Vice President Cheney lost middle-America on this many months ago. It is just now hitting home with lawmakers in both parties - slowly, but they are starting to catch on. The two most important are just "really slow" and besides that, in self-denial.

Meanwhile - A former CIA director - torture is condoned and even approved by the Bush government.

"Man is the only kind of varmint sets his own trap, baits it, then steps in it." ~John Steinbeck, Sweet Thursday


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Migration: New & Selected Poems by W.S. Merwin Nominated for National Book Award

Should Merwin win, it will end a seven National Book Awards (NBA) nomination losing streak for the poet. His last nomination was in 1975.

Sam Hamill, co-founder of Copper Canyon, who published the work, called Migration a was a sure candidate for the NBA. Typically a poetry book might sell 1,000 copies. Copper Canyon Press has already sold 6,500 copies of it.

Wow! If I might be allowed one word of editorialzing.

Cheney Scolds War Critics as Dishonest

Vice President Cheney scolds war critics. He has joined President Bush in once again seeking to pin a mark of disloyalty or lack of patriotism on those who take issue with the American foreign policy that has taken us into the war in Iraq.

The President and Vice President have attempted in the past few days to frame this in the context of a partisan battle with Democrats. In lashing out at Democrats on this issue they are ignoring the fact that there is no broad support for the Iraq War any longer.

Considering the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll taken this month:

52% of America says the war in Iraq was not worth it.

57% believe the President misled the country about prewar intelligence. That is nearly 6 out of ever 10 people. Conversely only 35% believe he did not mislead us.

58% believe the president has not given us good reasons to keep the troops there.

The opposition to the his war is not partisan. If he wants to continue to frame it in that contest, he is only kidding himself.

This week - Senator Chuck Hagel said, "The Bush administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and elsewhere and should not be demonstrate and condemned for disagreeing with them." Senator Hagel is from Bush's own party.

In fact, this week the Senate on a vote of 79 to 19 sent a strong message to the President about their concern for this war. Such a vote clearly shows that there is broad concern about this war in the Senate and not just from Democrats.

If the President and Vice President believe they can shore up support for Iraq with this kind of talk they are (putting it politely) naive. There is nothing to come back from. The American people have seen enough and they are not buying this war or the lame excuses (whichever one) Bush and Cheney choose to use today. And when they question the loyalty or patriotism of certain Democrats because of their opposition, then they are questioning the loyalty and patriotism of six out of 10 Americans. That kind rudeness isn't going to buy anyone political capital, respect or a cup of coffee.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Herald Sun: Torture bunker busted [17nov05]

Herald Sun: Torture bunker busted [17nov05]: "IRAQ'S new security forces have been accused of routinely abusing and torturing detainees the same way Saddam Hussein's brutal regime did.

A gruesome discovery in Iraq... more than 170 tortured and starving prisoners in a locked Interior Ministry bunker beneath Baghdad. US troops stumbled on it while searching for a missing boy. A spokesman for the division of the multinational force in Iraq responsible for training the Iraqi police reportedly said, "This sort of behavior completely undermines everything the Iraqi Government stands for and everything the coalition came here for, It is unacceptable in any form." He might want to check higher up with say, Vice President Cheney.

This is the culture that Bush / Cheney / Rumsfield are exporting to the world. This is the very example that they are setting and it is against this backdrop that both the new regime in Baghdad and the United States will be judged by the world. Even all but 9 members of the Senate recognized recently.

Now comes more disturbing news... Is the United States using chemical weapons in Iraq? Is White phosphorus a conventional weapon?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

It's Snowing

How appropriate my last post with the Dickinson verse "A little this side of the snow" because it was indeed a wee-little this side of it. The white stuff is falling here today! The are big husky flakes that look like they could be on steroids. Fortunately for the time being it is not sticking.

I am listening to Schubert - Symphony No. 5 - finale on xm satellite radio - presently and have taken a pause from my work to have diet drink and post this morning's blog.

A tango in mid-air
Reruns hammering the keys
Like no tomorrow
We'll do it again
But it will be different

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Autumn Poets Singing

The air has chilled a bit - was nice earlier. My daughter Meg and I did the leaf thing in the front yard. I say the leaf thing because we didn't really rake as much as we sucked them up into bags all nicely mulched. It beats the hell out of raking when you have a lot.

