"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Gryphon's Song by Matt Posner

This is actually an excerpt from Matt's book Level Three's Dream. When I read the second volume of the School of the Ages series back in October, this poem struck me. I immediately emailed Matt and asked his permission to include it, so I thought, What better way to end the month?

Shall I sing, as planned?” asked the Gryphon.

            “Sing,” said the Mock Turtle, still looking worried.
            The Gryphon struck a proud pose, front legs extended, raising the greasy beak. It then threw out its wings majestically as it sang a high note.
            “Bel canto,” said the Gryphon. “You should read about it. The exaggerated motion of the wing loosens inhibitions and allows the voice to be free.” The creature then sang:
In youth I loved the hippo
And the hippo did love me.
Find Level Three's Dream on Amazon
We went about cavorting
And swimming in the sea.
            But then the seasons changed,
            And the hippo’s love was gone.
            Oh, love’s a thing that turns and turns
            But living must go on.
And then I loved the hydra,
And the hydra’s love was mine.
I loved the scaly kisses, and
The passion serpentine.
            But then the seasons changed,
            And the hydra’s love was gone.
            Oh, love’s a thing that goes and comes
            But living must go on.
And then I loved the werewolf,
That lupine made me swoon.
I loved to feel that doggy tongue
And holler at the moon.
            But then the seasons changed,
            And the werewolf’s love was gone.
            Oh, love’s a thing to pass some time,
            But living must go on.
And then as I grew older,
I loved the kraken too.
Its fine caressing suckers
That stuck to me like glue.
            But then the seasons changed,
            And the kraken’s touch was gone.
            Oh, love’s a thing that cannot stay,
            But living must go on.
Still I was growing older,
And the bonnacon had my heart.
That burned up several acres
With each resounding fart.
            But then the seasons changed,
            And the bonnacon’s passions cooled.
            Oh, love’s a thing we love to love,
            But better not be fooled.
At the end I loved the dragon,
That was harsh and cold as bone,
Who answered my romantic talk
In stern, imperious tone.
            But then the seasons changed,
            And age was the dragon’s doom.
            The years go by, you find yourself
            A' weeping at a tomb.
Of all the lovely creatures
I’ve loved since my birth,
There’s not a one to stay with me
From sea to sky to earth.
            And how the seasons change,
            And how their love is gone.
            Oh, love’s a thing that goes away,
            But living must go on.

Matt says:

My Gryphon is not like Carroll's Gryphon (who was a washed-up blatherer longing for his Public School days) but has a female diva-like personality. I gave this Gryphon a song that was meant to be, as with some of the songs in the Mock Turtle section of Alice in Wonderland, both ridiculous and bittersweet. The ridiculous part is the rhymes to do with various mythical creatures and their body parts; the bittersweet part is the acknowledgement of how transitory love can be, and how sad a person might feel after many failed affairs. The closest real-world equivalent would be "Raspberries, Strawberries" by Kingston Trio, but this is a female version of same.
This is my favorite song from Level Three's Dream, and I'm honored that you chose it.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bad Trip by Bruce Alford

Gratiot Avenue’s
throat throbs
The Loop
lifts us higher

We vanish
in hallucinogenic delight
in deadly terrors
thrashing machines

Stop rocking.  Sit still. 
Tow trucks buildings wings
swirl around us dizzy

scrawled against the windows
our weak watery eyes
amazed  the voice
of the angular-faced bus driver
explodes over the intercom

The city can
make  you blind,
make you see,
hear, feel things not really there

Chew the windowpane, swallow,
swear Windsor is holy.
Find icons, shrines everywhere
even in automobile
assembly lines

The bus driver laughs
like sobbing
tells us this

like a steam-saw
Steel shed
on the lake

You can see it
so clearly, so clearly
This... you... everything ...

wants to keep going
He seems euphoric
mumbles a tune
sounds like Thanks for the Memory.

Bruce Alford is a reviewer for First Draft, a publication of the Alabama Writers’ Forum. He has published fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry in journals such as the African American Review, Comstock Review, and Imagination & Place Press. He has also published a book of poems, Terminal Switching (Elk River Review Press 2007).

He received a Master of Fine Arts in fiction from the University of Alabama and was an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of South Alabama from 2007-2011.

