Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Been-Rejected Blues ...

I've got those

low down,
good for nothin'
been-rejected blues.

My meter seems fine.
My rhyme? Sublime.
So why, I whine,
this awful mess
I find myself in,
so sad and unseemly,
loaded with chagrin?

Beats me. I've just
got 'em. Bad as they
get, I guess,
those unexpected,
stripped down nekked,
been-rejected blues.

© 2001

(received an honorable mention award in Ohio Poetry Day competition)


Today's word: unexpected

Monday, December 19, 2005

Letting Them Crawl ...

These words I write

are the embers

of a fire that has

smoldered far longer

than I had imagined

it would. How much

longer the sparks

will race among

the cooling ashes

of my past, I have

no way of knowing,

but I intend

to give them air,

let them crawl

as long as they will

on this journey

toward becoming

something that has

the sound of poetry.

© 1996

(originally published in ByLine)


Today's word: embers

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Fickle Petunias ...

I have a nodding

with some petunias
who bob excitedly
when I walk by,
but then they
do the same when
a stranger passes.

© 1995

(originally published in Capper's)

I know ... I've gone a bit off-season with this one, but I like to do that sometimes ... to remind myself of those warmer days, no ice on the sidewalks, no spinning tires at the curb ... shirt sleeves weather, with the petunias bobbing excitedly when I walk by ... or merely hanging out together where they've been planted, envying the freedom of movement I have. Ah, those were wonderful warm days. And they will come again. Won't they?


Today's word: fickle

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Solitary Candle ...

My candle sculpts

itself in its corner
of the room, flame
gyrating in the draft,
tiny avalanches
of wax slithering
into the maw,
a fungible, seething
mass that labors
back up the wick
to sacrifice itself
as a bit of light,
distant warmth. It
flickers, warning me
that I shall soon miss
the warmth, its quiet
companionship, gently
flowing memories, its
solitary, sustaining
work of holding
the darkness at bay.

© 1996
(originally published in Anterior Poetry Monthly)

Today's word: fungible

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

My Heart Listens ...

This winter night

like no other I have

known, trees glisten

with newborn snow,

shining armor that

seizes the moonlight,

sends it dancing

down the corridors

of my mind. Oh, this

quiet night, my heart

listens to the song

and dances, too.

© 2005

(published in Winter, 2005 issue of Brave Hearts)

This poem was written during a few quiet moments on Christmas Eve, 1997. You will note that it was published approximately eight years later. Patience, my writing friends. Patience.

During those eight years it received many tweakings (that happens almost every time I look at something I've written) ... and, because I keep track of such things, I note that I did seven major revisions.

It was sent out about twenty times, and came back to me, for various reasons. Patience, remember? Ah, but then it arrived in the right place at the right time, pleased an editor, and was published.

I glory in that, not because it will make me rich or famous, but because I believe poetry is meant to be shared. I am delighted that this piece is being shared with Brave Hearts readers, and now with you.

I don't remember the weather on the evening it was written. Wintry, no doubt, with cold winds and falling snow.

It reminded me of so many winter evenings when I was growing up. What beauty the snow brought to the countryside. What magic there seemed to be in that transformation. What music seemed to enter my being. How my heart danced at the thought of tomorrow.

And now, all these years later, my heart still "listens" ... and dances when it snows.


Today's word: newborn

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Autumn! ...

My temperature rises

When leaves begin to fall,

Piling up to my thighs as

I try to rake them all.

© 1997

(originally published in Parnassus Literary Journal)

OK, so "piling up to my thighs" is a slight exaggeration. That's one of the building blocks of humor, right? Rhyming "rises" and "thighs as" is a bit of a stretch, too. This is all done in an effort to be funny, at least to elicit a smile.

Enough said.


Today's word: exaggeration

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Strawberry Wine ...

We stood gazing through the tangle
of dark branches suddenly still,
holding the moon in a vast silence,

watching, as others must have done
eons ago, wondering at this sight,
this transfiguration taking place

as the silvered moon glided slowly
into the shadow of a frozen earth,
going golden, pink, then deepening

red of strawberry wine translucent
in the glass, bearing the aroma
of fields snowed over with blossoms

and redolent of ripeness, that fruit
hiding in the quivering green leaves,
the sun bearing down, and now this,

this sweetness of witnessing a most
ancient of miracles, going to bed
with the distinctive taste of it

on our tongues, the scent of it
lingering on our measured breaths,
sleeping heavily, as though drugged.

© 2005
(published in the Fall, 2005 issue of Plainsongs; received a special honorable mention in a ByLine contest; title poem of a manuscript in search of a publisher)

This is a poem about lunar eclipse. I think it's about other things, too: It's a love poem, a poem about the exhilaration, if not intoxication, that comes from quietly, thoughtfully observing nature.
That's what I thought when the poem came to me after watching a lunar eclipse with Phyllis.
Those moments on that winter night brought back so many memories for me, principally the red of all those strawberries against all that green of the fields. It reminded me of the strawberry wine I once saw as a child. It reminded me of so many things.
I had faith in that little poem. I had faith in it when I presented it at a workshop, where the moderator dismissed it with the comment that "the writer was obviously drunk on words when he wrote this."
I couldn't help thinking that he had given it a rather superficial reading. But he was partly right. I was "drunk on words." I still am ... in the sense of enjoying that elation which comes from having listened carefully to the words coming to me, then having written them equally as carefully on the page.
I maintained my faith in this little poem, and I am so glad I didn't give up on it. Now it has been publishedin the noted literary journal, Plainsongs. It is also the title poem of a 64-poem collection looking for a publisher.


Today's word: redolent

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Autumn? Caught 'em ...

Sometimes we look all around, searching desperately for a subject. And sometimes all we need to do, particularly at this time of year in Ohio, is just look underfoot. And so it was that I noticed this gathering of leaves and snapped a photo (in this age of digital cameras, do we still "snap" photos?) The photo itself, given the proper composition, exposure, etc., can be the art, but my interest goes beyond that. I'm hoping that the photo will later inspire a painting. This one, for example, has potential with its interesting assortment of shapes and colors, its texture. It could become a painting, precise in every detail, or it could be an abstract. In any event, I'm glad I looked underfoot, liked what I saw, and preserved it with this photo.


Today's word: underfoot