Let's Speak The Same Language

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Thank you, Clark, for the image....
I now have enough lushis [8 line poems] to create a book. In addition, I have enough decent poems spread over the years to make at least another book. Adding in the book of poetry I created during my years with prostate cancer and the two self-published books, I have probably six books of poetry already in the can [to borrow from old film lingo]. None of them are anything like the poetry of Clark Coolidge, but poets are a varied lot. 

Ahead of me, still awaits another — the sixth or seventh — rewrite of my sci fi novel Ghoul World. I feel so many good bursts of energy as I work over the rewrites of my poems that I hate to stop to work on Ghoul World. The reworking of a novel requires long periods of slog during which I feel no reward as compared to the rewriting and creation of poetry that offer short bursts of feeling good reward. Not only that, I've been reading modern science fiction and it appears to me that my novel reveals a writer born in a past generation whose style and subject matter might be outdated. But here's a troubling thought. I've read pieces of modern sci fi written by my younger peers that reveal no familiarity with past literature when it comes to good grammatical writing. It can only be their subject matter that causes librarians to choose such poorly written novels. I don't feel any sour grapes when I note this trend. I hope it's just an observation. After all, grammar and word choice does change as the generations unfold, and a writer would be a fool not to accept that fact.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


I've let too much time between entries elapse again and have no excuse. I've been working hard on poetry as my last few entries reveal. I've been sidetracked toward the short stories of David Foster Wallace — his Brief Interviews With Hideous Men. A suicide. I must admit all my early years I was unknowingly attracted to the writing of alcoholic males so who could I be but one of those? Only later did I find out how true that was. It's not the sort of thing that a young man can see into about himself and his taste in literature. Of course I was attracted to the poetry of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton too so it's no wonder that at age 31 or so, I would crash my car on purpose by going around a curve at a speed I knew would cause a wreck. Lucky for someone they weren't coming around the curve the other way. Lucky for me too, because three years of counseling and ending drinking eventually led me out of the despair I was living in. Unlike Sexton and Plath, my depression seems to have been curable, situational rather than genetic, but I lived in deep enough despair for long enough time to get an idea what that feels like. I feel sad for Sexton and Plath and Hemingway and Williams. 

I keep turning my mind to rewriting my sci fi novel and others too, my basic bucket list, but poetry has me by the throat and won't let go. I always want to put short poems into my blog but, recently, I've noticed that some lit mags don't want to read anything that has appeared even on a blog. The hell with it. It's not one of my best, but it's recent and it's all this 80 year old can do... and it happened to me so why not? My wife will like it.


Tricycles are fun.
Tricycles are safe.
You won’t fall over unless …
you peddle too fast,
and get all caught up in the joy of speed,
and your shoe slips from the peddle,
and your toe is grabbed by the spokes,
then you tip over quite violently
and cry and screech till mommy comes
if there’s a mommy to come
but if there’s no mommy to come
then you cry for a very long time
a very long time indeed.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


A pretty photo for your entertainment...
This will be a short one. The book American Poetry: twentieth century, Vol I is a marvelous and all inclusive accomplishment. Musicians are included and folk poetry, more black poets and women poets than probably few other collections of 20th Century poets have included, though I can't be certain of that fact, but it certainly represents a wide range of poetic forms and poets too. 

In my mind, my new bucket list includes the follow item — "to write as many good and true poems as I can in my 80s."  Today I finished another rewrite of the poetry ms of lüshi [a Chinese form of 8 line poetry employed by my current poet hero, Hanshan]. Here's one of them. The idea certainly isn't new, but it's my expression of the idea "wherever you go, there you find yourself."


After all my early tramping, Hanshan, you’d think I’d recall,
But the urge to get away always got in the way.
I’d hope a new hat rack might hold everything the old could not.
Off I’d go on a wing and a prayer, wearing my chapeau at a jaunty angle.
To hell with everything I left behind — wife, kids, the rental payment.
In those days, I never could afford a mortgage to nail my feet.
Of course the new hat rack functioned very much like the old,
And I’d find myself again, the same old me in the mirror behind the bar.

Saturday, January 20, 2018


Marsden Hartley. Like this one.
Tonight was looking over Marsden Hartley's art as his poetry is included in American Poetry: The Twentieth Century. It's late, nearing midnight on Friday. For weeks, I've been writing and rewriting the ms of lüshi I now call, Plain As Day: Old Grayhouse Consults Hanshan. I'm hooked on poetry again. Can't write enough of it. It's wonderful to feel this way about writing poetry again. Poetry was, I think, my first love, but I saw there was little money in it, and, crass as I've been, I put it aside except for occasional spurts of energy. My eye is still on a final rewrite of the sci fi novel, Ghoul World. I'm sure I'll get to it in time. If I don't, my bucket list is bust, or I'll have to add "to write all the best poetry I can in my 80s. I'm pretty happy about the poetry so far, quite happy.

Friday, January 5, 2018


Writing at the Savona, sounds like a movie title or a song. I like this little place with stars covering all the lights. There's an abstract painting leaned against a wall behind a plant I can't identify. Five stuffed couches, a writing bar against a window facing on the Columbia River, two TVs without sound but with closed captions if you want to, ice cream, sandwiches, soups and what all. I ate a sinful cinnamon roll this morning when I first got here. I took a Miro art book out of the library yesterday and will go get another one today before I drive home. Writing was slow this morning. Awful tired after exercise class. It's 3:00. Time to go to the library and get another art book to look at. I used to take art library books out all the time back in Ohio, back when I was young and carefree.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


Interesting experience with a poetry submission today. I sent four poems out on New Years
Here, for example was a troubled male...
Day and got them back today from Three Penny Review. Two days. Though nobody anymore comments except through form letters, I was disappointed by the brevity with which they were considered. The four poems take the point of view of very troubled males who have troubled relationships with the women in the poems. So many women these days are offended by such material that they can't recognize the quality of the poems. I will continue to send them out, hoping that someday, someone, somewhere will recognize their artistry. I have written a novel too with such a plot, and one Facebook woman said she would not read such material if she encountered it. Three of the poems were based on women I knew and the fourth was built out of the kind of loving/controlling mentality of some men who put women on pedestals only to try and control them for fear of their appeal to other men. Dostoevsky wrote a wonderful short story on just such a theme. I cannot recall its name. I will share one of the more lyric poems to get a reaction, if any is forthcoming. I was trying to employ the loving/threatening voice of a controlling male:  


Oooh, I thinking, what would want me her
When carry I my briefcase life home to rest me?
I think me: a flower wee
To never drop her pretty petals
Even though transplanted into a watery myworld,
Crystal vase surrounding it, like …?
So pretty a world as who would complain of it?

A flower most delicate like orchids,
And always,
An opening to me face of sunflowers.
Rue, as of delicate small petals,
Trustworthy as perennials,
She to bloom under my careful tenderness
As who wouldn't?

O such a beauteous treasure
To sit so up highness on my mantelpiece
And me stare at from my flower-hungry eyes,
Secateurs held loosely in my tendering hand.

Friday, December 22, 2017


Another poem has found a home just in time for Christmas vacation. It won't like young Mr. Scrooge be forced to stay at school over the holiday. This time a haiku that I think very highly of has found its way onto the internet pages of Haikuniverse:

quantum effects—
an electron
lost in space

After so much end of year success with poetry, what will happen to my bucket list? I don't know. Recently I recalled when a friend some long time ago told me that I was a natural poet. It's been on my mind to get busy on the rewrite of Ghoul World, but I'm having so much fun messing around with poetry.