Sunday, July 29, 2012

While I Was Gone

While I was gone (to the beach, with family wamily, in Michigan), stuff happened:

1) At Escape Into Life, the new poetry feature--Molly Spencer--was posted for me by Teia, who solves all problems.  (I did not have Internet access where I was.) So check it out, poets!--and poetry readers!

2) My avocado sprouted up into a little tree! It exactly resembles this one. It does not, in any way, resemble my other avocado sprout, which resembles a begonia. And, of course, probably is a begonia. I don't know how the begonia sprout got inside the avocado pit. You will have to ask the squirrels about that.

3) Normal, Illinois had a double rainbow, followed by resumed drought.

4) Michigan had plenty of rain--almost every night and parts of every day! But every day also brought some beach time, sunny time, and changes in the lake and tide pools.

5) My sister got lost. And I found her. By going down to the beach to think about her. My being there then assured her she was found when she returned from "a three-hour tour." (Gilligan Island theme.)

6) Jonathan Koch did a new painting, Strawberries and Cream.

7) Escape Into Life posted this tribute to its founder, Chris Al-Aswad, and a poem by him. When I got back, I attended the party in his honor.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Courage



One of Emily Dickinson’s poems begins

A great Hope fell
You heard no noise
The Ruin was within
Oh cunning wreck that told no tale
And let no Witness in

but in my case you do hear noise:

 1. I go over to my parents’ house and tell them about it, so
2. I let a Witness in
3. (this afternoon by reading them a different Emily Dickinson poem, and my commentary on it*)
4.  and then I go home and put on the Paula Cole CD Courage

Then (or during) I laugh and drink wine. And fix dinner. (Which cannot be fixed without music and wine. But that’s another story.)

So, yes, a great hope fell, recently, but one I will survive, as I have survived many others, and I will laugh, drink wine, and be glad I have parents, friends, a husband, kids, and other fine Witnesses! (Though I am telling no tales!)

I’ve mentioned Paula Cole here before, and the wonderful Courage album, picked up, used, at a sidewalk sale, for $5 at exactly the right moment. Hm, why does that moment keep recurring?!

Really, this album always consoles me and keeps me going, restores my courage. I love her honesty and vulnerability:

And I’ve forgotten who I used to be.
And I’ve forgotten the woman in red, living her dream.
And I’ve forgotten the courage I used to be.

Then there’s a refrain of repetition that is best heard sung:  “I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, And I try, and I try, and I try, and I try, and I try….”

I love, love, love her courage and conviction, in the first song on the album, “Comin’ Down,” saying, “I’ll shoulder the weight,

Of feeling emotions in a deeper shade
I’ll be the one who puts them to song
And liberate the heartache comin’ down.

So, I was reading to my parents about “trembling on the brink of the abyss without falling in” while trembling on the brink of the abyss without falling in.

Which, you know, ultimately, is funny!

Or, as Paula Cole would (and did) say,

So please forgive me all my seriousness,
My so-called spirituality,
I’m just a mess.
I’m tears and anxiety,
But I’m unafraid to See.

And I did not fall off the brink, either.  And was able to comfort a few poets, later, on Facebook.  (Sigh…)  And was given, earlier today, by a dear heart, Ginny, The Book of Men, by Dorianne Laux, because I told her I was lusting after it, and she completely understood! (It has a hilarious cover, and beautiful interior!)

*as, wooee, one of “today’s finest poets,” wooee (did I say, “Wooee!”?), according to Richard Jones in Poetry East, #74 & 75, Spring 2012: Great Poems

Please forgive me my moments of self-congratulation. It helps me not fall off the brink. Into a pool of wine. (Or into a pool of whine.)



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fresh Out of the Oven

As I told poet Carol Berg, who is Fresh Out of the Oven this morning at The Bakery, I had her poem "The Wife's Mid-Life Crisis with Dreams of Sacrificing Feet" for breakfast instead of some other kind of pastry. Yesterday I had "The Wife's Mid-Life Crisis with Danger" instead of a donut.

Excellent way to lose weight! Wait! Unless I drink a lot of this Poet beer, actually an oatmeal stout.

And I appear to have plenty of it. In fact, it appears to be growing on trees around here.



This is my homemade bottle tree. (Formerly a burning bush. But it died.) I was inspired to make it, with various beer bottles, including Wingwalker pale ale and Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy, after seeing pix of other, more beautiful, less alcoholic bottle trees online. (And as a monument to the burning bush.)

