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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

52 POETRY... #52poetry A Complete List


My New Year's Resolution for 2011 was to read 52 books of poetry. One book for each of the 52 weeks! I am pleased to say I have completed my goal! I wanted to share the list of all the poetry books I read for this personal (and public,Twitter updates) reading challenge. There are some great books on this list and some amazing poets that I was unfamiliar with. I will analyze the list later. For now, I'll just enjoy the satisfaction of fulfilling a New Year's Resolution. Usually they have perished by the third week in January. Perhaps this year's goal of losing twenty pounds is possible after all ?

Addonizio, Kim Tell Me
Addonizio, Kim Linger at the Starlite
Armantrout, Rae Versed
Berry, Wendell Farming, A Handbook
Brown, Jericho Please
Brown, Ray I Have His Letters Still
Bukowski, Charles War All the Time
Carty, Jessie Paper House
Collins, Billy Horoscopes for the Dead
Cushman, Stephen Riffraff
Dargan, Kyle Logorrhea Dementia
Dawes, Kwame Hope's Hospice
deNiord, Chard The Double Truth
Dickman, Matthew All- American Poem
Eady, Cornelius Hardheaded Weather
Fairchild, B.H. Usher
Finney, Nikky Head Off & Split
Gay, Ross Bringing Down the Shovel
Griffiths, Rachel Eliza Miracle Arrhythmia
Hayes, Terrance Lighthead
Hicok, Bob Words for Empty and Words for Full
Hodgen, John Heaven & Earth Holding Company
Jackson, Gary Missing You, Metropolis
Jackson, Major Hoops
Jackson, Major Holding Company
Johnson, Douglas P. (editor) Broken Circles
Kistulentz, Steve The Luckless Age
Komunyakaa, Yusef Warhorses
Laux, Dorianne Facts About the Moon
Limon, Ada Sharks in the Rivers
Mali, Marie-Elizabeth Steady, My Gaze
Mali, Taylor What Learning Leaves
Manning, Maurice The Common Man
Medina, Tony My Old Man Was Always On The Lam
Meitner, Erika Ideal Cities
Murphy, Peter E. Stubborn Child
Nezhukumatathil, Aimee Lucky Fish
Olds, Sharon The Gold Cell
Padgett, Ron How Long
Pastan, Linda Queen of a Rainy Country
Paul, Bradley The Animals Are Gathering
Pollock, Iain Haley Spit Back A Boy
Powell, D.A. Cocktails
Sayers Ellis, Thomas The Maverick Room
Schultz, Philip The God of Loneliness
Suarez, Virgil 90 Miles
Szymborska, Wistawa Here
Trethewey, Natasha Domestic Work
Turner, Brian Here, Bullet
Turner, Brian Phantom Noise
Wojahn, David World Tree
Wood, Susan The Book of Ten

Sunday, December 4, 2011

LIFE WAS A BEACH


It was the days before SPF 30 and worries about cancer.

Summers meant swimming, wave riding, sand castles.

Catching blue claws by the pilings with two paper cups.

Handball with a pinky ball, Frisbee artistry with a Whamo,

watching old guys play quoits, Canadians playing bocce,

college kids from Maryland with their lacrosse sticks,

or Natives practiced pitching shells into holes in the sand.

Some wore cut off jeans with thick leather belts, others

insisted on wearing Birdwell’s or Ocean Pacific trunks.


Gorgar pinball, Galaga, and air hockey in Frank’s Playland.

Pennsylvania Dutch root beer, crinkle cut fries in little red

checked paper boats with flat wooden two prong forks,

fifty cent hot dogs, frozen Cokes from Clark’s, then on to

miniature golf at the foot of Jackson Street with windmills,

statues of seals, keeping score with stubby green pencils.

Hole in one on the last hole got you another game free.


Next door was Sid’s Place, later it was called Carney’s,where

music blasted, people drank and laughed loudly all day long.

No need for shoes or flip flops, we walked bare foot and used

painted white lines to avoid the burn of Beach Drive’s asphalt.

We’d lie on the jetty’s hot black rocks to dry off and daydream

out loud, wondering how we could keep this up for the rest of

our lives. But we knew it’d end, because summers always do.

DAYS ENDED ON THE FRONT PORCH


waiting for the nightly call of “Supper’s ready”.

