Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Poems

Remembrance Day

by Jon Fenzel

Dispossessed voices on vast crossed and starry fields,

Of Luxembourg, Brookwood, Gallipoli, Fort Vaux.

Solaced whispers mingled with tears and convulsed despair.

Final letters sealed before a slow and anxious dawn,

In Shiloh, Le Cateau, El Alamein and Iwo Jima.

Sons and daughters far from home in hushed prayer.

Shrill screams of rockets flying low to high,

Through, Guadalcanal, Inchon, Khe Sanh, Fallujah.

Terrible noise and dust, blood and tears, searing air.

Echoes of Taps voice remembrance of courage and sacrifice

At Antietam, Bastogne, Kandahar, Saratoga

Old men’s souls sit alone—silently, painfully aware.

The End and the Beginning

by Wislawa Szymborska

After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won’t
straighten themselves up, after all.

Someone has to push the rubble
to the side of the road,
so the corpse-filled wagons
can pass.

Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
sofa springs,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.

Someone has to drag in a girder
to prop up a wall,
Someone has to glaze a window,
rehang a door.

Photogenic it’s not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.

Read entire poem at

The Sacrifice Continues..

Blazing heat…sand blowing…heart pounding…not knowing

To have that kind of courage and the will to make a change

To live in a place that is distant, dry and strange

I can’t imagine being there to face my greatest fears

Leaving home and family, my comforts and my peers

God bless the men and women who do it every day

Our American heroes, the ones who lead the way

Posted on Caren Libby

Write a Personal Memoir for a Veteran who Died for our Freedom
found on The Story Woman

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the Gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the mornings hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight,
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.

Author Unknown

The Story Woman says, “Write a bio-vignette to Honor our sons and daughters who have served our Great Country in the name of Freedom the World over.

As a young boy sitting on Uncle’s lap
My mind was blown as he took me back
With tales of men of valor who
Fought with him in world war two.

Young men, scared men, hearts pounding, guts clenched-
Pushing forward on the front as comrades fell in blood drenched.

The highest prize was at stake,
Our freedom a tyrant wanted to take-
But courageous hearts of those who would be free-
Enough to lay down their lives if need be,

They fought through the terror, the horror of that war
They brought down the giant who would have made us his whore.

My Uncle told stories that no one should have to hear
Let alone to have lived them, he often said with a tear.
Many never made it back to their families and homeland
Some made it back missing arms, legs and hands.

I’ll never forget what brave souls did for me
They cried and they died so you and I could be free.

by Glenn Buttkus of Feel Free to Read

By the bus load
they rolled into Balboa,
their asses shot off,
carried roughly on taunt khaki stretchers.

Weary eyes
that wore a planet’s pain;
their heads shaved,
their underwear stenciled,
their blood spilling in little puddles
in quiet green hallways.

Cripples all,
they limped and wheeled,
hobbled and crept
through all of the limbs
of the gray octopus
military hospital;
within wire fences,
beneath post card palms,
gathering up gobs
of their old selves.

Metal and plastic and airplane glue
became tendons.
Canes, crutches, and chrome prosthetics
became new legs.
Empty pinned shirt sleeves
caught the ocean breeze
like sad May pole streamers,
a melancholy tune.

There were white jagged scars
running over the bodies of menl
ike angry dead veins,
hard to hide,
those inside.

The doctors, nurses, and corpsmen
raged through the sterile wards,
and their insane anger was leveled
like a loaded rifle
at the patients.

For Christ’s sake,
the patients;
that dull thick red river of broken men;
damn goldbrick sonofabitches.
Make sure that those lazy bastards
shined their shoes,
and cut all their hair,
just scrape their heads bald;
filthy germ-ridden hair.
Geld them,
stab them,
break and slice them;
deny them comfort,
harass them,
give them pain
and then give them aspirin,
only aspirin.

They must get their minds right.
Shake them from their fitful slumber,
and stand them at attention.
They are just meat,
infintesimal maimed expendable insignificant
protoplasmal service numbers,
and they are not useful
when bedridden.
Those slackers must not stay.
They must go back,
back to the front…
they must.

The men and boys of pain
absorbed the anger,
heard the words,
suffered the scapel,
took the aspirin,
shined their boots,
cut and recut their hair,
stood at rigid attention,
and they did not

Glenn Buttkus 1968

by Glenn Buttkus of Feel Free to Read

Ferns and creepers rustled softly
as a crisp breeze gently tousled
the hair of the hanging man.

in the mud,
a soldier in a foxhole
peered over the lip
and there in the moonlight
was a man on a cross

The crucified one hung there
in silent agony;
another man on a cross
seekingdown a road of sorrow
in a world of pain;
red pain,
sunset orange, yellow, and deep red.

