“Coal” by Audre Lorde

•September 16, 2020 • Leave a Comment

Audre Lorde
Is the total black, being spoken
From the earth’s inside.
There are many kinds of open.
How a diamond comes into a knot of flame
How a sound comes into a word, coloured
By who pays what for speaking.

Some words are open
Like a diamond on glass windows
Singing out within the crash of passing sun
Then there are words like stapled wagers
In a perforated book—buy and sign and tear apart—
And come whatever wills all chances
The stub remains
An ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge.
Some words live in my throat
Breeding like adders. Others know sun
Seeking like gypsies over my tongue
To explode through my lips
Like young sparrows bursting from shell.
Some words
Bedevil me.

Love is a word another kind of open—
As a diamond comes into a knot of flame
I am black because I come from the earth’s inside
Take my word for jewel in your open light.

“Getting a Word In” by James Galvin

•September 12, 2020 • Leave a Comment

“Getting a Word In”
James Galvin
Very sad,
Having to
Come out of nowhere,

The rain
We’ve been waiting for
Is waiting too.

By now,
Have had enough daylight.

They’d like,
To sleep it off.

If nothing
Else, nothing

Behind our backs
Things mean themselves.
Violins crack

From wanting to exist.
It’s hard, getting a word in.
I’m waiting

To arrive inside my clothes,
If nothing else,

To be (having to
Come out of nowhere)
Very sad.

Emily Dickinson, #1212

•September 3, 2020 • Leave a Comment

Emily Dickinson
A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.

I say it just
Begins to live
That day.

Lines by Ryōkan …

•September 2, 2020 • Leave a Comment

“When even I haven’t had
enough to eat,
at the bottom of my bowl
of rice gruel
my shadow hogging in!”
                              Art: Self-portrait

― from “The Boatman” Carolyn Forché

•August 27, 2020 • Leave a Comment

Carolyn Forché
“You tell me you are a poet. If so, our destination is the same.
I find myself now the boatman, driving a taxi at the end of the world.
I will see that you arrive safely, my friend, I will get you there.”
                              ― from “The Boatman”

Thoughts on the need for creative extremists by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

•August 26, 2020 • Leave a Comment

― Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The question is not if we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”

“Sojourns in the Parallel World” by Denise Levertov

•August 19, 2020 • Leave a Comment

“Sojourns in the Parallel World”
Denise Levertov
We live our lives of human passions,
cruelties, dreams, concepts,
crimes and the exercise of virtue
in and beside a world devoid
of our preoccupations, free
from apprehension—though affected,
certainly, by our actions. A world
parallel to our own though overlapping.
We call it “Nature”; only reluctantly
admitting ourselves to be “Nature” too.
Whenever we lose track of our own obsessions,
our self-concerns, because we drift for a minute,
an hour even, of pure (almost pure)
response to that insouciant life:
cloud, bird, fox, the flow of light, the dancing
pilgrimage of water, vast stillness
of spellbound ephemerae on a lit windowpane,
animal voices, mineral hum, wind
conversing with rain, ocean with rock, stuttering
of fire to coal—then something tethered
in us, hobbled like a donkey on its patch
of gnawed grass and thistles, breaks free.
No one discovers
just where we’ve been, when we’re caught up again
into our own sphere (where we must
return, indeed, to evolve our destinies)
—but we have changed, a little.

New poetry collection… World within the World (Cyberwit, 2020)

•August 12, 2020 • Leave a Comment

My new collection of poems, World within the World, published by Cyberwit, is available from the publisher, Amazon, Barnes and Noble. Thanks to James Owens for the cover art and to Kathy Fish for the blurb. I’ve included links below:



Barnes and Noble

[The book is part 4 in the Tales of Brave Ulysses series.]

A poem from the collection –

Part 1 of “Solitudes as Meditation,” a suite based on paintings by Edward Hopper

A House

It must be morning.
Long bellies of cloud hug
such a thin edge of ground
there’s no way of knowing
what world the road bends to –
uncut grass, browned deep,
an after-thought of scattered pines,
this house with blinds in place
behind dark windows. Someone
still comes here, still knows.
A creak here, a scratch there,
wind at the chimney’s mouth,
then groaning under the eaves.

          (Solitude, 1944)

“truth” by Gwendolyn Brooks

•August 8, 2020 • Leave a Comment

Gwendolyn Brooks
And if sun comes
How shall we greet him?
Shall we not dread him,
Shall we not fear him
After so lengthy a
Session with shade?

Though we have wept for him,
Though we have prayed
All through the night-years—
What if we wake one shimmering morning to
Hear the fierce hammering
Of his firm knuckles
Hard on the door?

Shall we not shudder?—
Shall we not flee
Into the shelter, the dear thick shelter
Of the familiar
Propitious haze?

Passage from Matsuo Bashō

•August 7, 2020 • Leave a Comment

― Matsuo Bashō, from Narrow Road to the Interior
“The moon and sun are travelers through eternity. Even the years wander on. Whether drifting through life on a boat or climbing toward old age leading a horse, each day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”
      [Painting by Katsushika Hokusai]