Saturday, February 24, 2007

quote from a great poet

Donald Hall said, "I try every day to write great poetry—as I tried when I was 14. What else is there to do?"

Family Couch Poem

Family Couch

How often did I labor
On those steel straps?
Already over half a century
Old, eyelet screws broken
Shanks embedded in hard wood
Like an unrecovered bullet.

Mostly, it was someone
Too large or too many
When a spring sprung
Or a bolt snapped
For the last umpteenth time
To get on my knees.

Resetting the couch straps;
A quarter inch finds another
Striped hole dad beat a nail into
Long ago. The other direction
Shows a shank
Like a do not enter sign.
I go higher or lower
And such fixed folly
Is hidden by a n old Admiral
TV box then cushions.

When we moved no one
Wanted the couch. Arm
Chewed by a dog to much
Falling apart to analyze by section
Thrown and crushed at a transfer
Station- those straps unyielding
As the cushions ripped asunder.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Writing and Life

HEGEL SAID "BEHIND the facade of the familiar, strange things await us.”
Familiarity enables us to tame, control and ultimately forget the mystery.
John O’Donohue, from Anam Cara


Dusty August

Grandma would scrape
Coffee grounds
Mixed with egg shells
To those tick-filled dogs
Lady and Poochy,
The blue plate clean.
Dad would later corner
One of the dogs; inhale
On his homemade cigarette
And burn those blood gorged
Ticks into a hiss of summer heat.
The ritual would end
When the butt was extinguished
Under foot and the unfortunate
Dog scurried out of a grasp
Never sure why
Or if such abuse were necessary.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Fold a Wing over Your Eyes

When raven sinned
God sent him north
To the colder land.
Raven became scavenger.
Before, just trickster.
Raven did not know
How to find sustenance.
Many died, and God
Had to keep creating
Raven, over and over
Till man showed up,
And left some scrap
On mushy tundra. Raven
Followed this creature
Thinking, “this being
Is the reason I am here, in all
Its Cumbersomeness and discarding.”

But the bird was not sure.
Trickster, yes.
There was no language
Before this temperate exile.
So raven was comfortable
With the leftovers.

T.A. Delmore
Copyright 2005

Writers on writing and life

Katherine mansfield wrote: how hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you- you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences- little rags and shreds of your very life.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Virginia Woolf

A Room of One's Own (1929), she wrote: "So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its colour, in deference to some Headmaster with a silver pot in his hand or to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery."
Lentils for Esau

Hairy and messy as I am, the blessing was mine by birth right! Jacob, like a fox, cheated me. The smell of that suspect stew overwhelmed me. I had been hunting and running all day. Honing skills of the first born to lead, now wrapped in the emanations of a red stew, I gave up so much for a belch and a fart of comfort.
Mother never combed my thick hair or picked burrs from my beard, she fawned over Jacob, like he was royalty.