Wednesday, May 31, 2006

White House pledges full release of Iraq massacre probe - World - Times Online

White House pledges full release of Iraq massacre probe - World - Times Online

[From story]:

The White House has promised full public disclosure of the results of a military probe into an alleged massacre of Iraqi civilians after renewed accusations that the Marine Corps tried to cover up what could be the worst atrocity committed by US forces in Iraq.

Twenty-four civilians died in the alleged killing spree by a Marine unit in the town of al-Haditha on November 19 last year. The killings were, it is claimed, provoked by the death of a Marine driver blown up when his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb.

[My thoughts]: Two separate inquiries are underway - they our being conducted within the Marine Corp itself and the Pentagon. Neither of these are independent enough to be expected to adequately investigate this type of accusation. How can we be certain that the military will not break this off at a lower chain of command to protect higher-ups that may have been involved in the operation or a subsequent cover up? Full disclosure of an unbiased investigation means nothing.

In Haditha, Memories of a Massacre -
Iraqi Townspeople Describe Slaying of 24 Civilians by Marines in Nov. 19 Incident


Is it my position to say what my poetry is like?

"Some people who write about poetry seem to have had trouble with my poetry because it is sometimes comic. I don't think the nature of my poetry is satirical or even ironic, I think it's essentially lyrical, but again I don't know if it's my position to say what my poetry is like." ~ Kenneth Koch

I remember someone saying that a person's voice when recorded sounds like how other people here you rather than how you sound to yourself. Now I don't know how anyone is supposed to know that, but I fully understand how one's poetry comes across differently to different people. I suppose we all have this image in our head that describes our own poetry. A view that is not always going to be shared by others. I don't mean good verses bad, I talking about a more descriptive image of how we write.

As an example, I see myself as writing from a serious to a sardonic-comic state most of the time and almost never in between those two points. Much of my work has political / social implications and if it is not within that element, it will often be of a more confessional nature. My work is often edgy or dark. Though lately, I've been able to move somewhat beyond that. Still, it is suited well to my voice. At least that is how I see myself.

I do move between two points, one being fairly straight forward or accessible. The other, very abstract. I rather like the latter and would like to write more often from a surrealist point of view, however, at times I have trouble freeing myself sufficiently to allow such writing.

I suspect, having said, there are a gazillion other points of view to describe my poetry. Isn't that how it is supposed to be?


Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Some more Koch for you this Tuesday morning... "I was influenced by surrealist poetry and painting as were thousands of other people, and it seems to me to have become a part of the way I write, but it's not." ~ Kenneth Koch

Extended weekends are nice... Tuesday after is a whole other story.

Last night we had a threesome game of Boggle (a word game) going - Wife, youngest daughter and myself. Meghan (daughter) is absolutely phenomenal at the game. Usually you can take my score, double it and add another handful of points and you'll have her final score. Last night, she was dethroned by my wife by the slimmest of margins. One point.

Word games have become a big thing in our household. Scrabble had been the mainstay for a long time. I actually stand a chance of winning at Scrabble. The games are always fun just the same, win or lose.


Monday, May 29, 2006

This Week it's Koch

"Maybe there are three or four really good poets in a generation." ~ Kenneth Koch
I must say that this extended weekend has been one of the most enjoyable stretches in a while. I'll very much hate to head back to work tomorrow. Got out with the family today to a book store - though I didn't buy anything [hard to believe] and some clothing stores. Has a great time out just the same. Low key - not pressure, just a very relaxing outing.
A little writing - nothing spectacular over these three days. So Koch thinks three or four really good ones.... I'd love to hear who others would put on their list. Maybe you can't limit it to four, or perhaps that is too many. Come on folks... What are your thoughts?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Donald Hall's New Book Reviewed

WHITE APPLES AND THE TASTE OF STONE: SELECTED POEMS 1946-2006 by Donald Hall is reviewed by WILLIAM H. PRITCHARD of the Washington Times [here]

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Waiting (draft)

The night molasses air
holds aloft a full moon,
the illumination a brutal truth.

