Wednesday, November 30, 2011


The American people have become anesthetized to the horrors of war.

That one sentence cries storms. If true, something has gone tragically wrong. There is no need for a disquisition, or an Homeric tour de force, or dozens of chapters of any kind.

The American people have become anesthetized to the horrors of war.

Let that phrase sink in. You could attend a marathon reading, listen to hundreds of poets give heartrending testimony; or you can dwell on the ramifications of this single crucial key:

The American people have become anesthetized to the horrors of war.

If we humans were brilliant beings, angelic of genius, this one truth would mobilize and shock us, outrage and invoke vehement yet catalyzing acts of protest.

The American people have become anesthetized to the horrors of war.

But we are terribly flawed and, yes, sheep-like entities, who can see vast dysfunction without seeing, and speak voluminous rhetorics without speaking to help heal our plight.

The American people have become anesthetized to the horrors of war.

That one exhalation should be enough, if we dare dwell on the concise yet world-changing import.

The American people have become anesthetized to the horrors of war.

We can use this line of symbols like a pin, pop the empty layers of non-emotion keeping our zeal for justice inside. We need to let the power of words arrest then liberate us, subdue then embolden--

We must, we must, we must! Because

The American people have become anesthetized to the horrors of war.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Acceptance: Bolts of Silk

Juliet Wilson at Bolts of Silk recently took my poem, "Snowblink," which will appear sometime in December. I have written about Wilson before, calling her a Druidess in an informal way, for she does more to raise awareness and champion the magic and spiritual riches of nature than anyone else I have had contact with as a poet--and I have about 600 poems published now.

Wilson has more than one very popular website. Her profile has something like 25,000 views. Bolts of Silk has 366 followers at the time of this writing.

Another of her blogs, Crafty Green Poet, is also charismatic and hypnotic. Beautiful writing and photography, and wise words for green living. She has won awards and prizes, been invited to give lectures, and teaches literature at a local University near her home in Ireland.

This is a feeble post. I am not doing justice to Wilson's skill, diligence, passion, perspicacity and creative intellect. I wish I could write a lot more, but time is not on my side. I'm feeling crushed.

I will say this: She is one of a few editors and poets who have helped my artistic journey tremendously, and who has inspired me with her ethical wisdom and courage.

It is rare to meet people like this in life, and I am glad that all my struggle and toil as a writer led me to Bolts of Silk.

I recommend this venue as both a philosopher and a bard.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Plug for My Chapbook: Rebellion

I’m going to be plugging my latest chapbook, Rebellion, now and then. It did, after all, win first place in the Medulla Publishing competition!

The first poem in the chapbook is “The Gods Reflect On Creation,” a philosophical and spiritual satire on the nature of human life within the overarching parameters of cosmic evolution.

Listen to Nic Sebastian read this poem, one of the best I’ve written (click on the play button; and if you want the text, click on the text button):


Are you convinced yet? Why not go to the following link and at least consider purchasing the slim volume of poems that represents my soul? They have all been published somewhere snazzy.


Owls rarely hoot in happiness, but, as they say, you’ve got the power ...

Cheers And All That,


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Release: Prime Number 13.3

My poem "Rock Wall" is now up at Prime Number Magazine, including a photo of me frazzled:


Also, see my review of Prime Number here, if you wish:




Friday, November 18, 2011

Release: Emprise Review, Issue 22

Issue 22 of Emprise Review has just been released, including my poem, “Bottoming,” inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement. Here’s the link:


The Poetry Editor of this established and superb journal is Tracy Youngblom. According to Duotrope Digest, only about 8% of submissions are accepted, which makes sense given the stellar and arresting work in Emprise. Youngblom finds poems that are pithy and succinct,and yet usually of pretty good length. They are lyrical and original pieces that bristle with intense meaning, the sort that salves and stings at many levels, often with a subtle undertone of ethos. In short, brilliant stuff with a purpose that transcends and yet co-opts good sound.

Youngblom made a suggestion on my poem which improved it greatly, though I’m still not sure it is worthy of Emprise. I sure am grateful to be included though! The poem was edited over a dozen times.

The Poetry Editor’s Introduction was fascinating for me to read, because it concerns feminism and I am teaching Women’s Studies this semester. Youngblom puzzles over the fact that all her contributors in this issue, inadvertently, are male, which seems ironic given her dedication to promoting women’s equality. However, she works it out, and shows that feminism is a flexible and accepting philosophy, one that continuously seeks to end oppression but does not adhere to a simple male-vs-female mathematics.

It is not easy to be a feminist in our global society today, and I admire Youngblom for launching a tough discussion about trying to be ethical once the Women’s Studies class is over, and the camaraderie of the classroom has yielded to the inevitable branches that take feminists on separate journeys. How do you sustain your imperative for justice? What strategies keep you energized when you are ‘out in the world’, away from others who agree with you, and faced with situations that don't allow simple choices?

Youngblom shows us it can be done and that the struggle to understand life’s confusing and complex contexts can spark some sagacious and absorbing prose.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Prize-Winning Chapbook Now On Sale!

My chapbook “Rebellion,” which won 1st place in the Medulla Publishing competition, is now on sale at the site, using PayPal:


The theme is challenging the system. The system could be anywhere or anything. A city, a drug, a corporation, a senator, God, death, a desert, a chainsaw, dark love ...

The pieces in this booklet are some of the best I have produced in my ten years struggling to write. It’s somewhat sad that my essence and philosophy can be distilled into such a slim volume--but there it is.

I’m not going to beg for anyone to purchase “Rebellion.” That would be like begging to sell my soul. The bottom line is this: if I sell some copies, it will bring pleasure; if I don’t it will annoy and depress; but these emotions are ephemeral either way, and I don’t think I will ever stop writing.

My goal is to let my most honest attempts at verbal beauty fly free. Not a single one of my poems is more precious than a butterfly, and like most butterflies they will live unseen and die lonely and sometimes cruelly. The world we live in dictates that miracles are commonplace and most will be crushed without awareness by blinkered beings who themselves are used by others.

This doesn’t mean we can't be judged. Each of us, for better or worse, is liable for our choices, including what we decide to see. My pamphlet intends to be part of a quest for better living. The path taken is one of unfettered passion accusing the system. My mode of travel is the most intense and evocative phrases I can, with great pain, discover and combine into a ferocious yet somewhat angelic beast.

This is the purpose of my life, this is what I was put here to do. My poems are my fig tree. At this stage, given what I’ve seen of humanity, I don’t expect anything more.


PS: Here is the chapbook blurb from Medulla Editor Jennifer Hollie Bowles, a disarming, original, surreal and dangerously good poet in her own right:


On Rebellion

Master of brilliant metaphors, vigorous verbs, and universal socio-spiritual concepts, [Owl Who Laughs] creates a unique world of intoxicating poetry in his chapbook, Rebellion. This world reveals and challenges gods, wars, machines, and the psychology of—being and everything. Read and become instantly: “...reminded of their squelched pulse/and the storms in heartbeats...”

[Owl Who Laughs] teaches environmental ethics for the University of Maine and does much of his writing in a hut in a spruce forest. There are no traffic lights for fifty miles and moose can get dangerous during the rut. His creative angst can be described as obsessive, lycanthropic and apocalyptic. He has about five hundred poems published, including work in Chelsea, Atlanta Review, Portland Review and Disquieting Muses. Regarding his fifth chapbook, Gordian Butterflies, the Poetry Editor at Arsenic Lobster said, “[it] may just become a collector’s item one day.” He’s been nominated for various awards, including the Pushcart, Best New Poets and Best of the Web, and was interviewed twice on Poets CafĂ©, a radio show of KPFK Los Angeles. Both interviews and more extensive biographical background are available here:

He lives with his talented artist wife and their cat Portobello, and any bears, deer or bald eagles that might wander through the yard.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Acceptance: Prime Number

Prime Number: A Journal of Distinctive Poetry and Prose

I’m very excited that my poem “Rock Wall” will appear in issue 17 of Prime Number, a new yet outstanding source of literary delight. “How could it be new,” you ask, “when they are on issue 17?” Answer: you need to break out of the reductive routine, your evenly spaced same-old-same-old, and enter into the weltanschauung of a rare, special and unpredictable beast: the prime number.

Every prime number is unique, after all. There is no formula to predict when the next prime will occur as you race toward infinity on the staircase of natural numbers (1, 2, 3, ...). No prime number is dividable into the product of other numbers. Unique, independent and fascinating, these special entities become more rare as the number of digits in their stride increases. It was proven true by the classic Prime Number Theorem in the 19th century.