Saturday and today I have created two new poem drafts which I am most happy with - they will require a bit of tweeking but not likely too much. It is a nice feeling when you have more then one come together nicely in a span of two partial days of work.

I read the New Yorker article from the November 7th issue by Larissa MacFarquhar on John Ashbery. What an astounding profile. I enjoyed every bit of it.

Speaking of Ashbery - I was reading a few of his poems and I especially like Paradoxes and Oxymorons from his book Shadow Train.

I will close out this evening post with a fitting autumn quote....
Besides the autumn poets sing,
A few prosaic days
A little this side of the snow
And that side of the haze.~
Emily Dickinson

Saturday, November 12, 2005

On Civil Disobedience

"Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it." ~Albert Einstein

Friday, November 11, 2005

Cicada Song

The treadmill cicada whine
Blends with the television.
I feel her presence
As if she is gently tapping my back

Periodically. The way she might have
Come up behind me at my locker
Thirty-three years ago. It’s substantial,
Solid, like a good hard mahogany table.

If we had not married, would I feel the same
About the cicada sound?

She’s stopped walking now, and gone upstairs
And I miss the cicada sound.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Black Sites

A black eye smacked across the face
Lies- caught with sooty residue
Staining their empowered hands

Their sordid secrets
Scattered about the globe
Now open for all to see
Like the belly of a gutted fish

In futile denial of the screaming truth
Their sick- torture twisted lies
Stare back at the world
In dumb void


The two Maples from our backyard that a promised a week to ten days ago. Isn't this time of year really all about color? The brilliance on one hand counterbalanced with the browning and graying. At least that is where I find the beauty of the fall season. I have to look for the good in it... I miss baseball. I do enjoy the cooler days - but not the shortened daylight.

But ah! Spring will come again! That is the greatest thing about spring - that eternal hope it represents.

When I think about hope and poetry together, I immediately think of Sam Hamill. I was delighted to hear that Sam was honored yesterday with the PEN USA Freedom to Write First Amendment Award. The First Amendment Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional courage in defending freedom of expression in the United States. In my humble view, Sam's contributions to the literary community, the causes of justice and peace, and bringing the two together in one powerful voice is a tremendously unselfish act that poets, writers, essayists and indeed people of all walks of life would do well to aspire to.
You can find out more about PEN USA here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

So true

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." ~Scott Adams

Tuesday's mailbag

"Thank you for your submission. Although we are not able to publish your work at this time, please be assured that we value your submission."

Those form letter* words - we've heard before. But alas, the anticipation of this one group of poems I submitted and had been hanging out there a little longer than usual for this venue, is now finally over. So I move on...

Much more work to harvest. Writing poetry has so much in common with gardening. Working the soil and pruning the plants. Nurturing them along. I'm thinking now about this years crop. Has it been better then the previous year? In volume? In quality? Things to think about as the final quarter of the year slips past us.

*not to be confused with "four letter words"

Monday, November 07, 2005

Anti-social? No, just artistic - National -

Anti-social? No, just artistic - National -

I'll admit that I have found articles exploring the thought process of creative individuals very absorbing. I'm always interested in new twists and thoughts on the age old debates about creative people and their mental status. This time, I found the article more amusing then informative. Maybe Dr. Hendricks work is quite serious and scholarly. Perhaps it is the writer Geoff Strong and his choice of words that I find humorous but this piece really has me cracked up.

Starting off with the opening line... "Know any creative types: writers, painters, musicians, actors? Chances are they tend to be contrary, a touch psychotic and rebels, cause or not." I'm sucked in. I'm immediately in my self-analytical phase - picturing myself deeply indented into a black leather couch asking myself...Am I a rebel or just a cranky old man? Cause? You want causes? Hell, I got causes out the wazoo!

Ok, seriously... I'm off the couch and thinking about this article. The good doctor has decided that "all people who are creative tend to have schizo-type personalities." That is what the article says. Not some or most, but all. She has also found distinct differences between the three groups (writers, visual artists and performance artists).

