Ringing the Far-off Bell

I’ve always said I don’t have a narrative bone in my body; hence my leaning towards poetry. But I have a fraught relationship to the act of writing itself — how deaf I can be; how often words scurry for cover just when I need them most. I seem never to be able to exert mastery over my materials, no matter how much I study the craft. I want to communicate to a reader, but I also want to explore the ineffable. In my opinion, poetry does this best, by pointing itself towards the deep structures of our meaning- making. Sound, rhythm, syntax, diction — these are tools at the poet’s disposal to enact experience and to create reality.

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Stirring a Child’s Imagination

When I was ten, I planned to be an artist or a writer but never a nurse. A teacher wasn’t part of the picture either. And yet teaching writing and art to children and adults, something which I fell into almost accidentally after my first book, The Book of Qualities, was published and I was invited to bring Qualities into a middle school classroom, has been an immense and gorgeous part of my life.

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The Future is Now

Apoet brings to The Future what is beyond time and space. A pet

at his side. His wings are made of cheesecloth. His eyes are buttons,

glowing in the dark.

What is not known. What is about to happen. He is there, half in

a dream world.

And if he gives you a headache or a heartache, that’s his pleasure.

If you miss that, there is no future. That is to say, he knows how

to push you against the wall. Gently. And you fall into a mythical

dimension – You don’t know that yet.

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Fungoes and Fastballs

Where baseball and haiku overlap is the art of deceptive simplicity and the impulse to describe the shining moments of the deeply real. As Jack Kerouac writes in Dharma Bums, “A real haiku has to be simple as porridge, but make you see the real thing.” The Basho of Baseball, Yogi Berra, agrees saying, “You can observe a lot just by watching.”

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Autumn Equinox

Black coffee and a sweet Bosc pear

enjoyed in the stillness

of a Sunday morning.

It is a busy time of year,

tomatoes and peppers

fill baskets on the kitchen table,

hazelnuts are in the dryer.

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A Room of One’s Own

Stymied, I close the front door behind me,

step into summer’s humidity,

leave frustration piled on my desk.

A trail of unconnected thoughts

floats behind me,

mundane words

litter the sidewalk.

Then, I notice

the spotted fawn studying me

from the bushes, startled,

she lopes away.

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Writer’s Block

I have lost the ability

to capture words,

To snatch them from the ether

and pin them to the page.

I have lost the talent

to grab a comely phrase

and spread it on a line.

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Celebrating Childhood

Even the wind wants
to become a cart
pulled by butterflies.

I remember madness
leaning for the first time
on the mind’s pillow.
I was talking to my body then
and my body was an idea
I wrote in red.

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