Sunday, December 31, 2017

MoHurley's Amazon Book Reviews 2017

Dear Ones,

Thank you for stopping by and reading my ebook reviews. I am primarily interested in women's fiction and the well-crafted murder mystery genre. I delve into historical fiction, and cozy mysteries, sometimes even alpha make action adventure series, but I am no fan of chick-lit Regency bodice rippers, nor am I a fan of sugary cupcake who-dun-its, though I will read them if there's nothing else to read.

I am also not a horror fan (though I occasionally read Willow Rose, despite her awful writing style), nor am I a big sci-fi fan (having read the best of the genre when I was young). But I like an occasional time-travel story, such as Sara Woodbury's After Cilmeri Series series. She does her medieval Welsh homework. And yes, I read all the Outlander series when they came out.

Freebooksy, BookBub, and The eReader Cafe are my main sources of free books. OHFB is another good source. So I rarely need to buy books ( I download 2-5 books a day; most books languish unread), but when I discover an author I like, I tend to buy everything they've ever written. Otherwise, I tend to review the first book in a series—which should be strong, and well written, but is often flabby and full of conundrums—as it's often the author's first book. 

So, I also try to read the sequels as well, or download the boxed sets, when they become available—to give the author another chance. Such is the case with Wayne Stinnett. I really hated his first book, and was willing to write him off, but when I read the first three books boxed in a set, the story flowed, his writing (syntax and sentence structure) improved, there were fewer typos. He hit his stride, and had found his voice as a writer by book three, so I reversed my initial decision.

I began writing Amazon Reviews in 2013 after reading a Kindle ebook that was so awful, I was distraught. My cousin suggested, rather than screeching about it, that I write an Amazon Review. And so I did. I'm into it well over a hundred reviews, total. My goal is a minimum of 25 reviews per year. I don't always make it. I am woefully behind this year...

Unfortunately many Amazon book reviews are nothing more than a popularity contest. "I liked it/didn't like it" is not a review—it's an empty response that has little, or no merit. It takes me considerable time and thought to write (and rewrite, AND rewrite) reviews. I don't take the process lightly.

And authors, I do note those pesky typos in my reviews. Too many typos, or sloppy writing garners a minus star in an otherwise perfect five-star review for a well-crafted story with solid characters. Hey, free copy editing here! 

If there's a typo in the author's bio, or story synopsis, I won't even bother downloading it. What's the point? It is my hope, that after reading my reviews, that the authors will improve their craft, correct their typos, and upload revised books so that we all benefit. 

My ad-hoc book reviews generally begin with an internal argument I have going with the author as I'm reading. Slovenly writing, and too many typos throw me out of the story. Then, I begin to flag those typos with the Kindle notes feature. That often becomes the basis of my review. But I certainly don't review only books laden with typos. With a select few books (I read far more books than I write reviews of), some inner dialogue develops, and I begin writing. I never know what book, or when.

It's almost impossible to Google search my individual reviews on Amazon (why I began reposting them here). But I found that I could add Customer reviews, MoHurley's review of (and add book title), I can access some of my reviews. If you go to the author's review page, there is now a search window to find customer reviews. I'm MoHurley. But it doesn't seem to work.

Please click on the popularity meter button at the bottom of my reviews: was the review helpful (or not). Unfortunately, negative reviews also garner negative points. My Amazon rating plunges. So LIKE some of my reviews. Amazon's all about Like. And if you leave me comments too, I will respond. Ta!

My older reviews are buried deep within my Amazon public reviews. I'm up to 12 pages' worth. So I include the direct links whenever possible here as well. Go to Amazon, MoHurley's Amazon Reviews click on the comments section under my review and that will take you to the review where you can like it. Or not.

On Blogger, I move my collected year's worth of Amazon reviews to December 31, each year. An end-of-year housekeeping event. Here they are listed by year.

I sometimes repost condensed versions of my reviews on GoodReads, but I don't think anyone actually ever reads them. I've only garnered three Likes in two years.