According to Dr. Hendricks:
  • Writers had the most extreme personality disorders - more neurotic and less agreeable "they are more at odds with the world.
  • Visual artists - are the closest to normal (whatever the hell that may be) though still more deviant than normal personalities.
  • performance Artists - were the most likely to want to experience new sensations and novelties, and were also the most narcissistic.

So let me get this straight, it is because I'm a writer that I am at odds with the world? Gee, and I thought it was just because of the deep rooted corruption in government and the fact that we have a President who is a moronic mad man and a Vice President who is heavy into torture.

I loved the part in the article about how the doctor tested the groups of people by giving them problems to solve to see if their solutions were conventional or divergent. The example was showing them a brick and asking them to suggest possible uses.

A non artist would for example say - building things.

Artists were more likely to suggest it could be thrown through a window (At Dr. Hendricks office) - notice how I immediately think like an artist here.

The love list

When I started this list a few posts back- it came into being as a result of a Margaret Atwood quote about the word love and how significant it was. I really had no idea at the time how many words that we could come up with that were synonymous with love, but I threw out three and another bloger added six more words. So here we are...

I'll repeat what we have so far:
  1. adoration
  2. union
  3. passion
  4. commitment
  5. desire
  6. selflessness
  7. sacrifice
  8. affection
  9. worship

So here we are with nine... any more wordsmiths out there that want to build on this list?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

It's sunday already?

A number of us from one of my writing communities attended the wedding of fellow poet/writer Scot Isom and his wife Dena last night. Best wishes to the new couple! I cringed just a bit when I saw in the program there was a reading of one of Scot's poems. I thought... he has one clean enough to read? Luckily he wrote one just for the occasion.

It is feeling so strange now without baseball. That is one aspect of fall that I hate. All the fun colors and enticing smells we come to think of with this time of year still come up short without baseball.

I have been using a full spectrum lamp at both home and the office of late. I do believe it truly helps with respect to SAD. Plus the light is so much better to read by. Our cats love to curl up and sleep beneath the one at home. Catching a few rays.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Falling in love again and again - the lost poetry of Dietrich - World - Times Online

Falling in love again and again - the lost poetry of Dietrich - World - Times Online: "Falling in love again and again - the lost poetry of Dietrich"

From her Paris hotel room, Marlene Dietrich would set at a typewriter to tap out poems to dead lovers. Among them, Ernest Hemingway and Yul Brynner, and Ronald Reagan.

Thirteen years after her death the poems were discovered. They represent quite a find - telling a great deal about her reclusive years.

Fascinating in that while Dietrich is certainly of celebrity status, she represents a virtual unknown in the literary world. Evidently, poetry did matter to her in her late life.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Thought for the day

"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures." ~Henry Ward Beecher

Emails: Brown more concerned with image as deadly Katrina hits

Emails: Brown more concerned w/ image

''If you'll look at my lovely FEMA attire, you'll really vomit. I am a fashion god.''

-- Michael Brown e-mailed the day of the storm.

Funny but I don't believe that is exactly why most people wanted to vomit.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

This Morning

An early morning view from my back yard into a neighboring yard.

I am awaiting the turning of the two maples in our own yard. They are just starting - I'm guessing within a week they will be awesome.

Praise for Autumn

Gasp at the blazing Maple
Stealing our oxygen

Listen as the birds bump wings
Arriving and departing in terminal C

The grass stunted and quiet now
A bit of daylight chipped from the sky

Rust, yellow, orange and red
Butterflies surround the ground of naked trees

Curling their wings upward in the crisp night air
praising autumns splendor


Clothed in transparency
Wrinkles of age
Like crinkled plastic wrap
Mishandled in haste

Life encircles
The evening oblique

Morning comes
The nakedness continues
Evidenced only by the auto
And a new day begins

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

If Fox News Had Been Around Throughout History

If Fox News Had Been Around Throughout History

This is one of those things that makes you laugh and cry at the same time. Picture FOX ( our Fair and Balanced friends) news reporting on Slavery, Christ's crucifixion, Boston Tea Party, Kent State massacre, and more.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Come On Wordsmiths...

"The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love." ~Margaret Atwood

Can we come up with fifty-two substitute words for love?

I'll get us started with a couple.

1. Adoration
2. Union
3. Passion

The comment box is open.