November meant gray hooded sweatshirts and

cups of black coffee. Talking with you on the phone

you told me how dark it was already at home and I

realized how far west I was with daylight hanging on.


Some days the sky turned orange or purple, a few

hours later stars shined brighter than ever, the night

so dark you really can’t see your hand in front of you.

Some nights made me think about how I got there and

I’d tell you I didn’t know how good life was back then.


But that’s not true. Sadly I was like the so many others,

worrying about how things always have to end instead of

enjoying the moments. Twenty years later, I’m on my own

porch with a cup of coffee looking up at the sky, thankful

for where I am, all that I have, and for moments like this.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

THE FARMER'S STORY


The greenhouses are gone now and

I see many new buildings, but the shed

next to his parents’ house still stands.

Boards are busted, some rotten, all of

them have changed to shades of gray.

A flickering shop light was always on and

there never was a door to you could close.

For years, an engine block caked in oil sat

in the corner. Pick axes, tractor tires, hoses,

disc plates, pipe fittings, welding tanks, boxes

of fertilizer mix, buckets of bolts, nuts, screws,

and nails littered the shed’s grease stained floor.


He told me many times about the move back

to Tennessee with flat bed trucks loaded down

by rhododendrons, nursery supplies, azaleas.

He’d talk about that first season of farming,

fifty acres and a mule, and how at the end of

harvest- the mule died. Then he’d laugh loudly.

The tomatoes were packed by hand, wrapped

in newspapers. They thought about quitting.

I asked if they’d ever knock down the old shed

and he said he couldn’t do that, because we

all need to be reminded of how we got started.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

PASSPORT

They say it takes at least six months,

it’s too late for me to get a passport.

I won’t be flying to Belfast, renting a car

or driving to the countryside of Armagh.

It’s too late to marvel at rustic cottages,

old stone churches and wooly sheep

grazing on the famous green hillsides.

It’s too late to stop at the pub for a pint

and ask directions to the road where his

home is found nestled among the trees.

In the movies, I would’ve driven up and

found him in the front yard raking, playing

with his border collie, wearing a sweater

like the men in Irish Spring commercials.

It’s too late to hear his jovial voice or how

he greeted us all - “Good to see you Lad!”

Saturday, November 26, 2011

NO SUCH THING AS FREE FRUIT

It’s August in Jersey, the peaches in A&P are

piled sky high in a pyramid and I have to laugh

when I see the boxes, me and the fruit are from

the same hometown and I’m reminded of summer

driving down Fayette Street, past old fairgrounds

onto Cubby Hollow Road into the flattest part of

the state where you’re surrounded by orchards.


Past Trench Road, I’m tempted like Adam and Eve in

the story from Mrs. Garrison’s Sunday School class.

I pull my little green Mustang over to the shoulder,

take a few steps towards the sagging branches and

know that the fruit will never taste better than this,

the second week in August. Lucky for me, there’s

no sign of workers, all I hear is a bobwhite’s call.


Suddenly an angry man descends a wooden ladder

propped against a tree twenty yards off the road.

I don’t know what he’s yelling, I’m guilty, I run away

fearing an axe handle, a shot gun, or the biting dogs.

If you ever think about helping yourself on some back

road, remember it always seems like no one’s there

in the trees, but they’re working and watching you.

CONSUMED BY WORK

It was the summer of working night and day,

eighty hour weeks, for banking paychecks to

pay tuition, being on call, always ready to go.


It was the summer of Genesis, Van Halen and

Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again, TDK blank tapes,

high top sneakers, hair gel, my first CD player.


It was the summer of learning to be a supervisor

of a crew, being responsible, firing of men for

lateness, leaning on shovels, and reckless driving.


It was the summer of 7-11 hot dogs, quarts of milk,

softball sized peaches, Lowenbrau nips, and Fridays

meant cheeseburger subs from Gallee’s Market.


It was the summer of not going to baseball games,

not going to the boardwalk, swimming in the ocean,

and for not spending time with high school friends.


It was the last summer of living in my hometown,

driving my first car, cutting someone else’s lawn,

dealing with other people’s anger, and being alone.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

WHAT THEIR FATHERS SAID ABOUT LOVE

Don’t rush into anything.

Don’t worry about being alone.

Don’t get locked in for the long haul.

