IN-FORM POET WEDNESDAY – HARRISHAM RHYME

Just in case you missed this can’t-be-missed (DON’T MISS IT!) announcement, YOUR very first Poetic Bloomings book is now complete and ready for gifting!  See the announcement here:  http://poeticbloomings.com/2012/11/27/big-news/

Now, on to today’s agenda…

The Harrisham Rhyme was created by Harrisham Minhas, of Punjab, India. It consists of one six-line rhyming stanza.  In this form, the last letter of the first word of each line becomes the first letter of the first word of the next line.

Rhyme scheme : ababab.

MARIE ELENA’S HARRISHAM:

AGE-OLD HEROES

Whatever heroes come my way,
Rescuing me from self-chagrin
Gently persuade my heart to weigh
Youth’s suppleness against thick skin
Supplied by dose of day-to-day
Deliverance of what has been.

(Also inspired by Paula Wanken’s “Heroes or Villains” prompt at Poetic Asides.)

© Copyright – Marie Elena Good – 2012

WALT’S RHYME:

CURRIER AND IVES LIVES

Winter sends her tell-tale signs of an early showing,
reaching the ground in large aerated flakes
glistening. I stand listening to it silently blowing
ground covered in little time, that’s all it takes.
Drifts stretching across the yard; it’s still snowing,
such a lovely picture print it makes.

© Copyright – Walter J. Wojtanik 2012

 

BIG NEWS!!

My photo isn’t good, but isn’t she pretty??

This 200-page collection WILL be ready in time for Christmas giving! 

Watch for more information in the next couple of days.  All contributing authors will be given a discount code for use for your own purchase.

Aaaaaaaand we have an update already!  It’s ready for immediate purchase at CreateSpace!  It will be available on Amazon in 5-7 business days.  For now, here is the link to CreateSpace:

https://www.createspace.com/4055955

If you are a contributing author, please e-mail us at poeticbloomings@yahoo.com with the subject line “discount code.”  We will then send you the code to receive a 20% discount on your Poetic Bloomings – The First Year book purchases.

Congratulations to all!!

SIBLING REVELRY – PROMPT #83

Our mothers and fathers have had their say. And now we check in with the rest of the Peanut Gallery. Families come in all configurations and sizes, and their influence is no less important to our development.

“HOW DO YOU VIEW your life? – POETIC BLOOMINGS MEMOIR PROJECT

Part 18: Sibling Revelry – Write about one (or all) of your siblings. If you were an only child, was there a cousin who filled that gap? If not, write about your feelings about being the “one and only.”

MARIE ELENA’S SISTER

With my big sister, Peg

(*Sijo)

Perhaps an only child would once have preferred to remain so.
Perhaps she grapples still in deep or shallow recesses,
Never quite comfortable journeying in sister shoes.

Yet as she treks time’s encounters, does she open her eyes to see
Herself reflected in those of her sister’s affection,
And perchance recognize how deeply loved and valued she is.

© Copyright – Marie Elena Good – 2012

*The photo messes with the form, but it’s staying.  I love it. 😉

P.S.  My sister has embarked on a journey late in life that has ordained her as a minister.  She just received a new pastoral position at a UCC church in Owosso, Michigan.  Personally, I can’t envision myself being as unselfishly giving of my time as is required of the pastor of a church.  I’m so very proud of her for this.

WALT’S COHORTS:

SIBLING REVELRY

More than five times have I been blessed,
from my vantage point, the middle man.

Two sisters and four brothers
all offspring of the same mother,

all with their quirks and styles,
(everyone with Dad’s smile) and

a completely separate branch on the family tree,
foliage gone, but the rings around the trunk

assure a longevity; a brevity in the span
of this vast universe so created, and elated

that we have come to reconnect at a time
when the incredible shrinking surname

wanes towards obscurity. A factual surety
that frames this portrait with love and understanding

no longer demanding and pompous, an enormous relief
in the belief that in assuming the mantle left behind

we will find our footing and map out new ground,
profound in the knowledge of our origin and happy

we were afforded the opportunity to flex our wile,
while never straying far from our connection.

Joseph, your history is our mystery. Not around long enough
to make a blemish, although leaving your mark on our fabric.

Cynthia, queen mother so assumed, groomed for the position
of matriarch with enough of a spark to be yourself.

Paul, sure and independent, most reticent to belong,’
too strong for your own good, a marvel with wood.

