Archive for the ‘Everything Else’ Category


I Breathe and So I Manage to Survive (de/composed from “I Am Alive”)

November 17, 2005

A while back I posted a poem of mine called “I Am Alive”. I also posted a review of a book called “De/Compositions: 101 Good Poems Gone Wrong” in which the author takes poems and rewrites them to illustrate how the original poem works. I have challenged folks at Poetisphere to do the same with their work by taking a poem of their own and “de/composing” it.

Here is “I Am Alive” again, a poem written after 9/11. I will present the original and then “de/compose” it by rephrasing it with meter and rhyme to show how this poem feeds on its jagged rhythm and measure:

I Am Alive


I am alive
I soar with the spirits of a new generation
My voice rises from the ashes of my former self
And I sing a new song.

I am not the man I once was.
Then — I hid behind the insecurities of my former self
Now — my spine is broken and I see clearly.

I have lost much
Some may say that in losing I have gained,
Yet I know that the gain comes, not in having survived the loss, but in spite of it.

I am cleaner, purer,
I am burned beyond all recognition, charred, smoldering,
Yet all who see me call me beautiful.

I still struggle for meaning,
Every day I journey through all of the hidden piles of rubble and call out names.
And wonder why.

And here is my new version:

I Breathe and So I Manage to Survive (de/composed)

I breathe and so I manage to survive
while soaring with the spirits of this time
I sing, my voice is ashes, “I’m Alive!”
My body left beneath me, I remind

myself that I am not the man I was
I used my false security to hide.
My spine is broken, can I seek to judge
the terrorists who taught me how to glide?

You see I have lost much this horrid day
but I might argue that I’ve gained as much.
The gain, it comes not from my loss, I say,
but rather from the strength it takes to touch

my cleaner, purer, burned and charred remains,
some call them beautiful, but I still know
I will seek out the echos from the planes
and wonder why, no answering “Hello.”

So what do you think? Which one reads better? Why? Do you agree with me that the 1st one with its more jagged edge and lack of forced meter and rhyme allows for a more immediate response? Or does the second one build for you? What about word choice? Images? Does the more explicit 2nd version speak more than the more suggestive first?

And now it is your turn. Take a poem of your own, or take a poem of someone else’s (maybe another Poetisphere poet, or maybe a classic verse you want to try your hand at) and “de/Compose” it by rewriting it to point out the original’s beauty. Post the results here or at your blog…


Should Time be of No Consequence

August 9, 2005

Should time be of no consequence, and then
there be sufficient hours in the day
to fritter, waste and still have time to spend
on work — productive work — and useful play.
What would life be if we could play with time,
could make an hour short or minutes stretch?
If time could be elastic, we could prime
our day with pleasure, before time can etch
its passage on our faces. But instead
we make of time an enemy, and rue
its passage as a loss; we beg and plead
for every single moment we pursue.
We watch our time run out, we live our fears.
Imagine if we could make seconds, years.



August 7, 2005

From Cinquains to Tankas…

Tankas are a Japanese poetry form. Using the structure 5/7/5/7/7, they provide opportunity for longer expression than the Haiku’s shorter format. Here are some of my Tankas. Again, feel free to post some of your own (and I will be adding more here over time).

I thread my guitar
with taut strings of your absence.
When I play it now
I can only sing love songs
that end in melancholy.


The clouds opened and
the rain hit hard on dry ground,
The earth drank it in:
parched, arid land gasping at
the cool liquid pouring down.


She knows what we had
told her: to keep her room clean,
to attend classes,
to work hard. But what could her
parents know about college?



August 6, 2005

Cinquains are an American poetry style with specific rules. The first line must have 2 syllables, the second line 4, then 6, 8, and the last line 2 again. These cinquains were created as part of the Critical Poetry Forum’s Cinquain Train where each poem must begin with the last line of the previous poem.

Care to add a Cinquain of your own?

was what Jacob
took away from his twin.
Just goes to show how much Esau
liked soup.


we hide our fears
Outside, we show the world
our calm, brave exterior while


“Beat it,
just beat it, huh!”
MJ’s in trouble now
Let’s do what we can because we’re
big fans!


can be confused
with “orphan” if you speak
the Queen’s English, luckily I


No cares
in the whole world
have I, except, of course,
how to pay the mortgage with my


Those eyes
fill up with tears
as I recount the tale
of how I used to struggle with


In bars,
Notes, measures, rests,
Ludwig created a
Veritable symphony in


Oft Alp
and Pryenees
are credited as great
skiing destinations but not


is the city
in Panama where I
was born into a world that now
is gone.


His and
hers bathrooms are
so quaint these days as most
colleges now have unisex.
Join me?


“And dance
the night away”
the music promised us.
The 70’s only left us with
hurt feet.


Bee, good
maker of the
honey I sweeten my
tea with your bountiful goodness.
Drink up!


A count:
One, two, thee, four.
Numbers in a row make
it easy to count things but where’s


is a great show,
but greatest musical
that Webber wrote has got to be


The rock
of Gibraltar
is a place I’ve always
felt akin to. Just suspended


Doc, Grumpy, all
were dwarfs in stature but
giants when it came to loving
Snow White.


‘Sno white
paint at the store
today so you’ll have to buy
Speckled-fuscia-bronzed (PMS
Grossed out!).


Innings stretch time
Until the play returns:
Glorious anticipation of
The ninth.


Bend their heads close
to one another as
their hearts beat out silent sounds of


flowing across
the blackboard as he draws
the complex equation of life’s


is in the eye”.
they say, but I believe
that it may only be found in
the heart.


Make a
poem with rules like
how many syllables
on each line we can use? See: I
like it!


Let’s create a poem together

August 4, 2005

I’ll start with a line below. You add the next line in a comment to this post. Every so often I will update the poem with the lines you have posted so far.

Ok, here goes…

Apples disintegrate,
Technical decomposition, noticed too late.
Would you care to speculate?
For from this pointed place
your eyes blow by my face
I cannot grow seeds of faith.

Nice job all! Poem is closed as of now!


Adoring Public

July 11, 2005


Strangers watch
looking cautiously.
Bushy eyebrows
watching faithfully

for one glimpse,
for one stare,
curiosity can kill
they don’t care.

Ruining lives
of the stars
the “Adoring Public”
leaves its scars.


Unfinished business…

December 27, 2004

I am trying something different with today’s post.  Here are the opening two stanzas to a poem I began working on today.  My problem is I don’t know where to go with it and I am looking for some suggestions.  Who is the I in this poem?  Who are the two figures?  Are they both reflections of the same person?

I like the meter and rhyme scheme.  Do you?  Should there be a change in the next stanza?

Leave your feedback and I will work on the piece and post it when I am finished.

Looking elsewhere I can see
A person who inspires me
With all his generosity
And genuine concern.

Looking inward though I fear
Shows a very different sphere
I see self-concern held dear
From what I can discern.