The World Can't Wait! Drive out the Bush Regime! : SF Bay Area Indymedia

The World Can't Wait! Drive out the Bush Regime! : SF Bay Area Indymedia

World Can’t Wait! Drive Out the Bush Regime has called for nationwide protests and student walkouts on Nov. 2, the first anniversary of Bush's "re-election." At last count people in 67 cities, at 43 colleges and universities, and 90 high schools (at last count) will leave work and school and gather in the city centers to declare No!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Daylight Savings Time

I'll admit I have never liked Daylight Savings Time. When I stumbled across this item written by the Canadian writer Robertson Davies, I just had to blog it.

"I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves." ~Robertson Davies, The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, 1947, XIX, Sunday

Poets catch ear of iPod generation

Is verse becoming fashionable among America’s iPod generation?

In this article:

Pam Promer, audio buyer for the Borders bookshop chain, said: “It’s a niche, like folk music, but the arrival of more lively poetry performances has meant that we are reaching people seeking an alternative to music on their way to work. And that is change.”

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Coming Out

One of my entries into the Senior Poet Laureate contest this year was the second place finisher in Missouri. I have just seen the online version of Golden Words with the National winner and the regional or state winners.

Coming Out, One of my three entries this year was the Silver Laureate or second place in Missouri. Last year, my poem Channeling Sylvia was an honorable mention.

Actually, Coming Out was written during a post card poetry exchange with Ivy Alvarez last October.

All of this years winning entries including Coming Out can be seen in the online version of the book Golden words. Simply fallow the clicks to the regional and state listings and it is under Silver Poet Laureate.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Another View

1000 Black Lines mentioned the Poets and Writers article titled That Glittering Possibility in a recent post. This is the same P& W piece I blogged on back on the 20th.

Black Lines was disturbed because almost all the 18 debut poets who had been published were teachers. He lamented that he was not one and that perhaps what his 60+ page manuscript needed was not a cover letter but a resume and a list of name dropping connections.

I thought about the article. It was the same one I read and while I didn't count the number of teachers by profession, I did note that most all of them spent years and countless contests to finally achieve publication. Leslie Bumstead for example - 3 years. Victoria Chang between 30 and 45 contests. K.E. Duffin spent 6 years in pursuit of a publisher... more then half the 11 years he spent writing the book. Sarah Gridley 4 years - two years shorter than it took to write the book. Laura Sims entered 20 contests. Mark Sullivan between 75 and 100 contests.

If teaching and connections played a role in getting the manuscripts of these people into print, it certainly did not save them from years pursuit and enormous numbers of entries.

I just thought since the two of us read the same article and saw two different things, it was worth another perspective.

Food Chain Lesson 101

Ok, lets get this straight.

Someone in the administration outed Velarie Plume a classified agent of the CIA to the press. Velarie is the wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson. Wislon had been dispatched to Niger to check out a claim that Iraq was buying "yellow care" (material necessary to construct nuclear weapons - not a dessert)from them. Wilson had countered the notion by the Bush Administration that Iraq was amassing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs)- a claim that Bush and Cheney used to make their justification for going to war with Iraq. The outing was believed to be in retaliation to Wilson's challenge of misinformation.

So Libby, Carl Rove and others within the administration were the focus of an attempt to learn who breached her classified identity. Libby is indicted for lying and obstruction of justice (hum... remember Watergate?) So, who was Libby lying to protect?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sylvia's Birthday

I have been reminded that today is Sylvia's birthday.

How could I let this pass?

In her honor - Birthday

May all your mood swings be bright!

Vice President for Torture

Vice President for Torture

I felt this editorial by the Washington Post was meritorious of recommending to everyone. It amazes how embolden the Bush administration has become. I urge you to read this editorial and pass it along to your friends.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Rise and Fall

Still, as a heart between beats
One side of the fullest measure
The other side of the empty pit

I count the number of empty
Mock reason till I cry
Tears soaked in dysphoria

Pensive head in hand
Neuropathy rattles inside
The disconnect pulls

Chicken plucked from the bone
Gray matter- real, proven
According to Einstein

But dead like the soon to be night
Dying embers
Huff- they glow

But alone they show no will
No gasping- no desire
Numb, black tarnishing gray

A shadow circles overhead
Am I keeping him up
Or is this my wake

Night becomes the insulation
It is all there is to swallow
It claws at the insides

