Thursday, April 16, 2015

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Poetry by Greg Sellers

 Occasionally, I find poetry that I'm particularly taken with...like the work of Greg Sellers. Not only does he write poems, he has one of the best literary blogs around ( see below ) where he ferrets out and posts remarkably good art. Scores of us addicted to his site find we need to visit daily to read, view and listen to the poetry, prose, paintings and music he posts for us to enjoy.


Weltschmerz
     
Between these limbs, an emptiness
branched blue above the center of this
abandoned orchard, the afternoon
sky adrift like a dreamer’s thought,
if not for the blunt, occasional thud,
drawing attention to the ground
and over-ripened peaches the color of hurt.
No matter how still the moment, how deep
one retreats into the wooded row & column
of neglected fruit trees, there is always a reminder
that somewhere, someway, someone
is feeling a presence that has no feelings.
Each weighted limb, a burden of wrong,
each momentary tremble, a wind’s memory
of suffering. Sunlight softens the dark
stigmata along a gray trunk’s wound.
Flecks of insects glint like mica in granite, bits
of everlasting light among this amber ache.

Published in the Z√≥calo Public Square


Elegy for Those Not Yet Departed

This much I'm sure. It is hard to believe
in another morning's gift now that the evening
lawn has learned to grieve. Tonight moonlight
keeps sending its condolences, as if forgotten
whites on the line at the far end of the yard
can no longer bear a body's absence, and
that faint slant of lost light from a kitchen
window is not enough to bring anyone back.

Yet no one has left to forget that familiar way
home, those simple names of neighborhood streets:

Elm, Oak & Maple. Outside this window empty 
   trees
keep rehearsing a sadness I wish I could ease.
Restless curtains ghost about as if they have
   some
other place to go. The once sure shadows 
   have
now grown weary of their own quiet visits. Still

this room tries to hold onto everything it can.
Dresser mirror shines. Full moon shifts
to leave itself upon the polished floor—spent 
   soul
too tired to find its body. But this is not a 
   scene
where the sheet is slowly drawn over the 
   head, or
the doctor helplessly closes his black leather 
   bag.
The lawn has no reason for its plain, dark suit,
this solemn night—its one pale 
   chrysanthemum.

Soon daylight will slip between the limbs,
begin to soften the lonesome, walled sorrow
of shadows. Even the last geese
that shall rise across this endless, gray longing
will not make much of what they leave behind
no winter song for lifeless trees
nor grief given nights in the glove-quiet 
that a pallbearer wears, finding
what it's like to touch & not feel.

Published in the Clackamas Literary Review

For more about Greg and more of his poetry. 

Check out Greg's blog:

A Poet Reflects.







Monday, November 18, 2013

Amy Greene is back!


   

I've pre-ordered and I am anxiously awaiting the February 25, 2014 release of this, her second novel. I first came across Amy Greene's writing as I chased my passion, short stories, in literary magazines. 

Amy and her husband, Adam, live in Eastern Tennessee with their two children. 

Buy her book. You won't be disappointed.

"From the critically acclaimed author of Bloodroot, a gripping, wondrously evocative novel drawn from real-life historical events: the story of three days in the summer of 1936, as a government-built dam is about to flood an Appalachian town-and a little girl goes missing.

Long Man: A novel by Greene, Amy (Feb 25, 2014)
  1. $10.99 Kindle Edition
  1. Available for Pre-order. This item will be released on February 25, 2014.
  1. $25.95 $16.41 Hardcover
  1. Available for Pre-order. This item will be released on February 25, 2014.
  2. Other Formats: Audio CD


Like a classical myth or a painting by Thomas Hart Benton, Greene’s second novel (after Bloodroot), set in the summer of 1936, transforms a period of cataclysmic history into a gorgeous, tragic tale filled with heroes and heroines. After the Tennessee Valley Authority builds a dam to electrify rural Appalachia, the river that folks have always called Long Man rises a little more with every turn of the page, and most of the families in the town of Yuneetah, Tenn., are long gone, scattered to other cities to take up factory jobs. In days, the hardscrabble farm fields they abandoned will be overcome by water, and Annie Clyde Dodson’s family farm, too, will end up at the bottom of the lake. Only Annie Clydewon’t leave; she’s determined to hold out so that her three-year-old daughter Gracie can inherit her ancestral land. But Gracie disappears with her dog Rusty during a terrible storm, the floodwaters rising by the hour. Only a few—the sheriff, Annie Clyde’s aunt Silver, and the mysterious drifter Amos, among them—are left to help Annie Clyde and Gracie’s dad, James, search through the tangle of sodden woods and fields already knee high in muck. Greene’s enormous talent animates the voices and landscape of East Tennessee so vividly, and creates such exquisite tension, that the reader is left as exhausted and devastated as the characters in this unforgettable story. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/11/2013





Friday, August 2, 2013

A Great Thunder Road cover

The Cowboy Junkies do what I think is a marvelous job covering a favorite Bruce Springsteen song.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Compelling Tribute.


by Barry Basden

RAY'S PEOPLE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN SOLDIERS

Shiloh

Ray's great granddaddy, a Tennessee Volunteer, lies wounded between the lines all night, thirsty, crying, moaning in the darkness. At daybreak, he's carried under a flag of truce to a field hospital where his right arm is added to the other arms, hands, feet, and legs piled in a wagon near blood-spattered surgeons. Feverish in a Nashville ward, he composes a letter to his anxious parents with the help of one of the Sisters and a laudanum haze.

Chateau-Thierry

Ray's uncle is eating salt pork in his rifle pit when he smells something funny. He puts on his mask and climbs out to find a gas shell not fifty feet away. He is halfway up an apple tree to hang it as a warning to the rest of the company when something knocks the shell out of his right hand. He stares at blood spurting from where his trigger finger should be. It is just gone, and he will be called Trig for the rest of his life. 

Bushido

Ray's older brother won't talk about the string of ears he brought back from the Pacific. He doesn't eat much and keeps mostly to himself back in the woods, sitting on a cane bottom chair in front of his little trailer, smoking hand-rolled Prince Albert's, guarded by mean dogs and a Japanese sword.

Yalu

Ray cracks the ice, drinks a cupful of halazone-laced water, and washes up for the first time in two months. He puts on socks kept dry in his helmet, then pries open a can and eats cold beans. No fires allowed. He curls up, shivering on the frozen ground, and stares into darkness, watching for lights on the opposite shore, wishing he could smoke.

NVA

Ray's boy sets up the Claymores. Then, with the rest of the patrol, he lies and waits. The moonless night is alive. Wings whir near his face and something slithers off to his left. In the distance a big cat roars, followed by a monkey's scream. A rank smell rises from the damp earth and wetness soaks through his fatigues. His raw crotch and rotted feet burn, long past itching. He could use a doob. Toward dawn the patrol humps back up the hill, grateful nobody came along the trail this time. 

Tikrit

Raylene sees a flash. When she comes to, she's on her back, strapped to a litter in a medivac chopper. Rotors beat the air. Doc puts a canteen to her parched lips, squeezes her arm, and says something she can't hear. She can't feel her legs either, can't move them. The price of a ticket home. Maybe one day she will play softball on fancy new ones, bounding around the base paths like other robo-vets.

Fort Sam

The young man with a tape recorder visits Ray again in the hospice wing. In his hand is a genealogy note he found online today: Ray's great grandfather, wounded in the frontal assault on Grant's army, moved to Texas with his young bride after the war. The man turns on the machine and Ray labors to tell more about his warrior family. A half hour later he stops talking and nods toward a letter that sits framed on the bedside table. The lined paper is yellow, its pencil scrawl faded. "That was written right after Shiloh," he says. "You can take it with you." Ray turns toward the window and stares out at bare trees lining the far side of the driveway. They stand in precise formation, straight and tall against the evening sky.


Previously appeared in  LitnImage magazine

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Old, Old Print Ads

This Lard one's a spoof:


He said he once briefly dated a girl from Mississippi whose father thought she wasn't eating properly in the big city. So he came up here and loaded a nice bucket of bacon fat into her freezer. I'm not sure it made her any happier, but it did help him retain his position as Regional Secretary of the Lard Information Council.







Sunday, July 29, 2012

‎"Lemonade Stand" Music St. New Orleans, 1948

In the summer me and my buddies would set up a lemonade stand for the neighborhood and for an excuse to sit in the shade. L to R - Alex Coulonge, Allen Coulonge, Billy Creevy, T.N. Retiff, Ronnie Coulonge..




Attribution: Bill Creevy

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Midnight, Mississippi

Yes, there is a Midnight, Mississippi.

Midnight is an unincorporated community located in Humphreys County, Mississippi. Midnight is approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) north of Louise and 5 miles (8.0 km) southwest of Silver City along Mississippi Highway 149.

Although Midnight is unincorporated, it has a zip code of 39115. Population in 2010 was less than 200 people.




Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lovely West Texas Photography.

If you enjoy photography of natural things and an have attention span longer than that of a gnat, click on.


Beautiful West Texas Photography

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Back Pages - An Anthem

Bob Dylan's 30th Anniversary - a celebration his music.

Recorded in October, 1992 at Madison Square Garden in NYC.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

"Bastard Blue" by Murray Dunlap.

