Proverbs and a Poem

How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge?

Proverbs 1:22, New Living Translation

O, but the mockers’ cry

Makes my heart afraid,

As though a flute of bone

Taken from a heron’s thigh,

A heron crazed by the moon,

Were cleverly, softly played

From The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats

On Being Irishman Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde

The world is a stage,
but the play is badly cast.


Quantum Mutata*

THERE was a time in Europe long ago
When no man died for freedom anywhere,
But England’s lion leaping from its lair
Laid hands on the oppressor! it was so
While England could a great Republic show.
Witness the men of Piedmont, chiefest care
Of Cromwell, when with impotent despair
The Pontiff in his painted portico
Trembled before our stern ambassadors.
How comes it then that from such high estate
We have thus fallen, save that Luxury
With barren merchandise piles up the gate
Where nobler thoughts and deeds should enter by:
Else might we still be Milton’s heritors.



Image courtesy of WIKIPEDIA
Quote & Poem courtesy of

*I know, I know… it’s a poem less about Ireland and more about the United Kingdom. Okay, granted — it’s all about England and its fall from dynastic grace but it sure seems applicable to today’s current United Empire, no?


Emily Dickinson on Daylight Saving Time*


Presentiment – is that long Shadow – on the Lawn –
Indicative that Suns go down –

The Notice to the startled Grass
That Darkness is about to pass –


*Admittedly, it’s highly unlikely that Ms. Dickinson while sitting alone upstairs staring out her pondering window penned this pensive poem about Daylight Saving Time; that being said, it’s time to throw open those curtains, spread sunshine on those foreboding winter-fouled floating dust mites of presentiments and drag those lagging Clocks for-ward and on-ward to-ward that Fresh Breath of presentiment-less and Carefree Air affectionately known as Spring, yo!**

**What’s with all the “yos” lately, yo?


I Am Of Ireland by William Butler Yeats


‘I am of Ireland,
And the Holy Land of Ireland,
And time runs on,’ cried she.
‘Come out of charity,
Come dance with me in Ireland.’

One man, one man alone
In that outlandish gear,
One solitary man
Of all that rambled there
Had turned his stately head.
That is a long way off,
And time runs on,’ he said,
‘And the night grows rough.’

‘I am of Ireland,
And the Holy Land of Ireland,
And time runs on,’ cried she.
‘Come out of charity
And dance with me in Ireland.’

‘The fiddlers are all thumbs,
Or the fiddle-string accursed,
The drums and the kettledrums
And the trumpets all are burst,
And the trombone,’ cried he,
‘The trumpet and trombone,’
And cocked a malicious eye,
‘But time runs on, runs on.’

I am of Ireland,
And the Holy Land of Ireland,
And time runs on,’ cried she.
“Come out of charity
And dance with me in Ireland.’




An Introduction to Author MB Bissett

In my last post “Hey Reader, What’s Your Angle,” I invited you all to share a link to a book that you’ve reviewed that provides some insight, via your writing, as to how you apply your critical thinking strategy towards the books you read.

I’m so happy that MB BLISSETT was kind/brave enough to take me up on the offer; for, not only did he introduce me to THE FEVER by Meg Abbott with his interesting and insightful review of her work, he introduced me to a new eclectic world of creativity and intellect that can be found all throughout his website.

After reading his review that I introduce here, I strongly urge you to then head straight to his About page as it is most interesting and entertaining – I read it and I feel a strong kinship with his outlook toward writing and his literary taste.

Comments are closed here so that you can share your thoughts directly with MB at his website.

MB Blissett


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs posits that when base needs are met, then your desires become more refined. Which usually means that your fears probably work on the same level. If you’re not risking death every single time that you give birth, then you’re worried that they will live to be healthy adults and when they’re healthy adolescents, you’re worried about any number of factors. Within the haunted house of parenthood and adolescence, Megan Abbott knows where the ghosts live and shows them to you.

The Fever ably captures the beauty and passion, the terror, the contradictory desire for freedom and privacy, the secrets that women keep from themselves and one another. She uses social media and how it intertwines and defines the worlds of young people subtly and effectively. In the iconography of the modern world, the online video is the sermon, the blowing of the whistle or in this…

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“The Raven” – Read by the Master of Mystery and Scare


The Raven

by Edgar Allan Poe
(published on this day in 1845)

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door-
Only this, and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
“‘Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-
This it is, and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”- here I opened wide the door;-
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”-
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore-
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-
‘Tis the wind and nothing more!”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door-
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore-
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door-
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered-
Till I scarcely more than muttered, “Other friends have flown before-
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said, “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of ‘Never- nevermore’.”

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee- by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite- respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil! –
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-
On this home by Horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore-
Is there- is there balm in Gilead?- tell me- tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us- by that God we both adore-
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend,” I shrieked, upstarting-
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted- nevermore!


[This version of the poem is from the Richmond Semi-Weekly Examiner, September 25, 1849. It is generally accepted as the final version authorized by Poe. Earlier and later versions had some minor differences. Source]


Kicking the Year Off – Write: Poetry

Another day has passed
Another year has passed
And, woe, others shall pass anon
Who amongst us needs such a curse
As that which forever to us will elude
As that which forever to us will delude
Yea, instead, choose to seek thine peace
In that which shan’t ne’er forsake
For ’tis thy present


Often, we of the Newsletter Love share our writings and whatnots amongst ourselves; and occasionally some of it makes its way to this here blogspace. Today, to kick the year off in poetic style, and to spread around some of our newsletter love, I share here a selection of the newsletter submissions from Andy Smerdon, Pleasant Street, and Priyanki. I thank them for helping us to send out and in the years in poetic style. You can read all their work in the current edition of the Newsletter Love. Additionally, I invite you to visit their sites, check out their work, and follow along with them.

I thank you all for hanging out with me here like you do. It means much, very much, to me.

Have a Happy & Healthy & Humorous New Year, my friends.


Poetry by Andy Smerdon

Stop, listen, what’s that sound
It’s another heart
Along side yours
Beating time
A drum
You know
We all know
It’s ours to share
Not just with our kin
Not controlled by the skin
We believe we have that right
To pick and choose who gets our light
Yet demand this gift of all we see
When love is something, to be shared and free.


Poetry by Pleasant Street (formerly Rose Red)

Snow angel

In the dog days of Winter dreaming of green
I get weary shoveling, and
struggling to remain upright
scraping those windows yet one more time
coffee spilling into the snow
leaving an ugly brown stain
a fog rising above the crater-
Shit, I really needed that.
I turn my head toward the apple tree
but it does not answer

I remember how July damn near killed me
melting into my clothing
certain that they would find them
in a pile, my body nearly gone
just a grimace where my head used to be.
I think of this memory heading into the wind
and I know that I’ve never felt
so alive in the dead of winter
never felt so sure that I no longer
want to toss it all in

I want this feeling of life
dichotomy of sunlight and frigid air
both bathing
both massaging
both surrounding me
with their life-giving forces
hot and cold-dark and light
and I drop the ice scraper
for one moment of pleasure
like some idiot thinking she is 8 years old

-forgetting the sadness in the house-
to make a snow angel
squinting from the sunshine in my eyes


Poetry by Priyanki

Keep flipping the pages

Lost in the books only to be found
The best place to be profound
Unfolding, unwinding so many mysteries.
There is so much to seek
so much to explore
All I feel is to be engrossed in more.
Sometimes I’m short of time
Finishing daily chores of my life’s book
That is also prime to me
As it gives me a sense of my being.
As I move & flip each page
It gives me a feeling of success,
Success of moving on
For not sitting on a page for too long
But I’m also a human being, at times get stuck in life’s routine.
Wherein I just sit & ponder, about all the life’s wonder
All that I got so far.
Did I ask for, or was it an unexpected rain shower…
Then I think , oh! I should have been prepared,
Carrying an umbrella would have taken care.
It would have saved me from all the mess
Oh! look at me? I’m drench all wet,
What shall I do now? Sit & cry
Or dance in the rain & enjoy
Jump in those puddles & let it all go
Or standstill & heighten my sores.
Oh! Let me ask my soul before I go
What does it wish,
What does it say…
Shh!, Let me hear to that voice, it’s coming from deep inside
You know I need to focus more, the outside noises are making me deaf
Then my brain gets lazy, stops working hard to listen to what lies deep within…
& tries to find that easy way,
Of sitting on that page of life’s book & not taking the pain to flip or move
& see what’s coming next,
May be a rainbow or the warmth of sun
But for that it needs to make that turn.
What did you say?
It happens with you too! Oh really!
Is that true?
Don’t you worry
U & I will this time
Silence those noises, disturbing our mind.
All those noises that cause chaos.
& make the turn, that sounds so hard
take the turn of flipping that page
Those pages of our life’s book
Which needs to be closed,
For better outlook
To see what life is holding next
A new beginning is waiting ahead
No matter if the page is interesting, still you need to keep moving,
keep exploring to learn more & you may find that pot of gold
Crossing the life’s rainbow
I don’t want to say at the end.
Life surprises me every now & then
And if the page was mundane then all the more you need to change.
Life’s book is a mix of all
You name the genre
It has it all.
Each of yours life is gifted with it
Fiction, comedy, mystery or thrill
Suspense or action we all go through.
We all are readers of life’s book…
Good or bad, slow or fast
Read it in your stride…
But just remember one little thing,
Keep turning & keep flipping
To keep finding new meanings,
Waiting for you on the next page.
Yes! You can
Now that you think
All you need to
Is keep reading!


So, about that newsletter of mine…

Have you had a chance to check out what’s going on with Newsletter Love lately? We recently announced that we will be sending out 2015 in style, meaning me sharing your poetry and other writing via the newsletter on New Year’s Eve and with a selected few being published right here on the blog as my first post for 2016.

So check it out, subscribe, and help us send 2015 out in poetic style.

Right on?

Write on!


A Guest Post by Poet & Author Manizha Sepas

I first reached out to Manizha Sepas to invite her to share more of her writing here right after she submitted her captivating poem A DIME IS WHAT I NEED to the Relating to Humans Poetry feature under the nom de plume of tamednomad. Well, my patience – and persistence – has finally been rewarded as she has shared with us two wonderful pieces: a poem and a travel essay, which, itself, is as poetic as any poem could be. Needless to say, I strongly encourage you to visit Manizha’s site to enjoy more of her work.


Manizha Sepas
Poet & Author Manizha Sepas


Idle dreams

The pretty little house upon a hill
In flowers and myriad greens adorn
A symphony of bird songs
While muses dance above
A silent cat stretched out in the shade
Sun rays upon our faces as we laze
Radiating on sunny afternoons.

These are treasured times.
And of more we dream.
Alas! Few will be content
In this age of men of doings.
A sense of purpose of Gods we’ve made,
To be watched over and orders kept.
Of idleness we dream; In idleness condemned,
To slave away the youth.
At the nearness of death time abundant to be found
For nostalgic contemplations:
The rewards of the dogma of the era of the self.
Fear and ambition are our masters
And we the dancing fools –
Malcontent marionettes.
Dreams left in wastelands of our teens
Forgotten tomorrows and lost days,
“What is it you want to be?”
Cuts the knife of purpose.
Broken reveries; harsh realities.
To be! For existing is mere.
Childish. Primitive. Senseless.
It is the age of categorisation,
The hierarchy of ants,
Times past in wretched standardisation.
Thoughtlessly enslaved.
A need to be. To do. To better.
Insanely labelling the sane,
A return to what is true
The naked man is caged
For the good of man
Bodies enshrouded in shame and sin
Gloriously protected.
In gowns we tread along the aisle
Piously fearful facing beneath the ground
Wonderfully meaningless.

Manizha Sepas' website

Helios conquers Hermes

To love not bound but much to give. Like the faithful addict I am besotted. Excitedly impassioned and from withdrawals I suffer; yet no relapse. I am afflicted by this glorious disease. The tempestuous serpentine with smiles and gentle caresses like a breeze passes, communicating a love that is greedily and without prejudice struck. Among Olympians I have come to wander. By the window I sat gazing onto the hills. The nomadic mind for a body tormented by restlessness. A painful existence defined by rage it was; but itchy feet and the vagabond mind is here united. Ataraxis at long last. I sought meaning and found an occupation but I was discontent. It is a failure to be accepted and an acceptance to fail. What are wrongs when solipsistic truths subsist? I turn to look inside and you sit before me, the very embodiment of serenity. I am thirsting. To share in your calm. To feel your soft whispers in my ear and your lips against mine. Sweet intoxicant, I am drunk. A selfish desire you have inspired in me to make mine your every essence but for now, I am a novice. Gems along the road await me and with grateful curiosity I follow.

