Self and reality. Symbol and language. Myth and image. Memory and consciousness.
Dream and unreality: locus communis.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

free write

Reading poetry of Robert Haas—stumbled on an approach he addresses, briefly, an implication of layering images, the stanzas as interlocking boxes, each inside the other; told as in transition, a camera angle moving forever inward, beyond the microscopic into deeper levels of alternative dimensions.

It is important to dig deeper for the source, shovel back the ash and silt of the past, moving beyond the layers of recognizable history—fall into fictionalized realms—Elizabeth I pulling back a section of her blouse revealing a mole under her right breast, —and further inward, below the surface impression of the text, in the closet a doll sits, holding a box, within the box a castle, within the castle the moon.

Layers of rooms, because stanza = room.

Layers of Dante’s Hell or Dante’s Heaven.

Spiral staircase leading upwards, or drilling downward.


Once around the pond—
no haiku emerge from
the murky green depths.

Monday, November 29, 2010


After a blue pill,
the world blurs into slower
motion, a soft fade.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Despite the cold snap,
patches of clover still rise—
persistent greening.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Moments ago turned on the radio for background classical music—and Bolero fell out with its insistent rhythm: dum deda-ditty de, dada dum, dada da—So of course when I start working on the "Learning Spanish" project, the poem collides with the persistent beat as I recite the lines out loud seeking a balance between the stanzas.

And R.'s parents walk into the poem unexpectedly, making their lunch and coffee in their home on the island—I see them singing to each other in a casual manner, not as a fifties musical with sudden troupe of dancing couples waltzing in the room— but a more subtle reality— a connection built between language, ocean, phonetics:
...the same manner your parents
move about their narrow kitchen, a casual salsa,
following rituals and patterns
of making cafe con leche, then

simmer pink beans
with chunks of stewed gourd,
while a stalk of green plantains arches,
leans forward to a ripeness,
leans forward to listen

to your parents humming
with the radio, an unrecognizable lyric,
a washed-out blue tune,
the same color of the streets in the capital-city
which run as streams of faded beryl tones...
Now what remains is to shift the scene back to the original theme...

Patterns of blackbirds
lift up, rising overhead.
What does this resolve?

Friday, November 26, 2010


Still, there are times when
expectations weigh me down
with a bag of heavy stones.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


hovers over my notebook—
constant irritant

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NewPages Blog: The Immortality of Fairy Tales

NewPages Blog: The Immortality of Fairy Tales: "'About 50 years ago, critics were predicting the death of the fairy tale. They declared it would fizzle away in the domain of kiddie literat..."


November morning.
You open the blinds looking
in vain for the moon.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


No haiku emerge
out of the pull of evening—
only full darkness.

autumn milkweed

autumn milkweed, originally uploaded by d_g_s.

This autumn the milkweed in our backyard managed to pass the six foot mark. Now, some of the strands arch-over in half circles, still flowering, still producing numerous seed pods. Each individual branch ends in five or more pods, more than I expected. Every-so-often a ripened husk bursts open revealing layers of feathery-down and countless grains. With the right wind gust, the yard fills with the parachuting seeds.

Monday, November 22, 2010


The milk weed pods split
open for a quick release of
an early snowfall.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

192/365 - 193/365

Three misplaced llamas
stand as if in a warm daze
near a blue hydrant.

Counting syllables.
The only sounds from the night
a few distant chimes.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

187/365 - 191/365

rain falls on the poet as
he circles his poem.

Gray autumn descends—
only a pale green exists:
as a curled lizard.

{—and a tanka form emerged today as well—}

Week of silences.
But now: mucky turtle crawls,
toad and crane startle;
at the base of a green pond—
one drowned rat floats, suspended.

The drowned rat’s carcass
lies wearing its mousey coat
beside the pond’s edge.

A hint of a stain
is all that is left behind,
from the rat’s grey corpse.

Walking by the pond
We startle ducks into flight
cross shards of moon.

Friday, November 19, 2010

182/365 - 186/365

Stumbling with the third section of latest poem. Even when walking around the pond today, I circled at least two or three times before a haiku concept arrived. Usually the verse composes itself immediately, with the formulated pace of my walk

But the poem, the poem “Learning Spanish” wanders into a memory without a sense of personality—the persona seems dry, cardboard cutout—I suppose the lady with the pushcart needs a voice. A phrase or a glance. Personify an abstraction of reality. Can she become Memory itself? Or Language?

