At the Nutcracker Ballet

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I let the music dress me
in a party gown the color
of melting emeralds,
in a scarlet and black uniform
with a sword,
in raggedy rat-fur, and a nightgown
trimmed with lace, let it sweep me
around the Christmas tree,
into glorious battle,
and through the snowflakes
to the land of sugar plums,
let it spin me and twirl me
up onto my toes and lift me
high above the stage
in impossible leaps
until love and goodness triumph
and I descend to earth
to take my bow.

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CHANGE OF PLANS

The last time I posted about myself, I was planning to use a submission service to send my poems out to poetry magazines and journals. At the last minute, I decided instead to be mentored by Jeffrey Levine, who is the founder, publisher, and editor of Tupelo Press. It has been very helpful and will continue into the future, for a while anyway. And interestingly, Jeffrey doesn’t know of any literary magazines who refuse to publish poems already published in a blog, although that’s what the submissions service had said, hence my decision to stop posting my poetry on my blog. So with that news, guess I’ll start publishing the occasional poem, starting today. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all!

Raymond Carver: Grief

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Raymond Carver is best known for his short stories, but he also wrote poetry and here is one of my favorite poems of his.

Woke up early this morning and from my bed
looked far across the Strait to see
a small boat moving through the choppy water,
a single running light on. Remembered
my friend who used to shout
his dead wife’s name from hilltops
around Perugia. Who set a plate
for her at his simple table long after
she was gone. And opened the windows
so she could have fresh air. Such display
I found embarrassing. So did his other
friends. I couldn’t see it.
Not until this morning.

Raymond Carver
All of Us, The Collected Poems
Vintage Books

Jim Moore: Lightning at Dinner

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I’ve decided to post some poetry from poets that I’m currently reading–I’m enjoying them so much and hope you will too. Today’s is by Jim Moore, from his book of the same name.

Basta! shouts the waiter,
then laughs each time the sky
is rent, delighted.
“Such a long journey,”
my failing mother said,
her voice calm and steady,
crossing seven time zones.

Light gone,
you and I sit in the dark. Our hands
touch, finally, hours
after our argument.
This sudden warmth, palm
to palm: as when thunder stops,
the suddenness of all that silence.
Or the aftershock — deafening —
when an only son
is given to understand
his mother’s business with him
is completely done.

Jim Moore
Lightning at Dinner
Graywolf Press

Update on Moi

To those whose blogs I follow, just a note to let you know I haven’t been feeling well for some weeks now, though on the mend, I hope; some good days, some not so good days, which is why sometimes I miss a post or two, or don’t comment as soon as I might otherwise. I hope to be back on top of things, or as much as I ever am, soon!

The Creative Process

1. This is awesome.

2. This is tricky.

3. This is shit.

4. I am shit.

5. This might be OK.

6. This is awesome.

I read the above on a favorite blog of mine, Living Undone by Cathy Aten. This description of how creativity works (author unknown) is hilarious and, at least in my case, true.

A Farewell of Sorts

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Hi, everyone,

I’m sad to say that I’ve decided to discontinue posting poems on my blog; here’s why: I just, within the last few days, realized that I want to be a published poet, to have my poems in literary journals and poetry journals, even to have a collection of my poetry published. Unfortunately, these journals won’t take poems published anywhere else, even on the internet, even just on a blog. And apparently if you take down your poems, the search engines keep archives, so your poems can still show up. So I won’t be posting any more poems online as I write new poems and try to get them published. I’ll be using an interesting online company called Writers Relief that will do submissions for me, targeting magazines most likely to accept my style of poetry, so we’ll see. But first I have to write a dozen or so new poems.

I’m excited about what will be a new venture for me, but sad because I have so enjoyed getting to know you wonderful poets and writers on WordPress, especially through exchanging comments on our writing. I’ll still be around and will check out your blogs, especially my favorites (you know who you are), time permitting. Thanks for all of your support, kind words, and encouragement.

Willow

Priestess of Art

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Occidental College, L.A, California
1964-19
67

Afternoon of a Faun playing, my friend
quoting Dylan Thomas from memory,
the two of us in her dorm room,
long and narrow, curtains blowing,
dark sanctuary lit by her passion
for literature, music, art, drama;

our conversations subtle, oblique;
I groped for her meaning,
as though she spoke a different dialect,
yet how powerful her self, force
of nature, passionate priestess,
art her religion, the highest calling;

at first drawn to poetry but in the end
choosing ceramics, bringing forth shapes
from her soul, boats and birds, abstracted,
symbolic, mysterious; sharing her craft
with generations of students;
fifty years, passion still burning.