The Shock-Receiving Capacity

Virginia Woolf wrote that it was her “shock-receiving capacity” that made her a writer. I think writers, particularly poets, have a perpetual déjà vu, remembering bits and pieces of experiences, usually nondescript, that harbor images that repeatedly cry out to be cast upon paper. Continue reading

Barbaric Yawp

A teacher friend of mine loves Walt Whitman’s work just like I do. She and her students regularly sound their “barbaric yawp” around the classroom and hallways. Unfortunately, as is the case in many schools, the administration does not appreciate nor understand poetic expression. She recently received this email from her principal: Continue reading

Gangy’s Drugstore Calendar

My grandmother (Gangy) kept a diary most years on a drugstore calendar. In the date blocks she wrote the high and low temperatures. On the back of each page, she wrote a brief entry for the highlight of most days. Most of the comments are about people who came to see her and how long they stayed, food she canned, weather observations.

This is where poetry lives: Continue reading

To Day

Here is what I bring to you, Day:
A restlessness haunting the hours,
Like the moon behind the trees—here,
And here, now here. A belief
In the core, the place of origin,
Creek water walked in as a child,
The dirt tracks toy Corvettes made,
My son’s laughter exploding
From a pile of leaves we never
Gathered in fall. I give this all up Continue reading

Security of the Safe

She scattered the seeds wide, far from her, to the edge of the furrowed land,
beyond garden, beyond home and the human notion of property,
Into the land of other and the stories she did not shape
Yet had a hand in the telling because
We all have a hand in the telling
Of our lives,
The lie to pass on, Continue reading