Tim, wild and free, determined to take life by the throat
and squeeze every ounce out of its living.

Ken, backbone in question, but heart always in place,
a face only a mother could love, (and she could have been jiving!)

Laurie, a singular soul, her only attachments are her siblings
and her felines, straddling the fine line of “Crazy Cat Lady”.

Where does that leave me? The word guy, know-it-all,
writing the script that skirts dysfunction for the joy our bond provides.

You have that right, Brother!

© Copyright – Walter J. Wojtanik 2010

BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS – PROMPT #82

Lives can change in a moment’s notice. These are the personal moments that have had lasting effect on our lives. These are the BLOOMS of our lives (in a manner of speaking)

MARIE ELENA’S BLOOM

What an impressive array of experiences and conveyance thereof. Lovely, poignant, fun, intriguing, heartrending – my goodness, folks!  Though I am naturally drawn to simply (but creatively) penned, succinct pieces, the ability to write a poem that may be read in reverse as well as forward completely blows me away, and simply MUST be honored with a “Bloom.”  Hero’s Journey by Andra-Teodora Negroiu is nothing short of amazing.  I recommend reading it slowly — soaking in the artistic phrasing and significance of each thought expressed.  This is a staggeringly clever, emotive piece.  Andra, I’m in awe.

Hero’s Journey by Andra-Teodora Negroiu

as a little girl
upon the cumbersome platform shoes of my generation,
i delusively deemed myself tall enough to regard the world
akin to a cracked negative of my intimate mosaic,
what i had thought to be the most important day of my life was when
i discovered that
i would daily scrape the bottom of my hope with my fingers,
unless i donned the masks my people were handing out,
i speciously trusted that
i was merely exhaling my loneliness when, hungry for praise,
probing through the gutters of numberless faces,
my lips were parched for want of love –
and it reformed at my feet exactly when
i let go of my thistly crown of lies – the world slipped through my grasp,
flipped my convictions upside-down like a pancake and then,
when the most important day of my life truly came,
my feet of clay got spun off by a cascade of love

WALT’S CHOICE:

Dark days do indeed bring an awakening with them and the lessons learned here are life transforming. But there are the light-hearted day that bring balance to our hearts and minds and this poem did just that. I will give a nod to Sharon Ingraham’s epic (you’re getting good at that) and Marian Veverka’s “Mexico” piece (which spans her lifetime). But for that one moment that evens the scales, I chose Michelle Hed’s NO MANUAL for this bloom.

No Manual by Michelle Hed

With fearful anticipation
we awaited your birth.
Marveling in the changes
you wrought from within.

Then you entered the world
and in a joyful panic
we realized the world
as we knew it, had ended.

We had no desire to give you back
but a manual would have been nice.
We had no clue
what to do with a mini you.

Ten toes, ten fingers
and the largest eyes I’ve ever seen,
and curly dark hair
a gift.

No manual needed for love.

IN-FORM POET WEDNESDAY – RONDEAU

A rondeau (plural rondeaux) is a form of French poetry with 15 lines written on two rhymes.  It makes use of refrains, repeated according to a certain stylized pattern. It was customarily regarded as a challenge to arrange for these refrains to contribute to the meaning of the poem in as succinct and poignant a manner as possible. The rondeau consists of thirteen lines of eight syllables, plus two refrains (which are half lines,  four syllables each).

The traditional rondeau looks like this:

A
A
B
B
A

A
A
B
A(R)

A
A
B
B
A
A(R)

MARIE’S RONDEAU:

SO WRITE ME ONE (a rondeau)

So write me one – a great rondeau,
Just like the one you wrote below
And others you will surely write
While you’re awake into the night
As off to beddy-bye I go.

For as for me, my words won’t flow
At times it seems they are my foe
Elusive, they, and impolite.
So – write me one?

It would be brilliant. This I know.
Your muse would speak; your poem would grow.
What I should do is just sit tight
And wait for you to write tonight
As goodness knows I’m no Thoreau,
So write me one.
😉

© Copyright – Marie Elena – 2012

WALT’S RONDEAU:

(The Truth About) NAUGHTY OR NICE

I’ve made a list and checked it twice,
some were naughty and some were nice.
Naughty ones could get a reprieve
depends how strongly they believe.
I think one more glance should suffice.

Here in the land of snow and ice,
the tally kept should be precise,
I have no reason to deceive –
I’ve made a list!

The nice ones never pay the price;
and the naughty never think twice.
Excuse me if I sound naive –
I am Santa Claus; I believe!
so listen all to my advice:
“I’ve made a list”!

© Copyright – Santa Claus 2012

POETIC BLOOMINGS: The Best Garden for Verse!

We have established a group page over at Facebook. It is a work in progress and I’m still getting all the bugs out of it, but anyone who posts here will be able to access as long as we can “friend” you.

We’ll use that space for the personal interaction and leave the poems growing here. You are still encouraged to comment on the poems here as well. A little boost goes a long way!

THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF MY LIFE – PROMPT #82

Everything around us has an affect on how we live our lives. People, places and things have been explored in one detail or another. Even events have their influence. World events were touched upon, but now is the time to relay a personal event.

“HOW DO YOU VIEW your life? – POETIC BLOOMINGS MEMOIR PROJECT

Part 17: The Most Important Day of My Life – We addressed how a world event had made an impact on your life. Now, this one is self-explanatory. What was your personal happenstance that made an impact?

MARIE ELENA’S EVENT:

RESTORED (for my Keith [Naani form])

the moment your eyes verbalized
authentic love
and my heart learned to be fluent
in trust

WALT’S EVENT:

AISLE FOR TWO

Two in white, right where
we thought we would be.
Down the runway on a sunny day
in April full of promise and hope.
Before family and friends to send
us into the future, a bit unsure
but willing to find our way.
All on that sunny April day.

BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS – PROMPT #81

Our parents had given us our identity and we carry traits of each with us long after our births. The poems we wrote of our mothers stirred the pot of emotion. If that was the case, this week’s work has set the pot to boil. We live in this stew pot  of memories. And again they are worthy of recognition with the awarded BLOOMS.

MARIE ELENA’S CHOICE:

Reflecting on our own fathers probably brings up the strongest emotions (whether good or bad) of just about any other relationship we can explore.  This may or may not be true, but certainly appeared to be so when reading your emotion-laden poems.  Being one who loves and thoroughly enjoys my own father, I was particularly moved by the tenderly penned pieces of those of you who either lost your dad too soon, or did not have a relationship you long to look back on.  It was once again so very difficult to choose just one to highlight here.  But Patricia Hawkenson’s “Stern Mooring” kept returning to haunt me for its little girl’s disconcerting melody.  Patricia, I don’t think you could have expressed your unyielding longing more fully, nor more poetically.  Your title is absolutely brilliant, and the brilliance flows unceasingly from there.  Please accept a hug with your Beautiful Bloom.

Stern Mooring by Patricia A. Hawkenson

I wanted
to feel the ground
solid beneath my feet
to know there was a wall
formidable, unwavering,
that could barricade me
in love.

But I felt
the slippery rocks
that rose from troubled waters
pulling me by the ankles
into the shocking cold
where my tender forehead
eager for a goodnight kiss
softly upon my brow
waited
and waited
till the distant
ebb and flow
of time
forgot what
I had wanted.

WALT’S CHOICE:

The difficulty factor was through the roof on this one again. The power in each piece was hard to read at times, bringing recollection of my father and our lifelong battle to find the friend we always wanted in each other. There were touching moments and moments of pain, and each expression dripped with the emotion of each. The piece I had chosen by this poet went to great lengths to tell her story which was riveting and heart-rending. I applaud this effort by offering my BEAUTIFUL BLOOM to Sharon Ingraham’s effort.

His Eyes Were Serenely Blue By Sharon E. Ingraham

Hospital walls glow
Sickly mint-green
Late afternoon sunshine
Slants sneaky shadows
Across dirty tile floors
Floors I’d expect to find clean
Spotlessly sterile in fact
In this environment
This long, broad hallway
Is filled with light
And hilliness, slopes, inclines
My father, dressed in brown
A sienna brown suit
I’ve never seen before
Has just finished hugging me;
I am reeling, faint with it
He rarely hugged anyone
Not even me, his favourite
As I stand in the basin
Of the slopes, I watch Dad pivot
Turn, and walk hurriedly up
The incline going away from me
When he reaches the top, he turns
His eyes are clear, serenely blue
There is no pain there, it’s plain
He smiles broadly, waves at me
I muster up my own smile and wave back
Grinning, he turns sharply, walks out of my view

There is something off about this
But I can’t quite put my finger on it
The niggling remains after I awaken
And all the next day as well
It’s like a name you’re trying to remember,
Or a word you can’t think of
It’ll be “right on the tip of your tongue”
And then – boom – gone, seemingly irretrievable.

