I’m sharing this oldie to the Poets United Pantry #4 this morning, despite my strong aversion to telling other people how to write or what to write about, or what not to write or how to avoid writing.

Originally published as follows:
A Clean, Well-Lighted Place (Online) October 2012
A Clean, Well-Lighted Place (Print) March 2013
Sadly, this fine publication is now defunct and unavailable online.

You can, however, –if you dare– hear me read it here:
Tutor (Audio) May 2013


The trick, he said, is to
sit by the lake, write
about water and sky
without using words like
expanse or dome; without
comparing one to the other;
without mentioning robin’s eggs
or azure; without resorting to
a recollection of other summers
spent by some other expanse
of azure, under some other
dome of robin’s egg blue.
The trick, he said, is to see
across the lake to the other
shore; to make the other shore
anything at all but distant; keep
the clouds from becoming cotton.





Then Nothing

I Tried To Think Of You Today

(for kathy miles)

I followed you today in my mind
& saw you in your most secret moments
…………….You did not know I followed
I am a master at camouflage
pretending to be a magician

A midnight pilgrimage I made
last night as if in dream
to your ancient window in the east
……………with the full moon on the rise
but found no candle burning there

…and just as well I guess
there was something I needed to tell you
……………something I wanted to say
……………but I could not find the words


I journeyed to your doorstep in the dark
with the universe humming at my feet
and stood weeping on the green sad lawn
……………because I could not write this poem

Imaginary Garden / Real Toads

Six Word Saturday

Casting My Bread Upon The Waters

Nothing gets published that you don’t send out.

So far, it’s been a pretty good year for me, publication-wise. I’ve submitted over a hundred pieces. Twenty-five have already been published, several more have been accepted and are awaiting publication, and I’ve got about 20 others floating around, awaiting response from 8 different publications.

I know lots of writers try to keep track of things on index cards, or develop their own home-made systems, but…

My preferred manuscript tracking software is Duotrope, which is huge, extremely flexible for both submission tracking, publication information, and statistical analysis.

It can do almost anything, stats-wise, but at the very least it can tell me this:

overall fiction poetry nonfic
Pending Submissions: 20 2 18 0
Sent Past 12 Months: 102 38 62 2
Sent This Month: 17 2 15 0
Acceptance Ratio: 31.7%* 31.9%* 31.4%* 33.3%*

Congratulations! Your acceptance ratio is higher than the average for members who have submitted to the same markets.


Duotrope carries an extensive database of over 7,000 publishers and agents, and constantly updates its information regarding submission windows, acceptance / rejection stats, editorial preferences, guidelines, samples, turnaround times, etc. etc. etc.

I strongly recommend…


More Six-Worders Here

Not “It”

flag hug.jpg

He’d like to be the “it” man,
the guy everyone turns to
naturally, turns to calmly
and expectantly for advice
they can count on, advice
and counsel that matters
and makes a difference,
enhances their chances
of success and happiness;
the man who makes only
unselfish decisions that
promote the likelihood
of positive outcomes for
everyone… but no.
…………………….……All he’s
ever been is a starched
white shirt in a blue suit,
standing under a flag that
he claims for his own, but
which, if it could speak,
would proclaim him both
incompetent and unworthy,
would raise itself high and
proudly wave him away.