From Alternative Fiction & Poetry (1987)


(This first appeared here in March 2014).

Quite the interesting mag back in the day. This particular issue saw the likes of Bukowski, Ivan Arguelles, Lyn Lifshin, Norm Moser, Sheila E. Murphy, and, well, me, among others. I was thinner back then, as was my poetry.

no more than
the slow grace
of light turning

the leaf so
patient in the
air and colder

now that sense
of permanence unfurled
it is not

long to wait
as Wang Wei
said in his

letter I listen
for a sound
but hear none


I Must Be Doing Something Right, Somewhere, Sometime, Maybe?

Since New Year’s Day, 24 publications have turned down my writing. Before that, I received ten rejections in December, which only tied my sixth worst monthly total for 2017! So yeah, I know the sting of rejection. Mostly it resembles a mosquito’s bite – a bit annoying, it disappears quickly. But one will occasionally strike like a scorpion – WHAM – and it swells and throbs for a while and I wonder why the hell I continue dallying with this odd thing we call poetry. I suppose it’s enough that from time to time a complete stranger will respond kindly, or an editor will ask to see a few pieces for consideration. Or a few poems get published in print…

My poetry has appeared in these print publications over the past year. Although much of my writing is published online, I’m still enamored with print. Something about the smell, the feel of paper. Ah, bliss.

And why do I continue writing? It’s the doing of it, the process. That is what really matters.

Call for Submissions: Poems for Peace: Anthology

Some of you might be interested in submitting poems to this anthology. I know I am.

poems for peace: an anthology to uplift encourage & inspire

This anthology, poems for peace (forthcoming, fall 2018), is the love-child of a group of poets and listeners who have been gathering quarterly in San Antonio, Texas since Nov. 11, 2017 in association with the San Antonio peaceCENTER.  This anthology will be published as a peaceCENTERbook, with all proceeds going to support the CENTER.

While we are aware that many horrors occur in our world and that, as a people, we seem to be in turmoil and conflict on many fronts, our aim is to provide respite from the apparent problems and to purposefully turn our attention to the good, the Whole, the Holy, that which is full of peace and comfort.

For this inaugural issue of poems for peace, we seek work that is metaphysical, celebratory, fun, funny, lighthearted, playful, thoughtful, warm, tender, beautiful, compassionate, heart-opening, or spiritual without proselytizing, nostalgic without being overly sentimental, empowered without being politically charged and rich with imagery and story but not with graphic insensibility or dealing with overtly, hot topics that may trigger anxiety or anger in the listener (like abuse issues, natural disasters, or tragedy in general).

Rather, we seek work that uplifts, encourages and inspires.  We are especially interested in the metaphysically broad; we look for the profound, real, fearless, gender-inclusive, curious voice.


Please send 3-5 previously unpublished poems of up to ten pages in length and in any form in a single Word document, making sure that no identifying information appears within the document.  Include a brief, bio (100 words or less) in your cover letter.  Submissions are being hosted by Moon Shadow Sanctuary Press via Submittable only (see link below).

The book will be perfect bound and available online through the  peaceCENTERbook link and other online venues plus locally in bookstores TBA.  Poets included in the anthology may be invited to participate in future poets for peace events.  For more information or to ask questions about poets for peace or submissions, look for us on Face Book, or send us a message here:

Deadline: August 1, 2018

Click here to submit:

Poem Live at Panoply


My poem “Helsinki” is live at Panoply. It was inspired in part by a Facebook thread on which editors commented on what caused them to instantly reject poems. One said beginning a poem at a window was cause for rejection. Hence the first line.

How to Write a Poem

How to Write a Poem

Learn to curse in three languages. When midday
yawns stack high and your eyelids flutter, fire up

the chain saw; there’s always something to dismember.
Make it new. Fear no bridges. Accelerate through

curves, and look twice before leaping over fires,
much less into them. Read bones, read leaves, read

the dust on shelves and commit to memory a thousand
discarded lines. Next, torch them. Take more than you

need, buy books, scratch notes in the dirt and watch
them scatter down nameless alleys at the evening’s first

gusts. Gather words and courtesies. Guard them carefully.
Play with others, observe birds, insects and neighbors,

but covet your minutes alone and handle with bare hands
only those snakes you know. Mourn the kindling you create

and toast each new moon as if it might be the last one
to tug your personal tides. When driving, sing with the radio.

Always. Turn around instead of right. Deny ambition.
Remember the freckles on your first love’s left breast.

There are no one-way streets. Appreciate the fragrance
of fresh dog shit while scraping it from the boot’s sole.

Steal, don’t borrow. Murder your darlings and don’t get
caught. Know nothing, but know it well. Speak softly

and thank the grocery store clerk for wishing you
a nice day even if she didn’t mean it. Then mow the grass,

grill vegetables, eat, laugh, wash dishes, talk, bathe,
kiss loved ones, sleep, dream, wake. Do it all again.


“How to Write a Poem,” is included in Indra’s Net: An International Anthology of Poetry in Aid of The Book Bus, and has appeared on the blog as well.

All profits from this anthology published by Bennison Books will go to The Book Bus, a charity which aims to improve child literacy rates in Africa, Asia and South America by providing children with books and the inspiration to read them.

Available at Amazon (UK) and Amazon (US)

Poem Nominated for Best of the Net

My poem “When to Say Goodbye” has been submitted to the Best of the Net 2017 anthology by the editors of Oxidant Engine. I’m honored to be nominated alongside one of my favorite poets, Khaty Xiong.