Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Confession Tuesday - Olympic Bitchfest

It's Tuesday and them means time to head to the confessional. Won't you join me?

Dear Reader,

It's been another week since my last confession. One more week of mostly ghastly heat.  One more week of week of almost not stop a/c compressor running outside our back bedroom window, and  week and two days since my last poetry submissions.

I confess that last night when I realized it was national cheese cake day I wanted so badly to go out for a piece of cheese cake. When I realized designation of the day it was getting late and I did not want it bad enough to put one real clothes that I could actually be seen in public in. However, our office has a birthday party to celebrate at the Cheese Cake Factory this Friday. It all works out in the end.

I did not see the opening of the Olympics. How big is this? Well, I confess that I do not recall the last time I missed an opening ceremony. I caught some of the Olympics last night and I have to be honest, I'm just not that taken in by it this year. I've never quite felt about the Summer games the way I do about the Winter games. I love almost all of the winter stuff but I confess that less of the summer events strike my fancy. Sure I'll watch some of the gymnastics. I like the volleyball. The cycling and fencing is cool. The Boxing too. I quit caring about basketball years ago when Team USA had pro athletes compete. I confess that was a big turn off and they have never won me back. I was really int the baseball, but with that gone <sigh> so is a lot of my interest. I've never cared for soccer Olympics or otherwise. The canoe event that looks like white water rafting is pretty cool.

Talking about all this Olympic stuff makes me long for the next winter games. The Hockey, skiing, giant slalom, ski jumping (love it - I think I'd like to be a ski jumper at least till I got up on the run and was looking down) and toboggan, bobsled, luge, cross-country skiing and figure skating. Love the figure skating. So you see I'm pretty much a winter games kind of guy.

But there is another problem with the Olympics. The best covered games I ever saw were the Sarajevo Olympics in 1984 and Lake Placid in 1980.  They have gone down hill since and what I've seen of coverage this year is an all time low. I loved it when the coverage included cultural tid-bits about the host country and biographical sketches on the athletics and there home countries. Things about their families and what they went through to get there. I despise the tape delays. I Miss Jim McKay. No one knew the Olympics better.

I confess I did not intend this to be an Olympic bitch fest but is is what it has become. ;)

I confess that I will try to do better next Tuesday and cut this off here for tonight.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Poetry Games: Cast Your Vote!

The ancient Greeks felt poetry and sport went hand in hand at athletic festivals like the Olympics. Poets sang the praises of athletic champions and, at some festivals, even competed in official events, reciting or playing the lyre.  NPR is reviving that tradition with it's own  

Check out and vote for your favorite.  Poetry Games.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer of Discontent?

Will I look back on the summer as the summer of discontent? The heat, the lack of rain, a time when the leadership (with a small l) in our nation's capital was largely dysfunctional. And then there is the Aurora, Colorado mass shooting.

It's a summer when I've lowered my comfort standards by increasing what I consider to be a palatable temperature.  As for the disappointing circus in Washington, D.C., I refuse to lower my standards.

I've tried to find the good in things this summer and that's not always been easy. In people too. I try giving grouchy people a bit of a break because given the heat I figure we've all had some days in which our own irritability seemed to take over. Actually, I've found in many instances it's not quite so easy to find reason to get upset with others and this is a good thing. I'm not professing to be perfect at it but I'm vastly improved in this area and that makes me a happier person.

I've also been in search of the art in life. I keep telling myself there is art everywhere if we look hard enough. It means finding a different view of things so that you see some other meaningful aspect what might otherwise seem normal.  I like to find art in the randomness of things. If I can find art in the everyday then how much easier to find poetry in the split open bagel or the uneven seem of a concrete walkway.

This summer is not over and maybe I'm being too judgmental trying to chalk it all up to the negatives. Like the water over the rock slabs above there is movement. Things are happening and the year is in motion as well. I'm ready for some surprising good news, good things and feeling good.

I hope others are looking for art in their own day to day world. After all, art is for everyone. Art is for the masses and for all time.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Small wonders...

Rain fell overnight and surprisingly I recognized its remnants this morning.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Confession Tuesday - I don't give a Klout Edition

It's Tuesday... Tuesday, got that?  (this is for my own benefit)

Dear Reader: It's been a week since my last confession. Another hot week. How many is that now? I honestly can't remember.

I confess that all day I've tried to convince myself that it's Wednesday. This was complicated by the fact that I had a Chiropractor appointment tonight and I normally have those every-other Wednesday but I had to shift to Tuesday this week.

Last night it was 102 at 9PM. Sun is down and it's still 100+ and I confess that I am losing faith in the possibility of again enjoying the weather.

I noted my Klout has been falling. It's dropped to 40 and I confess I don't care. I've been far too obsessed with it this past month. watching it inch up and then retreat. I confess that I also believe that it fails to adequately reflect certain social media that it supposedly is plugged into. For example nothing has changed like forever with my Google + even when I do public posts on it.  So I remain convinced that whatever their  algorithm settings are, they fail (assuming they really use algorithms)Anyway, I'm through being obsessed with it, thank you very much. If I check in with it, it will be rare.

