How could this be? I’ve been blogging for four years. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I began, but somehow have managed to keep at it. I’m grateful for your visits, likes and comments, but most of all, I’m appreciative for the friendships that have grown out of this odd form of communication. Thank you!
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.
The Neurotic Dreams September in April
Already I have become the beginning of a partial ghost, sleeping the summer
sleep in winter, choosing night over breakfast and the ritual of dousing lights.
This much I know: the moon returns each month, and tonight you lie awake
in a bed across the river, in a house with sixteen windows and a cold oven,
where your true name hides under the floorboard behind the pantry door.
Differences season our days — from flowers to snow, root to nectar — take
one and the other lessens in its own sight. One day I’ll overcome this longing
for things and will be complete in what I own, living my life beyond the page,
past the white space and dead letters. When I mention hearts, I mean that
muscle lodged in my chest. Genetics, not romance. Tissue. Arteries, veins.
Dark cars on the street. Cattle grazing in the damp pasture. The liquor store
sign glaring “CLOSED.” Separate yet included, we observed these scenes but
assigned them to the periphery, grounded in our own closed frames. In a
different time I would transcend my nature and strive to withstand yours.
Look. That star, the fog silhouetting the tombstones. A bobbing light.
Love is a gray morning, a steel-toed shoe or coating of black ice; nothing you
do will repeal its treachery. There, on my stone porch, I will inhale the smoke
of a thousand burned photographs. The sun will descend but you won’t share
it, and I’ll no longer hum your tune. When I rise no one sees. Or everyone
stares. Imagine that great cow of a moon lowing through the night.
“The Neurotic Dreams September in April” was published in deLuge in December 2016, and was written during the August 2015 Tupelo Press 30-30 challenge. Many thanks to artist extraordinaire Ron Throop for sponsoring and providing the title.
One night exhausts another,
layering sheets and blankets,
wrinkles and folds. Oh, the
body wants to still the mind,
and shedding this weight,
float freely through the night.
Your memory of sleep’s touch
withers as you lie there,
absorbing the fan’s pattern.
How wonderful, then, to finally
drift across the room and settle
in that relaxed corner, among the
cobwebs and shadows and those
frustrated hours now set aside.
From Every Moment a Second
Finishing Line Press has pushed back the publication date of my chapbook, From Every Moment a Second. It should be released in mid-November. If you haven’t ordered it but intend to, you may do so here.
Many, many thanks to the members of this blog community for supporting my writing. I am truly grateful for your wisdom, advice, humor and willingness to help me traverse the strange and wonderful worlds of poetry and publication.
In this powerful four-minute clip on the Poetry Foundation site, Ocean Vuong reads and discusses his poem “Toy Boat,” in memory of Tamir Rice.
“Forgetting Charm” first appeared in Issue Two of The Icarus Anthology.