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.

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.

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.

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.


Friday, December 1, 2017

Firestorm of Words reading in Healdsburg

I'm still feeling a bit under the weather, after a week of intense headaches and earaches. Smoke inhalation takes its toll. Trying to muster energy to drive to Healdsburg for our big Firestorm of Words reading at the Healdsburg Center for the Arts, organized by Penelope la Montagne to honor Brian’s dad,  Monte Kervin who died in the Tubbs Fire. 

Bea & Fran Hawkes in the 2017 anthology, Singing the Feathers of Freedom. 

I was almost about to cancel, but as Sean Folsom flagellated me on Facebook, and said, The show must go on. So, I girded my loins, I rallied the ponies and had a great time. My Alexander Valley students were stellar. A good reading all round, and I wasn't as tired! I went back to Nicasio and spent the night there, as Sinead was driving. Emotional times.

Alexander Valley School students in both California Poets in the Schools 2016 & 2017 poetry anthologies!

Historic Alexander Valley Schoolhouse by Frances Hawkes, 1st Grade


Waiting for laundry: the clothes in the dryer 
go round & round, round & round, 
round & round—they don't dry any faster 
no matter how hard I watch.

Internet again!

Yay! After three days of no internet and no landline phone, Elvis from Romania, I kid you not, got us up and running at top speed. You vant I should fix, yes, he asked? I looked at his shoes. Blue. Suede. You have got to be kidding. He shimmied up the pole, cleaned out the cruft. Voilá, dial tone, internet again. AT&T insisted the problem was at our end, blamed faulty house wiring. Elvis is now a personal friend, Neil gives him a CD after a mini concert in his honor. Our little ponies are happy. The squirrels, less so. Private acorn stashes and squirrel larders in power boxes may have been involved. Yes, AT&T, that’s it, always blame the customer—we often shimmy up the telephone poles late at night and stuff our nuts into the cable boxes. We’d love to shove yours instead. Reciprocity, and all that.