Don’t talk yourself into being in love.

Don’t give her too many gifts, at first.

Don’t look back if you already walked out.

Don’t worry about breaking up or her leaving.

Don’t make her lie to her parents to be with you.

Don’t forget- if you can’t be good, then be careful.

Don’t stay with her if she always talks about money.

Don’t worry about her being a good cook, that’s very overrated.

Don’t forgive her if she cheats on you. Once a cheater, always a cheater.

Don’t waste your time with her if she is not into school, books, or education.

Don’t say you’ll never date girls with a certain hair color, race, religion, or size.

Don’t watch porn, it’s just like all movies. What you see rarely happens in real life.

Don’t yell at her, belittle her, or lay a hand on her no matter how angry she makes you.

Don’t worry about girls in high school. Get to college and then you can worry about women.

Don’t ask her out if you always hear her badmouthing her parents and other family members.

Don’t stay with her if she is overly critical about your friends, family, and all that is important to you.

Don’t think that you may be marrying her one day. More than likely, (99% sure)- she won’t be your wife.

Don’t tell your friends or buddies what you did with her, what you talked about with her or how you feel about her.

Don’t stay with her if she always tells you what to wear, how to cut your hair, or makes comments about your weight.

Don’t expect to find one that looks like a supermodel. Sometimes the sweetest fruit doesn’t come from a perfect tree.

Don’t stay with her if she asks you to quit something you like and don’t start doing up something you don’t like in order to make her happy.

Don’t get to friendly with a girl, call her your best friend, and share too many secrets with her. She’ll never see you as a possible lover, partner, or mate.

Don’t let her know all your insecurities, hang-ups or issues. She’ll use them against you later. Besides, if she’s around you long enough she’ll figure them out anyway.

Don’t ask her out if she posts cell phone and mirror photos on Facebook of herself puckering her lips, sticking her butt and chest out and pretending to make a “gang sign” with two fingers.

Don’t ask me what you should do, ask your mother about that. I’m not really sure.

Don’t talk yourself into being in love. Wait, I think I said that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

KINDNESS UNLIMITED


Right out of high school, the impressionable years.

I got a job, saved my paychecks to pay for college.

Ate 7-11’s two for a dollar hot dogs for every meal.

Drank a quart of milk in the morning, a quart at night.

Gave my summers to the place, heavy labor in the sun,

in the rain, humidity, strawberry flies and greenheads.


All hours of the night, delivering to the shore towns

of Margate, Ventnor, Longport and Atlantic City.

Other days we went to Philly, Medford, Cherry Hill.

He always bought lunch. I was always ready to go.

On weekends we’d fish all day in Bay and drink

Stroh’s beer with clients to line up more business.


His wife worked alongside us prepping equipment,

loading trucks, staging the orders and wearing the

same uniform- brown pants, tan shirts, work boots.

She taught me to drive stick shift in a 20 foot truck.

She showed me how to change the oil in the vans.

She gave me a few lessons on how to change a flat.


On my last day, she arranged a ride for me back to

college in a truck delivering an order to the Hyatt.

I remember crying as I said goodbye to them and

when the van pulled away, I never saw them again.

Years later, he told me they’d gotten divorced.

He’s got a new business, she lives with her girlfriend.

Monday, November 21, 2011

IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT

School ends, the car is packed, we’re always ready

for summer and never worried about falling asleep

at the wheel, breaking down, big rigs, or weather.

But tonight there’s a big storm, making it hard to

gain the miles, to make good time, to travel safely.


I feel better after making it down the NJ Turnpike.

Across the PA Turnpike, just south of Harrisburg

we find the Pike, stop at the Flying J Travel Plaza

for Tastycakes, a Diet Mountain Dew, Starbursts.

Sand stings our ankles as it blows across the lot.


Back out on 81, wind whips us back and forth.

In my rearview mirror there’s a truck towing

a muscle car, a Chevelle or GTO, not sure which.

When I look ahead, I notice a mini van parked on

the interstate, I’m lucky to have my wits about me.


I cut to the right, ride the shoulder- knowing cars

going this fast can’t stop on wet pavement. I see

their dopey faces staring at a truck tire in the road.

In my mirror the trailer jackknifes, the antique car

flips into a ditch, trucks and cars roll, I step on the gas.


