Saturday, August 28, 2004

third time's a charm

ok i know, i'm the loser who has nothing better to do than sit at my computer and post things on here all the time. what can i say, your comments and ideas are fabulous and motivating and i get excited. (but more of you should be getting involved here! hinthint...!) but at any rate, if for no one but matt to whom i am eternally grateful for the feedback, here's the latest revision which i think i'll sit with for awhile. we all know a poem is never finished, but i think this one is finished for now. -ktb

at 10pm i’m still in canada

i should be converting
kilometers to miles, but
the trucks keep riding close
behind me, flashing their brights,
and all i can think of
is you, yesterday, converting
the physics of lightning into
poetry over long island iced
tea, billy collins, citronella.

candle’s smoky glow rose from mountainside
bar patio, matched orange heat
lightning, you appropriately read
moon (it was full) came alive
with every image, alliteration,
consonance. i tried to stir
ice in my glass, catch
your reflection in crystal cubes, not
let on that i noticed
the way you only looked at me
when you spoke, told stories,
suggested i read next.

i wanted to stay, let the storm
roll in, the rest of the bar disappear, leave just
me and all i can’t leave
behind (you) to melt under summer
rain, pine breezes, full moon and poetry
lightning where neither kilometers
nor miles could separate, we
could be poetry.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

when in doubt... revise

at 10pm i’m still in canada

i should be converting
kilometers to miles, but
the trucks keep riding close
behind me, flashing their brights,
and all i can think of
is you, yesterday, converting
the physics of lightning into
poetry over long islands,
billy collins, citronella.

candle’s smoky glow rose from mountainside
patio, matched orange heat
lightning, you appropriately read
moon (it was full) came alive
with every image, alliteration,
consonance. i tried to stir
ice in my glass, catch
your reflection in crystal cubes, not
let on that i noticed
the way you only looked at me
when you spoke, told stories,
suggested i read next.

and when i breathed that last line
of lost love, i knew i wanted to stay,
let the storm roll in, the rest
of the bar disappear, leave just
me and all i can’t leave
behind (you) to melt under summer rain.

but now, in the wrong country, i
look for that familiar michigan left
u-turn lane to lead me back east, past
the falls and through mountains
to stone patios, pine breezes, full
moon and poetry lightning where
neither kilometers nor miles could
separate, we
could be poetry.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Poetry News

I just read an interesting article you all might enjoy at about poetry and silence. Here is the link:

Also, keep your eyes out for Stephen Dunn's new book, "The Insistance of Beauty." He is a very interesting christian poet (who has been challenged and questioned by the conservative right). Not to mention he won a pulitzer, i believe in 1999.

Also, welcome Ted Kooser to the throne. He replaces Louis Gluck as the US poet laureate. He term begins in October.

Hope everyone's Monday is rocking like the Rolling Stones on Noah's Ark (the biggest cruise party since the ice age!)

Donald Justice is dead, August 6th

Greetings all,

I'm writing to inform everyone that poet Donald Justice died this past August. His Selected Poems won him the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. He taught at Syracuse University, Florida University and late in life at the Iowa Writers Workshop. Rhoda studied under him. Below is a poem he wrote when he was 48, that fortells his death.


Variations on a Text by Vallejo

I will die in Miami in the sun,
On a day when the sun is very bright,
A day like the days I remember, a day like other days,
A day that nobody knows or remembers yet,
And the sun will be bright then on the dark glasses of strangers,
And in the eyes of a few friends from my childhood,
And of the surviving cousins by the graveside,
While the diggers, standing apart, in the still shade of the palms,
Rest on their shovels, and smoke,
Speaking in Spanish softly, out of respect.

I think it will be on a Sunday like today,
Except that the sun will be out, the rain will have stopped,
And the wind that today made all the little shrubs kneel down;
And I think it will be a Sunday because today,
When I took out this paper and began to write,
Never before had the anything looked so blank,
My life, these words, the paper, the gray Sunday;
And my dog, quivering under a table because of the storm,
Looked up at me, not understanding,
And my son read on without speaking, and my wife slept.

Donald Justice is dead. One Sunday the sun came out,
It shone on the bay, it shone on the white buildings,
The cars moved down the street slowly as always, so many,
Some with their headlights on in spite of the sun,
And after a while the diggers with their shovels
Walked back to the graveside through the sunlight,
And one of them puts his blade to the earth
To lift a few clods of dirt, the black marl of Miami,
And scattered the dirt, and spat,
Turning away abruptly, out of respect.

-Donald Justice

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Mary Oliver: Dogfish

Some kind of relaxed and beautiful thing
kept flickering in with the tide
and looking around.
Black as a fisherman's boot,
with a white belly.

If you asked for a picture I would have to draw a smile
under the perfectly round eyes and above the chin,
which was rough
as a thousand sharpened nails.

And you know
what a smile means,
don't you?
I wanted
the past to go away, I want
to leave it, like another country; I wanted
my life to close, and open
like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the song
where it falls
down over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery;
I wanted
to hurry into the work of my life; I wanted to know
whoever I was, I was

for a little while.
It was evening, and no longer summer.
Three small fish, I don't know what they were,
huddled in the highest ripples
as it came swimming in again, effortless, the whole body
one gesture, one black sleeve
that could fit easily around
the bodies of three small fish.
Also I wanted
to be able to love. And we all know
how that one goes,
don't we?

the dogfish tore open the soft basins of water.
You don't want to hear the story
of my life, and anyway
I don't want to tell it, I want to listen

to the enormous waterfalls of the sun.

And anyway it's the same old story--
a few people just trying,
one way or another,
to survive.

Mostly, I want to be kind.
And nobody, of course, is kind,
or mean,
for a simple reason.

And nobody gets out of it, having to
swim through the fires to stay in
this world.
And look! look! look! I think those little fish
better wake up and dash themselves away
from the hopeless future that is
bulging toward them.
And probably,
if they don't waste time
looking for an easier world,

they can do it.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Funny, the connections between Hardware Stores and...

The Other Man Home Improvement Services

I will do what your husband won't.
I can do what your husband can't.

Thursday, August 19, 2004



(updated 7/23/04)

Call for Submissions:

I am currently editing a poetry anthology titled "Writing with Light: The Poetry of Photography" to be published by Uccelli Press in 2005. I am seeking literary poetry of all lengths on all aspects of photography. Send to:

Toni La Ree Bennett, Editor
PO Box 85394
Seattle, WA 98145-1394

or email submissions/queries to me at:

Please include a cover letter with your submissions, whether mail or email.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Drunken Debacle: Saturday Night 8/14/04

We started off at an Allston bar called The Siloutte Cocktail Louge, that despite the glamorous title was a dive with a couple of townie drunks and an emo English gal that worked the tables and tended the bar. She was wanting to get home to England to meet her new nephew and we were wanting to get good and drunk and forget (or perhaps just not remember?) our week. We got our wish, I don't think she got hers. The Green Mountain Boys - some guys from Vt: Dunky (renamed Drunky for obvious reasons and Corey renamed CoCo for no apparent reason) - and I camped out there from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and imbibed several cheap pictures of Busch light while entertaining ourselves by watching John (the Boston Marlboro distributor) beat people with disabilities at pool. I have to say Kenny in the Wheelchair took him to the eightball, which was far better than the developmentally disabled redneck(they're called people from New Hampshire here) with a limited number of teeth that could stand on his own.

After a good start therere we cabbed it to Cambridge's Central Square and The Phoenix Landing, a hookup bar where they play classic rock and lecherous women and dirty frat guys dance to the music and grind in a nasty, nasty way after 11 p.m. We got there by 9-9:30 p.m. so we could avoid all of that. Of course we stayed until closting at 2 a.m. Anyway, fifteen minutes and three more beers each into our visit CoCo turns to me and says longingly, "that girl is beautiful ..." She was a lanky, skanky blond with a cowboy hat - which in Cambridge screams for attention louder than a conservative ph.d. I told CoCo, "go talk to her, tell her you lived in Houston and you like the Cowboy hat ..." CoCo refused, so I handed him my beer and told him I'd be back in a few. I met Cowgirl hat - her name was Tami and she was from Marshfield, an ungodly hour and a half drive away - she came with her "jerkoff" co-worker a guy who will remain unnamed. He was male menstruating and had no interest in talking to me, CoCo, Drunky or Tami for that matter once we met him.

To make a long story short, CoCo started angling in on Tami once I cut her loose, he was interested, she was not. Drunky and I could see this, CoCo could not. He tried until 4 a.m. by teaching her guitar chords (she only learned E minor) but nothing came of it and I found her passed out on my loveseat with Drunky's girlfriend's nice wool afghan covering her face around 9:30 a.m.. She looked older and dirtier in the light. I gave her a ride to Sommerville, then to Medford, where she knew how to find a friend's house based on the location of Kappy's Discount Liqour's (off of Rt. 16). She told me on the ride home that she was married. Once home I found out that she prepositioned Drunky to jump in on a threesome with him and his girlfriend, provided - in her words - "do you think your girlfriend would mind if I jumped in bed with you two?"

Later, we concluded that women with Cowboy hats on in New England are looking for something and what they're looking for can't be good.

Well, now to introduce myself: I'm Drew. I went to Hope.I'm 24 years old. I'm living it up (or is it down?) in Boston. I've dealt with bitter New Englanders (see Salem Witch trials, see The Scarlet Letter, see The Crucible, see Mystic River, see Let's Go: Boston) for the past two years, so please feel free to comment on my poetry and/or debauchery. My skin's grown thick through the cold unwelcomes I've received here I can take some criticism. That said, there's no reason to be a jerk or phony about it if you do decide to comment. Have a great day and feel free to email me.



Monday, August 16, 2004

Preface to my Last Chapbook

The gaunt man charged into the room and began scrawling on the white sheets of paper on the oak desk. Light faded, he continued. His pen went dry. In angst, he used it to slice open his left wrist. He began writing again using the blood. When they found him he was lying with sheet after sheet before him screaming, "I am, I am, I ..."

Lets Make This a Don't Ask / Don't Tell Poem


After Kelly left me for a MAN
with a REAL job, I bought
a food processor.

When Jessica said I sucked
I found a used vaccum.

Erin wrote "loser" on my forehead,
moved out in the middle
of the night, so I looked
for a garbage desposal.

Sally cheated an accountant,
so I bought a block of knives
from a late night commercial.

Martha threw stuff at me, which
I had to replace, the candles on the table,
my favorite VHS movie, and the window
the fire poker went through.

Molly said I was too nice, that she
felt I patronized her when I showed
affection, so I erected a statue
in the backyard for her.

Denise said there were too many
ghosts in my closet so I found
a great organizer on sale.

Kristina said I needed a spiritual life
so I bought copy of the "I Ching."

Beth said I needed a heart, so
I adopted a cat.

Amiee hated the cat,
and I wouldn't give up "Lucy"
so I decided to buy her a new
set of dishes, Lucy that is.

Tricia said I was perfect
as I was, so I bought
a new house.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Anne Lamott: from Gypsies

"I realized that I want what the crones have: time for all those long deep breaths, time to watch more closely, time to learn to enjoy what I've always been afraid of--the sag and the invisibility, the ease of understanding that life is not about doing. The crones understand this, and it gives them all kinds of time--time to get much less done, time for all those holy moments."

Anne Lamott from "Gysies" part of "Travelling Mercies".

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Way It Is

Because we all need a William Stafford poem every once in a while....

Notes for the Program

Just the ordinary days, please.
I wouldn't want them any better.

About the pace of life, it seems best to have
slow, if-I-can-stand-them revelations.

And take this message about the inevitable:
I've decided it's all right if it comes.

*William Stafford*

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


oh so very stuck i am... i was going to wait to post this, work on it, extend it, give some space since my last poem. but i really wanted to work on it tonight and when i tried nothing came! so i'm stuck. i don't know where this is going. i don't even know that any of you will have an answer for me, but maybe just putting it out there will help. i read the u2 album title "all that you can't leave behind" today, and i feel like maybe that's part of where this is going. i don't know, i'm stuck. that's what i get for trying to write poetry in my head while driving i guess, the train of thought derails before the whole poem gets through the station.

at 10pm i'm still in canada

i should be converting
kilometers to miles, but
the trucks keep riding too close
behind me, flashing their brights,
and all i can think of
is you, yesterday, converting
the physics of lightning into
poetry over long islands,
billy collins, citronella.


"Words are like stones with which one builds a wall."

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

rainy day, rainy poems

...i figured it was about time i posted an actual poem. Like kate's, it's one of the only "poems" i've written all summer. first draft, stream of consciousness, you know the deal.

going home early

i want to love you until my feet grow cold, until the rivers in my eyes pool at my ankles, rivulets through my toes. i want to tie all that we're afraid of up in a ball, hang it over my bed, sleep beneath it because it'll be away from our hands, my hands that reach for yours when you're drunk. i said i love you, but i'll say it again in the morning, when our faces are both clear of the wooden tables we hide beneath. i could hug you until i felt it, felt you folding into my heartbeat, felt your fears leave you physically, like me walking away when i can't face you, can't face the cigarette in your hand, can't face the kiss you leave me with (won't remember in the morning.) but i'll run by your street when i wake up, hate the way i feel cold in the rain, hate the way rain sticks to my face when i think of you, of all the days we should have already spent wisely facing this world together. i want to talk to you about five years old, before we were afraid, before we were here, before i could smell alcohol on my breath because i stood too close to you in the rain.

One Afternoon Stand, Don't Tell my Girlfriend, She'd Never Understand

I am not sure, but I think that it might make a better short story than a poem, but i needed to get this out of me before it was long forgotten.

On the Matress, She Taped a Note: "Linda 586-773-5683"

Welcome to "The Great Indoors"
the teenager boy said as I enterd,
"Don't forget 'The Great Home Sale'
If you need help, please ask an associate"
And he handed me a circular. After
his grandeous greeting, I walked
through kitchenwares, where hand-painted
coffee mugs wear stickers
pridefully as though the were the new
sheriff in town. Then the appliances
where refigerators now cook, clean,
and flip through my favorite TV stations
while I cook half-inspired meals;
or so they say.
After a quick glance at vaccums
more akin to nuclear weapons
than household appliances, I found
the escalator to "Bedrooms."

Slowly I walked through a variety of bedrooms,
"Henry the VIII" with Roccoco
stylings, the "Princesses Tower" with ruffles,
and a four post bed featuring lacy trimmings,
then I found it, "River Glen." A nice woodsy
display of a king size oak bed, a headboard
of raw knots and above the bed, a painting
featuring a man fly-fishing. "This
is my room" I said as I crawled
into bed, pushing
my feet deep into the covers like walking
into a slow moving river
with my waiters and rod. Peacefully I set
the circular on the bedside table
pretending to turn off the lamp
pretenting it was a tree. A lay my head
back on the pillow, turned to my side
to check the comfort,
then suddenly,
a soft hand gently moved from my waist
to my chest, a body moved in close
behind me and a young female voice asked,
"So what do you think? This bedroom
set is on special for 15% off with an
additional 10% if you become
a "Great Indoors Memeber" today. Slightly
shocked and mostly intregued, we cuddled
spoke about our long days, marvelled
over the comfort of the "River Glen Suite"
then she rolled to the other side
of the bed. So I turned my head,
and rolled like I would down the gulch
into the river, till I came close enough
to whisper, "I love
this bed" and she took my hand,
drew me hand across her torso
and said, "I am Linda, if you have any
questions about my department,
please feel free to ask."

Customers walked by, first the old couple,
the man frowning, the woman smiling, then
the family that rushed through quick,
but we kept whispering, as though we were
in the dark of my flat, listening to the waves
of Lake St. Clair lap up on shore, as though
we saw forever in each others eyes. She turned

to look at me and our eyes met, and our whispers
stopped, there was no lure in my tacklebox
that could hook such a beauty and I realized
"it couldn't last forever." We stodd and she
smile and I smiled,
and I said I want to takeher home,
refering to the bed of course,
and her toes stretched and she kissed
me on the forhead. "I am so happy,"
she replied. And I took

the "River Glen Suite" home
with me. When the cashier asked,
"Did our service meet or exceed
you expectations," I didn't know
what to say but "I was treated
as though I were loved," and that said,
I returned home.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Summer poem...

ktb - this is an AWESOME idea! I love you all!
So this has not exactly been a summer of inspired, fantastic poetry-- really of poetry at all. This is probably the only thing I've written that I'd even share with anyone - but since we're kindred spirits I know I can trust you! :) Feedback and comments are more than welcome! I'm not sure if I like the beginning, it doesn't exactly fit with the end, but the poem was originally going somewhere else, you know...