Thanks to my daughter for the pix, and to James, a participant in my poetry workshop, for the Poet stout.

Note to self: Do not drink Poet stout for breakfast* or you will become a stout poet. And for other reasons.

Note to all: Do read (and/or listen to!) Carol Berg's mid-life crisis poems at The Bakery, and it looks like a yummy place to visit frequently! Also, try not to have a mid-life crisis, but, if you do, handling it with poetry is probably better than handling it with beer.

Have I mentioned that it is Fat Tuesday in the blog? And also, clearly, a Poetry Someday. And, as usual, a Random Coinciday!

*even though it is made out of oatmeal

Monday, July 16, 2012

Marigold Hotel

Everybody told me I would love the movie Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and everybody was right. I went last night, to the packed Normal Theatre, and walked through beautiful Uptown Normal afterwards with my mom, visiting the new train station just after a train had arrived (excellent restrooms!), and having ice cream cones on the patio at Emack and Bolio's under a fabulous exploding-with-music metal and light sculpture by Herb Eaton.

I am still and again singing the praises of my hometown.

Thanks to Normal for the new Marriott, and thanks to Beyond Normal Films for the Best Exotic Marigold.

The movie was funny, beautiful, and profound and full of actors I love--Judy Dench and Maggie Smith, of course, and Tom Wilkinson, but also the fabulous Bill Nighy of The Girl in the Cafe, a sweet movie about social justice that I recommend to all.

My kids like Bill Nighy because of Shaun of the Dead, a zombie movie, and his wife in that is Penelope Wilton, also his wife in this. So it's a Random Coinciday in the blog!

And also a Blue Monday, as the forget-me-nots keep blooming and the blue spiderwort have come back, revived by a spot of rain.

And it's even a Poetry Someday, as I got a good draft of a poem this morning, one that had been hanging around in the air like humidity, and then let loose.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hometown Blues

Yesterday I was praising my hometown and its new transportation center, and today in church Jesus was having the hometown blues. “People who tell the truth are honored, except when they’re in their hometown," he said, according to the pastor and the Scarlet Letter Bible.

The Scarlet translation continues, saying he was "exasperated" with his hometown residents, "couldn't do anything significant with them," and sent his apostles off in pairs to do good works for those who were open to them. “'Whenever you go somewhere,' he told them, 'stay in one house until you leave. If you and your message are unwelcome somewhere, just shake it off.'”

I love that advice: "just shake it off." If only it were that easy. But, as Pastor Susan reminded us, the contemporary "shake it off" advice captures the image of "shaking the dust off your feet" when you are out healing the sick in your sandals.

Yep, Jesus sent them off with "[No] food, no bags, no money in their pockets. He had them wear sandals, and let them take only one shirt." This reminded me of how I travel, and the reflection was titled "Traveling Light" and was about the burden of possessions in addition to the hometown blues.

I do travel light. I take my purse--which, it's true, has a brush and comb in it, a toothbrush, and a tube of toothpaste (yes, a whole tube...until it's less than a whole tube...which takes a while)--and a cloth bag that usually has my rolled-up jammies and a change of underwear and socks and, yes, one (extra) shirt.

And, a natural Blanche DuBois, I often depend on the kindness of strangers. Or old friends.

(I'm sure, by the way, that you can find a picture online of Stanley Kowalski in a ripped t-shirt.) Anyhoo...


I reflected on a lot of stuff today: how we can be appreciated by strangers and unappreciated in our hometowns, how we can shake it off, and how we can travel light. And now I wish you well on your own journey. (And if you need a shirt to wear and a shirt to roll up and carry with you, the Escape Into Life shirt is here, and the Ginger Ninja = Ginja shirt is here! But don't let these new possessions be a burden.)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Life of the Community

It's been another berry, berry good day, full of blackberries (from the Farmers Market) and inspiration. Because of the fresh blackberries, I've returned to this painting by Jonathan Koch. If you'd like to see them baked into a peach cobbler, go here and scroll down, drool a bit, and then notice the recipe!

I walked downtown today--that is, uptown, as in beautiful Uptown Normal--in order to hear the speeches at the opening ceremony for the new transportation center. I admired the collaboration and dedication and excellent planning it took to build Uptown Station and renovate our little town.

