Thursday, December 13, 2012

It’s Ironic, Isn’t It? - In These Times

It’s Ironic, Isn’t It? - In These Times

Here's a smart, short essay from my pal Barrett Swanson (In These Times) in response to Christy Wampole's "How to Live Without Irony" piece (Nov. 17, 2012 New York Times). 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Blackbirds piled on the ground

Another poem I started in January 2011 at the Vermont Studio Center that is now getting the light of day is "Painting," which is perversely (I think) being shared via the VSC Holiday card to all our friends, donors, alumni, etc. Nothing says Happy Holidays like a storm of dead blackbirds falling from the sky! Oh well...


I paint a field of snow
and a man standing in it.

That’s my picture of solitude.

I paint a red bird in flight above the man.
His head is raised. I call that song.

If I paint the bird black and then another
and another until there are 5,000 blackbirds
piled on the ground, it is the sinks.

Perhaps snow covers all the blackbirds but two.
The man is drifted over by white and blue.

Two birds remain to share a black seed (once was bird)
in the snow crust. What would you call that?

Black ice the driver didn't know was black ice

Good news after long slumber: The most excellent Forklift, Ohio will be publishing a poem, "Before the Word," sometime next year.  It's a poem I started writing two winters ago when I was a resident at the Vermont Studio Center. It was probably "finished" last winter right before the Monsters of Poetry reading. Though I did change a line or two after talking about it with Srikanth Reddy this past summer. And it will appear in print sometime in 2013. 

That seems about average for me with getting work out there. I am slow. And choosy. I only send work to the journals I read and treasure. It's a long process of getting a poem to the page in handwritten scrawl, then the re-working in my journal, then the typing it up nice and clean and tinkering with precision, then submitting it to possible homes and probable scorn. So it goes. At this rate, I may just have a book one day.