The largest known prime number is currently listed on Wikipedia with its own special name:


which represents 2 x 10 to the 43112609 power, minus 1.

If Prime Number becomes the most legendary and long-lasting zine of all time, spreading through the galaxy among all (un)known species of xenoforms, it might someday reach Issue M43112609. This feat will be aided by the fact that the journal uses only prime numbers for its issues.

So, while I am appearing in 17, it is actually the seventh issue, if you want to revert to the old boring way of thinking. Contributors appearing in issue 127 will be, in prosaic terms, gracing the pages of the 31st offering. Currently the journal is on the quarter system, so 127 will come out just before the ninth year of publication.

Enough of the math! Except to say that I hope this literary oasis does reach M43112609. The contents are exquisitely non-mathematical and consummately fine. The Poetry Editor, Valerie Nieman, sets a highly professional standard for bona fides. She might be the most accomplished editor I have ever worked with. Here is her biography from the site:

Valerie Nieman worked for three decades as a journalist while honing her skills as a poet and fiction writer. Her third novel, Blood Clay, set in Piedmont North Carolina, will appear in fall 2010 from Press 53. She is the author of a collection of short stories, Fidelities (West Virginia University Press), and a poetry collection, Wake Wake Wake (Press 53). She has received an NEA creative writing fellowship in poetry, two Elizabeth Simpson Smith prizes in fiction, and the Greg Grummer Prize in poetry. A graduate of West Virginia University and the M.F.A. program at Queens University of Charlotte, she teaches writing at N.C. A&T State University and is a regular workshop leader at the John C. Campbell Folk School and the North Carolina Writers Network. Visit her blog at and her website at
As you might expect from this stellar background, Nieman’s choices of poems are in the top quintillionth of the best (okay, I’m exaggerating, but I always wanted to use the word “quintillionth” in a sentence, and the hyperbole fits). In past issues she has given a lot of extra time to contributors. In 13, for example, she asks each poet three questions, thereby adding the author’s background, philosophy and creative impetus to the mix.

Anyone who knows how hard editors work can validate the generosity of this embellishment. Icing the cake, all poems are accompanied by a sizeable photo. More toil and moil for the editor, and yet more nuance and impact for the reader.

Not only that, when the contract for publication arrived in my email, the dull legal aspect was palliated by Neiman’s congenial demeanor as she welcomed me “to the Prime Number family.” I have over 600 publications, spanning a decade, and I will step right up to the plate and say that Nieman’s acute discernment and gracious mannerism establish Prime Number’s place as a high-end poetry journal at the national and international level.

True, it wouldn't be wise of me to show up on Thanksgiving and ask to be part of the PN family; but her introductory elegance is appreciated!

Based in North Carolina, Prime Number is affiliated with Press 53, an independent publishing house. The Publisher is Kevin Morgan Watson, founder of Press 53. The Editor is Clifford Garstand. The Non-fiction Editor is Tracy Crow. All the staff have jaw-dropping bios, available on site. Seriously, this is a talented group of people and they are not fooling around. If you’re looking for a lax zine with low standards for acceptance, this is not the place. No slide-rule guestimations here.

I give untethered approval to Prime Number. If I could hoot in praise as many times as there are prime numbers, I would; but since Euclid proved they never end, ad astra, I am content to hoot until this owl sounds like a hoarse thrush.

Go to Prime Number, read the great material, tell the editors what you liked. You won’t feel like a square afterward, I guarantee you.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Poem: Denied

This poem about denial originally appeared in Vox Humana.

I hope it edifies and stings.




the haunted outliers of pain,
unheard and defaced,
have learned to speak a different way,
to prowl in slips
at the end of sentences,
and breaths in caesuras.

they have their own subtle creole,
much like a thieves’ cant,
sibilant in lisps,
so deep even the speaker
doesn’t hear.

they are the rages of children
who were stabbed or burned,
or pummeled or worse,
existing now as kinks
in the mental labyrinths
of torn adults.

they have bled
from the punch of treachery,
and could never fail to recognize it again;
and so they are damned.
a threat to the castle-grey faces
and the yield in their walls.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Fan Writes a Poem to Me

On the 1st day of the New Goddess Year, a fan dedicated a poem to my blog:

The One and Only Fan Poem

Many thanks!