MoHurley's Amazon Book Reviews 2016
MoHurley's Amazon Book Reviews 2015
My Amazon Book Reviews 2014
My Amazon Book Reviews 2013

Mo's Amazon Book Reviews 2017 (in progress)

End of year writing stats

So I washed my hair at noon
making ready for the New Year,
I wasn't expecting it to be freezing all day.
Only to say, Stay cold, Pony Boy.
Of my 137 entries for 2017, at least 60 to 90 are poems (some posts have multiple poems), a few are prose poems, a few are themed haiku. I try & tag all my poems. I'm not always successful. Standard poems have BLOCK CAPITALS for titles.

animal poem (45-was 29) WOW
CPITS (261-was 196) WOW
ekphrastic poetry (78-was 52) WOW
found poem (17-was 14)
haiku (55-was 39) WOW
poem (1104-was 928) WOW
Poem a Day (34-was 29) OK
poems (52-was 50)
prose poem (82-was 73) OK
writing prompts (7) stet

The California firestorms very nearly derailed me, and we lost Brian's dad, Monte Kervin: see THE MAN WHO LOVED FALCONS. My cousins and aunt in Santa Rosa lost everything in the Tubbs fire. I also lost a first cousin, James Santos, and two 2nd cousins. A year of death personified.

Our Bay Area Generations Poetry Reading: Maureen Hurley & John Oliver Simon at the Bellevue Club (a Julia Morgan residence) was pretty awesome. In September, we drove to Lone Pine for a CPITS conference and poetry reading, and finally laid to rest all the old ghosts. And now I'm preparing for the next big transition, as John's cancer is back, and wrapping itself around his aorta...

So many atrocities and grave insults in 2017, I grew numb. Wordless. PTST. Daily atrocities. If it wasn't hurricanes, it was firestorms. Mass shootings. Unkindnesses. What a fucking bitch of a year. I won't even mention our so-called government, other than it is YET ANOTHER CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES. Is there no light at the end of the tunnel? 2017 went up in smoke: the year that the golden state of California burned, and then it was doubly-burned again by the federal government. Cognitive dissonance won't resolve this.

I can't seem to make myself write more on Herman Berlandt's Memorial, Bolinas. Fodder for later. On the publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was a lot of work—necessary research. It needs focus. It began when a former Facebook friend insisted that almost everyone was illiterate in the 1800s. I proved my point, and she unfriended me for my efforts.

And my Spanish words from the Arabic also yielded a surprise poem, as did Stopping to Sniff the Poison Oak Flowers. See MAD HONEY. Translating "Chun" from the Irish: a triad of sorts yielded a translation nugget. All, good brain food.

I did write several indepth memoir stories, and one blog entry, Mill Valley's Unknown Museum. has garnered 2079 views, 1918 of them within the past month, thanks to Facebook. A new top 5 contender, kicking my Black Bart piece off the Top 5 list.

I enjoyed writing Defiant Fruitcakes. It took me to some unexpected places. I was happy with my article, Ghost town, Rhyolite, Nevada (photos). And Lemon Meringue Marengue is a madcap cooking adventure. All are marketable stories. Maybe someday. My Summer of Love, etc. piece was picked up by the Press Democrat. I got nice press coverage there.

I really fell down in the Amazon review department. I just wasn't motivated. Only five reviews, I didn't even remotely meet my quota as I strive for 25 reviews a year. I read lots of books, most of them were not memorable.

However, I also added many (about 250) new blog posts from the 1980s and 90s. Especially from 1987 to 1989—mostly lengthy travel journals. Interesting to meet myself on the road (Latin America). I fleshed out 5 years. Still to do: Amsterdam and the USSR. 1994-95, I also managed to double the amount of entries on several years. Huge inroads.

I still have *14 years where I don't have 50+ posts. I may never be able to add more posts from 1997-2006. But 1990-93, I just need to transcribe more work. 1980 and 1982 may not have more work forthcoming. I didn't date early poems so I've a lot of orphans. But I still have boxes of papers and memorabilia from the early years to process, and scan.

My Facebook words aggregate 2017

Dear Facebook, stop blocking me

Dear Facebook:

Nearly every time I post a link anywhere on Facebook these days, it is marked as spam. Your newest spambot algorithm sucks. Usually it is a link to one of my own blog posts that sets it off, and now even a friend's very benign YouTube link was marked as spam.

There is absolutely nothing spammy about any of the content of what I post, and my comments generally enhance, support, or illustrate a point on a given thread. Your Facebook algorithm is absolutely senseless. And yet, you let real spam through all the time. What gives?

Or do you have a grudge against writers who post links to their own poetry? Thinking it's faux news? I know it is difficult getting the news from poetry, but really? When someone else posts one on my blog pieces, say, my story on Mickey McGowan's Unknown Museum, you don't mark that as spam. But when I make comments on that thread, it's suddenly spam?  So, I take it that this is personal?

It's bad enough that you continue to block me whenever I correct my typos on my own comments and threads. I'm a terrible typist, and often need to revise my comments because I'm dyslexic. Sometimes you even tell me it isn't possible to open or edit my own update posts.

You are not keeping Facebook safe by blocking me when I revise my own comments on my own page. I have contacted you to complain over 100 times—this year alone. Talk about falling on deaf ears. I've been saving up a few of my comments for a blog post as I've gotten rather creative with them. Be forewarned.

But blocking my blog links makes me absolutely cranky because there's no rationale for your actions. And yes, I do contact you when a comment is marked as spam, and I tell you that it's not spam, but still, you delete it anyway—along with my notes. A lot of good that does.

When I came aboard the social media platform, I had some rules. That I would write and post relevant content, in themed threads, that I would interact with my larger writing and art community in a meaningful manner, that I would use my Facebook comments as warmer-uppers, jumping off places to write blog posts—whether news, memoir, or poems. So, I tend to save the more interesting comments, and recycle them. Sometimes I get lucky and get some decent writing from it.

But this censoring has gone too far. And yes, I know I'm ranting at bots. No hoo-mans involved. But I will continue to rant and complain for all I'm worth—because I can.

I treasure my Facebook community—all 885 of my "friends" and my 185 followers, I would hate to lose that very rich matrix, but sometimes I just want to delete my account. I grit my teeth and step back. And remember why I signed up for this. There is no way I could've reconnected with so many folks from my myriad walks of life, sans Facebook. You included. I treasure you all.

SOME FACEBOOK COMMENTS I KEPT (I've probably contacted FB about 100 times this year alone. I didn't get the idea to start saving my comments until later. These are but a few (one quarter) of the comments I saved from 2017). Out with the old.....
Maureen Hurley Dec 31, 2017 Dear FB, I just wrote a note to Jesse Colin Young: "A long way from Inverness. Remember your blue VW bus? You used to give me rides home from school, when I was hitching. The Zettls lived on my road in FK, so it was always a great ride score, as I only had to walk a half mile home. You were part of my matrix. Thank you for that.

(Sigh) Facebook nanny removed my blog post on hitching in Marin with a paragraph about you. I don't understand why FB assumes that writing one's own memoir could be construed as spam."

Hitching in Marin during late 60s, early 70s
October 11, 2010 (I wrote out dot where every dot was. Pain in the arse.)

And also today Dec 31, 2017, on another thread, who knew the NPR article and link on bread was spam? FB Spambot strikes again. Here is the offending post.
"Friendship Bread — also known as Amish Friendship Bread — is the chain letter of baking. A simple starter of flour, sugar, milk, water and yeast is mixed together and then developed for 10 days at room temperature. The person who makes the starter, similar to a sweet version of a sourdough starter, keeps some to bake up a loaf of bread or other baked items, then they divide the rest to pass on to friends. If a little of the starter is kept, it can become the basis of a new batch of starter.

Well, FB nanny removed the link from NPR, claiming it was spam.
Here is the offensive title:
The Friendship Bread Project: Can Baking Promote Unity In A Divided World?

My friend was mystified as to why it was marked as spam. Máirtín Taidhg Jack said: Thank you Maureen Hurley. FB marked your comment as spam so I was a little disappointed that there was no full frontal nudity when I eventually got to see it.

Maureen Hurley Well the bread really is naked. So I guess that might be construed as full frontal nudity. FB spamnannybot really has it out for me... All those yeast beasties breeding. The naked and the bread.

Here's another nonsensical FB block I get early and often. I'm using the edit feature too fast. Should I type S L O W E R ? You secretly prefer typos?
"Facebook Blocks
To help keep Facebook safe, we sometimes block certain content and actions. If you think we’ve made a mistake, please let us know. While we aren’t able to review individual reports, the feedback you provide will help us improve the ways we keep Facebook safe.
Please explain why you think this was an error
Thanks for taking the time to submit a report.
Learn more about what happens when you’re blocked or if your content was removed."

Maureen Hurley  12/10/17 Why are you blocking me? I am adding titles to the links on a thread I posted on my own page, since you've changed the format how links display, they often have no title.

You began blocking me this morning. SO more than 12 hours later, I thought I'd finish my task, and fix the rest of the titles, and yet you're still blocking me. It's Christmas cartoons fergawdsakes. It's really stupid for you to block such a benign series of posts.

