Snow Angels

Today, thanks to the editors at Literary Mama—a fine journal that “publishes literary writing about the many faces of motherhood”—my poem Snow Angels appears in its January 2017 issue.

I wrote this poem almost a year ago, just after a terrible, daylong snowstorm swept through New England and I learned of its aftermath. Between the heavy snow and winds, Massachusetts and Rhode Island were battered. I scratched out sentences that evening. It was a hard poem to write because it’s a mother’s response to two different, yet interconnected, tragic events. I sent it out prematurely, I knew it wasn’t ready, and it was rejected by a few literary journals. Harder it was to cut—and I knew it was necessary as it was too long—but with feedback from a few good and faithful writer friends who read it, I was able to slash it nearly in half. And once done, I sent it directly to Literary Mama, because I couldn’t think of a more perfect home for it. I’m so glad they chose to keep it.

Snow Angels

Pearls fell from the sky that day, painted the windows
opalescent, drifted against the front door. Tired
woodland hit silently the snow, and geese
honked overhead in the quiet spaces of a
cloud. In the Northeast, familiar is the weight of
winter. Power soon was lost, cars spun out on roads,
and the trees, the great pines of Canton, as day wore on,
wailed and groaned with burden, and began to spill like
discordant dominoes into yards, streets, over
homes, and upon a little girl, and a father, related
only by chance, two names in the paper, hours apart.

It blustered morning through night where we live…[read more here]

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After Ginsberg

Ginsberg: soot and steam. Ginsberg: howl
and scream. Ginsberg: grit and grease, bleak
peace, dark moon, heat of June. Ginsberg: steel
and steal, machines too real, plight and fight, a
workman’s meal.

Ginsberg: Yacketayakking. Stolen nights,
breathing boxes, tubercular skies. From the ash, a
flower does rise, stares you down, right surprise.
The opposite of ripe: withering grey sunflower,
brittle smoking pipe.

Look at that sunflower. Man. A hint, a message,
a hope. Lest we forget—obliterate memory of
things gold, honest, gasping. Gasping,
gasping for glint, a stalk (even a dead stalk)
to climb, into clouds, above smog and
rotten soil, crude oil. Breathe, breathe.

Take the flower. Hold the flower. Be the
flower—sun and glean, son of dream. Take the
shadow of it home, specter and shade, pull
it from sawdust, a yellow-star bone, a banana
dock sermon.

Yes. In this thing: meaning.
Look, look: a perfect mummy of a sunflower, soul,
souling—singing sunflower, wildflower,
wild, tender, dead-eye flower. Take us home.

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A Book Review

Recently, I had the pleasure, and the honor, of reading and reviewing author Allison Green’s memoir, The Ghosts Who Travel With Me: A Literary Pilgrimage Through Brautigan’s America, for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Green’s pilgrimage is a poignant and beautifully written story, told in short chapters, about the many ghosts in her life—family, ancestors, Idaho, her adolescent self, and especially, her relationship to Richard Brautigan (best known for his novel Trout Fishing in America), the hippie era author she adored as a teen and young adult. As a grown woman, however,  returning to his work, she discovers something about Brautigan that causes her to reevaluate the origin of her admiration for him and the America about which he wrote. Grappling with her revelation, she sets out to trace Brautigan’s footsteps through Idaho (her ancestral home and setting of Trout), and the end result is this insightful, sensitive, humorous and poetic memoir.

Which comes highly recommended from me to you.

You can read the full review HERE.

And go buy Green’s book HERE!

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