No love note passes.
The moon, holds back her mystical spell;
the barefoot bridesmaid walks on gravel
till the hail dents mark her soles.

Limp bouquets fly in the face
and drop around her to no avail.
Blue satin drapes her shoulders,
gathers at her waist.
The hem a receding hairline.

Still, night after night,
she waits,
she watches,
a moon that never winks.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Rockhurst Review

"Wide sea, that one continuous murmur breeds along the pebbled shore of memory!" ~ John Keats
  • Poetry heads over to God's territory- two poetry books reviewed * God's Silence - Poems by Franz Wright -Alfred A. Knopf: 144 pp., $24 and Sinners Welcome - Poems by Mary Karr - HarperCollins: 94 pp., $22.95 [here]
  • Judith Bader Jones, A Kansas City writer of both poetry and fiction, reads from her new collection of short stories, published by Sweetgum Press, is called Delta Pearls at 1:30 p.m. June 17, Borders, 9108 Metcalf in Overland Park. Call (660) 429-5773.
  • New Letters Weekend Writing Conference: The author of The River of Doubt, Candice Millard will give the keynote address for New Letters’ annual event. Millard speaks the evening of June 23, and the conference continues the 24th and 25th. This is a local (Kansas City area event) Call (816) 235-1168 for details.
  • Rockhurst Review - a fine arts journal [Nineteenth Edition] is out. This contains my piece titled, Sport Utility Poem. Some other very outstanding work this edition. Very pleased with it!


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Trash Day Thursday

(Really it is trash day for me.... No reflection on postings here)

I found Ivy's blog post about orphaned poems almost sad... "If I write more poems, then I need to find journals to adopt them, don't I? Otherwise, they get cold." I'm sure we all have some we need to find homes for. So many orphaned... ::sigh::

I see Christine Hamm from this is all your fault has her own cafe press shop [here]

  • OMG! too funny - Rejected Marketing Slogans for National Poetry Month. [click here] Credit to Jilly for posting this on her blog.

Man like may like the spicer spin...

It appears to me that almost any man may like the spider spin from his own inwards his own airy citadel. ~ John Keats


Marketplace: Negroponte given power to waive SEC rules

In a most interesting report, a reporter with Marketplace heard on National Public Radio reports on unusual development, this quietly took place this month that could have some very large implications.

On May 5, President Bush has granted his intelligence czar the authority to exempt publicly traded companies from any and all reporting requirements of their financial dealings. That is the same day that Porter Goss stepped as director of the CIA, and six days before USA Today published its story that three major telephone companies had turned over massive amounts of customer calling records to the federal government. Information that the NSA was using to data-mine and look for patterns and, basically, spy on the American people.

What this rule means, is that AT&T and Bell South and Verizon, who have these government contracts — [as it's been reported in the papers ]to sell customer data to the government, they may never have to report that income or how the finances of that program worked. This is scheme that allows them to continue to deny any such activity - legally - unless of course the circumstances are challenged and overturned by the courts. I urge you all to go [here] to listen to the broadcast, or read the transcript [here] and see the documentation [here].


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rough Draft of poem

A rough draft of a poem I'm working on....

Buildup [working title]

Awaken abortively
By a rain battered pre dawn-
The mind shuffles through
A whole deck of thoughts,
A troubling one
Catching a hangnail
On the gossamer network
Inside my head,
Where scar tissue
Has built up
Over the years.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Being in the realm of the imagination.

I have seen several things that are attributed to John Keats that suggest to me that he not only had a very fortitudinous imagination; it was that creative state of mind that he seemed to truly reside in. As a poet, I often try to go there, but I truly do not live in that realm. I'm not sure that living there is particularly fitting in the world we live in today. Which of course raises the question of just how fitting it was in Keats's time? (1795-1821)

I suppose that if one were a poet and nothing else, such an existence could work. Even among many very gifted contemporary poets, I'm not sure that I identify any single instance of one who I think actually "lives" in that kind of state of mind. Thinking of poets like Robert Bly, WS Merwin, Naomi Shihab Nye, John Ashbury, Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood or Mary Oliver... these are a few poets who I believe have very bold imaginative flashes within their work. Yet, them seem to have normal lives. I'm guessing they come back to reality everyday.