Rusty railroad spikes in his hands,
the flesh split,
he would not let loose
of life;
though it raced ahead of him
in the darkness.

The soldier had watched
for several days,
but dared not
cross to the other,
over a hundred lethal yards
of barren ground
to the death that crouched there
with the Mongols
that also waited.

the silence was sliced open
with a burst of M-16 rifle fire,
and the thing on the cross
no longer quite a man,
was slashed to ribbons;
the lead searing through
his loin and chest.

The last flicker of life
rushed from him,
red-washing his limbs
and the greasy wood.

The man in the trench
felt himself tremble,
felt the tears on his dirty cheek,
as he heard the blood birds shriek
and the night became full
of their flapping.

Glenn Buttkus 1968


by Glenn Buttkus of Feel Free to Read

Bogie and the Duke
never made a war movie together,
and that’s a damned shame;
it would have been
a proper piece of propaganda.

is always so clean
on the silver screen.
Explosions are intense rainbows,
tramping troops start toes tapping.
Great machines of war on wheels
and tracks of steel,
groan and roll,
clang and bang,
crushing foreign soil
and foreign devils beneath them.

Actors in pancake make-up,
carrying toy guns,
recite bellicose bullshit,
wearing the masks of heroes,
and the blood
on their hands and faces
is merely strawberry jam.

But the problem is,
in those darkened theatres
battalions of boys believed
in the ersatz brutality,
and found themselves
in Viet Nam.

The Freedom Birds,
screaming jet liners,
took them there,
and for those who survived
Tour 365,
and remained somewhat
brought them home again,
with the steaming blood
of the Orient
still clinging to their swollen lips.

to work in their Dad’s
hardware store, lumber yard or machine shop,
with the stench of the ‘Nam
still strong in their nostrils.

They remembered
how proud their fathers had been
sending them off to war;
and how,
their only embrace
was stone silence.

Warriors walking
the streets
of every city in America,
hundreds of thousands of them,
with their fists clenched
and their minds still scrambled
from that Soc Trang overload.

and waiting,
year after year,
clear into their bones,
with society’s spittle
down the front of their dress uniforms.

There it is.

There were no parades,
no handshakes,
no welcome home dinners,
no easy bank loans,
no talk of valor.

The calloused fact is
pain can only be withheld
for so long.

War creates warriors,
and not all of them
are willing to lay down
their weapons.

Glenn Buttkus 1979

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Prestwood School Fifth-Graders take to airwaves with own Earth Day poetry - Sonoma, CA

Teachers at Prestwood School's 5th grade class chose 22 students to read their poems on KSVY 91.3 Sonoma Wednesday; poems the students wrote for the annual River of Words poetry contest. I'm sorry I missed this radio program. Good on you, KSVY 91.3!

Reading and writing poetry are part of a language arts program at Prestwood and students are given 5 poetry lessons a year starting in the 3rd grade! This is great stuff, folks. And get this - this poetry program is paid for by using PTO funds due to budget crunch we're all undergoing these days. So, kudos go to you, too, Prestwood PTO!

Sonoma Valley Sun
is running the following poem by Francisco Cervantes-Escatel (your poem reveals a soul beyond your physical age, Francisco. Super job! Keep writing, honey!) in the article:

Butterflies Soar

All over the world
butterflies are born
Chalcedon checkerspot
drifting through the air
eating from plants
fluttering by
great spangled fritillary larva
hiding from animals.
I gaze down to nature.

by Francisco Cervantes-Escatel, Prestwood Elementary School

Prestwood is also lucky to have poet-teacher Phyllis Meshulam on-board teaching these poetry classes for the past several years. Meshulam is an independent contractor working with California Poets in the Schools, which just celebrated 45 year anni with the school system.

The River of Words poetry contest had the students concentrating their efforts on water and nature themes which tied in to lessons on the environment and earth's watersheds. Watershed art and poetry submitted to River of Words is seen around the world by millions of people in magazines, books, in person, and through other media.

2007 River of Words Monkey's Raincoat Haiku Prize

The Four Seasons

All of the seasons
Are spent mastering the form
None call it easy

Ashley Lopez, age 10
La Ballona Star School
Paramount, Calif.

Response to the Loyalty Oath

I copped this at Feel Free to Read (no, that's not Feel Free to Steal; always give credit to the original author and/or blogger, please. This has been a free public service announcement..;>), the blog of Glenn Buttkus, who is a genius for sifting through the annuls of literary history for the most interesting items for our continued reading pleasure, I swear! Thank you, Glenn, for providing cyberland with a fantastic repository for (most) all things prose & poetry! This piece by Jack Spicer is a brilliant discourse on the nincompoopery of loyalty oaths:

[Response to the Loyalty Oath]

by Jack Spicer

We, the Research Assistants and Teaching Assistants of the University of California, wish to register our protest against the new loyalty oath for the following reasons.

