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Sunday, November 23, 2014

MAG 247 - Snowstorm

Snowstorm - Maurice de Vlaminck

There is harsh
biting winter 
with winds that cut 
your cheeks, water your eyes
blurring your vision.

A winter that numbs
your toes till you think 
they have fallen off.

A winter that stiffens
your back and neck
till you think you are
the only living example
of rigor mortis.

And there is the winter
with bare trees
whose branches lift
the snow in praise.

The winter whose sky
paints a canpoy
with white and shadows 
that cover us for days,
even weeks. 

The ground, the roads,
virgin white at first, 
the metamorphosis 
into sculptured drifts
ashen ruts in streets
a blinding cover
far as the eye can see.

Michael Allyn Wells

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Poetic License

The Bearer of this Poetic License is hereby authorized to split infinitives, dangle participles and misplace modifiers for, but not limited to, literary effect without judgment, penalty, or impediment.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Confession Tuesday - Catching Up Edition

Dear Reader:  It's been a month and 4 days since my last confession.

I confess I am a grandfather. To the right you will see Harper. Harper is a little over a month old. It was during my last confession on the October 14 that  we started our watch for Harper but she would not arrive until the next day. Related to Harper I confess the following:

  • I confess I am grateful that mother and granddaughter are doing well.
  • I confess I am releaved that Harper has hair - and lots of it.
  • I confess that I have read poems to Harper but don't tell her mother.
  • I confess she resembles both her mother and father.
  • I confess I can't decide what is cutest - eyes, mouth, nose or fingers. 
  • I confess being a grandfather has not made me feel older (I already felt ancient)
Along with the arrival of Harper October brought the final month of baseball for the year. I have the unique position of living in Kansas City but being a San Francisco Giants fan for many years.  There are some people who actually thought my geographical location would win out and I'd root for the Royals. Some in my family  hinted that  I might consider this though I'm unsure if any truly expected me to be for them. One daughter said one night she was torn, could we be for both. My reply was a swift no! Not since the Civil War has a family  been so divided.

At work on days everyone was going Blue I went Orange. There were people at work that definitely believe I had some sort of obligation to change my allegiance though anyone who knew me knew I was a very avid Giants fan.  

I confess that there were strengths that the Royals possessed that I felt could make for a tough series. I felt the Giants had the advantage in pitching. I felt the Royals were equal or better in defense. The Royals definitely had speed on bases and it was there I was most worried. I felt offensively they were a mixture - Royals more power - Giants greater patience at the plate and likely better batting average.

That it would go 7 games did not surprise me. I thought it might be decided in 6 but never saw it as a 4 game sweep by either team. 

I confess that the entire post season drama was quite a ride. Yes, I allowed it to cut into my writing time. Am I proud of that, no. Would I do it again? under the circumstances, most definitely. 

My normal winter wear is a 2010 Giants World Series jacket. I've actually  worn Giants coats in winter for over two decades so this is nothing new. But in all those years I was just a Kansas City guy wearing another team jacket  that local people associated with nothing in particular. Occasionally people would ask me if I was from the bay area. I'd tell them no, but I love it out there and if I could afford it, I'd make my home there. 

Last night I stopped at the grocery store one the way home from work to do some shopping. As I was getting in line a gentleman and his wife came up to me. The man stuck the palm out in front of me and said, "I want to shake your hand, you have to be one tough dude the wear that coat in this town. That takes a lot of courage." I shook his hand and smiled - never thought of it as courage, just pride. 


Saturday, November 08, 2014

Secrets of Creativity

"That's the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: 
you make them follow you.” - Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Confession Tuesday - Autograph Edition

Dear Reader:

As I hit my two week streak of making it to the Tuesday Confessional I amaze myself. I've been so hit and miss (mostly miss) lately that  this feels like a major life accomplishment. I confess that  I'm rather happy with myself for showing up to do this. Mostly because I realize that in anything we do in life, showing up is a big part of making things happen.

After work tonight I caught the Giants - Cardinals NLCS game three and was delighted by San Francisco's win. There was a very cliche MLB ad campaign a few seasons back that  said, "We Live For This."  When my team is in post season play, that is exactly  how I feel. Baseball is like poetry to me. It has the raw emotion that can sometimes change with a single pitch. It's methodical to some degree and that provides the lyrical quality. There are few things athletically that have the grace of a well turned 6-4-3 double play. But this time of year is very bittersweet because no matter how your team  fairs, it will all stop one night with one final play and the field like all the others will go dark and quiet and ultimately be blanketed by snow. And as a fan, you will be faced with no more day-to-day grind. Winter will pass agonizingly slow until finally spring comes with new hope and another season of what we live for.

Tonight, as I write this our family is also awaiting word on the birth of our first grandchild.  My daughter is at the hospital and we have been standing by our cell phones. I confess that  the close proximity to our cell phones is not really new, but the anticipation with each notice that goes off is a bit different then the usual, more casual approach. After all, I confess that  I will get scolded for missing a call because I've left my phone on vibe.

As I mentioned last confession I have once again turned to another poet to coach me on some work this fall. I was anxious to start again until it came Sunday to sending material off. Then I suddenly felt timid. Awkwardly so; like a kid who steps up in line with a baseball to have his favorite player sign it... he hands it to the player and then  just goes blank. Speechless.  Duh... what am I doing?

Being fortunate enough to be working with one of my very favorite poets is awesome, but it also makes the analogy of meeting your favorite player a pretty good metaphor.  I confess that  response to the drafts that I provided were well received. One in particular and that  makes it less awkward moving forward.

No new news yet on the arrival and it's getting  late. Could be a long night.


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Confession Tuesday - Deep Breath Edition

I've missed numerous Tuesday Confessions. I confess that it has been long enough that I don't know the number of weeks and rather than scroll through my blog to count them, well I just hang my head in shame.

Many things went bad with my day yesterday and they all seemed to spiral from a singular event at work that was the result of someone's  miscalculations and as a result it meant I had to deal with a crisis that sent me home stressed out.  Then I got up this morning and added to my anxiety by thinking I had lost or misplaced my wallet. What actually happened to it  was kind of amusing as i think back on it but it too stressed me out and delayed me this morning.

You know how misery loves company....  well I drug my wife to the office today for her annual flue shot only I screwed up and  was a day early. She drove home, keeping the car and then had to pick me up after work. There is still the matter of her needing to drive in with me tomorrow so I will inconvenience her yet again.

As I sit here writing this tonight I fully recognize that I need to take a few deep breaths, Get some oxygen to my brain.

I have lots of writing to do this week and I confess that I am both anxious in a good way and apprehensive. I'll explain. I have another poet whose work I absolutely adore, that is working with me for a few weeks coaching. I've done this every couple of years in the fall and I find it beneficial. I confess while I'm always excited about this I realize this person is going to see some of my rawest work. But the idea of course is to use this a growing period. I'll talk more about this over the next couple of weeks.

On a positive note I confess I had a rejection letter overnight, Positive you say? Yes, it was positive because the letter specifically referenced things the editor really liked in a poem. That tells me it was a thoughtful read

Well, My San Francisco Giants have a playoff game in about 20 minutes from now so I need to wrap this up. I confess that I feel good about their chances to win this round and advance to the National League Championship Series. If they don't  win tonight they still have another  chance in game 5.

May the baseball God look favorably on them tonight.  ;-)

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Drench me in Loneliness

Moon! Moon! I am prone before you. Pity me, and drench me in loneliness. ~ Amy Lowell