It seems like you pick on me a lot, and I'm not abusing Facebook, nor am I doing anything wrong. This problem has been going on for months now. And all I'm trying to do is be a responsible poster. Add titles to links, or descriptions. Fix typos, revise poorly crafted posts. No reason to punish me for it.

Maureen Hurley 10/15 Clearly this comment on my own post on my own page is a threat to Facebook safety:

" “Olly olly oxen free” is a mutation of something like "All ye out come in free." (Meaning, back four centuries ago when we have the first known games of hide-and-seek) that anyone still hiding (out) can come back without getting tagged (free)."


Maureen Hurley 10/15 Would someone at Facebook turn off the spambots? Every time I correct or revise a comment ON MY OWN POST, ON MY OWN PAGE, I am blocked. Every single time I make a correction or clarify a comment, I get this window. I complain. What good does it do to contact you, Facebook. You don't listen.

What does it mean, I'm posting too fast? So I might revise a single comment 2=3 times before I get it right. I'm also dyslexic. How is revising my own comment on my own post on my own page, going too fast?

I get that you don't want me to post often, and it's clear that you sure don't want me to edit or revise my own previously posted comments. Revising the same comment to get it right is not posting too often. It's the SAME COMMENT. It's not a numbers game. I probably am mot posting too often, BTW, I also revise my comments on other people's posts. I hate typos.

If I am too quick in my editing, your bot grays out my post and blocks it so I can't repost it with corrections. It's a flawed algorithm. Clearly somehow thinks I'm abusing the system by revising a previously posted comment. Did I mention that I'm dyslexic? Yeah. How is this hurting you Facebook, for us to be literate.

Clearly nothing I post could be construed as spam or hateful. So it's clearly not my content, unless you think posting information about the devastating fires is wrong? Ergo, it must be my actions. Revising one's own comments on ones own post on one's own page is somehow construed as harmful to Facebook. Huh?

Your blocking system is utterly stupid, ridiculous, and useless. You are not even remotely "keeping Facebook safe" by doing this. You do know that, don't you? Fix it.

Maureen Hurley 10/15 Just STOP blocking me just because I've corrected an old comment that I posted two days ago. That's not going too fast. I correcting a typo on a comment that is a couple of days old. I revised and clarified a point. I'm a writer. That's what writers do. We revise. Early and often. I'm also dyslexic. And a terrible typist. So I revise my comments.

Your block system is utterly stupid, ridiculous, and useless. Just makes me angry. You are not even remotely "keeping Facebook safe" by doing this.

Maureen Hurley 10/14 See what you continue to block every time I try and correct a typo? Is this really necessary? JUST STOP.

"They had to evacuate 400 people from an Oakmont rest home, all at once, with no evacuation plan, and chaos ensued. Some are at Essie Allen HS, others are in Sacramento. So, yes, it's probably real."

Maureen Hurley 10/14 This is a freaking fire evacuation notice, Blocking me as I alert people is just plain stupid FB.

Maureen Hurley 10/10 Lemme see, you're blocking me because I'm trying to find out if there's a fire in Forestville, where my cabin is, and you deem that worthy enough to BLOCK me? Shame on you and the bot you rode in on.

Maureen Hurley 10/10 Is it my fault that FB spazmodically leaps all over when we write. You want I should post this typo?

o longer synonm, full blown metaphor.ony

Yes, FB, that's what you chapped my hide on, as I was trying to fix TYPOS!! How is this even remotely construed as "going too fast." Just stop. Draconian. And guess what, it won't stop spammer...if that's what you think I am. BTW, I;ve been saving my comments to you, should make for a juicy blogpost, how you thwart and harass the average Facebooker over nonsensical BS....

Maureen Hurley 6/19 It's my photo, my post, my freaking wall, an obituary of a friend, and you choose to BLOCK me? What kind of jerk action is that?

Maureen Hurley 3/28 Stop blocking me because I revise my own comments on my own page. It's harmless. The content you objected to:

"Might be easier to use liquid glass to draw/paint the knotwork, yellow on a blue glass field would work.Just a thought."

How is this even remotely construed as harmful? I make lots of typos, and tend to revise my comments several times over as I have dyslexia.