The night belongs to no one
But me- a poison apple
Polished black hematite

Even the circling shadow
Has lost faith
Surrendering me to dystopia

The desire for another-
Treasonous to the night
A verdict read in silence

Bailiff touches my shoulder
Reminding me the night is long
It may never comply

And end at all-
But provide eternal company
Through this solitary screaming purgatory

Empty to touch
Empty to warmth
Empty to breath
Empty to the rise and fall of love

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Cheney cited as source in CIA leak investigation

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Cheney cited as source in CIA leak investigation

Now see, this comes as no surprise to me at all. In fact - I'd be shocked if Bush and Cheney had not discussed this originally.

The Jury Is Out

I had to report for jury duty this morning but I have been released. We were told it was a criminal trial and at the last minute there was an accepted plea change. I doubt that I would have actually been seated - there are just too many reasons for me to be stricken.

I write up a storm last night. Wrote and read way into the night. Anyone read any of Elizabeth Elliott's poems? I was into "Burn All Night" last night and it is a wonderful mixture of sublime and intensely powerful imagery. I highly recommend it.

Among my favorite:
Superiority of A Fly - Small Forks In The Wrong Drawer - Six Miles Nearer Heaven - Resist Me Death - and of course the title poem Burn All Night.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Monday Thoughts To Munch On

Yes folks - (Supermodel) KATE MOSS is writing poetry to help her through her rehab for cocaine abuse. Then, we are told she reads the lines over the phone to her lover Pete Doherty. Her family is pleased she has had something to focus on while she recovers. A friend told Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper: 'She's found writing her thoughts down in verse very calming' - and I'm thinking she might have found poetry a better diversion than cocaine to start with.

See, I'm thinking that Carl Rove and Scooter Libby may want to keep the poetry thing in mind. I'm sure they are feeling just a little up tight this week as Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has just launched his own brand-new Web site. [click here]
I'd say that the odds are good that one or both may well find themselves under indictment this week in the Valarie Plame matter.

I would think poetry might well help them through the long and very public legal battle to save their hides. Then of course when they are finally found guilty - perhaps it will ease the days in prison. At least till the president pardons them.

And just in case you are one of those who thinks that the Patriots Act needs to be renewed as is... read this and think again.

Oh... and Judith Miller - NY Times poster child is in deep do-do. Yes, even among her own this reporter is about as popular as a hometown prophet. Now I don't know that I'd go so far to say fire her- I think they could move her to another department and let her write obits.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

How Much Is the Bloggy in the Server?

My blog is worth $10,726.26.
How much is your blog worth?

Saw this on Christine Hamm's blogsite so of course I had to see what Stick Poet looked like when put to the test.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Wear sunglasses to the post office...


Quiet Saturday morning- sometimes quiet is good. Sometimes the silence echoes reverberate empty.

I generally never want the weekends to end, but sometimes I wish they would hurry along into another phase. It's a contradiction I know.

The picture with this post was taken a few weeks back - it is a courtyard behind a bank in downtown Kansas City. I took it on a lunch stroll. I think of it as water art.

Finished reading a novel last night. I've produced some small written pieces this week that I am happy with and they really did for the most part come without feeling like I had to squeeze them from a near empty tube of words.

Best quote I saw this week was advice from Dana Goodyear - one of the 18 debut poets of 2005 that were featured in Poets & Writers.

"Wear sunglasses to the post office. In other words, try to protect yourself from other people's disbelief."

Friday, October 21, 2005

Washing Your Back

I squeezed water
To a fine trickle
That splashed
And breathed
Of your
And carried a touch of your fragrance to the ocean

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Can Just Anyone Be One?

Should there be a test? Would it have both an oral and written portion?
Could there be a learners permit? Would we have to re-test every so often?
What would the punishment be for poeting without a license? Should bad poets have to register with the state and be prohibited from living a certain distance from academia?

The Payoff of Hard Work

New Poets & Writers magazine arrived yesterday... I saw where Victoria Chang (who formerly had a blog I would read frequently) made a list of 18 debut poets who made their mark in 2005. Very nice piece on her and her work.

Interesting factoids from the writeup on her:

She spent 10 years writing the book CIRCLE.
She entered some 30 to 45 contests.
She won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition Award.

Influences were listed at Rainer Maria Rilkem, Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, Larry Levis and Brigit Pegeen Kelly.

One thing that really struck me was the amount of time each of these poets spent in writing their respective books. The longest being 11 years - but the average seemed to be just under six and a half years.

Anyway it was a really nice article and I would imagine she must be quite honored by making this list in addition to the previous honors bestowed upon her for the book.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Potpourri Wednesday Again

Hello to Bergen, Norway!


Magnetic Poetry Sparks Creativity - and Smiles - with Gifts for Everyone on Your List.


Ivy spills the goods on the BLURB. Thinking I need a Miss Blinda Blurb to pose on my chapbook.


This is where I am tapping my foot waiting for a slightly overdue response to a submission. I say slightly overdue because they have had this group of poems longer than usual. Can't you just feel the impatience?


The Maine Arts Commission is accepting nominations for Maine's next Poet Laureate.


In David Citino's poem "And So" he wrote "And so you called, weeping, to tell me this because you know of the compulsion we share to write." Citino, an English professor and Ohio State University's poet laureate, had died from complications related to multiple sclerosis. Citino was 58.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hello Quincy!

Just saying hello to Quincy, Massachusetts - a random place from stick poets hits stats. Evidently someone in Quincy visited stick poet this week.

Outside the continental U.S. was a hit from Richmond Hill in Ontario - Canada.


You all com back now... (I know... a Yankee just can't do that right)

The prompt: And his tongue was...

So I'm thinking- and thinking- and W came to my mind.


And his tongue was forked
His pronouncements
Always mired in
Slick black sleaze;
You knew immediately
He was fucking with you.

Monday, October 17, 2005

In the News...

Poets and suicide are making the news again. This time - BBC news is reporting about a project by an arts organization for the Highlands and Islands, HI-Arts, which is running a program of workshops and readings in schools in which young men are encouraged to talk about their emotions. This to offset a suicide level in the Highlands and Islands that has been above the national average.

But not everyone is happy. Mary Scanlon, MPS - Scottish Conservatives thinks the idea of someone writing about suicide is insensitive to the many families who are fighting to cope with their grief. She thinks it romanticises suicide - thus making it more of an option. "The more suicide is talked about the more likely people are to consider it as course of action."

No so says suicidal behavior expert Rory O'Connor who thinks anything that encouraged people to talk should be applauded.


The monthly OPEN MICROPHONE hosted by Sharon Eiker (local poet, story writer, artist, performance artist, and sculptor) will be held Monday, October 24, 2005 starting at 8pm.

This is one of Kansas City's longest running open mic venues. Writers of short prose and poetry, as well as musicians and performance artists, are welcome. You can share your work, or simply listen to others share theirs.

Writers Place is located at 3607 Pennsylvania - Kansas City, MO 64011.



On Friday, October 21, 2005, at 7:00pm

Chance of a Ghost: An Anthology of Contemporary Ghost Poems will be hosted by Gloria Vando and Phil Miller and celebrate the publication of Helicon Nine's most recent offering edited by Gloria and Phil. A collection of works from 181 poets across the United States and around the world.

You will hear readings from various poets represented in the book, have the chance to meet and greet the literati of Kansas City, and obtain your own signed copy of the book at $14.95 each (a bargain)!

On Sunday, October 23, 2005 at 1:00pm

Phil Miller will host a Small Presses Reading honoring numerous local small presses and featuring the writers whose works have appeared in them. Come and share in this unique venue.

Recommended donations at the door are: $2 for members, $3 for non-members, and $1 for students.

Ok the weekend is over-

I'm not sure if that is good or bad. It was not the most exciting of weekends and I'm not especially crazy about Mondays.

I made an appearance at Northland Writers dispelling any rumors of my demise. You should have seen the looks on their faces.

Got some writing done. Started. More like somewhere in between.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Melancholy Weekend

Yesterday I did some writing & reading. Good ways into the novel I started. It is not disappointing me. Went to a poetry workshop at the Library yesterday. It was the second one they did this month. This one was more on poetry as a spoken word. From that vantage point it appealed to me less, but the presentation good none the less. It was poorly attended though.

