Featured

Structures and Forms

I started a serial poem back at the beginning of January. The plan was to write 140 poems, each poem’s length pre-determined by a random number generator, ranging from 3-140 syllables. It was to follow vaguely the rules of a renga, where each poem grew out of the one before it somehow, whether through theme, pun, image, or a reply. The number of poems was determined by the number of syllables in a sonnet. 

I have reached 80 poems in this series. I hit 40 back at the end of March. I have 60 more to go. I would like to finish this by the end of December, which means I should speed up a bit. LOL.  I have never really written under a deadline except for required essays in grad school. However, 80 poems in 7 months is a fairly phenomenal pace for me.

I will now begin to move forward with the third ‘stanza’ while collecting and tightening sections 1 and 2, in hopes that as I reread and work over the first two sections, the third stanza will continue the conversations, if you will, that began in the first two “stanzas,” and the themes and images will continue to echo and grow organically in section three. 

A little obsessive, but then what about life is not.

(July 27, 2020)

Featured

even now I hear them

from a work in progress: process, not a journey (72)

“Sea, I am like you, filled with broken voices”

—Guillaume Apollinaire

insistent demanding attention

soft whispers curl at my feet

like cats they claw at me

with their sharp reminders

lightly pulling at my skin

until the ground is awash

in the blood of memory

and then slightly below the surface

small phrases embedded in dead

conversations rise like tattered faces

from the sea to mouth their silent

vowels like fish dying in the sand

until the raw scraps of language

in which I am tangled 

are cast out in a storm surge

far out among the dark waves

and I drown choking 

with nothing to say

(July 6, 2020)

Infinite Watched Pot (a reading)

Infinite Watched Pot

“That is, if you write it has it happened twice”

—Michael Palmer, Notes for Echo Lake

I woke and now it is now; the sun’s setting.

Was the writing the thing that happened?

Would today happen without being written?

Are they two events or one?

I see something—

like a car crash,

or water boiling on the stove.

One’s disconnected,

one’s intentional, possibly

even a causation; for example;

I’m hungry, so

I hop in the car for a burger.

She was in a hurry. It was

raining. She slams through a yellow light.

The driver in front of me dies

on the wet street. Or,

I’m still hungry. I hold dry

pasta knowingly, and watch

as the tiny bubbles form

on the bottom of the pot.

Did anything happen?

I am hungry, and will be

each time you read this,

even if I was the driver

who died, or I just wrote

it down; even if something

more than this

was in my thoughts

as I waited for water

to boil.

(May 3, 2020) 

Infinite Watched Pot

“That is, if you write it has it happened twice”

—Michael Palmer, Notes for Echo Lake

I woke and now it is now; the sun’s setting.

Was the writing the thing that happened?

Would today happen without being written?

Are they two events or one?

I see something—

like a car crash,

or water boiling on the stove.

One’s disconnected,

one’s intentional, possibly

even a causation; for example;

I’m hungry, so

I hop in the car for a burger.

She was in a hurry. It was

raining. She slams through a yellow light.

The driver in front of me dies

on the wet street. Or,

I’m still hungry. I hold dry

pasta knowingly, and watch

as the tiny bubbles form

on the bottom of the pan.

Did anything happen?

I am hungry, and will be

each time you read this,

even if I was the driver

who died, or I just wrote

it down; even if something

more than this

was in my thoughts

as I waited for water

to boil.

(May 3, 2020) 

to define is to limit

poetry is nothing

poetry is everything

poetry is thought

poetry is words

poetry is silence

poetry is emotion

poetry is gibberish

poetry is vague

poetry is ambiguous

poetry is precise

poetry is concise

poetry is babble

poetry is light

poetry is dark

poetry is mind

poetry is heart

poetry is hidden

poetry is everywhere

poetry is pervasive

poetry is absence

poetry is laughter

poetry is tears

poetry is love

poetry is hate

poetry is simple

.

