Archive for June, 2009

Margaret Menamin

June 30, 2009


A great friend to the community of formalist poets and a tremdous poet in her own right, Margaret Menamin, has died at the age of 71. Margaret, whom I never met personally, helped me a great deal, both as a workshop critic and as an exemplary sonneteer. She will be greatly missed.

Here is a sonnet of Margaret’s in the February issue of The Chimaera. It is a light verse issue–some of Margaret’s best work is very, very funny.

Letter to Santa Claus

I warn you, Santa, don’t bring me a thing!
My house already bulges at the seams
with nauseating peanut butter creams,
stale fruitcakes and hard cookies. If you bring
another reeking sampler of bad cheese
or chintzy vinegars that masquerade
as vintage Cabernets, then I’m afraid
I’ll use a crowbar on your jolly knees.

Forget the tasteless doodads for the tree:
they’ll only go to Goodwill one week hence.
And no more candles with those cloying scents
that have me sneezing through Epiphany.

I’ll tell you what: Just come and bring your pack
with nothing in it. Take this garbage back.


He’s good enough, he’s smart enough…

June 30, 2009


And, doggonit, the Minnesota high court (finally) likes him.

Picasso’s Old Neighbor

June 24, 2009


The Museu Picasso in Barcelona has a featured exhibit of Kees Van Dongen’s work though September. Here is a Flickr browse from the museum’s website–it shows visitors in the galleries, the reception, and installation, all with the pictures on the wall or headed there. Van Dongen (self portrait, above) and Picasso worked together at Le Bateau-Lavoir in Montmartre a hundred or so years ago.


June 19, 2009



Through the veins of light in the gothic quarter,
under stone in desolate La Ribrera,
I advance, but not as a guided pilgrim
doggedly seeking

God in Oz apartments or climbing stairs through
dry cement Utopia. Shadow-silver
dreams, the Spanish dance of a Goya etching,
carry me forward.


Acid black, the blood of this city seeks a
common level, splashing at dirty ankles.
Civil war graffiti and worm-rut doorways
decorate alleys

calling forth the conical caps and Roman
juries, ghosts and vaporous ruminations.
Undigested tapas or bad sangria.
Poisonous daydreams.


I have seen the emerald castle’s cornstalk
suns, its cranes and modernist script Hosannas,
shattered glass mosaics and forms of nature
frozen in sunlight.

Here its baking mountain of concrete martyrs
caked in summer guano will never find me.
Here the face of death is a nightmare only,
swimming in darkness.

Barcelona, June 20, 2009


June 17, 2009


Half the population of motorcycle
riders bucking traffic along the Rambla
Catalunya prove to be senioritas
modeling T-shirts.


June 11, 2009


Som natural tears they drop’d, but wip’d them soon
~Milton, Book 12 of Paradise Lost

A flaming sword describes the figure 8
against the calculations on a gate
of metal angels, fiends and seraphim.
Its cycling flare invigorates the dim
and adamant across the silver plate

before the garden’s godlike profligate.
Enlightened as to what might compensate
the primal ash—a death that offers him
a flaming sward

or Paradise hereafter—he’ll await
the play of sleep that holds his mate
between the roots and briars with a grim
and steely animal. Its phantom limb
and foliating tounge manipulate
a flaming sword.

Illustration from R. Crumb’s new The Book of Genesis Illustrated.

Night in the Watchungs

June 10, 2009

I wake up chilled. The icy
rain might as well be birdshot
thrown in fistfuls at the glass

and vinyl. Thunder kicks
its sheets across suburban
roofs in summer darkness,

over mountains, where
the blood red digits burn
at static 2:16.

A silent flash of lightning
detonates the bedroom
dust, a line of light,

a one-shot fire that burns
on something silver just
behind my creaking eyes.

“The Prophet Sings…”

June 1, 2009


My sonnets, “Recession” and “Old Contracts and Leather Pants” are in the new issue of Soundzine. It is a special sonnet issue with the likes of Peter Bloxsom, Paul Stevens, and Toni Clark.

Also out, though I’m not in, are The Barefoot Muse and Umbrella. I’ll even plug The Literary Bohemian.

All these online journals, each a monster in its niche, hit the web today!