POEM: “Traitor” *AND* May Highlights

fb_img_15580435343126047145313079639207.jpg

Traitor

 

This morning I awoke to the news

our world leader may be a traitor

a sexually harassed girl was burned alive

a disturbed man brought gasoline

and lighters into Saint Patrick’s cathedral

a rock icon committed suicide

a local poet died

 

and yet this smile is traitor

to this world I inhabit,

because as I

smell the warm toast buttering the air

and hear my son’s videogame downstairs

 

all I can think is

I’m still breathing.

 

#

 

There has been so much happening in the last few weeks, with more ahead, so I’ll just do a quick recap of the highlights. Last Friday (5/10), I competed against poet John Walters in the Writing Knights sWord Fight and won! Then on Saturday (5/11) I read my poem, “Catching Fire,” at the Hessler Street Poetry Competition; I did not win, although my poem was well received and was included in the anthology. Yesterday (5/16), I achieved a lifelong dream and saw a book I wrote on a library shelf, just waiting to be checked out!

This coming Tuesday (5/21), I will be reading my poetry at the Spring Into Action Fundraiser, which supports scholarships for first time candidates running for local office. My friend, musician Ed Amann, will be performing as well! So, as you can see, I’ve been truly fortunate to be part of such a supportive community of writers and readers. Thank you, all!

If you want to keep up in the interim between now and my next post, you can follow me on Twitter, FaceBook, or Instagram (links to the right beneath the blogroll). Until next time, have a lovely two weeks!

Advertisements

POEM: “Blessed Milk Thistle” *AND* Current Events

The lovely month of May brings dandelions (my favorite flowers), free comics, and nerdtastic holidays, but it’s also full of personal milestones as well. My anniversary, my son’s Prom, and his graduation all happen in the next few weeks!

I’m also really excited about upcoming poetry events this weekend! First, this Friday at 7pm, at Hackenberg Realty Group in Canton, I’ll be competing against the esteemed John Walters in my second Writing Knights sWord Fight! I’ve created a promo video for the event (above); it’s suitably serious. The other event I’m really excited about is the Hessler Street Fair Poetry Competition this coming Saturday evening.

For now though, I’d like to share a poem with you.

.

Blessed Milk Thistle

Your bright purple blooms
so reminiscent of dandelions
and other maligned weeds
guilty of growing
where they shouldn’t–a blight

to urban gardens, but a delight
to lovers of wild things and bright
colors exploding against green grass

a boon to herbalists, home cooks,
pharmaceutical companies,
and mothers presented with
fiery bouquets picked by small,
chubby fingers and presented
with a smile.

Upon your spiky green leaves,
gardeners wage eternal war.

.

Upcoming and Current Events:

Friday, May 10th (7pm – 9pm)

Writing Knights sWord Fight poetry competition is a monthly event where poets compete against each other via verse. This is my second time participating; this time I will compete against poet John Walters. Come by, and wish us luck!

 

Saturday, May 11th (7pm – 9pm)

I’m so honored to be a finalist in the Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest. I will be competing in Cleveland against the other finalists. Come and hear some great poetry!
.
Wednesday, May 15th (7pm – 9pm)

Latitudes Poetry Night is every third Wednesday at Compass Coffee (Akron) from 7pm – 9pm. There is usually a featured poet, followed by a short break and then an Open Mic.

.

Thursday, May 23rd (6pm – 9pm)

The Write Stuff Authors’ Group meets monthly at the North Canton Library to workshop WIPs before adjourning to TD’s Grill at about 7:30pm for general literary merry-making.

.

Saturday, May 25th (all day)

Towel Day! May 25th is the fan-tastic holiday for fans of the late great Douglas Adams. Every year my son and I celebrate by taking photos of ourselves to post to the Towel Day Flickr group, watching a Douglas Adams themed program (such as the BBC Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy mini series), and attempting a Terran non alcoholic version of the universe’s most alcoholic drink: the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster! The drinks are almost always terrible, but that’s in keeping with the effects of a drink that’s the equivalent of  “having your brains smashed in by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.” We often attempt Vogon Poetry as well, but then again, we like to live dangerously.

.
Now that National Poetry Month is over, I’m returning to my regular schedule of posting every other Friday. I plan to continue to include a poem and/or short story each time, as well as updated current events. If you are interested in keeping up with my appearances and other poetry events, I suggest you check out the Cleveland Poetics Calendar (page link at top) or my social media accounts (on right).
.

In the meantime, I wish for you a month filled with poetry. Thank you for visiting my blog, and I hope to see you at one of these events soon!

POEM: “Today the President”

closeup0118945405256558759726.jpg

I normally try to stay away from overly political topics, but this morning’s news was too much to not respond. Especially since I now have a draft age son, and it looks like the President could conceivably start a war with Mexico.