My hands grip the wheel, the rain keeps falling,

and when I twist my mirror I see how lucky we are.

I notice my son working his thumbs on his Gameboy.

I hear cars racing around the track, tires squealing,

and in the background a strange circus music plays on.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

ONCE UPON A FARM



He stared into the eyes of stuffed black bears,

fell asleep to the sounds of cattle in the yard

and wrote about it all in his Tennessee Moon.

He gathered barn kittens, chased Corrientes

into livestock trailers, worked a remote to the

head gate for the cowboys, got bucked off that

wild and crazy Pistol, came up covered in gravel,

black and blue, embarrassed, then shed some tears.


Burned his fingers making ‘smores on a bonfire,

strummed his guitar on the porch as we sat in

rocking chairs behind him with big proud grins.

We all watched hours of classic Western films.

Said good morning and good night to Buckskin,

rode the pastures on a four wheeler, drove a Gator

through the rows of a tomato field and parked on

a hillside to gaze at the smoke on the mountains.


When the horses gathered around, it felt like

he had that special power to talk to the animals,

but realized the feed bucket was on the tailgate.

He listened to his grandfather’s stories, hugged him

one last time and heard the promise about putting

the shiny new bass boat into the water- next year.

When he reads this he’ll laugh a little or smile a bit.

In the end he’ll be sad, knowing that it’s over now.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

THE CLOCK COLLECTOR


I think of how he lays in his bed all day

long listening to the ticks from more than

a hundred clocks of all shapes and sizes.

Does someone still wind them each week?

Did some get sold when times got tough?

I wonder if he remembers the auctions,

antique shops and fine furniture galleries.

I think about them chiming on the hour,

half hour, at a quarter of and fifteen after.

All were off a minute or two, never in sync

a good thing for the neighbors and anyone

visiting during the holidays or special dinners.

Strange, his obsession with clocks and time

now holds him prisoner. And after all that

happened, I truly hope he’s at peace when

he hears those sixteen notes and strike for

each hour from his prized Grandfather clock.


http://www.clocksnmore.com/midi/westminster.mp3

NUMBERS IN THE ATTIC


The flashlight goes dim, I smack it on my palm.

Too dark in the attic for shuffling through bins

to switch out our summer and winter clothes.

I find a box of ornaments and there’s the tree.


When I open the last bin, I take a knee for a

moment to pull out my son’s soccer jerseys

I find the lemon yellow 47, a strange number-

guess they don’t think much about it at four.


They’re all in here, I wouldn’t throw them out.

Each new team named after a soccer nation-

Team Chile, Team Poland, and Team Austria.

There’s a white 11, a couple of 10’s, a few 13’s.


He switched to 25 when travel team began.

A number 17 for middle school and now 7 for

the last few years, a “real soccer number” we say.

It’s sad to think about a day that’s coming soon.


We’ll remember the hours of practice each week,

bitter cold nights, hot summer days, weekends.

I wonder what we’ll do when I put the last jersey

in this bin and push it into the darkness of the attic.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE

Like an awkward visit back to first grade

with its tiny chairs and puny desks, a trip

home reminds me of how long it’s been.

I’m confused when I drive by past places,

through neighborhoods with no one left.

I’m amazed by the growth of maple trees,

something has managed to thrive in town.

Businesses are closed on Commerce Street,

no signs of victory on the corner of Laurel.

Broad Street isn’t as wide as it used to be

and Pearl Street, no longer a precious gem.

A friend wrote in his yearbook, “Get out of

town it’s a dusty road to nowhere” and from

here, it seems like everyone took his advice.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

DREAM HOME


They gave up on moving. They weren’t underwater

but they waded knee deep in the waters of debt.

Five houses on the block were up for sale back then.

The prices fell before the Century 21 sign had fallen.

And like so many, not selling meant staying and fixing.


He sat at the kitchen table with a guy from Sears.

Fascinated by the salesman’s Powerbook and how

you could drop it, hammer it or stomp on it and

it would still work. He listened to stories of how

you used to be able to order an entire home from

the catalogue, have it delivered and assembled.


They played with the software, with a few clicks

of a mouse he transformed the old house into his

dream home- red door, black shutters, white siding.