From two quotes that I will share today, I glean Keats strived if not found that realm.

"My imagination is a monastery and I am its monk." There is something that tells me that with Keats, this is not particularly a metaphorical pronouncement. I get a real powerful image of his mind in this statement and how he resides within it.

Then, Keats speaks of the truth of imagination. "I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections, and the truth of imagination." His poetics here works well for me because I firmly believe we write from a basis of truth. That truth may not necessarily reflect with 100% accuracy, historical events, but it is based on our life experiences real or imagined. Therefore those things, which are born within the mind, are truth.


Monday, May 22, 2006

Rice faces silent protest in Boston�|�

Rice faces silent protest in Boston -

Rice's selection as commencement speaker had stirred controversy at the Jesuit school, where many oppose the war and say it contradicts Catholic teaching.


You get Keats this week

mWeekend is gone, good ones I believe are all greased and travel through time way too quickly.

I was able to crank out a first draft of something early Sunday evening. Also read an interesting piece in The New Yorker by Peter J Boyer on the marketing "The Da Vinci Code" to Christians. (which was quite fascinating) Meanwhile the film' generated $77 million in box office sales in its first weekend (source) which is a good start for a film which Sony invested $125 million making it and another $62 million to market it.

Meanwhile, the Dixie Chicks are releasing a new album Taking The Long Way in which the Chicks seem to be gravitating to a harder line and much more personal poetics to their lyrics and moving somewhat away from the fun and good humor days of the past. They have no regrets about the harsh words about President Bush some three years ago and their music suggests they are ready to move on, but stand by their opinion of the President and the war in Iraq. [listen to single]

Ok, now you get my John Keats quote for today:

"Praise or blame has but a momentary effect on the man whose love of beauty in the abstract makes him a severe critic on his own works."


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Yesterday Barry was Three!

Pictured here is Barry, our long haired Dachshund
who turned three years big on Saturday. He is pictured here with his stuffed cigar in his mouth.

Last night my wife and youngest daughter went to a pig roast, weather here was absolutely beautiful in the evening.

Doing chores today for the most part, not writing as of yet, perhaps later.

Another couple of Amy Lowell quotes to share today and starting Monday, I'll select another poet to quote throughout the week.

Here is an Amy Lowell quote on art: "Art is the desire of a man to express himself, to record the reactions of his personality to the world he lives in." A very good starting place to describe what art is, I think.

Here she speaks of happiness: "Happiness: We rarely feel it. I would buy it, beg it, steal it, Pay in coins of dripping blood For this one transcendent good."

And lastly, perhaps a bit of good advise from this poet...

"Take everything easy and quit dreaming and brooding and you will be well guarded from a thousand evils."

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Moon, McCain, War & Poetry

Hang lose with me, the fascination with Amy Lowell quotes will end soon enough and I'll move on to yet another poet. However, the quote I've picked for today is yet another exquisite joining of words... "Moon! Moon! I am prone before you. Pity me, and drench me in loneliness."

At the New School graduation in Madison Square Garden, Senator John McCain, keynote speaker was jeered, booed, and heckled by students who objected to his defense of the war in Iraq.

A student speaker, Jean Sara Rohe, 21, discarded her original remarks to talk about Mr. McCain. Stating that the Senator did not reflect the ideals upon which the university was founded. "I am young, and although I don't profess to possess the wisdom that time affords us, I do know that pre-emptive war is dangerous and wrong," she said.

At one point in his speech, the Senator defended the war saying, "I believe the benefits of success will justify the costs and risks." The protests grew louder and more frequent, some graduates walked out. Others laughed. When Mr. McCain returned to policy after briefly quoting Yeats, someone shouted, "More poetry!"


