Saturday, December 13, 2008

Drum as Love, Fear, and Prayer

This is one of my favorite poems by Sherman Alexie which resides over on one of my favorite poetry blogs, Feel Free to Read. Please do..:)

Drum as Love, Fear, and Prayer


make everyone feel
like an Indian.

Drums make
everyone feel
like an Indian.

Drums make everyone
like an Indian

Drums make everyone feel
like an Indian.

Drums make everyone feel like
an Indian.

Drums make everyone feel like an Indian.


I have more faith
in drums

than I have in the people
who play them

I told her
and she said God

is a drum.
I have more faith

in a small drum
because I can carry it

everywhere I go
I told her

and she said God
is the smallest drum.


She said, dance.

It is crazy, I know, how quickly I've learned to love
this dancing, this step-step across the floor

when I'd spent my whole life
without any music. I had promised never to dance

in the white way
if I didn't dance in the Indian way first

but she said dance
refuses color when we are broken down

and embraces color when we are built again
and I believed her

and danced when I heard the drums, the drums
the drums in her voice.


If love is taken
in its smallest part
will there still be enough
to frighten me? Yes

and no. I mean, if love can be
reduced to a cut bead
then I am not afraid.
But if that cut bead is sewn

into a moccasin or purse, if
that bead is part of a chain
built larger and larger, bead
by bead, then I am afraid.

Here, she said, take this bead
with honor. Then she offered another.


And if I choose to love
this Indian woman
partly because she's Indian


and if I choose to love
this Indian woman
mostly because she's Indian


then who are you to stop
this love between
and Indian woman and man


and who am I, who is she, now
for both of us to make these decisions together?


I have broken
bread with her.

We have prayed together in silent places
where we could hear each other breathe
and in airports and lunchtime restaurants
where nothing wanted to rise above it all

except a few lonely people
with their cigarette smoke.

These prayers have not been easy, how
do we say Indian prayers in English
and which God will answer? Is God red
or white? Do these confused prayers mean

we'll live on another reservation
in that country called Heaven?


Then she tells me Jesus is
still here
because Jesus was
once here

and part of Jesus are
still floating in the air.
She tells me Jesus' DNA is
part of the collective DNA.

She tells me we are all part
of Jesus, we are all Jesus
in part. She tells me to breathe deep
during all our storms

because you can sometimes taste Jesus
in a good hard rain.


And I want to say this (say it)
and I want to whisper (shout)
and I want to shake the doors of the house (church)
and I want to blow a trumpet (play a drum)

and I want to run (dance)
and I want to talk about laughter (pain)
and I want to count up all the losses (magic)
and I want to blow a trumpet (play a drum)

and I want to inventory my fears (joy)
and I want to hide beneath old blankets (grace)
and I want to feast (pray)
and I want to blow a trumpet (play a drum)

and I want
to play a drum.


She danced alone
before she ever knew me

and she'll dance alone
though she loves me

but for now
she dances

with me.
I take her hand.

I take her face

in my hands
and I tell her

how much I believe
in her, in her.

Sherman Alexie..........from The Summer of Black Widows
Photo courtesy of Standing Bear's Manataka Weddings

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Have You Given These Sites Some Love Lately?

  • C'mon, dear readers, it's time to Get Your Love On over to Poets Who Blog, an active community blog run by Sara for poets to get to know each others work, participate in group poems such as the Patchwork poem (check out Patchwork Poetry for some great examples of this form) and poems-by-prompt. Plus you can learn other forms of poetry like the "cento" which is a poem comprised of lines from other poets works; write poems based on words or lines donated by group members that must be incorporated into your poem; try your hand at a villanelle or ghazal or sestina.
  • Next, please go visit Billy the Blogging Poet for a look at his blogging prowess; his powerful poems; his penchant for bringing important issues to the forefront. Billy Jones is a true friend to all poets - he likes to showcase poets he finds of interest and provides a community blog for poets to share their poetry with the public. Why not join up with the Blogsboro Poetry Club where you'll find a potpourri of talented poets!
Ok, this ought to Get Your Poetry On! - until next time!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Another Good One by Stacey on Autism

As autism organizations and medical professionals alike voice their outrage at inflammatory comments made by controversial talk radio host Michael Savage, about most autistic children simply being "brats," the head of the network that employs him appears to be taking measures to pull out of a public relations tailspin. Savage, who in the past, has taken aim at the legitimacy of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other behavioral disorders, called autism a "fraud" and a "racket" during his July 16 broadcast, adding that "[i]n 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out."

Savage's outrageous remarks have Poetry by Stacey coming back at him with a fairly good spanking in the form of the written word:

Mr. Michael. Savage is the only man,
Voicing an opinion like no one can,
Lack of knowledge, causes anger to breed,
Upsetting parents, all part of his deed.

Clearly obvious his brain's not in gear,
He needs a firm kick to be placed on his rear,
Never learning to run before he leaps,
Lack of common sense is what he reeks.

For every parent of an autistic child,
Mr. Savage's radio rant sent them wild,
His callous speech on this neurological disorder,
Showed his true colours, he's out of order.

His claim that Autism is a fraud and a racket,
That parents claim welfare to make a packet,
Insulting these children by calling them brats,
Did he really think anyone would put up with that?

The barrage of insults he continued to use,
Calling them morons this is verbal abuse,
Stating only one percent of cases are real,
The other percentage are acting, he thinks is the deal.

For every child or adult that has this diagnosis,
This condition can give a different prognosis,
Symptoms can range from mild to severe,
But either way it can cause many tears.

Mr. savage needs to be taught the facts,
Learn from the families of those he attacked,
If he looked into the eyes of an autistic child,
The knowledge he'd gain would be worthwhile.

