So bad Even Introverts are Here

Since November, I have struggled to wrap my head around the results of the presidential election, as have numerous others, with very little success.  It all seems so surreal and frightening. I have experienced many sour moods and flashes of depression as a result.

With the news last week of compromising information that Russia allegedly has on President (then President-Elect) Trump, the sense of impending doom took a turn toward absurdity.

dsc05937-2

On Friday, January 20, 2017 . . . yesterday, I wore black. I was in mourning. I was distressed, and I was depressed. Then, I made a decision. I could not just sit around, bitching and moaning on Facebook, commiserating with my cyber-friends.

This morning, after I had breakfast with my parents, as I do every Saturday, I drove into town. Houston is a big city, but I used to work in One Shell Plaza, just across the street from City Hall, where the assembly was going to be taking place. Still, I was a little apprehensive, not knowing what to expect. I get like that when I have to face crowds of any size. Seriously, I’m pretty much a die-hard introvert.

16105876_1904932153060527_8046481273838575207_n-2

So . . . I arrived early (because that’s who I am), and I found a parking spot about a half a dozen blocks away at Market Square. That’s really not a very long walk, especially for a city this size, but I have recently been having some ankle and knee problems. There was a chance I was taking a bit of a risk.img_0239

Twenty minutes before the scheduled start time there was already a sizable mass of people milling around, and more kept streaming into Herman Park on either side ofimg_0253-2 the shallow reflecting pond.

The crowd steadily grew, and the organizers started playing music. “At first I was afraid, I was petrified, kept thinking I could never live without you by my side. .  . .” People started to dance. There was energy.

Although many individuals were dressed in black, they were not in mourning. They were not distressed. These people gathered together at City Hall in Houston, Texas, deep in the heart of one of the reddest states in the nation, were not depressed. They were determined.

img_0261

Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker

The Houston Chronicle reported  that, “The march was put together roughly 10 days ago . . . but still drew what Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo called the largest public gathering of people in Houston’s history.”

According to the Chronicle, over 20,000 people were in attendance.

As a die-hard introvert, being around people exhausts me, but today I reveled in the diverse community of a large city joined together to face a common threat. I fed off their strength, and like the loaves and fishes from scripture, there was plenty to go around.

img_0255

Perhaps it is knowing that I am not alone. Maybe I succumbed to the contagious hope and courage I saw in the faces of the people gathered there and heard in the voices of the representatives of the masses who spoke to the assembly, including Police Chief Acevedo and Mayor Sylvester Turner. Whatever the case, the decision to get out of my comfort zone and take some small affirmative action turned out to be a good one.

Today, we the people did not solve the nation’s most immediate problem, but we did take a stand. Along with similar gatherings across the county and around the world, even in Antarctica (thus literally on every continent), we made our voices heard . . . and it got noticed. That is a good beginning.

And there is certainly no denying that I feel better. It is true that action does make a difference. Now, I need to harness this momentum.

“Then the writers went home to write.” —Tree Swenson

Posted in etc., Poetics, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Needle and Spoon – the Touch

I am honored to have my poem, “Needle and Spoon,” included in the Spring/Summer 2016 issue (#19) of Touch: The Journal of Healing This was a difficult poem for me to write. (Sometimes, it’s even more difficult to read.) It means a great deal to me to have found it such wonderful home. Thank you, O.P.W., my friend.

Touch is publish semiannually with a lot of love and care by The Lives You Touch Publications. The strength of the human spirit is the bailiwick of The Lives You Touch Publications. You should treat yourself to the entire issue, but here is a direct link to my poem.

In addition to The Journal of Healing, The Lives You Touch publishes beautiful chapbooks from some very talented writers.  We can help support this extraordinary small press by collecting print copies of its publications.

DSC00375

Posted in Poetics | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Limp Bizkit was awesome!

Believe it if you choose, or don’t.  Good, clean fun is good, clean fun.

15(1)

Check it out: “Tenacious Limp Bizkit Fans Shut Down Dayton Sunoco!”

Posted in etc., Poetics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Living Life in Chains

Apparently, I can sometimes be overly dramatic.  In case it’s not obvious, the chains to which the title of this post refer aren’t real.  (Psst. They’re a metaphor.)  And yet, they do tend to bind and restrain in their own way all the same.

i-have-no-idea-what-im-doing

In the early 1980s, it was estimated that two out of five successful people consider themselves to be frauds, and it has been suggested that 70 percent of all people feel like impostors at one time or another.  [wiki ref.]  Now, I would not consider myself successful, but the fact is . . . I’ve felt that way all of my life.

grad-school-impostor

This was me in law school . . . although, I didn’t look that good in a skirt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For years (a decade and a half) as a litigation attorney, I lived with a huge amount of doubt and internal stress, constantly ensuring that my work product was exceptional, lest I was to be discovered, as I feared inside, to be completely incompetent. It was as if I were constantly walking on a high wire, without a net.

To even think that I’m a successful person, or that I might have ever been successful, makes me extremely uncomfortable. So much has changed. And yet, successful or not, I often still feel like a fraud.

impostor-syndrome-cartoon-823x1024

So, after always thinking I could trust only myself, it seems I have just now realized that I do not really trust myself. My self-imposed self-reliance has proven to be highly questionable.

Posted in etc., General thoughts, Just voices | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Conrad’s Corner on WYSO

Conrad Balliet reads a poem for his radio program Conrad’s Corner on 91.3 FM WYSO every Monday to Friday at 7:59 p.m. and another on Saturdays at 2:20 p.m. He keeps in contact with many poets in the Dayton, Ohio area, and often includes their poems in his on-air readings. On occasion, Conrad records an interview with one of them for the WYSO Weekend shows.

On Sunday, November 25, 2o12, WYSO aired Conrad’s interview with me, in which we talked about finding inspiration, and he allowed me to share some of my poetry. Previously, Conrad read my poems “Small Things” and “I give myself permission” on Conrad’s Corner as part of his local poets project.

Several of my local poet friends have been featured on Conrad’s corner, and some of them have also been interviewed by Conrad Balliet for airing during 91.3 FM’s Sunday morning shows. I am grateful and flattered to be included among the poets Conrad has chosen to share with his listeners.

On December 20, 2012, he read “Repertory Justice” and, on March 21, 2013 and June 5, 2013, he read “It is Spring.” Then, on August 30, 2013, Conrad read my poem “Everyday Strangers” and, on December 18, 2013, he read “No Longer.”

Thanks, Conrad! Thank you for giving poetry, especially local poetry, a public voice on WYSO.

Posted in etc., Poetics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poetry for Change

I am extremely honored to have my poem “Peter Pan Must Die” included in the 2012 issue of Vending Machine: Poetry for Change along side many other talented poets, including Dianne Borsenik, Steve Brightman, T.M. Göttl, Marc Mannheimer, Tina Puckett, Eva Xanthopoulos and more.  

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” That quote was the inspiration for this Poetry for Change project, and it really should be the words by which we all live.

Vending Machine is an anthology published by The Poet’s Haven as part of the annual “Poetic Provisions” food-drive based in Canton, Ohio. It is distributed exclusively in exchange for food donations through November and December, while hard copies last. All donations go toward Canton Sunday Picnic and to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank

The anthology will also be published as a free e-book download from PoetsHaven.com in 2013 during Akron Peace Week. In the mean time, I encourage all of you to give whatever you can to your local food pantry to help feed those in need during the holiday season and throughout the year.

Peter Pan Must Die

They are toys-r-us kids lostPeter_Pan
on an island called Neverland—
lost in Afghanistan—with
pop guns and little plastic
swords and bombs. Lost boys,
lost army men, lost children,
fighting pirates off shore.
Lost war, lost in Iraq—
the never ending fantasy.
Lost fairytale. Where’s the
magic carpet? Where’s the
pixie dust? Tinker Bell was wounded
by snipers during an unmanned
drone fly-by. The croc is on time.
Tic toc, tic toc.

Peter Pan must die. LetPoppies
the pied piper of youth be remembered well.
But before we have peace, the poppies
must lie flat. More widows must cry.
More mothers and brothers, more
girlfriends and fiancées and lovers
must cry. Peter Pan must finally become
Peter the man. R. I. P.

Peter Pan Must Die” was originally published in the Summer 2011 issue of Pudding Magazine, along with “And God . . . ,” and has been featured as one of the Recent Pudding Selections on Pudding‘s website.

Posted in Poetics, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shout-out to Elizabeth

My friend, and fellow Wright Library Poet, Elizabeth Schmidt, won 2nd place in the 2012 Judson Jerome Poetry Contest and a scholarship to attend Antioch Writers’ Workshop this year. Congratulations, Elizabeth!

She is scheduled to have her poem, “Acknowledgment,” read on Conrad’s Corner next Tuesday, June 12, 2012, at 7:59 p.m. (eastern time), 91.3 FM WYSO. (Put it on your calendar now!)

Elizabeth Schmidt has already made several appearances on Conrad Balliet’s radio program.  Julie L. Moore read Elizabeth’s poem, “I Thought,” on July 28, 2011, and Conrad read “Etiquette in Snow” on January 4, 2012. Elizabeth read her own poems, “Florida Boy, 1969” and “Her Dementia,” on the program on February 15, 2012, and March 11, 2012, respectively. In addition, she has been interviewed on Conrad’s Corner as part of Conrad’s local poetry project.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Spring 2012 issue (#5) of Mock Turtle Zine includes Elizabeth’s poem “Love on the Road.” Yes, Elizabeth Schmidt has been a busy little poetess, and it has earned her well-deserved recognition.

Congratulations again, Elizabeth! Nicely done.

Posted in etc., Poetics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment