Two Nights Only

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Check out these great pho­tos that Cleveland Public Library took while I was down­town this sum­mer writ­ing po­ems for their First Folio ex­hibit!

Free Poetry for Shakespeare

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Cleveland Public Library asked me to come do Poetry 4 Free in the Eastman Reading Garden on a cou­ple of dates this sum­mer as part of their cel­e­bra­tion of the Folger Shakespeare Library First Folio ex­hibit.

I had fun — it’s been a cou­ple of years since I was down­town writ­ing po­etry on the fly for folks, but I pretty much took right back to it. I wrote 11 Shakespeare-in­spired po­ems in 2 hours. Folks could ei­ther give me a fa­vorite pas­sage, or pick from a few that I had se­lected.

Por ejem­plo:

Some folks had no idea who Shakespeare was, and oth­ers re­lated hor­ri­fied anec­dotes from col­lege. A few peo­ple just grabbed a quote and took off with­out let­ting me write a poem for them. Everybody seemed like they were hav­ing a good time.

When the Cavs Won It All

Sunday, 19 June 2016

What will I re­mem­ber about to­day,
in this city
that takes every punch,
un­flinch­ing, on our chins;
that rises up from every blow,
stand­ing tall, cut-mouthed
against the world?

I’ll re­mem­ber
that this day is like
every other day
this city work­ing dou­bles
while you slept on it
this city skip­ping va­ca­tion
to get the job done
this city, la­conic, in­tractable
where we bow to no king
no, not even our own
this city of re­demp­tion
where we al­ways wel­come our sons home

Today, to­day
is for 
                YOU 
to re­mem­ber:

this city can al­ways say it left it all on the floor
this city where every stand is a last stand
this city where we pull for each other, ex­change 
blood-stained grins
and sing loud­est for the un­sung.

You had for­got­ten
what we’ve al­ways known
Cleveland is the city
filled with cham­pi­ons
and to­mor­row, 
we get back to work. 

I’m an Old Brooklyn Social Media Ambassador

Thursday, 28 April 2016

I met with some neigh­bors at the Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation tonight to learn about their #what­sy­ourold­brook­lyn so­cial me­dia cam­paign. I signed up to be one of their lo­cal so­cial me­dia am­bas­sadors, was se­lected, and have now been ori­ented.

Having spent 4 years (mostly thank­less) pro­mot­ing Tremont out of good­will via Tremonter (I have no idea what the hell it is now, or who owns the do­main), I’m glad to be out of the driver’s seat and happy to help out do­ing — quite frankly — ex­actly what I’d be do­ing any­way. I also have more pow­er­ful tools in my pocket than were avail­able from 2004 – 2008.

I’ve only lived in Old Brooklyn since August 2015, but I like it here. It’s too big to be­come $450k con­dos sur­round­ing a street of $40-per-plate restau­rants like Tremont — and if there are fac­tions fight­ing over what “Old Brooklyn” means or should be, I am com­pletely obliv­i­ous to them. People keep their yards tidy, shop lo­cal, and chat with each other. I don’t feel like this neigh­bor­hood is try­ing to be a des­ti­na­tion. I feel, rather, as if it wants to be the place you come home to.

What I value in a neigh­bor­hood has changed, es­pe­cially now that I’m a dad. There’s a lot of au­then­tic­ity in this part of Cleveland, and a lot of his­tory, and I look for­ward to help­ing peo­ple dis­cover it. For the next 6 months, I’ll be do­ing so via Twitter (& Periscope), Instagram, Google+, and to a lesser ex­tent, Facebook and Snapchat (sci­u­rus). There might even be a lit­tle Poetry 4 Free ac­tion as well. And, of course, post­ing here on my weblog.

Feeling kind of nos­tal­gic. Should be good.

When the Cavs Won/​Lost It All

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

About a week ago I was con­tacted by Bill at Fox8 who had re­mem­bered my pre­vi­ous Fox8 ap­pear­ance about my Poetry 4 Free project. His idea was to make a piece about how Clevelanders were re­act­ing to the Cavs be­ing in the fi­nals & he wanted me to come up with some­thing that would help tie it all to­gether. I think he did a great job con­sid­er­ing he had to plan the piece to work for vic­tory or de­feat. Clevelanders tend to be good at that kind of plan­ning. Here’s the piece:

I also an­tic­i­pated the pos­si­bil­ity of need­ing two out­comes. My full poem is be­low. I only gave a cou­ple of hours to it, so it isn’t as re­vised as I would like, but I knew it was go­ing to be a small part of a larger whole, so I tried to struc­ture it for both co­her­ence and re­or­ga­ni­za­tion. I only had to change the first line of the last stanza to change the tone of the poem. Efficiency!

