Suicidal Voter Guide


Got this in the mail and misread “Judicial”.

Try to keep your head
out of the oven
for just one more month.

Unless it’s an electric
then walk away from the window
and go to your polling place.

Unless you live in a ranch
then leave the pills
in the cupboard until you vote.

The Republicans couldn’t care
less if you live or die.
The fewer people voting
the better for the corporates
corrupting our politics.

So leave the trigger locked,
and the noose unknotted.
If enough of us struggle
through the first Tuesday
after the first Monday
of November, that Wednesday
might just dawn a little brighter.

(Note for my fellows in North Carolina, the deadline to register to vote is Friday October 12th. Even if you think you’re registered, double-check now, so you can re-register if you’ve been purged.)


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Your television
is getting desperate.
Soon it will yell
accusations and promises,
innuendo and fevered dreams.
The clock is counting down
to Election Day.

There’s a reason
they spend money
on advertising.
It works.

There are enough stupid people
out there who’ll buy anything,
pills, gadgets, lies,
but you’re not one of them,
are you?

(From today’s Living Poetry prompt.)


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Being ruthless at chess,
clearing the checkered field
of battle leads to victory
and all the people and horses
return unharmed for the next match.

Being ruthless at football,
playing to injure your opponent
only leads to escalating violence,
carried off on a stretcher
sometimes never to play again.

Being ruthless at politics,
behaving at though it’s a game,
a tribal Armageddon where your rivals
are evil instead of merely wrong,
is how we’ve fallen into this mess.

Politics is not war nor a horse race,
despite the television news,
it’s how we organize society,
it’s about win-win solutions,
it’s why the thoughtful tend to lose.

(From today’s Living Poetry prompt.)

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That Uncle is Coming to Thanksgiving


That Uncle is Coming to Thanksgiving

He used to keep his racist,
sexist, homophobic opinions
to himself but he discovered
the internet and now believes
it’s okay to give full voice
to whatever his scattered friends
in their white privileged bubbles
are saying about the Fags and Darkies.

We still love and respect our crazy uncle
but we have been too tolerant, too indulgent,
and while we can’t change his mind with logic
or data we need to remind him that most Americans,
despite the results of the last election,
are embarrassed by his ignorance.
So if we all vote on Election Day,
we can have a peaceful Thanksgiving.

(If any of my uncles are wondering, I’m referring to my other uncles.)

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We the People

It used to be that Labor Day was when campaigns began so things might get a little more political around here.


We the People

If you believe in Democracy,
you should register to vote.

If you think you’re registered to vote,
you should double-check.

If you don’t know where to vote,
you should find out.

If you feel like voting doesn’t matter,
you should vote anyway.

If you assume all politicians are crooks,
you should vote them out.

So if you agree with Thomas Jefferson,
that governments derive their powers
from the consent of the governed,
you must vote.

And if you stand with Abraham Lincoln
that government is of the people,
by the people and for the people,
then you absolutely have to vote.

Because if you don’t vote,
you’re the problem
with Democracy.

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My Nepenthe

bottle-1546720-639x958WordPress let me know recently that it’s been five years since I started this blog. Happy birthday to me, I suppose. Since I first started blogging to help promote my first book, Wednesday Night Regular, here’s one of the poems found within. It’s one of my favorites and just as true today as it was five years ago.

My Nepenthe

Dying from thirst and memory
She offers me a smile
A cool smooth cyan liquid
In a clear goblet

Fascinating it dances with light
Twirls in my hand relaxing
Sorrow falling away
Like clothes in sweltering summer

Into her glittering pools I dive
To drown in sweet distraction
Why surface to breathe poison
When she heals as my nepenthe


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In Praise of Mushy Peas

The first draft of this poem was written at the Chelsea Pensioner pub back in June during my vacation in London.


In Praise of Mushy Peas

Green as spring
Birthed in the garden
Plucked by man
Bred for the task
Popped from their womb
Dropped in the boil
Unified as a paste
Enriching a taste
Worthy of Persephone


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Poetry Reading and Prizes

12743563_10156510847585655_6692687021661795776_nThis quickly approaching Sunday afternoon at 2pm, I’ll be one of the featured readers performing at McIntyre’s Books as part of the North Carolina Poetry Society Reading in Fearrington Village. I won’t just be reading from my latest book, Milkshakes and Chilidogs, I’ll also be offering prizes to the bravest and brainiest members of my audience. Be there and be square!

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The Sorting Hat

We had a Sorting Hat at the Harry Potter workshop Saturday and I wrote down what it whispered in my ear when I put it on. Try to remember what you heard and post in the comments below. We’ll be doing another Potter Poetry Workshop in the autumn.

20180714_131212The Sorting Hat

This one needs focus–
mind always flying
like a magpie
to the next shiny
to collect and catalog.

Too smart for his own good,
too much sarcasm,
so many flaws,
he belongs in House Ravenclaw.

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Magical Poetry

20180622_171235A few months ago, I received an owl from Hogwarts. Secrecy being what it is, I could not reveal the true reason for my recent trip to Britain until now.

I have been recalled to my position as Poetics Master after an extended sabbatical in the New World. I objected to the recall, having built a comfy little life here, and after prolonged negotiation was able to come to an arrangement where I can remain in Hillsborough, teaching my classes remotely using a combination of bi-location and VoIP.

As part of the arrangement, this Saturday afternoon at the Read With Me bookshop in downtown Raleigh, I’ll be holding a special poetry workshop for young witches and wizards. Since poems are simply magical spells cast in the mind of the reader, we’ll learn how to better construct these spells to express and evoke powerful emotions.

If you know any aspiring students who would like practical instruction in the magical art of poetry, they should register at Read With Me. Send an owl or visit their website.

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