"Bad Trip" can also be found in Bruce's book Terminal Switching.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Peeling of a Pomegranate by Camilla Arnold

Swollen scarlet orb
basking on blanket
sun bleached terrycloth
Dare you deny provocative display?
  blush overripe pink
spongy canvas 
beneath red folds
perfect size for palm.
Layer beneath layer
reveals protruding ruby
Hungry shards
tear fleshy fragments
trace of scarlet tells 
you’ve eaten too much.
Perfect seed spotted
pluck from honeycomb hideout
suck gem until pressure bursts skin.
on wrinkled infertility
hard pit breaks tooth
 Jaw clenching

Camilla Arnold at Englishman River Falls, Errington, B.C.
copyright Innocent Thunder Photography

Camilla says:

I'm a 21-year-old English Major who's been writing poetry for the last couple of years; it provides a substantial distraction from diabolical research papers! I live on Vancouver Island, British Columbia which provides me with endless natural inspiration. My blog is: anneliza.tumblr.com -- just a microcosmic representation of the tone and focus of my poetry. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Writers Write by Bernard Schaffer

Writers write.
Chambered Rounds
is now available on Amazon
Writers read.
Writers find inspiration in the work of others and
remain vigilant not to ape anyone else.
Writers seek out criticism from those that
deserve to give it
and they listen.
(Most of the time.)
Writers work alone
without seeking approval from others
and finish with something
before showing it to anyone
because a writer is like a lonesome captain
on a sailboat steering through uncharted waters
expecting to arrive at a lost city of ancient riches.
But nobody wants to hear what you intend to find
expect to find
or say you'll find.
They just want to see it.
When I write, I think about those that came before me
who sat in a chair plinking away at the keys
or loading paper into the typewriter
or putting quill to fresh ink
and I go at every single one of them
like their ghosts were sitting across from me
saying, "Come on, kid, you can hit harder than that."
Not because I don't love them
and not because I don't admire them
and not because I don't appreciate them
but because when I am writing they are my competition
and if you aren't trying to outdo everyone else
then you're just taking up space. 
People often ask me for advice
and I suppose that's the purpose of this column
that I was so graciously asked to contribute to. 
Well, here it is.
Write hard. 
Read hard.
Find an editor who will critique you hard.
And when you find some level of success, repeat those same steps
but on an even greater scale. 
Now go get to it. 

From Chambered Rounds


Amazon Author’s Page for a full list of publications
Facebook Fan Page for free book info and more
Official  blog for updates

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sanctum by Tesa W. Colvin

I sat down with Langston today hoping that he would help me find my way. As I pulled myself through the pages of his revelations I still walked away with more questions than answers. So again I made my way to the small corner of the book store where poets die to go, and some go to die, and tried to relate my story to the ones already told by Zora, Emily, Nikki, Ralph, Maya and hell, even Tupac…Hey this is our confessional, we don’t judge here.  Instead we sit on the shelf waiting for our hearts to be massaged as fingertips caress turning pages. We hold our breath as eyes dance across our joy and pain because our prayer is never that you like it, but that you “get it”. We hope that you understand the moment…the millisecond that we were experiencing and we fear death of our work if it’s lost in translation. But no matter what we start writing “Where the sidewalk ends” and keep going till we get “tears for water.”

It’s a long journey of highs and lows, but poetry happens every day and with every breath that we take, so the pen keeps feeling long after the showcase is over and the spotlight dims. And even though our words may never see the light of day or grace the shelves of our quiet confessional, we wake from happy slumbers in the late nights and early mornings jarred by a rhythm, rhyme or line. We toss and turn as poems write themselves and we are called to get them on paper before they disappear into the darkness of a much needed night of rest. It’s not notoriety that drives us to describe the visions we are given. We follow the words, the “how to” guides for survival that always seem to say the right thing.

No it’s not fortune or fame that leads us to that quiet place of predetermined endings and new beginnings. That cozy corner of life and death that both inspires and burdens, it simply is who we are and we run back to our old friends that suffer the same weight of greatness that every poet scours the thesaurus to describe. See it’s not that small corner carved out to pay tribute to the poets’ spirit that give us the peace we seek, it is when a haunting verse is manifested with pen and ink.

Twitter: @jusreadit
Tesa W. Colvin (TWC) was born a southern girl, raised in Michigan and now calls the south home again. She is the President of VisionWise Creative Consulting, author of multiple collections of poetry and inspirational works for writers as well as the upcoming fiction novel "Dark Princess".  Noted by many as a passionate author and blogger of all things writing, despite wearing several hats TWC has completely embraced her gift and is more focused than ever on perfecting her craft and publishing her work.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

succor by Courtney Cantrell

dont pick at that
momma said
youll make it bleed

i wont forget
curled up in the rocking chair listening
as you yearn to watch over me

i wont forget
vulnerable to your gentle hands
you knead the pain from my soul
heal my winter
break my fall
even as the black dogs of your despair nip at your vitals

i wont forget
sobbing the hollowness from my heart
into yours
and your eyes like the sky
filled with the softest storms
that cleanse and soothe

i wont forget
enveloped in your sweetest darkness
hidden held whole
heart brought back to life
raw and wild
beating mad with the knowledge of what can and cannot be

i wont forget
tinged with crimson or no
still the memories are warm
and i drink them.

