The Poems Flew and Continue to Fly

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Thank you everyone who submited work to The Living Poetry Project–Bee-Winged Poems. The work of Dane Cardiel, Kit Kennedy, Lisken Van Pelt Dusand, and (my lovely English 101 student) Anna Marie Castillo created a buzz at Her Majesty’s Secret Beekeeper. One of the greatest gifts of this Living Poetry Project was a hug from Kit Kennedy!

The poems flew and continue to fly in Northern California. Word honey!

Great thanks to readers Tess Taylor, Brendan Constantine, Caleb Barber, who gave their word honey at Litquake; it is good to bring art to life with such amazing poets.

In addition to the amazing Litquake, my Trip to Oakland was a little like waking up from a cultural comma; I have the vivaciousness of the city and my brilliant friend Johnny Hernandez to thank for that. Johnny works for SPD and is my blood line to books. He shows me books, books, and more books. Books of all types and forms—books that question the book—books that break the book.

We watched the Kenneth Goldsmith documentary together; it took me a good hour before I was convinced it wasn’t a hoax.

Language is a flexible creature; a ghost we beg to haunt our houses. It rattles the glass, nails, and beams of our bodies. I live on the lyrical floor of Poetry-House. The lyric is so old that it makes other (more current) poetry forms feel incredibly new. I show up (metaphorically) to Poet Christian Bok’s lab, where he has encoded his verse into a strip of DNA and had it inserted into a common bacterium, E.coli, and feel amazed and in that amazement out of place.

As Kenneth Goldsmith points out, what I take for innovation has all been done before; Burning City: Poems of Metropolitan Modernity, confirms this idea. I hid the post card poems from this collection all over my train home.

It is good to be home. That word, home, is why I write. I’m always attempting to get home by way of the lyric; it is a gamble, but one I can’t help but make.   

While I’ve been home, my poems have been traveling. This weekend Becoming Judas is at the Zebra Film Festival

The Way to LitQuake is 8 hours of Reading

I love the train. Time seems to stop on a train, while the whole world rolls before me. When traveling by train, I get to watch the sky change colors–watch the ground in all its variations–glow. I also like to eavesdrop and read on the train.  Paradise is a train.

Trains remind me of John Keats. Admittedly, most things make me think of Keats but the train has strong draw for me when making a metaphor of such a poet.

Keats, with little no money, held tight to the conviction that all people (rich and poor) deserve beauty.  The train is economical, and it is beautiful.

On the way to LitQuake I read (0f course Keats) but also the works of Kelli Allen and Jessy Randall. Kelli’s poems are terrifying—beautiful—but hollowing. Jessy’s poems are witty and inspiring.  I highly recommend reading Allen and Randall; I’m trying to pen out all the reasons why I recommend these books, but that will take time. I find writing reviews to be difficult–delightfully difficult. How to say “I love you?” It requires thought, when translating the heart.

You can watch Kelli Allen’s Otherwise, Soft White Ash (OFFICIAL TRAILER) on YouTube; it is beautiful.

I also read Juan Felipe Herrera new play/poem, which should go to a live show on the 2nd of November. Ah, this work! I must have looked like a fool from crying on the train. Juan Felipe Herrera (like Keats) writes from and for the heart.

Then I read Keats. I read his poems. I read his letters. Then I copied as much of Keats as I could onto postcards. I hid the postcards all over the train from Bakersfield to Oakland. Keats knows how to travel–he travels by the heart.

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John Keats (1795–1821).  The Poetical Works of John Keats.  1884.
28.  On the Grasshopper and Cricket

THE POETRY of earth is never dead:
  When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
  And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper’s—he takes the lead         5
  In summer luxury,—he has never done
  With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
  On a lone winter evening, when the frost         10
    Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,
  And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
    The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.

December 30, 1816.

Post Office and Packing: P is for Poetry

I’ve packed my love-eye-balls and poem-wings…now its time to take the train to LitQuake!

Today I also mailed the magnet poems and sticker poems back to their authors. It has been great fun traveling with these poems, and I wishes them safe travels home.

I love to send packages by mail. Mailing a package is like accepting an invitation to celebrate an invented holiday. Gifts untied to obligation; that is fun.