Friday, May 19, 2006

'101 Selected Poems' from a poet of 102

The Daily Star - Arts & Culture - '101 Selected Poems' from a poet of 102

Haidar has won international renown from a wide variety of patrons - from Pope John XXIII to the Arab League - which named him "Prince of Poets." The French awarded him the Medal la Croix de Grand Officier, and his work also won him Lebanon's Gold Medal of Merit and the Order of the Cedars. (read the fascinating story linked above)



A heart bled out
All but empty chambers
Ring hollow
As it continues pumping
Just the same.


Writers Place Events

Upcoming events at The Writers Place:

Open Mic: Monday, May 22, 8pm

An open mic reading / every fourth Monday of the month. At these open mic nights hosted by Sharon Eiker everyone reads!

Reading: Friday, May 26, 7pm

Ann Pai author of the memoir My Other Body: A Memoir of Love, Fat, Life and Death, will read at The Writers Place.

About the book: I wrote my book after I lost my older sister, Joyce, to the consequences of morbid obesity. I wrote it because I wanted my sister back - I wanted to make her visible again. To do this, I needed to show our sisterhood, her physical struggle, and the mental struggles of a woman dealing with weight and body image. However, since I couldn't speak for my sister's mental struggles, I wrote the story of my own. I hope you're interested in the book because I'd love to share the story with you.

Ann Pai has been writing for publication since 1996 in both technical and creative fields. Her poetry has been published by The MacGuffin Reader, in the online journal Friction Magazine (2001), in the Detroit-based indie publication Eat at Joes, and in the Pocket Poets chapbook series produced by Prospero's Bookstore in Kansas City. Her essay, “Appropriate Chewing,” was published in Byline magazine in 2003. For its 2005 edition, Sport Literate magazine printed Ann's essay, "Nolan Ryan's Last Pitch," about her sister’s death in the context of her sister’s love for baseball. Ann Pai has read poetry by invitation in writers’ series in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Kansas City, Missouri, and has performed poetry for audiences in Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Brescia, Italy.An accomplished technical writer in private industry, she has designed and written more than one hundred software instruction manuals, searchable online references, and short instructional pieces.Ann Pai has lived and worked in Italy (as a live-in babysitter, translation proofreader, and English tutor) and in Russia (where, after receiving a master's degree in city planning, she assisted in planning the first Russian city to be designed on free-enterprise principles).

The Writers Place is at - Pennsylvania - Kansas City, MO 64111 Phone: 816-753-1090

American Poet honored in Iran - Poetry Northwest gets New Life

Yes, you get yet another Amy Lowell quote today.... "Sexual love is the most stupendous fact of the universe, and the most magical mystery our poor blind senses know. "

  • Iran has honored Coleman Barks, a US national who spent 30 years translating the legendary 13th century Persian poet Rumi into English. [story]
  • Poetry Northwest established an international reputation for publishing both stars and up-and-comers with its first issue in June 1959, but the publication folded in 2002. A Portlander, David Biespiel, 42, poet and teacher was unwilling to accept the magazine's demise He contacted the University of Washington, which owned rights to the publication. The university has agreed to let Biespiel restart Poetry Northwest from the offices of Attic Writers' Workshop, which he founded in 2000. [story]
  • The UN Committee against Torture calls for the closure of Guantanamo Bay. International voices are increasingly being raised against the detention center there operated by the United States. [story]
  • General Michael Hayden nominee for CIA director - defends the shameful record of domestic surveillance in confirmation hearings. [story]


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Stick Poet Gear

Stick Poet Gear - go here!


Galatea, Lowell, CIA, Et Al

  • Eileen Tabios has announced that Galatea Resurrects Vol. 2 is up. You can read it [here]. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but if it is anything like the first edition, it will be worth the read!