Instead of blaming their mum's and dads,
He should talk to them and learn the facts,
These special kid's parents, will no doubt tell,
Insensitive remarks can make their lives hell.

By Poetry by Stacey

Monday, July 28, 2008

Poetry Potpourri

companion by Rick Mobbs

. Loyalty, from lirone, author of the blog, Words that sing (and they do)

. Bone tree (for Georgia O’keeffe), from Tiel Aisha Ansari author of the blog knocking from inside

. weed it out - half a poem, from gautami tripathy, of firmly rooted

. Beyond the Obvious, by Rose Dewy Knickers, author of the blog live/laugh (or is it Dewy Knickers?)

. Here is The Dog, from Pam, at amputated moon

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Encore! Encore! Just one more Paisley, pleeeze?!

I feel almost mischievous enough to keep posting Paisley's poems so I can re-read them as I type away. She keeps me spellbound.. she just has that way about her.. maybe we're locked in a mind-meld somewhere in another sphere.. okay,, okay,, last one is below entitled Time:

a reprise

it came upon me, as a thief
silently, stealthily.. stealing
my beauty,, my passion,, my dreams,, my desires...
i was swept up from behind,
now i'm caught
i am held fast,,
i am struggling
but the feather like fingers have taken hold..
slowly entwining themselves around my very soul...
coiling,, choking me from within...

I stand motionless... waiting
afraid any movement.. may propel me forward
when all i seek,,
is to go back...
as if i no longer have any control
as if the fates have finally won
and i have lost...
all but what i see...

Please follow the linked last line to read the remainder of this poem at Why Paisley?

Why Paisley? Because she'll paint the colors of her soul in words.. and your's, too..

I can't claim to know the back story on Jodi's title for her blog Why Paisley? and it really doesn't matter. I like paisley patterns.. and I wear it well. Had she named her poetry blog Why Plaid? well, I'd have to ask that question myself. Visions of Arnold Palmer and Bob Hope out there in the back 40 of a golf tournament wearing We're-Wild-and-Craaazy-Guyz-in-plaid-pants is enough to last a lifetime, thank you very much. No, when I think of Paisley's poetry I sense the delicate curves of her words; I hear soft-toned murmurings and barely-perceived vibrations flowing through chakra-shocked bruised layers of deep coloring; I see pale swatches of longings, far out of reach, and the streaks of carefully placed tenderness like fingers over braille. Paisley has the ability to get into your mind. She can affect your sensibilities. Paisley is positively.. riveting. Take her following poem Paint me a Picture, written in collaboration with Rick Mobb's painting titled Let Your Tears. See for yourself-

let your tears com
let them water your soul
by eileen mahew

let your tears come,
let them water your soul
let them mix with the ash
of passions fire, grown cold

let them brighten the bruises
let their salt sting the scars
let them fill your lifes palette
let them color your art

let them mix with your blood
and your hurt and your fear-
then paint me a picture
i can see, feel, and hear....

His Love

underneath the stairwell
on the red pleather bean bag chair
she listened to the voices,, and she
could tell that they were mad
she dared not move a muscle
she fought hard not to breathe
she waited for the silence
that told her she could leave
she would sneak up thru the cellar
and out the back porch door
she'd look back and see her mother
lying passed out on the floor
she would whisper, "i fucking hate him.."
and then out the door she'd go...

today had been a good day
she'd got out before the fight
she heard him hit her mother
and hoped she was alright
she knew she couldn't stop him
and trying just made it worse
damn that demon alcohol
in her life it was a curse
tomorrow would be a new day
meek and mild he would be
afraid to lift his eyes up
afraid that he might see
the swollen eyes and cut blue lips
that symbolized his love....

don't blink

our birth marked the end of innocence
a new generation had been born
a time of freedom and drugs and sex
of violence and racism and war
all lines erased, no right, no wrong
tune in, turn on, drop out...

by junior high the lines were drawn
there was no backing down now
the world owed us a living
and the time to collect had come
get out of our way, man, we know what we're doing
and can't hear a word you say...

oh yeah, we walked on the wild side
we pushed it all to the limit
if it don't kill you, it'll make you strong
don't blink now, it'll soon be gone.

tomorrow breaths hard, now, at our napes
in a world so out of control
running amok on paths we fought to tread
what seems like, oh, so long ago
when we saw the world thru youth colored glasses
that we can't find, or we lost, or we sold...

no longer indestructible
not ten feet tall or bullet proof
we bemoan the world we knew back then
when in our youth, we ruled
the scepter passed on long ago
yet no one said a word...

oh yeah, we walked on the wild side
we pushed it all to the limit
if it don't kill you, it'll make you strong
don't blink now, it'll soon be gone

Please follow the linked last line to read the remainder of this poem at Just Paisley?

Nature Has Him in Its Sight - Scot Young

Time to share another poet that captivates my attention and admiration every time I land on his blog. This wonderful poet would be none other than Scot Young who graces the pages of Be Not Inhospitable to Strangers: Lest They be Angels in Disguise with some of the most beautiful and provocative poetry on the web today. Scot's range of subjects that he gets into seems to have no limit; he seems to cruise in hyper-vigilance mode and doesn't let much get by him. His ear is to the wind and he eyes things like an eagle. He reminds me of life seen from the aerie's nest. Nature has him in its sight, although he might jest it's the other way around. Ha! Funny how the Great Spirit seeks out its own; taps the shoulder of its earthly manprey to give a flash of intuition or revelation. Here's examples of what I mean. You gotta love'm!