A brief moment spent in dreams and another reality. Under the cloak of the night we set upon the trail of effervescent chatter. Songs heard and laughter echoed. Drinks pass lips and the herb circulates. The cold is the cherub that draws us together. At the foot of the cross we sit sharing in the joys of your youth. The stage is set and another play ensues. Such are the highs of the opiate seeker. You lead the way to a rocky garden of unquestioned welcome. Upon uneven ground the bodies exchange secrets. Locks of onyx beau, new heights, new desires and the vagrant is once more intoxicated. Stories of troubles told, of loss, suffering and a futile search for happiness where none was to be found. Discourse of fears and pains, and praises made – smiles so readily present and a heart so big. Boundless is this heart and without limit it loves. What is the one when love is abundant and abundantly I love?

Restless days and long nights spent in waiting. The gem is here found distant from my touch. Your desire I have sensed but questionable is mine as I am in character. Perceptions can be deceptive and here, my dears, you have been deceived. The contemplative eye, for Nietzsche, is “like a smooth and irresponsive lake, which is no longer moved by rapture or sympathy;” for far too long I have been lost in the turbulent, perpetually dark world of the phantoms of my mind and at times these eyes betray a challenge to cope with reality. I lust for the chance to share in all the wanders of your dream-like existence here in the Middle Earth of our age. Had Tolkien experienced such a place himself to have imagined this meridian of magnificence? I digress. It is the thoughts that flutter like excited butterflies, offering only glimpses of its promised pleasures. You have been a recurrent attraction like a source of light. An aching lust. To be ventured dangerously close. It is the eyes that I could not look into. A journey’s beginning so abounding in passion but I am of the road. Love is a disease that is bewitching. I am once more consumed. My ailments are concerns of the self; yet despite knowing this I cannot be helped – I must see you again. It is the lips I did not kiss. I fear that the drumming of my heart might be echoed aloud. I am the excited adolescent.

On the move again and true as the addict idéal, the spark is once more set. Perfervid love in which I am immersed. All that happens, happens for a reason. The reason may be doubted but the passions are engulfing and I am the invariant, variedly loving and ardently loved.

I speak of my addiction to love and to lust – to dive into the glory of this most beautiful of human experiences. I love passionately, tenderly and erotically. Always my love is erotic but not necessarily sexual. All my relationships defined by intimacy but not necessarily of the body. I love honesty. I love the flawed and seek not the perfect. I love the best for the best are honest with themselves and thereby deserving of love. To accept one’s own mortality and stupidity is to be the best. To seek not to prove. The best loves as the self dwindles. She is her own subject and her own critic. The best is drunk on life for in sobriety she understands the joke played upon us.

I could not know. My position was one of perpetual torment. Life played its joke and I was the laughing matter. I could only lust passionately to bring to an end the tragicomedy of my pitiable existence. To close the curtains and to have the final laugh. In suicidal contemplations I passed my days not from a selfish desire but from a deep selflessness to free the world of my disease of the soul. It was on the brink of absolute loss that I made a final grasp at happiness only to be found among the children of the sun. Like Tolstoy, I too had a dream in which I saw our sun but I knew it could not be my sun which had begotten my earth full of terrors. Yet, somehow I recognised that it was the same sun, a “dear power of light,” which revived me and from the outstretched arms of death inspired me. Tolstoy dreamt but here I live.


A Guest Post by Author J Hardy Carroll

It is my pleasure, privilege, and honor to present to you a whirlwind of wisdom and intrigue from the author of HAWSER, our IABS&R Volume 3 selection.

Or So You Say
by J Hardy Carroll

Tell me the truth, now.

You always dreamed of being a writer. Doesn’t matter whether your dream took the shape of Erica Jong in a penthouse sipping Moet while talking into a Dictaphone or Hemingway slouched over a café crème wearing down a stub pencil in a composition notebook.

Your dream isn’t of fame, of wealth or even of the admiration of your fellows.

No. Your dream is much simpler.

Your dream is to be paid for your unadulterated idea.

It is a strong dream, a storyteller’s dream, but it is a dream fraught with questions.

Who are you to tell a story?

What makes your idea worth anyone’s time?

How in God’s name can you call yourself a writer?

You know the facts. Writing badly is easy. It just comes. You’re so pleased with it. You are proud. Until you forget.

You forget that writing well is ridiculously hard, a series of tasks, many unrewarding and some downright unpleasant. Self-delusion lurks in every dark corner and all your worst tendencies get laid out naked on the slab in public view. Your clever clichés and trite situations and penchant to lecture form a kind of cesspool though which you wade, dragging for a story as though it was the body of a murder victim.

