When an author is not just an author…

author mta_large1Half (and not the good half) of an author’s life is about what it means to be an author, and the other half is about forgetting that first half.

Concern for a Living
I am a struggling author;
poor, undiscovered, hungry,
delusional, fond of intoxication,
paranoid and jealous of others’
prose and publication,
ignorant of my own surroundings
in a proud detachment
I must have learned as necessary
to the self-imposed sadness
to summon my muse,
my war, my tragedy, my novel
which will save me from myself,
propel me reluctantly to fame,
movie and gaming rights
or allow me to write freely
without concern for a living.

Dear Author
It has taken me all month to finish your novel,
the one about two friends who were once close
but for some unexplained reason are no longer,
living lives vaguely dependent on each other
in some mysterious, invisible cosmic fellowship
which you take six hundred pages to explain,
how once they finished the other’s thoughts,
liked the same ordinary, everyday things
which fill lives without reason or purpose
but define idiosyncrasies like dental records,
they both had a bad experience wisdom teeth,
girlfriends, tomatoes, an inability to finish things
like friendships until they meet again on a train,
airport bound and discover nothing’s changed,
just older and fatter and both flying to Houston
for the same trade show, one selling, one buying,
same hotel, both divorced, kids indifferent
and unimpressed by life, they should grab a bite,
catch-up, where has the time gone, etc.,
but they never see each other it turns out,
and that’s okay – that’s how you end the novel,
and the dust jacket is dotted with quotes
from famous authors, all filled with praise
about how this is the Great American Novel,
because this is America according to everyone.

If I were born in Iowa I should have
become an author,
which is very different from a writer
or even a poet;
for the long winters would force
dark, ever-more
complicated plots descending
down snow banked, gloomy ways
with just flashes of light
passing so quickly they first blind,
then force you to wonder if they
were real at all;
Iowa doesn’t beget writers, for their
ways are hurried,
whiplashed barrages of shallow
persons with ironic twists
turning into ever more ironic
turns in the helter-skelter ways of
cities like Chicago which has more than
its share of such people – writers as well
as such persons too busy
complaining about what is
considered normal in Iowa that
it is become their sport;
now a Minnesota birth would surely
encourage poetry, but usually
the kind that rhymes with
everyday life,
because, let’s face it,
in the confines of cabin those
tight circles of rhymes
come easily as a neighbor
with a hot dish
ringing the door chime, or,
maybe, it would be
birds on fences, cows a-lowing
in a nativity
outside the Twin Cities,
the wisdom of matches
cobbled from life’s woods near
Emo, or how quiet
farmers are the salt of
the earth, no doubt in part due
to the pickled herring;
yes, it’s easy to see what I
would be if born in Iowa, so it’s
too bad I’m from Muncie, Indiana.

Aroused at meridian to a brilliant dismay,
mentation unfettered from eremitic seclusion,
banishing juvenile primum non nocere,
no longer pursuing the illusory conclusion.

Analogies abound in the world of intention,
reference revered in the present symbolic,
authors contest with readers’ intervention,
creating the occasion of receptive frolic.

Burrow wide and well in channel virginal,
render again and anew the company kept,
embrace untried manners regarded novel,
sequestering fantasy and religion except.

Construed for current contentment,
the extant subscriber seeks to narrate
hermetic theft  of meaning’s attendant
tomorrow’s uncertainty day gestate.

Because It’s 1888…

Today in history (catchy beginning, right?!), the GREAT BLIZZARD OF 1888 hit New England, took four hundred lives, and forever changed New York (at least for the 400 who died).

Because It’s 1888

In the Great Blizzard of 1888
over four feet of snow covered the world,
one hundred people died for each foot
and because it was 1888 no one
knew it was coming – no forecasts,
alerts, human interest stories
in local convenience stores about
storing up water, canned goods and
always travelling with a blanket in the
car because everyone walked in 1888;
it was unseasonably warm
just two days before the storm
and people did spring-things,
they walked through the park,
children played with sticks and
things and still had fun because
they didn’t know better, while
everyone of the four hundred
who would die in just days was
glad it was finally warm and smiled,
tilted their head toward the bright
sky, squinted in a grin, breathed deeply,
grateful for surviving another winter
which they won’t but it doesn’t
matter because it’s only 1888.

If you’re interested in something that’s actually about THE GREAT BLIZZARD OF 1888, try this link: http://news.yahoo.com/nyc-blizzard-of-1888-132307180.html?elq=145527644ca14fe78c837f7f691e4981&elqCampaignId=11905&elqaid=14142&elqat=1&elqTrackId=d2cab1025dee4cbaa41e448a5e150af0

Cold and the end of February…

WeatherComplaining about the weather doesn’t change the weather.

Somehow it makes some feel better. Not me. But it’s worth writing about.

Living Here
I hear the pain of tires
running hard on frozen streets,
the crackle of limbs aching,
the bursting howl of
an incessant chill wind,
the absence of songbirds’
singing at discovered seed,
and I wonder how anyone
would live here, like me.

A Cold Spring Day
The wind whistles through decaying frames
slowed by layers of paint hiding rotting pine,
layer on layer, year on year, teasing drafts,
cold against my skin, seeping into bones,
uninvited but expected; a spring sun failing
it’s one and only task of breaking through
winter with a hint of encouraging warmth,
sluicing pharisaic whitewash of season’s tomb
caked on soiled panes lighter in the focused
circles of optic’s tunnel, dust twisting, dancing
haplessly in gusts, then resting meaninglessly
leaving ugly uglier, pained residue of my life
distorting what is already unclear, darkening
the glow of knowledge in the carbon of all’s return,
straining like a sieve the truth about me
into a portrait mirroring imperfectly what
is readily apparent on this cold spring day.

User Errors
What if nothing was the same,
or everything different,
as in, unlike what has always been;
all is new, unexpected,
not just opposite but unalike, like
Heraclitus’s little stream;
surprising as a brother waiting
behind a door to jump
out screaming ‘Boo’ and laughing,
Tuesday is Friday, sometimes,
which would be worth celebrating
but Saturday could be Monday,
cold may be hot or not, birds bark,
salty – sweet, up – down,
we’d be afraid of low places, open air,
wrinkles are sexy
but sexy isn’t, fiction is fake,
history is real,
and user errors are no more;
I could live in a world like that,
once in a while at least.