It wasn’t until I saw a child struggling
with his crutches later that day,
that it finally hit me

All my life, my Dad, so uncomplaining,
it was easy to forget – had a pronounced limp;
he’d been severely crippled as a child
And in later years, he was slowly resigning himself
To having to use canes and other “assists”, as he put it.

As fate would have it, lung cancer put paid
to any of those notions
Dad had more to worry about
than walking sticks, when he got sick
And he was in so much pain
in such a short period of time
He didn’t do much moving at all
in the few months left, after his diagnosis,
The issue of pain management
was the only thing that mattered at the end
And his trouble getting around became
part of his history, by the time he died.

But in my dream, Dad was vital again,
and he was walking tall, striding really
and with no sign of a limp,
no hesitation to his step even
I rewound the dream-reel in my mind,
Picturing him pivoting and strolling briskly
up the incline of the hospital hallway
Then turning abruptly at the top,
He smiled widely—he was inordinately proud
of keeping all his own teeth; I thought
that was what the smile was about—
Ah, but his eyes were so serenely blue
As he waved good-bye to me—
Of course, I should have seen it,
Not only was he pain-free,
He could walk normally, briskly
Probably run if he chose to;
I like to think he was off to some rink
To try out ice-skating.
He’d always wanted to.

SPECIAL INTERVIEW – ROBERT LEE BREWER

ROBERT LEE BREWER

Feeling very giddylittlegirl-ish as I introduce today’s very special guest: Mr. Robert Lee Brewer.  If you are a poet (dabbler, aspiring, or renowned), it’s a pretty safe bet that you know the name.  Walt and I recognize and appreciate that Robert has been a dominant and effective force in our poetic endeavors, and that his influence extends literally around the globe.

Robert, I’m star-struck.  Welcome!

ROBERT:  Thank you so much for this opportunity, Marie.    You, Walt  –  the whole Poetic Asides community  –  you all mean a great deal to me.

MARIE ELENA:  Let’s start with your position:  Senior Content Editor for Writer’s Digest Writing Community.  Will you please give us an idea of what that entails, and how you secured the position?

ROBERT:  I started at F+W Media, when it was still called F&W Publishing, as an unpaid intern through Erin McGraw, my professor at the time. I came in and worked my butt off, asking for new projects and suggesting new ideas. Basically, I made it hard for them to let me go when it came time for my internship to end. For more than a decade, I’ve been trying to improve off that—so that’s how I secured the position.

As to the position itself, it’s sort of a custom-made position that allows me to edit a few Market Books (Writer’s Market, Poet’s Market, and the debut edition of Guide to Indie Publishing), blog at Poetic Asides, write a column for Writer’s Digest magazine, speak at writing conferences, create online education products, manage the WritersMarket.com website, edit a weekly e-newsletter, and other fun stuff. It keeps me busy.

MARIE ELENA:  How and when did your interest begin to focus on poetry?

ROBERT: I started writing poetry with a purpose in high school to impress a girl. It impressed her, so I started writing more and more. As a junior in high school, I published a little fanzine called Faulty Mindbomb — even pawning my bass guitar and amp to get out an extra issue. So even my interest in publishing can be traced back to that time.

MARIE ELENA: Taking up poetry to impress a girl is just too cute!  Apparently you knew what you were doing even back then, since you managed to impress the target of your heart.  If your poems to her were anywhere near as sweetly romantic as “I Never Hear the Alarm,” I can see why she was impressed.  This one makes me swoon.

I Never Hear the Alarm by Robert Lee Brewer

Always a hand on my shoulder
and a whisper, my dreams dissolve
as I search for the voice calling
me into the world, a voice
softer than feathers moved by breath
released from a sleeping baby,
so I might find it on her lips
and bury it with my kisses

*sigh*

Moving on.  Robert, how would you describe your personal poetic voice, and how did you develop it? 

ROBERT: I always find the answer to this question hard to describe, because I think every poem has different needs. One thing I try to do with my poetry is to make it fun and interesting for me. Often, I try to let my mind wander and get as carried away as possible. I’ve written several thousand poems that’ll never see the light of day. That’s not an exaggeration either. But over time, I’ve found that the poems I try to get published should do one of two things (and hopefully both): entertain and/or have a purpose that hopefully touches someone beyond myself.

