Monthly Archives: November 2005

Wednesday Words

Once again, it’s time for the Wednesday Words of the Week. First, though, I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Remember, it’s a time to celebrate the things we do have and the luck and blessings bestowed on us throughout the year and our lives.
What am I thankful for? Being blessed with understanding and supporting family. Friends who can accept me for who I am. Writing skills that surprise even myself sometimes. Getting my life into a goal-oriented mode this year. A job I enjoy. Being able to afford school and life in general. That there are some people who actually read this stuff. 🙂 What are all of you thankful for?

And now that that’s outa the way, on to our words for today:



And the quotation:

Many books require no thought from those who read them, and for a very simple reason; they made no such demand upon those who wrote them.
Charles Caleb Colton (1780 – 1832), Lacon, 1820

I hope you have a great holiday.


Elegy for my Brothers in Arms

Elegy for my Brothers in Arms

Once asked for Happy Meals, an extra story,
or, fans of Silverstein and Seuss, a poem.
Once begged for candy and cookies in aisles of stores
where, finding free samples, lined up to take one.
Once pleaded for a Nintendo for Christmas or
Birthday ‘cause all the other kids had them.
Once denounced the value of broccoli and chores, a
ten minute discourse turned dinner to sermon.

Now lie in a line on the tarmac’s hot surface
where airmen stride, eyes down with bleak purpose.
Now lie on-line in a pine sided box that,
rough-hewn, seems blurred, unfocused, foreshortened, and matte.
Now recline in a perfect robotic pose
training complete, mouths stilled, and stronger their foes.

On Becoming Aware of Death

On Becoming Aware of Death

Maybe it was the year the Challenger failed
on TV, maybe the year they showed the standing
man in front of the tank, his hand pale
against the olive-drab paint in the square in Beijing

and he refused to move. He’s crushed under
tread and they showed clips on the news
for a week, or maybe two, but over and over
again. These were not it, but I still had curfew

at dark, and my parents watched ABC
because they knew and trusted World News Tonight
with Peter Jennings. It was the night he
showed the men kneeling down blindfolded in line

and said something about gross images,
then black and white exploding blood and heads.

These are the Things I Write

These are the things I write:

     Of the dis-used, those in the gutters ant-bitten and scourged,
     Of the promises that so often go missed in the supple mechanics of politics,
     Of those who use up all of themselves: the forgotten, the fried, the drug-addled, those who sleep too much, and those who
sleep not at all.

     I write of the single parents, the mothers, and those fathers, who must work to weary and work through the night, the rains, the
clouds, the sunshine, the childrens’ games.

     I write of the married ones, who sleep alone in the large beds, under or over the down and cotton as their wont, who await the
          return of those they wait, they who keep vigil in our and foreign streets, towns, villages, borders, caves, and lands.

     I write of those who’s awaited return will never come.  They who will die who should not.  They who trust the reasons and do
          not question, do not waiver, do not falter on their trivial feelings.  They who do what they are told to do, and in so
doing become dead.  I write for these.

     I write of the flower alone in the window box on the tenth floor of a brick apartment on forty-third street.

     I write the flowing winds of jets streaming across the continent, trailing contrails and glinting sun and ushering those who
          must go to loved homes or desperate meetings to the destinations:
          Over the farmlands, the wetlands, the city quagmires; the grasslands and forests ever receding; the birds we’ve brought
to the brink: Bald Eagle and California Condor and the Woodpeckers and Spotted Owls; over the Timberwolves and Canadian Geese and the California Grizzly and the Beavers; over the failing family farms and the failing
small towns: Eastern and Central and Mountain and Westering.
          Over all these they fly, unintelligible and mad.  And screaming incoherence.  So of these I write.

     I write of the mud.
     Of the slick slippery wetness of it, the way it ingratiates itself into clothing and skin and fingernails, the way it slides away,
          squishes up between toes, the coldness and warmness of it.  Of the different kinds and colors: the red, the brown, the
          black and yellow; the slick and the solid and the viscous; the building kind and the tearing-down kind.

Of these things I write.



The brilliant morning sun just over the trees
The evergreens, and the deciduous:
     Pine, fir, juniper and redwood,
     Oak, poplar, and magnolia,
The morning sun rising over the trees and rows of homes behind mine (it faces the north
and west)
The townhomes and stand-alones, well-cared and run-down, manicured and ignored.
The brilliant sun rising over these and the people in the homes:
     The single people, men and women, the married, divorced, widowed;
     Those with young children, they with older children, they with children moved
out and on their own, and those with grown children living with them.
The brilliant morning sun dawns on all of these, and more:
     The sun dawns on the animals living in the woods:
     The birds, mammals, reptiles:
          The blackbird and sparrow and cardinal,
          The squirrel, cat, dog, and bat,
          The lizards escaped from some child, and the frogs.
Over all these the sun rises, bright and warm and life-giving.

The sun is the life-giver of the plants,
The plants the life-givers to the animals,
Those animals life-givers to other animals,
And those are life-givers to man.
The sun gives life to man, and man dies, and feeds the earth.
The sun gives life to the earth,
Spun off excess matter and formed the ten planets, and everything inside the
Kupier Belt.
The sun gave birth to the earth.