1) The testing of a University faculty by oath is a stupid and insulting procedure. If this oath is to have the effect of eliminating Communists from the faculty, we might as logically eliminate murderers from the faculty by forcing every faculty member to sign an oath saying that he has never committed murder.

2) That such an oath is more dangerous to the liberties of the community than any number of active Communists should be obvious to any student of history. Liberty and democracy are more often overthrown by fear than by stealth. Only countries such as Russia or Spain have institutions so weak and unhealthy that they must be protected by terror.

3) Oaths and other forms of blackmail are destructive to the free working of man's intellect. Since the early Middle Ages universities have zealously guarded their intellectual freedom and have made use of its power to help create the world we know today. The oath that Galileo was forced by the Inquisition to swear is but a distant cousin to the oath we are asked to swear today, but both represent the struggle of the blind and powerful against the minds of free men.

We, who will inherit the branches of learning that one thousand years of free universities have helped to generate, are not Communists and dislike the oath for the same reason we dislike Communism. Both breed stupidity and indignity; both threaten our personal and intellectual freedom.
[c. 1949]

This letter cost Spicer his job.
Published over on the Poetry Foundation
Source: Poetry (July/August 2008).

Student's poetry event will benefit American Kidney Foundation - NY

Tonight, in the Town of Ulster, the Catskill High School Interact Club will put on a "Night of Poetry and Song" at 6:30pm in the Barnes & Noble book store on Ulster Avenue. The students plan on reciting original and interpretive poetry readings in honor of William Shakespeare's birthday.  The poetry and song venue will benefit the American Kidney Foundation and former Catskill High School graduate Jedediah Berry who will read from his novel Manual of Detection at the venue tonight, as well as sign his book that will be on sale at the "Night of Poetry and Song" venue. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tips for Editing Poetry

Angela Saunders, BellaOnline's Poetry Editor, has a great, informative post up entitled, "Tips for Editing Poetry," which is just the kind of how-to information a poet starting-out is likely to find very helpful (as well as those brushing up on their craft.. ;>) Here's a snippet:
"In writing classes, we were bombarded with the five step writing process: prewriting, writing, editing, revising, and publishing. The writing process for poetry is much the same. Write down initial feelings and thoughts; choose a format and begin writing; read and edit; prepare your final draft. The differences in the writing process for stories and poems is in the editing. If you were to write a story, the proofreading would include grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and tense agreement. Additionally, you would take into consideration the flow of thoughts and the details in the story. In poetry, the editing process involves reading for “meter",“tone” , word choice, and style."
Saunders further offers up a poem, The One That Got Away (for a readership of fisherman), for which the author had provided 4 different edited versions!

Before editing:

The one that got away- A Fish Tale

Eased up to my old cypress tree,
hoping the big one was waiting on me.

Hooked one on my very first cast,
taking out line, he was running fast.

Rod was bent, drag was screeching,
Old Mr. Bass was doing the teaching.

He came up top, tried to shake loose
then dove down deep, knew it wasn't no use.

He headed for the timber
and that's the last I remember

about the one that got away.
Not to worry, I'll be back another day.
--Bill Jenkins--

Now, of course, Saunders does provide, in great detail, the process used for accomplishing this poetry "haircut" which you must read! It's (en)lightening! (Less hair - get it? heh heh.. ohnevermind..:)
"If we look at the point of the poem, it is a fish tale about the one that got away. The poem describes in detail how he got away, but it is missing the feeling and the tone that descries the disappointment associated with losing the big one. Its like building up a joke, but the punch line is missing. Additionally, the tone is a bit serious. If we look at the poem and its meaning, we can, as Bill Jenkins, the author of the poem stated- "experiment with words and phrases just as if putting together a jigsaw puzzle." After editing, the same poem became:"
After editing:

Hooked 'em on my very first cast
takin' out line, he was runnin' fast

Ole' Mr. Bass was doin' the teachin'
The rod was bent an' the drag was a-screechin'

A fight did he give as he came up to the top
He shook and then dove, refusin' to stop

To the timber he headed, no more can I say
I'd lost the battle; that one got away

Fear not, I'll return to that ol' Cypress tree
Mr. Bass hasn't see the last of me!
--Bill Jenkins--

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

WE KNOW YOU'RE OUT THERE! - Come out! Come out! Wherever you are! Pretty please?!?

