Monday, May 26, 2008

Monday Poetry Train - for Joe Stummer

I just watched an incredible documentary last night about the life of Joe Stummer, lead singer of The Clash. Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten. There was so much I didn't know about him, especially the amazing journey of his life. And even though he had some tortured years and pushed away a lot of his friends, he was authentic, and he was a very generous human being. I found the film inspiring in many ways.

When he died at 50 (of a congenital heart defect he knew nothing about), he had come full circle and found peace and happiness in his community.

(The title is in reference to Joseph Campbell's Monomyth, the Hero's Journey)

Separation – Initiation - Return

Joe Strummer lived
the perfect Hero’s Journey
status quo ransacked
when sent to boarding
school the inciting brotherly
suicide the threshold of the
free world trials and allies and
enemies lovers and fans
until finally the belly
of the beast
without a backup band
and the only redemption
to make amends with
all the hippies

he burned fires in circles
after he learned
it’s not places you return to
it’s peace of mind the
final okay I’m here this is it
this is me
and I’d rather be happy
than right
that rock laughing at me
in the shade
without form
we could live that long
and have compassion too

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday Poetry Train - Found Poem from talk by Jill Bolte Taylor

Assignment: write a found poem. Use the words of a piece of non-fiction or a speech to write a poem. Put someone else`s words into the style/form of your own poetry.

This is a found poem made up of words and phrases from Jill Bolte Taylor's moving talk on T.E.D. called A Stroke of Insight. Click the link and pull up a box of Kleenex.

a stroke of insight

I can no longer identify
the boundaries of
my body

my body

enormous and expansive
disconnected from all chatter

no longer the choreographer
of my life
I surrender
a sea of silent euphoria

and no way to squeeze
the enormousness of myself
back inside

I am the lifeforce power of the universe
with manual dexterity
and two cognitive minds

I am the lifeforce power of the universe
at one
with all that is

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Weekend Workout - bonus poetry and a shout out to Eckhart Tolle

I haven't given you all a weekend writing workout in a while, so I stopped in with a bonus poem for the Wishes, Lies, and Dreams class at Puget Sound Community School.

My assignment this time is to go someplace where there are lots of people and just wander around, being quiet, and listening to them all. I think buses are great for this. So are malls. Listen to everyone's pain, fears, worries, suffering, silliness... Your job is to empathize with them all.

I've been having a great time observing others after reading Eckhart Tolle's book A New Earth, which I think is a useful tool for writers. Forget books about writing for a moment and read a book about being a human suffering inside of an ego. Should give you insights for great character development.

During or after you do this listening exercise, write a poem that begins with the lines "I listen..." and see where it takes you.


I listen to angels
on the bus wearing
narrative eyes - I've lost
my fearlessness the charm
of youth once wombed in an
immortality of ideas
I am now offered seats
sweets - and less hours in a day
The bus driver tells me
about how his sister smothered
the dashboard of her car
with stuffed animals

I had a car like that I say
Allen Ginsberg rode shotgun
when I gave him a ride home
from a party
elixired on poetry
an incident my keeper of
memory adores

A bodhisattva sits next to me
remembering his dinner
Chinese ladies with bags of aluminum cans
chat loudly and the bus lurches
tumbling us madly forward laughing
as we touch - we know
each other now
a bird of souls
a playground of misfits

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Poetry Train... not so much...

I'm not feeling so poetic at the moment, but I am pretty excited.

Now you can finally see why I have been so insanely busy lately (making for inconsistent blogging).

The first of 25 internet TV sites I am helping to create has launched!

It's less than a week old, so there are still bugs and glitches and funky things going on, as well as changes we just couldn't make in time for our launch. So, we'll be tweaking over the next few months to get everything right.

Each site is locally-based and locally focused. Toronto and Seattle are next.

For some reason, the sound adjuster isn't working on the viewing pages, so you'll have to adjust the sound from your computer.

A few short films that I wrote are posted on the TV IAM portion of the site:


What the Cat Said

And I wrote, produced, and directed the "How To TV AM" video, which is about creating video citizen journalism (Click on the pink How To TV IAM graphic)

Word is getting out, people are excited about participating and love the look. I can`t wait to start on the next city!

So, no poem today... but at least I`m getting sleep again. :-)