There we all stood--important people (well, they were sitting), townspeople, the media, and union laborers in orange shirts--listening to the congratulatory, grateful, and inspiring speeches of our town mayor, Amtrak's board chairman, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Senator Dick Durbin. It was joyful, respectful, and bipartisan! You can read about it or watch a video here, via local radio station WJBC.

There was a rumor that President Obama might be there--he was invited to this event back in April--but he wasn't, unless they were hiding him inside the station, to go on the first tour of the station's interior with the other important people. But I think the Secret Service we saw at the event was there for the Senator and the Transportation Secretary. President Obama was there in praises and applause and the stimulus package.

In poetry news, my poem "Goodwill," a valentine to Martin Luther King, Jr., about the civil rights movement, arrived in the mail, inside Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley. I am glad and grateful any time I can "express the inexpressible" in a poem that finds its true readers. Today, I am thinking of public transportation and am glad again to have that poem "The Human Community" in Glass: A Journal of Poetry.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Spilled Honey

No use crying over spilled milk, they say. But what about honey? Today was an unlucky Friday the 13th for a truckdriver around here, whose semi rolled over, spilling its cargo of honey.

But some of us were luckier. I got to see my mom in a play tonight, drinking hard lemonade and threatening to parade around naked as a jaybird. Got to see an old friend, playwright Doug Post, who had come down to Normal from Chicago, to speak about playwrighting as the final judge in Heartland Theatre's New Plays from the Heartland event. Got to see lots of fine writing and marvelous acting + the throwing of vegetables onstage. It was sold out tonight, and I think they have only 8 seats left for tomorrow.

And I am lucky to be up today in Tampa Review Online--with the fabulous nickname TRON! My poems "Undertow" and "Renewal of Vows" are presented with the paintings that inspired them. These are both poems I had faith in, sending them out patiently till they could find the right home. I have revised them gradually over time, trying to get just the right mood, tone, and detailed rendering of the painting through the eyes and voice of a speaker at a certain emotional moment (or layered moment) in time.

I'm lucky the poems found the right home, and doubly lucky to see them posted just as I was pondering poet Molly Spencer's blog entry on the patience and persistence of sending work out to relentless rejection...and how to handle that. So good luck and moral support to Molly!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Great Poems

The new issue of Poetry East has arrived (Numbers 74 & 75, Spring 2012): Great Poems. It's got Matthew Arnold in it, William Blake, Emily Bronte, Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Helen Hunt Jackson, John Milton, Christina Rosetti, Shelley, Keats, Wordsworth, Yeats, and, of course, Shakespeare, and a bunch of others.

Great Poems: with commentaries by contemporary poets


Holy moly, I'm a contemporary poet!

I provide a commentary on Emily Dickinson's poem that begins, "I tie my Hat--I crease my Shawl--." I'm in there with Claudia Emerson (also with a Dickinson poem), Linda Pastan, Jack Ridl, Michael Hettich, Patiann Rogers, Andrea Potos, Jack Grapes, Joanne Lowery, Kelly Cherry, and other contemporary poets who were deeply affected by great poems of the past. Wooee!

And we're all in there with Rembrandt, paintings (in color!) and etchings. This is a fantabulous issue!!

This is a great teaching issue, whether in a classroom, small poetry workshop, or on your own. Wooee! I cannot wait to read this through and through and find out what everyone else loves. 

My commentary, which refers to Emily's grief at the loss of her young nephew, Gilbert, is across from Rembrandt's etching, Youth Surprised by Death. That's the kind of care in arrangement that editor Richard Jones takes with each issue of Poetry East.

Did I say, "Wooee!"?



T
hanks to Wikipedia for these public domain self-portraits of Rembrandt in youth, middle age, and the year he died.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Berry, Berry Good Day




Yes, I am having a berry, berry good day, thanks to these Raspberries in a Cup with Blackberries, by Jonathan Koch. I did not eat any, since they are made of paint, but I did have actual cherries for breakfast.

And yesterday, I watered the actual raspberries in the back corner of the yard. They are surviving.

I have been working outside on a long-term freelance editing project than can be done at a table in the shade. I have been moving forward at a slow, intuitive pace with various other writing projects.

And I had a poem acceptance yesterday--yay!--that balanced the rejection that started the week. This journal accepted the one poem that was simultaneously submitted, so I had to withdraw it from the other place, which was prompt and friendly and congratulatory in responding to my immediate notification, which is all good!

