May You Have Peaches

Freeboarder and his girlfriend brought home a big basket of fresh Georgia peaches, the best I’ve ever tasted.

He is all in all to me, as is his brother, and their girlfriends and friends are dear to me too. I can only glimpse one tiny portion of the grief, the total collapse, that the parents in Norway are now experiencing.

And the mothers in Somalia, whose children are dying of hunger–a woman whose goats had died said, “I am doubly cursed, because I gave birth to twins during a drought.” Her son Emmanuel lived, but baby Miriam died. During the video report on CNN, she was feeding her two surviving children leaves she had found on the scorched earth. They ate the paste she made for them out of her hand.

The very least I can do is dedicate these peaches to the mothers and fathers who have lost their children. My gratitude is tenuous, and I cherish my ability to feel it.


Daily Reading

Today I see a baby whale smiling at me. The giant tail fin could also be a ponytail. If so, she’s a cartoon whale. What she might be trying to tell me is to find the cuteness in life.

Maybe I need to find some Hello Kitty stickers.



In an effort to work my way back to a daily writing practice, I’ve started sketching in my journal. It’s very relaxing because I have low expectations of the results. Drawing is a way for me to “rest on the page,” as Julia Cameron suggests in The Artist’s Way.

Another good writing book is Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. She practices Zen meditation, and she said one of her teachers suggested that maybe writing would be her ‘practice,’ as in a meditative practice.

She describes her daily writing as a focused free-write, not stream of consciousness. I’ve come to realize that my daily writing will not necessarily result in a poem or a story, but the practice itself if important to keep myself open to the world. Even when it’s as hot as a pizza oven in my city and I only like to go out in the evening.

Philosopher told me what he learned from his poetry teacher: if you sit down to write every day your creativity will come to you.


Literary Lists

As for writing, I came up with one new poem this week and started cobbling together a ghazal.

A friend, who I’ll call Statuesque Beauty, found a way to explain to me the art of a poetic free verse line. She suggested I write my drafts in lines, not prose. My usual process is to either write down random images and lines in my journal or my iPhone until I have enough to make a poem, or I free write for a certain length of time, usually in prose. But after my talk with Statuesque Beauty,  everything clicked! Each line of a poem is a mini poem.

Which is why I’m trying my hand at a ghazal. Each couplet stands alone as a kind of aphorism. I like Sherman Alexie’s “Powwow Ghazal.” I’m using it as a guide for the pacing and sequencing of my couplets.

Met with Statuesque Beauty et al. for a poetry chat, and then moved on to Charis Books for the opening night of the Atlanta Queer Literary Festival. Lisa Allender hosted. Of the readers, I went especially to hear my friends, poets Dustin Brookshire and Jessica Hand–they both floored me, but tons of credit goes to all the readers. Each participant had moving poems and stories to share.

Of course they all thanked Franklin Abbott, the founder of AQLF.






Jessica Hand’s wife, Jeanna Melilli, wrote and performed music for flute to accompany one of Jessica’s pieces. You can hear Jessica’s poem and Jeanna’s music here: “The Beaten Dust Crowds the Light,” at the Cortland Review.

Dustin Brookshire read a poem whose inspiration came vicariously through me, but the true impetus for the piece, in my opinion, is Dustin’s sass and wit.

Earlier in the week I went to Manuel’s Tavern for a poetry critique with some GSU buddies, but we skipped the poems and went straight for the beers. Still, through telling stories of my pitfalls and foibles, I realized maybe there was an idea in one of them. Of course, Statuesque Beauty hinted I should work my mishap into a poem. Now I have to figure out what my blunders mean.

Multi-talented writer Collin Kelley is pictured above. He’s a well-known poet, but lately he has garnered more notice for his novels, a trilogy set in Paris, London, and the U.S. His most current project is the launch of Remain in the Light, part 2 of his Conquering Venus trilogy. (This link will lead you to a free download of sample chapters).