Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Governor of Maine Attacks Mural, I Give A Speech

Recently the governor of Maine, Paul LePage, incited a national furor by ordering the removal of an 11-panel mural from the Dept. of Labor. The mural is a tribute to the history of working people in Maine, and includes some powerful scenes, like union protestors being arrested. Overall, the mural does not focus on unions or the Labor Movement, as the artist, Judy Taylor, points out.

LePage’s reasoning is that the mural offends a “handful” of unnamed business people. He also referred to a letter from a supporter who likened the mural to North Korean propaganda.

Robert Reich wrote an article on this horrible travesty titled, “A governor destroys history in the name of promoting business”

Reich's Piece

You can read more details and get more links here, if you like:

Bangor Daily News on Mural Removal

I was greatly honored when I was invited to give a short speech during the press conference held at the Dept. of Labor. Below is the content of that speech. You can also read it on the following blog,, which is an excellent site run by Joan Braun and other concerned citizens.

Available on the blog are other speeches, including one given by Shanna Wheelock, a very talented artist and sculptor who drove four hours from Down East Maine to participate:

Shanna Wheelock's Speech

Thanks for reading. What grim and urgent times, when governors in the pocket of big business annihilate the hard-won moral victories of the Labor Movement.

As a final note, let me add that, in addition to removing the mural, LePage is changing the name of the Caesar Chavez conference room to something that doesn’t offend big money.

Sad and disgusting.



My press-conference speech, held at the Dept. Of Labor in Augusta, March 25, 2011:

Money Makes Right

In a travesty of governance, Paul LePage has belittled and dismissed some of the brightest aspects of Maine’s history. In deference to a “handful” of unnamed detractors, who object to some few elements of a visually eloquent compendium, the Governor has opted to dismantle the entire magnum opus, a mural in homage to labor on display at the Dept. of Labor. The artistic excellence of this masterpiece is not in dispute.

As a metaphor, we can imagine a handful of privileged men, who walk into a garden, proclaiming that they do not like several of the flowers. In response, over the shock of the gardener and the general population, every single flower in the garden is plucked up. The garden itself is carved and removed.

The few flowers that are offensive to this small group, in reality represent some of the brightest victories for dignity in human history.

For most of civilization, slavery reigned. After slavery came Dickensian work conditions. We can thank the Labor Movement for uplifting the American people out of horrific industrial sweatshops, what William Blake referred to as “dark Satanic mills.”

LePage and a blinkered few to whom he caters, are attempting to obscure the heroes who ended the practice of children having to toil in crowded, unsafe rooms.

LePage and an influential cadre, are attempting to efface those brave and unquenchable souls who brought us the 40-hour work week and the weekend. The word “efface” means to rub out or erase. Etymologically, it literally means to remove the face from. To deprive of a face.

This is crass censorship at its worst. An attack on a history rich with moral pearls. LePage would crush those pearls and replace them with a brine of obeisance to the lowest considerations, the sad and unsupportable principle of “Money Makes Right.”

Friday, March 25, 2011


A world without love is not yet a world.

-Morianna Gaiaweave


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Poem: Endless Novel

This poem recently appeared as Poem of the Week at The Toucan, a wonderful literary venue that generates all kinds of fun controversy, all of it harmless and ultimately informative and even edifying. Lot's of great poems too!

You can view "Endless Novel" here, if you wish:

Owl At Toucan

Thank you for reading and thereby braving a glimpse at my inner world.



Endless Novel

obsession is a hydra
his fingers cannot slay
on the chopping block
of a keyboard--
too many necks of words
soft as maggots,
wide as cottonmouths,
multiplying with every strike,
the chapters like bellies
engorged on the chum
of his distress.

his need obvious,
the dark raw call,
toiling to get lost
in a creepy tickle like seaweed.
no life vest
and the threat of eels on the shin.
he summoned this ocean,
walked his plot into its monsters.
he liked the way the brine opened,
seduced him with its gape.

the heroine reached up,
to clench his devotion;
and he went down happily,
ensnared in her braids.
his focus twisted into an astrolabe,
uncertain of its own science,
second-guessing reality
as the climax died.