Tonight, I will visit with friends again to remember and gently mourn Phyllis. And drink cosmopolitans.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Case of the Missing Milk

I'm hungry! Note to Self: eat lunch. Do not go grocery shopping while hungry. Besides, Self, you went grocery shopping yesterday. Twice, because you forgot the milk, a mainstay. So you went back, late at night, to get some, so it would be there for breakfast. You went only to get milk, remember?!

Shift to summary/dialogue/first person narration:

So, last night, I went out to get the milk I forgot to get earlier, and the store was wonderfully empty, the floors shiny and clean, the big buffer machine going, and when I got to the cashier, there was just one guy getting a couple things and writing a check for them, getting a little cash, and he had a theatre shirt--Les Miserables, going on locally--and I asked about his show.

Actor Guy:  Oh, I'm in Cats at Miller Park.  I'm wearing this because I saw it last night and bought the shirt.

Me: How was it?

Actor Guy: Good! One more weekend. And come see Cats later this summer!

Me: (nodding in a positive yet indeterminate fashion) I've never seen Cats!

Note to you, the reader: Actor Guy is someone I have chatted with, in passing, at some other time, but I don't know his name. At the moment. Very nice guy. He will be playing Old Deuteronomy, and now I really want to see Cats, for the first time. I have listened to the songs many times. Sometimes I play songs from Cats on the piano. Oh, wait, maybe I have seen Cats. The movie. I have a feeling I fell asleep, like a contented cat, or like me, watching a movie.

Back to the grocery store, picking up dialogue in mid-conversation with Cashier, as Actor Guy has left:

Me: I bet I have that penny.

Cashier and Bagger ad lib about singing and dancing. Cashier hands Me my change, all paper money, and I put it away, becoming vaguely flummoxed by math challenge, as I was also expecting fifty cents, after that penny business. (Isn't Penny a character in a play? Yes! You Can't Take it With You!  Played by Rondi Reed at Steppenwolf, when I was Alice, the normal one! Get it? The NORMAL one.) Bagger and Cashier, though not present in my head, understand exactly, and hand over fifty cents from the change chute, and commiserate about change chutes and their own tendency to leave change behind in them.

Me: I'm just glad I remembered the milk. I forgot it earlier.

Bagger:  (genially) Don't forget your milk!

Me: (after a slight pause) Where is it?

In the movie made from this blog entry, the ensuing will be played in fast motion, with wacky music, in that jerky way of the old silent films. Bagger runs outside, yelling and waving her arms at Actor Guy, while Me follows, vaguely flummoxed again but perfectly cheerful. In the parking lot, Old Deuteronomy skitters out from under a row of shopping carts and runs quickly for the next safe place and/or mouse.  Actor Guy stops at his car, turns, looks at his hands, and comes back toward the store, while Me walks toward him. Actor Guy hands over a milk jug.

Me: This proves you are in Cats.

Actor Guy: Milk is not good for cats.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Whistling Maid, Cackling Hen

The forget-me-nots and blue lobelia are blooming on this Blue Monday that is blissfully cool compared to last week: 20 degrees cooler + blue sky. Time for the 100 Rejections recap/tally, as the morning began with an email rejection, but of the nice sort, the "close, send again" sort!

Since September 1, when this tally began, I've sent out 101 official submissions, had 49 rejections, and 28 acceptances (several already published, thanks to the comparative speed of online publications). I see I am only halfway there if I plan to get 100 rejections by September 1, 2012. Ack!

It's been a great summer for print issues: SRPR (Spoon River Poetry Review) and Nimrod arrived recently; still awaiting Slipstream, among others. Likewise, recent online publications include Hobble Creek Reviewand Menacing Hedge, with Poemeleon pending, among others. So I feel active even in stasis, which aids patience. And the near misses are good, and there have been a few withdrawals, due to simultaneous submissions, a nice opportunity for poets these days.

*Notice the new call for submissions at Hobble Creek, re: Gulf Coast issue. More about that, from the editors, here.

And this morning, able to sit outside again, I drafted a poem at the picnic table, and designed next week's poetry workshop, creating assignments based on poems from Whistling Past the Graveyard, by Kristin Berkey-Abbott. Find out more about her here, but don't click the book cover, as it takes you to a business site in Japanese. Ack! Have I just clicked on a virus?

