Friday, September 30, 2011

Two Monks Burn Themselves, No One Cares

A great shriek of agony, loosed in the name of justice, has been heard around the world; but only with the effect of a drop of water hitting a sink. I’m talking about two Tibetan monks who set themselves on fire to protest what is basically the destruction of their entire religion.

You see, China seized Tibet, proclaimed ownership, and attacked Tibetan Buddhism, a potential source of trouble. Traditionally, the Tibetan monks chose their own leader, their Dali Lama, through an exquisite ritual honoring their belief that the Dali Lama reincarnates over and over.

No, said China, we are picking your next divine head. And they have.

What we have here is the blatant rape of freedom of religion, backed by extremely violent oppression. Two monks made the most excruciating and heartfelt statement they could. It made the newspapers, at least the Washington Post:

A Great Shriek of Agony

The current Dali Lama is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, famous throughout the world. He faces a nightmare: the destruction of a spirituality going back to 650 AD. If Tibetan Buddhism is stolen and disfigured by China, it will happen under his tenure.

Quoting the article:

On Saturday, the 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate said that if he is to be reincarnated he will leave clear written instructions about the process. He said in a statement that when he is “about 90” he will consult Buddhist scholars to evaluate whether the institution of the Dali Lama should continue at all.

The United States has issued a tepid statement that dares not challenge Chinese Communist expansionism. Supposedly the champion of freedom, the tenets of which are emblazoned in the Bill of Rights, the USA is far more interested in money than decency. If monks burn themselves to defend the cause of freedom of religion, it means nothing weighed against economic factors.

For a long time, the people of the United States have been buying goods made in China because it saves them cash. In other words, the people of the United States could care less about supporting freedom of religion, if it doesn’t affect them directly.

Due to ignorant and selfish penny-pinching, the US citizen has made China stronger and stronger, until now it is inevitable that Chinese policy will soon dominate the Earth. The good people of the USA have prostituted their own Constitution to save a buck.

The leadership of the US does nothing. The people do nothing.

Baah Baah Baah.

Didn't the same thing happen in Europe, denial and greed, while Hitler rose to power?

Until and unless humanity puts virtue above money, it will continue to suffer due to its ethical immaturity, its failure to rear its collective head out of the muck of myopia, its pathetic inability to take the obvious enlightened path.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shit Creek Craziness

It's hard to be upset with Shit Creek Review when they send you a rejection letter like this--even if you won't be appearing in their ultra-cool, very special End of Days issue.

You've gotta love 'em or hate 'em.



[rejection letter from SCR for their End of Days issue]

Dear [Owl Who Laughs],

Unfortunately you will miss out on the End of the World. The Four Editors of the Apocalypse, in their anonymous selection process, failed to choose your work for the coming End of Days Issue of Shit Creek Review. I apologise for their silly ineptitude, but seek to console you with the thought that at least you will endure on in this interesting World of Sin after the Elect have all buggered off to The Rapture. Carpe diem, and thanks for submitting!


Paulus Stevensis

Shit Creek End of Days Scribe


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Acceptance: Whale Sound

If you are an active poet or just love listening to poetry, you are in for a truly consummate delight if you have not yet discovered Whale Sound:

Whale Sound

I found Whale Sound because some friends of mine (from Rooster Moans workshops) had their co-written poem read by Nic Sebastian. You see, Whale Sound is about listening to poems, and there is almost no one in the world I would rather listen to than Nic Sebastian.

Why? Follow this link to hear the darkly erotic "Closer," co-written by my friends Lissa Kiernan and Susan Yount (be sure to click on the PLAY arrow):

"Closer" read by Nic Sebastian

All poems on Whale Sound were originally published elsewhere. Sebastian is emphasizing sound: the sonorous experience, the siren call of eloquent timbre, cadence, flow, caesura and elision.

And no one does it with such inimitable virtuosity.

You can also see the written text of "Closer," or other poems on Whale Sound, by clicking on a link; but my recommendation is simply to listen to the voice--the voice of verbal genius.

Another benefit of Whale Sound is that you get introduced to fine journals. Simply click on the link provided with every poem, and you are whisked off to some editor's idiosyncratic kingdom.

I have been using Whale Sound to help me find quality journals for my submissions. Not only do I get good leads, I also have an idea of what the editors like--because I've listened to Sebastian reading one of their pubs, exposing nuances of meaning I would have missed.

