Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spare Change

I walk down the streets and hear the same words repeated day after day, “Spare change?” I dig deep, coming up with quarters, nickels and dimes. I take them with me from the dish in the porch at home, the place everyone drops their coins on the way in the door, what was left over from coffees and bus fares, from the bakers and butchers, the pay phones and vending machines that for some reason found them unacceptable – the weight was wrong. Some of them faded. Some new. The taste of a thousand hands and machine oil, the million miles traveled by the penny to become...

“Spare change?” I dig deeper. Beneath the sods and sewers and subway lines, beneath the sleeping bags in the alleys, the shopping carts rattling with bottles leading shoeless Joes down unnamed streets. Beneath the woman in front of the liquor store who claims she wants bread. Beneath the kid on every corner with a cardboard sign saying, Made a mistake... just want to go home. Under the junkie who turns down a free sandwich, seemingly ungrateful for your great act of charity, his stomach too withered for solid food now can only accept Ensure shakes and...

“Spare change?” I run my fingers along the seam of my pocket, coming up with flakes of tobacco set free from the pack, some lint. I have nothing more to give for the cold hard fact is that change comes only from within, and not from the beggar, not from the down-trod and homeless, not from the ones who've slipped through the cracks, but from you. You who are rich in happiness and in health and in gold. You who feel a vain form of pride when you lower yourself to the level of those you think are beneath you because they sit on the sidewalk, your brothers and sisters, your forgotten family. For in this life we are all one and truth be told it is they who are loved by the God and you who must dig deep for... spare change.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hier j'étais riche en bonheur et aujourd'hui je suis pauvre en l'or.
Hier j'ai suivi la mèche du vent par l'air et aujourd'hui je marche avec les ailes cassées.
Laissez-moi ne pas vous trahir.
Laissez cet esprit venir à moi.
Mais envoyez-le dans la paix ou pas du tout.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Choose your own adventure -- take 2

The thing with this form is that there are only two options at the end of each section so it's not fully inclusive... basically you would have to be invited to write a section... that's why I asked that one of the two choices links back to me... so that I could invite all of you in due time... the way I envision it as long as the links run to the particular post for each section, time shouldn't be a problem...

I asked Human Being to write the choice ASK THE BOY WHY HE'S ON YOUR MOUNTAIN... I made the mistake of asking BBC to write a section based on option 1 -- EAT THE BOY FOR BREAKFAST... thought it might appeal to him...

I can see from the comments that this is going to be quite tricky... I'm open to suggestions on how this could be smoother and more interactive... I'm going to ask Debra Kay to write the first option (EAT THE BOY FOR BREAKFAST)... once the first few links hit I think it may be a bit more clear... basically, once the writer completes each new section they will have to let the previous writer know where it is so the link can be set... give me one of the two options they've come up with... and invite someone else to participate...

Please let me know if you're interested in writing a section... and any criticism/ideas would be appreciated...


Incidentally, I think I found a way to work this that is more accommodating... if you read through the story and find an option that's not written yet and you'd like to write it up just leave a comment after that section... I'm just going to keep working away at the story over time...

Choose your own adventure -- a community writing project

You remember those neat books you read when you were a kid? The kind that asked you to make a decision and told you to turn to a particular page depending on what you choose? I think it would be a fun project to run on-line. I'm going to write up the first section and then throw it out into the blogosphere and see what we all come up with. I've been thinking about it for a couple days now and have come to the conclusion that there will need to be a few rules if this is going to work.

1. If you participate you MUST offer the reader TWO options at the close of your section.

2. ONE of the options MUST link back to me (I've started a new blog to keep track) and one MUST link to a new participant.

3. Sections should be no more than 1000 words.

4. No profanities or explicit content.

I think it's necessary to have one link back to me so that I can keep track of the content and add new bloggers from my end. I won't necessarily write up the next section but may simply link on to another blogger. I'm not sure that this experiment will work as I envision so I reserve the right to change rules and add new rules. Please leave a comment if you'd like to participate and I'll try my best to include everyone (don't see this being a problem at all). It may be a problem keeping everything updated in a timely fashion so if anyone would like to be a team member on the new site and help me that would be greatly appreciated. Hit this link to read the first section.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Reckless Burning

When I look back I see flames licking up into the night, stretching behind me for years and years like a string of watchtowers -- places where a phoenix came to rest and thought for a moment of going to sleep. I'm in a park collecting kindling and leaves, but they're still too damp from winter to take my spark, and so I throw in some books, some words I've held for too long, all dried up, because I'm tired of making a pyre of other peoples hearts. I want to walk in the daylight again, where I don't need reckless fires to show where I've been.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ordinary Life

It's hard some days to find meaning and see a beautiful world. You could amble through the city on weary feet with a weary heart listening to the same sad song on repeat. You could love someone who doesn't love you back and, no matter how much you tell yourself not to, you still see their face in the faces of strangers pushing past like a tempest among the buildings, pining away over old flames like a burnt out tree. But that's nothing more than ordinary life.

And you're stuck in the hustle of the rat race, trying to catch a rush hour train, when you trip and fall on the stairs. You're the prophet at the bottom selling sign language, begging for change. You're the people in the cafes talking about other people in other cafes and how so and so said what-not about who. You're the man clipping articles from the paper announcing the death toll, holding a placard saying, The end is near. All of us seemingly so alone -- all leaves on a tree, one by one falling away to the last end. It's hard to find beauty in it all. But that's just ordinary life too.

Ordinary like how everyone says they want peace, but it never comes. Ordinary to be too smart for your own good but too stupid for others. To tear people down and to diminish. To doubt and envy. To be strong and consistent and never be able to say, I don't know. To see all of life as just the everyday in the face of such mystery and coincidence. Ordinary as the lightening that there's no worldly explanation for.

But it's also ordinary to see that nothing joyful can come without some pain. To take time and step out of the death you're born into. To breath. To watch the moments pass by. To learn that the quietest word you can say in the language of the deaf is, Listen. To see that though we all meet our final ends alone everyone suffers that loss, even if the departed was unknown. When we realize there's two sides to every person: them as we wish them to be and them as they are, more than only the sum of some parts. And to remember that there's nothing I could do about lost love, that I couldn't have given you a reason to stay. That life is lovely. That happiness is a choice. That the world brims with possibilities and that ordinary is so much more than everyday.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I hear a million different voices speaking in tongues,
their words just empty vessels I fill with meaning.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pipe Bomb

Everything serves.
It's when some claim to serve a higher purpose I have to see a sort of ignorance hard at work.

That's a verbal detonator cap. Now let's look at the shrapnel, the chunky, crude rumblings of a servant. Important words like hope, divine, truth, right, fire, piss, dirt, time, life. Those nuts and bolts of the serving meander. The sense of light and dark in a winter forest where a man hangs from a maple tree, his hands bound behind his back with rags, a mucky bile oozing from his leg to a puddle in the snow.

A pound of very high velocity plastic explosive, also known as C4, asks: Why does the tree have to suffer the weight of his body? Must the tree also serve?

Well I don't know. I never really thought too much about the tree before now. That's a good question. But rather than answer it let's just put the pipe bomb down by the tree next to the puddle and set it for thirty seconds or so and obliterate the tree and Judas and everything around in one big shebang -- turn them to confetti and letters meshed with the screaming, snowy air.

Now I'm going to take off and you can observe this on your own. I've seen bombs go off before. It served no purpose.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Question and Answer -- another chain

This chain works by answering the last question in the comments section and leaving one for the next person. I'll try and put them up into the main post as they come in. You may participate multiple times.


Where do poems come from?
Poems grow on the inspiration tree -- a plant that few are able to find even after years of searching -- all the flowers which grow on it are different colors.

Is there any reason you should not freeze a poem?
There is no reason I am aware of you should not freeze a poem.

Can we really eat our own words or is that just something people say?
Surely we can, and we must!
We may choose to dine on our own words... it is preferable, though, if said words are delectable and delightful on the palate.

If I write poetry for unrequited loves, am I a romantic fool or a brave warrior?
Sometimes bravery is the quiet voice that whispers I will try again tomorrow, and sometimes it's better to be a solitary soldier than a popular mediocre. So you are neither a fool or brave, only yourself, a poet who feels.

So poems actually make a difference?
If even a small light flickers, yes.

May I tell you everything?
Yes I want to hear your story...
and that flicker does comes form a pearl...
You are like a shell in a turbulent stormy ocean who's eaten up a grain of sand and now is musing over her pain... and everyone comes to watch you with aahing and oohing...
"She's got a pearl!"
That's what they say...
And this is what makes all the difference... you go on producing pearls to be seen ... shells with no pearls are eaten up!

Can you tell me what they are converted to when they are eaten up?
When they are eaten up they go back into the poetry machine -- sort of like a Play-doh press -- so poets may make more shells, and one day maybe more pearls.

Do poets stay up late at night and furiously smoke cigarettes while balling up sheet after sheet of frustrated paper and tossing them idly over their shoulders?
Poets do what they need to do. Toss them, turn them, throw the words against the wall. Eat and mull over phrases. Swallow and taste their remains.

Which words do we thirst for most?
We thirst for those words that bring us truth, even if it be a bitter tasting truth.

Why is intolerance an affliction of a lazy mind?
It has something to do with all the sawdust and cat fur clogging the vacuum hose.

Are you going to turn the page?
Yes, I am going to turn the page, but not until the page decides to turn me and my misconceptions.

What misconceptions?
This misconception that poetry is written just by words...

Anyway, do we write poetry or poetry writes us?

Do you know the difference?
No I do not know the difference.

Do you?
Yes I do...there's no difference since the coin has got just one side.

Head or tails?
I have always preferred heads over tails. Heads are where hearts are protected, and allowed to reach out beyond the (rib)cage...

Is there such a thing as a good cage?

