Poems, Reconnaissance, Uncategorized

Why We Walk

The_Funeral_of_Shelley_by_Louis_Edouard_Fournier

Byron and Shelley

As we trudged along the varied paths
of the Highland Way you did not let go
to cry, though legs ached with pain
and skewed nerves slipped out of place
screaming for you to stop.

Our last night before we go home,
I read Trelawny’s Recollections
of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron:
Percy’s funeral muddies my mind,
but I cannot unhinge the sable-eyed rival
or the torture of a lame and disfigured foot
that shamed Byron all his days. How skilled
we are at pushing our deformities into
the deepest alcove then turning away from them,
lest they outpace and overcome us.

A red-haired boy—more than a boy—
a young man—travels with us
on the flight back home. His father
who is grey and wears glasses
accompanies him. I see that the boy
is blind, and think he is—how
to say this kindly—lame of mind,
though as I watch him and his father
pace back to their seats, I see that he is
purely sightless, and I feel cruel for thinking
it was something more. All this time

I thought that it was me we were walking for,
the mess upon me and the volume of days
yet unwritten tensing with uncertainty,
smudged with hieroglyphs of caned figures
and the imposing arc of wheels.
Waiting out the rain in Philadelphia
my head slumped in exhaustion, your legs
extended in a futile stretch, I grasp
what it was we were really walking for:

the German girls whom we’ll not see again;
for Gerry, our sturdy guardian, agile as a buoy,
flecks of white in his hair and a harness of years
on his back; for the moments between the rain;

what every boy’s blindness wants to possess;
for Byron’s feet and the contents of Shelley’s coat pockets
washed up on a shore we haven’t yet visited
and may not ever walk upon.

The poem appears in Reconnaissance, published in 2017 by Homebound Publications. Louis Édouard Fournier, The Cremation of Percy Bysshe Shelley, oil on canvas, Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Poems, Reconnaissance, The Comet's Tail

New Release

Just released, the first episode of The Vanguard Podcast featuring writers David K. Leff, Katherine Hauswirth, and me, along with musician Lys Guillorn. Join these conversations at the Forefront of Creativity with hosts L.M. Browning and Kelly Kancyr.

See also The Vanguard Podcast to subscribe (or listen on iTunes, YouTube, and more).

This episode includes a conversation between me and L.M Browning about my poetry, teaching, my inspiration for writing, and finding my way into prose. My essay “Giving Up the Choke Hold” is a tangent to The Comet’s Tail: A Memoir of No Memory, so I’m excited the podcast is available now. Both start at about the 19-minute mark.

Here’s a poem from Reconnaissance to celebrate The Vanguard Podcast’s release.

Birdsongs

Having forgotten
what a line looks like
on a page, I unwrap
a notebook and tune
to Charlie Parker. If I Should
Lose You, wait for the record,
metal now and shiny,
to hiccup into
its grooves. Scattered
over an unseen stave of five
parallel lines, the blue
narcotic notes from
a saxophone scatter
like debris
in a wind tunnel.

Poems, Readings and events, Uncategorized

the chaos of tumbling

Hold steady . . .  find your still point . . . get used to letting go . . .

I was pleased to by honored recently by the Hamden Arts Commission and the Hamden Symphony Orchestra for my poem “Circumstance.” The poem won second place in the first ever poetry award co-sponsored by both organizations. Also featured during the orchestra’s spring concert were fellow poets Meri Haray and Laura Alshul and the winners of the Young Musicians Concerto Competition. Listen:

acrobatics action balance ballet
Photo by Huie Dinwiddie on Pexels.com

I’m also trying out my new voice, mostly recovered from vocal cord paralysis. Work in progress.

30/30, Poems, The Comet's Tail

Poems for Snow and Spring

I can’t believe it’s already day 12 with Tupelo Press and my 30/30 project. Have you been keeping up with all 96 poems? That’s 96 poems (8 poets for March x 12 days, so far. . . ) and more to come.

Follow us into spring. Tomorrow promises more snow. Find the poems inspired by these pictures. Sponsorships and donations still welcome! While you’re feeling generous, order a copy of The Comet’s Tail: A Memoir of No Memory  Because writing matters and so does supporting those who bring it to you, get yourself a tee shirt and Stay Wild!

IMG_12922018-03-07 21.25.282018-03-03 14.36.54chinese new yearIMG_1316

 

 

Poems, Reconnaissance

First Day of Class

Prototype

Bless the first day of class
with its confined clutter. Notebooks
stacked and piled like sculptures
that say to the first lesson, I am ready
for you to feed me. Catapult us
into the realms of academia.
Picture chimpanzees swallowing
pineapple-white sheets in open cages.

Get your hands dirty, I tell them,
love the pages, the print, smell it
and remember papyrus. Break
the spine, hold it up to the light:
tell me who you are, author, tell
me your secrets; help me make sense
of your world. Transmogrify.
Cave dwellers, hierophants—make friends
with the exclamation point, bond
with the asterisk. Play with dirt.
Play with dirty words.

dsc_0411

Four Blue Eggs, Poems, Signed Copies

Gratitude

Gratitude

 

If we could have read the moon’s face
through the falling snow
that night we drove into its absent shadow,
it would have told us that the cold
sometimes melts things, too.
The train station, under hazy yellow lights,
fills with travelers arriving for Christmas.
We drive home with our father,
a faint smile crooked in the low end of his mouth.
Because the road hides so much,
more than once, Dad mentions black ice
the way he’d repeat an argument
until we understood. But when the car,
spins momentarily toward the guard rail,
he anchors us—and we are held
by his steadiness, which, for so many years,
we mistook for other things—
discipline, scolding, but mostly anger.
It’s time now to take this lesson
and file it safely under black ice,
reluctant blessings, how our father,
silver haired and breathing slowly,
saves his children’s lives yet again.

A poem from Four Blue Eggs, images from London