Monday, March 21, 2011

On the 400 Gods of the Empire

It has been announced, and even fact-checked, that 400 individuals own as much wealth as the bottom 50% of the population:

The Empire's Gods

This, of course, is something that has developed over decades. A slide into darkness, perpetuated by continuous government/corporate collusion, an ugly relationship convincingly argued in the recent book "Winner Take-All Politics."

Sadly, the citizens of the Empire, instead of focusing on this apostasy at the highest levels, have turned on each other, their rage stoked by penury and general immiseration.

The conclusion is that we are dunderheads, yes, with invisible rings of hatred through our noses, clipped to chains of political rhetoric that keep us braying and gnawing at each others' lowly heels.

Meanwhile, the rich transfer more and more capital into their names, hiding money out of sight in foreign banks, and nurturing lucrative enterprises overseas, where none of us peons can take notice, let alone benefit.

I suppose all Empires in the past have crumbled this way, first slathered in gold, then infected by greed, and finally tumbling in the pull of an internecine gravity.

Shame on us all. May the future forgive. If there is a future, that is, which our huge military cannot pre-emptively annihilate in the forthcoming anomie.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Acceptance: Turbulence

Turbulence Magazine

My busy schedule is wearing me down--but I would like to thank the Editors at Turbulence, a UK magazine, for taking two of my most honest stinging critiques of society: "History Lesson" and "Game Daze." These poems don't tiptoe around my disgust and they even resort to expletives.

And yet the open-minded and unbowed Editors at Turbulence don't shy away from harsh expressions that lack politesse. Good for them.

Conformity is, for the most part, a dangerous monster of oppression and denial.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Poem: Long Term Snow

Note: If you are looking for my poem "Owl" please go here:


This poem was originally published in Rougarou, the lit journal of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. You can read it there, if you wish:

Owl Meets Rougarou

This is probably one of the best poems I ever wrote. Once in a long while, a poem just flows...

Thanks for reading!



Long Term Snow

no fleeing this drifter
dogged as barnacles,
stark as lichen on bones,
callused and clumped.

we simply endure
the landscape-wide nevus,
a discoloration to Earth,
leprous for the rest of us—

who must flounder
in its tasteless cakes,
sinking through layers
to the hidden frost—

we eat our way out
and still freeze,
victims of plenteous ice,
champions of numbness.

it attacks goldenrods
as if they were vocal chords,
dismaying time, seizing
pendulums of pokeweed—

holding them in stasis
or cracking them off,
like skeleton keys
that unlock nothing
save their own descent.

we all suffer that wintry fate,
buried without wanting to know,
encased by the coffin outside.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Greed Inside and Outside the Empire

Inside the empire, the governor of one State (Wisconsin), destroyed the public worker unions. He did this even though the majority of the people were opposed to it, and the unions had already agreed to all monetary concessions.

On this, let me relay a great paragraph from Paul Krugman's Op-Ed today:

Like anyone who writes regularly about what passes for economic and fiscal debate in American politics, I’ve developed a strong tolerance for nonsense. After all, if I got upset every time powerful people were illogical and/or dishonest, I’d spend every waking hour in a state of raging despair.

Outside the Empire, it becomes clear that the US is continuing to support its dictator-puppet in Bahrain:

After weeks of pro-democracy protests — at times more than 100,000 people have massed in the streets — the royal family has pledged to enter a dialogue with the demonstrators after their initial crackdown killed seven people.

So far the dialogue has not happened. But in contrast to the uprisings in Egypt ... Washington has continued to back the government of the Sunni royal family — to the growing consternation of the largely Shiite protesters.

