The issue

The paper product, emergent from the box-
standing at attention, waiting on the swap,
when a user has to clean their glasses or to sneeze,
then pulls the tissue out with seamless ease.

And doing so, this draws a sibling sheet
up to the outside world with no retreat.
There, in place, arisen from the fold
a new page stands now, vigilant and bold.

This act is oft repeated in response
in times where sudden need is vital, the ensconced
leaflets follow on – each one the same.
Standing firm to meet the need is their acclaim.

And this should be a model for our deeds:
pull up those who follow us, to lead.

Wood matters

Smoke arises from the chimney stack

in billows

from an untended burn.

It smolders and flashes, then flames.

More provocation

and maybe some oak, dense among woods,

for fuel;

it brings back the smoke

to choke away the cleansing flame

and obscure the fire,

producing words like bitterness and char.

 

Clearing the cobwebs II

It is time for me to – again- clear the cobwebs of my brain and write about anything. Sometimes it is hard for me to focus creatively. I consider myself, first and foremost, a poet, yet I wonder if I sell myself short sometimes by limiting the genre that I write. I’ve been trying to change that a little over the last year or two by writing different things, some of which I share – some of which won’t see the light of day. It is difficult, because when I write here, I want to create something artistic. Yet, deep down, I aspire to some semblance of the “writerly life,” and I figure the only way to eventually get there is plug away, head down, and try to broaden my approach. I know the blogging world is filled with such dreams, and people who write about their struggles with their craft. What makes my struggle unique? I don’t know…It’s me and I am unique.

What I am thinking about

Earlier this year, I converted this blog over to its dot com domain.  I figured I have a lot of writing invested here and should work to keep it organized.  Also, I have recently been using the Upwork app to peruse freelance writing opportunities, just to gage what is out there and how I might fit in.  I’ve applied to a few opportunities over the last year, but have not gotten any nibbles.  I want to get my feet wet with a writing opportunity that isn’t necessarily driven by my own time-table just to see if I can get it done.  Does anyone else out there use Upwork? Do you have any advice about using the app or the application process? Are there any other freelance boards or websites that work for you?

The political climate in this country is making me ill

It started with me during the election of 2016 (like most people), and the elevation of rude discourse and name-calling and gas-lighting as debate, rather than research and fact-based discussion.  45 is not fit for this role as president and the Republican leadership shows no interest in trying to maintain a balance.  We have seen enough and need to put a muzzle on the current administration before any further damage is done.  Elections are coming up.  Do your diligence about learning the facts about issues from multiple independent sources – not just someone’s opinion or interpretation or spewed nonsense from 45.  And if you want to read opinions, select a balanced view – from both sides of the aisle – and at least try to understand both opinions  – and VOTE.

What I am reading

I am currently in the middle of a couple mystery/thriller novels:  The Alienist by Caleb Carr and Origin by Dan Brown.  This genre of novel is my wheel-house for reading. While growing up, I read a steady diet of mysteries (Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen) which lead to espionage thrillers from Jack Higgins and Tom Clancy, and later in my life, other mysteries/thrillers by Kathy Reichs, Steve Berry, Dan Brown, et al.  I enjoy the pacing in these stories and the details that get embedded in the books.  It makes me wish/hope that I could research and write a novel like that someday.  But mostly, I enjoy following the journey to solving a mystery.

What I am watching

I caught onto the new Doctor Who fever with the series premiere a couple of weeks ago.  I like Jodie Whitaker as the Doctor and I am still undecided on the companions.  As with all previous transitions to new Doctors, it will take a bit for the show and the characters to take hold.  Leading up to the premiere, I got to revisit old episodes and saw a couple of my favorites:  Blink, with the introduction of the Weeping Angels is still a top episode in my opinion.  The Eleventh Hour gave us the introduction to Matt Smith as the Doctor and Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, and is in my opinion, the best that the series has done with introducing a new character (two in fact, three if you count Arthur Darvill as Rory).  The Angels Take Manhattan, another solid episode involving the Weeping Angels – gave us Amy and Rory’s farewell.

Halloween Time

Tis the season for scares and bumps in the night.  I’m not much for modern horror movies.  The recent glut of slasher and gore movies doesn’t really appeal to me – and how many times can one antagonist (Jigsaw, Michael Meyers, Freddie) stay alive… AND how many times can someone remake the same movie (Halloween – Geesh).

Horror movies I do like include:  It (the recent theatrical release was awesome), Ghost Story (from 1981, starring Fred Astaire, John Houseman, and other legends – a great adaptation of Peter Straub’s novel), Insidious (the 1st movie scared the be-jezus out of my family – I haven’t bothered with the sequels) and The Shining (Stanley Kubrick’s film is, hands down, the best adaptation of a Stephen King novel – though I think the recent release of It has righted a lot of wrongs with Stephen King films). I recently watched Army of Darkness and enjoyed it – less scared by it than amused. I admit that I also enjoy the campy and understated horror of the Hammer Studio films from the 1960’s and early 1970’s.

Have a thought or opinion about anything here – leave a comment!  Thanks for reading.

John

 

 

Cento: For prayers

Threading a long night through the rules and channels
in my memories I thought of trust.

When you get new things
you treat them like glass for a while.

Now the stars appear and the Night dreams
a life, the dazzler, the dark.
We will lose the sun
and surely take everything off your hands.

I don’t know the word for because,
How do I tell my mouth to speak?
It’s quiet again and now the sky is a tangled
mess of rags seeking out the bored and unwilling,
the heavens melted, dropping water down.

Long nights for simple words
Shy words tiptoeing from mouth to ear.

At different times,
a feeling comes, not woven by innocent hands.
And how could any of us get by
with one in the way?

****************************
This Cento is composed of lines from the following poets:
Robert Pinsky, Alex Dimitrov, John Lee Clark, Jericho Brown, Deborah Landau, Mark Tardi, Brenda Hillman, Jenny Xie, Melissa Stein, Ari Banias, Melvin Dixon, Donika Kelly, James J. Ryan, Lucy Ives,Pauli Murray, Adam Clay

Shadow poem

I tried again, in the shadow of the moon,
to leave a word of peace behind.
Sowing the winds, where earlier in the day –
the road dust arose from cobblestones,
and ringing songs fell in bell tones.

I jumped along, in the shadow of the moon
with no peace at all in my mind.
No poem to break the noise away,
I hear out among the busy drones
with ringing songs that fail and moan.

I paused and sat, in the shadow of the moon
deciding that my place in kind
is not a published communique.
These words are simply what I own.
They ring the songs, and that’s well-known.

***************
a poem about poems and publishing and rejection.

Devils, you know

Hoppler and Ickle
give winklets and snorts,
callous and curmudgeon troubles of sorts.

Beleaguered daydreams
seen grousing in gloom-
colloping seeds of an impending doom.

Walking their cretins
on boardwalks of bread
opening quand’ries, revealing their stead.

Driving the demons
all gone malcontent –
cavernous morass of judicial intent.

Watch well the swindlers
and give them no sway
shine light upon them and thwart their foul play.

Hoppler and Ickle
won’t deal with the fact
the devils you know is just what they lack.

Paragon

The frost that abides on the blades of grass
in the early morning darkness,
will sublimate as the sunbeams rise and amass
and reveal the work of the artless.

The light will envelope a verdant day
and warm where cold was belated,
then tarry with a lush and capable stay
just as salvation created.