2010 & ALL THAT

And so the chorus of resolution rises to the very spires of our collective conscience. Who among us dares not absolve some perceived sin or excess with fresh pledge? Well, hey, I’ve surfeited of much in 2010, including the most noble and the most base of human indulgences, that which bends and pins the ends of both to mark the center of all. Do I really have to name my topic? The universal lyric from punk to Puccini -- it inspires and conspires. It hurts. It heals, they say. They say it makes the world go ‘round. If so, we must send it ‘round with vigor. What better promise to make and keep? (Click "Read More")

2011-05-20T00:32:21+00:00 December 30th, 2010|

EVE

Twas the night before Christmas and all through my mind, strolled ghosts of the old year, visions of new times… PAUSE PLEASE FOR A PROGRAMING UPDATE: “The blog originally planned for this place has been suspended by the arrival on my doorstep of twenty friends on a caroling crawl through the neighborhood. Customarily, my moments of solitude and introspection remain largely unbroken. When the doorbell rang just now, I assumed it was a weary UPS agent with one final parcel to deliver. Instead, I was greeted with the smiles of familiar faces, shining with the spirit of the season. A boy with a fiddle, a girl with a flute, and parents aplenty – even “I’m John like the toilet,” in what looked like a suit! (Click "Read More")

2011-05-20T00:33:53+00:00 December 24th, 2010|

“GIVE ME LITTLE DRINK FROM YOUR LOVING CUP”

Sometimes I write because I can and sometimes I write because I must. Today, it’s the latter. My loving cup is needling low. I need a refill. When I survey the vineyard of my recent days, yes there’s a blight of sorts, but much rich sweetness abounds – it’s a question of pressing these fruits to my heart and letting nature’s transpositional mastery have its way with me. I will surrender to the intoxicating effects of life’s purest and most astute pleasure: friendship. Take me…

2010-12-14T00:11:52+00:00 December 14th, 2010|

CARPE CLAY

Nature is so brilliant. There’s no point in attempting the replication of perfection. But sometimes, we base and flawed creatures transcend folly and make art. Art is our best glancing brush at the wonder of nature. Science is, as well. These are the marvels that human beings bring forth. We, with the gift of imagination, give life to these miracles. Occasionally, the gifts are so lovely that they help us see and feel even the grace of nature itself more clearly. My friend Maria grows porcelain roses.....

2010-11-22T14:46:58+00:00 November 22nd, 2010|

SHINE A LIGHT

I wish more journalists opened eyes and catalyzed action like Nicholas D. Kristof. In “Half the Sky,” coauthored with his wife, Mr. Kristof charts a path to ending the gender-based violence that claims one woman per minute. Yes, mass rape and honor killings, maternal mortality, and sex trafficking and forced prostitution impact one woman every single minute. Is there any question that this desecrates any reasonable vision of the world we want to live in? And yet, too many of us, point a finger or throw up our hands. Mr. Kristof doesn’t have all the answers, but www.halftheskymovement.org is a solid place to begin, then keep going with http://www.passivawa.org/.....

2010-11-09T10:44:36+00:00 November 9th, 2010|

APOCALYPSE NOW

When was the last time you asked yourself the Robinson Crusoe Question and made a list of the items you’d most want to have if castaway from civilization? This question came up for a group of us, after reading “The Portable Phonograph,” a short story about the last survivors of a war that has destroyed virtually all forms of life and human endeavor. In this Walter Van Tilburg Clark classic, the few men who remain meet around a peat fire once a week. The gathering involves a single play of one of a dozen worn records on the phonograph that the character of Dr. Jenkins has carried through the apocalypse. One evening, a stranger -- a sick young musician -- joins the communion. For this special occasion, Dr. Jenkins announces that he will use one of the three remaining steel needles, rather than a thorn, and selects a Debussy Nocturne. Before this ritual, however, Dr. Jenkins shares a bit of his tale. Like, a “prehistoric priest,” he unwraps a sacred bundle, explaining in a reverential hush that when he understood the end was coming, he knew what he must bring.....

2010-08-16T19:01:02+00:00 August 16th, 2010|

PENTIMENTI

I awoke at 4 am on Sunday morning to fly home to California. I had been in Pennsylvania, attending the West Chester Poetry Conference, and was leaving the company of some of the greatest living poets to catch my son's baseball team play in their league championship. At the airport, I read from a few favorite collections by Wendy Cope and Dana Gioia, and newer works from A.E. Stallings, Rhina Espaillat, and Chelsea Rathburn. As I turned the pages, I began to wonder about the way these poems will affect my son when he starts to read them in earnest. He will have his own joy and sadness, his own memories and dreams to act as counterpoint and compass through these worlds of words. I suppose I am excited for all that life has in store for him, but still I worry. For me to sit in a quiet airport crying seems no great matter -- sorrows, whether large or small, can be blessings, as many poems reveal. Yet, every parent wants to protect.

2010-06-17T15:04:49+00:00 June 17th, 2010|

SOUND EFFECTS

I sat in a church pew for the first time in a long while this Saturday evening. I heard angels singing, each to each - and, they sang for me. This is notable. I used to joke that I was an "Episcopatheist," largely because it sounded witty, but also because I've honestly never felt genuine proximity to a higher presence, neither while reading scripture nor while listening to a sermon. I have tried. Yet to me, the Bible has always been more a work of literature than a sacred text, and the closest thing I've ever felt to holy ground is the shifting memory of weather that appears (and disappears) as an ocean wave.

2010-05-19T15:32:33+00:00 May 19th, 2010|

SAMPLE THYSELF

Are you a known “noticer?” Do you pick oddities up along the way – broken bits, torn treasures, or rubbed down things? When I collect such castaways from the beaten path, I imagine that they’ve been fate-flung in my direction to form some mysterious match in the bootleg collection of my life’s mixtape. Like a shell whose intense fragility is only revealed when balanced on a battered branch of driftwood, so much of what one encounters in life only makes fullest sense when a very different piece of the whole falls into place. Does that sound too much like an opener for Days of our Lives? I’m neither a poet nor a prophet, but I do posit that it pays to notice things, and people, and possibilities. Nothing is the only thing to fear. Try this…

2010-04-01T13:04:13+00:00 March 30th, 2010|