J Hardy Carroll, Writer, Poet, & Cartoonist

My, how you do go on.

But tell me the truth.

Secretly, you think you’re great. Admit it.

Well, maybe not great. Not yet. But good. Good enough to get published, anyway. Except for the fact that there aren’t any publishers these days willing to take a chance on somebody without an MFA from Iowa or Emerson or Columbia.

Or maybe it’s this: maybe you’re not so great. Maybe you are only great at lying to yourself.

So start another story. Maybe this time it will turn out better. Maybe this one will actually be something you can open in six months and read with a degree of pleasure or even pride.

Did you read that piece on Andre Dubus, about how he would take a year to write a single story, how he would trim 150 pages down to twenty, how one perfect sentence followed another?

Did you read about how Jack London pawned his bicycle for postage to send out his manuscripts only to have them come back months later with form rejection notices tucked inside the self-addressed stamped envelope?

Did you read about Annie Proulx writing cookbooks?

By the way, who in hell do you think you are?

You didn’t finish college. Your father was a professor who taught Chaucer and Beowulf and who never wrote anything down. You dedicated your first novel to him but he died before he got a chance to read it. In his life he finished only one short story, the one about his father called My Father’s Dreams that you read when you were in high school, the one that made you cry and wonder why your dad didn’t write more.

Or at all. Your dad could talk an acorn into an oak, but he never could finish anything. How many stories did he start and never finish?

Is this about him? Is that all there is to the dream? No? What, then?

Don’t give me that shit about how when you first read Faulkner, hacked your way though the twisted vines of his prose only to find yourself lost in a thicket, befuddled and a little angry, how you went back and started again, trying hard to not be bored, trying hard to be smart, trying not to give up and re-read that Trevanian book instead.

Don’t give me that shit about Faulkner being hard because there was that afternoon when you realized what the story was about, when you saw that the pattern of random rocks in the road was a secret code of musical notes scoring a symphony that only grew in richness over the span of years.

Don’t give me that shit about Vonnegut, either, about how you read Breakfast of Champions at the age of sixteen when you were so depressed you wanted to kill yourself. Don’t tell me that reading that book made you decide to go to the hospital instead of jumping off the parking structure of the Pioneer Hotel. The part where you were going to be polite and wrap yourself in garbage bags so as not to make too much of a mess is pretty funny—irony—but I still don’t want to hear it.

You know what? I don’t care. I don’t care what makes you want to do this thing. I am not interested in your ambitions to have people read your work. People read your work all the time, read it and like it.

I’m not interested in your quest for a perfection you will never achieve, not interested in your heroes or even your opinions on truth, war, love, loss, fatherhood, death or any of it.

So what, then? What interests me?

I’ll tell you.

It’s the act of writing. Writing every day, writing something. Think of the hummingbird. Think of the shark. Think of the way your heart is beating away in your chest at this very moment. No rest. Ever onward.

Don’t give me your reasons. Don’t give me anything. Don’t think about it. Don’t think at all.

Empty yourself out and get to it. You can think about it later.

And by God, you probably will, too.


IABS&R Volume 3 Selection

Novelist, Poet, and now Playright: A Guest Post by Author Paul Xylinides

It’s hard to say where a poem and its ensuing conversation will lead. It’s even harder to say where it will eventually end. To understand how it is we are about to arrive at the fortunate post-poem, post-conversational point to which we are headed, I will simply refer you to here instead of wasting precious time and space with a reenactment in paraphrase.

With that out of the way, I can now get us to the point to where we wish to be by pleasurably presenting to you the publication of this humble site’s very first play, penned by our good friend and literary phenom Paul Xylinides, author of THE WILD HORSES OF HIROSHIMA.


Tweeting in the Immortal Nineteenth Century
A Play in One Act

by Paul Xylinides

(Dedicated to K. Brindley)

Dramatis Personae
William Wordsworth: Poet
Dorothy Wordsworth: Sister

The Wordsworth Lake District cottage

The Nineteenth Century


Sound effects: Tweet, Tweet, Tweet, Tweet

Dorothy: Get out of bed, Will! You have poems to write and sheep to cuddle!

William: Groan. You are the only sheep/I wish to baa baa/But, listen, “Tweet, tweet/Tweet, tweet,” methinks it tells/Of a golden age to come again.

Dorothy: My Word, ’tis but a bird, dish up some rhyme with your porridge and share a bit with that dusty bird – look it shakes off the night it spent in our roof again. Time to put on a new shingle, Will.

William: Must get ready for Coleridge, sister mine. The Lake air does him much good. Mayhap he leaves his pipe in the city.

Dorothy: He smokes too much of that Chinese poison. I suspect there lies the reason for his not finishing his Kubla Khan.

William: Yes, he came up short somewhere, although it is his story that the mailman ringing on his door disturbed him. Hark! The bird tweets again!

Dorothy: And Byron, ought of him?

William: I fear they shot his pigeon. Perhaps the mail coach will have something.

Dorothy: Whatever it is, don’t light the fire with it, brother mine. We are short of paper, you know.

William: Ay, the back of it will serve for future eyes.

Dorothy: You think then it will be an improvement on our last Golden Age?

William: Without a doubt, sister mine. Give it a century or two.

Dorothy: They will be reading you beyond that, brother mine.

William: Baa!

Sound effects: Tweet, Tweet, Tweet, Tweet

(End of Play)


MAD ABOUT THE VERSE – A Guest Post by Poet Rose Red

This blog rewards me in so many wonderful ways. The most wonderful way is when, through it, I get to meet new and different and interesting and motivating authors and poets and artists of all sorts who inspire me through their artistry and temperament to want to not just continue on here, but to continue on here with bigger and better and more inclusive endeavors.

Through her kind and encouraging feedback to the work I’ve published here and in book format, and, more importantly, through her own poetic example, Rose Red of has had such a powerful suasion on me, and I am happy to be able to thank her publicly for her support and her artistic example.

And I am just as happy, and honored, to be able to present to you Rose Red’s highly interesting and inspiring guest post. I ask that you please take the time to visit with her at her site and enjoy her artistry and insight as I have.

Mad about the Verse
by Rose Red

I am passionate about poetry. When did this begin? I wonder if it ever wasn’t. I think about the books I read when I first started reading at 4 years old. They were lyrical. There was rhyme. There was imagery. I recall great allegories, analogies, rhymes and fancies, with Dr. Seuss at the forefront. My mother would sign up for book promotions at the grocery store or through the mail. The first book was free, or inexpensive, then she would buy them one by one until we had the entire set. But, I was going to talk about being a poet, about writing poems. Yes, but reading is first, at the heart of it all. That is the passion we follow, reading and seeing words assembled in a way that makes us feel something. I have no words to express this as well as my old companion and favourite poet from my youth, Emily Dickinson. I was enamoured and mystified by her poetry. It broke every rule, and told so much.

If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold
no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically
as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.
These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?

Emily Dickinson

This is what she said about poetry, that great love of my life. Good poems, right? No, she did not define in terms of good and bad. Her definition was at its heart. Feeling. When you have passion, the words delight. They incite action. They make you smile, laugh, grin, guffaw. Like being in love, you can also be in hate, you can be angry, disappointed, elated, surprised, engulfed. In Noël Coward’s play, “The Astonished Heart”, that subsequently became a film, Christian Faber, at a particularly low point, describes himself as being ‘submerged’. Have words ever made you feel submerged?

I have this overwhelming desire (need?) to figure out what I feel and put it out there. Some call it narcissism. Perhaps it is at its core. But, as time goes on, I find myself wanting to share it, just give it away. I want the kudos at times, yes. Let’s get that out of the way now. I don’t think about that while writing though. Like that lover we spoke of, I am true to her. I write what is inside, making that attempt to bring to the surface what is lurking beneath. If someone else can relate to it, the gratification is immense. I am not alone. If I was alone on that proverbial desert island, I still believe that I would tell my story. I would be sitting by a palm tree, telling it my life and loves.

So, is this passion no more than a great need to analyze myself on that great shrink couch of life, then unleash my psychoses on the world? Do I just want to hear others agree with me? My husband does not get a vote here. But I do think that at its center there is a desire to be heard and understood that is innate to all of us. Not everyone wants to pick it apart and describe it, comparing it to a fig leaf, a dog, or a cloudy day. So what makes me, and other poets different?

If you are passionate about these words, you scribble on anything that can be scribbled on. I heard that John Cougar Mellencamp wrote the first lyrics of “Hurts So Good” on the shower door with a bar of soap. I’ve written on envelopes, menus, pages of a crossword puzzle book, the margin of the crossword page in the newspaper, my hand, and a program from a music recital, among other things. Often the music will inspire words and I am afraid I will forget them.

I am yet to be paid for anything I have written. So what good is it? I will tell you what poetry has done for me. It has saved my life, more than once. It has allowed me to connect with strangers, more times than I can count. It has allowed me a new connection with my children, to tell them how I feel in a special way that is a gift only for them. It gives me a media to use in prayer to God, when I feel afraid and like I can’t pray, and words fail me aloud. I start writing and it just flows out of me, all the pain, the worry, the questions, and the doubts.

I started writing poetry at 9 years old. It is hard to say if it first came from a joyful place or a dark place. I was living in a dark place at home, but I think the poems were joyful because I loved school and Sunday School. There were teachers that were kind to me. I got a respect I did not get at home and I liked it. I have in my cedar chest the first poems I wrote, or at least the first ones preserved, from 4th grade. They are mostly about God or my dog. As time went on, they became clouded. I was confused about my folks taking me to church and then showing indifference, unkindness, and neglect at home. I couldn’t reconcile it all. I can’t say why I wrote them. Maybe they were for school at first? I have always written from that point on. In 5th grade I had a teacher that encouraged my creative side. She showed me poems of her own and gave me a part in the school play. In high school that darkness reached a dangerous place and nearly a deadly place. But I had a few adults in my life and a couple of friends moving in and out of my sphere that would help me not to give up. My senior year I wrote poems for the fledgling school paper and for the church bulletin. The little bits of praise I received were immeasurable in terms of self worth. But it was more. What touched me was when someone would say it made them feel something. Wow. What a rush.

About that time, my mother brought me a typewriter. I look back at that act of love in a time that we were very poor and I know it showed that she loved me. I wrote this in her memory last year.

Sometimes the words flow like water
From my finger tips and from my mind
I don’t even try because to try is to alter
Genuine heart-felt stone cold feelings.
But this morning at four a.m. my mind
Is on you Mom and I open up my typewriter
You bought for me 33 years ago at Sears
Because I need a little something to make me go.
I needed a boost, though you weren’t always so good at that-
But there was this time when you noticed me, my poetry
And that was what drove me on and you bought it for me
Said I’d need it, and it meant everything, you know.
Did you know that? Me, the beggar girl
And you gave it to me and I did not have to ask.
Mom our life memories are full of scars and I am
Starting to forgive you when I remember
We went through triage together.

As I have moved through various stages of adulthood and parenthood, I discovered that my words were something that could grow with me, and give me a voice. I often felt crossed off and invisible. I can live without fame or money. Just don’t take away my words. Don’t take the one thing intrinsically mine. It is a means of communication. When you are out of options, you are not out of options. Write. Talk about it. Show it to someone. Read their words. Listen. Share. It is something that will change your life.

I don’t get hung up on format as I think there are as many ways to express a thought as there are people. I enjoy paying attention to meter and form, and I like working over the words and making my thoughts fit into a frame without losing their meaning. But if by doing so I will lose the feeling and deeper meaning, I just keep the words flowing in free verse. I am allowed. I have a poetic license.


An Ode to a First True Love… Selection

The books I loved best as a child
I bet were loved also by many of you.
They told of tales sweet, silly, and wild,
As penned by the great Sendak, Suess, and Reys, two.

But as the years passed and I grew a bit older
I left such childish tales behind.
As I grew fonder of stories much bolder
That came in the comic book kind.

And then soon comics I also outgrew
As I zipped through my age of the teens.
Words read in leisure were then but few
For leisure was found in new and various means.

In my twenties my first Literary Love was found,
And it is to this Love I tribute this ode.
Its author to the Beats he is bound
And its story will forever be On The Road.

(What a day…apologies for the delay)

So, who could objectively choose between two such different yet poetically perfect submissions?

They both speak to my subjective heart equally.

So it is to the Coin of Arbitration I must go…

Heads be Dancing Echo as she has the first submission;

And Tails be Josh Wrenn as there be no other choices for him to be.

And the flip…

And the catch…

And, on behalf of the Coin of Arbitration, it is my pleasure to present to you today’s MEMOIR MONDAY selection…

by Josh Wrenn

I must confess
To everyone here
They weren’t the best
Or anywhere near

Jets and sex
And war and guns
One book to the next
A series of fun

But in my young mind
Great works of art
A hero I’d find
In a world torn apart

What got me hooked?
It ain’t no baloney
The Wingman books
By Mack Maloney

Once again, a very big thank you to two powerfully prolific and most perfect of poets…