I absolutely excruciatingly recommend this site. It is already mucho popular and has accepted work many great active internet poets. I must be one of the last net zine junkies to find it.

I'm honored that my poem "The Gods Reflect On Creation" will be read by Sebastian some time in October. This is a challenging poem to read, and I look forward to seeing what she does with it.

Here's the poem, if you want to see what Whale Sound will be up against:

The Gods Reflect On Creation

Whale Sound only publishes poems of people with an "active" web presence in poetry. This basically means you edit a journal or maintain a pretty busy blog. For the specifics, visit the site.

Thanks for reading. Now go to Whale Sound and listen to a most ensorcelling muse.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Release: Boston Literary Magazine, Fall 2011

The latest issue of Boston Literary Magazine is here, including my poem “Truman,” inspired by the movie, The Truman Show. The last stanza of this poem took months to shape into its final form:

whatever was going on
moved in my circles and the center
was my grope. i didn’t
learn the lines or know
the writer or see which
why was who on stage.

To read the rest, go here, and scroll WAY down:

Fall 2011 BLM

To read my review of BLM and its very talented and accomplished editor, Robin Stratton, go here:

Owl Visits Boston Lit

Thanks for visiting!


Saturday, September 17, 2011

My Poem Up at Unison Active

My poem "City Mirrors," a scathing commentary on urban materialism, just went up at the blog Unison-active, which:

is written, collated and edited by a range of UNISON activists who are committed to the union's objectives. They come from differing branches, backgrounds and opinions, sharing a commitment to trade unionism, collectivism, international solidarity - supporting a trade union that is committed to a fundamental change in society and that puts the interests and values of working people at its heart, working through the democratic process of society.

I'm honored that they chose to include my poem, which you can find on their site here:

Glossy Walls Mirror Ugly Souls

The poem "City Mirrors" originally appeared in The Recusant, a UK journal, which has had over half a million hits. Here is the entry page:

The Recusant

Viva la UNISON and viva la Recusant!!!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Release: Wild Violet Volume X Issue 1 (Passion)

Alyce Wilson has released a long-anticipated issue of Wild Violet, that mighty and memorable literary zine. It's the tenth anniversary issue, a huge triple dose of writers in what could be the most powerful presentation ever. I am honored that my poem “A Moment” is included in this special array. The theme is nothing less than passion itself.

In testament to the editor’s diligence and aesthetic sense, all poems are accompanied by visual art!

As I say in my review of Wild Violet:

Owl On a Violet

Wilson recently, about a year and a half ago, gave birth to her first child, a most joyous and yet also time-intensive watershed in the journey of her life. Indeed, her son’s nickname is “Kung fu Panda.” Rather than give up Wild Violet, she somehow juggled it into her busy schedule. The result is a brilliant culmination of ten years of excellence.

Editors like Wilson are the soul of poetry. They are cynosures who draw us needy and sometimes talented bards together, where our voices sing out in a group, despite the vast distances between our physical locales. Very few people have the special virtues necessary to give a decade to editing a journal, a noble act that garners little or no money. It is great, giving people like Wilson whose empathic intellect leads the rest of us to see that stacks of gold are not everything--in some ways, they are nothing.

I suddenly remembered this quote from the Dead Poet’s Society:

We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.

Wilson has invited all contributors, past and present, to a grand jamboree:

In celebration of Wild Violet’s 10th anniversary, we are holding a special reading and celebration. The event will take place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 1, at Milkboy Coffee, 2 East Lancaster Ave. (U.S. Highway 30), Ardmore, Pennsylvania. There will be a $5 cover charge.

I unfortunately, living many States away, won’t be able to attend. There are art and poetry events planned, including a special 10th anniversary book, to which previous contributors can submit. Go here for more info:

10th Anniversary Delights

In the introduction to Volume X, Issue 1, Wilson writes that her completion of an editorial decathlon does not signal the end of Wild Violet. The show will go on! It is more than a show, of course, with wrenching and ecstatic offerings (Wild Violet was originally started as a conduit to deal with the agony of September 11, 2001)--and I hope this fine journal will give Wilson much edification and gratification for many years to come. She deserves it!