Adding a surreal clown-like aspect to this debacle, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates whined about the Afghanistan War, which is ten years along, the longest war in US History. Just last week, US bombings killed 9 boys chopping wood for fire, mistaking them, somehow, for 'the enemy'.

Anyway, here is Gates whining:

Earlier Friday, in Brussels, Mr. Gates sharply rebuked the United States’ allies for preparing to effectively abandon Afghanistan, threatening what he described as tenuous progress in the nearly decade-old war.

In a deliberately undiplomatic speech to NATO defense ministers, Mr. Gates called on European allies to put aside their domestic politics and work with the United States to secure the “semblance of normalcy” that he said was emerging in some parts of Afghanistan.

"Semblance of normalcy." "Tenuous progress in the nearly decade-old war."

Isn't that pathetic.

My country has turned into a cruel parody of a champion of justice--except it isn't funny because atrocities are happening and people are suffering and dying.

Michael Moore summed it all up recently: 400 Americans own as much wealth as the bottom 50% of all Americans, over 150 million people.

Viva La Greed!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Poem Featured At Bolts of Silk!

"Attunement" is currently the featured poem at one of my favorite journals, Bolts of Silk. Yay!!! Simply go to the website and there it is:

Bolts of Silk

If you are reading this post more than a few days after it was posted, use this link instead:

Attunement at Bolts of Silk

Juliet Wilson edits this fine journal, which is approaching its 5th Anniversary. She is one of most impressive leaders for environmental protection that I know. Her own writing, as in her chapbook Unthinkable Skies, exhibits a sensuous and intimate connection to the natural world around her.

"Attunement" is one of my shortest works, and yet everything came together in a marvelous symmetry of sound, shape and meaning. I don't know how it happened. The poem just wrote itself.

Thank you for reading!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Poem: Small

Note: If you are looking for my poem "Owl" go here:


This poem recently appeared in an incredible journal: Scythe. To see it in the magazine, and another poem, "Commute", go here:

OWL in Scythe

To see my review, wander hither:

Plaudits for Scythe

In any case, thank you for reading.

Life trundles on in a cruel-kind ambivalence.




i dissolve
into the gyri of a metropolis,
feeling like protein juice
swilled by an AI.

as if Twitter were galactic,
my sentience small.
vesicle in a capillary
of a hive.

what purchase
in this asphalt nest?
how to nudge the orbits
of vain colossi?

bursts in me like a nova.
i have comets and craters
for tears.

but the great black
eye sockets of empire
pass right over,
as if i were a planchet.
nothing there.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Acceptance: Moulin Review

Moulin Review is a literary and arts journal staffed by the Windmill Writers of Brookhaven College in Dallas. The quality of the writing is topnotch and, as a sweet bonus, artwork accompanies the poems and shorts. To access the web version of Volume 2 (Spring 2010) follow this link and scroll down:

Moulin Review

There are about ten poets in this issue, including some well-known wordsmiths who have dedicated their lives to the craft. The skinny, though, is that all the poetry is good, not just a few gems.

My favorite artwork is “Stephanie” by someone identified only as Zareh. Let me emphasize that the visuals are just as wonderful as the writing. It’s a soul-strumming pleasure to read a few powerful stanzas and then savor an evocative photograph or prodigy of brushstrokes.

The impresario of this outstanding journal is editor Erin Marissa Russell. A fairly large staff is involved, including web experts, reviewers, and advisors. Elena Harding co-edited Volume One with Russell.

Although relatively young, Moulin Review is off to a fantastic start. Brookhaven College should be proud. This journal is on par, or superior to, collections from much larger campuses. Let’s hope that Russell gets plenty of plaudits.

And a big THANK YOU to the whole team at Moulin Review for producing something extraordinary.

My only criticism is that there is no Table of Contents. This means that you have to explore to find out what treasures are inside. But maybe that’s the point.

My poem “Mud” is scheduled for release in Volume 3 (Spring 2011). I'm honored! And I'm looking forward to receiving my hard copy in the mail!