A Haiku Love Sonnet–

blue-moon.jpg –Waiting for the End of Yesterday

sometimes we travel
deep into this naked night
and see yesterday

eager to reconstruct
bits of a fragmented dream
with lost dialogue

wait for fading light
to kiss the soft of angel
wings warmed by the day

not an easy job
turning the orange sky dark
not an easy job

rearranging the planets
hanging a blue moon

Haiku Sonnet: Ozark County

March 18, 2008


hands held on weathered
glades set with yellow primrose
side step cactus that

stair steps down through oak
scattered woods hidden from noon
day tourists lost and

dodging dirt road ruts
this path leads to our hidden
waterfall off that

ridge spilling into
a shaded pool reflecting
soft blooms of dogwoods

in filtered light we
scratch our names on mossy rocks

Summer Morning #2 Haiku

July 12, 2008

summer morning
silence broken by light
rain on a tin roof

Summer Morning #1 Haiku

July 11, 2008
This is the first of three summer morning haiku from our Ozark hideaway.
summer morning–
yellow swallowtails dance on
wild bee balm


July 3, 2008

I spend my time
collecting stones
large ones for strong corners
flats for the cap
cobbles for plugging
the holes mixed
each day
to hold it strong

I spend my time
collecting stones
working in layers
laying each one to fit
like a puzzle
in this perfect wall
that protects the things
I own
and sometimes own me

I spend my time
collecting stones
set them around this
ancient oak
spreading arching
protects from sun
and storms
built high enough
to dream well under
a marauding moon

I spend my time
collecting stones
my father’s trade
this art passed down
with bleeding hands
fit to chisels
chipping stones
making them fit
sealing it up

I spend my time
collecting stones
but sometimes I
leave one out
of the perfect wall
…… rock removed just
long enough for you
to slip in
before new mortar
is mixed
I cannot tell you
where it is

run your hand slowly
over the surface

do you see it?

Reading these few poems ought to make you feel one with nature; like falling on your back into the tall field grass; ready to dive into a fresh, cold, crisp mountain stream; dive off a high cliff on a hang glider or watch an eagle scope the swoop like Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Oh, WOW. I'm having a John Denver moment! You can, too. Now get yourself over to Scot Young's blog posthaste and have yourself a piece of Scot's delicious naturescape!

Scot lives in Missouri with his wife and 3 daughters. He's a high school principal and finds time to teach graduate classes, and a poetry class beginning with the Beats. Scot can be found both on the internet and in print and his poetry credits include publication in The Beat, Spoken Word, Asphalt Sky, Potpourri, Hemingway's Shotgun and Pleiades.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Stupid war makes for "Four Buck Gas" by Glenn Buttkus

Taking one of Rick Mobbs awesome paintings (yes I am a big fan of Rick Mobbs work!) with a little help (horse's red leg) from his son, Broadus, entitled , Stupid War, Glenn Buttkus co-author of Feel Free to Read blog, wrote the following poem, Four Buck Gas. It's long. Too bad. Excellent poetry comes in long - as well as short and medium. heh heh. Long is good. I know. How do I know? you might be asking. Glenn Buttkus tends to write lengthy poems; you see, he has an eye for detail that can analyze any subject down to a, ah - a gnat's eyeball! Yeah! That's it. Furthermore - this particular poem is an excellent example of my premise that poets are the true historians. But that's not all...Glenn also writes movie reviews that rock. He includes so much information that by the time you've read the review, you might feel like you just saw the movie! Yup, that good. This is also the way he treats poetry. If Glenn likes what you've written, he'll tell you exactly why; pulling every nuance, hidden meaning, psychological undertone, and any literary reference alluded to in the imagery that he can hunt down. He'll weave a beautiful and carefully written essay about your poem/movie/writing or pack a novella of a concise review down to critical mass thumbnail size that makes you feel like the most important poet that's hit the scene! Make sure you take a jet to his blog. You will find a fascinating & fantastic potpourri of miscellaneous literary extracts. And now, without further ado, here's Glenn Buttkus on four buck gas!

Four Buck Gas

This morning
I stood in the pre-dawn chill
and pumped 4-buck gas
into my pick up.

Suddenly consumed
with unspeakable anger,
I shook my free fist
at the Shell sign—
standing there tall
and sullen
and silent,
arrogantly golden
its $4.15
for regular gas

I thought about
The Bush War
and what it is costing
and about the fat cat
oil barons
who hang out with Junior
swilling Lone Star
and counting their tax-free

The New Millennium Crusades
suddenly swam belligerently
into my cortical net,
witnessing Bush stir up
the Muslim wasp nest,
sending our youth
into harm’s way
to face the barbs and stingers,
RPG’s, roadside explosions,
and suicide bombers
who themselves
are barely old enough
to enjoy
the promised 100 virgins
in Jihad Paradise.

A few yesterdays ago
there we were
post 9-11 in 2003,
wanting to strike back,
wanting revenge
for the terrible toppling of our towers,
and the callous crushing
of the innocent thousands,
as death was brought to us
on our own silver wings,
diving and plunging
straight down,
laden with high-pitched screams
from jet engines pushed to full throttle
and passengers hoarse from fear.

Something had to be done.
Who could we punish?
Who could we kill
to satiate our blood lust?
George W. Bush, Jr.
and all his father’s posse
smiled like hyenas
in a silent pack,
and their greedy index fingers
pointed back,
straight at Iraq;
telling us repeatedly
that right there was the heart
of darkness,
the den of murderers,
the scourge of the earth;
plotters, terrorists, and enemies—
that Bush was ready
to lead us
into a holy war
that would finish the job
left undone by his daddy
in 1991—
that as righteous patriots
we should take on
the rag tag Republican Army
and run that ruthless fox,
Saddam Hussein,
to ground;
for he was a madman,
an abuser of human rights,
a killer,
a dictator,
a womanizer,
a sodomizer;
and not only
did he absolutely possess
weapons of mass destruction,
but he fully intended
to send unmanned squadrons
of drones
to our eastern shores,
that were fully laden
with biological germ warfare payloads.

75 senators were duped, cajoled,
and convinced,
thus launching
Operation Iraqi Liberation;
soon to morph into
Operation Iraqi Freedom.

During the one month assault,
we overran Hussein’s finest troops
like shooting coyotes
from horseback,
and it only cost us
139 American lives.
was on the commander’s lips,
followed by,
“Let’s stick around a while now,
and assist the Iraqis into forging
a Democracy.”

We all recall
the smirking grin
and lying eyes
of warmonger
Donald Rumsfeld;
and that late afternoon
five years ago this May
on the USS Abraham Lincoln,
when Commander in Chief,
President Bush
emerged from a fighter
wearing a flight suit,
stood spread-legged on the naked steel deck,
waving his thunder bolt helmet
and declaring,
“Mission Accomplished!”

And presently
here we are,
knee deep in Year 5,
fighting “asymmetric warfare”,
without front lines,
against a faceless enemy
that hides in
and melts into
the civilian population;
just like before
in 1964—
except now we are immersed in
and surrounded by
civil war and insurgency,
as we are being branded
the Occupying Force,
once again;
spilling blood for greed
and democracy—
being taught hard lessons;
like we cannot curtail
the flow of Jihad insurgents
by cutting the head off the Hydra,
or its whelps,
or its lieutenants—
for new warriors
spring like cockroaches from the shadows,
craving to join the resistance
to the Infidels and Capitalists,
arriving in dark clumps daily,
like monsters rising out of the blood-soaked
waters of the Tigris and Euphrates—
making us pay
every day
for patrolling
the Sunni Triangle.

Oh God,
when will the madness end?
How much black gold
has to be pumped
into profit
from the Iraqi
fat oil reserves?
How many more
retired Special Forces
will have to be recruited
by Blackwater
to protect Bush’s
real agenda?

The numbers for Y5
are staggering!
U.S. dead: 4,079.
U.S. wounded: 30,000.
Contractors dead: 1,028.
Contractors wounded: 10,569.
Iraqi death toll: 1,000,000.
Iraqi combatants dead: 10,800.
Insurgents dead: 22,807.
Detainees: 43,000.

Like in the 60’s
when the carnage
in Viet Nam
was broadcast to us daily,
splashing red and futile
on our living room television screens—
our forced occupancy
of Iraq
is beamed immediately by satellite
to every home,
for all of us to see
and cringe
as the pride of our loins
are kicking down doors
and pumping hot lead
from their Mossberg shotguns
into the Islamic populous—
are being ambushed
around every corner,
green zone or not;
witnessing the riddling
of those poorly armored Humvees,
those High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles,
with bullets bought in black markets,
originally manufactured by us
and sent to Saddam
when it was his job
to fight the Iranians
for us.

Our young men
and women,
do their duty,
without hesitation,
becoming hard-hearted
and stone-jawed—
even though many of them
may be stop-lossed
or extended
by their loving government
to stay
in the fray;
professional targets,
standing atop
an M1 Abrams battle tank,
or racing down some dangerous narrow alley
in their M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle,
or screetching through those
mean Moslem streets in Strykers—
the dead brown skies above
with Apaches, Kiowa Warriors, Black Hawks, and Chinooks—
the dirty twilight punctuated
by the deep throb
of dozens
of .50 caliber lethal heavy machine guns—
patrols partially protected
by howling M249 SAWS.

Yes, Lord,
we see it all;
and feel overwhelmed
with intense grief and anguish
as this cavalcade of cavalry and contractors
are at this very moment
toiling in the acrid white dust
of the Middle East,
providing the opportunity
for the petroleum bullies
to force me
to have to pump their goddamn
4 buck gas,
and shake my inept fist
at a stupid sea shell,
and snarl terribly
at those barons unseen,
but most certainly

Glenn Buttkus June 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Call 4 Poems about the recent Sichuan Earthquake tragedy

By way of Charles Bernstein's weblog a call for contributions to a pending anthology of poetry dedicated to all those affected by the Sichuan Earthquake, also known as the Wenchuan Earthquake, in China. As you may already know, this earthquake was the most catastrophic since the 1976 Tangshan Earthquake and so far its been confirmed that 67,183 people are dead and more than 360,000 people have been injured. Calls have been put forth to all countries of the world for help, be it material or spiritual and its in this spirit that Charles Bernstein makes his stand for solidarity in piecing together an anthology of poems, blessings and prayers to honor and mourn the victims of this terrible tragedy. The only caveat is that this anthology is scheduled to be published as soon as possible so poems have to be submitted by June 25, 2008. For more details about submission and compensation please visit Bernstein's weblog. I'm signing off on this post by expressing my deepest sympathy to all the men, women, and children who were caught up in this horrific catastrophe with prayers that you'll regain your peace of mind and personal stability post-haste! Lastly, for all you poets out there who hear their calling - GET YOUR POETRY ON!

Photo Source: Szbluewater

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Talk about 'learn by heart' !! That would be Jimmy Mac (Mc Aleer)

Here's a poet for you! Jimmy Mac, real name Jim Mc Aleer, does poetry presentations - at senior retirement homes, senior citizens' groups, children's parties, you name it and he'll do it, it seems. Mc Aleer is particular about what he will recite, though. He sticks to rhyme-and-rhythm poetry. Doesn't do free verse. Mc Aleer calls it a hobby (oh-oh) and has been performing for the past 4 years, but his love for poetry is lifelong. He's been a student of poetry for as long as he can remember. Jimmy Mac puts everything into his performances; his aim is to bring poetry to life . The poet uses humor, different voices for different characters, is rambunctious when called for, even going into costume using such things as crazy hats. He loves what he does so much, regardless of whether he's paid for his performances, or not. Amazing thing about these "gigs" is the poems he recites - are from memory! Learned by heart, if you will. He recites, Edgar Allan Poe, Alfred Tennyson and his favorite poet, Robert Service, performing 30 of his poems. Jimmy Mac Aleer knows 433 poems by heart. (I'm ashamed to say I can't recite even one of mine by heart. Blech.) This poetry performer's repertoire even includes his own poems! His business card reads, "I recite 'em & I write 'em." Cute, huh? The longest poem he's memorized is "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" - yes, you read that right - and it takes 43 minutes to recite it! He can recite "The Shooting of Dan McGrew," one of his favorite poems of his favorite poet, Robert Service, in 5 minutes and 28 seconds. Yup, he timed it.

