Archive for the ‘Poetry / Drama / Other Art’ Category


More cinquains

August 5, 2006

after his rest
the grizzly bear stretches
sniffs the air for honey and writes
new poems.

The coarse
bristles; his beard
itched me when I kissed him,
I could smell the scotch on his breath:

would be so much
easier to handle
if they came with pins that didn’t
pull out.

Pull out
all of the stops!!
It’s my birthday today
(really yesterday but I’m still


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…


When Life and Laughter Merge

November 13, 2005


When life and laughter merge,
and lights and curtain rise,
the real world is put away
(and all is fantasized),

then comes the thrill and pleasure
of being on the stage,
and with them comes the treasure
of hearing the applause.

Then when the show is over
and curtain-call is done,
when off comes costume, make-up,
(and with them goes the fun

of pretending to be another),
and on goes real life.
But an actor never leaves it.
The theater is his life.


Ours, Poetica

November 10, 2005

Imagine, were it possible to see
a world where every object was expressed
as reference to another, every tree
a metaphor, and every one addressed

by “rose” or “poem” or “ancient crooked man”.
If poetry existed as a state
of being, we could live it rather than
depend upon the poet to create

a world of imagery and fertile thought.
What would we call this world of which we dream?
Poetica her name and yet would not
her very same existence make it seem

that Poetry itself would be a sham?
A feeble, mild attempt to call to mind
a state of grace, perfection in the land,
then every single poet could remind

his reader that the work is more than metrical.
You find your own expressed as “ours, Poetica.”

For the next Poetry Carnival.


The 821 (Eight Two One)

August 1, 2005

Chaucer, Shelley, Williams, Poe.
Thomas (Dylan) and Tennyson
Wandering happily down the 821.

Anthologies on my left,
Chapbooks on my right.
Wandering purposefully down the 821.

Searching for stars on a dust-covered shelf.
Seeing blades of grass in my recent past.
Wandering lazily down the 821.

What is it about the 821 that excites me?
The promise of new / old books which will reveal
their hidden phrases and harmonies?

I look to discover a new master and
to remember the old ones. No matter.
You’ll find me reading somewhere on the 821.

821 refers to the section in the library (according to the Dewey Decimal system) where general poetry is shelved.


All the Stage is a World

July 10, 2005


When a role reaches undesired perfection,
and false emotions play real feelings,
and lights and crowd fade to blank walls
then acting is gone, and life is a performance.

When what is real becomes an act,
and when life seems to lose its reality
and all the stage seems just a world,
then life is gone, and what’s real is lost.


Run Dry

February 5, 2005


There is a fear
that dwells within
and fills me
with a pain.

And when it comes
I feel alone
with no one

And then I wonder
is it worth
the pain that comes
with writing?

For my fear is that
I will go unnoticed
and my poetry-pen
will run dry.

I’ve been feeling a little dry lately.  Too busy to spend much time on my poetry… and too lazy to make time for it.  Too many other demands, I guess. 

Thanks to those of you that have shared some of your stuff.  Keep it coming!

And I promise to try to put more stuff out here as well…



December 28, 2004

I cannot tell which one is worse
(My head is filled with so much verse)
A Dickinson who cannot spell
Or Cummings’ commas gone to hell.

But still I know this much is true
My feet prove I’m a poet too.

(yep, you guessed it, they’re long fellows).

At the library tonight on the way home I picked up a copy of W.H. Auden’s light verse.  As I was heading back to the car, this just kind of popped into my head.  I’ve been reading an awful lot of poetry lately, so this fit.



December 26, 2004


Leapfrogging over my vocabulary
Searching, searching for the perfect word
Falling through a myriad of memories
I cannot find a simile to save me
Dickinson could write one without effort
Learning now how poetry is

So the real question is, is anyone reading this?  My comments have been rather sparse (well, it has only been three or so days so far that this blog has even been in existence), but I do notice by the counter that someone is logging in…

I am craving feedback, so do tell.  What do you see here you like? Don’t like?  What poetry stirs your soul?  Do you write?  Read poetry? 

Always feel free to comment directly on a poem you see here on which you want to offer feedback.  Feedback is the reason I am keeping this blog.  I am anxious to know if the stuff I am writing works, so please let me know…



December 25, 2004


I appear in violet,
Emulating life.
On the stage, magnificent,
I play fear and strife.

Never get the parts I want,
Always cast as maids,
Mother-types, an English aunt
(Not dramatic aids).

Can’t they see I’d better play
Cute, romantic leads?
Stealing all the men away,
Satisfying needs?

I would play the part sublime,
Sweet romantic bliss.
But they tell me, “Not this time;”
Then they blow a kiss.

Sweetheart, I’m mature but spry!
(I have to act my age?)
Can’t you see the real lie
Is falseness on the stage?

I was thinking today of Elsa Raven.  Elsa Raven is one of those actors whose name you probably don’t know, but she has been on everything.  I mean, how many actors do you know who were in The Amityville Horror, Back to the Future, and The Titanic?  She’s also been on television shows from General Hospital to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air to Seinfeld.  Pretty impressive for a woman nobody knows.  Except, I know her.  Or rather my family does.  The reason we know her is because my mother went to school with her.  All through elementary and high school, Elsa Raven (then Elsa Rabinowitz) and my mother did drama together.  My mother was always cast in starring roles, Elsa in the supporting parts (an English aunt, mother types).  My mother graduated from high school, met my father during her first year in college, married, and never pursued acting.  Elsa made a career out of playing the parts that no one else could.  I always imagined what she must have secretly desired, to play the lead.  So, Shakespearean was written with her in mind.  Now let me be clear, we have never spoken, she and I.  I know her only by story and reputation.  But I could imagine a conversation something like this…