Friday, April 11, 2008


A voice leaps from a still spring
it's a duck's voice that leaps out from the still spring,

the voice of a lone albatross,
Still, the voice springs though no one can hear

no one can hear the voice from the still spring
that befalls the abyss of an indifferent world

A spent, drained world ripe for a turn
Spent, almost dead, or maybe a slight flicker?

One flicker. One breath.
I see.

See beauty in the abyss of a lone albatross, the leaping voice, the spring now still

seeping beauty, showering grace, shedding light -- its solitary insight

A beautiful voice, alone not lonely
An abyss as deep and still as the stream serves to shatter the silence with resonant glee

The voice leaping from the spring is the echo of the only sound there is...

This is another chain poem. If you'd like to participate please check the comments section and add a line at the end of the chain. It is easier for the next person to know where they are if you re-write all the lines which precede yours.


1. This chain is called ECHO and in order to get that effect I require that you repeat one word (or make a rhyme with one word) from the line before yours.

2. Please use plosives. Plosives are hard "P" or "B" sounds. A good way to conceptualize this is to pretend you are speaking into a microphone. Often p's or b's POP into a mic. Sometimes plosives are useful (say if you wanted to write a poem about a pipebomb you could use a lot of them so the poem sounds like an explosion). In the same way D.H. Lawrence used a lot of "S" sounds in his poem, Snake, to make the words slither and hiss down the page. This is an example of the sonic quality of the words we choose. In this chain hopefully the effect will be that the lines bounce from one another like a beach rock thrown down a ravine.

3. You may add more than one line if you wish.

The first line:

A voice leaps from a still spring

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Chain Poem

We walk a seven day mile

that meanders without our consent.

We go where time goes when it's gone,

boulders on our shoulders,

breeze in our shoes.

We choose the touchstones that we carry

but not how far.

Listen to the Crow --

look to the future.

All ways are circles.

All goings are returns.

We walk a seven day mile.


This came together beautifully... thank you all for participating and for your thoughtfulness... Human Being, the only reason I made any rules was so that you could break them... I live by the same rule as you that at least one has to be broken... Debra, beautiful line... the travelers meander as does the time... what do you think... I added a line after Honor's line to qualify it and help the flow into the next line... I love that there's slant rhyme on "shoes" and "choose"... pure gold... Andrea... thank you for being so accommodating regards moving your line... this was a great example of teamwork... and BBC even though he didn't want to play brought a real nice spark into the mix... I'll ask him if he minds us using his line but I'm sure he won't because he doesn't believe in ownership of thoughts and words... thanks buddy... if you all like we could try another one of these again soon... let me know what you think... again... thank you all...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

We walk a seven day mile...


no plosives...

no more than ten syllables...

this process isn't instant...

take your time...

we walk a seven day mile...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


If I must I shall persist
in wanderlust, in loneliness... your reflection
seeming in a crowd,
twisting your hair,
turning to be the
face, the voice,
someone else. There
was a sun shower double
rainbow after a train
into the west,
into the waning hour
until bedtime
when you left --
looked up,
saw Venus,
saw that all my loves
had been together
in one day --
you melted my heart.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sentential Logic

Between the roses and the thorns
truth slumbers fitfully

as the sons of sorrow
are the poets and the prophets.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

After Kahil Gibran

A wing of my heart beats broken,
not even a breath falls on your ghosts

when I pause to let them walk by.
When I see your face on a busy street

I tell myself it's just broken wings
and this stranger is cheered

by seeing another stranger
in a strange land.

Friday, April 4, 2008


We were fishermen
from a quiet place.
Poor, but strong --
we'd seen holds
bursting with the catch,
snow-shoe hare
snared, wrenching,
begging for a cracked neck.
We'd seen remnants of caribou,
paunched, quartered, putrid.
We'd seen Normandy,
been butchered and exploded,
smelled detritus in our nostrils,
heads leaning to the hail
raining down
like lightening zippers.
We crossed country
wearing half-khaki grime.
We saw bombed out cities
painted Kilroy.
We died and we cried.
We killed and we died.
That our journey should end
with so grisly a sight
writhing before our eyes
like cod below deck,
how can we go to sea again?
We were fishermen.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Lake Portage

Me and Jed had carried the canoe for a couple miles when we finally came to Lake Portage. It was disappointing to see it was all dried up -- only beach rocks left over like once was an ocean rolling where we stood. The gulls flew overhead and there were crushed shells beneath our feet.

"I know," said Jed, "I never really figured we'd catch any fish either. But the hike was worth it all the same."

I thought it was a fairly fine line that Jed had cast, as I didn't think he had a click to begin with. And there's ten thousand clicks in a clue.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I ask myself questions and try not to answer by reason. I keep looking in my sketch book for hints or the words of writers. Kerouac said, accept loss forever. Sounds simple, doesn't it? But that's just more reason -- who can accept loss never had anything worth losing to start -- and it's certainly not me. Perhaps someday that may change and I'll let go; the fuel in the fireplace will finally meet its match.

My heart says that day is not today and that some things I still can't accept.