She's the whistling maid. I'm the (c)ack(l)ing hen. For a Superior Cackling Hen, click here (Bourbon Tabernacle Choir CD). For more on chickens, click here. Thanks to Andrei Niemimaki for the happy couple above. Ack! This has officially become a Random Coinciday.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Blackberries and Forgiveness

Here is a Study of Blackberries, by the wonderful Jonathan Koch. Today, the heat broke--came down from 105 to 85--and while it did not rain here, there was distant thunder, and the sky was dark in the south, so it probably rained somewhere. I bought a birdbath at the arts fair for the poor, hot birds, watered things in the shade, and I think we'll all be fine.

Church made me happy, full of peace, thanks to the topic of "The Sacred Self," or realizing one's "sacred potential." Oddly enough, this tied in with a novel I just read, The Art of Fielding, and three time-loop films my husband and I watched over the last three days, exploring the paradox of freewill and destiny. In all of these works of art, people do or don't realize their [sacred] potential, and I can study them to try to figure out how, or why, or why not.

I was a bit surprised to encounter the phrase "television shows" in Matthew 6:1-6, but I suppose this is one of those modern translations. Anyhoo, I still got the message that when I do good or give to charity, I should not do it publicly or to get admiration; instead, "don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing." Ah, I seldom know what my other hand is doing, so I'm OK, I think! Likewise, re: translation, I still hear "pray in your closet" when Matthew advises me to "go into your room and shut the door, and pray to the sacred one who resides in mystery..." and I see that, at this very moment, the closet door is ajar, so what the heck does that mean? Ah, I should not have announced the birdbath--a charitable act toward the birds!?--but it made me so darn happy. It's beautiful, and I bought something from an artist, which is the way I practice what I preach.

Oh, forgive me. Also, the new issue of Hobble Creek Review is up here. I have not had a chance to peruse it yet, but I will! I am glad to be in it, and glad of the fine company. Here is my poem, "Forgiveness in Lafayette."

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Danger, Will Robinson

There's an "excessive heat warning" out there, so I am not...out there. I was, though, earlier! To see Sarah's Garden at the David Davis Mansion, a local historic site, with information provided by local master gardeners. When I got there, though, a perfectly reasonable handwritten sign said that no master gardeners would be on hand, due to the excessive heat.

I was free to wander the grounds alone, the sign indicated, and the gate was open. But a master gardener appeared! Thank you, Kay! And we looked at what was blooming, stood in the shade that existed, and then sat in the shade of some trees to look at a book of photos of the gardens, laid out as Sarah Davis (a contemporary of Abraham Lincoln) had arranged them, and containing original and heirloom plants: many perennials, some annuals. The gardeners who maintain Sarah's Garden harvest seeds or take cuttings--say, of scarlet geraniums--just like little old me. Or Emily Dickinson!

In Sarah's Garden, as in mine, the balsam* is compromised this year, due to the excessive heat and lack of rain. It has begun to bloom but is shorter and sparser than last year. I am hoping it will recover by next year.

Meanwhile, the crops are also suffering, and so are the people--for instance, those at the Sugar Creek Arts Festival, which I will put off visiting until tomorrow, on the strength of a hint that it might be a weensy bit cooler tomorrow.

At the moment it is 101, but it feels like 110 in the shade (also a musical, based on the play, The Rainmaker). And I was surprised to learn--from Wikipedia, of course--that "Danger, Will Robinson" was actually uttered only once during the television series Lost in Space, because I have uttered it numerous times since, and so have many others, including celebrities and characters in films.

*aka touch-me-not (as the seedpods will explode!)

("Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!")

Holy moly!
Dick Tufeld, the actor who played the Robot in Lost in Space, died earlier this year! RIP, Robot.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thistles

Last night, as we sat in the dusky glow before the sun sets, watching the first fireflies, instead of fireworks, appear, I mentioned that, due to the recent visit by goldfinches to the catmint, I was thinking of letting thistle go ahead and bloom instead of digging it up as usual, as goldfinches love thistle seed, too.

"It's illegal to grow thistle in Illinois," said my dad. "Thistle is strong enough to break a combine."

So, early this morning, still in my swimsuit from lap swimming, as I let the hose soak the flowerbeds in the shade, I dug up the thistles about to bloom, and the little ones along my side of the fence, the ones I could budge with a pitchfork and uproot.

Then it occurred to me to doublecheck the law. Indeed, a certain kind of thistle, Canada thistle, is illegal in Illinois. So is purple loosestrife, a beautiful but invasive plant that made its way into one of my poems, along with the legal wildflower yellow loosestrife. (Pretty much any and everything makes its way into my poems. And, hey, thistles made their way into the work of Robert Burns and Edna St. Vincent Millay, too!)