Courtney Says:

Hi, I'm Courtney Cantrell, and I am bad at writing bios. I much prefer writing and publishing fantasy novels. One series is paranormal and the other is epic, by which I mean "grand and magic-driven and quest-filled," not "totally cool, dude." At courtcan.com, I blog about the writing life, various daily oddities, chocolate and coffee, and vorpal unicorn morphing powers. Those are real. I have the blog post to prove it. I also have a husband and a daughter and a cat. And a quotes collection.

Blog: courtcan.com
Twitter: @courtcan
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Courtney-Cantrell-Author/137603379646899

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ten K by Laurie Laliberte

For Freddie

For Pedro

As you've
never walked

I walk
With thirty-five thousand
Of my closest friends

To fight one small battle
In a seemingly neverending war

It's an overwhelming feeling
To know you've done something so right

So walk
My friends

Walk on
In hope

One day
you'll walk
no more

In addition to curating this blog, Laurie Laliberte is a published author, an extensively published fiction editor, and a crochet pattern designer. She specializes in work for charity and with new and independent authors. Her work can be found on Amazon as well as other websites where books and e-books are sold.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

We Interrupt National Poetry Month . . .

A couple of years ago, I wrote this post which included a link to a pattern for slipper socks. That pattern was written by a designer named Sharon Klinsky. Well, several weeks ago, I was contacted by a woman who asked me to make a pair of the socks for her mother's birthday, which happens to be today.

Unfortunately, I had to decline. My schedule is too tight these days to be able to consign crochet work. Besides, I'm horrible with gauge, which is why I tend to work with items like kitchen linens and scarves that don't require an accurate gauge. It was too important a project for too important a person.

Although the potential customer/client was quite disappointed, my experience was bittersweet. I was thrilled that, of all the crocheters she could have chosen to do the work, she chose me. And yet I was horribly disappointed that my own honesty forced me to turn her down. Why? Patience, Grasshopper, I'm getting there.

You see, this woman was searching specifically for this pattern and found it through my blog. She had thought the pattern was lost to the ether because it has been around for so long and because it has been out of print for so long. But we craftspeople, crocheters, and others of our kind . . . we, just by practicing a hobby we so love, preserve the past, create a history. In this age of mass production, we make memories. We bind the past to the present, the present to the future. We preserve traditions, and sometimes, we touch lives, or they touch us.

Hi Laurie,

I have to tell you how happy I am to have seen your Etsy and blog online! I have been looking for info and a pattern for SLIPPER SOCKS...which led me to your 2010 blog about the socks and the genius designer, Sharon Klinsky (my mother)! 
My mom is amazing and talented and so creative, but she has not been able to crochet or knit in 13 years since she had a stroke. She has dealt more serious health issues, and the loss of my father, these past few years - but remains amazing and strong. 
She is turning 75 soon, and I want to do something special. Would you be interested in making some of her design slipper socks for me to buy and surprise her? She would be so shocked I found this!!
Let me know if possible, and if it is then we can talk details.
Thanks for making my day just by seeing your rave review of her design!

The woman who contacted me was Sharon Klinsky's daughter. (Whose name I've chosen to withhold for the sake of privacy.) Today is Sharon Klinsky's 75th birthday. So happy birthday, Sharon. I hope it's terrific!

And to the rest of you, Happy Crocheting!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Freefall by Tony Healey

Gale of water
He plummets,
Down, down, down,

Stepping from the ledge
Of the plane,
Is the same,
As falling back from the edge
Of a boat.

Rate of fall
They are the same
It’s slower under water

The ocean gets darker,
So too does the sky,
As the ground rushes up beneath.

He sinks and sinks,
Colder, darker,
The fall is slow, gradual,
A dive.

A fall, a dive
Different names for the same thing
An act of faith
Something he would do
In the state he is in

A man who no longer fears anything
A man on the edge, on the ledge,
Falling, diving, sinking,
A man in Freefall

Find out more about Tony at http://tonyhealey.com/

Monday, April 1, 2013

Welcome to National Poetry Month (April Fool)

I really wanted to include this in last year's poetry slam, but 2012 was reserved for the Kindle All-Stars and this dude's not one of them. So, uh, April Fool!

I really hope you enjoy this month's selections. Feel free to post your own poems in the comments sections.