Manual

Monday, 12 September 2016

I held 
hurt
birds

I held 
handfuls 
of orphan mice

I held
a lame
rabbit kit
shrilling

I was a small
child
beholding
small things

I was a small
god
holding 
fearful congregations

I keep learning 
that
love cannot
be held

only empty
hands
can do the 
work

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.

Legerdemain

Friday, 25 September 2015

            spiderweb flag // on fog flagpole
  porcelain vase of beasts // in rare inks
     huge cube of concrete // speckled egg inside.
             backwards map // for a maze of mirrors
                onion skin // atop onion skin
              time be // tween star // light
             pond of rocks // pond of rocks
           a pond of rocks // upon whose
         foundation a shat // ter rain falls
        and while you were // reading this
      catercorner, edge of // eye, peripheral
                  we sneak // on rat feet
               on rat feet // scuttle scaffolds
               to build or // crash or crash
               we the loud // est shout
           millennia built // magician hands
                  reckless // calculation
        papier-mâché masks // watercolor thunderstorm
           monster fearing // above the bed
         myth minted daily // god cowering
               about women // god? or just
                           // men

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.