Serious mistake indeed. I really hate this extremely stupid algorithm. ANd for some reason, it zeroes in on me if I make any changes on my comments. Like most writers, I am a bit OCD with language, and want to get it just right. Please just STOP. This is the second incident on the same comment today. Serious mistake on your part. Do you even read these comments? Be forewarned: I am saving them all up and plan to write a massive blogpost using some of these complaints as examples.

It would behoove you to fix the glitch. Otherwise you will continue to hear from me early and often on a large scale format. I'm a whole lot more than just a little tired of this inconvenience. I'm thoroughly sick of it. And it's stupid. Stupid. Stupid. It does not make Facebook any safer. What do you think you're protecting readers against? Correct language usage and spelling/punctuation, not to mention, typos? How very noble of you to promulgate illiteracy.

Maureen Hurley 3/19 Hey, that was my first post of the day, so how could I be going too fast? And how is this comment to Brenda HIllman a risk?

"That's my homleland! I grew up there. My family came from Ireland to settle in the SGV, and called our place Coomb ab Or, hill of gold. And Butler is also a Norman Irish name...."

How is that even remotely considered as spam, or a danger to the Facebook community. Why the fk do you keep blocking me at every turn whenever I correct or amend a comment? I make typos, have dyslexia, and think in incomplete sentences. About they only way that you're making Facebooks safer, is by encouraging typos.

Your algorithm is so very WRONG! I write to you several times a day. I really am annoyed by all this, it's been going on for days, weeks. It's clear that you don't actually read these notes or you'd deal with it. Last spate of communication I had with you, when I got a real comment back, you said it would take some time to fix the faulty algorithm. That was November. Hello? Did you even deal with it, or am I being subjected to some kind of permanent Facebook Hell here? Time for me to write a blog since my complaints are clearly falling on deaf ears.

Understand that I only complain about one time out of twenty. This is the tip of the iceberg. Please stop blocking me every time I edit a comment.

Maureen Hurley 3/18 You're doing it again. On my own posts, on my own timeline. STOP blocking me every time I correct a typo. You are not making Facebook, nor the English language any safer by preventing me from fixing my own typos on my own posts.

Maureen Hurley 3/17 I am so FN sick of this algorithm. Please kill it. It is deeply flawed. THis has been going on all day long. This is my 5th letter of complaints to you today as well.

BTW, I have been away from my computer for over 7 hours, and only just not had a chance to post a few comments, so I can't possibly be going too fast and abusing thee system...and yes, I made another typo. Silly me, I tried to fix it and AGAIN you've blocked me. Just STOP. I and cussing a blue streat at you...not eh te typo. That's something I do early and often, make many typos, and your algorithm is downright PUNITIVE. And yes, I am metaphorically shouting at you. STOP STOP STOP!

Maureen Hurley 3/17 How could I possibly be going too fast, I've managed to do an entire load of laundry (50 minutes) and am almost through my second load since I've last posted on FB. So posting comments once every hour or two is going too fast? Fix your fecking algorithm. I am SOOOOOOOOO very tired of this block, happens every time I try and correct a post, any post, no matter how old it is...

Maureen Hurley 3/17 Just stop blocking me. I can't even answer a post to wish my cousin a Happy St. Patrick's Day?

Apparently the offensive word was "too."

what I wrote: HSPD to you too Tina!

As to going too fast, I managed to clean the kitchen cabinets, make some oatmeal mush, and eat it since my last you. I'm not going too fast. Try another excuse, like a bad algorithm.

Did you miss the part where I'I told you that I can't edit my's maddening algorithm. I'm a terrible typist, and partial thinker, not to mention dyslexic.

Maureen Hurley 2/11 I'm having a lot of trouble with Facebook, and sometimes can't even go in and fix the typos. For example, I can type 4 to 5 words, and nothing happens, then the type comes chasing after me like a little train (of thought). And gawdess help me if there's a typo. The cursor has a mind of its own. Then Facebook sanctions me with a time out for posting too fast.

Maureen Hurley 2/7 Clearly, correcting a self-typo is now perceived as spamming, or as toy say, going too fast, no matter that 40 minutes had elapsed between my typing a comment on my own thread, on my own page, and fixing the typo. I'm sure you would like to know the typo as well. OK, so it was mammon. I guess it should've been asshat.

Maureen Hurley 1/29 STOP! I have the right to correct, edit, amend my posts withougt you arbitrarily deciding that I'm going too fast or that I'm a spammer. I'm a terrible typist, and I have dyslexia, so I make a lot of mistakes. It takes me upon average, about three tries for each comment to get everything corrected

Maureen Hurley 1/28 perhaps I haven't made myself clear....