  • Dark Familiar, is a collection of poems by Aleda Shirley (Sarabande Books). It touches on the inevitable touchstones of loss and place from the perspective of life's mid-point. [here]

  • The poetry of motherhood [here]

  • And another quote from the poet AMY LOWELL:

"I am tired, beloved, of chafing my heart against the want of you; of squeezing it into little ink drops, and posting it. And I scald alone, here, under the fire of the great moon. "


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I see a merger coming

I must give credit to auntialias for this Gem!

Happy Hump Day

Another Amy Lowell quote for today....

"Let us be of cheer, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which never come."

Poetry Contest - 2006 Autumn House :

Judged by award-winning poet Tim Seibles, the 2006 Autumn House Poetry Contest awards publication of a full-length manuscript and $2,500 to the winner. The postmark deadline for entries is June 30, 2006 - click here to get all the details.

Also of interest... THE HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY, NO. 2: A SUBMISSIONS CALL [click here]

In the news:

AT&T has issued a statement saying, "it had an obligation to assist government agencies responsible for protecting the public welfare" in response to handing over phone records of millions of people to the NSA without any warrants or court orders. How refreshing to know that AT&T could not give a rats ass about their customers. At least they got it out in the open. Hell, if we take the six degrees of separation theory to heart, we are probably all linked to terrorists.

America Loses a Treasure: Stanley Kunitz / Audio - Melissa Block All Things Considered - NPR [here]


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tuesday Musings

This week, I'll share a few quotes from the poet Amy Lowell (1874-1925) another Massachusetts poet. I think the state mush have produced the highest per capita number of poets.

She was a part of the Imagist movement, and she maintain that "concentration is of the very essence of poetry" and strove to "produce poetry that is hard and clear, never blurred nor indefinite."

Amy Lowell had a lifelong love for the poet Keats, who she believed to be the forbearer of Imagism. She published a biography of Keats 1925.

Today's Amy Lowell Quote:

"Let the key guns be mounted, make a brave show of waging war, and pry off the lid of Pandora's Box once more."

*The local poet Bill Bauer will appear tonight at the Johnson County Central Resource Library, 987 W. 87th St. in Overland Park, Kansas where he will read. The event starts at 7 p.m.

*From my Journal:

"Stonewalling was just one of many ways she constructed obsticals."

The politics of fear and numbers

Polls show American's support for President Bush somewhere in the toilet. I realize first lady Laura Bush says she disbelieves the polls, and I don't blame her for standing behind her man, if that is what she is doing. Still, if Laura Bush really disbelieves how Americans feel about her husband then she ought to get out more often. By out, I mean in the real world as opposed to a rally where the tickets are given out to carefully screened individuals.

We have been hearing a lot about how "9-11 changed everything" and how we have to think differently. We are in a war on terrorism. Don't misunderstand me, I understand the threat of terrorists is real. It existed long before 9-11 for that matter.

When the President went on TV last night, he did so simply for the opportunity to soften up the negative numbers against him. Right now, Americans favor building a high wall around us and throwing the keys to the gate away.
Yes, some seventy percent of the American people want to close down the boarders. They want to close it down out of fear.

Some people are truly afraid of a terrorist walking across the boarder and it could happen. That is not how any of the 9-11 conspirators came in, but it is possible. There are a lot of other people who also want it closed out of fear, but that fear is not about terrorism but what they see as the assimilation of our American culture into large segments of diversified nationalities. They are fearful of the erosion of American job markets, and they are fearful of having to provide benefits and services to new people entering this country.

In fact, while the driving force in all of this is fear, it is really more the latter that the President is pandering to. Yes, I said pandering. Now, I'll tell you why. First of all, if the President was so all fire concerned abut the boarders, he would have ordered this done right away after 9-11. He has ordered wiretaps without court approval. He has ordered the collection of billions of people's phone records. None of those has he sought authority for, he just did it, in spite of existing laws that provide protections and oversight to such intrusions. He could have just signed an executive order and poof- put troops along the Mexican and Canadian boarders.

The only known terrorist entry attempt through the American boarders was the millennium bomber who used Canada, not Mexico for entry and was caught. But the President is focusing on the Mexican boarder not Canada. That is where people fear the greatest threat to American culture and jobs.

So the President now wants to send 6,000 National Guard troops to the Mexican boarder. I feel safer already! Don't you? Actually the Posse Comitatus Act would prevent these troops from making arrests of illegal aliens. They can only stand by and watch. Or call the actual boarder patrol and provide information to help them take the people into custody. So really this is not an addition of a big layer of added security. This is smoke and mirrors. The President has fallen on hard times with even his most conservative base. Plus, he wants to try and make his "guest worker" program for non-citizens more palatable with the conservative right. This is just the cod liver oil to help make it go down a little smoother.


Poet Stanley Kunitz Dies at 100 - Los Angeles Times

Poet Stanley Kunitz Dies at 100 - Los Angeles Times

Stanley Kunitz, the elegant centenarian of American poetry, whose musings about life, death, love and memory brought him a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award and two terms as U.S. poet laureate, died Sunday at his home in New York City. He was 100.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Monday ugh!

Monday is not my favorite day of the week anyway, and it seemed this weekend went way to fast for my liking.

Saturday, my daughter Meghan and I did a bike ride. It was not a competitive one and I, unlike her, am not particularly experienced in any rides of great length. In fact, I have not really ridden in years.

This was a 16 mile ride and I bailed at 11 miles. Admittedly I was having problems with the lower gears on the bike, but still, I pushed myself to get to 11 miles. I don't think this is the end of riding for me, but the gear issue is going to have to be dealt with or switch out the bike for another one.

Sunday we celebrated mother's day. I think we all agreed that we ate too much, but otherwise had a good day. It was a long one for my wife, but I think she have a good day otherwise.

I did a wee bit of writing over the weekend, but really not enough make any fuss over here. Read a few poems, but again I was mostly busy with other stuff.

Since it was mother's day I actually spent a fair amount of time thinking about relationships with mothers. I think this was helped by reading the poem "Drowning" by Sharon Olds, in which she describes all of these grown daughters together discussing their fears for their children, all the while each has a mother (their own) bearing down on their neck as they are submerged.

I think mother-daughter relationships are most intricate. Perhaps I am coming from a skewed view - my own relationship with my father was non-existent so I suppose it is not fair for me to judge mother-daughter relationships as any more of less of anything by comparison to father-son. Still, I think they seem more complex than a mother-son relationship.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Kahil Gibran Quotations

Poet, philosopher, and artist, Kahil Gibran was born in Lebanon, though he made the United States his home for the last twenty years of his life. He has been highly read in both Arab speaking countries and the United States.

I came upon two quotes from him which I feel say so much about poets and their craft.

"A poet is a bird of unearthly excellence, who escapes from his celestial realm arrives in this world warbling. If we do not cherish him, he spreads his wings and flies back into his homeland."

It is true that I sometimes read the work of this poet or that and feel quite as though they are from some other, perhaps celestial realm. However, I'm sorry to say that I believe people as a whole do not often cherish them or their works. I suspect a lot of them must be making their way back home.

The second quote I absolutely love. "All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." Yes! Our words are but a tiny fraction of all that goes on upstairs and yet in many respects, that is all we have to go one when assessing one another. It makes me realize how important each word is because put together with others they represent the visible sum of all our thoughts.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

What Is Your Phone Company Up To?

If you us one of these phone services:

AT&T Inc., BellSouth Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc.
You should know that they have been voluntarily handing over the phone calling record of tens of millions of customers to the government as part of Bush's post 9-11 surveillance of phone calls. [source 1] [source 2] [source 3]
You should also know that President Bush's nominee for CIA director, Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, was head of the NSA from 1999 to 2005, would have overseen the call-tracking program. [source]
This information has been collected with out probable cause, without warrant, and represents an illegal intrusion into the lives of private citizen.
I am calling my Senators and asking them to oppose Michael Hayden's nomination and to fully investigate this activity Bush has authorized. I suggest others do the same.

Birthplace of poetry and voice

" I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests. " ~ Pablo Neruda

Where was my poetry born and from where did my voice originate? This is something I have not really openly explored. I don't believe the answer is an easy one to either question. I could easily dodge it, or dismiss it with a simple answer that fails to do the question justice. Still, I think Neruda asks that which every poet ought to consider within their own personal context.

As to the birth place of my poetry, I have lived my whole life in the same state. Most of it in an urban setting. I suppose that I could argue that my poetry was born in at the shadow of a downtown city that has over the years been in decay. Declining in prominence. I big city, with big city problem, but one in which the migration of it's citizens has been away from, at least until recently.

I have traveled to other cities and states, but this has been my home since a very small child. I have moved within the last few years to a more suburban setting, but one that is not far from all the commercial amenities you normally have being in a big city.

My poetry voice has come from several places. I don't really write so much of regional "place" - for example, Kansas City is known as the city of fountains. I don't recall ever going there with a poem. Nor poetry about the Oregon and Santa Fe trails. Rarely have I mentioned the might Missouri river which has a bend here in the KC area.

What I have found is that my poetry often has been a voice of despair like the urban core. The violence of war perhaps has come from the inner-city violence that never seemed very far away. Hopelessness and despair have often been a part of my work and that perhaps has had some origin in my job with deals daily with mental illness. My voice perhaps also has been drawn from my own personal life, growing up was not easy and although in many respects I had it so much better than some, it was at times painful none the less.

There is an under current of relationship impact upon my writing. Some of it from my family of origin. And I see and feel a tug of influence in relationship poems that are rooted in nearly 32 year of marriage. Love poetry is not something that comes easy for me. There is the ever present fear of writing stuff that is too sappy. But when I can, I do enjoy capturing that moment that says something about love.

The 32 years of marriage have not been without their share of problems and downhill runs, but they are in fact the most significant aspect of my life and for all the mistakes I have made along the way, it is in that relationship with my wife that I have the greatest value of life at all.

I do so often write from a dark perspective. Death is not particularly a fascination with me as perhaps it is of some, but rather a fact of our being and it is at the opposite end of the spectrum of life, I suppose that contrast and the desire to live as opposed to die that pulls me to the subject. It is something I cannot ignore.

So there you are. My poetry was born in a city that knows adversity. Gleaned its voice from everyday trials, from a fight for survival and a search for hope, all the while recognizing the pain and suffering of street people, victims of drive-by shootings, families that try to cling together in these difficult times and that one thing that is so precious that money cannot buy.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Non-Verbal Skills

My hand,
a secret decoder
felt her silent message
up and down the length
of her body, and
in translation, found
we were saying the same thing.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Robert Browning Quote

"Grow old with me! The best is yet to be." ~ Robert Browning

Sunday Sampler

My fantasy baseball team is 15-14-1, in 5th place out of 12 teams. This is truly fantasy because there are no ties in baseball, oh, except in certain all-star games. Thank you Mr. Selig.

Another poet / blogger site to check out - Sarah at Poetry for a Hostile World. [here]

Thanks to Jilly I found this interesting story on high school censorship of poetry.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Good Advise

"Even when poetry has a meaning, as it usually has, it may be inadvisable to draw it out... Perfect understanding will sometimes almost extinguish pleasure." ~A. E. Housman

On occasion I will read a poem that on the whole may not do a lot for me, but ah! That one line or one stanza will sometimes make it every bit worth the read.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Bits From My Journal

The heart is painted with thick layers of desire.
Their carts filled with informalities at bargain prices.
The day opened wide as a book opened often, to a favorite page.
Willows hunch, creaking arthritically in gusty breeze.
The subterranean culture swallowed up the past; it is but fumes of sulfur- that residual stench of palpability.
The last day extends a hand, as if to offer some basis to anticipate comfort without suspicion.

