My lifelong friend, Barry Casey, and his friend Wahab Sharoon, work with 35 orphans in a village in Pakistan. Together, they raise money to buy mosquito netting, tents, and cots, as well as organize projects for things like building toilets, for the children. Barry reached out to me, asking if I could design a quick and simple logo for their tiny organization, and of course I said yes … how could I not?
As I enter into revisions on this year’s poems, these are the words most often used by my mentor and editor when talking about my work.
Shortlisted for A3 Review’s August 2019 contest.
I water wilting plants, consider how the seasons tilt in this new age we’ve made, unroll the hose, watch insects rushing to wet pools. I consider my back fence, the possums, squirrels, and feral cats, the raucous crows who use it, running through dense maple leaves. I consider thirst and buy a water fountain for them;it’s said in 30 years there will be food and water riots. My hands are scented with the urgent hopes of new-planted herbs.
Profound thanks—my poem, “My Life as a Damascene Sword,” received honorable mention in Passager’s 2019 Poetry Contest. It appeared in Passager’s contest issue, September 2019.
Thinking of my father today, I wrote this memory-poem.
Reading the news this morning, I was stuck by how all the words and phrases, taken randomly and out of context, still tell a story of what’s happening in the world, though in a less linear and predicable way.
The days aren’t discarded or collected, they are beesthat burned with sweetness or maddenedthe sting: the struggle continues,the journeys go and come between honey and pain.No, the net of years doesn’t unweave: there is no net.They don’t fall drop by drop from a river: there is no river.Sleep doesn’t divide life into halves,or action, or silence, or honor;life is like a stone, a single motion,a lonesome bonfire reflected on the leaves,an arrow, only one, slow or swift, a metalthat climbs or descends burning in your bones.
HOW TO BE A POET // Wendell Berry Make a place to sit down. Sit down. Be quiet. You must depend upon affection, reading, knowledge, skill — more of each than you have — inspiration, work, growing older, patience, for patience joins time to eternity. Any readers who like your poems, doubt their judgment. Breathe with unconditional breath the unconditioned air. Shun electric wire. Communicate slowly. Live a three-dimensioned life; stay away from screens. Stay away from anything that obscures the place it is in. There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places. Accept what comes from silence. Make the best you can of it.…