Wednesday, January 30, 2019

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"Clouds", a poem by Philip Levine. Photo by Richard Fogg.

Dawn. First light tearing 
at the rough tongues of the zinnias, 
at the leaves of the just born. 

Today it will rain. On the road 
black cars are abandoned, but the clouds 
ride above, their wisdom intact. 

They are predictions. They never matter. 
The jet fighters lift above the flat roofs, 
black arrowheads trailing their future.

When the night comes small fires go out. 
Blood runs to the heart and finds it locked. 

Morning is exhaustion, tranquilizers, gasoline, 
the screaming of frozen bearings, 
the failures ofwill, the TV talking to itself 

The clouds go on eating oil, cigars, 
housewives, sighing letters, 
the breath of lies. In their great silent pockets 
they carry off all our dead. 

The clouds collect until there's no sky. 
A boat slips its moorings and drifts 
toward the open sea, turning and turning. 

The moon bends to the canal and bathes 
her torn lips, and the earth goes on 
giving off her angers and sighs 

and who knows or cares except these 
breathing the first rains, 
the last rivers running over iron. 

You cut an apple in two pieces 
and ate them both. In the rain 
the door knocked and you dreamed it. 
On bad roads the poor walked under cardboard boxes. 

The houses are angry because they're watched. 
A soldier wants to talk with God 
but his mouth fills with lost tags. 

The clouds have seen it all, in the dark 
they pass over the graves of the forgotten 
and they don't cry or whisper. 

They should be punished every morning, 
they should be bitten and boiled like spoons. 
~ Philip Levine

Monday, January 28, 2019

Photo by Richard Fogg. Poem excerpt by Charles G. D. Roberts.

High through the drenched and hollow night their wings
Beat northward hard on winter’s trail. The sound
Of their confused and solemn voices, borne
Athwart the dark to their long arctic morn,
Comes with a sanction and an awe profound,
A boding of unknown, foreshadowed things.

Photo by Richard Fogg. 
Poem excerpt by Charles G. D. Roberts.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

RMFW's It's a Book!

It's my pleasure to manage creation of the It's a Book! mailer for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.  New books to read!  New worlds to visit.  There's (almost) nothing better!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Jinxed? (It's not good to be an iynx.)

Shades of Linda Blair!

The origin of the word jinx isn’t clear, but there’s speculation that it might come from iynx, a wryneck bird that’s able to twist its head around 180 degrees while hissing like a snake. Historically, the poor bird has also been used for divination and magic. Steaming entrails, I assume. It’s not good to be an iynx.

As a writer, I often emulate an iynx. My head spins regularly, plus I'm rather good at hissing. Fortunately, my entrails have thus far remained where they belong, though in honor of all things macabre we could pause to discuss evisceration in more detail. But I digress...

I sometime wonder whether I’ve jinxed myself by doing or not doing certain things, though I hope I’ll never act like certain baseball players whose actions often amuse and sometimes irritate me. Let’s see, before I touch the keyboard I need to spit, adjust my right sleeve, wipe my forehead, tug on the brim of my baseball cap, wipe my forehead again, tug the brim one more time, then inhale and exhale slowly. Whew! Now it's safe to start writing! Right? Maybe not.

But I do have a few superstitions. (Don’t worry, no steaming entrails.) One of my superstitions is that if I'm in query mode, I want to have at least eight queries out.  For me, eight is luckier than three or seven. Does that make me feel as if I'm in control? Yes. Isn’t that good, especially when there's so much we can't control in this crazy business?

How about you? Do superstitions influence your writing day?


Friday, January 4, 2019

Excerpt from a poem by Ted Hughes

Photo by Richard Fogg

I listened in emptiness on the moor-ridge.
The curlew’s tear turned its edge on the silence.
Slowly detail leafed from the darkness. Then the sun
Orange, red, red erupted
Silently, and splitting to its core tore and flung cloud,
Shook the gulf open, showed blue,
And the big planets hanging—
I turned
Stumbling in the fever of a dream, down towards
The dark woods, from the kindling tops,
And came to the horses.
There, still they stood,
But now steaming and glistening under the flow of light,
Their draped stone manes, their tilted hind-hooves
Stirring under a thaw while all around them
The frost showed its fires. But still they made no sound.
Not one snorted or stamped,
Their hung heads patient as the horizons,
High over valleys in the red levelling rays—
In din of crowded streets, going among the years, the faces,
May I still meet my memory in so lonely a place
Between the streams and red clouds, hearing the curlews,
Hearing the horizons endure.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Listen... by Adelaide Crapsey

With faint dry sound, 
Like steps of passing ghosts, 
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees 
And fall.
~ Adelaide Crapsey

Photo by Richard Fogg