Friday, November 25, 2011

Irish Travellers are not Gypsies

This was a letter to a Gypsy Vanner horse website that was so over the top with erroneous information on Irish travelers—I came undone and wrote this missive to them. They never replied.

My grandmother (b,1893)  knew the Tinkers well, in Western Ireland. They used to fix my great-grandmother's pots. They travelled through Bantry each year, and camped on our land. They were superb horse people. My family raised horses too—I grew up horse crazy and could ride just about any equine (and an occasional bovine) like the wind. But that was another era.

I hate how people conflate Irish and Scottish TInkers or Travellers with Romany Gypsies. They are not even remotely the same peoples. Never any gypsies in Ireland. Ever. Scottish Tinkers are related to Irish Tinkers. They both speak Shelta or siúlta (aka Gammon or Cant)—a Gaelic, or goidelic language. They were called the lucht siúil  or the walking people. Hence Shelta, as walk/ siúil is pronounced school. Think of it as an Irish Cockney slang with reversed words and backwards talk—to fool the locals.

That's how pig-Latin, and even Boontling evolved in Anderson Valley, CA. To hide the news via slang. My best friend's father spoke it. It even has Irish words in it. But I digress...  The Shelta word "bloke" evolved from the Irish word buachaill, or boy.

Celtic is one of the most ancient language families in the Indo-European tree. Older than Latinate languages. Gaelic is older than Brythonic Celtic. The Celtic Pretani is the origin of the word for Britain.

Romany Gypsies are from Romania by way of India/Egypt. Different genetics. Different DNA, language, customs. The Gypsies of Spain speak Ladino, a form of Latin. As is Romanian. (There's also a Sephardic Jewish connection with Ladino.) Think Latin or Djudeo Espanyol. That also introduces the Middle East as a genetic pool. Few genetic markers are shared with the Irish (whether Tinkler or gaija) and the Middle East.

The term Ladino comes from "latino" and possible "ladrón" (thief) and usually refers to mestizo peoples. I worked with a Sephardic Jew from Peru by way of Spain—what he spoke really is similar to Spanish. Now, I love the Gypsy Kings—but I would never conflate them with the Celtic Irish Tinkers.

Just because the Celtic Travellers are nomadic, use caravans and have fabulous horses, it doesn't make them ethnically related to Gypsies. The problem is that this kind of nonsense has been repeated often enough as of late that most people believe that the Travellers are Gypsies. The notion probably arose during the Romantic period when Gypsies were considered exotic, therefore more interesting (and valuable) than the native peoples who suffered greatly under colonial rule.

There are real Romany Gypsies in Britain, but they're not ethnically related to the Irish Tinkers. The Travelers in England also steer clear of the Gypsies. They're not particularly fond of each other. There's a great stigma of marrying outside the clan.

Sadly, so much of history has been lost, as they're a nomadic peoples, and not much stock was placed on preserving history—that's an occupation for the landed, or settled folks who live in houses. Alas, now some Travellers think they're related to Gypsies!

I have studied with distinguished Celtic scholars of our era at UC Berkeley and elsewhere. My area of study is Medieval Ireland. So I've also studied folklore, medieval literature (translated Irish and Welsh epics) and linguistics, anthropology, archaeology, etc.

Irish Tinkers, or Travellers, who predate the Gypsies—if you can believe the medieval Irish epics—did make it to Scotland, England, and America—during the Great Famine. The Riches with Eddie Izzard was a TV show about the American Travellers.

I suggest that you add:

"Founded November 24, 1996, the GVHS is the world’s first registry to recognize a breed of horse developed by the   ( ADD TRAVELLERS AND )    Gypsies of Great Britain/Ireland and the only such registry founded on an in depth study of British/Irish (   TRAVELLERS AND  ) Gypsies and their horses."

