I Just finished rereading Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic tale The Little Prince. It is a book I have returned to many times, and I always find something new there. To those who think of this as merely a story for children, think again. It is a story that works on so many levels it defies classification. If you have somehow made it into adulthood without ever reading it, I urge you to find a copy before it is too late and you lose all connection to your childhood and turn into a fossil.
Here’s a poem I wrote after my recent visit with the prince:
My planet is a trifle bigger than the one the Little Prince lives on. Instead of just three, it has a dozen volcanoes which erupt in iridescent salute every time I visit and never need cleaning. Mine has a waterfall that falls straight up into the sky where the stars are always laughing. There are baobab trees by the score with roots going deep as they please without breaking up the place and not a single sheep to menace my one silly rose visible only with the heart who speaks to me when I’m sad. And one yellow snake when I want to go home.
First published in the literary journal Star*Line Fall 2019
I had to share this eloquent poem by Rimas Uzgiris, published by Rattle in its weekly “Poets Respond,” in which poets respond to events of the previous week. Being Lithuanian-American, I was especially moved by the fact that this Lithuanian poet who teaches literature and creative writing at Vilnius University wrote this poem in response to those who mocked Greta Thunberg’s Climate Speech, including many in his own literary community. His poem eloquently captures the anguish of those of us who see climate change as the chief moral issue of our times. In the words of Greta, “How dare you?”
Here I am reading at Peregrine Book Company in Prescott, AZ. The video includes two short poems. The first poem (“All That Was Needed”) is based on a quote from 1984 by George Orwell. Watch the video here.
Two of my new poems have just been published in the beautiful Sky Island Journal. It’s an online literary journal with 45,000 readers in 145 countries. If you scroll down, I’m the fourth writer listed and you can read each of my poems as a separate Word document. https://www.skyislandjournal.com/issues#/issue-9-summer2019/ Cheers,
When I first started writing this poem, I had no idea where it would take me. I knew only that I had to follow. It showed me the way to write about something I was afraid to address in my poetry, even though it is an issue I care deeply about. Read it here: http://sisyphuslitmag.org/2019/04/perceptible-increments/
My new poem “Time for Sale” was just published in Sky Island Journal
A juvenile Allosaur skeleton arched as if to freeze its soul in lethal leap, a mammoth’s bones slathered with lacquer to gloss over empty halls, a 52 million-year- old bird with every feather intact looking as if at any moment it might fly again, or further back still a mega stone panel from Paleozoic seas filled with trilobites writhing in such profusion it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t live forever— it’s all for sale at the Fossil Show— just run your card and buy a piece of time to press like a fetish against your soft flesh as you dream of eternity.
the horticulturist replied as I pointed to the flowers atop a crested saguaro cactus I had tried to save, its life now oozing away from bacterial necrosis within.
But tell that to a bee who greets each flower she meets as if it were the first or Mexican bats who migrate a thousand miles to lap the sweet nectar from agave and saguaro blossoms or the young woman whose first flowing blood marks the opening of her new life or the young country where democracy once bloomed.
First published in Tipton Poetry Journal Issue #40 (Winter 2019). See page 11.
If I put a word here, say for instance, extravagance, how would that look? Or if I gave it a whole line e x t r a v a g a n c e like something that fills the sad space in your life by pumping itself up to seem important.
What if I put in a long pause…? not because I need to, but to make you stop and listen for whatever comes next as if the words held sacred truth.
What about all that space along either side of this page? I could pull it in like so
or take it all the way out to the farthest reaches of space just because it is there and I can.
Does it matter what I say here or how? Do words depend on me to give them life or do they possess lives of their own? Do they rise and go to work each day, and come home again to sleep at night? Do they aspire to perform great things, to come together with other words in poems and speeches for the ages? Maybe in the meantime I should give them something to do, some little task around this page to make them feel useful.
to fill this void today, would it be a tragedy if I left it empty?
From The Museum of Unwearable Shoes (Kelsay Books, 2018)