It is mid-day and today pretty much sucks. Worked on a piece I started last night and got further along with it but now I am only so-so with it. I think it has possibility but we'll have to see what becomes of it.

I do see that we have hit the 17,000 unique visits stat and are starting the assent to the 20,000 mark. I should try and think of something fun for when we hit 20,000.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Laura Kasischke

Laura Kasischke - Poet and novilist is coming to Kansas City soon to read at the The Writers Place and I thought I read some of her work before she got here. I've had difficulty gettig one of her poem books at the library but I was able to get one of her novels - "white bird on a blizzard." Started reading it last night and I can tell you from her visual language in the book - I think I am going to really like her as a poet.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Cracks me up!

Contemporary Political Flow Chart of American / British power

Bush's Chat With Troops Draws Flak - Los Angeles Times

Bush's Chat With Troops Draws Flak - Los Angeles Times

War critics and some military leaders disapprove of the president's carefully staged videoconference with soldiers in Iraq.

Voters said to hunt for polling sites in west Iraq - Yahoo! News

Voters said to hunt for polling sites in west Iraq - Yahoo! News


Thair al-Hadeethi, a human rights activist from Haditha suggests that no votes are being marginalized in Sunni regions as voting gets underway on the Iraqi Draft Constitution. "The Americans intended to isolate the cities in western Iraq to prevent the huge Sunni population from voting," maintained Thair al-Hadeethi.

Learning from the arts

"I learn as much from painters about how to write as from writers. You ask how this is done? It would take a day of explaining. I should think what one learns from composers and from the study of harmony and counterpoint would be obvious." - Ernest Hemingway

This quote reminds me of the importance of listening to a poet. Of seeing for that matter. In each instance it is a keen awareness as to the patterns and layers of art or life.

With attention deficit disorder - listening is especially challenging. I have found that this is not all bad. I can for example often pick up a wide range of audio feedback... the difficulty is in not allowing one tiny speck of it to become larger than the rest. From a purely artistic point of view this is helpful.. I may discern something that the majority of the people listening to do not deem important or are not even tuned into. So from an artistic standpoint - this can be really positive. In practical adult - one on one communication, it might become problematic and frustrating to both parties.

In poetry as well as music, harmonizing your work or making it multi dimensional can greatly enhance it. The ability to nicely layer one's writing takes great effort and maturity of craft. I can certainly agree with Hemingway that we can learn a great deal that will improve our writing by experiencing with great openness the other arts.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Herald Sun: Anti-war playwright awarded Nobel [14oct05]

Herald Sun: Anti-war playwright awarded Nobel [14oct05]

To some he is one of Britain's greatest living playwrights. To others, he is an outspoken critic of the Iraq war... and no fan of Bush or Blair.

So now that he has won the Nobel prize for literature, 75 year old Harold Pinter is thinking less about plays these days. "I think the world has had enough of my plays by now. But I think I shall certainly be writing more poetry and certainly remain deeply engaged in the question of political structures in this world."

An Otherwise Normal Day

Paranoia sprinkles
Like the Sand Man's dust
Upon me ~

The metamorphosis begins-

All I can say....

Honestly I am speechless...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

It's potpourri Wednesday....

I've had a habit of blogging about a variety of things on Wednesdays in the past. Nothing set in stone, but for some reason... middle of the week or whatever, I often talk about little tid-bits here and there on this day. So I have decided that Wednesday should be potpourri day. So I'll throw a mixture of fragrance out into the blogisphere.

According to the Voice of America - (isn't that kind of like our version of Pravda?)
Shiite and Kurdish leaders hope an 11th hour breakthrough will lead to Sunni support
at the polls for the Iraqi draft constitution. I'm trying to picture us here in America going to the polls in two days to vote on a document that people are still changing. Would that be like the ultimate example of blind faith?


So reporter Juddith Miller makes a second appearance before a Grand Jury [according to Reuters] to testify about her conversation with Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby. Her notes taken of the conversation reference Joseph Wilson, covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's diplomat husband. My guess is they have broken out the Church fans at the White House.


Last night - KC Metro Verse met at the WriterHouse - Eight local poets - a lot of poems - Apple Crisp - coffee - did I mention Apple Crisp? We had a newbie show up - that is always nice.