Eros knows
when I need to shed
a few. Heartbreak
diet is a guaranteed weight-
loss program. Once
I dismissed ten lbs. in only
two weeks! The only side effect
is a few weeks of misery: gut-
wrenching sobs that leave
incurable headaches and unattractive,
sticky skin. Step one: find
extremely attractive, smooth-talking
man and fall head-over-feet in crazy,
pick-up and follow him across-
the-country love. Step two: find
aforementioned man in bed with
sister, or something equally
devastating. Step three: find
yourself alone, squeezing a wet
pillow and repeat the mantra
"I love him" between sobs.

Congratulations! You are too
emotionally sick to eat or
sleep and the weight comes
melting off.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

draft #2

is this draft #2 or am i on like, #12 by now... who knows. but it's #2 to be up here, so here we go. much thanks to some ideas from matt and karen... let me know if this is better or worse or neither or still not enough or... still not sure about the first line, and i'm having some tense issues now, not sure if the shift between present and past is ok or weird. spell out ninety percent or put 90%? not sure if i kept the subtle ending, if my double meanings are coming through the line breaks, if i've said enough yet to capture this moment (that i don't really remember much more clearly than this... haha)

could-have-beens don't buy you a beer

cigarette drags in my right hand,
your baseball cap backwards
in my left, you take a drag
of me. i don't taste vodka
tonic on your breath, salt,
lime, tequila shot or
the camel lights your lips dangled,
teased until i shared it.
and i am convinced ninety percent rum
kissed back. the other ten percent my fingers
teasing the faded tear between
brim and cap, forgetting
the cigarette, wishing
i had kissed you longer
and knowing i meant it
when i said i don't smoke
when i'm sober.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Kingsolver Quotation

"What keeps you going isn't some fine distination but just the road you're on and the fact that you know how to drive. You keep your eyes open, you see this damned-to-hell world you got born into, and you ask yourself, "What life can I live that will let me breathe in and out and love somebody or something and not run off screaming into the woods?" I didn't look down from some high cotton fields in Nicaraqua. These cotton fields chose me."

*Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams*

anyone else asking that question?? :) just thought i'd throw it out there...

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Dillard Quotation

And now for the quote that has stayed with me for months...

"I am puffed clay, blown up and set down. That I fall like Adam is not surprising: I plunge, waft, arc, pour, and dive. The surprise is how good the wind feels on my face as I fall. And the other surprise is that I ever rise at all. I rise when I receive, like grass."

*Annie Dillard* (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

Chekov Quotation

"...and suddenly everything became clear to him."

Anton Chekov

why can't i write anything new?

alright kids, this is the one and only poem i have written all summer. (i just started a second, but so far it's just a stanza that seems to be missing the poem, so that will come later i hope...) anyway, since i wrote it over the summer it hasn't gotten much feedback, so any comments or suggestions or whatever would be great. thanks friends!

could-have-beens don't buy you a beer

cigarette in my right hand, your
baseball cap backwards
in my left. I couldn’t taste
vodka on your breath or the cigarette
that dangled from your lips before
I shared it. and I am convinced
ninety percent rum kissed back,
the other ten percent this poem
that wishes I had kissed
you longer, knows I meant it
when I said I don’t smoke
when I’m sober.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

"Friends, Lovers, Drunks, Lend me your Beers!" William Shakesbeer

Well, the invitation to join you good folks was a wonderful surprise. In honor of the occasion, I offer you fellow drunks or poets, which ever you are, a poem. And it even has alcohol in it for your Drunk Poet theme!

The Last Saturday Night as Friends

Late one Saturday
you brought a book to read to me,
an exchange for dinner
since you rarely like to cook. It began
with me pulling ingredients
from the pantry
and even some spices
which we couldn't really afford
in those days. You read
parts of poems to me and something
inside me smiled, warmed
like the watery whiskey we drank to loosen
our edges at the end of a long day.
You danced when I turned on the radio,
your drink in one hand, you other arm
twirling with some semblance of grace
while I tryed to tap the pots I used
to cook to the rhythm of your love.
Your dancing proved more interesting
as you took my hand, lifted your drink
to my lips and I sipped,
until you poured too fast, spilled
on my white t-shirt.
I'll never forget you setting
the glass on the counter,
freeing your hands to to take me
two stepping, turning tight
across dirty linoleum squares
in my small kitchen. You whispered
something inaudable into my ear
but no matter
you told me all in the look
on your face,
the water gathering in your shiny eyes
and the gentle kiss I waited years
to feel, never knowing
it was you all along.


In lieu of writing posting new material, I am giving you the first (and only) poem I wrote specifically for a DPS meeting at New Holland. This was premiered atop a table, yelled at the top of my lungs. That doesn't mean its a great work, but its something.


by Daniel Morrison

What would happen
if you gathered up all
of your footprints? What
size box would they
fill? If you dumped it out where
would they settle?

Would they pave the paths of
presidents, or walk with the
Could you follow them to your future or
would they merely hover around
your history?

Is there a difference
between footprints that walked
the happy times: your 10th birthday,
your new car, your first kiss
and the long, melancholy pacings
of the hard goodbye, the rejection,
the sad funeral?

If you looked at your scattered
footprints, would you like where they
fell, or would you gather up each
one and put them back
where they belong?

Ok everyone, your turn!

Welcome to the DPS!

Welcome to the internet chapter meeting of the DPS. This blog is intended to be a forum for sharing poetry, life, and anything. Many people have and will be a part of creating this space, but points are awarded to Katie Budris and Kyle Delhagen for saying "hey, we need something like this."

The intended audience is those who survived the grueling classes of Jack Ridl at Hope College, but we welcome all who can raise a toast to poetry.

Let us know if you would like to become a member, and we'll let you post your poetry, ideas, writing prompts, or thoughts on life. Also, please comment, talk, and be an active part of the blog. This can become whatever we make it!

Update: 7-Sept-04 by daniel. | History of the DPS?
The original Drunk Poets' Society consisted of 4 members of a Hope College English 255 class (Spring 04) who met at the bar for their required small group gatherings. Eventually the rest of the class was admitted to the group (as well as honorary members from other classes), and special meetings were held at New Holland Brewery. The pinnacle of these gatherings culminated with both drunk an sober poets standing atop tables and reading poetry at the top of their lungs. This lead to the "Poets" being known as a regular Stein Night group, comparable to 'the theatre crowd' or 'greeks'.

As the school year ended, and the class (mainly seniors) went their separate ways. These wandering poets missed the opportunities to gather feedback on writing, talk with fellow poetry sympathizers, and communicate with friends. The Adirondack chapter of the DPS met once in early August and glasses were raised to poetry across the nation, but it wasn't the same.

Enter the blog. The DPS blog was started on a whim, to try to keep this group of new and old friends joined in poetry. Since we went live on August 4, we have added members from all over the country, and been featured in the Holland Sentinel. We look forward seeing where this online DPS meeting takes us!

wise words from jack

*i felt it only appropriate that the first post on here was from an old email jack sent out to encourage his students... a reminder of why when it's all said and done, and we've moved on to the next phases of our lives and spread out across the globe, somehow we can still all "be" together. -ktb*

"When we start out writing poems, it is new--everything is new. We begin to see the world differently, we even get pretty lyrical about stuff. We get excited to know that a line break can matter in a poem and that we can actually make that happen. It's like most anything good that we discover, full of fresh, new things.
And then we start "working" on our poems. We start "thinking" about them.
And we start feeling more uncertainty and frustration and even lose for a time that original excitement, that infatuation actually. Sometimes we even start screaming, "I CAN'T WRITE POETRY ANYMORE!!!!" Some of you may be feeling that now a bit or a lot. It's a transition...

If I never write another effective one, this way of being in the world is something I'll always have--and so will you. You are learning not only more about all that can be done with a poem, but also how to be with others' poems...

Poetry is not a course, not a subject, not a discipline. It's a way of being in the world." -jack ridl, 1/27/2004