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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Did you stop writing for the holidays?

A couple of my friends who don't like paging through blogs noticed that I "haven't been writing much" this month, and point to my last post being on November 9th. Well, the truth is that I have been writing and posting every day, but it has all been edited into the "November Chapbook" haiku per day, each with the word "peace" in the third line. A couple more days to go, then we start the re-drafting and sifting/winnowing phase, selecting 10-20 of the haiku's which best make up a chapbook. I think I'll use those which are the most traditional, and which reference the seasons in a progressive, summer-fall-winter-spring-summer kind of way. Of course, my friends who now read this "November Chapbook" post will think I have been taking it easy, writing only 17 syllables a day. To that, I recall the story of Oscar Wilde attending an evening soiree of some type and speaking of his long and tiring day. When asked what he was engaged in, he mentioned that he was a poet, leaving his listeners in doubt about whether or not he was having them on. I mean, just how exhausting could poetry be? He was asked just what he had done to tire him so, and he replied, "I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning and took out a comma, and this afternoon, I put it back again."

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Poem from Mike

My precious friend, Mike, is given to writing brilliant poems and sharing them with me, usually with the comment that they "are not very good". He's a very smart guy, my pal, but an idiot when it comes to evaluating his own poetry. As you'll see, his work is heartfelt, touching, and, often, a call to action. This past weekend was Pride weekend in Palm Springs, and Mike and his darling Carol are co-chairs of PFLAG in the area, so we march in the parade every year. This year was especially wonderful, because the high school kids from the Gay Straight Alliance joined us, and they are so energetic, effervescent, and hopeful about the future, and their joy is quite contagious. Anyhow, Mike was telling me about how the two of us are at the age when we are rightfully concentrating on completing our final years with style, compassion and grace. Somehow that moved him to consider the day at hand and he wrote the following:

I hear often the sad opinion
That God no longer talks to us
God is not in his dominion
And one must be autonomous

This is not true for me
God is often guiding my
Life and I often see
Clearly my destiny.

The inner voice has never been
Ambiguous but clear and direct
The way is obvious and open
I never hesitate or introspect.

Defy ignorance and literalism
Abhor bigotry and lazy learning
Celebrate the joy of life’s prism
And good always gaining.

God is always with me.
Directing my feelings and I
Know that he leads me
To where I need to be.

The odd thing is that God said
Do not believe in me but rather
In the goodness that could be
And the hope that beauty and truth

Will be the conquerors of existence.

Art Quote of the Day

At the Palm Springs Art Museum members reception last week, glass artist Lino Tagliapietra was asked by an audience member how long it took to create one of his intricate glass works.

Lino paused for a moment and replied, "About an hour, plus fifty years of experience."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Prisoner

One of my favorite televised series is The Prisoner, starring Patrick McGoohan, and dating to the late 1960's

AMC is scheduling an updated miniseries version, starting 11.15.2009...can't wait to see it.

November Chapbook

On the wonderful Poetic Asides board of, my fellow poets and I are writing a poem a day, in response to prompts. We will then edit our drafts, select our favorites and create a chapbook, just for fun (and for the ones judged the "best", a little momentary glory). My personal challenge this month is to write 30 Haiku's, all with "peace" in the third line.

1. Entering Something New

Summer’s final breath,
ravens scouting this year’s nests,
monks still pray for peace.

2. Looking At Something From a Different Angle

Autumn’s first breezes,
humans spy as we build homes,
wrens find peace mid-air.

3. Something Positive and/or Negative

Seeking awareness
before winter’s arrival.
Peace may still flow in.

4. Maybe...

Maybe Walking Is Sitting

As winter draws near,
perhaps we’ll tread consciously.
Peace is every step.

5. Growth


One needn’t look left,
and neither need one look right.
Peace is straight ahead.

6. Something/Someone Covered

Winter’s fire is banked,
air dancing above hard coals
At peace in my bed.

7. Plant


Sowing loans, not alms.
planting hope in the world,
one peace at a time.

8. Should (Tomorrow Come)

Preparing to die,
there’s no remedy for death.
Peace always awaits.

9. Slipping

Living On Planet Awesome

Turning towards others.
Living with an open heart.
Sliding into peace.

10. Love & Anti-Love

My Deepest Love

Soft blue, like the sky
in the first kiss of sunrise.
Peace, carried by doves.

My Deepest Hate

Nobody hates war
more so than the warrior.
Semper fi. Peace, out.

11. Construction

We Are What We Build

A flyer of kites
knows the currents and eddies.
The kite knows true peace.

12. If Only...

If Only Life Was Different

Spring is not summer.
Pickles can’t be cucumbers.
Peace is who one is.

13. Renewable


She sang of summer,
winter’s grip soon forgotten.
Peace always trumps fear.

14. Lines

Living in Balance

There is a fine line
between truth and illusion.
Peace lies on the edge

15. Hanging

Natural Selection

Turning toward others,
living with an open heart.
Peace hangs out with love.

16. Clouds

louds of December

Clouds of December,
painting paths and rooftops white.
Peace in the village.

17-A. Explosion


On life’s final day
comes an explosion of light.
Be at peace with it.

17-B. Implosion


Collapse of the self,
the blowdown of illusion.
Peace freed asunder.

18. Slow

Okauchee January

Frosted serenades
accent winter’s frozen sleeps.
Dawn’s peace comes slowly.

19. Attachment

Looking for Enlightenment

One need not suffer.
Pain is forever a choice.
Elders opt for peace.

20. And Then...

And Then He Came Out

Strutting, hands on hips,
May child in his mother’s dress.
Peace at rainbow’s end.

21. Invention

All of man’s seasons
bring natural inventions,
peace the best of them.

22. Emergency

Elders learn by fall
that summer’s crises soon end.
Peace will come with calm.

23. Noise

Living mindfully
in the holiday bedlam.
Peace is a challenge.

24. Everybody Says/Nobody Says

Everybody Says "Heaven", Nobody Says "Let Me Die"

No dark without light.
No seasons without changes.
No hope without peace.

25. Temperature

Cold Is Not Separate From Heat

Life is as it is.
No need to create anew.
Peace is snow and sun.

26. Thankful

Days of thanksgiving
abound with friendship and joy.
There is bliss in peace.

27. Shape

Be Here Now

Unconcsious living,
in another shape or time.
Peace eludes one’s grasp.

28. Through This...

Through This Life

There’s but one question,
summer, winter, spring and fall.
Will one work for peace?

29. A Number

One is not separate
from the earth at any time.
With peace, all are one.

30. Something That Will Stick With You

At all times, choose life.
Choose friends and love and sharing.
Most of all, choose peace.