Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Looking Back

A  Looking back on the year ending ....
We said Hello to

  • Health Care Reform
  • Inception
  • Toy Story 3
  • Ipad
  • Chevy Volt
  • Groupons
  • Glee
  • Hot in Cleveland
  • Rand Paul
  • Bailouts
  • John Boehner 
  • Tears
  • Orange skin tone
  • Joe Miller
  • Scott Brown
  • Lady GaGa
  • Katy Perry
  • San Francisco Giants
  • Body Scans
  • Branding (not cattle)
  • Cupcakes
  • Jerry (Moonbeam) Brown - again
  • Redistricting
  • Borrowing from China
  • Tax breaks for the wealthy
  • Bill Clinton - again

We said Goodbye to:

  • Joe Miller
  • Witches
  • Christine O'Donnell
  •  Toyota
  • Texting while driving
  • San Diego Padres
  • Texas Rangers
  • Sheen in the Gulf
  • Crashing State Dinners
  • Tom Delay
  • Jobs
  • Failed Banks
  • Privacy
  • Trading Chickens for Health Care
  • Census
  • Immigration reform
  • Swine Flu
  • BP
  • Hallaburton by any name
  • Dick Cheney
  • Don't ask don't tell
A Few People Who Passed On in 2010

  • Barbara Billingsly
  • Art Linkletter
  • Tony Curtis
  • Eddie Fisher
  • George Steinbrenner
  • J.D. Salanger
  • Joan Southerlans
  • Edward M. Kennedy
  • John Forsythe
  • Lech Kaczynski
  • Lynn Redgrave
  • Lena Horne
  • Peter Graves
  • Tom Bosley
  • TeddyPendergrass
  • Bella Akhmadulina
  • Robert Dana
  • Andrei Voznesensky
  • Robert Byrd
  • Lucille Clifton

    Your List? - Who and What did I miss?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Magpie Tales 46- Poem: No Choice

No Choice-
You left me
like a hand removed
from gloves—
flat and limp.

What could you do?
The bird had no tweet;
the stem lacked any bud.

I was poison;
you water—

you could only dilute me
but always there would be venom.

2010© Michael A. Wells

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Confession Tuesday - It's Right Where I Put It Edition

The year is nearly over.  This will be my last Tuesday of 2010 at the Cyber Confessional.

Dear Reader:

For a long time I would save my floating holiday for the 29th of December to be able to have to day off to celebrate our youngest daughter's birthday.  Since she is out of the area now, there is no need to do this. I've taken it already this month.  So tonight I set here reflecting upon the fact that her mother and I won't see her tomorrow and I confess this leaves this year ending on a flat key.

Year endings often seem melancholy to me. It's seems like it has been a while since I recall feeling upbeat about a year that has passed or particularly excited about the new one we are embarking on. 

I confess that I try to approach each new year walking a fine line between seeking to improve myself and yet shying from specific New Year Resolutions.

I've talked before about my obsession with organization and my challenge turn it into action.  This year I hope to tackle one thing at a time get things in better order.  Starting with cleaning up my laptop and better organizing the files on it, especially my writing files.  I also want to organize my paper files better.  But these are just starting points.  I confess that I often put things in places where I think I can easily retrieve them only to find that I can't quite recall where that place was.  Ugh!

Tonight I checked out the annual debut poets roundup in the latest edition of Poets & Writers.   This is one of my favorite features in P&W because I'm always interested to see if I know anyone who made the list. This year none of them were familure to me.  Still, I enjoy reading the little bullet information about each one of the. How old they are.  How long they were working on their manuscript. How long it took to find a publisher. Number of contests, etc. Their advise to others. I confess that reading these makes me wish I had started writing at least 15 years earlier.

Wishing my daughter happy birthday! Wishing everyone a safe and happy New Year.   See you at the confessional in 2011!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Crumpets and a Movie

Sunday morning, someone is drawing bath water, the dogs are quiet and my stomach to talking to me. I hear, but ignore.

I haven't blogged in days. I started to late last night  but ended up deleting before I was finished and went to bed.  That's kind of how I've been these past four days. Sort of here but not really.  I have not felt well and until Christmas eve I was in denial that I was sick (a common defensive tactic of mine) and simply wrote it off as sinus related stuff - but I've decided now it's some kind of upper respiratory thingy.

My loving wife made me homemade crumpets and ham on Christmas and I watched Il Postino (recommended by Kelli Agodon) - which I enjoyed in spite of following the subtitles in my fuzzy head.  I will watch it again soon and probably enjoy it more if my eyes and brain are working better together.

I've written already this morning, so the day has started well. Holding off on breakfast as long as I can - my blood sugar numbers are a little elevated as a result of being sick.