Crescent moon shifting—
a rising epiphany—
listens intently.

Another day lies
without clear inspirations.
No new fresh-faced muse.

Interrupted walk
caught in unexpected rain.
Memories falling.

Discovered an Irish sculptor, Fidelma Massey, ( who creates wonderful work, images unique and eccentric, based off a mythic energy and dream logic in a variety of forms and symbolic archetypes. I envy the mannerism of her figures—they arch and bend, blur between a theatre masque procession and a tableau depicting ancient gods and goddesses—they curve within themselves, half human, half animal.

Halfway round the pond.
In the distance faint music:
a boy with a flute.

Sunlight curves within
the base of blue ceramics
coiling tight circles.

The night splits open
spilling out blue black voices
from unseen grackles.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

177/365 - 181/365

Thursday night slips close
under the bedsheets, wanting
to escape cold air.

Managed to work a few moments on my “Learning Spanish” project. Brought it down to a working draft, broken into three sections, intervals of time: past, present, future— ideally the segments should contain the same amount of lines—but I do not know how severely I will uphold such a rigid rule.

And too, I am stuck for ideas of future possibilities. Brendan is the main focus of the future, yes—but what else could act as a secondary backup image? For that matter how can I tie Brendan with a mention of learning Spanish?

Struggling to find words
or new phrases to describe
the mundane moment.

Odd these last few days,
random acts of pale haiku
scatter and evade.

In an empty room
the television stays on,
casting out blue lights.

No moon out tonight.
Only the lights of passing
planes dragging darkness.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

172/365 - 176/365

Not yet twenty-four hours till my birthday. Yet close enough to mention the upcoming moment. A little bitter-sweet, glass half full/empty moment. One step closer to turning fifty. There is a poem here, somewhere. Just as a poem lies in almost everything these days. And really I had a point when the pen began writing on the page—but it wandered off by itself, so I stumble around seeking something to write about. Perhaps Ricky’s infected sinuses. Some days seem more realistic than others. Some hours flow with a rush of mundane waste—today I created databases for grades. Talked to Mom and Dad momentarily.

Checked e-mail… M. sent me a message finally. I did not open it. The hurt lingers. The rejection strong. Even if he states an ignorance to his avoidance, the reality is: he has moved to a higher plane of celebrity-poet. He is beyond me. So be it. You must keep writing. Walk around the pond for ideas. Physically. Mentally. Spiritually.

In late October.
Even now. Two dragonflies
mate, skimming the air.

the mind falls into silence.
A deep autumn pool.

Forty-something years
bring me up to this moment—
counting syllables.

After wrestling with myself for almost twenty minutes, I finally sent a reply note to M., explaining about the manuscript given to me in the late eighties by his ex-wife—I managed to misplace one section of the work, which adds to my frustration. I’ll need to dig it out of my notebooks and reread the poems—perhaps use a few lines as reference.

I remain a bundle of contradictory emotions about the whole situation anyway—both M. and R. put me into a conflicting psychological realm—torn loyalties to each of them. She intended me to publish her words— but legally I think M. owns them—and although she gave the manuscript as a gift to me I cannot realistically incorporate the collection into a volume on my own. Nor do I want to ride M.’s coat tails… but R.’s poetry should be published.

Sea tossed in milkweed,
a poet sits, contemplates
his situation—

Completely by accident I found out one of my students passed away—one time he had mentioned he was prone to seizures—and I only half-believed him. Students tend to relate heavy dramas and operatic fables, embellishing the truth with heavy varnish of possibilities and probability. In Seth’s case he related an accurate portrayal of himself. When he didn’t show up for midterms a few weeks ago I assumed he’d be back alter wanting a retake… lately he had taken to wearing baseball hats, making dry remarks from the back of the class, his deep voice carrying strong from the walls, despite his thin frame—a tight body—just a few inches shorter than myself.

No one told me. I discovered the fact while confirming roll off the school database, just on whim to help construct a grade sheet—

The hour stumbles late,
heavy with the day’s events,
and persistent rain.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

167/365 - 171/365

Still fighting off seasonal sinus issues—after two or three weeks of a slow recovery, I took an extra dosage of cold remedy medication. Within fifteen minutes the dose settles heavy into my system, drying out my nose and ears—but leaving a dull hum in my head.

Would like to work on my Spanish poem, but my comprehension lowers into instinctual patterns. Common actions easiest to recall.

