Monthly Archives: December 2013

To my adoring and mostly imaginary public,

I have decided to take a moment and reflect upon the last few months of writing, rather than scramble to put up a hastily composed poem before my self-imposed deadline. It’s the end of the year, so I am already contemplating the many personal and professional changes that took place in 2013. It’s been a damn busy year. Many ups and down. I’m finishing things in stride though, and I couldn’t be happier. I almost feel like a real grown-up, but only in the good ways. Taking care of myself, writing often and improving as I go, setting goals and actually achieving them.

In the next few days I will be completing a process that has consumed me for the last six months. As of this writing I have submitted ten out of my twelve applications to graduate school. The last two should be done by next weekend. If all goes well then this time next year will find me several months into the first year of my MFA in poetry. After all the stress, obsession, and worry that I’ve put into this project I can’t really think about not getting accepted. I mean… twelve schools, right? For most graduate degrees that would be a crazy high number. When applying to study writing, among the most subjective of academic pursuits, one must cast a wide net.

No matter what happens, I’ve just put more energy into my craft than ever before. The work I’ve done these last few months easily matches that of the busiest times of my undergraduate career. At least this time I wasn’t also taking other, non-writing courses at the same time. Such distraction!

Don’t get me wrong; I’m really looking forward to putting this whole process behind me. At the same time though, I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with myself. Should I get a hobby? I’ve definitely let some things slide lately. At first I was exercising regularly, but that eventually was reduced to taking walks to clear my head. It will be nice to read something unrelated to poetry for a little while. The thing is, I actually like reading about poetry. Not as much as reading the poems themselves, but criticism definitely has its place. Sometimes a good essay or piece of criticism does more to inspire my writing than a whole book of poetry.

I will continue to write, and post to this blog, but perhaps I can exercise some of the writing muscles that have lain dormant. Expect a few exercises in fiction, or creative nonfiction, or mindless ramblings such as this. Can’t stop the writing! For now I must rest. Recuperate. Prepare for a new year and set some new goals. The creativity has been tapped. 2013 was a full and generative year. I can’t wait to see what’s in store!


As Gerard gestures toward the lean-light sheen
Of hawk in dew-dropped meadow, his long-flung
Dirt piles resound abundance. Fecund-green
Young buds burgeon fresh from yon dung once sprung.
Grime-wet slick sleeves, kneeled deep in work-made mud
With trousers dappled brown by wet cut ground.
A sudden storm-surge wrestles roots to flood
From fragile loam to swirling purling drowned.

These spring storms and winged forms rolling remind
This grieving gardener of weakened shoots
Remained too shallow, roots never entwined
In solid soil, whose grip spring rain dilutes.
Though the garden’s washed out in a torrent
Of rain, it is himself his tears lament.

“Would she learn to love us, and, perhaps, have other human emotions as well? Would she be well behaved, rebellious, intelligent, or stupid? Would she mother her offspring? Would she learn to talk? How intelligent might she be?”

-Maurice K. Temerlin


Almost my happy, smiling, bouncing, bouncing baby

girl, my perfect experiment, but never ‘just’ anything.

Never the girl you saw in the mirror, never

quite the gingham-dressed lass ready with tea

and an embrace to comfort.


Lucy almost always you. Two years

to turn from sipping tea to hurling gin and leering

at dirty magazines. A five minute switch from

comfort to chaos in a storm of almost you, blaming Sue,

who cared enough to lie for you.


I wish I’d never known you, Lucy, never known that

girl who grew to love too much. That almost always

little girl. She cared for her kitten; she caught a fish

from the balcony and handed it to me smiling;

she mixed a drink to celebrate her almost womanhood.


I still dream of you and of the girl you

almost grew to. The elegant hostess in her dress,

ready with tea and cocktails for our guests. I’d be so proud of you,

Lucy, my loving tender almost little girl, and I am.

But you were always over-trusting, too embracing,

And I let him hurt you.

The slick-black sheen of motor oil

escaping tarmac above swirls

a rainbow hurricane on the muck.

I tug deep bramble roots,

as trucks and hybrids ramble above.

Caustic exhaust can’t match the lift

of rhododendron’s fresh spring scent, but

mars the sweet aroma with a pinch

of nausea. The highway is

a streak of city-grime,

a line to divide this evergreen arboretum;

it becomes a haven to that emerald-headed duck

paddling beside my wheelbarrow. He knows

my sandwich scraps – his daily

snack – and my ear to hear his quacks.

Five years here and still the dull green gleam leads

me in. One trowel cut

reveals a crushed can of lemon-

lime trash but this time I smile,

for beauty here

lies deeper than mere soil.