Have several things I want to get done today - but I don't want to push myself. I really have too much to do at the office not to go in tomorrow, so I don't want to overdue things today.

I pulled my copy of Unmentionables by Beth Ann Fennelly  off the night stand to read a few poems this morning. Feel like a cup of coffee, but not till I have something else in my stomach first.  Off to read now. Maybe, just maybe I'll have something more profound to say when I rejoin the world in another post later today.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


For a writer only one form of patriotism exists: his attitude toward language.
~ Joseph Brodsky

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Confession Tuesday

Tuesday again? How did that happen? I’m off to the confessional.

Dear Reader:

Another week has passed, as well as an office Christmas luncheon. Additionally, Office treats trays and a family dessert gartering. All of these add up to carbs, calories and sugar.

I confess these are trying times for diabetics. A fruit cake arrived at our office last week. You know those things people joke about using as door stops or re-gifting and sending on and on into perpetuity. Well, I confess I actually like fruit cakes. There, I said it! I can already here the Facebook friends unfriending me and twitter followers vanishing into thin air.

During this past week, there have been periods when I’ve found my Blackberry alerts annoying. I confess this morning is one of those times. This is a new thing to me as I am not normally bothered by this. It’s probably an extension of becoming annoyed at getting three and sometimes four e-mails a day from places like Borders, Barns & Nobel, and Bass Pro.

I will confess that I thought this past week about doing one of those crazy year-end/holiday letters. You know the long ones people send out that go on and on about their year in review? It was a devious thought on my part and actually the only reason I decided not to do it was because it would be so pitifully boring unless I made stuff up.

Hum…. maybe I should rethink this idea, the year isn’t over yet.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for listening. Everyone stay safe and enjoy the holiday!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Odds and Ends

A few odds and ends I though of interest~

  • "If I hadn't known lots of beautiful poetry, I couldn't have made it."  That's how 99 year old Evelyn  Vernon describes her survival after being trapped for 22 hours after she slipped and fell in her bathtub. (survivors club)
  • Should poets be lead the charge of social/political change in their work, or reflect thoughtfully on the sidelines? (The Guardian books-blog)
  • The Huffington Post gathered its list of the seventeen "most important poetry books of fall 2010.
  • The media claim the president has "lost control of his narrative." So (The Daily Beast) we asked Margaret Atwood, Sam Lipsyte and other fiction masters to offer tips for the president to fix his storyline.
  • Is your e-reader checking up on you? Creepy! (NPR)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's a Jolly Holi-dog Celebration!

Magpie Tales 45

Blessed Mother, May I?

Called in the midst
of copious play

to draw stick pictures
in the clay.

To share among the masses
a jar of strained peas,
another of carrots.

Then turn the Happy Meals
on their sides - choking sized toys
be scattered.

So much
for a child prodigy
to do.

2010© Michael A. Wells

Poets - Life & Death and their work

"When you’re a young writer, you subtract the birth dates of authors from their publication dates and feel panic or hope. When you’re an old writer, you observe the death dates of your favorite writers and you reflect on their works and their lives. " ~ Gail Godwin

If there is any obsession that has a hold on me, it would be the triangulation of time - death  - life.  That obsession has informed a lot of things in my life. I probably is what propelled me into political involvement at an age when many were dealing with such things as acne and their popularity.  I blame it too for informing my approach to writing in ways I often find frustrating.

Gail Godwin's essay "Working on the Ending - I'm not finished" - New York Times - Sunday Book Review, really spoke to me as she talked about writing and aging. Of course I'm not as old as the writers she references in her essay, but I'm no spring chicken either.  And since I am so good a looking at the ages of writers (especially poets) as they pass on, doing the math (a fact that I'm sure only feeds my anxiety) in my head, well it only stands to reason this all too close for comfort.

Since I've come to writing poetry late in life, I already identify with Phillip Roth's remarks to Terry Gross of NPR when asked what he wanted out of writing as he aged.  Roth replied that  he wanted to be as alert and energetic as ever at the keyboard, he wanted to be taken seriously, and he wanted to make a work of art out of his subject.  The part about being taken seriously, I think one of the hard parts for me is that after writing for a shorter period of time then many my age, it seems the entire rest of my writing life will be held hostage by this desire.

I'm sure that I would do well to loosen up a bit and try not to focus on such things as who was just published and how many books is that makes now or what poet just died and how old they were.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Confession Tuesday

It's been a week since my last confession... a cold week at that and it's getting late, so come, follow me to the confessional.