MARIE ELENA:  Trying to make your poem interesting to you seems like a no-brainer, yet I never thought about it in quite that light.   And I have to tell you, the fact that you have written so much poetry that will “never see the light of day” is an encouragement to me.

I often ask those I interview if they consider themselves to be a “poet.”  Let me ask you this – do you consider yourself a well-published poet?

ROBERT:  I’ve been putting together a full-length collection this month, and I’ve come to realize that I am very well published. It’s a bit of a surprise, because I often feel like I’m not submitting enough work. But I guess it adds up over time.

MARIE ELENA:  Robert, if you meander through our interviews, you’ll see your name in nearly every one.  Your presence in the online poetic community is astounding.  Are you aware of your influence in this regard?  Do you know (can you explain) how you got here?

ROBERT:  I’ve become aware over time that my influence is out there in the poetry community—from the regulars on the Poetic Asides blog to school teachers who send me poetry chapbooks created by their students. It’s really incredible to me, and I constantly have to pinch myself.

As for the why, it’s hard for me to put a finger on that. Maybe it’s because I don’t try to act cooler than I am. That is, I just try to be myself. Maybe it’s because I’m working through my line breaks the same as everyone else. Maybe it’s because I try to connect poets to other poets and encourage cooperation.

Whatever it is, I try not to dwell on it too much and just keep moving forward and feel grateful for the community that helps keep me afloat.

MARIE ELENA:  Teachers send you poetry chapbooks created by their students?  That is utterly awesome!  Actually, it is surprising to me that children are being taught how to create poetry chapbooks in school.  That in itself is awesome!

 “2010 POET LAUREATE OF THE BLOGOSPHERE.”  Wow!  How did THAT feel?

ROBERT:  It felt great to have so many people pull for me. The great thing about that honor is that it was a result of people voting. The bad thing about it—the thing that still bugs me about that process—is that so many people used it as an excuse to get nasty.

MARIE ELENA. How disappointing folks can be sometimes during an election of any type, eh?   As excited as I was for you, your discomfort in the throes of the event was palpable.  Those throwing the stones must surely have been blind to what you freely give to the online writing community, such as the vast array of writing/publishing advice on your “My Name is Not Bob” site.  In fact, you share so much information that it can be hard to know where to begin.  Perhaps you could give us a tip on how to best navigate your site.

ROBERT:  I’d suggest browsing the Links and Labels at the bottom of each post—as I try to group topics as well as possible there. Eventually, I need to put together a website using WordPress that will enable readers to navigate more efficiently.

MARIE ELENA:  That sounds like a great idea – but a lot of time to add to your already-demanding workload.  Your dedication to helping fledgling writers moves me.

Along those lines, will you please take a moment to share your best piece of advice for those of us trying to become “well published?”

ROBERT:  For any writer trying to build a career out of writing, I think the most important thing to work on—besides the writing, which always comes first—is creating a platform. This includes defining who you are as a writer, having a hub online (whether a website or blog), using social media, and more. It’s dizzying if you try to do everything at once, which is why I always advise starting small and building over time. Here’s a link to my 30-day writer platform challenge, which writers can do whenever they have time to attack it: http://robertleebrewer.blogspot.com/2012/05/how-to-build-or-improve-your-writer.html.

MARIE ELENA:  Thank you for the handy link, and the reminder.  This is something I need to buckle down and do.

Robert, in this hand, I hold your quote:  “… poetry is almost never about the money, but more about the love of writing and sharing words and worldviews.”   In this hand, I hold your 2013 Writer’s Market.  Please expound — tell me how these two equations add up.

ROBERT: Poetry is a very tough sell. In fact, that’s why I continually tell our marketing and advertising departments to promise helping poets “get published” on Poet’s Market. That’s not to say there aren’t examples of poets making money poeming. It can and does happen, but it’s not nearly as easy as making a living writing nonfiction and fiction (not that those genres are a cake walk either).

While Writer’s Market includes listings for poetry markets, I think the target audience for that book is all writers. Poet’s Market is the guide I suggest for poets who primarily write poetry, because it focuses on the goals of crafting better poems, building an audience for poetry, and getting those poems published.

