Poetry, Poetics, Po-business, Stuff Like That


Wanna Play?

Maybe you wonder where I’ve been the last six months.  I wonder that myself.  I couldn’t exactly tell you, because the place I’ve been is forming itself as we speak.  I’m writing this novel in poetry form, and though my characters and I are in the thick of it, None of us can tell exactly how it’s going to turn out.

That’s where you come in.  If you want, you can join us and comment on the story as it unfolds.  The story-in-poetry is called “Came the Revolution,” and you can find it in the Journalese section of PoetryCircle at http://www.poetrycircle.com.

Though PC is open to all for free, you will have to become a member to access Journalese, but membership is free, too.

It scares me a little to make this offer, because if you want to be mean and nasty, your comments could hurt.  But if you like the story and want to offer suggestions, I will gladly put your name in the Acknowedgments section of the book when it comes out.



When I die and

go to the heaven of the poets
if there is such a place
and if they’ll let me in
and if I actually want to go there,
knowing, as I do, so many,

I’m going to ask the Muse
why she’s so perverse.

I don’t expect an answer,
or one that I can understand,
but on the other hand,
she’s so perverse
she might give it to me straight.

It’s Back

The girl waiting tables
boogies to the tune
she was conceived by.

Disco’s here again.

And again and again.

No politics to scare,
no philosophy to confuse.

Bringing the pancakes,
she shakes her booty
as her mother did

and her daughter will:

ah, ah, ah, ah,
stayin’ alive.

A Little In

at the top
of the mountain
not right at the top
a little down, a little in
I met Tiger
and stept on her tail
she didn’t
devour me
well she did but
not the way
you’d think
and I’m still devoured
endeavoring to stay
that way
beneath fur
among the rocks
at the top
but not quite
a little in
a little down

Poems Written in Anger

Feels good, no good.

 Samurai saying

Asian theorists of the art of war encourage their students to encourage anger in opponents.  Angry people make mistakes because their minds, functioning at a more primitive level, become simplistic.  The brain becomes duller, the nose sharper.  Also, angry people face an increased urge to do anything that discharges the unpleasant emotion of anger, and when they “strike out,” a calmer opponent can take advantage of this.

What this means in poetic terms is that poems motivated by anger can work against themselves.  Either they tend toward the simplistic, or they can shock their readers into detaching from the poem and its message.  Even really good poets can fall into this trap. 

You have to “cool” your anger before you let it loose in a poem.  You can do that by acquiring the distance that comes with humor, and/or you can seek to understand, empathize with, your subject, the person or group that is triggering your anger. 

Can you love your subject?  That’s even better.  I don’t mean a warm-puppy-type feeling of love but an act of opening your consciousness completely to the subject.  This encompasses empathy  and humor, and goes beyond them.

Love doesn’t hide the flaws of the subject of an angry poem.  Love reveals them in context, bringing insight and adding something new to the conflict.  Love strengthens your readers, too, giving them a heart level comprehension they didn’t have before.

A lot of good poems have been ruined because the writer “loved not wisely.”


The steel worker in my head
throws his hard-hat
on the ground whenever
I get too fancy.

He Said, She Said

He said, “What’s the point of writing poems
if you don’t get them published?”

“I’m just glad,” she said. “you weren’t around
to convince Emily Dickinson.”