Part of the packages I sent included a request for resources, which I’m afraid might inspiring feelings of obligation. THERE IS NO OBLIGATION with poetry. However, sharing can be a lot of fun.

The Living Poetry Project can and will use any “thing” you might lend to it. It isn’t money, but resources that the projects require. Such helpful resources include: poetry, project suggestions, postage, yarn, paper, found objects, toys, balloons, costumes, and anything else that might lead readers towards poetry.  A handful of spare change is also useful, but exchanges of odd objects seem more fun.

If sending random package to poetry sounds like your kind of fun, please contact me at

Great thanks and love to all.

Made Of Honey

Pavi has done it again! Her hand painted dress is just what is needed for the reading at Her Majesty’s Secret Beekeeper.

Such a dress really embodies the experience of art. An artist falls in love with beauty—has to believe in beauty to survive—begins making things in hopes of generating more beauty.

Being an artist is an active attempt at survival, but not a simple survival–the survival of all that is human; in other words, art is the pursuit of a miracle.

Miracles are something like alchemy—a base metal into gold—that is what art does. It is impossible, yet we beg for the universe to expand—for possibility to unfold from the unknown. We ask for the seams of us to burst with honey—to be gold—to hold light while fully knowing we are not stars—but the stuff of stars.  Keats writes:

  Bright Star

Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art –
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors –
No – yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever – or else swoon to death.

Packing my bags for LitQuake, Checklist:

  • Eye-balls of Love
  • Flying Bee-winged-Poems
  • Dress Made of Honey
  • Love, Love, Love

Please find me at LitQuake; I’ll give you honey, Winged-poems and eye-balls of love.

The Cups Attend a Poetry Party

What a great weekend; days of language, love, and laughter.

Not a lot of sleep, but a lot of living dreams.

Friday =ed the AAD-Writers reading.  Janet Kriegl did a sensational job at coordinating a night of words, music, and (most importantly) heart.

Friday also =ed, kids sleep over at my house.

Saturday =ed Meet the AuthorsJoan Fry brought many local authors together for a honest and instructive look at the publishing world. 

Next, the book release party for Charles and Christine’s beautiful book, 25 Tigers, was held at Sagebrush Café. This is also where the coffee cup poems made their first appearance.  

Jared Burton and his band played music and drank tea from poems.

Saturday =ed, kids sleep over at my house.

Sunday =ed a celebration of the Indian Museum and a surprise birthday party of me. The Indian Museum is an odd, yet important part of the Antelope Valley. It is a poem of a place. (It is good to be alive!)

Next, JJ and I made the trip down the mountain to have dinner with Kate and Mark. JJ and I had a sleep over at their magical home. Kate and Mark, wow, are just really good people. Kate gives me advice; because she knows I like when she gives me advice—and we both know I could use some advice.

The big questions are always—How to be a better person? How to be a better artist?

I’m still unsure if the answers to those two questions go together—but I’m determined to live my life in pursuit of kindness and expression.

Over bagels this morning, Kate explained that an important component to conversation is listening. It isn’t enough to listen to the other person, Kate explained, you have to listen to yourself—listen to what you, yourself, has to say. And DO something about the things you talking about.

Mark taught JJ that bagels taste better if you eat them like a T-Rex would attack a Brontosaurus.

All is very good with poetry.  

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LitQuake Will Make Your Honey Maker Shake

The Living Poetry Project would like to give your poem wings!

October 12th, I’m taking the bus to San Francisco for the amazing LitQuake. It should be an fun trip; I’ll get to read and watch the Golden State roll before my passenger window. I do love the Gold of California–lights and quartz–the fires–and honey. I love honey. Honey is all of the joy of this word on the tip of the tongue.

I am lucky to be reading October 13th at Her Majesty’s Secret Beekeeper, 3520 20th Street, Suite C, San Francisco, CA 94110, 7-8. If you are LitQuaking, please come find me. I promise to feed you honey.

If you can’t make it to LitQuake, but dream of streets flowing with poetry, please consider submitting poems to The Living poetry Project. I will glue your poems on bee wings (costume bee wings) and offer them to people who are excited to buzz around San Francisco—winging poems.

Please send your poems to: