Sunday, April 29, 2012

Poem: Urban Impressions

I was asked to read a few poems recently for a film about the Occupy Movement in Maine, and below is one of them, "Urban Impressions." It was originally published in Chaffey Review.

Carry Forth,



Urban Impressions

highway sounds,
jejune as the hiss of waves.
the smog brutal.
abusive of its partner, dust.
the sun and moon
cute in eyeliner,

some kind of goth
leather-tar pain-fed life,
corset whose laces are wounded streets.
sex primped to sell.
money attracted
to the most competent seller,
the seller and the money
taking each other’s drug,
the divorce rate rich,
the homeless amassed
like scabs on the city’s
emotional wounds.

the Beast hoarding its own purpose,
a beyond-human sin.
cars just blood cells,
legs follicles,
a child’s sob a cut.
only the Beast can rise
with its muscles of spires,
hundreds of stories
of lower and lower lusts,
ribs of cement, femurs of steel,
the growling pug snouts
of arenas.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Release: "Out of Place" Featured in Barnwood

"Out of Place" has found a happy place! Tom Koontz, editor extraordinaire at Barnwood International Poetry Magazine, just put the poem up on site. Go check it out, and see a picture of me dressed as a rampaging pirate!

Out of Place at Barnwood Magazine

For all my poems at Barnwood over the years, go here:

Index of Barnwood Poets

Koontz is a legendary presence in the poetry world, he's been around since the 70's, at least. Here is my review:

Barnwood Magazine Review

I donated my $25 payment back to him. Last time I did this, he sent me Poet's Bookshelf I and II as a gift. These books provide a fascinating view into the minds of many great poets, asking each and every one of them to discuss their favorite and most inspiring literature.

Poets Bookshelf: Contemporary Poets On Books That Shaped Their Art, edited by Peter Davis, Barnwood Press

Poets Bookshelf II: Contemporary Poets On Books That Shaped Their Art, edited by Peter Davis and Tom Koontz, Barnwood Press

For example, from Poets Bookshelf I, here is part of the entry by Adrienne Rich, one of the greatest poets of our age, who died just last month ( Rage is Good ):


[Books that inspire Adrienne Rich and excerpts from her Commentary]

James Baldwin, The Price of the Ticket: Collected Non-Fiction 1948 - 1985
Muriel Rukeyser, The Life of Poetry
Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States
Ben Shahn, The Shape of Content
June Jordan, Some of Us Did Not Die

None of these is a book of poetry. A poet should read a great deal outside of poetry. All these books are by people who have struggled to think about the world as they knew it. ...

A People's History of the United States: Not to know this history is to be unmoored as a poet and a citizen ...

In Some of Us Did Not Die, distinguished poet, teacher and activist, Jordan gathered her remarkable essays on things happening in her neighborhood and in the world.

Rage On,


Monday, April 23, 2012

Acceptance: Gutter Eloquence

Jack T. Marlowe at Gutter Eloquence just took "Under a Bed," which is about my brother's suicide. It was psychically draining--yet important--to write the poem, and somehow it was just as draining to have it accepted (as if I had accomplished a quest undertaken by a ghost that took hold of my heart).

Marlowe is maybe the editor with the dubious status of being deepest in Hell. He reads people's addictions, deaths, and derangements, rejects a lot, publishes some. Whether this makes him great or damned, I don't know, but he picks out great terrible poems to present to his readers. He catches demon-stung expressions, places them on electronic walls, for us to peer at.

(However, I don't mean to imply that he is limited to such creatures. He publishes many, many things, all exceptional work)

I'm tired. I have a lot to do. I am grateful Marlowe is out there, doing what he does. I am also glad I am not he.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Acceptance: Bolts of Silk

Juliet Wilson, editor of Bolts of Silk, recently accepted my poem "Red Squirrel" for her well-known journal. It's a lively kinda sassy piece, a tribute to the acrobatic rodents behind my house, mischievous critters adept at interrupting my thoughts with their strident fuss. And yet, somehow, they are lovable all the same. Most of the time...