 

Today the President” 

Today the President
almost started a war
via Twitter.

 

Today the President
accused foreign soldiers
of protecting drug runners.

 

Today the President
said he’d send armed soldiers
to the border.

 

Today the President
turned a misunderstanding
into a taunt.

 

Today the President
put my son’s life in danger
not his own.

 

Today the President
is still the President
and still on Twitter.

 

#

If you are interested in the story, you may follow Trump on Twitter and also google multiple sources (to try to counteract bias) about the news story.

 

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

POEM: “Waking Up to Spring” *AND* Current Events

flow038

Happy National Poetry Month! I hope you have been filling each and every day with at least one poem. If you haven’t, I’ve got the cure for that: 30 Days of Poetry from Cuyahoga County Library.

Since this is a holiday weekend, my next reading is scheduled for this Monday! I have an Author Talk scheduled at the Barberton Library along with the talented museum Ed Amann. I’ll be reading from my new book, Soul Picked Clean, which I will also be selling after the reading; Ed Amann may also sell some of his music on CDs. So, please come by for some poetry and music!

If you are unable to make the Ohio events I’ve listed, there’s tons of poetry events going on all across the country, so you should be able to find another pretty easily. In the meantime, in the spirit of the season, I’ll share this short poem:

Waking Up to Spring

Birdsong drifts in
like the cool spring breeze
touching my face, my body, my skin
exposed above my sheets.

Speeding trucks rumble
over gravel roads
a few blocks further away,
while my dogs snooze unknowing
of the greater world
beyond these walls

.

Upcoming and Current Events:

Monday, April 22nd (6:30pm – 7:30pm)

Cat Russell Author Talk with music by Ed Amann at the Barberton Public Library, 602 West Park Avenue, Barberton, Ohio 44203. Ed Amann and I will alternate between his music and my poems.

.

Tuesday, April 23rd (6:30pm – 7:30pm)

What better way to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday than to attend a poetry reading?! Massillon Public Library will announce the winners of its April Poetry contest at the Poetry Night and Open Mic! I’m not specifically scheduled, but I do plan to attend. I love libraries!

.

Wednesday, April 24th (6pm – 10:30pm)

Spoken Word Showcase (paid event) hosted by The Outpost concert club and Writing Knights. Ed Mabrey will be the feature performer, supported by Kisha Nicole Foster, Black Reign, Keith Allison, Finn Thrace, SuperTeam, and Luna Annunaki.

.

Thursday, April 25th (6pm – 9pm)

The Write Stuff Authors’ Group meets monthly at the North Canton Library to workshop WIPs before adjourning to TD’s Grill at about 7:30pm for general literary merry-making.

.

Saturday, April 27th (9am – 4:30pm)

Western Reserve Writers’ Conference Any writers in the area should definitely attend this FREE writing conference at Cuyahoga Library’s South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch. I will not be reading, but I will attend, and I’d love to see you there!

.

Thank you for visiting my blog! I wish for you a month filled with poetry, and I hope to see you at one of these events soon!

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

Poetry Month Continues *AND* POEM: “What I Hear”

.

Happy National Poetry Month! I hope you have been filling each and every day with at least one poem. If you haven’t, I’ve got the cure for that: 30 Days of Poetry from Cuyahoga County Library. Also, if you happen to be in the Canton, Ohio area tonight, I’m participating in Writing Knight’s sWord Fight: my first live poetry competition!

As part of the prep, both myself and my worthy opponent, Greg Milo, produced videos to promote the event. Well, in all fairness, he produced a video while I asked my son to create mine. I wrote a rough script with a little joke thrown in, told him it was supposed to be funny and over the top, and I didn’t want to actually appear on film. My son ran with it. I think he did a great job! Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

There’s tons of poetry events going on all across the country, so if you can’t make this one, you should be able to find another pretty easily. In the meantime, please enjoy this light-hearted poem, based on the April 1st writing prompt via Cuyahoga Library’s Read Write Poetry:

.

What I Hear

My blood pumping

as the howls and barks

batter my ears like hands on drumskin,

bongo-ing my brain into oblivion,

 

the trucks vrooming by on the highway

four blocks away as snow slowly melts

into the slush beneath each icy step

as we crunch our way through grass

overdue for the green of Spring,

 

the suck of  the insulation parting

as I open the fridge for each treat

dutifully dealt out for the watering

of a lawn that looks too brown for spring,

too green for winter,

 

the slurping sounds of peanut butter

licked with licentiousness,

as though their earned reward

were forbidden fruit

consumed all too quickly

before it rots

 

Upcoming and Current Events:

Friday, April 12th (7pm – 9pm)

sWord Fight Tournament in Canton, Ohio. I will be a “combatant” in my first live poetry competition: Cat Russell versus Greg Milo! Come by, and wish me luck! This competition will be at a different venue than usual.

.

Saturday, April 13th (11am – 2pm)

Local Author Fair at Massillon Public Library, 208 Lincoln Way E, Massillon, Ohio 44646. I am scheduled to read briefly, and I will also have books to sell at my table. I will be donating 10% of any sales I make this day to Project Gutenberg!

.

Wednesday, April 17th (7pm – 9pm)

Latitudes Poetry Night and Open Mic at Compass Coffee in Akron.

.

Thursday, April 18th (6pm – 9pm)

Kave Coffee Bar in Barberton hosts an open mic every Thursday. I’m not scheduled as a guest, but I do plan to attend.

.

Friday, April 19th (630pm – 730pm)

I will be reading from my newly published book of poetry, Soul Picked Clean, as my talented artist-friend, Jim Meador, paints his version of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. The eventbrite link is now live; all tickets must be reserved ahead of time. This is a paid event, but each ticket includes a free copy of Soul Picked Clean!

(*single’s and couple’s tickets available.)

.

Monday, April 22nd (6:30pm – 7:30pm)

Cat Russell Author Talk with music by Ed Amann at the Barberton Public Library, 602 West Park Avenue, Barberton, Ohio 44203. Ed Amann and I will alternate between his music and my poems.

.

Tuesday, April 23rd (6:30pm – 7:30pm)

What better way to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday than to attend a poetry reading?! Massillon Public Library will announce the winners of its April Poetry contest at the Poetry Night and Open Mic! I’m not specifically scheduled, but I do plan to attend. I love libraries!

.

Wednesday, April 24th (6pm – 10:30pm)

Spoken Word Showcase (paid event) hosted by The Outpost concert club and Writing Knights. Ed Mabrey will be the feature performer, supported by Kisha Nicole Foster, Black Reign, Keith Allison, Finn Thrace, SuperTeam, and Luna Annunaki.

.

Thursday, April 25th (6pm – 9pm)

The Write Stuff Authors’ Group meets monthly at the North Canton Library to workshop WIPs before adjourning to TD’s Grill at about 7:30pm for general literary merry-making.

.

Saturday, April 27th (9am – 4:30pm)

Western Reserve Writers’ Conference Any writers in the area should definitely attend this FREE writing conference at Cuyahoga Library’s South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch. I will not be reading, but I will attend, and I’d love to see you there!

.

Thank you for visiting my blog! I wish for you a month filled with poetry, and I hope to see you at one of these events soon!

 

*video created by Christopher Russell aka Rastabon.

First Friday *AND* POEM: “Who Are You?”

2019-04-05FFAprilFlyer

Since I’m spending most of my time this month attending or participating in poetry events and promoting my new book, it seems only fair I blog more frequently to share them with you. So for the next month (or two) I have switched to posting every Friday instead of every other Friday. You’re thrilled, right?

Tonight is Canton’s First Friday celebration for April! It will be my first time attending a First Friday event, and I am honored to be participating in the “Locally Literate” theme by reading poetry alongside the wonderful Diane Kendig and John Burroughs! It’s going to be a fantastic night, and for every beer sold, Muskellunge Brewery will donate $1 to the Friends of the Library!

Also, in the spirit of sharing poetry during National Poetry Month, I’m posting my short (but sweet) poem, “Who Are You?”

 

Who Are You?

Answering by name alone,

the reflex a sound as familiar

as breathing, must needs be symbol

enough…words alone cannot define you.

 

.

Current and Upcoming Events:

Friday, April 5th (7pm – 8pm)

Canton’s First Friday celebration for April follows the overarching theme of “Locally Literate” and is sponsored by Muskellunge Brewery and the Friends of the Library! There will be scheduled poetry readings, with poems following the themes of beer, bars, April, Friday,libraries, and Muskies (the fish). I am honored to be one of the scheduled readers.

.

Thursday, April 11th (4pm – 7pm)

I will be appearing alongside some other authors at Dorrie’s Booktique.

2019-04-11DorriesBookSigning

.
Friday, April 12th (7pm – 9pm)

sWord Fight Tournament in Canton, Ohio. I will be a “combatant” in my first live poetry competition: Cat Russell versus Greg Milo! Come by, and wish me luck! This competition will be at a different venue than usual.

.
Saturday, April 13th (11am – 2pm)

Local Author Fair at Massillon Public Library, 208 Lincoln Way E, Massillon, Ohio 44646. I am scheduled to read briefly, and I will also have books to sell at my table. I will be donating 10% of any sales I make this day to Project Gutenberg!

.

Wednesday, April 17th (7pm – 9pm)

Latitudes Poetry Night and Open Mic at Compass Coffee in Akron.

.