poetry is nothing

poetry is everything

poetry is metaphor

poetry is plain

poetry is complex

poetry is slant

poetry is curved

poetry is bent

poetry is straight

poetry is cubed

poetry is convex

poetry is obtuse

poetry is infinite

poetry is hermeneutic

poetry is occult

poetry is transcendent

poetry is god

poetry is zen

poetry is buddha

poetry is Christ

poetry is religion

poetry is atheist

poetry is glib

poetry is serious

poetry is dirt

.

poetry is nothing

poetry is everything

poetry is earth

poetry is air

poetry is fire

poetry is water

poetry is elemental

poetry is irrelevant

poetry is submission

poetry is dominance

poetry is coy

poetry is rude

poetry is blatant

poetry is obvious

poetry is obscure

poetry is orgasmic

poetry is impotent

poetry is sex

poetry is flirtation

poetry is destruction

poetry is resurrection

poetry is creation

poetry is filth

poetry is shit

poetry is dust

.

poetry is nothing

poetry is everything

poetry is breath

poetry is death

poetry is ice

poetry is tongue

poetry is bowels

poetry is piss

poetry is you

poetry is me

poetry is us

poetry is other

poetry is privilege

poetry is poverty

poetry is gender

poetry is genderless

poetry is cadence

poetry is dissonance

poetry is power

poetry is gravity

poetry is nature

poetry is voice

poetry is spit

poetry is sight

poetry is blind

(April 11, 2020)

how poetry asserts itself

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (17)

he alludes to a poem as if others

know what he thinks about before he can

speak which in this case means before he can

think his thoughts being like Rube Goldberg

devices clacking along tripping springs and

traps which propel the odd idea along

tangential routes until finally falling

into its assigned slot and everything

stops and silence expands like waves of water

rippling across the surface of a lake

eventually lapping the far shore

where a small boy plays with a wooden boat

never once thinking about poetry

(January 23, 2020)

Start the Way You Intend to Go

from “an untitled serial poem”

grey and cold all day

the year begins again

cedar pollen drifts wildly

I can feel the shredded bark

deeply behind my eyes

trying to cut a way out

I’m not surprised but fear

all that has changed enough

to become a normal day

as wolves claw and slaver

at the door

(January 2, 2020)

note: I am starting a series of 140 poems, the length of each poem will be a set number of syllables determined by a random number generator. each poem/stanza will organically arise from the previous poem/stanza in the series in the manner of a renga without following the traditional renga’s syllable parameters. Additionally there is another requirement put upon every tenth poem/stanza in the series which will connect it to another “ten” poem/stanza following abstractly the traditional rhyme pattern of a Shakespearian sonnet. This is the second time I have written a longer poem following this self-imposed system. The first was called “Sonnet: a rengaThis is the beginning poem/stanza of the new series.

A Haiku a day for a Month

A little more than a month ago, one of my work mates proposed that she, a math teacher, and myself write a haiku a day for a month. After 37 haikus (I wrote more than one some days), I am going to stop the exercise. I think that my fellow English teacher proposed the undertaking in order to make her write everyday. I do this already, so it did not motivate me to write. I did find it a calming activity most days: a time to stop and think about what was in front of me either physically, mentally, or spiritually. However, it also deflected my attention away from other poems I had been working on. Usually I post about 15 or so poems a month (sometimes even pushing to 20). In October, because of the haiku event, I posted 38 new poems. I like haiku, and like writing them. Usually I make up parameters for my writing in an arbitrary and random manner. During the exercise, I used the traditional 5-7-5 syllable count, although I have in the past ignored that stricture focusing more on the brief flash of attention than on a numbers game. Figuring the syllable count is more of a guideline than a law. I don’t plan on giving haiku up; I’m just not going to sit down each day to write one. I have always written in small snatches of time, never having the leisure to write for extended lengths during the day. So, haiku, and imagism, lend themselves well to going from start to finish in the brief time I have to write. However, I also like spending time in my head as I go through the day, thinking about a longer piece. Therefore, as I stated at the beginning of this ramble, I am going to end my participation in the project. Thanks to all of you who read and liked the work I have posted over the last month.

(October 31, 2019)