In time, the sun will burn up and swallow the planets, and become massive.
In time, the sun will grow massive and collapse.
In time, the sun will collapse and give rise to new suns, and planets.
In death, new life will rise again.

A new earth, new life:
     New plants, and animals, and men;
     New poets and songs and praises;
     New gods.

Wednesday Words

First, our Quote:

Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life: if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.
— Thomas Jefferson

What concerns me is how much politics and politicians have started using religion as a crutch to motivate voters. Further concern is illicited by the publics gravitating to the politicians for spouting off of nothing more than idle words. I believe there was a parable in the Bible for this exact situation. It is about a man who prays always the loudest, and who always made sure everyone watched when he donated his money. I’m not too sure of the result, but I’m pretty sure it went in the favor of the humbler worshiper.

And now, the words of the day:



I just enjoy saying “umbrage” it almost sounds like what it means. Though I was clueless as to the meaning of oneiric.

Hope these bring some creativity to your day.


Saw the movie Jarhead last night. I liked it a lot. One of my friends, having seen it, described it as “the closest you can get to being a Marine without actually being one.” Having been a Marine, I’d have to agree with his statement. The idea of waiting around (hurry up and wait) was breached in the movie, but I don’t think the experience of it could actually be conveyed in a 2.5 movie. However, the director and actors and script writers did an excellent job in their roles for this movie. It captured the gung-ho, the hoorah, the interior torment that I believe all Marines (and military, for that matter) go through in their career. There are excrutiating moments of both exuberance and depression that the movie captured well. This is the Full Metal Jacket for the 09/11 America.

There are some things that I wish the director approached more directly, however. The questioning of why? was brought up, but only briefly. While this was not the story of an unwilling Marine, I just think this is an important issue. I know from personal experience that Marines are not just dumb robots. They are in fact more highly educated and capable of critical thinking than perhaps ever before. They are constantly questioning why. Why are we in a foreign country? Why are we upsetting the fragile balance of an entire world region and population? Why are we just waiting around here? So I would have like to see more on this topic. I would also like to have seen more in the way of commentary about the current situation in Iraq.

The director brushes against these topics, just barely. On the other hand of this conversation, he is quite successful in preventing the movie to become the soap box it so easily could have become. That is an admirable accomplishment. The movie focuses on the story of one young Marine, and it portrays both the Marines and the war very accurately and fairly. This I admire very much. The only demographic I would not recommend this to is that of the Mothers and Fathers who have young Marines in the service.


It is always a pleasure

To enjoy successful figures of your chosen profession. I had the great opportunity last night to see Campbell McGrath and Mark Halliday read at the Folger Shakespeare Library downtown. These are two poets who enjoy rather great success in the public eye, both publishing several volumes of poems, as well as teaching at the university level. The subject of the reading was comedic poetry, and both writers read poems that had the audience laughing whole-heartedly. There were poems of a light nature, like McGrath’s Free Cheese, and more critically funny poems, such as his Benediction for the Savior of Orlando (a poem about the ubiquity and terror of Chuck E. Cheese) Mr. Halliday’s poems tended on irreverence for the daily doings of the academic poetry world, from the haplessness of poetry workshops (The Lost Glove) to daydreaming oneself out of board meetings (which I missed the title of).

Following the readings, the poets sat down to a short, mediated discussion on the intersection of comedy and poetry, focusing on the difference between stand-up and poetry. They touched on the role of slam/spoken word poetry, as well as the historic position of the poet of comedic societal commentator that comics so often occupy in our society. Both McGrath and Halliday brought up the absurdity of the current American culture, and the compounded absurdity of being a poet in it. McGrath went on to say that he rarely ever sets out to write a ‘funny’ poem, but rather finds that “the more serious a subject, the more I find that comic voice emerges” to paraphrase him. He also noted that most, if not all, humor “to be successful, needs to be self-effacing.” Halliday agreed with him, and added that “In any poem, what you want is a human truth…”

This reading certainly gave me a lot to think about as I continue my quest for bettering myself and reaching my goals.

One other thing that caught my attention was a question one of the audience members asked. In clarifying himself he wondered if “poems happen by mistake?” This is something for me to think more about.

Small Dogs

Small Dogs

They say small dogs
were bred to hunt rats
and that makes sense
They rather resemble
the intended prey:
low to the ground and wiry fur,
but rats have a certain
intelligence their
pursuers lack
and furthermore are
rather more quiet and calm.
It seems we should breed
some large cats
to rid us of these
canine rats.


Yeah, it’s old. Funny-poem Friday?


I’m half-way to my quota for today (the 2nd), so here’s a break. I can think of two really good things that might happen during these 29 days: One, writing makes one a better writer, and two, at the inevitable breaks from sitting in this chair, I’m going to get a lot stronger. I find myself doing pushups and stretches on break, getting the blood flowing, and to just distract myself from the frustration or the story.
I can’t say the story is going to be good, but it will be completed. It feels good.