Story running the other day about the 43-year-old literary organization International Poetry Forum being on the ropes. What the Forum needs is a benefactor who will ensure that the Forum doesn't have to close its doors -any time soon. Founder and Director of the organization, Samuel Hazo, last week said that it's "possible that somehow we'll get the support to exist in some form." Right now Hazo is looking inside and outside the Pittsburgh area for support but aside from finishing the season at the Carnegie Library Lecture Hall on Tuesday at 8 pm, he has no next move. Hazo had announced in February that the lack of new funding has forced him to drop plans for a 44th season unless something turns up.

May I
suggest a kind benefactor step out from the shadows to fund the International Poetry Forum - and become a modern-day hero to the Arts?

The Forum's heyday was in the '80s when Hazo expanded beyond poetry readings into musical, dance and plays, starring the likes of Gregory Peck, James Earl Jones, Princess Grace of Monaco, Vanessa Redgrave, Cleo Laine and Michael York to the Pittsburgh stage, and then brought its program to Washington, D.C., including the stage at Wolf Trap. "The 20th anniversary gala sparkled with Jerzy Kosinski as master of ceremonies and former U.S. Senator Eugene McCarthy" among the performing poets. Hazo also "launched the long-running Poets in the Schools program that reaches high schools in five counties around Pittsburgh."

During all this time, Samuel Hazo was also writing -- "poems, plays and novels, more than 35 books. In his 80th year, he published two books, This Part of the World, his 5th novel, and The Song of the Horse, a collection of poems."

However, for the past 23 years, the International Poetry Forum has contracted, offering fewer and fewer big-ticket draws which resulted in the cancellation of its Washington, D.C. schedule; but Hazo never lost his mission of showcasing the best poets in the face of growing expenses and shrinking cash for arts organizations.

"This year, it went dry."

Samuel Hazo has devoted the last 43 years to the art of poetry; his office is surrounded by photos of the finest poets in America of the past 50 years, more than 500 readings, including Archibald MacLeish in 1966. This is Hazo's legacy, a remarkable and stellar place in American letters that he built in Pittsburgh that he can look back on with pride and satisfaction.

This is my call-out for a kind, benevolent benefactor to fund the International Poetry Forum to keep POETRY - front and center - in the nation's conscience!

Sketch by Matthew Anderson; annotation is the author's handiwork..:)

Poetry for the People - BERKELEY, CA

Daughter of Puerto Rican sculptor-singer Anna de Leon and African American blues musician Taj Mahal, Aya de Leon is a poet, a UC Berkeley African American studies professor, activist and Harvard graduate. de Leon is also coordinator of a campus-to-community partnership called Poetry for the People (P4P). [Not to be confused with Poetmeister 4 Poets! (P4P), mind you..;>] Poetry for the People at UC Berkeley is an arts activism program started by the late Jamaican poet June Jordan (b. 1939, d. 2002), in 1991. For, de Leon, the gist and heart of Poetry for the People is helping people to express their creativity, which to her means to find your own voice, how to craft strong work and stay true to yourself. The partnership brings nationally known poets in from the East Coast to perform on campus and introduce them to the community.

"I believe everybody has passion about creativity in one way or another. But I know that came from her (mother): the thought that I could do it, that it was a real life. This is part of what I tell my students. A lot of people think, "Oh, well creativity is fine, but then you know, you gotta get a real job. You've got to be a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer." And I think, in watching my mom, I understood that art is a real job."

Check out Poetry for the People for their schedule of upcoming events. On her site, de Leon writes that "P4P continued to pursue Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision of a beloved community for all. P4P has an academic focus on the reading, writing and teaching of poetry. The program also bridges the gap between the university and the larger community, working with teens and young adults, schools, community organizations, and activist projects in the greater Bay Area. This Spring, join us at La Pena every Third Thursday!"

Next up is April 16th National Poetry Month showcase: a multi-generational poetry conversation featuring: American Book Award winner, Coptic poet Matthew Shenoda & John Carlos Perea on bass former P4P Director, poet Maiana Minahal, Hip hop artist and activist Ras K'Dee & dj offering (teao-audiopharmacy), DJ Munkee Pants, plus local artists, Poetry for the People poets, and special guests!

B There or B Square!

Monday, April 13, 2009

White House "Bo" gets his own Writing Beau - Harold Goldberg

Everyone seems to want in on the Gravy Train, even award-winning journalist, Harold Goldberg, who will be writing White House Dog Tales: The Very Personal Rhyming Diary of the White House Dog (making contact with his crystal ball, is he!) and the Mystery in the Fountain to honor National Poetry Month.

I would love to present the first installment just to give you a taste of things to come, but no peek-preview here folks; looks like you'll have to buy the bow-wow without a wow-now ;> You can purchase the goods on the White House Dog Tales blog. Yip!

