Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Just finished reading...

This week I finished a chapbook by Jennifer Moore. Smaller Ghosts is a collection of poems in the cento form. Moore is a favorite poet of mine. She previously won me over with her collection The Veronica Maneuver.

Smaller Ghosts is vastly different writing, but then it is a patchwork of lines from other works of writers. It's kind of a fun form. I've never tried it but it is. now on my list of things to do.

I think the success of such a form lies in how well read the poet is who stitched  the lines together into a whole new work.

On another note, I am starting a new book The Familiar Wild On Dogs and Poetry.  This is a book that has gorgeous art work.  An Anthology edited by Rachel Mennies and Ruth Award. I've scanned it already and there is some great work in it. This will be a subject for a future post.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Confession Tuesday Spontaneous Combustion Edition

Dear Friend / Reader:

No baseball has been played. I filled my gas tank once, I watch thousands of protesters on TV. I saw too many fires and broken windows. I watched too many incidents of police swinging clubs at people, pushing to the ground, spraying chemicals at protesters, I grieved for people hurt and those killed. I grieved for families that lost loved ones. I wrote most nights. Failed to get enough walking in, thought about yoga but did none. Grilled BBQ stake. Had a root bear float at work. Wore mask up in public, washed and rewashed my hands too many fucking times. All this and more since my last confession a week ago.

I confess that I do not know what day of the  Covid-19 pandemic its is, I just know we are no where near the end.   Last I saw there were 786 related deaths in Missouri. Nationwide deaths exceed 114,000. I saw today that there are flair ups in Texas and Mexico. People aren't exercising social distancing very well and I totally expect that we will have to go through another shut down.

Baseball is my go-to to pull me out of the winder doldrums and into the spring then summer and it just makes life remind me of poetry and brings comfort. I confess I am struggling for this comfort.

I'm awaiting some poetry books and I'm really bad at waiting for books to arrive. Amazon has spoiled me, but. I do order elsewhere and I still want them yesterday. Is this impatience a sign of a character flaw?

I confess that I have a lot of material that needs attention. Drafts that need to be rewritten. Should I just pick a day of the week that I always work on rewrites?  How do you deal with a pile of work that needs to be rewritten? Do you avoid a pile of it by trying to keep on a piece till you ate ready to call it finished?

Is it wrong to have 22 games of Words with Friends going at once? I'm just asking for a friend, you know.

How many Character flaws make you a character?

When I drove down our street on the way home tonight I saw a black bird large enough to be bigger than Heckle and Jackle combined.

I'll close with a great poem title.  This is from a poet that I am quite fond of.  Spontaneous Combustion: Girl Kissing Bursts into Flames.  That rocking title belongs to Laura Kasischke. I might have to use that as a title prompt to write my own poem from.

Till next time! Stay safe, and be a great Joy & Peace.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Confession Tuesday - from the Shadow

Dear Reader:

It has been one month and 3 days since my last confession. One very long month.  In that time COVID 19 deaths nationwide topped 60,000. Now we are at 104,398.  We are at 773 deaths statewide in Missouri. 

On my last confession, George Floyd was still alive and certainly not a household name. 

On my last confession day, many business establishments around the country were closed down or open to customers under very controlled conditions.  In some cities those same businesses are boarded up, may have burned are spray-painted with graffiti.

I confess that I feel like we are in the shadows right now. I'm not sure if the shadows or the sunlight are a better place to be.

I feel like the shadows kind of protect us. Cater to our innocence, if we still have any.  On the other hand, the sunlight is bright and allows us to see everything. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I confess that the death of George Floyd was both bad and ugly. It was one of the most gut-wrenching videos I have ever watched. I was sickened. I was angry. I wanted to confront the officers involved and stop them, but we all know that would not have gone well.

I confess that the light shined on this event has had a good side. It had allowed the education of many to what blacks in this country endure routinely. The outpouring into the streets around this country has been a part of a healing process. There has been a beauty to it.  In some instances black people embracing police officers - some standing hand in hand together making a statement that what happened is not acceptable, and we as a country can do better than this.

There is a bitter pill in all this. The people that have taken to destroying property are hurting our country that was already struggling with COVID 19 impact.  These people, do not honor the life of George Floyd. They do nothing to advance the cause of racial harmony. I think some of them may have ulterior motives, but at a minimum, they are not a part of the protest.

I'd like to say that I have positive vibes. Hope, that this will advance the cause of dialogue, and of that conversation, a greater understanding and mutual love and respect will emerge.