Dear Reader:

I confess that while I'm not fond of extreme cold, I prefer it to hot. But sometimes the cold brings heat along - heat that drys out my nasal passages and when Michael has dry nasal passages, Michael gets cranky.  While this sometimes occurs at home, the big offender is my office. There I have little or no control over the heat, unless and until I can prevail upon building services to come and do something to block off some of the vents or something.   As I type, I have a bottle of nasal spray beside my laptop ready to spring into action on a moments notice. I confess that just having it close at hand may do more for me then the actual misting of my nasal passages, but I'll take whatever help I can - psychological or otherwise.

My wife is doing a sleep study tonight. I did one maybe a year and a half to two years ago.  I didn't want to. It wasn't my idea.  I confess paybacks can be hell. **evil smile**     In truth, I feel for her because she is not crazy about sleeping away from her own bed and she'll be all wired up... It's a pretty intimidating set up, plus they watch you sleep on monitors.  Who knows what they really do when they are asleep?  

I confess too that I miss here not being here.

In the distance I hear a trains whistle.  I confess this takes me back to my childhood when I would visit my grandparents. They lived in a little railroad town in Missouri.  On weekends I'd often travel from Kansas City to to visit them - leaving early Friday evening and getting in a couple hours later. I was fascinated by trains. Enjoyed riding them. But there was a fearful component as well. Grandma and Grandpa lived not far off from a train track. Several times a day trains would whiz past.  I confess that if I were playing outside when I hear them coming, I'd run to the far side of the yard and hold my ears as it passed. It was so loud and powerful and the ground would rumble. Yes, I confess it was a love, hate relationship - trains and I.

The boys are all conked out for the night. Barry, Mo and Klaus. No these are not children's names, but our dogs. I confess seeing them all so very quiet and sleeping is calling me to bed so I guess I'm all confessed out for the night. 

Until next week, everyone stay safe - best wishes!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Five Favorite Poetry Reads for 2010

I've given it a lot of thought and my five best poetry book reads this year are as follows (in no particular order)

I kept wanting to include The Shadow of Sirius by W.S. Merwin - a book I return to often but then that would be the case with each of the books above. The thing about Sirius is that I actually read it for the first time in 2009.  It just seems like it should have been 2010.

I intended to write a little about each book but I'm told I'm on short time - have to run.  Maybe later today!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Flurries and Wind

From inside the house, the winds whipping against us in gusts left me feeling like we were in a lonely house on the prairie, isolated from any wind breaks.

I had not been out since later afternoon and I just ventured to the way a bit to a local Quick Trip for a Diet Coke.  The snow flurries were moving horizontal with the wind. The temperature is 16 but the wind chill is 3. The snow isn't doing much. It's a fine dry variety and the wind will not allow it to pile up so far it just blows it back and forth across the streets and walks.

A good night to be home inside. I good night to read or write or both. Pizza, movie, that kind of night. I'm not complaining... there are many places where the snow is piling up and creating travel problems. It's cold here but travel is fine for the present.

I was making some notes about some of my favorite poetry books I've read this year.  Trying to narrow it down to maybe my five favorite.  I'll plan to post the list tomorrow.

Miscellaneous mourning mental magnets

Non-Sugar Plum Visions dancing in my head:

  • Much identity to shred
  • Chardonnay past prime
  • Trees flattened and bagged
  • Where do you buy self cleaning windows?
  • Before etch-a-sketch  there was dust

Friday, December 10, 2010

Empty Chair

Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese poet and essayist, is serving an 11-year sentence for penning a manifesto calling for greater freedoms in China. He has not been seen in public since he was moved to his current prison in May.

The Nobel organization, with its long-standing position that human rights are universal values awarded the prize to Liu in his absence.

China not only disallowed Liu to attend, it successfully lobbied 18 countries to boycott the ceremony and in China censors blocked international television and websites carrying news of the event.

Not since 1936 has a country blocked a recipient from attending to accept the award. That was Nazi Germany.

For China to spend so much energy to attempt to scrub or censor information about this award to Liu speaks volumes about the paranoia that continues to plague the Chinese government.  It also demonstrates how little faith they have in the Chinese people. 

Those present at the award ceremony were told that it was Liu Xiaobo's wish that the award be dedicated to "the lost souls of June 4," referring to the day the Chinese troops opened fire on demonstrators gathered in Tiananmen Square killing many young Chinese pro-democracy students who were protesting; unarmed.

Skin Orgasms - Who Knew?

Musical chills, write the authors, from the University of North Carolina, are “sometimes known as aesthetic chills, thrills, shivers, frisson, and even skin orgasms [who knew?] … and involve a seconds-long feeling of goose bumps, tingling, and shivers, usually on the scalp, the back of the neck, and the spine, but occasionally across most of the body.”

The scientific explanation for chills is that the emotions evoked by beautiful or meaningful music stimulate the part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which controls primal drives such as hunger, sex and rage and also involuntary responses like blushing and goosebumps. When the song soars, your body can't help but shiver.

Some people report lots of skin orgasms and some people say they never get them, but the personality trait “openness to experience” seems like a good predictor. (By "open to experience" the researchers seem to mean those people who enjoy art, good movies, aesthetic stuff.)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Magpie Tales 44


On the plump white hillside
there was evidence—

scarlet plagued splotches
and the lines of blades

slicing deep— parallel
and linear to a distant apex.

Red molded into the lines
like a train had severed a leg

and paraded the results
proudly through the countryside.

2010© Michael A. Wells

Magpie Tales 44

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Confession Tuesday

Another week has come and gone. Another fantasy football weekend has come and gone. It felt almost like snow. I worked dinner magic from a shrinking pantry and grimaced at world events. It's time again for confession so let's get going...

Dear Reader:

I confess to feeling silly for sitting on the edge of my seat watching the clock and score of the Monday night football game to see if my fantasy team was able to maintain their lead and eek out a win. I mean we are talking football not baseball.  (I did win)

This past week was the fifth week of a six week session of working with another poet on my writing. I confess it has gone too fast and I'm not ready to take the training wheels off yet. I want to cram so much work into this last week - not wanting to miss any opportunity to better myself. This is the second year I've done this and I confess that I believe every writer should block out some time each year to work with another writer.  I'm reminded of therapists who go to therapists and so writers doing sessions with other writers to better their skills makes sense to me.

I noticed that my heel on my right dress shoes seems to have worn down some on one side. I confess that I really like these shoes and this annoys me.  Years ago I used to sometimes put new heels on shoes. I've not done this in a while, in part because I would wear out the rest of the shoe first.  I'm not sure if you can still find shoe repair shops to do this.  I confess I still try to keep one foot in the past. **sigh**

I recently read a Pablo Neruda poem that I really liked. I've read some that I just didn't find very appealing and I was telling someone the other day it has occurred to me that I may have been reading poor translations.  I remember Martin Espada - a Neruda scholar, one time saying there are many translations of Neruda's work - some good and some not so good. I confess that I need to explore some of these translations further. I may like him better then I thought.

I confess It doesn't seem like the holiday season to me presently.

I confess I've been anxious about writing lately.

I confess that right now I want some black walnut ice cream.

Monday, December 06, 2010

He Writes - She Submits

There is writing and there is submitting. One is creative the other administrative.  While I haven't always felt this way, I've come to dislike submitting work. I suppose that is why I found Suppose someone submitted all your poems for you to be a fascinating interview over at Very Like A Whale. 

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Magpie 43

Bridging the Gaps

The space that separates
becomes the mortar that binds—

lava winding through the highlands
of Nepal downward without care

a hardened dental filling
closing the decay

unifying all measure
of humanity.

2010© Michael A. Wells

Friday, December 03, 2010

Recommended Reading

A couple of  things I've read at other sites that I though were noteworthy.

Thoughts on Poets #6

Poetry is an act of peace. Peace goes into the making of a poet as flour goes into the making of bread.
 ~  Pablo Neruda

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Thoughts on Poets #5

Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments.
The intervals are the tough things. ~Robert Frost

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Confession Tuesday - Stuffed Edition

Quickly…. I’ve much to do so let’s get started.

Dear Reader-

It’s been one week, one turkey, one Monday Night Football and one 4 day break from the office since my last confession.

I confess that I did not want to get up this morning in spite of the fact that I slept like a log last night. When I awoke the hear dog bladders calling and looked at the clock I wanted to stuff my head under the pillow and shut it all off. I didn’t though. There was the whole bladder thing and besides they start to get ravenous this time of morning.

It’s the time of year at the office when they start cranking up the heat before we arrive. I confess that I cannot understand why they think it is any more comfortable to bake in to bake in the office then be cold. This therefore is the time of year that I must go into the office and issue my “cranky” warning. I confess it is true that as the heat goes up, I’m a far less happy camper. At least I give disclosure.

I confess to cheating on baseball last night. I met my son and others at a bar to watch the 49ers football game. My Arizona daughter was at the game with her boyfriend and I confess to “Text-Trash –Talk” as the 49ers never had to look back in the game. Towards the end I asked them if they were having a good time which I suppose is a little like asking, “Other then that Mrs. Lincoln how did you like the play?”

So how was your week? Hope this next one is exceptional!

Thoughts on Poets #3

Women make us poets, children make us philosophers. ~ Malcolm De Chazal

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thoughts on Poets #2

We all write poems; it is simply that poets are the ones
who write in words. ~  John Fowles

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Opera Company of Philadelphia "Hallelujah!" Random Act of Culture

First - Credit to Suzanne Frischkorn who posted this - which is where I originally found it. I love Handel's Messiah and in particular the Hallelujah Chorus. Thanks Suzanne for making my day!

Hard Ground - by Tom Waits - Poetry from the street

Tom Waits is an American singer-songwriter and composer.  I've not really been personally familiar with him but do recognize some of is material done by other big name artists - "Jersey Girl", performed by Bruce Springsteen and "Downtown Train", performed by Rod Stewart are examples. I understand that he has somewhat of a cult following  himself and those who know his songs frequently find them to be atmospheric portrayals of dark, often seedy characters and places. Maybe then it should not come a a surprise that Waits has announced the release of 'Hard Ground,' a collaborative book that combines his poetry with photographer Michael O'Brien's images of the homeless.

The idea of the book, is modeled after 1941's 'Let Us Now Praise Famous Men' -- a collaboration between poet James Agee and photographer Walker Evans, whose shots of Depression-era farmers were incorporated with the poetry.

This book is due out in March.

Gratitude Journal - Post Thanksgiving

I do suppose it is a good time to indulge in gratitude acknowledgement:

  • Presently I'm thankful Barry is looking better (as in his head seems less tilted) 
  • I'm thankful for occasional messages from Arizona daughter even if they come after midnight.
  • I'm thankful for Turkey wings - and the wonderful person who salvaged the wing for me. **heart you**
  • Thankful for time with son and KC daughter and wife on thanks giving day.
  • Thankful for time with wife - even watching TV together late nights.
  • Thankful gas prices came back down (even if temporally).
  • For egg bagels.
  • For Swiss cheese.
  • For new slacks.
  • For poems to read.
  • For poems to listen to (Whale Sound).
  • For poems in the mind and finding their way to the page.
  • For the San Francisco Giants Winning the World Series (in my lifetime) and maybe it can happen yet again!
  • For Eco-friendly light bulbs.
  • For Klaus walking even if wobbly.
  • Cool days - warm hearts.
  • Journaling. 
  • Friends.
  • Laughter.
  • Poets who help other poets.
  • Work.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Magpie Tales 42

The Cup

Tell me again its history
the metal muscle – the fortitude
the way it survived
crossing the Atlantic
stayed within the family
through those early years
when famine forced much sacrifice
and trading value for sustenance.

Tell me how it was passed on
father to son to grandchildren
and when the male linage legged
it became the daughter
bringing it forward
and how it survived into marriage
and nurtured still at great cost.

How it paused briefly
in Independence, Missouri
and then journeyed
on west— surviving
Indian territory, hard times
again on the trail when other things
were set aside – at immense emotional price.

Show me the moth eaten velvet beg
that clung to it when you found it
packed among grandfather’s furnishings
where you plucked it free
before the estate sale.

And remind me when it is my turn
to treasure it—

in the time honored tradition

2010© Michael A. Wells

Magpie Tales

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Being Made Captive

"Sometimes the briefest moments capture us, force us to take them in, and demand that we live the rest of our lives in reference to them."  — Lucy Grealy from Autobiography of a Face

Confession Tuesday

Dear Reader... It's been a week since my last confession.  Come along and we'll get down to the crazy details.

  • This past week I attended a Reading.  I usually try and shoot a picture or two at readings in order do a post on my blog.  I thought about shooting pictures at this one but they announced at the beginning that pictures were not to be taken. Not during the reading, not at the book signing or at the reception. I was shocked because I don't every recall this in the past.  I did in fact refrain from shooting pictures but I did think about it so dose that make me a sinner or a near sinner? The whole thing is strange because I've taken photos at this event in the past and there never seemed to be a problem.
  • My efforts to settle into more of a regular routine for my writing too a back seat yesterday to a trip to the grocer for a turkey. Then delayed again while I spent time with my wife watching some of our favorite TV. Finally I settled in to write after she fell asleep and then my Arizona daughter - looking for some one to chat with texted me. It was very late and I don't get a lot of one on one time talking of texting with her so I again put my journal and pen aside.  When Meg was all texted out, I picked up my journal and got down to work. A very late session, but it turned out to be a very good one.
That's it for this week.  Everyone have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Recording poetic particals

It seems that each time I visit Terresa Wellborn's blog I am blown away by something she has written, some picture, some great quote or particle of truth or sometimes it's a combination of these. This morning was no exception.

Today it was a quote from the French novelist Gustave Flaubert - "There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it."

This quote tends to give credence to the value of notations in a journal of interesting things that come your way each day. It is from these particles that the gems, the precious molecules of poetic matter come. To let them pass without record surely means many are lost and never committed to use.

Anyway, thanks to Terresa I am reminded the value of notations of some life's small wonders.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Magpie Tales 41

Eleventh Hour

The eleventh hour
a repudiation of the one before.
Older, wiser, clutched the present
staking claim to so much more
then any earlier period of history.

Still this cannot be self contained.
Time is a currency that is devalued
with each passing moment.

The tarnished silver replaced and the
cycle continues. Each click of a second
the spin, an empty chamber of a gun.
–a misfire, misspoken pronouncement;
the anti-matter.

2010© Michael A. Wells

Friday, November 19, 2010


Sadly one Republican Senator is is again playing games with important legislation.  This time it is Senator Jon Kyl and he is holding up a vote on passage of the arms control treaty between the United States and Russia. 

The new START TREATY  is important and failing to act at this time to ratify the treaty could risk disrupting relations with Russia and the international coalition that opposes Iran’s nuclear program.

Call Senator Kyl's office and tell him you want the Senate to act on the Arms Control Treaty NOW!  Tell his office you are tired of one Republican Senator holding up important votes!

Senator Kyl's office numbers are listed below

Phoenix (602) 840-1891

Tucson (520) 575-8633

Washington (202) 224-4521

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Confession Tuesday

Dear reader - it's Tuesday and time for me to head to the confessional.

I confess it's been too long since I posted anything.  I guess it was Thursday and that seems like an eternity ago.  As I'm pretty sure that I indicated earlier that I was sick last week - it was a very draining week for me and it was accompanied by the additional drama of car problems that resulted in a new starter.

I'm much better today. Not 100% but probably something above 75% which is way improved over just a couple days ago.

I've been reassessing my writing.  Thinking about the best times to write. Tinkering with things and trying to settle in on a process / routine that I will commit to at least for a while and assess how it fits.
I confess that last week my writing output was off but I did pull together one draft that I think has promise. I feel it understandable that I let my physical condition impact my work, but there seemed a lot of drama in my life during the week and I let a lot of frustration bottle up. I confess this is an enemy of mine and one I can do without.

Here's to a great week for everyone!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Signs Tell People Not to Drink from Toilet

Signs Tell People Not to Drink from Toilet

Chandler, Arizona City Hall has signs warning patrons not to drink from the toilets and urinals - what's wrong with this picture?

It's a new state of the art building with lots Eco emphasis. The new building and all its features will be dedicated on Monday before the first City Council meeting there. Free refreshments and entertainment from 5 to 7 p.m. will proceed the formal session. Presumably the refreshments will not come from the toilet.

Read more:

Magpie Tales 40

The Medallion

The mystery may be better
than truth.     Her lips wore
the zig-zag stitches, secrets

untold. Wednesday nights
she took a eerie bronzen medallion
from a brushed velvet box
hung it about her neck and left
for a weekly women's social.

Butter and cucumber sandwiches,
crumpets, Egyptian Licorice Tea,
Moroccan Orange Spice,
and Redbush Chai.

Those Wednesday nights
belonged to her alone.
Dad never questioned

but we talked. We wondered
if they met to sharpen their knives
over shared husband stories

or maybe their bonds
were physical - touching on
what was then taboo to speak.

©2010 – Michael A. Wells – all rights reserved


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Save The Words!

If you are a lover of words... this post is for you!

My wife sent me this link to a NPR story about saving dying words.   An Intellectually Locupletative Promotion: A Site Trying To Save Dying Words    or go directly to  the site itself:  Save The Words.

Confession Tuesday A Day Late

Dear Reader - forgive me for I have sinned.

I confess that I am late and really don't want to be writing this. Monday night I became sick and yesterday was very non functional. I will spare you the gritty details but it was exhausting and I was not on my computer at all yesterday.

I went into the office this morning only because I had a client coming at 10AM and did not want them to have to reschedule. Besides, my illness was not something I was going to transmit to others. Appointment finished, I returned home.

I confess I am still pretty weak and disinterested in doing anything though I did force myself to do my writing session just before this post. Seeing as how I didn't meet my commitment yesterday.

My mind can't even seem to focus on much of the past week so I'm not really a very good historian of my possible failings. I'm sure they must exist. I plan to do better next week!

Monday, November 08, 2010

I've been thinking and then I saw this...

Writers sometimes give up what is most strange and wonderful about their writing - soften their roughest edges - to accommodate themselves toward a group response.  - Mary Oliver

Without trying to put words in Mary Oliver's mouth, I saw this quote and it resonated with some thoughts that have been running through my mind lately.

There is this thing about writing poetry in such a way that it resonates universally. Some feel the more universal the better the work.  But such accommodation of the masses seems to defy my most fundamental view of art. If it's so universal that everyone sees it without any exercising the limits of their creative thought, have we not created something so simple, so basic that it lacks uniqueness and could therefore be reproduced by any number of people?

And is not art initially about the image the artist sees? And if it is not so universal, then it challenges others to find their own view. 

With this, I'm off to bed.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

My Bi-Annual Dig on DST

Mood:  I'm here aren't I
Listening to:  Forever by Kenny Loggins just ended Making Love out of Nothing at All by Air Supply just started.
Note to those who dislike Daylight Savings time as much as I do.... 

A proposed federal law calling for Russia to end its daylight saving practice has been brought to the State Duma and is now being discussed at a regional level. Daylight saving time (DST) may no longer be used in Russia in the future if this proposed law is approved.

Furthermore, the proposal’s summary raises the issue of people’s biorhythms being distorted because of DST, and that Russia had enough energy savings without needing DST. It was discussed that the elderly and children struggled with biological clock changes associated with DST.

Interesting information on health risks.

Good Lord - Russia is looking more progressive on this then we are.

Ok, enough on this...

Was up early this morning writing - I've been exploring my optimum writing times.
I'll talk more about this in the near future.

Lots left to do today. Need to shower and get started.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Crawling out of skin and other acts of strangeness.

Went for an exercise walk and ran across this snake skin left behind. I know there is a poem there somewhere.

Am I lame or what?  I could not get a block before I stumbled and fell. So now I feel invigorated but with sore knees. Geez!

Strangest thing... my great grandfather who died in 1968 has crept into two pieces I've written in less then 24 hours.  Very strange karma or something.

Magpie Tales 39

Making Time

A meager urge to procrastinate
rests below the surface-

I can look the other way
scratch in the gravel
and miss a good part of the day

if I'm lucky, no.
It's like a crime
that never pays.

My great grandfather
in his old age-
the hardening
of arteries years,
would move his pocket watch
backwards or forward
to suit himself.

He could make of time
what he wanted.

Few of us
have that luxury.

2010 © Michael A. Wells – all rights reserved

Magpie Tales 39

Friday, November 05, 2010

Kanas City area Poet is the Poetry Daily contibutor for Friday

Was reading Poetry Daily tonight and there was Michelle Boisseau!  Congratulations!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Poetry v. Prose

While I've had non-poetry work published, I don't devote much writing time to anything except poetry.  When I saw a post by Susan Rich titled Poetry v. Prose: Lovers or Fighters?  I was captivated by the following:

A poem that stays on my computer I can still love, has taught me something, can still be relevant to my writing life. However, an essay that stays on my computer waiting for her dance card to be filled feels entirely different.

Susan offers some interesting perspectives on what poetry means to her. I like reasoning.

Tackling Poems You Think You Love

Often in my earlier writing I would find that I wrote something that had promise but on the whole was clumsy or lacking in any lyrical quality or maybe just pretencions. Very rookie mistakes for any poets. It became a common problem to really rework these pieces. Cosmetic shifts here and there but you become so married to a particular aspect of the poem that you find you simply cannot go beyond a certain point.

Last night I pulled out one such poem and began reworking it. I spent over an hour on it and the real victory was that I was willing to tackle it at all. This morning I'm thinking that while it is much improved, I'd like to really take it apart some more and see if I can take it some other direction altogether, and what that might look like.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Confession Tuesday - I voted edition

Dear Reader:

I confess I have returned from the polls where I cast my vote for candidates and propositions, amendments and and ballot initiatives.
It was a long ballet this year and I frankly am glad the election is over. I can tell you that I am not expecting to be pleased with many of the outcomes - unless I'm very surprised. 

I am not pleased with the tone of this election and it is very disheartening that we've seen the retread ideas of Carl Rove repackaged and propagated in advertising ad-nausea. This, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling earlier that will have long lasting repercussions.  But I don't want to spend my whole confession on the election. I have other things to confess today.

I confess that I believed in the San Francisco Giants down the stretch of the season when many thought it a half-baked idea that the ragtag team assembled this season could win the World Series.   And of course, the did!

I'd like 5 minutes to explain to Paul Siegfried why he should never be allowed to supervise anyone in a workplace. I must confess suddenly the McDonald's brand name leaves a very bad taste in the mouth.

One of the best finds on the Internet in October was Whale Sound. I confess that I am addicted to Nic Sebastian recordings of poems. She has a wonderful reading voice.

As we move into November I confess I have a anxiousness about the last two months of this year and my personal perception of my writing for the year. I have this feeling that I must salvage the year in these last two months. Pretty heavy load to be carrying - I'm aware, but I feel I need to finish strong and begin the next year with momentum. Sort of trying to find my mojo I guess.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Magpie Tales 38

Here and Now

Time raps on
in an inconspicuous loop
and maybe we’ve been there—

who is ever certain.
The cracks in the earth,
an undercurrent of hush;

there are those who believe
on the last day the ground will split open
uniting bodies with souls,

those who believe
we waste too much on foreign aid,
and some who believe
they’ll have another beer.

There is too much
emphasis on perfection
among the living

anyway. There will be time
enough in the next life
to be the model citizen;
the kind streets are named after.

2010 © Michael A. Wells – all rights reserved

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thoughts on words

Each word bears its weight, so you have to read my poems quite slowly.  ~ Anne Stevenson

Black and Orange October! Game 2 All San Francisco

Giants pitching shuts out Rangers - who give up 9 runs - 8 eight of which came in 7th inning and beyond.

2 -0 lead by the Giants in World Series

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

San Francisco up 1-0 in World Series

Giants Fans treated to an 11-7 win tonight in San Francisco over the Texas Rangers to take 1-0 lead in the World Series.  Congrats Giants!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Confession Tuesday

Dear Reader - just got home from a poetry group meeting at the Writers Place and I'm rushing to get my confession done, so lets get started.

It's been one week since my last confession and my friend I confess that I bombed out of the Twitter Poetry Party this weekend. That's right, I wasn't together enough to even virtually party.  Ah! What does that say about me?

Ok, I managed to get in one tweet and between my problem remembering the hashtag and other distractions I finally gave up.
And hashtag? Anything that combines an edible dish and an apparatus of commerce is bound to give off confusing vibes. Am I inept at twitter? I'm not a pro, I'm not a twitter addict, but I don't think I have a big "L" on my forehead.

I've seen the feed of the party [click here] and it really had some interesting points. I've decided that it would be much easier to participate in on the computer than my Blackberry. That is if I can remember the hashtag.
Anyway it is an interesting concept and next time I confess I'll be prepared. I may even bring a virtual bottle of wine to to my laptop... or maybe a real bottle. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

More Poetry - Enjoy!

A note today from Christine Klocek-Lim, Editor that the October issue is up.  I always seem to appreciate the poems selected.  This issue is an Arts Issue.

I saw this and was fascinated by Pasternak's message

I come here to speak poetry. It will always be in the grass. It will also be necessary to bend down to hear it. It will always be too simple to be discussed in assemblies.   ~ Boris Pasternak

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Orange October!

The San Francisco Giants defeated the Phillies 3-2 tonight to become the 2010 National League Champions.

This team of unlikelies is far from some of the power teams the Giants have put together in the past.  It won so many games by 1 and 2 run margins that many have called Giants baseball this season Torture Ball.

The team only remotely resembles the team that broke camp at the end of spring training. Players have been shifted around the field and others acquired as the season went on. Players like Pat Burrell who was cut from another team mid season and thought he would be watching the rest of the season from home, but the Giants were interested and he became a great fit and was one of many players that kept the team competitive down the stretch.

These players have played their hearts out to get to this point and it would be so incredible to see them win it all in the World Series. I've cheered the Giants through the 1989 Quake Series they lost to Oakland and the 2002 California Series vs Anaheim that they heartbreakingly lost in game 7.  I'm ready for a Giants World Series Championship team!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Journal Bits

I haven't done a Journal Bits post in some time so here are a few samplings:

AUG 22- I was seated next to a woman / who knew what I was thinking / she knew everything and she knew / nothing  of the way I fantasized / that she were a blot of lightening / and how she struck me / twice as improbable as / it was that I was / in electric convulsive / therapy for these things / that I think about/ when I have others / to indulge in my thoughts

AUG 27 - Writing last night was lackluster, but then I worked in an environment of distraction...

SEPT 2 - Today is the seventh anniversary of my blog

SEPT 6 - Any latitude given  / to these stories / of headaches and tides / pushing and pulling / against each other / are provincial

SEPT 7 - I'm on the verge of a couple of different poems but still sifting out the specifics.

SEPT 11 - I put Shannon on a plane this morning and this is the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks...

SEPT 13 - I'm tired tonight and I'll admit a bit grouchy...

SEPT 26 - Yesterday my copy of Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room arrived... read through it in one sitting.

OCT 6 - Not all falls are without grace...

OCT 8 - Vacation day.. double platelet donation... Meghan texted me,  she was donating platelets at the same time I was - this was cool!

OCT 12 - From here it's all academic / there is a darkness because there is / light -

OCT 16 - The Giants ended up winning 5 to 4. Yeah!

OCT 19- Giants win game 3 by a three to nothing score. gave up only three hits. Awesome game in San Francisco for the home fans. They lead the NLCS now 2 games to 1.