If only it was that easy he thought and told the man

to write him up for a new roof, on payments of course.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

SOUTHERN GHOST STORY

Stay away from that old graveyard

planted in the center of the ‘mater fields,

he warned from the top of a Ford tractor

as he finished another sup of black coffee.


No one walked into the cluster of trees to

read faded names or even thought about

moving the ol’ timey headstones. No one

came by to leave flowers or to pay respects.

Crops got planted around the little island of

a dozen graves, walnut trees, angry weeds.


Some said, the plants closest to the graves

yield the smallest fruit, while others said it’s

because workers don’t spend as much time

cultivating or tying the plants. He advised me,

Don’t mess with spooks, boogers, and haints.

A FEW MORE HOURS

Mothers seem to know, even new ones can tell

when a cry is different, the forehead a bit warmer,

complexion not quite the same, a changed appetite.

She knew when to stay home, when to insist, when

to give in. Her voice and descriptions of the baby

made the doctor tell her, “Take him to the hospital”.

A few more hours would’ve been too late, he said.


Tonight, I’m walking home, just three blocks

to the little rented house on Compton Avenue.

I’ll sleep alone, it’s my wife’s turn to spend the

night in a chair next to our son’s hospital bed.


It’s a colder than usual January with temperatures

in the teens, I shiver under my too thin winter coat,

I clench my fists in my gloves, wrap my scarf tighter.

I wonder if tears can freeze as I think of losing him.

Monday, November 7, 2011

MOTH ON A PORCHLIGHT

He was the guy at work who could fix anything,

but he couldn’t fix himself. We found him crying

and belligerent in The Towne Tavern only days

after his brother passed from a heroin overdose.


Your weakness is what’s going to kill you, he said

as we drove him to the brick row house apartments.

He insisted I come in to see his new guitar, to hear

a song he’d learned. Hendrix and Santana posters

covered the walls and with each riff, tears rolled down

his cheek, a neighbor’s dog barked, his mother yelled.

After that summer, he almost got clean and sober.


Now twenty five years later, I came across his picture

in the paper, he’s on the run, evasion of child support.

Secretly, I pray he gets far away, I wonder if he's got his

guitar with him and hope one day he finds a way to kick it.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

FRAGMENTS OF THE BROKEN PEOPLE


traded a saddle for a front porch rocking chair,

crippled hands no longer grip oil paint brushes,

old fullback stops every few yards to sit and rest,

waiting for an oxygen tank delivery each week,

fold up walker needed to get into the restaurants,

watching birds from a hospital bed near the window,

lost sight, can’t read the Bible or write his sermons,

White Label for breakfast and a liver full of holes,

silenced by stroke, no more anger or hateful words,

fallen on pavement, can’t lead students into school,

Intensive Care, too young for spinal taps, IVs, antibiotics,

lost a limb and the will to continue with a new fight,

advanced degrees, all those books, can’t remember us.

FIND YOUR WAY BACK


They head out onto the highway at 3am,

an early start on the miles, to beat the traffic

of Baltimore, the heat of the hot summer sun.

He thinks of days before MapQuest or Internet.

How he’d sit up the night before with a huge

Rand McNally Road Atlas and a yellow legal pad

finding the turns, short cuts, and scenic route.


“A bundle of nerves, jumpy as a cat”, 700 miles

alone for the first time, so his father explained it

in his signature, matter of fact, practical way.

Not many people know it, but truck drivers do-

Take odd roads north and south, like 81, 77, and 95.

Take even roads east and west, like 70, 76, and 40.

Read the Interstate signs, you’ll find your way back.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

SORT OF KNEW

Sometimes I didn’t hear from him for a year.

There’d always be a Christmas card, sometimes

it’d arrive a week late, overseas postmark,

scrawled handwriting, difficult to read a return

address, there was no mistaking who’d sent it.


Nothing came up in my search of obituaries

from his rural county in Northern Ireland.


Last time we spoke on the phone, I found him

in his usual excited manner, explaining his illness,

how it’d spread. He snuck in the word, “terminal”.

Brushing off my grief, he told me not to make

too much of it, It’d been a good life, to be sure.


Lad, I’ve figured it out, it’s only really about the

moments spent with loved ones and friends.

Your call today is proof of how great it’s been.


In the end, I found out from a mutual friend-

Your suspicions regarding Myles’ health are confirmed;

Myles has passed on, bless his soul. His Aunt was kind enough

to send a note highlighting what we already knew about the man.

Cheerful, positive and more concerned about everyone else.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

DAY OF THE DEAD


“What have I become, my sweetest friend?

Everyone I know goes away in the end.”

- Hurt, Johnny Cash (written by Trent Reznor)


Lately, every day feels like it’s the Day of the Dead.

I always wonder what it’d be like to drink one more

cup of black coffee with him from a chipped mug on the

porch as the sun goes down. I find myself thinking about

nights before supper, listening to her stories as she makes

biscuits or I imagine riding with him in his white pickup truck

around the fence line of his cattle fields, looking for calves.


Some days it feels like I’m watching a movie called, My Life

and each time it’s shot with different camera angles or lighting.

My favorite scene is when I’m seated with her on the boardwalk,

eating a sugar cone. Then there’s the one where I’m covered with

an itchy stadium blanket and he’s making a fire as we get ready

to watch the Saturday night hockey games in the “back room”.


Another great episode is set on the highways of New Jersey

and New York, we’re laughing about the 100 degree heat,

the hard work, our basketball games and getting easily lost.

Some days the regrets start up, I think you know what I mean?

It’s usually the unanswered invitations, the wasted moments

or the simply because the list is getting longer and the dead

are accumulating as I get older and I don’t like feeling this way.


Lately I’ve been thinking of others too, and this worries me.

Some days I stop to recall the old lady on the beach who

used to give us all candy, or a girl from elementary school

who was found dead, floating naked in our town’s river.

My Sunday School teacher’s granddaughter, she had a hole

in her heart or a high school classmate who feel asleep at

the wheel and never made it home from the third shift.


I wonder if others are haunted by the memories too.

I wonder if they’d confess too or if there are days when

nothing triggers thoughts of the ones who have left us.

Will there be a day when I won’t think of them or will I

keep shaking it off with a sigh, a laugh,or will I always cry?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

TOMORROW'S PHONE CALL

Usually it’s the flowers that remind him-

grape hyacinths, lily of the valley, forsythia.

He meant to, but too much time had passed.

How awkward it’d be for them to speak now.


At a funeral, she didn’t recognize him, seated

in a corner away from the crying and hugging.

A slide show with self selected soundtrack

playing “it’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday”.


His wife found it odd when he came home and

told her how his mother hadn’t recognized him.

Must’ve been the white hair, my beard, or all the

years without a single word spoken between us.


They say, even animals know their young

when they see them after years of being apart.


He didn’t blame her and planned to call,

once he found the time to talk about it.

Tomorrow I’ll call her, before the next

funeral, which could be hers, or his, or mine.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT


A new sign at the Sunoco is lighting up a message,

splitting it in an odd way, “Wel-come, we now have tires!”

Orange and yellow marigolds in planters by the pumps,

still hanging in there, it’s been a warm October so far.

I am the only car at the station, no attendant in sight.

Times like these are when the people of Jersey wish

they’d be able to fill up on their own, pay at the pump.

Most would hate to get out and deal with cold, the rain.

A man who must be the new owner comes out from the

empty bay doors in a plaid flannel jacket, Red Wing boots,

gray Dickies work pants, looks like he ordered the costume

of “gas station worker” from a Route 18 Halloween store.


Smiling, he’s polite as he takes my debit card, my keys for

the gas cap. It’s drizzling now, but he grabs a squeegee.

He washes the front and side windows. I wonder what’s

taking so long and when I look in the rearview mirror I see

he’s got an iphone, trying to take a picture of himself.

The pump handle clicks, he removes it, puts the cap on,

hands me the card, the keys, the receipt. Then he asks in

a soft voice- “Please sir, if you would take just one picture”.

He positions himself at an angle in the parking lot, chest out.

Behind him a red, white, and blue Grand Opening banner flaps

in the breeze as I push the touch screen, I capture an image

in my mind, and one for him to send half way around the world.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

THE GOOD MEN PROJECT


Honored to be referred to as a "Good Man" and to be interviewed by Cameron Conaway for The Good Men Project. Follow the link http://goodmenproject.com/man-to-man-interviews/an-interview-with-a-good-man-larry-lawrence-theamericanpoet/

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

INVITE TO ALL - OCTOBER 2 IN NEW YORK CITY

Please join us for an evening of poems against hunger as we raise food donations for the Food Bank for New York City. One in five New Yorkers relies on the Food Bank’s Programs and Services. This event is one of a series of nationwide gatherings intended to alleviate hunger in the United States by encouraging donations of nonperishable items to local food banks.