Jimmy 'Mac' Mc Aleer finds time to memorize more new poems and write his own. He's never been published - he doesn't do much advertising for his gigs either - yet, he keeps busy with gigs at churchs, parties, retirements, reunions - all done by word of mouth.

The wonderful thing about this man is that he'd love to start a non-profit organization with like-minded people who want to share rhyme-and-rhythm poetry with seniors and lead workshops on memorization, even writing poems, all to benefit local seniors. He states that "memorization is a great way to combat memory loss in older adults."

Debbie Humphrey, activities coordinator at Sun Tower, says, "Practicing memory skills like that really works your brain; you're going to remember things much better." It's just amazing what he can do, and I think that's what people find fascinating about him. There's not a lot of people that do that type of thing. You don't see a lot of that around."

"Memorization is great for the mind." -- Jimmy Mac Mc Aleer

For more information or to schedule a presentation, call Jim Mc Aleer at 249-0485.
Source: Yakima Herald-Republic Online

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hallowed Ground to Asphalt Sky

I've chosen this intriguing painting by Rick Mobbs to highlight Jo Hemmant, a participant in Rick Mobb's invitation to readers to write poems for his paintings. I also chose Jo Hemmant because I want to tell my readers about a superb new online literary journal, Asphalt Sky, of which Jo is an editor. Asphalt Sky is an elegantly appointed journal that is "committed to publishing emerging and established artists and giving a place for thoughtful and engaging poetry, prose, and art work." My thought is to present a juxtaposition between earth and sky, highlighting the poet whose feet are firmly grounded on terra firma who has the ability to guide us into the heavenly through the written word. Asphalt Sky has just stepped into the world of online publishing. A very impressive first issue revels in earth's nature while taking the reader up, up, up and away into self-mesmerizing day-dreamy thoughts and images provided by these exceptional writers, poets and artists. I love that this first issue reminds me of all things earthbound but takes me into quiet contemplation that speaks to otherwordly thoughtscapes. I find myself scultping images into solid landscape and bucolic meanderings. I say kudos, and a cartwheel to Asphalt Sky's first foray into online literary journaling. Artists Cris Halverson and Catherine Farmer further attest to the otherworldly glimpses I experienced while reading this splendid issue.

Jo Hemmant
's editorial essay, Beginnings, featured in Asphalt Sky, is as fresh as a newborn babe's first slap and hits you as strong as that first slap's wail. Please read it. Here's just a snippet of the essay, followed by Jo's poem written for Rick Mobb's painting gracing the top of this post. Enjoy!


"Language surrounds us, defines us, is how we express our selves, how we try to decode the universe. When I visualize it, it is as water flowing, meaning always and endlessly deferred, passing through the connections, the spaces between words and moving on, understanding contextual. And this deferral means that there can be no endings as such. Yet still the records are made, and they come out of two very different beginnings -- origin and starting point."

To which Jo goes on to describe these two very different beginnings.

Hallowed ground

he has exposed history for us,
fortified walls arc over earth
as deceptive as love, territory

cross-sectioned, the blade finding
the soft beginning of the belly that
mounds then slitting the fundaments
from pubis to throat.

Note the foreground, a woman’s head
resting on an arm as if sleeping,
a child close, tender shorn,
these two recognisable in a scree of
faceless figures, a continuum,

a latitude, the others vulnerable curvature,
ribcages scored like the knife’s
sliding through skin, muscle,
bone to marrow’s...

Please follow the linked last line to read the remainder of this poem at Jo Hemmant's blog florescence.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Noah the Great !

You thought wrong

It's okay to think
happiness won't come to you,
because I want you to know
it was me that brought it,
I want you to remember
I heard what you said,
I was listening to every word,
but, you think you're alone,
I'm here with you,
when you look forward,
I look toward you,
but as you turn your head,
I look away,
though, my eyes don't pull you
out of view,
I may look bored,
but I'd rather be here
than anywhere,
I may pick on you,
but it's only because I care,
nobody else is worth my attention.

I chose this poem to share with you because I'm touched by it's sentiment . It reminds me of my younger self watching someone who was watching someone else. Poet, Noah the Great, may have a different idea behind this poem, but for me it speaks of unrequited love. You know it reminds you of that, too, dontcha? The first 4 lines tell you all you need to know about how it feels to have someone you're mightily attracted to tell you they'll never be happy, when in fact, there's much laughter and warmth between the two of you when you're together. I know this has happened to you, too. Sometimes your love is hiding in plain sight. You don't notice because you think someone else is bringing the Happiness pill to you.

If you enjoyed this poem, you have the opportunity to visit Noah's awesome blog. He's also running a start-up community blog you can check out. Noah is a student who writes constantly and gets good grades. He's a thoughtful, engaging young man who enjoys his solitude, would rather write and create engaging poetry than party-hardy. Noah is also a member of the Blogsboro Poetry Club. Oh! And he plays guitar! (I love guitar!) So get yourself over to Noah the Great's awesome blog and leave him a comment about his poem. In other words - go Get Your Poetry On!

