First two readings!

My first reading from Seeking was part of the Spalding MFA’s Festival of Writers. I read with two other poets and a pair of composers who have a new musical out. May I just say that it was fantastic!? What a great audience. And reading at the beautiful Brown Hotel overlooking the cityscape of Louisville, my old hometown, made it seem as if we were at the top of the world. in fact, I might have been walking on air afterwards.

My next reading, if anyone in BG wants to join me and Tom Hunley, is Tuesday, June 2, 8pm, at at Cloud 9 Hookah on Broadway in Bowling Green. From elegant to funky, from figurative cloud 9 to one where I imagine smoke swirling to the ceiling.

I am very grateful to Sena Naslund, who is the editor of Fleur-de-lis Press, Ellyn Lichvar, the assistant managing editor, who took such meticulous care of the poems, Jonathan who designed the cover, Maureen Morehead who wrote the introduction, Yvonne Petkus, whose painting “Braced” is now the cover of Seeking. My blurbers, Frank Steele, George Ella Lyon, Tom Hunley, Lisa Williams, and Sena Naslund, make the work sound so enticing.

Such a brilliant collective effort. Thank you!

And, I just found out that Barnes & Noble has Seeking available online, so Amazon is not the only carrier. Now I need to pull in any favors I might have lingering out there and get my kindhearted friends to write me some reviews for people who stumble onto it!

Here’s amazon….And here’s Barnes & Noble….

This is not a mother’s day poem

Although two mothers appear in this poem, it is not a mother’s day poem. And though a son is featured, it is not a poem about sons, per se. It is more of a poem about exuberance–that unbridled, lusty energy that characterizes a child, around age 5. I wrote it a long time ago about my son’s habit of leaping into my lap, all knees and elbows and pressing his face to mine, even while I (still remember) am peering around his shoulder at something else going on. He liked to make me laugh, and remaining aloof or sad or hurt or bored never got him the satisfaction that eliminating the distance between us would bring.

So on this day after Mother’s Day, I wanted to remember that capacity for joy that our children bring to us. Too often we get busy or are so tired that we can’t appreciate them. And then, who among us, hasn’t been so beaten down by work or relations that we snap or lash out at the one more thing invading our space?

Mother’s Day is full of notes of appreciation, on Facebook (these I like) and broadcast across the aisles at Kroger’s–these I can’t stand. Some male or female voice asserting, “I wouldn’t be where I am without her,” anonymous, easily said, with no ownership of what they did while she was busy making them into someone.

I’d rather see us live the appreciation on a daily basis. I’d rather see our society spend less on cards and flowers that were imported on the backs of poor mothers in Columbia, where the flower industry certainly doesn’t give a damn. I’d rather see us get reduce the soft focus, increase the numbers of brown babies in brown mothers’ arms we see on the walls in doctors’ offices (and give them some soft focus). I’d rather see my society truly understand how difficult it is to be poor or abused or ignorant and a mother. Free contraception! Free childcare! Save the easy judgment for a less-easy target.

But, as I said, this is not a poem about motherhood. It is about exuberance, don’t you think? How we need to make room for it, even when we’re tired?

Bird Colonies in My Attic

Last week, we covered a gable vent with wire mesh, our attempt to keep another family of birds from nesting in our attic crawl space. This is at the front of the house. I see from the upstairs bathroom window at the back of the house that another avian family has put down roots in the eaves, where an opening between two pieces of siding offers up a kind of private doorway. Bits of twig poke through and when the parents arrive with a flutter of braking tail feathers, the otherwise timid scrabbling sound goes wild. Within a week, the sweet little peeps are hearty shouts. “You’re back! Finally! Me first! Where’s mine?!”

So, it seems like a good occasion to share a reading of one of the poems in Seeking, called “Someone Else’s Offspring.” I hope you enjoy it.