PS: To read the Tenth Anniversary Issue, including my poem “A Moment,” go here:

Wild Violet's 10th Ann Passion Issue

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Release: Blast Furnace, Volume 1, Issue 3

Blast Furnace, orchestrated by Rebecca Clever, has released its Summer issue, full of outstanding poets. Although gloom engulfs me these days, a serious joy emblazons my heart when I remember that my poem "Inside Metal," a naked commentary on the alienation of the Machine Era, is included in the issue. This is one of my best ever. Let me share my favorite stanza:

you fidget
with dials and buttons
like a fetus in a robot’s womb.
under savage pistons,
the machine can feel you kick.

To read the rest, go to:

Blast Furnace Press

And scroll down to Sept. 10, where the Issue is located (the site is arranged in blog format).

To read my review of this highly impressive journal, go here:

Owl On the Furnace

A huge hoot of approval to Rebecca Clever on the quality and power of her latest offering.

Well done.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Poem: Pink Panther

This poem was written for my brother. It was originally published in The Iconoclast.

Take care, my awesome, beloved friend.



Pink Panther

little pink panther
of rubber and wire,
moldable toy
coiled around
a reading lamp,

my brother hung it there
eight years ago
when he moved into
my father’s spare room,
having left college
from depression.

my father never dusts
and my brother died
from a self-inflicted noose,
so the little pink panther
clung dirty and forgotten
until i noticed it,
unkinked its limbs,
musing about my brother’s fondness
for audacious felines

(Garfield, Pink Panther, The Cat In The Hat).

little pink panther
of rubber and wire,
i moved its arms and legs out,
pulled its tail straight—
the opposite of its long inward


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Greed, Corruption, Cruelty and Stupidity

The empire of the United States has arrived at a dismal moment when about half of the American people live in delusion and denial, refusing to accept that global warming is human-caused or that evolution is the origin of species. About 40% of the citizenry believes we live in the Biblical end time, where Christ and Satan will engage in the final battle, resulting in the damnation of the majority and salvation for a select faction of unflinching zealots.

These irrational and faith-bound beliefs are encouraged by power-seeking politicians, who proclaim that the Empire is not only the greatest country in the world but the one special moral exception among nations, meant to challenge evil everywhere. Anyone who thinks otherwise has fallen into the grip of demonic darkness. Given such an eschatological foundation, it is easy to stoke fear, anger and hatred in a populace that wants to live in denial of the truth: that greed, corruption, cruelty, and stupidity are battering rams of karma which have struck the United States off its perch of greatness in a matter of decades.

An example of greed and corruption is Wall Street destroying not only the US economy but also the world economy in 2008, due to unethical and profit-grubbing dirty tricks. Not only that, the bankers and financiers got away with it: both Presidents Bush and Obama bailed them out and failed to insure more policing of WS's outrageous gambling (“investment” is a euphemism for roulette gone wild)

Stupidity requires two factors, both of which are in play: (a) contumacious belief on faith (or wildly irrational grounds, which is basically the same thing) in destructive theories or religious dogmas, (b) vulnerability to mass manipulation by narcissistic politicians because of such contumacy.

Cruelty is everywhere in the Empire’s leviathan military. Some classic and numerous examples are the overthrow of democratically elected leaders by the CIA (see the book, Killing Hope). Other examples involve supporting vicious dictators and tyrants when it serves the purposes of corporations and their politician minions.

We supported Saddam Hussein, giving him plenty of weapons, training, and intelligence, even when he gassed his own citizens (see the book, Spider’s Web). Here ya go:

Wikileaks just reveals another case of US soldiers slaughtering an innocent family. These things are commonly hidden from the public through complicit and docile mass media, owned by billionaires. Here ya go:,0,435906.column

There are only two major political parties in the Empire, and one of them, the GOP, is the party of denial, dysfunction and delusion. The other party, the Democrats, is also corrupt but struggles feebly to bring moral progress, things like providing affordable healthcare for everyone (currently, around 50 million people do not have access to a doctor without going into extreme debt).

Behind the scenes, billionaires and massive corporations, like Big Oil, Big Insurance and Big Pharma, puppet Congress with vast infusions of cash.

I can complain and protest all I want, but I am largely irrelevant. Long ago, the masters of the Empire figured out that granting the right to free speech is no threat to plutocracy, not when a large segment of the population is gullible and malleable.

This concludes my latest rant. I am now going to go out into the woods, where I can enjoy the ancient miracles of simple things--like trees and birds--the sorts of divine gifts that consumerism and materialism have blinded most people to seeing.


Friday, September 2, 2011

As bad as Narcissus, though opposite, is the poet so awed by water she never moves.

Panthera Rayling, Yerba Santa Clan