Wouldn't you like to know what's behind Noah the Great's most excellent poem? Why not ask him?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Poetic Bytes

  • If I handed you a 300-page epic poem about werewolves in modern-day Los Angeles, would you want to read it? William Weir of The Hartford Courant writes about Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow , a novel in free verse. Dare ya!
  • Oh, oh. When is a poem a "poem?" The Queen's English Society in reference to contemporary poets has espoused that "too often strings of words are being labeled as poems despite the fact they have no rhyme or metre." (sniff, sniff) The QES believes The Sun Rising by John Donne is a poem, but not so for contemporary poet Michael Schmidt's poem entitled Pangur Ban, excerpt below. What say you?
Jerome has his enormous dozy lion.
Myself, I have a cat, my Pangur Ban.
What did Jerome feed up his lion with?
Always he's fat and fleecy, always sleeping
As if after a meal.
Perhaps a Christian?
Perhaps a lamb, or a fish, or a loaf of bread.
His lion's always smiling, chin on paw,
What looks like purring rippling his face
And there on Jerome's escritoire by the quill and ink pot
The long black thorn he drew from the lion's paw.

  • From Richard K. Weems' drive-by poetry to Dave Johnson's charity poetry-on-the-spot, and the original Douglas Goetsch's poetry stand, we have the newest spin-off poetry-on-demand presented by Bainbridge Island West Sound Academy high school's celebration of National Poetry Month.
  • The People's Poetry Gathering stretches a clothesline of poems from around the world across the streets of Lower Manhattan.
  • WordFest 2008, a poetry showcase created by pioneers of Asheville's poetry movement, in Asheville, NC, starts Thursday - April 27 all over town. Featuring Pulitzer Prive-winning poet Galway Kinnell, four-time National Poetry Slam champion Patricia Smith, renowned translator of Sufi Poet Rumi, Coleman Barks, NC Poet Laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer, Jewish Arts Institute's Richard Chess, Cherokee poet MariJo Moore. Read WordFest highlights here.
  • Dont Miss Out on This! LibraryThing, Favorite Poem Project, World Class Poetry, Poets Who Blog, or Blogsboro Poetry Club.
  • New Hampshire poet Martha Carlson-Bradley reminds us to not overlook the wonders of nature - she uses them to tell us about ourselves - in her poetry book, Season We Can't Resist. Read article by Rebecca Rule of the Concord Monitor here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Your Pocket Guide to Poetry

This post is a product of an article by Cornell Green for the Erie Times-News about around-the-town National Poetry Month activities and particularly about the "Art House, 201 E. 10th St., where kids are learning to express themselves in colorful, constructive ways." Last evening (I just learned this) the Inner-City Neighborhood Art House celebrated Poetry, presented the winners of the "Keep a Poem in Your Heart" contest, hosted a performing poetry troupe and also poetry readings by adult members of the community.

But wait - there's more - 13 year old Rokey Butler, who along with other children who take after-school classes in 'everything from poetry to violin' at the Art House, recited a poem at the celebration entitled "The Rapper as Light," a poem by Kate Rushin. Rokey not only put the poem to memory, but did a little 2-step shuffle while he belted out verse, "When the sun sees me coming he hust steps aside. ..So listen to my rap, see the glint in my eye. You'll feel a glimmer of hope. I electrify." Rokey didn't think much of poetry before, but now in his own words, he says, "poetry is amazing. Say you're mad or something.. you can just write it in a poem, and you can just get all your anger out in that poem." (This is an astute youngster, by my estimation. :) Poetry has become a way to let loose, say other students at the Art House.

Twelve year old Shane McClelland, a student at Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary School, says, "It's fun. You get a chance to express yourself and move around and act funny. You get to see what other people's ideas are, and their moves." At last night's Celebration of Poetry, Shane performed the poem "Monday" by David L. Harrison. It's a poem about how the beginning of the week starts out as a "bummer" but he also likes Langston Hughes' work the most. Sharon Szymanski, a 6th grade reading teacher at Wattsburg Middle School, said poetry helps to deveop speaking skills, learn to fine-tune the English language, and most of all, for me anyhow, really boosts their self-esteem. She told Cornell Green that her students went from being "literally petrified" at the thought of performing in public to being "cool and confident." Sharon Szymanski further goes on to say that poetry provides the most effective way to teach metaphors, figure of speech and similes, all things that a student needs to know for their state achievement tests. She goes on to encourage every teacher to have a poetry slam at their school. Once the kids are "hooked on poetry," she can "throw anything at them, and they love it."

Rokey Butler and Shane McClelland get your poetry on!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rick Mobbs - Artist Extraordinaire! - Figurative Painter & Poet

I've been wanting to share Rick Mobbs talent with my dear readers for quite some time now. Rick Mobbs is a phenomenal figurative painter of the highest caliber as you can see for yourself by visiting his beautifully appointed website and his blog, Mine Enemy Grows Older. Also my little chickadees, you get a two-fer when you visit Rick. Not only does Rick paint the most original, dreamy, and otherworldly subjects, scenes and sensibilities *wink* but he writes, too! Be prepared to spend lots of time reading, oooooo-ing and ahhhh-ing when you first visit Rick's blog because its absolutely packed with plenty of interesting paintings and personalia. Oh, and did I mention Rick's blog encourages reader participation? This is how it all plays out: Rick puts up one of his ethereal paintings and his readers are invited to write a poem or short story to accompany the painting! I was around for the beginning of this enterprise and I want to share with you what did unfold when Rick put up his painting under a post entitled, Standing in the Shadows, on March 29th. Johemmant, author of floresence, wrote the wonderfully evocative story to accompany the painting which was an instant hit! She captured the essence of the painting for me in a most poignant manner. I'll share part of the story with a link to the original post. I urge you to visit Johemmant's blog site because she writes with a deft hand neurally connected to one amazingly creative, insightful brain! Now on with an excerpt of her story:

We were resting after a long day in the fields when the children came running, shouting excitedly of angels and unicorns. We would have thought it a game and sent them away but an elder pointed to the sky silver with cloud and told us to listen to the wind in its lament. We rose then and followed their raggletaggle to the edge of the village where the salt flats begin. And the children were right, these were not figments but the archetypes of our dreams.