I have put a lot of words on pages during this. But sometimes the words don't quite flow easily. Sometimes they are heaped in pile behind a damn that holds them back for fear that they will not be the right words. They will not adequately hold the truths that are needed. That they will fall short like our efforts have done so often all these years.

I confess that  I love our country that I am in love with the idea of our democracy. But I confess that we have not always lived up to what our Declaration of Independence calls us to.  It's a journey and we must all walk that journey together.

Until next time, peace!

Remember - stay safe. COVID-19 is just as real a threat today as it was a month ago.

Saturday, May 02, 2020

Blog Listings

I have gone through the poetry related blogs on this site and removed some that have not been active for a while. Some were very good blogs that I have enjoyed over the years and If I realize they are active again, I will restore them. If you have a poetry blog that is not on here and believe it deserves a listing please drop me a line - Mail to:  Michael Wells

Who Is That Saint?

My mind has compartments like files on a computer. There are sub-files (sub-folders) and sometimes I will make a new folder where an existing one will do perfectly. I call this fragmenting my mental hard drive. Then there are files that it seems are password protected and I haven't a clue. Is there any Patron Saint for this situation?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Confession Tuesday - How Are You?

Dear Friends:

Please don't tell anyone that it's not Tuesday.  It has been God only knows how long since my last confession Tuesday. I admit that I am a fallen-away Tuesday Confessor.  And this is my attempt to make amends.

How are you anyway? You know people often ask that question during the course of a normal day. Passing each other at work (You remember that? You remember work?)  People ask how you are, but I don't think they really want to hear Crappy.  I wonder how many people just brush off the question by saying fine?

I have no idea exactly what C-19 day this is because I'm not sure I know when the counting started.  I have been notified today that the courthouse (are department) will start back on May 18 with numerous protective protocol in place. Our department will not been open per se to the public walking through.

My wife asked me how I felt about this today and after a brief pause, I said fine. It is not that I have not been working all these days, just doing so from home for the most part. There are things about working from home that do make my job a bit more challenging. There is a bit of a fear that lurks ahead in the world out there and I try to tell myself it's okay.  I am enormously thankful to have a job. Some 26 million plus people filing for unemployment. I am indeed prayerful daily for the meany that are through no fault of own, even having trouble just putting food on the table much less deal with other financial matters.

I am torn between my introverted self and my extroverted self. The introverted is the dominant one. And I have not totally  been alone as my wife has been here too. Still, as I go about my day the adjustment to things has not been easy. I don't deny that I am feeling a degree of depression. That is not unusual for me through late winter into spring. It usually lets up about the time baseball gets underway. But I am missing. baseball and that doesn't seem right.  Baseball is for me a metaphor for life and when it fills my heart and mind, I feel like life is alive in all it's fullness.  I also happen to believe that baseball and poetry have a lot in common.

Again, the violet bows to the lily.
Again, the rose is tearing off her gown!   ~ Rumi

I am trying to make more sense of Rumi. He seems to transcend all religions, and speak to all people. We could use more of that. Even in our tragic moments when life is challenged and hinges on the edge of tipping one way or the other, we still have people driven and divided by fear and ignorance. The fear is natural. We all experience it at times. But when fear is fed by ignorance, the results are never good.

Just as I believe Rumi has a lot to offer us to better our life, call me a romantic if you wish, but I still believe poetry matters. I believe we can find our tattered and torn self in poetry. I have been reading Like A Bird of a Thousand Wings, by Melissa Studdard. Her words seem to be taking up residence in my soul.

Self is a place
we keep getting sewn back into.
We fly away.
It sews us back. We tear
the fabric, here comes the needle.
 ~ Melissa Studdard - But Who Will Hear You From So Far Across The Sky?
From Like A Bird of A Thousand Wings.

I confess:

  • I have fears today.
  • Sometimes my writing doesn't seem good enough.
  • I want to run out into a crowd and get lost - but don't.
  • I feel guilty for having a job.
  • I disappoint.
  • Feel pathetic.
  • Want to lock myself in a room and shut the world out.
  • Feel confused.
  • Want to hug someone, want to be hugged. 
  • Want to write the next great memorable poem.
  • Don't think I will ever complete another poem.
  • I want time - It's a commodity I never feel I will have enough of.
  • I am an INFP - deal with it!

Until next tine, be safe - Love - Laugh - Peace