Saturday, March 26, 2011

Is Spring Finally Here?

Do you see yourself in the squirrels place
In the sun, collecting your thoughts

'When we have ceased to love the stench of the human animal, either in others or in ourselves, then are we condemned to misery, and clear thinking can begin'

~ Cyril Connolly

Or are you the one keeping tabs on the squirrel...

Monday, March 21, 2011

What I Did With My Sunday Afternoon

I cleaned off the patio. Readied my grill and pots. Moved furniture and clutter. Decided to attend a local poetry reading and Open Mic. Went for a swim, and prepared a wonderful grilled dinner. How do I know its wonderful? Well when hubby begins to walk around bowing toward my feet, saying repeatedly "I am not worthy", then I figure its good. He's happy, I am happy. I also wrote a poem about my experience going to watch an admired poet who lives not too far from me. Lets see if you can figure out how the time transpired.

Remember its a tongue and cheek piece...

South Brunswick Library, Meeting Room A


A librarian points out a room from the printout
way back in the far left corner off the front entrance

heading in that direction through shelves of books
startled adults unattended tables dodging messy chairs

distracted by white folded paper art work under lamps
cluttered walls of posters filled with color

eventually finding the way through the children section
towards two large inviting open doors and stroll into

a meeting room with only two people waiting on the back row
poets who will read from their just published books

in the blue decorated space with five rows of empty chairs
I awkwardly say hello taking the third chair from the left

on the third row as I begin staring at the old podium when
noticing a stink bug making its way up

the second chair from the left on the first row
it gradually gets to the top of the seat and oddly

for the next few minutes begins pacing back and forth.


The organizer of the monthly poetry gathering
makes his way to the front of the room where

he begins to speak tapping his finger on the microphone
he asks if can we hear him over the speakers humming noise

the audience begins to give advice on what to do while
the man fidgets with the controls and with the combined time

gone by I look down at my watch impatiently
my mind drifts off to my own sound of questions

will the poets read from their newest work
maybe from their older books or possibly

each have written new pieces which the group will enjoy
glancing back at the previously occupied chair to check on

the uninvited spring guest noticing it has disappeared
maybe the sound system problem became too boring for us all.


The poets are introduced and begin to read
about sleeping half-awake desire disaster wind

thinking disturbance push-ups windows loss
gardens ground food fearless unafraid and cracking up

all in a robotic monotone speech and rhythm
had we all been transported into a warehouse

where machines are rolling pushing pulling punching
holes into items which would be useful to hold

sit wait carry measure transfer dispense or as some
last words read “pressing something to the ground”

this room where everyone continues to sit patiently
on metal and plastic chairs that I cannot help but think

in one of the much admired poet’s own words
“the slip of the tongue can change desire into disaster”.

Did you see my little friend on the top of the chair in my photo? Heh! It was pacing back and forth for a long time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

You do not have to be Irish to enjoy this day. Heck so many of us are a mixed pot of soup any ways...

I am looking forward to listening to my friends playing Irish music around the pubs here in New Jersey, and will tip a glass of whiskey for you my friends. Here is a video for you and an Irish poet's words to ponder...

by Seamus Heaney (thanks to Jim K.)


He would drink by himself
And raise a weathered thumb
Towards the high shelf,
Calling another rum
And blackcurrant, without
Having to raise his voice,
Or order a quick stout
By a lifting of the eyes
And a discreet dumb-show
Of pulling off the top;
At closing time would go
In waders and peaked cap
Into the showery dark,
A dole-kept breadwinner
But a natural for work.
I loved his whole manner,
Sure-footed but too sly,
His deadpan sidling tact,
His fisherman's quick eye
And turned observant back.

To him, my other life.
Sometimes on the high stool,
Too busy with his knife
At a tobacco plug
And not meeting my eye,
In the pause after a slug
He mentioned poetry.
We would be on our own
And, always politic
And shy of condescension,
I would manage by some trick
To switch the talk to eels
Or lore of the horse and cart
Or the Provisionals.

But my tentative art
His turned back watches too:
He was blown to bits
Out drinking in a curfew
Others obeyed, three nights
After they shot dead
The thirteen men in Derry.
PARAS THIRTEEN, the walls said,
BOGSIDE NIL. That Wednesday
Everyone held
His breath and trembled.