My wife is like this marvelous bead artist - I've had pictures of her work here before. Oh hell, it is worth another look:

Bead Artistry -CJ Wells

That is one I especially like.

Anyway I told her yesterday that I had a dream the night before that we collaborated on a poem. She smiles and said that was not a dream that was a nightmare. Badaboom!


Stick Poet's most recent stats suggest we have a very nice international following.

57.45% United States
14.94% Norway
11.49% Canada
3.45% United Kingdom
3.45% India
2.30% Australia
2.30% Poland
2.30% Unknown *
1.15% Germany
1.15% Georgia **

* someone is flying under the radar
** I am guessing this is the Georgia that was formerly a part of the Soviet Union.


Quote for the Day

"I write to understand as much as to be understood. Literature is an act of conscience. It is up to us to rebuild with memories, with ruins, and with moments of grace." - Elie Wiesel

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

This I Believe

I believe everyone should believe in something, which is why I believe in myself.
I believe war is a byproduct of people who give up too easy.
I believe barbecue is all that!
I believe everyone should be educated – even if that requires teaching yourself.
I believe people should always be able to buy a book they want.
I believe poetry and baseball are both religious experiences.
I believe the best armies are ones with no weapons.
I believe a woman should be president someday - soon.
I believe resisting war is a higher calling than fighting one.
I believe football should be played by refrigerators.
I believe all vegetarians secretly dream of growing up to be meat eaters.
I believe children of Democrats play with Tinker Toys, while children of Republicans play with Lincoln Logs.
I believe no one should have to whisper in a library.
I believe the designated hitter should be outlawed.
I believe if you are good, you go to Starbucks when you die.
I believe no one should be indifferent to indifference.
I believe they should let Charlie Brown pitch for Christ's sake – just for the other team.
I believe women should wear high heels with dresses if they want to… and they should all want to.
I believe the fact that my coffee cup is secure is proof enough the earth is flat.
I believe self indulgence is very self-indulging.
I believe coffee is a food group.
I believe kisses should be long… really long.
I believe Diet Coke is the Real Thing.
I believe everyone should be able to take three mental wellness days from work or school each month.
I believe anyone who fails to use all three mental wellness days in a month should have them roll over into sick days and be taken immediately, for they must be sick.
I believe that love not only makes the world go round but also keeps us from crashing into other planets.
I believe we all should be afraid of Virginia Woolf – Really afraid!
I believe Chardonnay is another food group.
I believe somewhere there is an unpublished Robert Frost poem, “Freezing Your Ass off On A Snowy New England Evening.”
I believe in God and I believe I am a testament to his sense of humor.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Poetry god - with a small g

I was reading this weekend and something jumped off the page at me. A translation by Mlymori Asataro of the Japanese poet Ochi-Naobumi 1861-1903:

"When I wake up alone
at dead of night
and muse on verse-making,
Even I am god"

At the risk of sounding both sacrilegious or egocentric, (neither a condition I feel at home with) I do indeed feel that I have experienced this myself and can totally understand how other poets including the author, could grasp this concept. Yes, I have at times waken up in the dead of night with some creative birth pains crying to be released onto a page. I think most of us have all learned it best at these times to at least make some note of the thoughts least they be lost forever in the tangles of life the next morning.

Occasionally I have set about flushing out the thoughts into form on a page in the night. I may not be physically alone... Cathy asleep next to me in the bed, but I will ever so quietly (as you do not dare wake the Mrs.) pick up my journal an pen
(usually on the floor or stand next to the bed) and write by the dimmest of light from the nightstand. It is at these times I am that poet alone with creation. It is at these times even I (the poet)am/is god.


This poem is lacking
No matter how much effort
Something is missing
Beyond reach
This poem wanted
Something unattainable

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Alone With No Shadow


I took a shadow for a walk
A dark reflection of myself
Sometimes long
Sometimes short
Sometimes nowhere to be found
It is then I am most alone

That was neutering

You Are 50% Boyish and 50% Girlish

You are pretty evenly split down the middle - a total eunuch.
Okay, kidding about the eunuch part. But you do get along with both sexes.
You reject traditional gender roles. However, you don't actively fight them.
You're just you. You don't try to be what people expect you to be.