I’m excited to announce the publication of my prose poem chapbook What Stranger Miracles by White Knuckle Press, “publisher of online chapbooks of prose poems.” My sincerest thanks to editors Dale Wisely and Howie Good for agreeing to publish it, and to Dale for his care and attention to the design, which is just wonderful.
You can read What Stranger Miracles free online. I hope you’ll check it out. And be sure to look around at all the other work published by White Knuckle Press.
I was stunned speechless last night when I heard this lovely track made by Marie Craven and Paul Dementio working together as Cwtch. Stunned because the lyrics come from my poem “God Bless Johnny Cash” (from Highway Sky) and I am thrilled by what amazing music they have made with it and can’t wait to hear what comes next. This is what can come of Creative Commons and the sharing culture. Thank you Marie, Paul, and Cwtch. Now, have a listen.
Give you twenty bucks
for that old Ko-RE-an thang,
the pawn shop man drawled.
Horrified, I walked out. Tried to
hold tight to you, beautiful
blue first love stratclone guitar.
But the Ford’s tires were flat,
the bills were due, and you
never sang in my hands.
We just never connected
like I would with others, later,
with lower actions whose necks
felt better in my fumbling
hands. But beauty stutters
the lips, and you were ocean
midnight neon airport lights,
the color of the sounds I wanted.
But those thintread tires needed
changing. We said goodbye.
Sometimes I still try to find you.
We’ll reconnect on eBay, maybe
Craigslist. I poke my head
in some south Austin pawn shop
hoping you’re still around twenty
years later, that headstock nick
from the ceiling fan a story
only you and I will ever know.
This Is Not a Literary Journal: Ode to a Thing
I guess if you’re going to try to write to your own prompt, you might as well write one of the examples.
Twelve paper vessels, lavish in design
floated down the flooded street
the other night. Each one bore the false
teeth of a good lie as they floated past
in the storm’s runoff, singly and in
groups, committees of gnarled words
settling into sentences. What time was it?
When did you leave? Do you remember
that day? These are the things I’d ask
if tongue and teeth and pen were still in sync.
PAD 15: Use 4 of 8 from a Word List | This Is Not a Literary Journal: Visit Peake’s Prompt Generator
Both gave me lists of words. I used some.
there once was a young man from Georgetown
who went through his life with a frown
so he brought home a bear
and let it live there
but old Smokey soon burned the place down
Got hung up on the limerick thing, I suppose.
did you hear about Senator Sanders
giving speeches condemning the bankers?
he waves both his arms—
he sure has his charms
even as to the hipsters he panders
along came the Donald named Trump
whose campaign was a fire at the dump
with so little conscience
he incited raw violence
while doing improv out on the stump
The R’s final hope standing was Cruz
campaigning like he thought he was Zeus
outlasting all foes
puffed up his ego
and soon it’ll be us that he screws
Secretary Senator First Lady Clinton
with big money and power was smitten
when threatened with jail
she released her emails
and as always claimed nothing was hidden
take a look at old Governor Kasich
working hard not to appear too caustic
mods seem to dig him
though with chances so slim
he’s scarce worth the time for this lim’rick
This is Not a Literary Journal: Limericks
Until today, I had never tried limericks. This was fun.
sometimes there are coyotes
all around the house
they bed down in the front yard
in the trees and behind my memories
asleep with one eye open, stars
twirl the pole counted and known
they’ll rise and howl at owls, the moon
or anyone else impersonating
strangers who come up to the yard
they stalk a defensive perimeter
while we sleep while we dream
they open the fridge and eat
the last of the girl scout cookies
a little whipped cream for their coffee
come morning they’ve gone, a few
paw prints in the dewy grass
Not a Literary Journal: Ode to an Animal | PAD 11: Defensive Poem
we inspect each bug
the blue magnifying glass
makes us scientists
the fossil sky is a thick blanket
fog rolled in from the bay
the trees have disappeared
muffled birdsong drifts in waves
the sea is so close
other continents just a stone’s
throw away skip away
I’m invisible until that stone
thunks into the tide and sinks
down to the seafloor down
PAD 9: Hideout Poem
we spent twenty bucks and two
hours to see a movie that showed
we already knew about
urban blight dark corners
love magic and the way
popcorn smells after it’s
been stepped on by
two hundred shuffling feet
black birds land
on a chainlink fence rattling
so faint it could be your failing
the ambulances were so far away
they couldn’t come in time