This October, help us take a stand against hunger and enjoy poems by:

Carol Alexander

Rosalind Brenner

Ruth Danon

Sally Dawidoff

Elisabeth Frost

Larry Lawrence

Stephen Massimilla

Hermine Meinhard

Suzanne Parker

Lisa Romeo

Daniel Schwartz

Odarka Polanskyi Stockert,

Help make our celebration of poetry and community a success.

· Come and bring two cans or unopened boxes of nonperishable food items.

· Cash donations or checks to the Food Bank of New York City will also be accepted.

· Please pass on this invitation to friends and family.

Event Information:

Date: Sunday October 2nd, 2011

Time: 7-9 pm

Place: Bluestockings bookstore and café

172 Allen Street

New York, N.Y.

(212) 777-6028

To order additional copies of the anthology, go to Amazon.com or to http://www.cavemoonpress.org

For further information, contact Carol Alexander, 212-472-8559 or Lee Naught at bluestockings.com

http://bluestockings.com/events/


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

WEATHER CHANNEL DELUGE

“We’ve been through worse, I’m sure,” I said

remembering the days before computer models,

24 hours of coverage and thinking of how no one

would believe "the weather" having its own channel.

Twitter, Facebook, handheld baby computers, and

cell phones all keep us up to date, well informed.

All day we watched green, yellow, red splotches swirl

counterclockwise on a 52 inch screen and listened to

predictions more accurate than airport arrival times.


Years ago experts didn’t have to tell us what to buy.

We understood the dangers of a storm at the shore.

We knew what to do when the lights went out.

We’d light candles and sit listening to the downpours

knowing we’d be alright, it was just water and wind.

We’d hear the stories of past destructive hurricanes.

We’d head inland if we expected it to be real bad to

a friend’s house or to a cousin’s home in the country.

No mandatory evacuations- just plain common sense.


In the morning, like now, we’d get up to the sunshine,

mumble of prayer, comment about the cool breezes,

frown at kids wading in dirty water or the ones paddling

rowboats in the street without worrying about broken glass,

boards, power lines. It reminds me how my grandmother

always used to say,“ I bet old Frog Hollow is flooded”.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

ODE TO HIGHWAY 13

“Sometimes they ask him what he’s thinking about when he’s driving”


I know we’re going the right way when

in the middle of the night we cross the lit up

bridge, it’s a miniature version of the one in

Boston, strange masts, cables in the center.

Johnny Janosik Furniture and The Monster Mile

tell me I’m on vacation and on the right road.


Pickup trucks loaded down with watermelons,

vegetable stands with tomatoes and peaches.

Brick churches from another century are planted

on the highway alongside rows of crepe myrtles.

There’s Machipongo Seafood, plenty of Wawas,

and Mason Dixon for cheap cigarettes and hams.


Farmers on tractors, a different kind of traffic jam.

Rundown school buses filled with migrant workers

ready to work in Eastern Shore tomato packing sheds.

We’ll smell the chickens of Perdue and Mountainaire.

I’ll accelerate past eighteen wheeled bird cages with

feathers flying, lots of clucking, it’ll be their last ride.


I’ll laugh at the Dreamland Mobile Home Park sign and

know that my sleeping family wouldn’t find the same

irony in the big billboard or its slogan, A Touch of Class.

Speed traps in towns with Native American names-

Accomack, Pocomoke, Nassawadox and in counties

with fancy English names- Kent, Sussex, and Worcester.


We’ll see High school car washes, plenty of yard sales,

and a church group selling “authentic Carolina BBQ”.

There’ll be at least one accident, asleep at the wheel?

We’ll see roadside shrines to whole families who died.

Signs for beaches we’ve never been to before make us

wonder why not go to Rehoboth, Dewey, or Ocean City?


We drive on to the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel Bridge,

looking for the blue signs with the white seagull logo.

Fleets of mini vans with luggage racks, bikes, fishing rods

slide south from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

The Jersey Shore is just a memory now, a pile of snapshots.