Wilson is an amazing person who I've said many good things about before. This time I will add that Bolts of Silk is listed at Poet Hound, a cool blog in the literary world, as a key 'place to visit'. Go to and read along the right side of the screen.

I will also add that Wilson has a very rare trait: being fantastically intelligent while, at the same time, somehow managing to like people in general. Go figure.

I am lethargic and mentally drained today, and now I am going to wander off and attempt to deal with reality, which means bleeding an oil furnace.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Release: "Weekday Tunnel" at

The above poem just went up at the incisive, conformity-cracking journal, Here is my review of and also a link to my work:

Owl on amph

Weekday Tunnel

Most of the poems I get accepted these days seem to be dark, which is fine with me, they are often the most honest. Unfortunately there aren't that many good dark-poetry journals, ones with Editors like Shannon Peil at amph.

I live in a country where half the people don't believe that global warming is human caused.

A recent article in the Washington Post pointed out that only 43% of the Tea Party believes in evolution:

In other words, I'm surrounded by ignorance. This is an ignorance that used to be spoiled and pampered, because the US Empire was awash in privilege and wealth. Now it is bitter petty ignorance, which attempts to lash out because the Empire is collapsing, due to overwhelming greed and general dysfunction.

So, yes, I write dark. I'm in a phase where I am sick of human power-lust and human lust in general, because it is all so selfish and stupid.

"Weekday Tunnel" is in that vein.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Release (Finally!): Moulin Review, Issue 3

In February 2011, my poem “mud” was accepted by Moulin Review for their "next" issue, that is, Issue Three; and now, after some unknown yet fantastical turbulence, the issue is finally up! You can find it here:

Moulin Review Issue 3

There is a final hurdle you must pass before gaining ingress to the incredibly good poems and artwork inside. Be sure to click on FULL SCREEN at the bottom of the Scribd template that perimeters the journal like a stubborn sentient fence. Only then can you scroll through the contents without sticking a humungous magnifying glass in front of your face, turning yourself, to anyone watching you, into a cyclops.

Once you’re in, Enjoy! Some of the best poets in America are there, like J.P. Dancing Bear. Moulin Review is run by the student writer’s club at Brookhaven College, and they are already advocating exuberantly for submissions to the next issue. I encourage you to submit, if you don’t mind a rather considerable wait between the happy day of acceptance and a much-later date of somewhat tarnished happiness, when the issue wanders over the finish line.

Bittersweetly Yours,


PS: Although “Mud” is a wonderful poem, right across from it is “The Language of Spectral Ships” by Jeffrey C. Alfier, giving me pretty stiff competition.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Unforgettable Harlow Gallery Reading

On April 6, I read at the Harlow Gallery for the opening reception of “Occupy Art! Union of Maine Visual Artists in Action.” UMVA is a powerhouse of brilliance: a continuous flashpoint of geniuses, leaders, fabulous thinkers and devastating artists who have attained national attention.

I discuss some of these immense artists here:

Owl on Natasha Mayers, Kenny Cole, Robert Shetterly

It was a splendid magical night. Get more details at these links, if you wish:

Occupy Art! at the Harlow

Maine Arts Scene Announcement

At the heart of downtown Hallowell, in a well-lit room with glistened wood floors, four poets read to a crowd of over a hundred people as the walls spoke silently from numerous drawings, sketches, silkscreens and sculptures of anti-war/anti-greed art.

First up was Mark Melnicove, high school teacher and well-known Maine poet, who swooned into an eloquent tirade written just for this occasion. No doubt he put in many tears and much sweat. The serpentine opus was at least six pages long, but seemed to melt away into the suspenseful air, borne on a fleet spell, which melded together fine wordplay, devastating critique and occasional riffs of high-impact rhyme. This hypnotic holism accused our culture of shallow ridiculousness while fattening a mentality of gross greed. It easily curved to conclusion within the ten minutes allotted to each poet; and the crowd applauded with might, caught up in the crescendo of indignation gaining throughout the piece.

Next was Henry Braun, a true legend who worked with Robert Lowell and other immortal names. His many experiences and achievements include a longstanding presence as an activist wordsmith, a brave bard who has spoken out beautifully and mordantly over many decades. He has taught at prestigious universities and edited at one of the greatest journals of all time, Beloit Poetry Journal.