MARIE ELENA:  Thank you Robert.  And I must add, I wonder how long it will take for Merriam-Webster to recognize the verb “poeming,” and the noun “bloomings.”  😉

Let’s turn the focus from the profession to the man, as much of our purpose in these interviews is to get to know the poet behind the poetry.  You claim to be “blessed with a lot of friends, and an optimistic world view.”  That in itself says a great deal about you, especially in light of not always having a fun, worry-free life.  “My life, my perspective on life is a good one, but it hinges on a set of dark events in a relationship that I’d never wish on another person.”  Robert, please elaborate as much as you are comfortable.

ROBERT: For that second quote, it relates to being sexually abused as a child in early elementary school over a prolonged period of time by my father. It was something I kept a secret from everyone (even my own mother) until after I started writing poetry actually. For many people, this type of traumatic experience with a family member can crush them, but I was blessed with friends and an optimism that expressed itself even as a small child when I would run up to complete strangers in public and give them hugs.

Everyone has horrible misfortunes, and I know it’s easy to let those demons drag you down. I also know it’s possible to work your way out. So I try to be as open as I can about my own problems — not to show that I’m stronger or better, but to show that life can go on afterward. Bad events don’t have to equate to a bad life.

MARIE ELENA:  Having been blessed with a father so far removed from that makes it terribly difficult for me to imagine what you went through, and the memories you deal with to this day.  My heart breaks for you and others in this position, and I’m thankful you have worked through it so beautifully.

I had asked you to share a favorite poem (one of your own), and explain why you chose it.  This is a good time to pull that out.

Solving the world’s problems by Robert Lee Brewer

I began as eyelashes blocking the sun,
and my father was a digital clock.

In a dark cave, my father counted
out the minutes as I kept myself
from myself. In this way, I learned to kiss.

Years later, when I became a horse,
I ran the hot blood out of my body.

Father turned into a dream filled
with fire and a horrible laugh. I
burned into a cloud of smoke.

Father became a phone call and then
silence. I worried what I might

transform into next. I worried
what I might already be. Then,
I forgave father.

(Originally published in OCHO.)

Why this poem? For me, this poem embodies everything I try to do with poetry. The first line was originally in a sestina that wasn’t working, but it was still fun to write. Then, I realized that line deserved its own poem. Beyond the craft, this poem really sums up my life from my first memory to when I really freed myself to start living as a teenager—not only that courageous moment of finally sharing the secret but then, years later, finding the ability to forgive the person who gave me this dark secret to carry with me. It’s the type of poem I hope entertains even as it enlightens, and starts conversations on a topic that’s not always easy to discuss.

MARIE ELENA: Your attitude, expressed so creatively and eloquently in your poetry and commentary, impresses me to no end.  Bless your heart.

And then there’s this:  “Eventually my breathing stopped altogether and–right before [Tammy’s] eyes–my skin was turning crayon blue.”  Walt and I and a number of others here remember this 2009 horrific event.  Please tell us what happened, and how/if it has changed who you are now.

ROBERT:  I was in Ohio to attend my son’s birthday party and had just driven up the night before with Tammy and Will. My mom called, and I jumped up to answer the phone. We said a few things, and then I just felt myself blacking out. That’s all I remember until I started to hear Tammy’s voice again and then see her face—worried more than I’d ever seen from anyone.

From Tammy’s perspective, I stood up to talk, sat down on a couch, and then reclined back on my back—as if I were going to take a nap. It took her a moment to realize I was snoring and that the phone was on the ground.

Apparently, I quit breathing altogether, though my eyes were still open, and then, started turning crayon-color blue. Tammy started blowing in my mouth and doing what she could to revive me (before I started changing colors). Meanwhile, my sister-in-law called 911, who showed up briefly after I regained consciousness.

After that, I spent three days in the hospital as they tried to diagnose what happened and failed to do so. When I returned to Georgia, I spent more than a month running through several more tests. In the end, the cardiologists thought it had something to do with my head and the neurologists thought it had something to do with my heart.

If nothing else, the event has helped me learn to pull back every so often—when I’ve always been the type of person to push through any obstacle. It’s also one more reason to feel blessed that I’m still on the planet and able to do good things.

MARIE ELENA:  Wow.  It leaves me dumbfounded that they were never able to give you a proper diagnosis.  Thank God you were not alone when this happened.

Now, tell us more about this amazing woman that saved your life.  And then go ahead and brag about your kids.  I know you want to, and we’d love it if you did.