Poetry Writing Contest - KANSAS

Kansas Poet Laureate, Dr. Denise Low, is offering 2 poetry writing contests throughout the month of April in honor of National Poetry Month. Kansas poets can submit one original poem per contest based on a specified theme (see below) determined by Dr. Low. Winning poems will be selected by Dr. Low and posted on her blog. In addition, the poets with winning poems will be gifted with a book of Dr. Low's poetry from a personal collection.

You may email your original poems to Dr. Denise Low at kansaspoetry AT gmail DOT com.

Here are the Themes with their Deadlines:
  • Kansas Ghost Story - April 16
  • Kansas Houses - April 20
  • Kansas Historic Myth - April 23
  • Kansas Garden - April 27
  • Kansas Wildlife - April 30
Source: Kansas Arts Commission

Friday, April 10, 2009

GOLGATHA by Glenn Buttkus


I am the Christ,
he whispered,
and they laughed at him;
at his thin unshaven face,
at his long blood-caked hair.

But no one looked at his eyes
the way I did.
He could have told them,
if they would but listen.

He remembered
the cold castle walls
and the cockroaches that chewed his ankles.
The club and the chain,
and the many-tailed whip
that tore hunks of flesh from his body.
Roman guards that had beat him.
Thorns in his hair
tearing at his scalp.
Men who had feared him,
pummeled him with their fear,
Blackening his eyes;
those sad eyes
that could see

Herod was fat,
and loved his whores,
and his little boys.

Pilate was lean
and he splashed his hands
in a flowered urn as the people
cheered the thief Barabbas;
placing a straw basket on his head,
and carrying him on their shoulders,
a frozen smile on his lips,
his liberty barren.

It was a dirty amemic yellow dawn
as Jerusalem reeked of refuse.
He put the rugged cross upon his shoulder;
a huge thing
that smelled of creosote and tar and pitch;
fresh cut
brought from the dark forest,
bolted together with iron clasps.

The burden was heavy
and he fell under it.
the cobblestone bit into his raw knees.
the whip kissed his scourged back
as he stood up.

The sky appeared dead.
The narrow streets were open cesspools
in the dim light,
rubbish in rainbarrols,
gutters that rannith over
with filth.
People leaned out windows
and spat,
though some did not.

Come see the parade,
it is free,
like hunger.
and the people came,
an army of shopkeepers, drunkards, farmers, artisans,whores,
pick-pockets, thieves, cutthroats, lepers,
and rabbis,
huddling, steaming, and shuffling,
as dirty children played
tag with the rats.

Another painful stumble at the corner crossroads,
flat onto the hard street,
but this time gentle hands
reached out to him
and a negro named Simon stepped up
to help shoulder the burden,
and although conscripted,
he too
was whipped and beaten
as the procession continued.

His mother was there,
in that sea of whirling souls,
though he had missed her at the trial.

Porta Judiciarn,
a Roman gate,
stone and ornate,
marble and impressive.

Then Calvary at noon,
a sickly place,
stinking of carrion and death;
the place of skulls.
The crowd jeered and bellered and wept.
Dysmas and Gestas sweated,
watching the crosses being arranged on the ground.

The four corners of the world heaved,
black clouds raced for the hillock,
a pallid ring hid the desert sun;
noon and dark.

Pain hid the rising,
three sharp white sihouettes
against the indigo sky,
yet the iron spikes still hurt
as the flesh split, cracked, and crunched
in his hands and feet.

Jesus of Nazareth,
King of the Jews;
words on a hand-written wooden sign,
nailed lop-sided over his drooping head.

The spikes were thick and cold,
and blood flowed,
slowly trickling down,
spiraling around his body
and the cross.
Little red rivelets of life
in a rubious world;
becoming a steaming puddle
on the bare trodden ground.

I thirst, he cried,
and they sponged his swollen face
with vinegar;
while the black sky brooded,
his crown caught the light on a barb.
Whispered words with his father,
dice that rolled,
winners that did not win.

4:00, Good Friday,
April 7th,
30 A.D.;
a scratch on eternity,
a wound that never heals,
bleeding still,
becoming words that will not clot,
from a Christ,
and from all men suffering,
and not suffering.

My God,
My God,
Why have you forsaken me ?