Latest FB censor nanny trigger:
(You can see this is an innocuous post, right? SO why censor me?)

Maureen Hurley Yep, triggered. This post was copied and repasted.

For some reason, FB picked my calling card. (I'm attempting to add onto this post...let's see ...) One thing that seems to trigger it is the speed in which I go back in and revise.

(Two minutes between original posting and correction, revision is construed as spam????)

Maureen Hurley HEY! I have the right to correct, edit, amend my posts withougt you arbitrarily deciding thst I'm a spammer, As you can see, I'm a terrible typist, and I have dyslexia, so I make a lot of mistakes. It takes me upon average, about three tries for each comment to get everything corrected.

So fsr, today, you have blocked me about 20 times. Almost all those blocks were my own comments and posts on my own page. How can I be spamming myself? Mostly innocuous statements, BTW.

QUIT BLOCKING ME!!! Just stop.

"It looks like you were misusing this feature by going too fast. You’ve been blocked from using it."

What is significant, is not that I make typos, etc., but that you, Facebook are being a censor nanny, and your algorithms are broke, if they continue to construe my correcting of my typos on a comment as a form of spam.

BTW, I can't help it if I think fast. It's in my nature. As is complaining, and fighting with algorithms. Getting the last word in.

Is anyone else being blocked by Facebook censors?

Zima, Russian winter, trading sides

When I was doing a big poetry and art exchange with the former USSR, we collected poetry from the people (vs State-sanctioned poetry), and translated it. We remarked upon the fact that so many poems were filled with images of snow and winter (zima), for the winter of their discontent was still upon the Soviets in 1990, then the putscht brought a thaw of sorts. Then the NEA Jesse Helms-Mapplethorpe art scandal. My Soviet friends laughed and said, this is how it begins, and they said that the US and the USSR were trading places. What strange times we live in, trading sides like that. We are reliving the winter of our discontent, brought on by the Republicans, who were once so rabidly anti soviet, they blackmailed a whole generation of artists, and executed the Rosenbergs for treason—for conspiring with the enemy. Pogo was right. We have seen the enemy, and it is us.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


The conch sounds
calling the distant sailors home.
The waves curl and beckon.
The sailors chant. 
The gulls dive and weave 
the air into nets.
The fish rise, 
they rise up 
and gather in the clouds.
Something holy and profound—
the clouds part.
I tell John Godbeams 
pierce the sky's heart,
in Gregorian time
while roses bloom midwinter.
Milagros de Guadalupe!
A madrigal for the millennium
an open mind of music.
Insects practice percussive 
dance steps. The scent 
of roses in an empty room.

Winter Solstice
Last time 


Bird voices find the wind
speaking in tongues.
The trees shake off the night,
stretches a little closer to the sky.
The clouds shed their tears,
the memory of water,
a rainstick takes us deeper
into the cathedral of sound.
Peace comes dropping slow.

Winter Solstice
Last time

Friday, December 8, 2017


—for Sara Menefee

our iPhones
seeking shoals
of lost words
to compose small poems
catch unschooled fish
leading us astray.


She gathers
purse seine nets
on the city streets
where the homeless
tell her stories
small poems
flashing a silver
of hope
in the gutters
of despair.


Because there weren't enough altos in the choir
my high school music teacher, Mr. Parker,
shipped me off to the meager alto section
where I sang Handel's Messiah in monotone riffs 
like a scald crow, or a ploughman at the fields.
Never the white dove soaring in the vaulted sky.
Decades later, after an accident, a punctured lung 
left me breathless, my therapy was to join a choir, 
where I discovered that all this time that
I was a soprano. I felt cheated at both ends: 
I was given no melody line when I was young,
singing a supportive third below the gilded flock 
who preened their swansong feathers, 
& screeched high notes because they could.
Mr. Parker's nose was as red as that fictional reindeer,
as he spiked his coffee with endless libations.
And now, with no way to reach the upper arpeggios,
I stagger between the two parts, a switch hitter
baying out all the song lines.
No wonder I was always trying to braid 
the alto and soprano lines together all at once, 
splitting the difference between the sour notes. 
No wonder I still can't sing to save my life.


No alto, I sang
the Messiah in flat notes
no melody line

to soar in the vault
of the soprano songbirds
preening their voices.