The thistles in my own back yard were about to bloom yellow, not lavender, as pictured here, in the beautiful photo by Richard Bartz. So, alas, I may have removed a perfectly innocuous, legal thistle, but they are prickly and could easily do harm to my husband's ankles, if not the lawnmower. Anyhoo, they are gone, and in the bin awaiting compost/yard waste pickup by our lovely town, which now also picks up recycling at the curb. Wooee!

And here is the globe thistle, also called Russian thistle in this area, that grows in the ditches beside the cornfields. Russian thistle made its way into one of my first short stories. I used to ride my bike out to the Russian thistles gone to seed, spray them with hairspray to fix them, and bring them home for use in dried flower arrangements--for home use or the county 4-H fair. Mabel, married to the farmer next door, told me how to do this. Mabel is buried up the road in Hudson, Illinois, and I will never forget her--her warmth, her jet black hair.

Who knew today would bring Mabel back to me so dearly?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

America, America

Happy 4th of July!

It's a day to ponder our American identity and be glad of our independence but also, for me, to take a good hard look at our behavior and responsibility as a member of the world community, too. Starting with how we treat each other as American citizens and residents of this wonderful country.

So I'm going to keep thinking about all that while I gather with family in some "traditional" American ways--cookout, game playing, maybe a flea market, maybe not, because it's so hot, and maybe no fireworks, also because of the heat. The fires in the West make me not want to participate in "recreational fires," as our town put it, that might lead to dangerous situations. The cookout will be monitored and self-contained, and no doubt the town fireworks, if they have them, will be extra-supervised, but still....

Meanwhile, a new poetry feature is up today at Escape Into Life! It has the work of Bethany Reid, of the American Northwest, a hotbed of poetry, along with rich, provocative collage art by Dave Barnes, starting with a Wild West theme and ending with what I like to call the "Once upon a time bear."

Bethany's first poem, "America, America," helps us look back at 9/11, contemplate issues of gun control, and consider the state of American education, all at once! She encourages us to look at things in a context, and to have compassion for one another, even if we don't absolutely agree. Sigh...  I wish we did more of that.

Many thanks to EIL, Reid, and Barnes for this meditative morning. I close with another image by Dave Barnes that I fondly call the "I miss you wolf." Faced with my technology challenge, I was not able to crop it successfully enough to use in the EIL feature (see how it has a little of the jump-roping girl's understory?), so I offer my imperfection and his marvelous image here.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Menacing Hedge

I'm so honored and glad to be in the new issue of Menacing Hedge, an amazing online magazine with cool content and wonderfully disturbing cover images. This summer issue has a scary-looking Ferris wheel scene that totally twists my memories of the county 4-H fair.

My poems in this issue are scary, too, coinciding with weather and events around here.* One contains the sentence, "It's so Shakespearean, / summer in the Midwest," and our Illinois Shakespeare Festival has just opened in the broiling heat. Likewise, "August has a torque of its own, / roiling toward a storm." I'm sure that particular weather is coming soon.

You can read/hear my poems here, and see the whole table of contents here!--where you can click on anything you like.

On the header of any page, or here, you can also click on Scary Bush, to see what poets find scary, their juvenilia or wacky drafts or attempted poems that just didn't quite work.

I hope to be brave enough someday to submit to this section, too! Even the title of this section scares me, not to mention the (hilarious) banner image.

I love Menacing Hedge and hope to read the entire contents of this summer issue tomorrow morning, probably instead of lap swimming. Alas! Today and tomorrow, I could not swim laps, nor drive a car, due to an annoying routine midlife medical procedure. A somewhat "menacing hedge," so to speak. But all is well as long as I don't operate any large machinery in the next 24 hours.

And probably I shouldn't be writing this blog.**

Thanks to Wikipedia and Steffen Heinz for the huge hedge!

*And also coinciding with nothing around here--instead, going back in history to outlaws on the Natchez Trace and, alas, briefly visiting the Holocaust and suicidal depression. Just a little warning....

**For instance, in a draft of this, I spelled "hear" as "here" and I see a lot of other "here"s here, too. Hear, hear! (Makes no sense. Hey, it's a Random Coinciday. Plus, I think computers are large machinery. I believe I am driving mine...crazy right now.)


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