Sunday, 27 February 2011

If by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

Rudyard Kipling

My mom gave me a framed version of this poem on my 16th birthday. I wasn’t a man then, so I didn’t really understand it. Later, when I thought I understood it, I disagreed with it on all points. It sat in the closet in my old room until I turned 30, at which time my mom gave it to me again. I flipped it over and on the back was the note she’d written my for my 16th birthday, the note she’d written for my 30th, and the handwritten poem my Grandma wrote for me on my 16th. Reading “If” at 30 is yet again a different experience. Now I feel like I understand it; now I strive for these listed virtues.

Now it hangs in my son’s room, and I hope as he grows that he will feel the same ways I’ve felt about it over the years.

Friday, 8 September 2006

Meet The Bloggers Silent Auction and Poetry Reading

Silent Auction CrowdSince I know a bunch of people who do Meet The Bloggers they asked me to come to their silent auction and read some poetry along with 10 other folks. The space was in the amazing Tower Press building, which also houses Artefino. The first floor artist spaces are reduced rent [$625/mo], but for the most part they are luxury loft spaces up to $2200/mo. So its nice to look at, but I couldn’t afford to live there. Besides, it isn’t in Tremont.

There was a pretty good crowd, plenty of food and drink, and lots of excellent art items up for bid in the silent auction. I bid on two pieces donated by Tina Vance and I think I probably won them. I’m kind of worried and disappointed because there were so many people there taking MTB up their hospitality, eating the delicious food, drinking the wine, but not bidding on anything. I mean, why come to a fund raiser if you’re not going to donate any bills? Tres gauche. Hopefully they raised enough from the silent auction to cover what they spent on refreshment.

The poets were a mixed bag, from high school age to retired and included the Tech Czar Michael DeAloia, and Jeffrey Bowen, who is the executive director of Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity. I was particularly impressed with Mr. Bowen’s poetry.

Photos from the event are here.


Monday, 10 July 2006

Rockland, PA Poetry

DSC00924I went to a cabin in back-country Pennsylvania this weekend to read poetry. 4 Tremont folks [Kate Sopko, Nick Traenkner, Steve Goldberg and me] made the trek out to a cabin in Rockland to stay up all night and share our stuff with other writers. The guilt-by-associations were all through Kent State connections and smatterings of accomplices from elsewhere [like me].

Though I’m biased, I think that the Tremont contingent had the strongest showing in the poetry field. Some of the other folks were more academic types and read other people’s poetry and excerpts from Nabokov and their own novels-in-progress in between discussions of General Semantics and E Prime.

Meanwhile, I stuffed my face with trail mix, double-stuf oreos and slept in a hammock. It was a fun time and I’m glad I was invited.

Other pics here.


Wednesday, 7 June 2006

Tactic

I have always been better at tactics than strategy and I’m not trying a new tactic at poem writing. Instead of putting it down fastlike, I’m working on it micro-sized for the mini-times a milli-muse comes stalking. Writing by attrition.

Friday, 13 January 2006

Steven B. Smith Poetry Recap

The Rarely Photographed Lou MuenzLast night was a great night for poetry. Everyone picked out excellent poems by Steve Smith, and he really seemed to enjoy being there and hearing his stuff read. The weirdest point in the evening came when this gentleman gave a mini-lecture on Heisenberg and Pauli and a sort of mystic hypothesis of discovering subatomic particles to elevate sapiency. [or something like that, the guy is either a little batty or way to smart for his own good. It was also after 1 in the morning, so I was starting to think at caticorners.] All the photos in the set may be found here. For interesting conversations between erudite minds like Heisenberg and Pauli, check out this MetaFilter thread.


Thursday, 12 January 2006

Agent of Chaos

sbsmithpic.jpg

Tonight I’ll be reading some of Steve Smith‘s poetry at the Literary Café. Steve has tons of street cred with the Cleveland poetry folks and was recently diagnosed with throat cancer from smoking lots of pot for much longer than I’ve been alive. So this edition of the Lit’s poetry night is focusing on Steve’s body of work, a bunch of different poets are reading his stuff and then afterward we’re having an open mic. I might try out some of my own crap if the crowd is right.

Thursday is also typically considered “geek night” at the Lit, so you can bring your WiFi enabled whatevers and do whatever you want with ’em. Even unto downloading pr0n. If you do download pr0n, you have to share, so make sure you bring enough cocktail sauce for everyone.