Friday, July 10, 2009


It’s difficult for me to let a year pass without putting together a chapbook of poetry, and next week, Border Press will publish another volume of my poetry that includes two collections. One collection includes poems about general topics; the other contains poetry about Iran. When the news about Iran’s botched presidential election was broadcast, I felt compelled to ready a book I had written last year entitled FARDA, poems about my sojourn in this mid-eastern country, 1973-75, before the Shahanshah was deposed.

In June I wrote a blog and mentioned the chapbook, publishing one poem about Persepolis, one of Iran’s historic ruins. Today, I’ll include a poem from THE HOLY PRESENT at the conclusion of this blog. Some of the poems in THE HOLY PRESENT appeared in previous blogs; other unpublished ones cover a period ranging from the 1970’s to the present and include poems about family, friends, life in Tennessee, musings about the human psyche, etc.

The cover of this chapbook is, again, a copy of an oil painting done by my brother Paul and is designed by my grandson Martin. Paul’s mystical painting aptly expresses the concept of THE HOLY PRESENT and was rendered before he developed glaucoma and became unable to see well enough to paint. I’m glad I have some of the art he produced when he could see the progress of his renderings of landscapes and seascapes – and the imaginary ones that emerged from memories and fantasies. He lives in his favorite place, California, at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by redwood forests.

Paul began drawing when he was a young boy and also painted pictures to illustrate the stories my father ALWAYS told at bedtime, the varying adventures of a stuffed bear named Jimmy Bear. He actually put together a cardboard book with the Jimmy Bear drawings, but his first creation has been lost during the years following the death of my mother and father. I have more poems to share and a few more of Paul’s paintings that I hope to use on the covers of books before I exhaust his store of art.

Here’s a “minimalist” poem from THE HOLY PRESENT:


Warrior sparrow beaks the web of a spider,
a net that holds dead caterpillars,

attempts to puncture the impenetrable
cocoon of dead prey and, daunted, flies away,

wing rising, seeking repositories of food
available through ruptures in loose skeins

of those who don’t protect their holdings,
who resist the spinning to risk all.

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