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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

CMLL Poetry Reading 

Proud to say, I actually performed haiku, notably bilingual haiku, in the CMLL poetry reading of today, May 11, 2016.

I am painfully shy about my poetry. I do ok on the fiddle these days, and I know how to charm an audience, but when I'm reading my poetry I can hardly even look at people. I would do better at a slam event, but in this case, there were a number of very good Spanish poets, and I was actually reading a few that had my own bad Spanish in it, and it made me embarrassed. I'd have done better, perhaps, if I'd stayed on the ground I know better.

I showed the new book. Even the 2015 e pluribus, which has a map of El Paso and a monarch on the cover, is of interest to a truly bilingual crowd; the 2016 version, which has a century plant on the hope road in New Mexico, was also of interest. Unfortunately that 2016 version will be redone, because the picture didn't come out too well (I gambled on posterization and lost) and the poems are in the gutter (it's better, I suppose, to have one's poems in the gutter than one's mind)...

One of the presenters was bilingual and presented a poem that was in both Spanish and English, and was set in Las Cruces. Another wrote and translated poems in German and English. It was a good place to explore the process of including other languages and rhythms into a very brief structure. More about that later.

Friday, April 15, 2016

e pluribus haiku 2016 



my pride & joy; in time for international haiku day. About 500 of the haiku are new, and there is enough modification that each state is very different from last year. Available at Amazon by clicking the picture, or at the createspace store, which has the author's biography.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

time is flying, and i'm working furiously on the haiku. sometimes six, seven a day, which is a lot, but i've set my goals high: a thousand a year. i want this year's e pluribus to look substantially different from last year's. i don't think i can write a thousand this year; i have maybe five hundred, but only a month to go before publication in late march. but it's consuming me. i think of nothing else.

i have other projects - a tesol presentation coming, a novel in the works, music happening - yet, day in and day out, i write haiku. my head is in a given state - in this case, wisconsin - and, after a while, i get sick of it, and move to some other place where i'm low. each state has at least three new ones. some have very little else. i don't want them to look even remotely similar. it's all i care about.

curiously, i find no shortage of things to write about. the deeper i seek, the more i find; and, almost everything is geographically placed, though i can mess with where it actually happened. if i were totally accurate, i'd have hundreds in iowa and illinois, nothing in delaware, hawaii, south carolina. but i can't do that. i have to represent every state. i have to move some events over into states that are hurting.

i don't worry much about fame or publicity. there isn't time. too much else is going on; for example, my mother died. but, poetry is my escape. in my mind, i'm on some train in wisconsin.

and it's february.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

school performance 

The venue was Roscoe Wilson Elementary School, 4th grade, Ms. Goodnight's class. I'm proud to say, I read a few haiku from my book, e pluribus haiku, but better, I read my Dr. Seuss poem, Dr. Seuss Day at School (see below). Ms. Goodnight is doing a unit on using poetry and other things to express yourself. Earlier in the year, for example, my son had done a mime performance.

I was a little embarrassed calling myself a poet, and I explained that a lot of the poems in the haiku book expressed my wonderment at the wide open nature of the American lands. I'd open my pages of poetry randomly, and that's what I'd find. But one of my favorites was of the s-trestle ruins in New Mexico peeking out from under snow. I really read that one for my son, who has taken me there, and who loves that s-trestle ruins.

The Dr. Seuss poems, however, are light, they rhyme, and, as you can read below, they express more or less dryly what it's like to get four kids out the door every morning. One was the son who sat at my feet while I read, and he beamed to hear himself described as cracking ice on the streets and sidewalks, and going back home to get a toy. Yes, that was him. The Dr. Seuss lilt on the poem got everyone inspired, and they wrote poetry all day, he said. He himself wrote four or five on the way out to New Mexico, and while we were out there. They rhymed. They expressed what was going on in his life. They had a bit of Dr. Seuss in them.

I hope she liked it. If they were inspired, I'm sure she did. They had seen some orchestra people just earlier that morning. Well, I told them, I'm a musician too, and in fact, it's easier being a musician, because people respond more easily to your entertaining nature. They actually have to work to understand your poetry, and most people don't have the time for that. This leaves me free, pretty much, to describe my world in my poetry. Free, in the sense that people who get way in there, no matter what state they start in, will have to be in the mood, or they won't even bother with it.

I'm writing furiously these days. But I love the Dr. Seuss genre, and I'm not sure if anyone else is really taking up the cause. The poem expresses my joy at finding Dr. Seuss characters in the hallway of the school when I got there. This is my world. A kid on my lap (or two), and a book like Yertle the Turtle.

my favorite all-time book 



Saturday, October 10, 2015

Help Morty Sklar publish this book!  



Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Dr. Seuss Day at School 

Dr. Seuss Day at School

A fine film of ice hit West Texas one day,
The Monday of Mondays, it was Dr. Seuss Day
The school it was ready, the kids all brought pillows,
Ice covered the trees, even all of the willows


On this West Texas Monday, a plain quiet street
Four kids all got ready, got shoes on their feet
Their mom tried to feed ‘em, their hair she would fixeth
But one little boy went on down twenty sixeth -


‘Cause he just couldn’t wait, from his sisters, he’d run
But when ice on the street cracked, he considered that fun
There was ice on the street, on the curbs, on the walk
With his cracking of ice, dad could scarce hear him talk


But when he got to the school he remembered some toys
That his good friend had lent him, as often do boys,
And he had to go back, cracking ice every minute
At home took his pack, and stuck the toys in it


Now his sisters were ready, their jackets zipped tight
Excited to see the whole world covered white
The oldest one shrieked at the prospect of cracking
The ice on the grass where her brother’d been tracking


Now the three younger kids set out on the ice,
They’d crack it all once then they’d crack it all twice
But the littlest girl would keep falling behind,
And the ice that was cracked was all that she’d find


So she stepped in a puddle, which made her dad yell,
The other kids ran ‘cause they’d heard the first bell
Her feet got all wet, and dad got all worried
The later they got, the harder he hurried


The girl didn’t mind, didn’t falter a bit
For her dad would get mad if she threw a big fit,
Besides at the school they’d be honoring the master
The first bell had just rung so they hurried on faster


When they got there they walked by Thing One and Thing Two,
Down the hall to the classroom, they knew what to do,
The girl was all wet but the teacher just shrugged,
She’d seen it before and knew not to be bugged


The father was grumpy but when he got back
The teen was now ready, his lunch in his sack,
He had to go farther, his bike was too dicey,
So he needed a ride, ‘cause the roads were too icy


Dad scraped the van window which the lad found a bother
He hated to wait, and complained to his father,
He got a big icicle down from the gutter
Which, used as a sword, would make his dad mutter


They started for school, the van sliding on ice
Found no place to park, so went around twice
Then dad came on home to get ready for work,
If it wasn’t for poetry he’d sure go berserk


The sun has gone down on this West Texas street,
The kids were all wet so they dried off their feet
But the dad was inspired by Thing Two’s wacky deco
And came home to write verse in the good doctor’s echo


3-2-15

Sunday, May 03, 2015

poetry reading 


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