Thursday, April 18th (6pm – 9pm)

Kave Coffee Bar in Barberton hosts an open mic every Thursday. I’m not scheduled as a guest, but I do plan to attend.

.
Friday, April 19th (630pm – 730pm)

I will be reading from my newly published book of poetry, Soul Picked Clean, as my talented artist-friend, Jim Meador, paints his version of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. The eventbrite link is now live; all tickets must be reserved ahead of time. This is a paid event, but each ticket includes a free copy of Soul Picked Clean!
(*single’s and couple’s tickets available.)

.
Monday, April 22nd (6:30pm – 7:30pm)

Cat Russell Author Talk with music by Ed Amann at the Barberton Public Library, 602 West Park Avenue, Barberton, Ohio 44203. Ed Amann and I will alternate between his music and my poems.

.
Tuesday, April 23rd (6:30pm – 7:30pm)

What better way to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday than to attend a poetry reading? Massillon Public Library will announce the winners of its April Poetry contest at the Poetry Night and Open Mic! I’m not specifically scheduled, but I do plan to attend. I love libraries!

.

Wednesday, April 24th (6pm – 10:30pm)

Spoken Word Showcase (paid event) hosted by The Outpost concert club and Writing Knights. Ed Mabrey will be the feature performer, supported by Kisha Nicole Foster, Black Reign, Keith Allison, Finn Thrace, SuperTeam, and Luna Annunaki.

.

Thursday, April 25th (6pm – 9pm)

The Write Stuff Authors’ Group meets monthly at the North Canton Library to workshop WIPs before adjourning to TD’s Grill at about 7:30pm for general literary merry-making.

.
Saturday, April 27th (9am – 4:30pm)

Western Reserve Writers’ Conference Any writers in the area should definitely attend this FREE writing conference at Cuyahoga Library’s South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch. I will not be reading, but I will attend, and I’d love to see you there!

.

Thank you for visiting my blog! I wish for you a month filled with poetry, and I hope to see you at one of these events soon!

Book Launch *AND* POEM “Butterfly Psyche”

march30reading9163224329894190089.png

One more day until my poetry collection officially launches! The poetry reading will include two talented Pittsburgh poets, Jen Ashburn and Jason Irwin, as well as my debut reading for my first published book, Soul Picked Clean. Mac’s Backs on Coventry will host the event, where I will also do a prize drawing and provide lemonade and cookies to attendees. If you are in the Cleveland area tomorrow night, March 30th, I would love to see you there!

 
Butterfly Psyche

endeavoring to capture
a passing thought

before it escapes
like a butterfly

   from a net full of holes

 

Current and Upcoming Events:

Saturday, March 30th (7pm)

Book Launch party at Mac’s Backs, 1820 Coventry Rd, Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118. I’m absolutely thrilled to be reading along with Pittsburgh-area poets Jason Irwin and Jen Ashburn. If you are in the Cleveland area this night, please come for some poetry!

.

Friday, April 5th

Canton’s First Friday celebration for April will follow the overarching theme of “Locally Literate” and is sponsored by Muskelunge Brewery and the Friends of the Library! There will be scheduled poetry readings, with poems following the themes of beer, bars, April, Friday,libraries, and Muskies (the fish). I am honored to be one of the scheduled readers. More details forthcoming.

.
Friday, April 12th

sWord Fight Tournament in Canton, Ohio. I will be a “combatant” in my first live poetry competition: Cat Russell versus Greg Milo! Come by, and wish me luck! More details forthcoming.

.

Saturday, April 13th (11am – 2pm)

Local Author Fair at Massillon Public Library, 208 Lincoln Way E, Massillon, Ohio 44646. I am scheduled to read briefly, and I will also have books to sell at my table. I will be donating 10% of any sales I make this day to Project Gutenberg!

.

Friday, April 19th (630pm – 730pm)

I will be reading from my newly published book of poetry, Soul Picked Clean, as my talented artist-friend, Jim Meador, paints his version of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. This event will be a paid event, $12 per ticket, but that includes a copy of the book. The eventbrite link will go live on April 1st, if you’d like to reserve your ticket.

.

Monday, April 22nd (6:30pm – 7:30pm)

Cat Russell Author Talk with music by Ed Amann at the Barberton Public Library, 602 West Park Avenue, Barberton, Ohio 44203.

.

Saturday, April 27th (9am – 4:30pm)

Western Reserve Writers’ Conference Any writers in the area should definitely attend this FREE writing conference at Cuyahoga Library’s South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch. I will not be reading, but I will attend, and I’d love to see you there!

.

Thank you for visiting, and I hope to see you in the coming weeks at one of these events!
#

*image courtesy of Mac’s Backs on Coventry
**In my last post, Finding Poetry, I mistakenly listed the name of the competition as Azlitude. This one is simply called a sWord Fight.