I confess that I did get a cool Klout perk that I will mention in another post. Still, this doesn't change my previous confession.

I suppose I should be grateful as I just checked and it's only 96 tonight but I confess I am Cranky Michael because at 10PM we could do better.

Several times the past three or four days I've heard bird chatter at home. Lots of it. You know how in the wee hours of the morning you sometimes awake to it? Well this has been like that except at various time of the day. Tonight I cam home from work and was cooking dinner and I hear them and it was like after 6:30PM. Now I confess that I find birds fascinating. I hope that the next time I hear them I can slip out and find exactly where they are and what kind of birds have been serenading me.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Mag 127 Shavings

Figure Eight, 1952 by Franz Kline

The center of balance shifts.
An axis that wobbles.
A toe scuff here,
there; a bit of flair
finished with a jump-
a Salchow,  the sit-spin
and  kowtow to the judges.

Michael A. Wells

July Shameless Self Promotion

A poem I wrote several years ago found a home in River Poets Journal  Spring-Summer 2012. At this link you will find a a pdf file of the entire publication. My poem titled Night Wish can be found if you will scroll to page 7- bottom right column. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Realizing Our Bearings

It's seems to me that times like these often become a compass  for us.  The tragic Colorado shootings reach beyond victims and family and seem to touch us all. Communities expand and become more inclusive. We all share (perhaps in different ways) the pain and sadness but we also find our bearings. We see with more clarity. We come to understand what exactly our values are and the gray lines become more focused. 

Realizing the fragility of life changes everything and even the little things with loved ones suddenly rises to the top. I'm thankful for our health. I'm thankful for times of laughter. I'm thankful for the poetry I see in everyday life, in nature and on the page.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Brandalism: Street artists hijack billboards

Street artists are targeting advertising billboards in a new movement nicknamed 'brandalism' for a Subvertising Campaign.  And what has this to do with poetry?   [READ THE STORY HERE]

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Congratulations to Jeannine Hall Gailey

Jeannine is the new Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington a city just a stones throw from Seattle, Washington.  Speaking of throwing stones, Jeannine comes from a part of the country that you can't cast a stone without hitting a poet. I think it's especially cool considering how how poetically inclined people in Washington seem to be.

The Washington State Poet Laureate did a blog feature on Jeannine today that can be found here.

Confession Tuesday - Yes, I was Naughty Edition

Well, it's been a week since my last confession. Shall we head to the box?

Dear Reader:

It's been a strange week. Some highs and lows but mostly everything evens out. So that said I will get down to the ntty gritty.

I confess that when I left the office today my desk was in great disarray. My desk reflects far too many projects going on, but my job is crisis driven so that's pretty much what I deal with all the time. Of course I periodically restore some order to it but daily it seems to resist order. I confess it's a constant battle.

I confess that I found a writing fellowship that I felt was perfect for me. That was till I realized how much time I would need to be in the LA area next year. I confess that I scrapped my plans to apply. There may come a time when one such program will be a good fit and all-round and when that happens I hope that I have the ability to apply.

Off and on during this past week I've wondered about the Higgs particles but I must confess having them on my mind has only resulted in mass confusion.

I confess that three times (count them), three times this week I've checked in on Scarlet the rat to make sure she is okay.  Scarlet is my daughter's rat and she has been under the weather. I've never been a fan of rats since as a kid growing up in apartment near Hospital Hill I would see rats big as cats when I too the trash out. Still, I confess that Scarlet is kind of cute. In an rat creepy sort of way. Yes, I want her to get well.

I confess I had a rejection letter for three of my poems this week including one I truly believe in. I confess that I'm confident it will find a home.

I confess to drinking Arbor Mist Peach Chardonnay this week. It's not exactly like drinking quality Chardonnay but it feel kind of naughty like drinking semi-frozen Ripple or Boon's Farm Wine as a teenager. Hey, it goes down smooth. 

Well there, I guess a naughty confession is a good place to stop. Even if it was a bit peachy as well.

Can I get an Amen!?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Love this description of what a word does...

Utility is the dream of every poem, large or small. Does each word carry, embryonically, the intent of the entire poem? Dave Smith, Local Assays, 1995

Picturing a word embryonically carrying intent... how awesome is that!


The Mag: Waiting for the Car

Artwork by Jack Vettriano

Another event-
the compulsory
making an appearance.

When does he dress
for an outing with me;
hang like a doll from my arm?

When do I get to show off
his fake smile?

Michael A. Wells

Friday, July 13, 2012

Poetry Mail Bag

What better way to start the weekend then to come home and find something poetry related in the mail. On the basis of a blog post recommendation  by Kelli Agodon I ordered the Poetry In Person on Wednesday and low and behold it arrived today already!