It was a day of cold
Raw silence, wind-blown
Surplice and soutane:
Rained-on, flower-laden
Coffin after coffin
Seemed to float from the door
Of the packed cathedral
Like blossoms on slow water.
The common funeral
Unrolled its swaddling band,
Lapping, tightening
Till we were braced and bound
Like brothers in a ring.

But he would not be held
At home by his own crowd
Whatever threats were phoned,
Whatever black flags waved.
I see him as he turned
In that bombed offending place,
Remorse fused with terror
In his still knowable face,
His cornered outfaced stare
Blinding in the flash.

He had gone miles away
For he drank like a fish
Nightly, naturally
Swimming towards the lure
Of warm lit-up places,
The blurred mesh and murmur
Drifting among glasses
In the gregarious smoke.
How culpable was he
That last night when he broke
Our tribe's complicity?
'Now, you're supposed to be
An educated man,'
I hear him say. 'Puzzle me
The right answer to that one.'


I missed his funeral,
Those quiet walkers
And sideways talkers
Shoaling out of his lane
To the respectable
Purring of the hearse...
They move in equal pace
With the habitual
Slow consolation
Of a dawdling engine,
The line lifted, hand
Over fist, cold sunshine
On the water, the land
Banked under fog: that morning
I was taken in his boat,
The screw purling, turning
Indolent fathoms white,
I tasted freedom with him.
To get out early, haul
Steadily off the bottom,
Dispraise the catch, and smile
As you find a rhythm
Working you, slow mile by mile,
Into your proper haunt
Somewhere, well out, beyond...

Dawn-sniffing revenant,
Plodder through midnight rain,
Question me again.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Vox Poetica Has Done It Again

My eyesight has been bothering me, but did we really see this on the turn into Englewood, New Jersey?

Rumors are persisting that Zombies are becoming more wide spread on our continent. I do not own a copy of the manual- The Zombie Survival Guide. A guide to practical skill and knowledge of combating to avoiding Zombies. Luckily we met none on the path up north.

Oh well...As usual Annmarie host a great line up of writers and poets. On occasion I have brought a musician-singer/songwriter to throw into the mix. The Englewood open mic'ers do not mind. Flora Newberry was a hit last time. Phil Southard, a musician friend of mine came along last night, but he was more into helping video and having coffee. The readings were wonderful!

What am I freaking talking about? Vox Poetica's monthly Open Mic @ Starbucks Coffee in Englewood, New Jersey of course!

Pasquale and I tag team some of our work from the upcoming book, One Hundred and Thirty Years Of Love. I even read excerpts from my Zombie book. However it was very hard to read when Patrick Shea was cracking up from line to line, which made me laugh out loud and forget my place. Patrick is a local talent, he does copy writing, and is an editor for a creative arts (New Jersey) magazine. He was insistent I include him in on the finished manuscript. I was happy all of our material was well received!

We also enjoyed Stan Galloway a Professor who drove up from Virginia, Bridgewater College; Patrick Shea, David Messineo- Sensations Magazine (New Jersey), and many others who read their works. It was a great night, and well worth the drive!

Want to know more about performing at this venue? Contact me and I will let you in on the dates and time each month. 

The gracious and beautiful host herself- Annmarie Lockheart

Vox Poetica Open Mic @ Starbucks, Englewood, New Jersey, 17 East Palisades Avenue- Month to Month

Friday, March 11, 2011

Some Confessional Creative TMI

Not much writing going on the past three days.

Even today has been void of ideas to paper. I know do we always have time to write? 

I now realize, or should I say "I remember why I did not write much before my cafe closed three years ago". Wow. Isn't it funny how time goes by in what may seem like... a virtual bullet train. You bought your destination ticket, say to do a NaNoWrite, and then just as you step up to the yellow line on the platform and look to see if the train is on hear the sounds. A rushing. Like in the movies when water has burst over the dam. You can hear the gears, or wheels on the tracks, as the pinions and metal clash together. Then WHOOSH; it takes your breathe as it shoots past the platform. A killer moment. Did you feel that? Do you take the time to lose yourself in those moments? You do. You really do.

You realize your train is not far behind. But you also realize, minutes have passed you by. Waiting has passed. In a 'waking' moment we see how time got on that passing bullet train and left us behind. Why didn't we take that train? Hmmm. Not sure really. Maybe I didn't know about it? Silly me. We know what works for us. There is purpose to everything, right?

Yep, after working two long days in a row. Soaking in the recipes for the gourmet food products. Lifting. Sorting. Mise en place. Mixing. Bagging. Oh and do not forget the measurements. The digital scale. Gosh I had not used one of those since culinary school. Never needed one, as I only made desserts on a smaller scale. There is that word again, scale. A way to measure time, in our minds. Okay, back to my work day. Testing new flavors. I love that part of the job *big smile*. Wrapping and freezing. Yes, when I was hired to consult with this company last year, I made suggestions upon watching the women work, that she should freeze the product before rolling it out. It helps make the dough more pliable to shape. Like when you want to get precise slices of meats, you freeze them. Something I picked up along the way.

The first day, when I got back into my van to drive home...and Phew! was I tired.

The second day...I was looking forward to the weekend. LOL. The opposite of my job years ago. Weekends were the killer. The busy of culinary and hospitality. Unless you work conventions in hotel. They have long work weeks period.

I was contacted by a local college to submit my resume for a teaching position. I did it. Updated my resume and sent it, since they had an old copy. Do I really want to work full time? No. Why? Because, as I started off saying...I remember why I did not write. Hardly at all. I love writing again. If I take on too many jobs, which I love what I do and staying busy, I might be too tired to hit these keys, or scribble in my notebooks. There was purpose in my life as it was. But I have a choice now.

I am waiting at a platform, and am just going to enjoy the WHOOSH! go by. I might even just sit here on a bench and write a story about how working this new job has reminded me of who 'I' really am.

It also gives me some good writing materials. I wrote Haiku in the flour before we cleaned up. The girls were amused. Next time I will take a photo of that good use of time.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Cannot Stop Writing- Redo

The Second Hand Of The Clock Stopped Moving


I picked up a poetry book, and began reading where I had just left off. A few lines later nothing seemed to pique my interest. Not the computer, reading my email, or did listening to the treadmill motor as my husband walked behind me. I decided turning on music would only stir my thoughts even more. I had become antsy this afternoon and felt like a twelve year old again.


Often in eighth grade when there was only ten minutes left before class ended. The teacher would instruct us us to start any unfinished homework in what she called free time. I gave into boredom; twirled my hair; lifted my shirt to scratch my belly, and then stuck my hands down in my baggy jeans in a Napoleon gesture. I sighed loudly as I looked out the window and saw last period gym class still running around the track. Because my desk was in the back row it was easy to keep my book open, but start packing up my supplies so I could quickly get out of the classroom. When I was done I noticed the tip of my pencil seemed dull. I walked slowly up to the pencil sharpener. Now at the front of the class the teacher would look at me with a frowning sneer as they looked up at the big round clock. Like my plan for escape was about to be foiled. If I could get away with it, the kids outside would come along; lift the windows open, everyone would scream deliriously, then jump out of our seats, and leap onto the grass below. But the class remained reverently silent. Without a minute’s notice the school bell rang in chaos. Anyone with any sense scurried towards the open door, and out into the hallway.


Looking down at my watch I announced to my husband it was time for me to start making dinner. Hopping off the couch and heading toward the kitchen to the rhythm of his feet, I would start my next assignment. Under my breath I began grumbling, “could this day go any slower”.

I remove my work after a few days. Thanks for reading- Elizabeth

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

May You Be Blessed

I knew I was blessed when Lucinda Williams new album was in my mailbox, well in the CD form of course!

Right now I am sitting back doing some revisions and listening to her double album, and this is the title 'Blessed'. I tried to find a release on youtube, and this not so good camera phone version will give you a hint of whats to come. Her album was just released yesterday, and I really enjoy her lyrics and poetry.

Are you often inspired by music, yes I know you are Jim K., because you post some good ones on your site!

I am taking a much needed rest from posting my work on here. Need to do more revisions and work on my next manuscript with Pasquale. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Anelisa!

Today is my daughters 25th birthday!

I miss you girl, but I still feel your arms around me, and the laughter! Here is a piece from my manuscript- which originally (not this exact poem) Jessie Carty suggested I begin writing about my experiences with loss, and move toward my first book...

Conversation with My Daughter

I can only imagine what it was like
when you took your last breath

The nurse told me you woke up from surgery
she asked you if you wanted a drink

as the light shined brightly over you
the heart pumped rhythmic songs of life

I imagine your eyes wide open
fear and adrenaline trying to make sense of the moment

did you want mom, or those darn cats
who waited outside the house for your return

I was told Oreo moved in with the neighbor
an older lonelier woman

cats may sense things as time ticks away
that they hold grudges

when loved ones go missing
some may even have no problem moving on

unlike humans who cling to thoughts