a triplicate of poems for the times (1)

March 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

after math

by the dawn’s early light when morning edition was fractured
when the morning skyline was cast asunder when
the morning
was interrupted not once not twice but three times before scheduled programming
was suspended
everyone knew what to do after the fact
after the act by the dawn’s early light before the edifice
before the buzz the blitz the barrage the blare before the benedictions began
every tom dick and jane every spot ET and harry
to call home
before the long division began before my god
and your god were hanging up the clothes and
my god punched your god right in the nose
what color was the fear


eenie meenie minie moe
what if
you’re the one

…gringo skank slut
dike kike whitey
wop gook geek
towelhead spic…

caught by the toe

eenie meenie minie moe


3 buildings divided by 3 planes equals hate
us divided by hate equals war, and war

gets what war wants




published by PenHouseInk Press; vol. 2 Messages


triplicate of poems for the times (2)

March 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Dirty Words

so much talk these days about being a patriot, as if we could
explain it if someone asked, as if being for our troops and against war
or being republican or for universal health care or in love
means one thing and not another, or as simple as yes or no
or like hippie or pro-choice or religious
is a name to be called; religious

as dirty a word in our family as patriotic
the things done in the name of God or country
against our grain, to put it mildly, but
yes or no
I am religious
and God help me patriotic and
yes or no
I can’t explain it

I wouldn’t die for my country or God or you
whether or not I love you, I am partisan but not zealot
faithful but not dumb maybe I’m just



(published in Continent of Light, David Madgalene ed.

a triplicate of poems for the times (1)

March 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

the art of disrespect

she comes out waving her arms yelling excuse me

to a workman next door she’s never seen
meaning anything but

get rid of the music she says, just that way as if
she=s earned the right, because
they never listen to her she says but then

who really hears anyone yelling be quiet, I wonder

if she knows how disrespect works
and what she means when she says
she thinks war sucks


published on continent of light website

known peril 6/6

March 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

an exercise in composition if nothing else

a limited edition of 6, none exactly the same
designed, handset, and handprinted by author, using Vandercook
printed, in a variety of fonts, and colors but mostly black & red, on newsprint, maps, transparency, and tracing vellum
using a variety of other paper including handmade papers, and screw post bindings

with hearty thanks to susan becker

a graphic poem in the shape of a book


March 9, 2011 § 2 Comments

the hummingbirds are starting to bunch-up at the feeder

and the damned jays are at it again 

doing that thing they do, trying to build a nest on the light fixture under the rafters,
the slippery surfaced fixture with which twigs do not entangle but simply slide off or blow off, nevertheless they bring twigs and strings and bits of paper and lay them up there and they fall down or blow away and undaunted the jay picks them up and again lays them down and off they fall or don’t until twenty minutes later the many of them closer than not to a nest slide off and undaunted the jays pick them up and lay them down again and down they slide. It is an awesome thing to watch, it breaks even the most stalwart heart makes you want to run out and do it for them, not that in the long run we (people) are doing a better job of keeping our nest intact…

paul planted the potatoes in the barrel out front

I am on a diet, losing those pesky 5 pounds

and though spring is nigh, it’s still cool enough to burn the fire, nothing in the world like the warmth from a wood stove, nothing

It’s been just a year now, give or take a week, that I’ve been at the shop. And somehow it was seemly, if not timely, and the perfect, oh for lack of a better word, ritual—though at once a fundamental part of the work—that I spend the afternoon distributing type. A perfect tribute if I will, and on Fat Tuesday, to boot, to make way. Decomposing. Deconstructing, dismantling, not to belabor the point, it was all of it. And if there is an ineffable but unmistakable quality to a finished work, carved onto, into, a piece of paper, which is dimensional and sculptural, there is an equal and not exactly opposite state that comes of letting it go you should pardon the expression. There was something about handling the words. And taking them apart. Distributing each sort into its proper spot in the case, (where they’ll rest until another job comes along,) that was, yes, freeing. Not only in terms of clearing the slate to make room for what comes next, but it is an unequivocating end. In a real sense. The end of the story. No more just dashing off another copy. Or changing it all of a sudden. It is a demarcation. And sorting the letters out, ending the extant relationship one letter to another freeing them from their bonds was, oh I don’t know, liberating and exhilarating, was Beethoven at his best. I was dismantling the poems from DRUM, a book conceived as an amulet on the occasion of a rotator cuff repair and as things went, I had my last physical therapy appointment and my shoulder is well on its way to good repair. Voilá!

I am finishing my second book, KNOWN PERIL, a graphic poem in the shape of a book; an exploration of nuance or the lack thereof. Interestingly, fleeting and ephemeral as that project was, I dismantled each of the forms after I pulled the last print. And no one of the 6 books in this limited edition will be like any other.

I printed a second set of cards. So different than the first one. A good measure of the distance I’ve traveled.

I’ve taken out my novel again. Another measure of the distance I’ve come. And have yet to go.

And I give thanks to the many who lend zest, and love, and wisdom, and hope and who add kindness and generosity and laughter and bring music






book launch party

March 3, 2011 § Leave a comment


Saturday March 19, 2011: Poetry read by key contributors with music by bassist Steve Shain. MC: David Madgalene. Free & open to the public. Pelican Art Gallery and Custom Framing Studio. 143 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma, CA 94952. 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Featuring the work of 54 contemporary writers (the majority of contributors currently active in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area), “Continent of Light” (named after the poem by Katherine Hastings) embodies publisher David James Randolph’s vision of a cutting-edge collection of post-9/11 poetry unafraid to face current urgent social and cultural issues head-on. These poems truly ripped from today’s headlines, are of intrinsic interest not only to lovers of literature, but to anyone and everyone who has a stake in the world in which they live.

Scheduled presenters include: Gordon Yaswen * Forest Staggs * Michael Rothenberg * Christine Peasley * Andrew Mayer * Tom Mariani * Carl Macki * Leah Lubin * Katherine Hastings * Raging Granny Vee * judi goldberg * Vilma Ginzberg * Joan Gelfand * Karl W. Frederick * Geri Digiorno * Ed Coletti * Terri Carrion * Jennie Frost Butler * Abby Lynn Bogomolny * David Beckman * Michelle Baynes

Contact: madgalene at sonic.net. http://continentoflight.blogspot.com/

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