I stand at the edge,
a myth sheltering under
my outstretched wings,

their eyes hostile
holding us here though

I have been amongst them
every day, a shifting

shadow, a soft breath
on a tired cheek.

But I see my mistake.
Men do not want proof,

they would rather
have faith.

Follow the rest of her story here.
Johemmant's ekphratic poem inspired another poem by poet, Ozymandiaz, who you can find on his own blog Ocellus which is exceptionally well-written and thoughtful. His contribution below:

Neath the ashen sky
Her spirit strong and true
Some saw but a mare
But the wisest knew
The painted desert soul
Watching o’er this land
Known well as the wind
Known well as the sand
Presents herself this day
To run and to fly
In form seldom seen
Neath the ashen sky
Ozymandiaz's poem put an entirely different feel to the painting; a genuine Native American voice - wise and grounded. I just love his interpretation, too.

There's so much more to Rick Mobb's Mine Enemy Grows Older; Rick is one of those incredibly creative, innovative, multi-talented people who grace us with artistic delight and reverence. He draws from a deep well of experience and a rich inner life that connects with the heavenly. He can charm us and keep us enrapt in his world - as is evidenced in his poem, Mary Draws from Silence, with it's companion painting, below.

Mary Draws From Silence

Mary draws and Mary writes from silence,

silence that uplifts and holds her. These strings,

she thinks, are more than finite. They wrap all things

and draw them to her. Every weight and every measure,

all things tossed or turned or treasured,

all things simple, green or rusted, doubted, doubled, drummed

or busted, all things filtered out and saved, or wasted,

all things stirring, dead, or passive

all the unknown multitude of things

enormous as a whole, and as a whole, so quiet.

Like Mary’s eyes, so quiet. Mary draws from silence.

Poem and Painting by Rick Mobbs

Please give yourself a well-deserved break from day-to-day harsh realities and engulf yourself in a world of aesthetic sensibilities brought to you by Rick Mobbs.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Seabuscuit's Chris Cooper Reads Walt Whitman for PBS

Wow, how cool is this! Chris Cooper, who starred in Seabiscuit, will be reading poetry by Walt Whitman for PBS tonight at 9 PM. The movie, Seabiscuit, is the true life story of the famous, under-sized racehorse that lifted the spirits of a nation and symbolized hope during the Great Depression, memorialized by author Laura Hillenbrand.

Cooper says he felt a shared experience with Whitman when reading from Crossing Brooklyn Ferry: "Just as you are refresh'd by the gladness of the river and the bright flow, I was refresh'd; Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with the swift current, I stood, yet was hurried."

"That's the beauty of his writing," Cooper says. "One hundred years later, he's talking to the person of the future."

Excerpt from USA Today, 4/14/08

Monday, April 7, 2008

2008 Pulitzer Prize Winners for Poets

Congratulations to -

Time and Materials, by Robert Hass (Ecco/HarperCollins)

Failure, by Philip Schultz (Harcourt)

Citation for Bob Dylan - Well, he is a poet..:)

Source: The Associated Press via

Huffington Post Reader 'picodegallo54' Gets My High-Five for 'Comment' Poem

The Huffington Post carries a feature article "A Quick Guide to National Poetry Month" by John Lundberg, well worth reading, that elicited a response from picodegallo54 in the Comment Section a la poem:

my generation

they call us boomers
and we go boom
throw ourselves
on the floor
hold breath
turn blue in face
get our way
with our dollar
and our vote

we don't die and refuse to get old
we hold on tight and won't let go
this land is our land
not your land
this land is our land


You can read the rest of picodegallo54's poem here, near the top of the Comment Section.

I glean several layers of meaning here.. heh heh.. so kudos and a cartwheel to picodegallo54 from Poetmeister !

Why The Young Men Are So Ugly by Tony Hoagland

The following is one of my favorite poems by Tony Hoagland, Poetry Professor at the University of Houston who just won the Jackson Poetry Prize, an award of $50K "for writers of great talent, but less fame.. he risks wild laughter in poems that are totally heartfelt, poems you want to read out loud to anyone who needs to know the score," wrote the judges, who included poets Philip Levine, Robert Pinsky and Ellen Bryant Voigt. Continued here.

Why the Young Men Are So Ugly

They have little tractors in their blood
and all day the tractors climb up and down
inside their arms and legs, their
collarbones and heads.

That is why they yell and scream and slam the barbells
down into their clanking slots,
making the metal ring like sledgehammers on iron,
like dungeon prisoners rattling their chains.

That is why they shriek their tires at the stopsign,
why they turn the base up on the stereo
until it shakes the traffic light, until it
dryhumps the eardrum of the crossing guard.

Testosterone is a drug,
and they say No, No, No until
they are overwhelmed and punch
their buddy in the face for joy,

or make a joke about gravy and bottomless holes
to a middle-aged waitress who is gently
settling down the plate in front of them.

If they are grotesque, if
what they say and do is often nothing more
than a kind of psychopathic fart,

it is only because of the tractors,
the tractors in their blood,
revving their engines, chewing up the turf
inside their arteries and veins
It is the testosterone tractor


You can read the remainder of Tony Hoagland's poem here.

