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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Item of Interest || Antagonists and Conflict

from Jed Alexander's blog:

There are many different kinds of conflict. All stories don't have to have antagonists, but antagonists are often a critical part of genre fiction. But all antagonists do not have to be villains. Villains portrayed as evil and unredeemable not only reduce your conflict to a black and white morality tale, but they make your stories less complex, and less interesting. The key to great character development is identification. If your reader can identify with some aspect of the character, if they can have a sense of what it's like to be in that character's shoes, it enriches their understanding of what it's like to be a person. It provides a model for empathizing with real life people whose motives and actions you don't always agree with.

Read more at:

33/365 - 45/365 || Twelve Nighttime Tanka

Front of the courthouse,
making his proclamations
as Martin Luther,
a grackle shouted his speech
to anyone who would listen.

Spent the day writing
out short poems to anyone—
while you slept turning
over in the fresh halfdark—
murmuring broken phrases.

The cat roams dark rooms,
with you beside me breathing
in the night softly—
unaware I lie awake
staring down at blank pages.

Looking for a poem
reveals a full absence tonight,
an incompleteness,
a richness of nothingness—
as whispers on a dirt path.

Persistent image:
the moon rises yet again
in one of my poems
before the full night descends,
holds me closely in his hands.

From across the room,
the Virgin and Child stare down
from the boundaries
of the wall: nonjudgmental,
yet locked in observation.

Late night ritual:
the cat argues his feelings
from the bedroom floor,
then jumps onto the mattress,
only to leave one more time.

An unfinished poem
waits nearby on the nightstand,
folding itself up
rocking in the window’s draft,
with a resolved impatience.

Four days pass without
murmurs of passing tankas.
Their presence evades
the house skillfully— even
my papers burn with absence.

From the crib he calls—
a litany of new sounds,
each small syllable
from his mouth fractures language—
words change into paper moths.

Left unattended,
the crack in the window grows,
splits out a new path,
creates a hole large enough
for the full moon to slip through—

The bones of the house
settle down in the middle
of this persistent
drought— the lingering dry winds
callout ghosts from all corners.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

28/365 - 32/365

Along the highway,
ahead of the approaching storm,
a crescent moon hangs
balanced in hesitation
between waxing or waning.

He sits in the sun—
every morning the same man,—
same intersection—
bags piled around him. The sun.
No, he keeps shaking. No. No!

Despite the dry winds,
and the extended drought's reach—
fireworks can be heard
across the dark neighborhoods,
splitting the night with echos.

Even a small kiss
on the baby's shoulder blades
leaves behind a mark—
the act of loving transforms
to unintended bruisings.

Baby in your arms.
You pace the room. Trying to calm
his fresh energy
which rolls him as a comet,
restless, ever in motion.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Short Observation || Small Poem

Manuscript rejections keep filtering into the house— this month I picked up the submission inquiries to reclaim years lost when I isolated myself from any writing community. It's interesting how the interval between request mailings and publishers' responses has lessened over the last fifteen years, dramatically. In this digital age I should not be surprised at a hasty rejection note, but I still retain the expectation of waiting months before an official answer. Yet, even with the quick replies, I have found I must package up the manuscript as soon as possible to mail it out again. A step before the negativity compounds, resulting in a deepened inaction. Self induced paralysis is deadly; it locks up the creative drives, leaving one in a static rut.

On a more positive note: a short poem appeared in a benefit journal this week, Notebook Somalia. Using a Twitter feed, the editors hope to raise awareness of the ongoing African famine this season— offer some relief to the chaos.


From his rooftop perch,
the mockingbird shouts warnings,
siren-like details,
still maintaining an order—
despite the empty nest.

Friday, August 19, 2011


The baby's birthmark
flares from the back of his neck—
as a smudged thumbprint
set on the top of his spine—
his own crimson signature.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


The open book slips—
in the middle of the night—
falling from your side
of the bed, tripping into
my own small territories.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Tonight, images
refuse to fall into place;
words fail to cohere
with meaning— and yet, you sleep
unaware, with hands clenched tight.

Item of Interest || Watching Television

from Yahoo! News, a recent study shows the ill-effects of television viewing:

For every hour of television watched after age 25, lifespan fell by 22 minutes, according to the research led by Dr. J. Lennert Veerman of the University of Queensland.

But other experts cautioned that the study did not show that TV watching caused people to die sooner, only that there was an association between watching lots of TV and a shorter lifespan [...]"As a rule, the more time we spend watching TV, the more time we spend eating mindlessly in front of the TV, and the less time we spend being physically active," [Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, further commented:]"More eating and less physical activity, in turn, mean greater risk for obesity, and the chronic diseases it tends to anticipate, notably diabetes, heart disease and cancer."

Link no longer active:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Paper magnolias
group darkly in the corner,
open their wide mouths
to swallow down the daylight,
take in all lingering hours.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Without clear warning,
my foot suddenly arches
as a fist, twisting,
transforming itself backwards
in an angry half circle.

Friday, August 12, 2011

20/365 || Faulty Tanka

A depression settles—
no, rather a bitterness
emerges inside— weaving
itself tightly in my chest.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Item of Interest || Definition of Haiku

Particularly for my English 1302 students: I stumbled on the Haiku Society of America’s definition of a Haiku. What is relevant here, although terminologies and traditions change over time, this page offers a background which explains the notions of this short form of verse.

For more information visit:


Sporadic days of writing. My ritual of a poem-a-day is off track and sputtering. Maybe the habitual pattern will return this week.

In the back garden,
everything withdraws, pulls tight
within itself as
the drought lingers, settles down—
even the moon fades to black.

temporary silence || item of interest

After a few weeks of inactivity-- postings will resume on a steadier basis. First, for the time being, wanted to share a poem I found at decomP magazinE (not a typo). Benjamin Winkler's piece, "Atavism" stood out for me due to his sparse details in the phrasing and fragmented sentence structures. The idea of producing fractured verses always appeals to me as a reader of the avant-garde— the more experimental the poem, the more I enjoy it. Gertrude Stein, can you hear me?

Winkler's impressionistic style allows for numerous levels of interpretation— permits a psychological analysis of the poem's creative process and the persona in a sense.

The opening stanza reads:
naked days       and panic grass
father’s father put to seed
mouths     unto weed
hands     trowels     halfway
down     stuck     to clay

Is the speaker burying the past, or digging it up? Father-as-weed metaphor? Presents an interesting riddle to unravel. Hope to uncover more of his work in the future.

Read the full verse at: