Starlings

One Sunday, I rubbed sleep from Moorish eyes, tossed on clothes and shoes, then cooked breakfast: chorizo potato huevos, toast, and hot yerba tea. No orange juice–but I woke up with this old hymn stuck in my head.

Would you be free from
the burden of sin? There’s pow’r
in the blood. Power…

Eyeing sky out the kitchen window, I spied starlings, many starlings; oh so many starlings perched on electric wires again. After burning my lip on tea, I spent numerous minutes imagining a ton of reasons why birds might perch on lines like that. Oklahoma had perfectly fine trees. Yet these starlings picked wires for all their sittin’ lined up across the city. Why did they do that? I settled on only this: these birds longed, like me, for a safe place to go sit close to power. Not power in the wires; that would be ridiculous. They liked power in solidarity.

Come for a cleansing
to Calvary’s tide; There’s won-
derful pow’r in the…

So I set out to attend a church, por qué no. On arriving too early for the big service, a deacon handed me a name sticker then funneled me toward something called an adult group for discussion, the topic: the Mexican Border. Unprepared, I listened to the discussion leader and to the other folks gathered there. The talk was there’s only one language: English. I didn’t know that, but aye, aye, aye! And, “The restaurants are fine,” one man said, “but the Mexicans must leave.” It was an emergency.

Would you be whiter,
much whiter than snow? There’s pow’r
in the blood. Power…

I ran my eyes across the Gospel faces of the people on pews. Everyone got a chance to speak their English. No one spoke French, German, Chinese or any of the other languages they might have had. It was an only English event. I ran a hand across my forehead then back through my hair. I got it; yet I didn’t–birds of a feather, I guess, only in a cage. My mind escaped for a moment; thoughts just flew right on out of there and landed in a different place in my head.  Once there, I silently told myself the story of my mother and how, during the last waves of Eisenhower deportaciónes, my Appalachian father married her and brought her to the states.

Sin-stains are lost in
its life-giving flow; There’s won-
derful pow’r in the…

I never returned to that Church since the discussion leader’s talk. No lo quiero. For what it was worth, I would still rise early on Sundays, dress myself, cook breakfast, and peek out the window at the weather where I would once in a while spot starlings perched on electricity. One bird would fly off, swoop around, pick at something on the ground, look around, then fly back up to sit with friends on wires. I would envied those starlings lined up on electrical lines with all their power. But me, I would just eat breakfast then kick back on the sofa with a remote flipping through cable channels. Then on other Sundays,  I would drive to my mother’s house where we’d sit around watching programs on Telemundo TV.

There is pow’r, pow’r, won-
der-working pow’r in the
precious blood of the…

 

 

 

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Headline News: This is a Golden Age of Journalism

US envoy to Israel faces Senate after Trump scraps two-state policy
Surprise! Trump hands the mic to supporter at Florida rally

Zakaria: Trump has’hardly done anything’
Comey talks Russia with senators in closed-door briefing

Senators want Russia-related materials preserved
Flynn changed story to FBI, no charges expected

Tillerson presides over abrupt shakeup at State Department
Trump pivots to economic message in Boeing visit

Clinton’s staffers are keeping up the fight
Republicans have long talk about replacing Obamacare, but no bill yet

Cruz to Trump: Name John Bolton as national security adviser
Officials: Mike Dubke to be named as White House communications director

McCain: Dictators ‘get started by suppressing free press’
Trump wants a ‘wall’. Border experts want a fence

Jeff Sessions’ team takes over Washington
Under fire, Trump returns to the campaign

Priebus denies collusion between Trump campaign and Russian officials
Navy commander charged in long-running scandal

Roommate wanted: No Trump supporters
McConnell urges GOP: Don’t fear protesters

Trump’s Sweden comment raises questions
Is Russia’s obsession with Donald Trump waning?

DeVos given U.S. Marshals Service protection
Smerconish: ‘This is a golden age of journalism’

.

from CNN headlines 2/10/17

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patchwork #2

In the sky she floats,
flooding the shadowed earth
with clear silver light. (Sappho)
Herself to her a Music
as bumble-bee of June. (Dickenson)
That music of my nature,
day and night with dream
and thought and feeling interwound (Browning)
among the litter of a sunless afternoon
having eaten without tasting
talked without communion. (Loy)

Love comes in waves like the ocean,
a sickness which goes on
& on, a hollow cave. (Attwood)

Sources:

  • The Poems of Sappho
  • The Poems of Emily Dickenson
  • The Soul’s Expression by Elisabeth Barrett Browning
  • Human Cylinders by Mina Loy
  • Postcards by Margaret Attwood

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Garbage Can

garbage-can

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February 3, 2017 · 4:22 pm

Aubade: Sing like the Sun

Wake up you sleep shop heads. Wake now sleep stop.
Make with morning songs sung second to none.

Get up. Get up. Good god, get up a ton.
Stick socks and shoes on feet–sans the holdup.

Last warning. No snoozing here. Coffee’s up.
Don’t zizz on like hell on a hot dog bun

–a blanket sausage/pillowed concoction.
God bless everyone but get the hell up.

Window look, out, toward the sun. Rub your eyes
or whatever you do in the morning.

Sun’s an early riser so so must you
blow a so long kiss to your slumber selves.

And then stretch–sing like a sun a-shinin’.
Suns do sing, sleepsters. And, oh, don’t argue.

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2016 Prayer Prayed after Thanksgiving Meal

God, I did try again to transcend culture
this Thanksgiving–-by not doing it. I knew
it would be difficult with all the fare

FROM FRIENDS, FAMILY,

and well-wishers. Yet, I did intend to amend
myself by not remaining so controlled by
irrational programming of surroundings

AND MY UPBRINGING.

So by throwing out ritual and parade,
I’d have done it. Yes, I know, I KNOW, culture
functions as a foundation for clustering

PEOPLE TOGETHER

based on our customized characteristics
–-our false instincts that distinguish us from them
and rests on dissimilarities seen in

OTHER PEOPLE WITH

their cultural characteristics. In our
world, the question has been colliding cultures,
which tend to be more the source of conflict than

OF SYNERGY.

Our cultural discrepancies often tend
to be nuanced at best, yet can still end in
disaster. Indeed, Lord, holidays seem to

BE THE BEST OF TIMES

to disallow the shards of Western cultured
dependence. I wanted to deny its grief
this Thanksgiving-–a small but first step–-by not

EATING THE PRESCRIBED

holiday foods, which should have been transcendence
enough for one year, yet it didn’t happen.
And though I have surrounded myself with ritual

FOOD AGAIN–FAILING

humanity so, I did try transcending
Thanksgiving. But you know there’s pumpkin pie?
Still, I tried to better myself. So let me try

AGAIN ON CHRISTMAS.

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Winter 2016/17 Issue

My wife’s poems are on page 52. Teri McGrath.

Dragon Poet Review

Ring in “Ice-pocalypse” 2017 with our largest issue of Dragon Poet Review yet: 94 pages of fresh, riveting poetry, prose and art.  Here’s a little taste to whet your appetite, as you build your own “nest in the dark” and snuggle up against the cold:

Winter
by Ken Hada

Days are shorter
than I want.

My cousin Bear
told me to prepare

but I was fooled
by crows at dawn

who come and go
as they please.

I am a building
a nest in the dark.

___________________________________________________________

We recommend opening the journal on your tablet or e-reader app (Kindle) for the best viewing / reading experience. Please click here (on the title) to open:

Winter Issue 2016/17 Dragon Poet Review

winter-2016-17-dpr

Welcome to Dragon Poet Review! We are currently accepting submissions for our Summer 2017 Issue. We are looking for previously unpublished poetry, flash fiction, short fiction, and short memoir…

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Reading Wild Songs: Joy Love and Loss

Wild Songs: Joy Love and LossWild Songs: Joy Love and Loss by Sam McMichael

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In Oklahoma, more often than in any other place, everything is a symbol; can’t help be anything but–milkweed, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wild geese, sky, chickens, coyotes, cows, iambic pentameter, sonnets, pronouns, (even Dylan Thomas here) Fort Cob to Anadarko, Binger to Cache, Albert Camus, yep, monarch butterflies, too. Whether it grows here, flies in, or stumbles in, it is something.  Sam puts it this way, “Of course you must use the unrelenting wind and the heat and the cold, the dust storms, the blue northers, the tornadoes…and do it in the rhythm and inflection that Bob Dylan picked up from Woody Guthrie and exaggerated.” In Wild Songs: Love Joy and Loss, Sam reminds us of all that.
Over the years, I have heard Sam McMichael’s poems in venues around Oklahoma and wondered if ever a book was in the works. If prayers are ever answered in Oklahoma, that one has been.

View all my reviews

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Concerning Ezra Pound Drag

A person should never stop trying to be: Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Donna Summer, Joan Rivers, Diana Ross, Lucille Ball, Celia Cruz, Tina Turner, Mae West, Cher, Grace Jones, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Midler, Carmen Miranda,  Angelina Jolie, Andy Warhol, Austin Powers, Johnny Depp, Elton John, Michael Jackson,  Justin Timberlake, Ozzy Osbourne, or Boy George–those people we see on drag night. Until Ezra Pound in the 21st century makes the list, please, stop telling me how fabulous he is.

We should never speak
too big till there’s a drag queen
out there being us.

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One of These

  1. That one last pair of clean socks before the judgment day.
  2. One last chewy center Gobstopper on one of Jupiter’s moons.
  3. A hypodermic needle full of pilgrims heading for America.

If I were just one those three,
I’d be a sunshine world all over the place.
I’d lay my troubles down like an Al Green song stuck
in permanent jukebox play.
I would be an
onion peel, a sink stopper,
a can opener.

Yes, except that only I would be
an onion peel, a sink stopper, a can opener,
a sunshine world all over the place
listening to Al Green
as one of the three items mentioned earlier:

  1. a clean pair of socks before judgment
  2. a Gobstopper on a Jupiter moon
  3. or a hypodermic needle full of pilgrims
    heading to America.

One of those.

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