Nobel Prize Laureate to Share Poetry

This Friday, May 5th - Seamus Heaney, Nobel Prize Laureate and featured speaker for the 2006 University of Kentucky Main Commencement Ceremony. Heaney will also read on campus from his work as well as his latest book of poems new book of poems, "District and Circle" which will be released by Farrar Straus & Giroux this month. [source]

If you have not heard LIVING WITH WAR by Neal Young [click here]

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Superhero Thing

It seems that one of the most frequent keyword searches that bring people to this site involves the words hero and poems. Actually most often it is "superhero poems". I'm sorry to say that such internet surfers are going to be disappointed because I have never written a poem about a superhero and I don't recall even one about a hero in specific terms. Perhaps, someday I will venture into that realm. When I do, of course the Superhero will likely be none other than "Stick Poet."


Kansas City Metro Area:

POETRY AND POETS: May 4 - Leawood City Hall, Maple Room, 4800 Town Center Drive, Leawood, Kansas Writers and listeners welcome. Free. (913-344-0255; 913-339-6700, Ext. 157)

Open Mic: Thursday, May 18, 7pm
KC Poetry Open Reading is a monthly series featuring open reading and special readers. Sign-up for open reading begins at 6:30 with actual reading from 7-9pm. Hosted by Will Leathem this event takes place at The Plaza library, 4801 Main Street - Kansas City, MO

Open Mic: Monday. May 22, 8pm
An open mic reading every fourth Monday of the month. At these open mic nights hosted by Sharon Eiker everyone reads! Writers Place is located at: 3607 Pennsylvania - Kansas City, MO 64111

Poet's Quote for today...

"A poet dares be just so clear and no clearer... He unzips the veil from beauty, but does not remove it. A poet utterly clear is a trifle glaring." ~ E. B. White

Ah, and what have you to say about that Ted Koozer? (sorry, I couldn't help myself)


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The clutter of blank stares

So National Poetry Month is past, but I still have a treasure trove of wonderful quotes from poets. Hence I will continue to spoon feed them to you but perhaps not on a daily basis.

The Poet's Quote for today:
"How frail the human heart must be - a mirrored pool of thought. " ~Sylvia Plath

And here is a snip-it from one of my older works:

The clutter of blank stares
In a multitude of fun house mirrors
Each one, my own washed-out
Version of despair.

Wow, nice acquisition for Princeton University:
Library acquires archives of prominent literary magazine


Monday, May 01, 2006

May Day

To plug another poet...
I haven't read it, but I might suggest that people check out Christine Hamm's book The Animal Husband. (you can get it here) In her own words - "It is funny and sad and a little bit pretty, just like me." frankly, I haven't read much of Christine's work that I didn't just adore.

I enjoyed reading the poem PLANET by Frances Brent in the May 1 edition of the New Yorker. I loved the line, When it slid out of her grasp, / she kept asking / "Didn't I keep my promise?"

You know when people say to you, "You really should get out more?" I think my version of that line to writers is, "Your really should read other people's stuff more."

It's May 1st and you older folks like me can probably remember all the May Day photos we used to see in the papers of the long parades in the Soviet Union where they would roll out all their military hardware down the streets for the world to see. I was thinking about that this morning and how that has all changed. I was also thinking about how across the nation hundreds of thousands of immigrants - some illegally in this country will take to the streets and demonstrate for immigration reform that is favorable to their plight. At the risk of using a metaphor that may sound demeaning to them, it is kind of like cockroaches coming out of the floor molding. Here are all these people that for the most part are a part of a subterranean culture that will today be quite visible. So today, my old image of May Day is being replaced with a more contemporary. Both of these have political implications. Somewhere in all this, I'm sure I have a poem brewing.

Oh, is anyone else finding it trifling the Senator Bill Frist wants to help us poor American drivers by giving us a $100 tax rebate because of the high gas prices? Surprise!!! The GOP plan also includes a controversial proposal to open part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil exploration. (source)


Journalism & Poetry - Poet's Quote of the day

"To separate journalism and poetry, therefore-history and poetry-to set them up at opposite ends of the world of discourse, is to separate seeing from the feel of seeing, emotion from the acting of emotion, knowledge from the realization of knowledge." ~ Archibald MacLeish