Autism's Special World Experienced through Insightful Poetry

Sometimes I come across a poetry site that moves me in such a way that I can't help but share it with others. Such a site is Poetry by Stacey , poetry that will put you through an emotional stew with a myriad of ingredients; humor, wit, spit & fire with delicious poignant tidbits that let you know you've just enjoyed a spicy & delectable meal! Such is Stacey's poem entitled His Special World, a poem written through the eyes of a child with Autism. It's uncanny in its telling of the world an autistic child deals with on a daily basis. What's so striking is the depth of understanding Stacey exhibits and an ability to express it in poetry that makes it truly special to me.

His Special World

Hurt and anger that comes from inside,
Frustration confusion that can't subside,
Trying to comfort but pushed away
A blank look upon his face.

Our world is so different within his eyes,
Words that are spoken not recognized
People around him are pushed away,
Being alone is part of his day.

Senses much stronger than yours and mine,
From a touch in his hand to hearing a noise.
A taste on his tongue and different smells
Just adds confusion within his world.


You can read the remainder of this poem at Poetry by Stacey here.

Friday, April 4, 2008

If You Dig Slam Poetry.........this is 4 U!

I had to chuckle when I came upon an article about National Poetry Month activities which included a plug for "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Slam Poetry" by Marc Kelly Smith and Joe Kraynak. I grinned - finally! - someone's read my thoughts! Not thoughts that I have about slam poetry but that I'm an idiot, and someone's finally given me recognition for it!! Until I read further that it was Marc Kelly Smith who actually invented Slam Poetry in 1984 - at which point I bowed in reverence to the man who jump-started a resurgence of poetry readers and writers as well as branded poetry into the nation's conscience. Well, that might be an exaggeration, but probably not by much.

"Slam poetry attempts to invigorate poetry by giving equal weight and integrity to the poetry and the performance," stressed Marc Kelly Smith. In his book he goes about explaining the concept and gives up the skinny on how to go about it. Cool!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Other National Poetry Month Happenings!

At Poets Who Blog, Sara says you can submit a poem to her National Poetry Month Project where she will be featuring no less than 1 poetry blogger's poem for each day of the month. Way to go! and thank you, Sara, for your event to promote National Poetry Month! where she will be featuring no less than 1 poetry blogger's poem for each day of the month. Way to go! and thank you, Eureka Books , of Eureka, CA, will celebrate National Poetry Month by offering illustrated poetry broadsides of internationally known writers like Pulitzer Prize winners Seamus Heaney and Philip Levine, as well as local poets. Broadsides have become very popular because many of them are signed by the poets and are very affordable [starting at 10 dollars] according to Jack Irvine, owner of Eureka Books.

Thought you'd never see something like this, huh, folks - but I'm really happy to tell you that Virginia Military Institute will be holding its first Poetry Symposium April 4-5. Yes. You read it correctly. Friday evening's "The Power of Poetry" will be kicked off with a reading by 2006 Pulitzer prize winning poet Claudia Emerson and poet and Vietnam veteran Bruce Weigl. The Symposium will take place in the Nicholas Engineering Building auditorium at 7:45 pm and is free and open to the public. Even though some will think VMI and poetry is incongruous, there have been "memorable readings at the Post by Allen Ginsberg, Elizabeth Seydel Morgan and Iraq War veteran Brian Turner." Way to go! VMI, get your poetry ON!

Interested in film? For National Poetry Month, the Poetry Foundation, in collaboration with WGBH/Boston and docUWM at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will be presenting Poetry Everywhere, a series of 32 short poetry films. The films can also be seen at the new PBS website, and - get this! - on Transit TV, a network that runs their programs on LCD screens in public transportation systems in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Orlando, and San Diego. This is phenomenal! I didn't know such a thing existed. [my bad]

Baker Books, of Dartmouth, MA, in honor of National Poetry Month, is sponsoring a children's poetry contest, open to children from kindergarten through 8th grade. Submission deadline is April 19th. Submission form can be obtained at the bookstore or online. According to the The Chronicle, "Over the past 11 years, Baker Books had contacted dozens of schools in the New Bedford and Fall River area to encourage teachers to utilize the contest as a way of inspiring local young people to explore the creative and expressive possibilities of poetry." Good on you, Baker Books!

Barnes & Noble of 392 State Rd., Darmouth, will also be sponsoring a poetry contest for student poets in grades 9-12 and the winner will receive a 25 dollar Barnes & Noble Gift Card.

To be continued..

2008 Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere is announcing its 2008 Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere Election - with nominations to begin on April 1, 2008. The has hosted the Election for the last 4 years and stresses the Poet Laureate of the "Blogosphere is the only laureateship chosen by readers." Here are the Rules for Nomination of Poets as per
  1. Those nominated must have a history of posting poetry to their blogs for a period of no less than 1 year prior to March 1, 2008.
  2. Anyone can nominate their favorite poetry blogger.
  3. Nominations will begin on april 1st and will end on April 20th.
  4. Voting will begin on April 21st and will end at 12:00 midnight on April 29th.
  5. The winner will be announced on April 30th.
  6. As in years past, Billy Jones, a.k.a Billy The Blogging Poet, will not be nominated because he is hosting the event.
  7. English language only.
  8. Previous winners can not be nominated.
  9. All decisions by the Judge, that would be Billy The Blogging Poet, will be final.
  10. All nominations must be made in the form provided on April 1st. E-mail, write-ins, protests and other means to nominate will not be accepted.
Prior Poet Laureates of the Blogosphere are Amy King, Ron Silliman, and Jilly Dybka.

All you wonderfully talented poets, and you know who you are [ ALL OF YOU!], please tell your readership, friends and ezine memberships about this wonderful opportunity to become the Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere! Spread the word like wildfire! [You might even burn up your competition in the process! heh heh. er, ahem, that didn't make sense, did it? But I hope it made you laugh..]