Received another rejection—so promptly sent out five free verses to a new on line journal. Feel somewhat better. Positive action out of negative. Although finishing a poem perhaps would promote a more uplifting feeling.

Milkweed stalk as brush for abstractions and textured lines—outer edges contours use micron pens for tighter details

Ricky gives me three words at random for poem:
camisa, tabillero, portada. Still toying with possible applications—a listing would be the typical expectation.

Cold medication
leaves me in a heavy fog.
You confess the same.

Burdened by flowers
a dilapidated cross
leans by the road side.

For some unknowable reason I always plant the moon in my verses, a persistent white blooming, grey magnolias in dusk, unclosing their smiles… yet. I lie when I say “unknowable”—the image of the satellite lingers because it suits the mood of the individual, a constant icon shifting in phases, some nights drawing out of focus, permitting any slight gesture to easily block it from the perspective of the horizon. The moon exists as a perpetual reminder of my individualism, wait, no, my singularity, that sense of self that lies in the center of the skull—

Spent the day grading
while the moon circled elsewhere,
hidden from full view.

Day without walking.
And now a slight nervousness
lingers in my hands.

Shifting through your lungs
a pale sinus infection
invades your system.

Monday, November 15, 2010

162/365 - 166/365

The world on her back
Old Tortoise scuttles beneath
the water’s surface.

The night settles in
with television static
unfolding over—

Do not feel the need
for words tonight; exhaustion
numbs the thought process.

Just before midnight,
with cat asleep at my feet.
Finishing lectures.

No words. No letters.
No extremes. No new phrases.
Complete negation.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

157/365 - 161/365

As a lost bundle,
buried deep in blue bed sheets,
the cat curls, asleep.

In another house—
cross town— the same moon rises
over head. Slowly.

On the edge of sleep.
Despite the early night hour—
the day feels wasted.

After weeks of silence, I finally move forward with a new idea: “Learning Spanish” is the tentative title. Playing with my stumbling understanding of a second language.
          tilda / eñe
Fluorescent hallway
lit with colorless tones. Then,
a black moth descends.

It is just enough—
innumerable grackles
and slow rising moon.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

152/365 - 156/365

A prayer in basic terms is a communication with a divine presence. Prayers at night put the day’s events into perspective of a spectrum of a full life— or building a bridge between the Material World and the Divine World through the subconscious. If, as the Transcendentalists believed, we carry an aspect of God within each and every one of us, talking inwardly to the Hidden Soul, we communicate outwardly to the Universe itself.
So, in turn I can shift the notion a step further with creation of poetry: creation of haiku channels inner meditative reflection to help contemplate how the Natural World fits into the scope of the Universe, how humanity fits into a Divine Plan

No matter how mundane the subject, we celebrate ourselves.

Fresh tarred timber poles,
aligned on the road, glisten
darkly with black sweat.

Sooner or later I will have to acknowledge Ruth’s death. She would prefer something rich in surreal details, almost baroque really, abstract symbols walking into the text with indecipherable analogies: the flute player wearing his shirt of bells; the Peruvian bird catcher with empty cages calling out his daughter’s name; Gabriel Garcia Lorca combing back his hair, whispering a lullaby from his childhood—they could be presented as a masque of characters of course, all secondary to a little boy in his chair, newspapers spread under his clean white pants, his red crayon spelling out his name, over and over, practicing his awkward letters, handwriting shaky

A point of review:
sleep avoided me last night,
a callous lover.

Soon I need to return to previous ideas set up in August—Juan Bobo for instance. His mother will need to grow tired of his misadventures—the dressing up of pigs in dresses, carrying water in a basket, so she props him in a nearby woods to attract bees—they move in during winter. Aim for the fairytale logic, tones of Grimm Brothers or Anne Sexton’s Transformations.

Read up as well on beekeeping terminology—check the medieval poems as well. One of my old text books from St. Louis has the complete dream sequence of Piers Plowman, although I believe a different character meets the Beekeeper.

“This is not a story my people tell.” —Laurie Anderson

Apiary —a place to keep bees

Pressure in my ears
throbs, pulses, a steady hum
rippling through my head.

Scene today in the neighborhood: boys playing with toy guns, plastic water shooters, but their actions mimicked a raw video game, jerking motions, play acting death scenes, wounding each other in their shoulders, chest, face. The realism of their recoil, their heads pulling back, snapping neck muscles, it all proved too graphic for ten year old boys. Where did they gain such knowledge?