Adding the ethnically correct term will do wonders to reverse centuries of continual colonial aprartheid waged against the Irish Travellers.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I once had a hummingbird divebomb me, making a huge cross with a J hook in the sky. He came right up to my face three times. I put my finger out and he landed on it...for a second. I was wearing red. And he was Colibri, or Huitzilopochtli, the god of war. I once found a nest made of spiderwebs and moss suspended over Paloverde Creek in Big Sur. Three tiny eggs. The hummingbird stood her ground. When I was child, my aunt found a tiny hummer the size of a grasshopper and it was my job that Easter week to feed it—every 2 hours. Don't recall if he made it. Probably not. But he was voracious. We kept him under a lamp. A small flame to keep him warm, this little warrior of the sun.



In the time that God took to make the world
I have not accomplished much of anything.
This thing called poetry does not heed beck & call
but then, the police are beating our poets with batons
to teach them a thing or two about punctuation.
The poetry prompts, dry as sawdust in the imagination
but then, we are feeding our children wood pulp
calling it food, when it's fodder not fit for swine.
Reminds me of our actor-governor-president
proclaiming catsup in school lunches to be a vegetable.
Soon Congress will be proclaiming pepper spray
a vegetable too. Cops indiscriminately hosing
students and octogenarians alike with their MDR
of OC, or oleoresin capsicum.
That's 2 million Scoville Heat Units.
I can't eat hot food. Fried habañeros send me
into respiratory distress. Breathing is not an option.
Pepper spray, banned for use in war, or in prisons,
is OK to use on civilians. Especially students.
The 'choppers hovering overhead remind me
that I live in Oakghanistan. Occupied territories.
The scent of mace in the morning makes me nauseous.
PreOccupied. PostOccupied. Where will it all end?
My grandmother said that One day, mark my words,
They would go too far. It was always capital They.
No names. Maybe she was channeling the Anti-Christ.
She was citing Tammany Hall, events of another era.
She said that the people would rise up. Never too late.
The bankers, the oligarchy. Wall Street itself.
I feel like I'm stuck in a 21st century ebook
reliving the French Revolution where
the cobra of time is flashing back on itself.
Is it because we've discovered a neutrino
faster than the speed of light,
that we've somehow upset the balance
of space itself, setting time on its ear?
It's come to this. We are rising up
with our pikes upon our shoulders
stuffing our soles with straw and cardboard
insulation against the coming winter.
Saying sabot, sabot, sabotage.
It didn't end well for the peasants.
Let them eat straw.


Saturday, November 19, 2011


Clerk to kid: How old are you?
Kid: I'm this many: I'm 5. (He holds up 5 fingers,
double-checks to see if they're all up).
Then asks: How old are you?
Clerk—I'm 65. (Kid looks at his fingers.)
Kid: Wow, you're really old! My mom is 47!
Clerk: Hey, you're not supposed to tell
anyone your mom's age!
The mother hides her face in her hands.
Everyone in line laughs.

Sunday, November 13, 2011



Without an excess of time
for art, for poetry, for leisure
or that thing called "having a life,"
I prepare for work in the corporate world
by lining my eyes with indigo and kohl,
assuaging the tired bags with eyescream
made from the rarest coffee extracts
& expensive organic emollients—
really just chi-chi variants of Preparation Haich
(shhh! Lord Barrymore's "morning after" secret).

When I fill out my pale eyebrows with powder
the model Brook Shields is invoked
so that the customers will like me 
as they buy an excess of food
pre arranged, pre packaged, pre pre.
And yes, the blank space is invoked
like the fatal flaw in a Navajo rug.
No hyphen need apply
because that would suggest connection
and subject-noun agreement
when there is no ambiguity
when it come to the 1%.
The grand prix price fix is shrink-wrapped
into mortgages and loans, how mort
death is invoked. A 99% accurate gauge.

I have few islands of time
in excess of five-minute increments
in order to write, before launching
my smiling self onto the public realm
so that they will buy buy buy for/from The Man.
No matter that I work for a good company
we are still all drones to/for The Man,
to staged commerce, to the treadmill of buying.
My teeth aren't quite white enough,
I'm considered a tad too old for this job.
Should I dye my hair and drink less coffee?
I desperately need a new bra and knickers.
And Freecycle just won't do. Not enough uplift.
But I've managed to hold off for years
because I am shocked by what people buy.
Not basic necessities or staples,
but a plethora of pre-packaged luxury items—
thinking that this is their just due
for having earned The Good Life.

But they are merely eating their way
deeper into debt.
My register beeps in demonic supplication 
& I am part of the system
I refused to join for ages.
I joined—not on my own volition—
but because I am afraid of the future,
of medical bills, of paltry retirement stipends,
of the erasure of what was once good,
the loss of the idea of security,
or chicken every Sunday, the family
sitting down to break bread together.
Instead, we are the lost pieces 
of a jigsaw puzzle called America
waiting for our exit line,
pursued by the bear of hunger
and want and need.


Saturday, November 12, 2011


     Hotspur: I'll have a starling shall be taught to speak
     Nothing but 'Mortimer,' and give it him,
     To keep his anger still in motion.”
                                 —Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I.

When I was a child in the late 1950s, 
I remember vast murmurations of starlings
wheeling overhead heralded winter's bent claw.
From afar, they were like bevies of Victorian ladies 
rushing in taffeta gowns, accented by the thievery
of weak floorboards. Add the cicada's drone,
the breathy tide and warbling streams.

When a dark curtain of starlings drew nigh 
their flight was a cacophony of screech & din,
each bird following the bird in front
like wild winter geese all in a vee—
only with no one bird in the lead. 
With synchronized precision they'd weave 
and bank like shoals of skybound herring, 
or pond cells pulsing in a petri dish. 

At dusk, gyrating flocks of starlings
would blanket the trees down by the creek.
With many false starts, they'd alight
and take flight in tight aerial formations
like apparitions of dervishing angels
before bedding down for the night to roost. 
It's about group mind, pecking order
and safety in numbers. Who's gonna land
(or be eaten) first? Not me. Not me. 
Not meeeeeee. And so on.
Darkfall usually settled the squabble.

A murmuration of starlings. Wikipedia Commons.
One mad March morning in 1890, 
Eugene Schieffelin, an eccentric Bronx pharmacist 
feloniously in love with Shakespeare's works, 
let loose in Central Park some 60 starlings.
Schieffelin, a seventh son, avid Shakespeare buff, 
and chairman of the American Acclimatization Society,
introduced 600 species of the Avon Bard's birds
to the New World. Most of his lunatic schemes
never bore fruit, but 16 of his Adam & Evil couples
survived harsh winter. Schieffelin introduced a plague
of feathered locusts upon the continent. 
Not only starlings but also house sparrows.

But poetic justice is also served: an artist is teaching 
loquacious starlings, aka poor-man's-myna bird,
to utter the name of their liberator, Schieffelin, 
so their learned behavior will spread across the land—
like Nazi infiltrators trying to say Scheveningen.

Adult starling Sternus vulgaris. Wikipedia commons.
I remember one starling plummeted from the sky
and landed with an abrupt thump at my feet. 
I was transfixed by all that dead beauty 
still warm, but silent as the grave in my hand.
Its feathers—an aurora of indigo, teal and twilight 
spangled with iridescent shooting stars. 

I didn't want to bury that bird. It was far too lovely. 
But I knew that death belonged to the ground, 
not to the sky, or buried in my treasure box.

I'll posthumously name that dead starling 
Hotspur for his bloodred feet 
or Schieffelin for his gift of gab. 
Perhaps Post-Mortimer would be 
a more appropriate moniker.

S. v. faroensis on the Faroe Islands. Wikipedia Commons.

See more images:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Jeff Buckley's “Hallelujah”

When my mom died, she was carrying Leonard Cohen's "I'm Your Man" audio cassette in her purse. I played Cohen's “Hallelujah” until the tape warped. Only song that got me through her death. 
Many people think Tim Buckley's son, Jeff Buckley wrote “Hallelujah”—but it is Leonard Cohen's song. Buckley drowned during a spontaneous evening swim—fully clothed—in the Wolf River Harbor, a slackwater channel of the mighty Mississippi River, caught in the wake of a passing boat, 1997. Buckley went down, boots and all, singing the chorus of "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin.

Chart success also came posthumously to Jeff Buckley, with "Hallelujah" he attained his first #1 on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs in March 2008. But wasn't around to enjoy the accolades.

Rufus Wainwrignt knew Jeff Buckley, and recorded his version after Jeff. I don't like Rufus' whiny tone (in Shrek). I prefer Leonard's gravelly first release (I'm Your Man), and there are several Jeff Buckley versions of “Hallelujah” on YouTube.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


When I was a child during the late 1950s, on winter evenings, murmurations of starlings would congregate overhead. Fom the distance, it sounded like a bevy of Victorian ladies in taffeta gowns madly rushing up and down a narrow hall, or spinning angels in a tight corner, punctuated by the squeaking of weak floorboards or the mutterings of mice. And the tingling of tiny tinny bells. Add the rushing tide. Myriad summer crickets. A small stream speaking over the rocks.

At dusk, the starlings would pulse and weave in an incredible aerial dance formation before settling down for the night to roost in the trees. It's about pecking order and safety in numbers. Who's on first? Or who's gonna land first. Not me. Not me. Not meeeeeee. And so on. Darkfall usually settled the squabble.

When a curtain of starlings got close you could really hear their wings—like a quail bursting from the bush, but longer and louder, pulsing with each twist and turn. An incredible din. Each bird following the bird directly in front of him—like winter geese in a vee. Only with no one bird in the lead. Weave and pulse like shoals of skybound herring, or pond cells contracting in a petri dish. A dance orgy in flight.
A murmuration of starlings. Wikipedia Commons.

However beautiful they are, passerine starlings, like pigeons and house sparrows, are not native to the Americas. European pests, invasive species of the highest arcana.

One mad March afternoon in 1890, an eccentric Bronx pharmacist, Eugene Schieffelin who was feloniously in love with Shakespeare's works, let loose in Central Park some 60 starlings, then 60 more the following year—of which 16 pairs survived harsh winter.

But Schieffelin, who was not only an eccentric seventh son, but an avid Shakespeare buff, and chairman of the American Acclimatization Society. A deadly combination. He wanted to introduce all 600 of the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's works, to the Americas. All of them.

Instead, Schieffelin introduced a bio-hazardous plague of feathered locusts upon the entire North American continent. Not only starlings but also house sparrows. Luckily, most of his lunatic schemes never came to fruition.

Ironically, starlings are only mentioned once in Shakespeare's works. So ultimately, we have Hotspur, or The Bard of Avon—who compared sparrows to angels that could awaken dreamers from their feathery beds—to blame for Eugene Schieffelin's madcap folly.

Hotspur: Nay, I will; that's flat:
He said he would not ransom Mortimer;
Forbade my tongue to speak of Mortimer;
But I will find him when he lies asleep,
And in his ear I'll holla 'Mortimer!'
I'll have a starling shall be taught to speak
Nothing but 'Mortimer,' and give it him,
To keep his anger still in motion.” 
                 —Shakespeare, Hotspur: Act i, Scene iii. Henry IV, Part I.

By the time Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, the seminal book that launched the environmental movement, was published in 1962, many species of birds had died off in dramatic numbers, and some to the brink of extinction—including condors, pelicans, and bluebirds. It tool a decade before cumulative pesticides such as DDT were banned in the US.

But it seems Shakespeare's starlings weren't dying fast enough for some. The birds got a little extra goulish help from the government and Ralston as the feathered rats were ravaging agricultural crops and gobbling up thousands of dollars of feed (per day) at livestock pens—the pests were fast becoming a nuisance of starlings. Euphonic avicide poisons like Avitrol and Starlicide were developed.

But starlings proved the more resilient. From those original surviving 16 Adam & Evil pairs, 120 years later, they are now some 200 million strong in the United States alone—causing $125 billion in damage every year. That's not including the aeronautical aviation damage. Airplane engines and vast flocks of starling and blackbirds don't mix well. No-fly the friendly skies.

Like ravens and crows, gregarious starlings have a startling ability to mimic human speech—especially names. Sci-Fi-Dada artist Brian Collier is teaching wild starlings to say the name of their liberator, Schieffelin—like Nazi infiltrators trying to say Scheveningen—in the hopes that the learned behavior will spread throughout the Americas. Shades of sinister ornithology!

Starlings warble, chatter and whistle with the best of songbirds. Like parrots and magpies, these omnivorous polyglots (aka poor man's myna-bird) have impressive vocal chops. They can also mimic at least 20 different species of bird songs—including keening hawks, scolding jays and barking crows, as well as impressive renditions of metallic noises, cell phones, car alarms, yappity-yapdogs and wolf-whistles.

A few of these wandering minstrel birds made it to California in 1942, and by the 1950s, they had aggressively displaced the woodpeckers, flickers and bluebirds. Soon, there were vast colonies of starlings darkening the skies—only Hitchcock's The Birds hadn't yet been made. It was a battle of the birds versus farmers and ranchers in epic proportions.

But back to those murmurations of starlings. Enter me, as a child.

I remember one starling dropped out of the sky and landed with an abrupt thump at my feet. Dead, but beautiful vermin. An aurora of turquoise, peacock blue, indigo and purple night painted into its feathers spangled with iridescent and bronzed stars. I stared transfixed at all that dead beauty still warm in my hand.

I didn't want to bury that bird. It was far too beautiful. But I knew that death belonged to the ground, not to the sky, or buried in my treasure box.

Adult starling Sternus vulgaris. Wikipedia commons.
Think I'll posthumously christen that dead starling of my childhood Hotspur for his red feet or maybe I should call him Schieffelin for the gift of gab. Or perhaps Post-Mortimer would have been a more appropriate moniker.

Sunday, November 6, 2011



What won't wait is getting a life
the things you once held so dear
the house, the job security,
the wife and kids, living in the suburbs.
You are perusing the usual mirror
and one day it finally tells you the truth
and you find you've run out of time.
But you've grown accustomed 
to looking at yourself backwards 
in the mirror for so long, 
that the right reflection seems wrong,
no matter what the angle of discontent. 
Their voices at night through the window,
invade your dreams until you are left
with nothing but the seeds of sleep 
waiting to sprout in the grave 
repast of your choosing.


Friday, November 4, 2011



A friend sends a photo from Jerome, Arizona.
John's wearing cowboy boots, a black Stetson,
sheepskin vest, jeans, silver buckle—
as if he stepped out of the last century.
The only thing missing are rowelled spurs
and the odor of horse shit and alkali dust.
The story abides. Jerome, a mining town
rescued from oblivion by tourists and art.
Time itself stands still like a dull dude horse
for those foolhardy enough to brave the journey.

Last and only time we passed through Jerome
was at break-neck speed, Neil had a gig in Prescott
on the other side of Mingus Mountain. No Charlie.
Someone in Sedona said, It's not far at all… 
Famous last words. We whipped the van 
up the blood-red Mogollón Rim through sage,
twisted pinyon and stately Ponderosa pines.
We slithered around hairpin turns like wet noodles.
The Cleopatra Hill, stained with streaks of turquoise
and rust from open pit copper mines—a blur.
A drive by sighting. Couldn't even stop to visit.
I howled from the back seat like a sick dog.

My friend smiles for the unseen camera.
By the verdigris lintel of the old Connor Hotel
the bell held its tongue on the hangman's scaffold. 
Jerome, dubbed the wickedest town in the West
Worse than Body. IWW miners' strikes & deportation.
But the Labor bosses won. A real Company town.
Miners clung to dreams as underground pyrite fires 
raged in the mines for decades until it played out.
Their doorways reached out like empty arms.
The copper no longer "shines like Arizona gold."
Now, a broody buttermilk sky promises snow.

Beyond the blaze of Sedona's Red Rock sandstone,
the serene snowcapped San Francisco Peaks dream,
home of the kachina cloud ancestors. Indigenous
dreams of the Yavapai, the People of the Sun,
long forgotten, but some say they still hear 
the "Gaah-kaka" spirits singing at night
from the deep mines of Mingus Mountain.

Dr. John, whose ancestors fled the Ukraine,
finds tenure from Las Vegas to the Saudi Desert
where he adheres to the old ways of the Adab.
He dons a thobe & bisht vest, salwar for jeans,
a taqiyah cap, a shmaugh roped to his head
with an agal—camel hobble—for his Stetson band.
Al Qassim, a land of sand dunes & white saxaul trees.
How he left for a kingdom of camels & date palms
is a Bedouin mystery. All you need are three things:
a tent, a camel, and four wives. He doesn't have one.
A linguist, he wrestles an oasis of tongues
into something resembling time present.
But the retro cowboy way also suits him.
He leans too far forward on his toes—
in his $2.99 Goodwill crocodile boots,
after months in desert sandals, 
he is unused to the high stirrup heel.
All propped up and ready for the getaway.

When I was a kid, I was horse crazy.
I spent hours in the basement reading
the collection of musty dimestore books.
Zane Grey's novels: Riders of the Purple Sage
stolen herds, wild horses, star-crossed lovers,
stilted language, rustlers, and masked heroines.
All that remained of the story was the intrigue,
black Arabian stallions outracing the wind,
the lovers' escape into a verdant pocket canyon.
A cleft of blue sky. How they toppled Balancing Rock,
forever closing the only way in and out of Paradise.
The moral tenor of Mormon polygamy—over my head.
The real West was an uncharted region between towns
where anything is possible. The placenames survive:
Jerome, Cottonwood and Verde Valley. Zane's cabin
perched on the far Rim near Tonto Creek.

I've owned two pairs of cowboy boots.
The first pair were for horse shows.
I was a kid, but they were too big,
lead weights pulled me down into darkness.
A fire sale. Thank God, I never grew into them.
The 2nd pair were a flight of nostalgia.
A garage sale in Santa Fe,
down by the old Delgado Bridge
where the Rosenburgs were arrested.
Those traitorous boots wore the skin off my ankles
no matter what I did. They were inlaid
with indigo and russet leather,
with fancy stitching in floral motifs.
A shackle of hobbled beauty
with no escape, no flaw in the design.
Leaving me to ride off into the sunset.


Thursday, November 3, 2011



Unfortunately the idea of writing a "sort of" poem
conveys the idea of being half-assed.
In other words, not really investing in the process
of either/or. Ambiguity comes to mind.
And here I am, sort of skimming the surface,
where I can be as ambiguous as I want
no decisions need to be made
just keep the cursor moving
having forsaken pen and paper for the phosphor screen.
But I am already fragmented enough
in this century of mosaic tumult.
No time for chums, our dreams are inhabited
by night crawlers, not crickets.
No sultry evenings on the verandah
as penned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
or perhaps William Faulkner.
No sitting by the pool with Hemingway's 6-toed cats
or The Idea of Order at Key West.
What was that poem about anyway?
It's Sunday morning, everywhere, all at once.
Maybe the chickens crossing the road
had something to do with it.
What the mind wants. The forensics of detail.
The quay at the end of the mind
is an indelible blue ocean
whispering in the nascent spiral of your ear.
Sort of.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaPoWriMo poem prompts 2011 (not used)

4/2 Write an epigraph poem

Words form the thread on which we string our experiences.

—Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

RLB: use an epigraph to kickstart your poem. That is, use a quotation. You can use a favorite of your own, or if you’re having trouble thinking of one, I’ve provided a few below. To format an epigraph poem, a poet places the quotation between the title and the body of the poem, while also giving credit to the source of the quotation.

Example quotations:

“Our homes are on our backs and don’t forget it,” -Molly Peacock

“Always forgive your enemies–nothing annoys them so much.” -Oscar Wilde

“Every noble work is at first impossible.” -Thomas Carlyle

“Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.” -Jim Carrey“

A friend doesn’t go on a diet because you are fat.” -Erma Bombeck

Molly Fisk: and when we returned after a month...

11/5 write an addict poem.
There are lots of possible addictions out there–some of them serious and some of them not so much. For instance, there are times when I think I’m addicted to work and pop (“pop” is what we call soda or cola in Ohio, where I was raised). Anyway, I realize today’s prompt might stir up some skeletons for some folks. For instance, I doubt I would’ve ever written my poem today without this prompt to prompt me.

11/7 Love poem/anti love poem prompt

RLB two options:
Write a love poem.
Write an anti-love poem.

MF Write a poem for a pigeon (flying rat or squirrel clichés not allowed!!)

Or use these starter lines:
my favorite restaurant is now a ...

11/10 paranormal poem

Write a paranormal poem. In case you’re unsure, click here for a thorough definition of the term “paranormal.”
Write a normal poem. I’m not sure what a normal poem is, but if you do (and you want to write one), go for it!

MF Or use these starter lines:
 kiss me in the back of…
I would rather have…

Remember the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in 1918 when the guns fell silent on the Western Front in Europe,

repunit palindrome the last one for this century - until 3011

Today is 11/11/11, so today’s prompt is to write a poem involving math and/or numbers (I realize the higher you go in math the more abstract it gets). Anyway, have fun poeming today, because we won’t get to all meet up here again on 11/11/11 for another 100 years.

How to live like a ____________ in ____________
(how to live like a rock star in Buenos Aries.)
Rain on Sunday.
Fortune cookie.

The problem with puzzles

11/14  write a kind poem. 
My interpretation of this prompt is that the poem should either be kind or somehow involve kindness in it–one way or the other. I suppose the poem could also involve cruelty–as long as there is some form of kindness somewhere. But if you feel the need to stretch the prompt, go for it.

I am feeling a bit peckish today.

11/15 write a deadly and dangerous poem. Or you could write just a deadly poem. Or you could write a just dangerous poem. Feel free to poem on the wild side today!

Two prompts: Nov 15 — Everything seems to break at once.

Nov 16 — Write a poem for a pigeon (flying rat or squirrel clichés not allowed!!)



To begin the eleventh month
with a poem on procrastination
some 13 days after the fact,
November's poetry roll booty call
expressed in prime numbers
and how I'm late —always running
late for a very important date
but I was distracted by a murmuration
of starlings which led to a long blog
that spanned the bridge of time itself
like a black river of birds in the sky
followed by the poem nearly lost
but somehow, amidst all these fragments
something was saved.
Perhaps the flutter of birdwings 
in an abandoned house,
that thump against the glass—
a fallen bird, or a poem 
frightened to death before its begun.
I'll get to it eventually
but for now, this will have to do.


CPITS November newsletter, Terri Glass's interview with me

CPITS Poet teacher, Maureen Hurley reading student poems at Watershed Festival, Oct 2011
I posted this elsewhere in the blog, but here's the original CPITS November newsletter link, Terri Glass's interview with me, so this is a time capsule placeholder.

Found it! Here's the original link on my blog. Says it's uneditied...well, this way, I have both versions.