Braun came in satiric dress, clothed as a rich one-percenter, complete with full-suited regalia, including a fancy hat. Half-way through his reading, he adroitly changed costum to become an exploited bluecollarman; the poem he was reading took a dark turn into the tale of a factory girl whose scalp sloughed off into the mechanical maw of a textile machine.

His antics combined with eloquence in just the right way. We were all stung and moved.

Third was Lee Sharkey, one of Maine’s very best poets. She is one of the two current editors at Beloit Poetry Journal, and recently won a major grant from Maine Arts Commission. Her latest book, A Darker, Sweeter String, is devastatingly good (google it to see the commotion) and she continues to get topnotch publications, such as her appearance this year in Crazyhorse.

Before reading her impeccable poetry, Sharkey revealed something I didn’t know: Adrienne Rich was her mentor for 40 years. If you know anything about the poetry world, you have probably heard that Adrienne Rich died this month, and you surely know that Rich is one of the greatest voices in poetry of all time.

See my eulogy here:

Rage Is Good

You have to hear Sharkey’s poems to get any kind of sense of how good and achingly fresh they are. As I listened, I was pulled to scan the artwork on the walls. Also rising up in me was the beautiful presence of Adrienne Rich. My eyes grew wet and when it was my turn to read, I became quite emotional.

All I will say is that I ranted a bit before took out my poems, and the crowd applauded here and there. As I type this blog entry, relatively calm in my room, it is difficult for me to recall just what I said.

In any case, I read three poems: one on war, one on Big Pharma’s life-taking avarice, and one on the denial and anxiety that have settled into the minds of the Empire’s citizens, thick as a blight of psychological smog.

It was a major and magnificent night, lush with powers of the heart. An event where humanity showed its most urgent desire to attain a just society.

If the gods were watching, or the UFO’s, I hope they saw that some of us, at least, are really, really trying.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A "Truly Fabulous" Poet?


Interviewer Renee Beauregard Lute recently described me as a “truly fabulous” poet. The interview was with Lissa Kiernan, who created and orchestrates the website

Read the delicious details here:

Lissa Kiernan's Poetry Coop Interview

Every month the Poetry Coop offers a new workshop by a talented “teaching artist.” Many of the workshops are free, which is an amazing gift, given the quality. For instance, this month the Editor of the well-known journal Arsenic Lobster, Susan Yount, a tremendous poet in her own right, is leading a workshop on Federico Garcia Lorca’s goblinesque concept of duende. Too late to sign up for this one, it is maxed out.

But there is a new workshop every month. In fact, by some wild twist of lucky fate, yours truly is leading a workshop in September. To find out more, read the above interview, or just visit the coop. It’s new, friendly, soul-shaking and effacacious--and it’s taking the poetry world by storm!

You can join without taking a workshop, so why not?

As an enticement, here is a little Coop trivia. Another name for the site is the Rooster Moans. Why does it have this intriguing sobriquet? Visit to find out ...


PS: Also named “truly fabulous” by the interviewer were poets Maureen Alsop and Alexandra van de Kamp. I am in exceedingly good company!

PSS: Teaching Artists at the Poetry Coop are as follows (wowful bios are available at the site):

Alexandra van de Kamp

Amy King

Brenda Mann Hammack

Joshua Davis

Karrie Waarala

Lissa Kiernan

Maureen Alsop

Owl Who Laughs

Sara Tracey

Steven Teref

Susan Yount

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Release: Wilderness House 7/1

Wilderness House Literary Review has released its Volume 7, Issue 1, including five of the most painful poems I have ever written. I have blogged about this phenomenal journal and its Poetry Editor Irene Koronas a few times before, including this entry:

WHL Comments

To go to the journal, follow this link:

Wilderness House 7/1

And to read my poems, you can to here:

Owl in 7/1

The titles of these poems are:


Alone Nude

Cameo By a Stranger

Trying to Shovel

Rio Scene

And that's as close as I want to get to them, right now.

Thanks for reading,