What Feet Know (with recording)

feet

What Feet Know

The earth and its subterfuge.
Gravity and the points between here and there.

And sometimes the rasp of grainy mud
clenched between toes,
or a rock under the arch,
an explanation too pointed
for display on a page,
too hard, too much for flesh to bear.

No constellations foment underground.
Nothing there orbits a companion.

No light but for that darkness the heel scrapes away.

“What Feet Know” was featured on Postcard Poems and Prose Magazine in December 2016, and is included in my  chapbook, From Every Moment a Second, available Available at Amazon.Com and Here.

 

Call for Submissions: Poems for Peace: Anthology

The deadline is fast approaching.

August 1, 2018 deadline!

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.

Guidelines:

Please send 3-5 previously unpublished poems of up to ten pages in length and in any form in a single Word document, making sure that no identifying information appears within the document.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:  fb.me/poetsforpeaceSA

Deadline: August 1, 2018

Click here to submit: https://moonshadowsanctuarypress.submittable.com/submit

Call for Submissions: Poems for Peace: Anthology

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

August 1, 2018 deadline!

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.

Guidelines:

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:  fb.me/poetsforpeaceSA

Deadline: August 1, 2018

Click here to submit: https://moonshadowsanctuarypress.submittable.com/submit

And Sometimes You Say No

And Sometimes You Say No

Perhaps I’m getting cantankerous in my dotage, unwilling to admit that I can’t expect good things to continue coming my way, and should consider settling for what’s offered. After all, the age reel isn’t rewinding, and my inbox is not exactly buzzing with publication offers. There are more funerals than weddings in my future. I limp. Each day is indeed a blessing but my remaining minutes do not feel unconstrained. Far from it.

A few months ago I received an acceptance email from a chapbook publisher affiliated with a literary journal that had published one of my poems. The chapbook is strong, I think, and I felt good about the acceptance, until I read the one-sided contract. You can guess which side received the greater benefit. I emailed a reply asking for clarifications, and received one back the next day. To sum it up: the publisher would deign to publish me, but I’d bear responsibility for all promotion beyond their announcements on social media. Furthermore, their standard policy was to provide no review copies, and I would have to meet their minimum pre-publication sales order in order to be published. I could deal with these annoyances if there were hope of some payment, but in this case payment would be limited to 12% of the initial print run, which would likely run from 40 to 100 copies. So let’s say I was one of the fortunates who merited a 100-copy printing (which, to be frank, is on the low end). My total payment would consist of twelve copies, out of which I would need to provide any copies sent to reviewers, leaving me with oh, let’s say nine or ten to sell at readings. Chances are after a couple of readings, I’d have no chapbooks remaining, and would need to purchase additional copies from the publisher if I wanted to sell more. But under their terms, I’d receive only a 30% discount. Bear in mind that bookstores generally require a 40% discount to sell a book – they have to make something on the transaction. The publisher’s price was $14, so each consignment sale through a bookstore would net a loss of $1.40 per book. Uh, no. I may be a poet, but I can add and subtract, and I will not a) pay a publisher to publish my work, b) lose money merely to see my words in print, or c) work for free (I’m willing to do my part, but the publisher must also function as more than just a printer).

What to do? Stay on the same track? Submitting to publishers, and then on the rare occasion a manuscript is accepted, peruse the publisher’s terms and sign only if they’re agreeable? Self-publish? I haven’t wanted to take on the headaches of self-publishing, but am leaning in that direction more and more. I have two chapbooks scheduled for release during the next year, and am grateful to the publishers for offering good terms to their writers. But after these are in print, what course should I take?

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.

Thirty-Five Years Later, I Raise My Hand

Thirty-Five Years Later, I Raise My Hand

In spring 1983 I enrolled in a poetry writing course thinking it might help improve my short fiction. I was a history major by default, had never taken a course in poetry, but believed, with absolutely no evidence, that I could write fiction. At the time I would have been hard-pressed to name five contemporary poets, even counting my professor. To be honest, the class struggled to hold my attention. Only about a quarter of the students seemed interested in writing, and the instructor was a bit, uh, tired. But for the first time in my life I read, really read, poetry. I fell in love with Galway Kinnell, Ai, James Wright and Carolyn Forche, to name just a few of my early enthusiasms. I wanted to write like them. So I wrote. And wrote. And wrote. Most of it was laughably bad, but somehow I managed to win an undergraduate poetry contest, which suggested that hope existed. Maybe someday, I thought, one of my poems will be published. This radical idea had never occurred to me before. Publication seemed to be the privilege of special people, and a lifetime of gathered fact revealed that I was unequivocably nothing special.

Early on in the semester, perhaps even in the first class, the professor asked how many of us thought we’d still be writing poetry in twenty years. I didn’t raise my hand. I didn’t know where I’d be in six months, much less what I’d be doing in twenty years. Since I’d realized late in the game that teaching was not for me, I had no job prospects, and few marketable skills, despite experience in chugging beer, manning sound-powered phones on a ship’s helicopter tower, scraping barnacles and bending rules. The world was limited. The world was limitless.

Another gray day

dividing the old and young

Oh, this aching hip!

A song from that time:

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.

Guidelines:

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:  fb.me/poetsforpeaceSA

Deadline: August 1, 2018

Click here to submit: https://moonshadowsanctuarypress.submittable.com/submit