Been cheating on her for years and they’ll never go back.


Tourists trade places each Saturday on Highway 13 as they

head in two different directions with two different moods.

Perhaps I just drove by a guy from Pittsburgh and his family

that stayed in the very same house that I’ll stay in with mine.

I’ll use the same bathroom, lay my head on the same pillows,

take the same photo of the sun rising above dunes and waves.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

PROUD TO BE A PART OF THIS AMAZING PROJECT

Two of my poems, Big John's Pizza and Vee's Sub Shop are publised with many other fine poems in this book from Cave Moon Press. Proceeds from sales of the book benefit Feeding America and food banks throughout the United States. Follow the link to Amazon.com to purchase a great collection of poetry and help the hungry. https://www.createspace.com/3668679

Thursday, July 21, 2011

READING ON THE ROAD


“All our best men are laughed at in this nightmare land.”- Jack Kerouac


He’s on Chapter 10 now of Kerouac’s classic.

The idea came to him one day while waiting

for his wife in a bookstore when he noticed a

hardcover copy of it on sale for just $7.99.

He thought about buying it since he’d heard

so many references and mentions of the novel.


Instead he came up with a better way to read

it and put the plan into place as he drove across

the country he planned to visit bookstores

not far off the interstates, roads and highways.

In each store, he’d find the low to the ground

fake leather chairs and ordered a large iced tea.


When the chapter was finished, he placed the

book back on the shelf, used the men’s room,

returned to the highway, and drove for another

200 miles or so before finding the next bookstore,

another drink, and where he’d left off in the story.

Maybe he’d be finished by August, near Delaware.

IN THE MAIL


This will be the last letter she’ll write

is what it says in the opening sentence.

She has more free time in the summer

and thought of how she’d sit down and

take a moment to write some letters on

stationery, it’s been in the bottom of her

closet for a decade now in an old shoe box.

It’s the pretty little cards with kittens in

baskets and soft pastel colored envelopes.

She bought her last sheet of Forever stamps

remembering what it was like to send a note

to a friend or loved one and how they felt

finding it when they opened their mailboxes.

The news said the Post Office is going broke

thanks to computers and cell phones they’ll

fade away like clothes pins, records, and tops.

SHUFFLE


He’s got a cheap iPod, it plays random songs,

they loaded it for him with his favorite music.

It’s ironic, You’ll Never Walk Alone is playing

as he begins to take his morning walk alone.

His kids are away, his wife- in a different world.

He’s trying to live a more healthy life now.


On early Wednesdays the park belongs to him.

There are no cyclists, dog walkers, or baby strollers.

When he notices how alone he really is, a bluebird

lands on a lamp post to sing his song and in the

distance, scrubby pines sway in the light breeze.

High above him, jets streak across a cloudless sky.


He imagines blood coursing through his veins,

into his four chambers, on to the arteries like the

lessons he taught to his students many years ago.

With the sun on his back and sweat on his cap band

he feels stronger when a Willie Nelson song begins-


Well hello there, my it’s been a long, long time

How am I doin’? Oh I guess that I’m doin’ fine.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

MY MIND WANDERS


to the past when I walk all alone in the park

and I begin to think of the strangest things.


Today, I began to recall my reading list from

ninth grade and thought about rereading the

books for a third time. I’d like to see how

different it would be after thirty years to read

James Joyce, George Elliot, and Eugene O’Neill.


I’m sure I must’ve missed something the first time.

Will I find new meaning in the words, will I enjoy

the books more or will I see them differently like

the way I look at the pines, cat birds, and crickets.


It all very odd, the older I get the more I want to

revisit what I knew from my days as a young man.

I want to walk alone some days and I find myself

thinking about how buds are forming on branches.


I talk to myself. I wonder about God again.

I remember the days of my youth in church and

parables from Mrs. Garrison’s Sunday school class.

I think of how we’d eat pork roast on Sundays with

mashed potatoes and sauerkraut for dinner and how

we’d drink Tang for breakfast, make ice cream by

turning a crank, and go to pick your own strawberries.


I have to laugh as I turn the corner and remember how

the needle used to get stuck on a scratched record.

I wish I could hear my grandfather sing one more time

the chorus of his favorite song, Minnie the Mermaid.