What will I re­mem­ber about to­day,
in this city
that takes every punch,
un­flinch­ing, on our chins;
that rises up from every blow,
stand­ing tall, cut-mouthed
against the world?

I’ll re­mem­ber
that this day is like
every other day
this city work­ing dou­bles
while you slept on it
this city skip­ping va­ca­tion
to get the job done
this city, la­conic, in­tractable
where we bow to no king
no, not even our own
this city of re­demp­tion
where we al­ways wel­come our sons home

Today, to­day
is for 
                YOU 
to re­mem­ber:

this city can al­ways say it left it all on the floor
this city where every stand is a last stand
this city where we pull for each other, ex­change 
blood-stained grins
and sing loud­est for the un­sung.

You have for­got­ten (or) One day you’ll learn
what we’ve al­ways known
Cleveland is the city
filled with cham­pi­ons
and to­mor­row, 
we get back to work. 

Lauds

Sunday, 26 April 2015

This morn­ing, my dog and I caught God
try­ing to sneak through the city like
a man skip­ping Mass in search of a drink.

He still filled the sky and his steps were
like the echoes of an empty hall­way.
My dog just wagged her tail but I

shouted at him:
I SEE YOU, OLD AFRAID MAN!
He didn’t turn, just cre­ated a dirty rab­bit

which he threw over-shoul­der at my dog. 
I don’t know if my dog or the rab­bit was
more sur­prised. The rab­bit dis­si­pated 

us­ing nat­u­ral rab­bit-magic, and when I looked, so had God. The city whis­pered
an an­tiphon: Kýrie, eléison.

At Lincoln Park Pool

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

de­spite the heat
ad­vi­sory, I brought my
son to swim. ninety-four de­grees
on July 4th and Cleveland has been
grilling ribs since 9AM
and bot­tle rocket blast­ing since
June 15th.

My son runs off — but Antonio,
thumbprinted mark of Cain
beshoul­dered, 
ever-bel­liger­ent, 
red­mopped stut­terer with 
metal-backed teeth — comes to spit self-con­scious
im­pu­dence. He may sway to 
full-bore bully in an­num
but now the ques­tion growl­ing in his seven-year skull re­mains
unan­swered. I fa­ther at him, a learned herd­ing, out­flank,
astray, askance, a thwart to de-rile his style.
Girls with fresh breasts, too shy
to show their bikinis un­der shirt, come 
tell me how cute my son is. Girls not much younger
take turns sit­ting on spout of foun­tain­spray, hands trick­ling
down…
ever all-pur­sued by some om­nipresent brown brawl of boys, 
stum­ble-tongued and
puppy-ea­ger.

And I feel my age as
the only par­ent here — adrift of vigor — cross-legged on a thread­bare blan­ket
palms flat into 
ground grit — A tart
mag­na­nim­ity, and all these young run­ning to be old. 
As chil­dren sus­pect we
with­hold — I clutch this.
It is right to keep from them.
The pat­ri­mony, my first
taste of en­tropy as cool lemon­ade. 
I died when my life be­came my child’s.
Already my blood 
only heats be­tween hot
con­crete and sky blaze. As some­thing done grown,
I watch this pack of grow­ing things.

A soggy neon el­lip­sis with spi­rals of wa­ter
flung as it flies. A poor throw brings 
the ball to
the feet of 
Antonio
and
the chil­dren all shout
his name. All shout his
name. A bend and I see 
fin­gers squeeze 
wa­ter; drops 
stut­ter pool­side, the metal
creak of the life­guard stand.
ALL shout his name.
A choice made but in­ept arm
be­trays — launched in the 
gen­eral vicin­ity of
no one. 

An erup­tion
of wa­ter and from the scrum sud­denly
the whole pool is play­ing catch. 
Old men and life­guards, my son
astride my shoul­ders arms aloft
and we all shout his name. All
brought to life for
what I’ll re­mem­ber as — amid sun and the shad­ows of lost dogs — the mo­ment
when
Antonio was king.