ROBERT AND TAMMY

ROBERT: Tammy is the sweetest human being I’ve ever known, and that’s from someone who had an amazing mother, who raised three boys single-handedly while working in an Ohio car factory. We started communicating strictly about poetry on MySpace and eventually started talking about parenting, running, and well, eventually we started talking about other stuff.

On top of being sweet, she’s incredibly brave. She flew herself out to Ohio from Georgia to meet a guy (me) who she only knew as an online avatar and a voice on the phone. I know I was nervous, but that really takes guts to travel to another state to meet someone who might be nothing like you’ve pictured them.

I’ll tell you this, I can’t imagine accomplishing half of what I’ve done over the past 4-5 years without her encouragement. On top of that, she really is the better poet in our house, and I’ve learned so much about revision and perfecting a poem from her. She’ll try to deny it, but her work is really exceptional.

As far as my kids, they are incredible, and each one offers something unique that I love. Ben is often looking out for all his younger siblings. Jonah is a deep thinker with an incredible wit. Reese has a photographic memory and an artistic vision of the world. Will is that super happy child who gives hugs, always smiles, and sings made up songs to himself. Hannah is my clever little princess, who’s already figuring out how to get out of her car seat.

HANDSOME SONS

MARIE ELENA:  Your family is adorable, Robert.  You are very blessed – as are they.

I know you are a man of faith.  What role does that play in your coping with life’s sometimes horrid events, and what effect (if any) does it have on your writing?

ROBERT:  My faith gives me an extra level of confidence, because I know my time on this planet may be limited, but the journey continues after my body passes. It also provides me with a roadmap for living my life in a way that helps others. In particular, I realize that finding faith is a personal journey. It’s not something I can make another person feel. As with my bad experiences, all I can do is to let people know that I’ve found something good in my life, because I left myself open—even after years of claiming God doesn’t exist. I don’t know if I can explain it better than to say at some point it became obvious to me that I’m not alone.

MARIE ELENA:  I end every interview with the same question:  If there was only one thing we could know about you, what would you tell us?

ROBERT:  I feel very lucky, and I wish everyone could find the same happiness I’ve found.

MARIE ELENA:  Thank you again for generously spending this time with us.  In case we haven’t made it perfectly clear, we recognize that you have given us more than we can ever repay.

Now — Go Buckeyes!

And tell that brother of yours to be safe out there. 😉  (http://www.weather.com/tv/tvshows/storm-riders/article/simon-brewer-and-juston-drake_2011-07-29)

 

WHERE TO FIND ROBERT:

 

IN-FORM POET WEDNESDAY – PARODY

Simply put, a parody poem is one that pokes fun at another poem or poet. It could “mock” a song lyric (which is basically musical poetry). It can draw inspiration to answer another work. Everything is fair game; the more irreverent, the funnier (or more pointed) it will be.

MARIE ELENA’S PARODY:

O Christmas Tree (A Parody, and Ode to De)

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
One lonely gift beneath thee
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
One lonely gift beneath thee
What’s this?  The tag says it’s for me!
Let’s open it, so I may see
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
This lonely gift beneath thee!
 

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
Your gift is not so lonely!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
Your gift is not so lonely!
The finest gift, I do decree!
Beneath your boughs, a Pair-O-De!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
Your gift is not so lonely!
 

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
However can I thank thee?
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
However can I thank thee?
Eternal muse, my Pair-O-De!
I’ll pen no longer hopelessly!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
However can I thank thee?

(Dedicated to a poet my muse is unflatteringly jealous of: De Miller Jackson)

 

WALT’S PARODY:

WHERE MY POEMS BEGIN

Here in my head where my thoughts converge
and before my writing urge,
and before ideas incubate and hatch,
and where rhyme grows as wild as thatch,
and I toss my words around to make them match
to come together in some lively dirge.

I’ll remain here seated where my laptop is
and my thesaurus, dog-eared and worn,
near my waste bin where my scraps of failure fall,
I will write with a purpose that is prompted and metered,
and watch my “epoch” start to grow,
In this place where my poems begin.

Of course, I will write with a purpose that is prompted and metered,
and watch this wordy ditty grow,
for Marie will read it, and Marie will know
where my poems begin.

***Dedicated to Marie Elena for her staunch support, based on “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein, her favorite poet (one of ‘em anyway).***

From Marie Elena: Thanks Walt! I remember this! How cool that 3 of the poets I admire most are right here in this post. 😉