Glenn Buttkus Easter 1966

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I'm extremely pleased to be able to publish Golgatha by Glenn Buttkus of Feel Free to Read on this Good Friday. His poem is one that affects me in a profound way. I was shaken the first time I read it, and cried. I felt I was personally there while reading, witnessing the Passion of the Christ, or Stations of the Cross, if you will, as it happened back in the day that He walked the Earth, carrying the Cross He died on - for me - for All.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Try Putting Lipstick on a Landfill - enter Staten Island Haiku Contest on Freshkills Landfill-to-Park project

Heh heh. This is a good one, gentle readers. Staten Island Parks Department is running a haiku poetry contest enticing poets to write a traditional haiku form meditation on the natural transformation of Freshkills Landfill into Freshkills Park, the city's most important new Park in 100 years. Go to this site and click on the e-mail link to enter the contest by - Friday, April 24 at 5:00pm. All I can say is - Talk about lipstick on a pig!

, in short form (pun intended), is written in 17 syllables divided into 3 lines of 5, 7, 5 syllables; in order to qualify as traditional Haiku Japanese verse the haiku must mention some element of nature or one of the seasons. Good luck to all who enter this unusual endeavor! Now... 1...2...3... everyone... grab your lipstick!

And now, just to mention a few of my favorite haiku haunts: an old friend, Paul David Mena, the
Haiku Poet; David Rheins Blog,; and Like My

Gordon College posts poetry as podcasts on iTunes

Massachusetts' Gordon College melds age-old poetry tradition to 21st-century technology by recording a variety of poems as podcasts on iTunes. As many of you know, podcasts are digital recordings available on the Internet and can be downloaded onto iPods or listened to through your computer speakers.

The college chose favorite poems that were recited out loud this spring by students and faculty. Communication arts major, Natalie Ferjulian, a junior, recorded the poems and coordinated getting the poems posted as podcasts on iTunes. A new poem is posted every day during April, National Poetry Month.

A few of the poems representing poetry recorded include Langston Hughes' Harlem, warning of the danger of deferring dreams read by Jo Kadlecek, senior communications writer to John Ciardi's whimsical Why Nobody Pets the Lion at the Zoo, read by Jan Carlberg, wife of college President R. Judson Carlberg.

Win up to $500 at museum's poetry slam - DETROIT

Here's how: Enter the Wright Poetry Slam Open-Mic Competition sponsored by the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on April 15, 2009, 7-9pm, by calling 313.494.5823 to provide your name, e-mail addy and phone number. This event has no admission fee and the museum is located at 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit, MI.

Visit the museum's website for more information and while you're at the site check out the Current Exhibition I Have a Dream: An International Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., which runs from March 18 through May 3, 2009. The exhibition is organized by the Maricel Museum in Spain as a tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s philosophy of freedom and justice - for all. The Curator, Gabi Serrano, amassed 70 works created by artists around the world, all the works fall under the main theme, "the dream".

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I want to make you famous, Marcee Lee!

This is a story written by Jacquelyne Smith (Bless her!), run in the Independent Florida Alligator. Marcee Lee Winthrop is the kind of woman that inspired Janet Leigh's poem Ode to Woman. Ms. Winthrop has what's called the "irrepressible spirit" of woman; she has courage, resiliency and a vision of how she wants to be seen. She sees herself as "poet," and she's even come up with the title of her first poetry book, Poverty Revolution Part 1: Skimming the Surface. Winthrop wrote her first poem as a part of a New Year's resolution to live up to her potential and improve her life. The poem was written based on her own experience living in poverty. Winthrop is raising her 13 year old daughter after being left on their own by her husband who left in early March.

Winthrop faces a number of obstacles in her daily life. Starting with a full set of teeth, she now has 3 left, all in the front, and because of this physical characteristic and her lack of job experience, she remains unemployed. The loss of her teeth has been personally painful and brings her much anguish and hurt. Unemployment rules out medical and dental care, leaving the dental work she needs to improve her appearance, out of reach. Nevertheless, she manages to get past the resulting insecurity of her appearance to take the stage to read her poetry at places like UF's Orange and Brew during open mic nights. She hopes to educate people through her poetry to the hardships of poverty and stir action to eradicate it. I love that she is taking this initiative to help others while helping herself.

Winthrop wrote her first poem, I am a Face of Poverty in America, to address her anger with the government which she feels treats her as an "expendable soul" because of her poverty. She says her experience trying to get assistance from the government is frustrating because, for one thing, she lacks transportation. Winthrop says many poor people feel like "a number," or "cattle wandering from building to building."

A neighbor, Edwin Luciano, has known Winthrop since she moved into the neighborhood several years ago and admires her for "stepping out and doing something special. It just goes into people's hearts and makes a difference."

May the stars be aligned
in favor of Marcee Lee Winthrop's goal to "live up to her potential and improve her life" through publication of her poetry.

... Winthrop needs a kind benefactor. From my lips to God's ear!

Poetry for an America yearning for awakening

Poetry by Uncle Sam for Uncle Sam is the catch phrase for a featured poet in the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which will run April 25 & 26, 2009 on the UCLA campus. Uncle Sam, in this case, is poet Sami El-Soudani who will be having a book signing at the Xlibris Publisher's Booth, booth #238, from 11am-12pm on Saturday, April 25.

What I like about this poet is his intention to shake us up with a message about a "great nation in sedation, presently subjugated to the point of being captive by its homegrown military-industrial-media complex, which is dedicated to the service of special interest groups and personally profiteering war advocates." Whew! That's a head full.

But wait! There's more. Sami Uncle Sam El-Soudani is sounding an alarm, long overdue, that America's sword is being turned, slowly but surely upon its own people, as America's preemptive war escapade has already been set in motion, wrecking havoc in the world at large, and unleashing the dogs of war, skillfully trained by wicked war kindlers. This war is given the misnomer title of "war on terror," but in reality it is being waged with a mindset aimed at capturing Islam, as "a clashing culture" as prescribed in a recipe for World War III per Samuel P. Huntington. With such a mindset, Islam is regarded as "a threatening warring civilization," just another buzzword title, with both references being as bogus as a witch's broom. People of America: Awaken!" Wow! This is
serious stuff, eh?

As serious as Dr. Sami El-Soudani's
credentials; "an aerospace materials scientist specializing in fracture mechanics and failure analysis and has been engaged for over thirty years in averting failures of aircraft structures. For the past twenty years, however, he has been conducting independent theological and sociological research prompted by regrettable world events clearly showing that failures of the human spirit are of far more devastating consequences than failures of aircraft structures." [emphasis mine]

Actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers will wow us with *his* poetry - after retirement

Aside from being one of my favorite actors, Jonathan Rhys Meyers claims he also writes "terrific" poetry (according to a item), and of this claim I have no doubts. Why, just look at how "terrific" this man presents himself. Then, think of his acting abilities! Surely a man who looks this good, writes just as well, no? All kidding aside, I will have to wait to pass judgment on his poetry at this time, however, I'll be an olde, fading raisin by the time Meyers retires.

"Maybe when I'm a lot older and I won't be so embarrassed, I'll publish it," he added.

Well, to this I say to Meyers, there's nothing to feel embarrassed about writing poetry; it's the language of the soul. And,, and - your eyes tell me a different story. You have the eyes of one who approaches life in a studious, meditative manner with great awareness and contemplation. Add sensitivity and stir. Voila! Poetry! Prove me wrong. Leave a poem here in Comments (and your phone number. Just kidding..:)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

National Poetry Month kick-off!

What better way to jumpstart Poetmeister 4 Poets! after a longish hiatus than start off National Poetry Month with a shout out to all my favorite poetry sites & blogs, and then some! I've truly missed, over the past months, my usual blog-hopping forays; it looks like the dust is settling over our homestead at last which will allow me to resume my blogging

  • I shall start things off by giving a high-five to Joe Felso, er, David Marshall, of Joe Felso: Ruminations, for his newest start-up blogs, Haiku Streak and Signals to Attend, which I'm just starting to "get to know." You may remember that Joe Felso/David Marshall is one of my favorite online educators and excellent writer of haiku! Welcome back to the blogging world, David! I'll be stopping in again soon to catch up with your comings and goings.
  • You must go to Poets Who Blog and give some luv to Sara who puts in endless hours of superb writing on All Things Poetry - for a community of some of the most talented, unique, innovative poets in cyberworld. Poets Who Blog site has undergone a new look which really pops! Great job, Sara. Kudos to you for your tenacity and perseverance in providing the best information hub to the online poetry world!
  • Don't forget to check in with these great blog sites, too; World Class Poetry, Billy the Blogging Poet, Blogsboro Poetry Club, Asphalt Sky , Glenn Buttkus' Feel Free to Read & Silliman's Blog!
  • Rick Mobb of Mine Enemy Grows Older still continues to amaze me with his enormous talents and vision, and heart for social justice. Read Rick's newest poem, and now she's awake here. And Just Paisley continues to awe us with her poems & writings with their perfect complementary photo or artistic embellisment. Scot Young's Be Not Inhospitable to Strangers still rocks for me. Go give some luv - now!
  • I'm totally taken by several new blogs I've discovered or been introduced to recently: Bryan Borland's SHAKE and David Rheins Blog.

These few highlighted sites ought to keep you busy kicking off April's National Poetry Month! At least until I return with more places to check out - and more poetry, of course.. ;>

Sunday, January 11, 2009

An enigma - unto herself - it's what I love about c

I came upon a real treat tonight; surfing, surfing, surfing my sea of cyberfriends,, trying to catch up with the comings and goings, trials and tribulations and mental meanderings of soulful, provocative & sensate individuals - who enrich and inspire us all - to higher, rarer realms of thought and imagination.. ahh.. and how I love swooping in on All the Elbows: the bend of them, their grease, poke and of the tennis variety - all are welcome in the house of c.. she will bend your mind, grease your creaky heart, ..and poke you right where it hurts with her fine-tuned, fertile verbal ferocity which has the power to ferry you across vast expanses of feral fields of cerebral imaginings like a pioneer imagist seeking new and untenable frontier. c is for cosmos, coping, commentary, caring, stream of consciousness, control, life changes, clean and color - which make up the cornucopia known as christine. And, we certainly can't get enough of c, see?

~ a little see of c ~


longer than not
i forget our separateness, was it ever
did i even exist before there’s only togetherly

you still melt me
in my belly like lava
and laughing and crying and
those times on our knees crawling

scraping and making
you me much forgiven
loved more than forgave less than adored

you’ve made me
good good good man so good
saved me so good

so good to me you godgiven you


bad penny

This is what I say when there’s that feeling in my chest-
cold, metallic.
Coppery like old dead blood.
That’s why I say it.
Bad penny’s what I call it.
A bad place outside digging at our insides.
It spreads out slow and steady from that place we call heart.
It’s that place that is your heart literally:
life-giving blood muscle,
and that place we think of as our heart meaning the heart of our being.
Our quick.
It spreads out,
pushing everything aside and filling you up with bad penny.
You breathe deep.
You have to in order to fill that space,
to make it good again.
You breathe so deep,
so deep,
but can’t be filled.
There’s not enough air to dislodge it.
And when you got bad penny,
ever notice how on the exhale,
you’re shaky?
The breath trembles,
starts and stops on its struggle outward?
It’s a bad way, a deep hurt,
shock anger love hate.
That’s because Abe’s hands don’t want to let it go.
Abe’s hands want to keep the air and bend it,
make it sticky,
And that sound!
Terrible sound that I can’t directly describe.
It’s not a cry so much as a tear,
a rendering,
wrenching and primal.
An escape-
desperate escape from the hollow where you once were.
Choking up the bad penny is what I like to call it and once that sound comes out of you,
the bad penny begins to melt.
Molten copper filling,
then spilt from eyes and suddenly!-
there’s room!
So the bad penny’s tossed up upon the ground,
like so much nothing.
Worth something so worthless…

Like myself.



i hear you whisper
what shall we wear this year

the classic look of course

golds reds browns oh you beautiful hands
resplendent and reaching
handing down cooled breezes to the forest floor
giving thanks in moonrise
reflecting warm light from the sun

ushering disguised children begging for candy
shading speckled fawns
bearing apples mmm the apples shapely pears

dappled walkways whirling dervishes tapping and miraculous
time for honey cake darling
scarves long nights brittling and starred
full of the odor of leaving short chilled days

and you
a sudden burst of color
banners of welcome only to disrobe in preparation for the season of rest

autumn trees
a dazzling show of dying

(copyright 2008 ) c A Hughes


The Tao of Laundry

*If you wish to comprehend the Infinite, consider Laundry.

*Like all things eternal- God, Time, Space- Laundry was, is and shall ever be.

*Laundry is something done that is never done.
Meditate on this and achieve enlightenment…


regarding the stars

what do they do up there,
stars, winking like tipsy eyes-

they look down on us and make wishes

she floats above in her star spangled bodice
and collects eyes for luck

the ocean is her treasure box
and filled with them, with bones

nibbled on by white lobsters
smoothed and the salt of the sea

clumsy, falling
where do you land?

you don’t.
you disintegrate, become dust, vanish-

are forgotten.

thorny stars or we are dead?
a million years when your light is met-

in contemplation, study, an accidental happening
wish on our faces, wide and light as memory,

we are the dust

(copyright 2008 ) c A Hughes

me, in the only dress i'll ever wear

will you be my dress

and he is
and he looks good on me
clings to me
beautifies me

in him, i am a vision

his color compliments mine
he feels good on me
and i am aware of my hips
i move hard

(copyright 200 8) ) c A Hughes

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Reading these few poems ought to make you drop everything and tear over to All the Elbows for a longer visit. You will be treated to good/honest writing in a genuine, down-to-earth from-bird's-eye-view voice. c is an excellent writer of prose and poetry; no topic is too tough or taboo - written from a very unique perspective by a very unique voice - unafraid to dig deep into your soul, grab your heart and squeeze or wring your mind like a mop head. You will think differently than when you arrived, you'll see things from a different perspective and you will definitely feel the passion and depth of c's emotion wrung out in every word she writes. Guaran-teed, indeed!