Oh yes. Chuck Berry and his back, which I imagine should be capitalized, also.
March 28, 2021
My first collection of poetry had about 85-90% of its poems previously published, or awarded, or something along those lines, but there were a handful of poems no one would touch with a ten-foot-pole, and now in reminiscing back on this particular poem, back when it was wending its way to a university journal or a new-ish press or a big famous magazine, for instance, I cannot help but be a- and be-mused over how unsuitable this headpiece was as their slush reading material~
Finally: after the battered, powerful red-and-white crane,
operated by a man called Maverick, whose huge hand
I personally shook, was raised seven stories high to the top
but scrupulously set on the roof to install higher space,
making room for even more of the unwell and terribly needy,
the sodomite prostate,
its ruffled capsule battered by voracious cancer
but not burst, and not spread to the thirsty lymph system,
had been yanked like a satanic thing out of there. By spidery robot arms.
The M.D. Ph.D. surgeon operated half a room away, fiddling
a joystick in front of a screen to burn death out of the trunk
of my husband. Yet his hands were small as a girl’s, the fingertips
tapered down like candelabra fine-drip wax. Earlier, he’d carried
a backpack to Pre-op like a high school kid on his way to first period.
Doctor doctor, I prayed and held my breath. When a terrible storm blew in
a nurse hovered over my husband, said to the medical team, If the electricity goes
I tell you that wife will be barreling through those operating room doors.
Doctor doctor, whom I could crush with one passionate hug…
five hours later he entered the little consult room
to tell me the surgery couldn’t have gone better. I swore
at the cancer, at the prostate, who we’d nicknamed Ernie,
Ernie the bad seed, and I made him tell me
three times how it had not spread, the nerves intact,
and I believed I would be able to make love to my husband again,
because he was there, alive, and his beautiful penis
might know erection once more, because I was selfish, and torn;
death had passed over this one day
our very house. I kissed the right hand of our surgeon
as if he embodied some mythical conception, the finite hand
that processed medicine and technology through the belly
of a simple man so that he could come home, and I
granted the privilege to shut the widow’s door, an empty room
with only a straight-back chair. The doctor then was up out of his seat,
would stay no longer, someone else was under anesthesia.
That person required attending.
This poem appears in The Day Judge Spencer Learned the Power of Metaphor.
November 23, 2020
The winter themed-issue of The Ilanot Review is called "Toxic." In it is a new poem of mine. When I posted a link to the poem on Facebook, along with it went a warning the size of a railroad crossing that went this way: "I have a poem in the aptly named "Toxic" issue of The Ilanot Review and a person tells me I am supposed to tell you a little thing about triggers. So if you have a trigger about mothers, or about metal, or bedrooms, or food, or dreamstates, or lipstick or toques or corners, you know. If you have a trigger about triggers you should most probably not read this poem."
If you've sidestepped the landmine and would still like to read the poem, please click its title: "Dream Poem of Mother Over and Above Her Kitchen-Skill Capacity."
If you just can't help yourself and you have to read where it proclaims:
Thank you for reading.
February 28, 2020
|Phillip H. McMath Post Publication Book Award|
- to honor the contributions of Phillip H. McMath to the Arkansas literary community;
- highlight, and promote stellar books by emerging writers;
- identify authors who can serve as role models for our students;
- to develop the Arkansas Writer’s MFA Workshop Resource Fund.
December 2, 2019
Contributors include really fantastic poets: Jeanine Hall Gailey, Sandy Yannone, Richard Jarette, David Rigsbee, Eileen Casey, and many, many more, and that's some of the roster in the second volume, alone. The first volume, too, is chock full of glorious reading! This is a beautiful journal in all respects. Hats off to Mark Ulyseas for his dedication and stewardship over a decade showcasing international poetry in his splendid journal. The entire LE Volume Two, December, 2019, 10th Anniversary Edition, at your fingertips!
August 9, 2019
It looked very much like this--
Because I knew, I knew it, just like Dr. Einstein knew about his bomb, they wouldn't be able to corral that thing back. Oh, to live in Mayberry with Andy.
March 26, 2019
March 2, 2019
|Publisher: Canisy Press|
You can order your copy of the anthology today at Plume Poetry 7. I am confident this anthology will excite and satiate your literary spirit.
February 6, 2019
|The Nortown Theater, on Western Avenue, just south of Devon Avenue, |
west side of the street
There was a second story to the building, where a marble staircase led you to the marble ladies' restroom. Once inside, it was magical to an 11-year-old. I will never forget the metal machine affixed to the restroom wall at which you could purchase, for two quarters, ladies' private needs, bobby pins, soft thick wrapped kleenexes, and most fantastically, a rich, red miniature lipstick. Ah, Debbie and Geralyn and me, we were swept away.
It was at the Nortown Theater we saw Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet over a dozen times, Buster and Billie, still a film dear to my heart on so many emotional levels, on top of which with that gorgeous Hoyt Axton theme song, oh! The Exorcist, once and once only. I believe it scared me so much I did sleep with the light on in my closet for a week. So many, many movies. You know the phrase--it holds truer here about theaters than almost anyplace: they really don't make them like they used to. I think I bought that lipstick once. I think also I was too timid to try it on.
Meanwhile, front and center, I've been teaching poetry workshops quite often and having a grand time. I have a student who has published a new chapbook with a fine press for which I have provided a blurb and the book is sublime. I'll write more on that on a future post. Gads of other students are sending their brand-new shopped poems out all over the place! I'm thrilled for them and their best cheerleader. Here's a photo of one of my classes at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe--these folks are great people, and very good poets.
|Poetry Ms. Workshop Students|
October 31, 2018
|McCall's vintage pattern for a "Poet Shirt" costume|