The cover is rather nondescript but I knew from what Kelli relayed about the book it would be something I would likely dig into and enjoy.  Transcripts of poet interviews over twenty five years. I'm a sucker for interviews, biographical material collected notes or correspondence from poets. I'm pretty sure this will keep me out of trouble for a few days. Actually the biggest concern is I have a tight schedule of some projects that require my attention. Still, I will make some time to read this book this weekend. After all, I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to or it would not have arrived till Monday!  ;)

I'll let you know what I think of it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Confession Tuesday - All-Star Edition

Dear Reader,

Another week has come and gone. It's Confession Tuesday and MLB All-Star game night here in Kansas City.

I confess I'm multitasking right now watching the game as I write this post.

I confess that I'm kinda proud of Kansas City this week. I'm a bit of an oddity I suppose because while I do enjoy going to Royals games (I enjoy watching just about any baseball) I am really an avid San Francisco Giants fan. I follow the Giants like they are my home team and have for quite a few years. I've been spoiled by attending games at (what I still call) Pacific Bell Park.  But hey, I even loved Candlestick Park. I have not been a big fan of the stadium here in Kansas City but they have made some significant improvements in the recent renovation.  But I'm proud of the how the city has responded and and represented Major League Baseball here.. We are a small market team but hosted the event in a Major League way.

I confess I appreciate the minuscule lowering of temperatures the last few days. It's still hot but at least tolerable

I confess now that the All-Star game is over I'm so excited - the NL not only rocked they shut out the AL. Great hitting and pitching. The Giants contingency really did their team proud.

I confess that I have a lot of writing related stuff to do this week and after last nights attending Fan Fest and  tonight's distraction of the the game itself on TV, I have to double down over the next couple of nights.

Have a great week.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

The Mag 125: The Same Beginning

Chilmark Hay, 1951 by Thomas Hart Benton

Golden goose-bumps rise 
from the sagging country side
awaiting collection.

They are the remnants of harvest.
Cured in the sun - their sweetness
locked in.

Here, everything comes down to earth.
We plant in it, work it, extracting from it
feed it to the livestock.

It's a simple life.
Not an easy one
but it always cycles
back to the same beginning. 

Michael A. Wells 

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Hot August Nights in July

A few clouds move in and attempt to provide cover from the sun but there are too few and the so has such a bold August like attitude for early July that they are no match. Presently it 96.  A slight improvement over the 100+ degree days we've had.

There is a chance according to the local forecast for some scattered showers after midnight.

The weather patterns these past ten days or so (one forgets how many triple digit days we've had when the brain is this hot this long) have seemed to me  oddly different from most summer heat waves I recall in that the number of states hit all at the same time is insane.  It concerns me that with the relatively quick shrinkage of the polar ice cap the past couple of years and some of the significant weather changes on some of the other continents, that we are in fact seeing some significant global warming.  Yes, I know that one heat wave a global warming does not make. There are however a growing number of factors that are troubling even if they are not conclusive. 


The Bike Share has come to downtown Kansas City. A program patterned after a concept used in several European cities where people can rent a bike at lone local and drop it off at another station. This location is just behind where I work and as you can see from this picture during the lunch hour that a number of the units are in use. They were refilling the station as I arrived at work, so I know these were checked out since just before 8 AM. They are kind of ugly bikes to be honest but they have 3 speeds and yes that is a basket up front. But these are not sporting bikes, they are intended for functionality so I guess their looks are okay.

It's a really cool concept and I do intend to take one of my two helmets to work and leave it there. If the weather drops below the 3 digit range anytime soon, I'll probably take a spin over a lunch hour.

Kansas City will be getting a lot of national attention during the All-Star break and I'm glad they got these up and running last week.

So if you encountered one of these stations on a visit to Kansas City would you take advantage of the to hop around town?

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Sweet Land of Liberty

Hope everyone is having a joyous 4th of July.  Because of the string of extra dry weather we've been having I know some communities have banned or at least discouraged fireworks. Whatever you are doing today, grilling, at the lake, baseball game, looking for 4th of July sales, visiting family of just hanging out at home. Be safe and be mindful of how precious our freedom is.


And Happy Birthday to my daughter Shannon Wells!  :)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Confession Tuesday - 100's Edition

Tuesday again my friend- temperatures again headed to 100+ for (I can't remember how many) days now. But you're here for the confession, so let's go to the box.

Dear Reader,

It's been 5 days since my last confession (because I was late last week) and I have a few things I can think of to acknowledge here.

First, I confess that I lost my keys last night at a restaurant.  That pretty much was the nail that sealed my evening as non-productive as well as stressful. I confess that I am still hopeful they will turn up.

I confess that this three digit heat need to leave. Right now!  Heat makes Michael cranky. Ask my family or co-workers.

I confess I need the 4th of July to come so that I have a day to rejuvenate. Hopefully.

I confess that I'm having some range of mobility issues with my left shoulder. Not quite as saver as when I had a rotator cuff injury in my opposit shoulder several years back, but similar. I can't recall any singular thing I might have done to elicit the pain. I confess I'm unsure if this is old-age vs. injury.

I confess some days I want to take my laptop to a coffee house and write without interruption and lose all concept of time.