Over the last year I discovered a friend. I also discovered a writer whose stories soar. I'm referring to Murray Dunlap. The stories he has pulled together in his newest book of stories, "Bastard Blue", had me reading many over several times. They are that good. Most of them are themed from his experiences growing up in south Alabama, but they are not simply regional. They cast a much wider net than that and the texture of the lives he writes about are palpably universal.


"Bastard Blue" is available at Amazon– in both hard copy and the Kindle edition – and bookstores everywhere.

What those who know are saying:

High Praise...
“Forged with a poet’s attention to cadence and rhythm, a storyteller’s devotion to character, and tension that just keeps ratcheting up, Bastard Blue is finally a love story, between a young man and the place that made him, the southern culture that proves to be both a blessing and a curse. Murray Dunlap is a brave writer, and an honest one; the lives he portrays here are as heart-stoppingly authentic as his prose is dazzlingly beautiful. He serves up everything I want in a story: compassion, humor, substance and style.”
Pam Houston, author of Cowboys Are My Weakness

"Yes, Bastard Blue is a first book but there’s more than promise on display within its pages. This collection introduces us to a fully realized talent. Murray Dunlap’s voice is confident, his characters richly drawn, his sense of place as vivid as you will find in fiction. Sentence for sentence his prose is crisp and direct, edged somehow with both menace and hope. He has a knack for creeping up to sentiment in his stories without crossing the line, leaving only genuine, well-earned emotion on the page. This book is so fine somebody should offer a money back guarantee."
-Michael Knight, author of The Typist

"If possible, read Murray Dunlap’s Bastard Blue in a Louis XV style chair, near a subtle fire, or in an Adirondack chair, between peach and dogwood trees. Reading his stories is about as close to having a storyteller there—present, in the room--as I know. This collection is full of heart, mischief, and sly winks. What a grand triumph."

-George Singleton, author of The Half-Mammals of Dixie

Murray on Murray: I was very nearly killed on 6-7-08 in a car wreck, so I'm trying very hard to put my life back together. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a complex injury with a broad spectrum of symptoms and disabilities. The impact on a person and his or her family can be devastating. And my memory-loss has to be the most frustrating component of this entire disaster. It is as if I woke up from a dream of a life to a nightmare of a reality. But, as we all do, I keep focused and build a new life.

Murray Dunlap's work has appeared in about thirty magazines and journals. His stories have been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, as well as to Best New American Voices, and his first book, "Alabama," was a finalist for the Maurice Prize in Fiction.




Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Falling Slowly – the song

This is a song I like very much. It is from the movie, Once, released in 2007 and well-received by critics. It was low budget: $160K and grossed over $20M. One well-regarded critic wrote, "It may well be the best music film of our generation." I liked the movie, too.







Used Prose Poem II

Friend's Wife


I will undo you. I will do it single handed like I might a button on a collar. And I will watch you as you, like a collar, spread apart. And I will hear your breath’s soft whistle as you pull the air inside you. And I will know your eyes are closed. And we will.


Afterwards, because we swore we wouldn’t, your expletives will sting like hornets. And we will swear we won’t again.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Whiter Shade of Pale" – a timeless favorite



NPR's All Things Considered, April 15, 2009 - Procol Harum's classic "A Whiter Shade of Pale" has just been named Britain's most-played song in public places in the past 75 years.


Annie Lennox does a great cover of the song, too.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Martha Markline Hopkins's Art.

I really appreciate friend and former classmate, Martha Ann's paintings and sculptures

"One Wire,"
My piece chosen for the exhibition "Bare Essentials: Minimalism in the 21st Century" at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, IL, Nov. 4 - Dec. 22, 2011. Note that though it shows masculine austerity and uses industrial materials, it also has expression shown through the history of other movements of the wire. The addition of expression is a quality I expect to see in many if not all of the works in this upcoming show.



"One Wire," 12" x 12" x 2, Canvas on Board painted with Rabbit Skin Glue, Wire, and Tacks. (Click on image to enlarge.)

A companion piece: "Four Wires":


Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Losing My Religion" – R.E.M.

A favorite song. A favorite video.


R.E.M. - Losing My Religion by WBRNewMedia
The video is based in part on Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" which tells a story about an angel who falls down from heaven and how people make money displaying him as a "freak show." Michael Stipe is a big Marquez fan and the song's whole idea of obsession and unrequited love is based on the central theme of the author's masterpiece, "Love in the Time of Cholera". The video was also heavily influenced by the art of Caravaggio and by the sensibilities of film director, Tarkovsky

Sunday, July 24, 2011

From Ghost Town To Havana – a film

A new documentary film being made by Eugene Corr.


"In the summer of 2006, three unarmed kids were gunned down on an Oakland street. Roscoe Bryant, 44 at the time, ran out of his house. One of the boys, Thomas, 15, died in his arms. Roscoe, the father of two boys himself, decided he had to do something. As an alternative to the gangs and violence engulfing his Ghost Town neighborhood, he started the Oakland Royals baseball team. We've been following the story of Coach Roscoe and his players for the past three and a half years." – Eugene Corr


I have long been touched by the despair that resides in the sad existences suffered by inner city kids, who, through no fault of their own, with no nuclear family and no role models except "Rap Stars", drug dealers and other criminals in their respective communities are presented with nothing positive and useful upon which to base their futures.


I believe a compelling lesson can be learned from Eugene Corr's film, “From Ghost Town To Havana” and that is that, if the sad, dangerous and wasteful things are going to be changed in the many neighborhoods like Ghost Town (this film focuses on West Oakland, California, but there are Ghost Towns in every one of our larger cities), mentors are needed and needed badly. The film's purpose is to show that more Roscoes ( learn about him in the trailer) can make a difference.


I spent the week of July 10 – 15, in Berkeley, California, pro bono, to learn more about the film from "Gene" and his associate producer and its needs – which as you might expect is money, needed to complete the full translation from Spanish and final editing. The film's cost was front loaded and still needs about $200,000 to finish with the translation and final editing so it can find a public audience with PBS, HBO or other similar venues.


If you find "From Ghost Town To Havana" can be an important vehicle to make a difference and you can make a 501(c)(3) tax deductible contribution, we will be grateful and hopefully some kids will have a better shot at improving their lives through the film's mentoring objectives.


I invite you to review this inspiring film’s trailer here:

http://playtwopictures.com/





Friday, July 8, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"Set a Spell"

Click on for a larger photo:


July 1939. Gordonton, N.C. "Country store on dirt road. Sunday afternoon. Note kerosene pump on the right and the gasoline pump on the left. Rough, unfinished timber posts have been used as supports for porch roof. Negro men sitting on the porch. Brother of store owner stands in doorway."

Photo by: Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 – October 11, 1965) she was an influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

North American Indians (Denver Post Series)


In 1906, American photographer Edward S. Curtis was offered $75,000 to document North American Indians. The benefactor, J.P Morgan, was to receive 25 sets of the completed series of 20 volumes with 1,500 photographs entitled The North American Indian. Curtis set out to photograph the North American Indian way of life at a time when Native Americans were being forced from their land and stripped of their rights. Curtis’ photographs depicted a romantic version of the culture which ran contrary to the popular view of Native Americans as savages.


More Remarkable Native American Indians via The Denver Post's "plog".

Friday, April 8, 2011

3 Father Poems by Meg Pokrass


Meg is a friend of mine. Her recently released book, Damn Sure Right is getting brilliant, rave reviews and is available from Amazon and leading bookstores everywhere. She is one of the brightest, most creative people I have ever read... or known.

Father Poems

by Meg Pokrass

no proof exists

my dark father
was human though
no proof exists

his photographs
were torn in two
then four then eight
his face in the trash

pieces slipping

near each other
becoming
who I wanted him to be

my father never loved us but I loved him madly when I was three

riding his shoulders
grabbing his hands

seeing from above
how breakable
we really were


Before Dusk, Autumn

The two kites went up
into the late afternoon.
One of them, then the other.

I was locked in the car
while Dad and my cousin, Mamie
swirled the field.
Mamie, watching her shadow grow,
looked embarrassed.

I watched through the window-
The kites were leaves,
wind picking them up,
grabbing them.

As shadows spread
Dad must have remembered
that I was his daughter,
that it was my birthday.

Piggy Back

“Let's go
for a piggy back ride!”
He
draped me
over him
like a sweater.
Shouldered safely
I let my hands
explore
his face
and found
two caterpillars.
He told me
to feel his chin,
how it was
like sandpaper.
Everything
was
BIG,
HAIRY,
TERRIBLE
(laughing high above his face).


___

My friend, Meg told me, "Fathers really are a rich source. My mother and I left my father when I was five, I never saw him again, so I had many years to think about the memories."

About Meg:

Meg Pokrass writes flash-fiction, short stories and poetry. Damn Sure Right is her debut collection of flash fiction. Meg serves as Editor-at-Large for BLIP Magazine (formerly Mississippi Review) and before that, for SmokeLong Quarterly. Her stories, poems, and flash fiction animations have appeared in nearly one hundred online and print publications, including Mississippi Review, Gigantic, Gargoyle, The Nervous Breakdown, HTML Giant, Wigleaf, The Pedestal, Keyhole, Annalemma, Smokelong Quarterly, elimae, Prime Number, Women Writers and Joyland. Meg creates and runs the popular Fictionaut-Five Author Interview Series for Fictionaut and consults with Writing MFA programs about online publishing. Meg lives with her small, creative family and seven animals in San Francisco, where she edits and teaches flash fiction privately.