“The blackbirds settled / their clannish squabbles in the reeds.” —Robert Haas

Juan Bobo gets a nest of blackbirds in his head, his empty head—bees in his chest.

A rough tribe of boys
shoot metaphoric pistols
in their friend’s faces.

Torn between multiple projects—so of course none of them get worked on during my free time. Yet, due to a unique process of procrastination—the language shifts in my mind. The poems morph into something other.

Keep circling back to images of Ruth; Robert Haas seems to steer me into a frank and complimentary discussion about her: alcoholism, apples rotting in her desk, breasts falling out of night shirt, her intellect, her need for attention. Fractured image: poet, banshee, drunk, idealist. Needs a central metaphor.

Numerous grackles
scattered in October grass—
but not one haiku.

Friday, November 12, 2010

147/365 - 151/365

As words fail—complete,
dusk drops a greening mayfly
on my book’s arched page.

My personal ghosts
reappear, yes once again.
Persistent egrets.

Across autumn’s cusp
of sky—seeming just in reach—
field hawk lifts her wings.

The autumn sun slipped
on the horizon, breaking
through a spider’s web.

Clusters of dragon
flies coast over wild grasses—
darting in autumn.

Knotted groups of bulbs—
yellow cannas— planted in
early October.

A few days ago I read a poem by Temple Cone titled “Prayer for the Body” and found an element of inspiration for a poem of my own. Yet tonight I cannot find the source again. His work still shows the original notions from before—I just cannot realize the specific tone which bridged the distance between his sense of reality to my own writing environment.

We moved bookcases around to add a greater sense of space to the office. It helped somewhat. It just happens the population of books remain heavy—

A waste of a day.
Waiting for my allergies
to leave my system.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

142/365 - 146/365

On the pond’s surface,
balanced between reflection
and self. A wasp rests.

No words for tonight—
my vocabulary fails.
Sleep consumes my thoughts.

Sinuses clog up
throat, ears, nose. I drown in phlegm.
Fever burning tight.

Considering the fractured approach again for poetry. Say 10 or 15 haiku loosely bound by subject. In this case: crows, blackbirds, grackles. Whereas my earlier tanka project consisted of individual poems, this flock of haiku would be a collective thought—a grouped series of verses.

Or a new approach entirely—five stanzas of five lines composed of five syllables (5 x 5 x 5) under a common binding title. In this manner the individual poem would at least tread into the territory of a secondary collection, a part two within the manuscript. And still require some craft and experimentation.

Grading more papers.
Watching the clock shift forward.
While thinking of crows.

A foul mood rises,
from the pit of my stomach,
ascending the spine.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

137/365 - 141/365

The bulk of the moon
transitions behind cypress
branches. Then a crow.

Struggling with 3 or 4 poems at once. None of them behaving in any sense of the word. And I am tired of complaining of all the failures in my life. Think of the words. The flow of phrases. Maybe watch Wings of Desire. Would spark the old energies again.

Yannis Ritsos helps. The translations of his work prove a valuable resource

caught among storming egrets,
a circling tempest.

Stalled out on five or six projects—I say “stalled” as if they were engines sputtering, then flooding over with belches of diesel. Each of the individual poems rest in various stages of unfinished modes.

Yet it feels good to have these handfuls of work waiting to be completed. I progress, motion forward. Receive a rejection—send out newer material. Do not make a connection, send an email to another poet I admire. Fight the invisibility. Resist the notion of isolation

A slight apathy
descends; words seem to fail me.
Unfinished poems wait.

After a walk around the pond—an hour’s walk, a probable conclusion was reached for my “3 Scenes” poem—it is a full working draft at least. The morning may prove it too awkward—the ending stanzas jolt slightly, jumping between two subjects. To my ear, it sounds fluid—a planned, eccentric strategy, not a haphazard meandering.

Another reject from River Styx; annoyance. “Not enough votes” the note read. At least the reject slip was personalized. Not fully formal.

Fall walked in last week,
unannounced with hat in hand.
Terse smile on his face.

Strips of dried guava. Water. Reading poetry in late afternoon. Waiting on electrician to arrive to install a ceiling fan—

rime = hoarfrost

A basic statement:
while watering gardenias,
a green dragonfly.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

132/365 - 136/365

In the oven, a chicken bakes, clicking and spitting in its own juices. The house is warm with scents of the food, left-over garlic and a basic litany of herbs.

Reading Mary Oliver, her early works. She has a profound way of making me pause between pages. One is forced to meditate on her work in a way that is not often evident with more contemporary writers. On the surface her words appear plain, minimalistic—but the verses carry a heft, as a stone…

A day to read poems
and then slowly fold up fresh
laundry in warm piles.

Boys with sticks poke at
a brown toad carcass left on
the side of the road.

State the obvious:
frustration of a blank page
and errands to run.

A moment clichéd:
the full moon descends over
the back garden wall.

She simply stands there.
In the middle of the road.
Watching cars speed by.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

127/365 - 131/365

Inside the lamp’s globe
a collection of dead moths
rest, drowning in light.

a gold epiphany flies
among grey sparrows.

Once around the pond
our conversation ceases.
The sky threatens rain.

Wandering bookshelves.
Hands fingertipping volumes.
Sorting through the titles.

Ricky found an international market stocked with Middle Eastern foods and East European desserts; stalls of figs, dates, broad bean stalks, large fava beans, bags of poppy seed, fresh warm pita, numerous spices—a poem lies here somewhere, a song of diversity.

There are days when I feel invisible to the poetry community. Even today after calculating the poems published this year, I cannot seem to build an audience or steady readers for any of my poems. I keep reaching out to other writers, other editors—and all I get is silence.

Another new series of rejections fall into the mailbox this week. More negation to contend with—and I send out more material once more.

Women in burkas
among red pomegranates,
between market stalls.

Friday, November 5, 2010

122/365 - 126/365

Tonight the cat mews
from the edge of the mattress

Despite a late cup
of coffee, sleep settles down—
curls up on my chest.

Mid-September walk:
two moths jostle in circles
across a dog’s turd.

Middle of the road
lies a child’s discarded shoe—
sense of purpose lost.

Singing out of tune
while walking alone. And then
a sudden egret.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

117/365 - 121/365

Anymore the act of writing a haiku suffices for a creative burst of energy, no need to relate more information regarding day’s events, political agendas of the day—so I allow sleep to cover me with his deep wings…

Dad and I painted the garage door with a paint gun today. He showed me the rhythm and pace to maintain, while shouting directions over the roar of the machine: the vibrations shook through my arms, my shoulders—shuddering a thin coat of beige over the metal doors.

We pass a chimney
wearing a cap of bright blue:
scraps of tarp bound tight.

September dusk walks
aimlessly in slow circles.
The moon waits, patient.

Shift poetry down to the bare scene. To the mundane act of opening an envelope in the kitchen, cutting partner’s hair on the back porch, closing a book when finished reading—a beauty exists here, in terse fragmented scenes. Shades of reality.

So in the case of my vocalist’s solo: she glances up at a boy in the room. But what obvious characteristic can he have? Is the dragonfly tattoo enough—or is it too commercial?

Open book resting
across my chest almost as
a full, rough embrace.

Set on the night stand
a slim tower of books wait—
murmur to themselves.

for the solo-vocal: heads up girl I tell myself

Display the full poem in fractured haikus, numbered. Keeping a sense of bridged verses—the idea is to collect fragmented scraps of songs/lyrics related to her surroundings.

Then create the Juan Bobo poem second— then create a full song-poem; look at Elizabeth Bishop again.

After heavy rains
oblong circles of mushrooms
spiral across yards.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

112/365 - 116/365

(See “On Sentimentality” for commentary.)
Luminous green fires:
constellations of may flies
locked in August’ web.

The sky threatens rain
with dark blue motioning— yet
it all proves for naught.

Like a lost traveler,
our conversation wanders,
seeking out a home.

An hour of silence.
Then the roars of school buses,
shrill calls of children.

Yesterday two boys
circled the pond with their dogs:
symbols of my loss.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

107/365 - 111/365

Last two mornings I wake to sensations of utter despair. Regret. Possible side effects of the medication the doctor gave me to fight off the pain in my elbow— so tonight I do not take the prescription, resort to a typical aspirin, standard cure for any ache.

By chance I stumbled on Joan Seliger Sidney’s poetry on-line. Her work survives, appears everywhere, whereas mine flounders, hides, lies ignored. But I contacted her—as a voice out of the past. She deserves a new poem dedicated to her.

Not yet 9.25 p.m. Trying to find a way to create a poem for my soloist, the vocalist in the
Quintet series. I visualize her, channel her voice, but the phrases are not in tune yet— the frequency out of reach—perhaps a running metaphor revolving around tarot deck or Ouija board? Or maybe something from the medieval lives of the saints would work better… Christian mysticism…

OR look at a past haiku—begin with a visual from her immediate environment— her "now" moment woven with a song shown in italics… trading between the two; weaving different realities in unison.

Suddenly, without
warning, five wild birds startle
out of the underbrush.

A day with absence—
clusters of horseflies circle,
dive, rather than words

I know (now) what style of ballad to use for the secondary verses for the vocalist series. In a sense, a modern dance torch song—experimental edge while at the same time maintaining old school rhythms. Elements of modern technology would not hurt, a metaphor of the immediate computer age decorated in 30s or 40s concepts—

I like the notion of a car, or bridging distance between two lovers—or a positive rush of desire: the voice confirming the notion of doing anything for the other.

Repetition would work, a refrain in tetrameters:
“as if the wheels could only fly.”
.: train
.: subway
.: airplane (on runway)
.: rocket
.: automobile

Bluegreen dragonfly
with wings stuttering wildly
in a crow’s harsh caw.

Cup of bad coffee:
watered down caffeination—
day of frustration.

New experiment:
a swarm of bees — Juan Bobo (idiot child) Parental figure retells persona new versions of the folk hero from Puerto Rico, but because the female persona acknowledges the stories are not authentic the poem does not try to come across as an appropriation— just a warped mirror of a reality—
Likewise I can compound a cautionary tale to a higher level:

five stanza of five syllables (once complete): 5x5 he sits
slack-jawed in the woods
an idiot boy
as in the stories
Tia Juana told
at night: Juan Bobo

all rough simpleton
until he transformed
to a swarm of bees...

I remember sometime ago, in the eighties I wrote a dream-reality piece with a similar concept: parental figure abandoning child in woods as in a German folk tale. Psychological violence expressed for children's literature.

The cliché stretched out,
branched off, opened small flowers,
sprouted august weeds.

Monday, November 1, 2010

102/365 - 106/365

Seventeen egrets
reflect back as seventeen
syllables, resting.

Darting and flinging
his body in the milkweed—
a little warrior.

Sometimes I utilize thousands of syllables and the works still remain a convoluted metaphor without resolution. There cannot be one pure moment of absolute happiness, nor full satiated desire. Both extremes do not exist in the natural world. Both moods are tainted by other emotional states which cloud the surface—they water down the waves of intense joy, depression, excitement, misery.

My writing meanders within these extremes. Collects different random moments and recollections and loosely weaves them together by word association or theme—this is what I aim to show: the more random we try to make out lives, the more similar we are.

We are all fractures of conflicting feelings and vastly unique histories. It is a paradox; we are all the same, because we are all different.

I read a poem recently by Stephen Gibson from The River Styx: “Dueno and Baptisery, Florence”—he uses a similar concept, different planes of perception unfolding various points of view: tourists, rebel youth, a marketing campaign, locals— all components which makeup the scene, all individuals necessary to reach a sense of fullness within the poem’s message—it’s hard to pinpoint one strong example from the full work. Through an individual multifaceted experience an universality should be reached. The poet as a cracked mirror reflecting back the public to itself.

Sometimes 17
syllables are not enough
to express my moods.

Falling into a fist of frustration: every idea I begin to structure out in my head soon falls apart, crumbles under pressure of purpose. That is: does the idea function as a purposeful concept. The internal editor works overtime today critiquing every phrase or verb; random thoughts should appear aimless, without clear purpose. It is up to the reader to apply a function or a goal to emerge from the text.

The manner I treat my impulsive ideas—this is what my students do to their poetry assignments. If they cannot find an immediate moral or point they assume the work is only a collection of words and phrases. They are not taking the second step of processing the information or meditation on possible themes. Which provides a lesson for myself. Even the most decorative language poem contains a point. Decoration in itself is a function. The reader must transcend the situation and the text.

On outside tables
a young grackle laughs and then
steals sugar packets.

Yesterday we found a used book store; in the poetry section I found a collection of verse glossed over in pencil. Almost every page dog eared with notations regarding strategy and technique: metaphor, simile, alliteration. The markings distract the eye in a fashion; they serve as a precise dissection of the verse. Somewhere a poem of my own making lies here, in this event—

Lull of midmorning.
Neighborhood empty. Silent—
yet distant yapping.