This news could become old and unworthy of sharing, but not when it's poetry breaking into the world. I woke up to find that the Tule Review, of the Sacramento Poetry Center, has accepted my poem "Right Speech," and now in just a matter of days two poems that have strong Buddhist origins, this one and "Feeling Tones," have found new and wonderful homes in the world. My warm, deep thanks for the editors choices and for the readers who will soon hear the work. May we all learn to listen deep to deep, to the same blood gurgling in all our hearts.....
It is with much joy that I share with you the news that Compose Literary Journal will be publishing my poems, "Gone Blue, Gone Gray, Gone away," and "Feeling Tones" in their next online issue. Besides, Compose, being one of the most respected online poetry journals, there are two special facts regarding this acceptance.
1. "Gone Blue, Gone Gray Gone Away," is the second poem in three months to be published about my Father, Emmanuel Moore, Jr. I am so honored that the world is finding him as lovable and beautiful as I do.
2. "Feeling Tones," which is a 5 part, Buddhist meditation on the inquiry into the meaning of the five interrogative words, Who, What, When, Where, and Why, is my longest poem yet to be published, and a poem I invested much work and belief in as we both grew together into the piece.
So, you can see why there's is such a deep sense of gratitude flowing for this acceptance.
And as if that weren't enough. Sometime this coming week, begin looking this Saturday,
my poem "A Way To Live With Lightning Without The Coming Storm," will be online at Permafrost Magazine, at the University of Alaska.
I hope that you will read the new work and share with me any thoughts you may have, that continue to teach me more about the infinite gift of poetry. It is truly why I live.
Last Saturday, Laura and I arrived in Seattle, at the Green Lake Library a few hours early before I was scheduled to do a Poetry reading at 4:00. We intentionally went early due to our very few trips to "France," which is what vwe call the mainland, and in particular our old homeland of Seattle, where we both lived for many years.
Going early reduces the possible stress of uncertainty about traffic, parking and other related questions. But the joke, as always was on us, and me in particular. Yes, we arrived safe and sound, with literally NO STRESSFUL experiences at all. Yet, we had forgotten what I call my "City Of Angels Syndrome," which I discovered I had a few years ago on a casual visit to the Freeland Library, here on the Island.
Let me explain. In the movie, "City Of Angels." wih Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan, the Angels of the world live in the LIBRARIES, walking, sitting, and moving about in black trench coats with stoic faces, asking each other questions about life before then, before they became the guardians of the WORD, so to speak. I admit, I wasn't that impressed by the love story narrative, but I was radically intrigued by the presence of a creative force, LET"S CALL THEM ANGELS, its as close to a real idea of Heaven I can come to. So, anyway, back to the Freeland Library.
There I was like a hostage looking for paper and pencil, which I found with those little 3x6 scraps of paper and tiny wooden 3 inch pencils, frantically writing, scratching ou poems, as if possessed by some creative, alien force, I simply choose to call, Library Angels.
After that first encounter, I was very aware that by choosing to sit in the Library's silence, I surrenderd my ideas of poetic inspiration, to the presence of a place, not me. But, of course, once I did that new poems often came speaking about what I know best, which are the contents of my own life, but that too, becomes a more humbling mystery, as my poems leave me where they need me to be, not in some glorious high resort of me as a poet of place.
What made the experience at Green Lake different was the visceral electric buzz in the air, a quiet, yet powerful hum of something gathered in the minds and faces of so many. Laura and I turned often to each other, and quietly shared our perceptions with a mix of inappropriate humor, and theological intensity, while as also scratching out poems on the back of copies of my poems I'd be reading later.
So, considering the number of radically important elements that made this moment, such as being surrounded by other minds who like me were basically meditating on questions they hoped to find answers for in the thousands of books resting on the shelves, and then knowing for me, it was not that at all. Their faces and hair, eyes and smell, their fingers tapping out new morris code, their raw inability to be someone else, in this chilling, City Of Stare. Maybe it helps to remember, this was July 10th, in Seattle on a beautiful northwest summer day. It's clear I was freezing inside. That's really why I was there, to warm myself with my flammable need, by burning them into myself. Later, I finished a new first draft, called, City Of Stare.
It is with much DEEP JOY and GRATITUDE that we welcome the birth of Cooper Francis Jones.
Our two beloved friends, Kim and Joe Jones, back in Johnson City, Tennessee gave birth to little Cooper Francis and we are blessed to be part of his loving circle of life. Here is Cooper's first poem,
The Temple Of All Good Things
For Cooper Francis Jones
On a Tennessee morning
at the tail end of June,
no cell phone rang
with a thousand pearls
dripping off the string of her voice,
no husband measured love
in Mississippi time
by stitches kissing the skin.
The depth of her opened beyond
what any man could give,
beyond standing guard
next to hospital glass,
next to nurses marked blue
by the bruises of prayers.
As the oxygen chose
to make his lungs
the temple of all good things,
birds gathered on a
storm wracked tree,
hysterical with hope
and the flapping of wings,
slapping death with
light’s rhythm of rage,
waking the world to Tennessee time,
the music of Cooper’s song.
I found out yesterday that Permafrost Magazine, at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks will be publishing my poem, "A Way To LIve With Lightning Without The Coming Storm." This poem was originally "Confessions Of A Pentecostal Buddhist," and still may be titled that in the future. Kori, the Editor suggested a Title change due to recent poems with the word "Confessions" in them, so after some creative email exchange I agreed on my transitional title, which is actually a line in the poem.
Besides the magazine having a high literary reputation, they also have the unique distinction of being the most NORTHERN, poetry journal publication in America. Looking back at my humbly prolific year of publications, most of my work has been published by southern or midwest journals, so this is exciting for me to have something coming out, in the far reaches of my Northwest neighborhood, so to speak.
My writing life remains focused and passionate with new poems sparking out as they tend to do, on a fairly consistent basis. A few new poems I'm currently working on are "River Serotonin" and "King Of Bones." Both of which are in early drafts, but like all spoiled children, they won't let me go of their demanding beautiful voices and potential joy, and so I submit, and I listen, and so the journey goes.
Speaking of SUBMIT, check out the first poem on my "New Poems" page, called "Submission Manager."
I'm trying to describe my personal "Twist And Shout" with the Submittable Page process that so many of us poets live with daily. I use sleep/wake/S&M/ as my primary points of entry into acceptance of how graciously enslaved I am to the tunnel where my voice speaks my poems into the world, as I wait for some sign of civilized listening. Calmly, they say, "Yes, we are here. But not this time, or we really love this, and want it now, and everything in between" Like a new lover's voice you're not sure can be trusted, it's like being naked on a roller coaster ride, that begins and ends at the door of your cave, where inside your poems cover the walls like a scene from "A Beautiful Mind."
Waking up 48 hours ago to see and read the words "50 Dead in Orlando Gay Nightclub,' my whole being blew out like a flame. I just stared at my wife across the dining room table, who then began sobbing hysterically. I walked over and held her tight, trying to bring comfort to her shaking body, but I was still a flame blewn out, still a ghost with eyes and mouth, who barely knew its name. Then after sitting back down the words of the poet Wallace Stevens came to me, "Men die daily for lack of what is found there."
He was talking about POETRY, being the real news, the way we have access to LIFE below the surface, where ones passion for life or hatred of life is translated in a way back to the mind from that poor little muscle of the heart. What if Omar, the killer, had read or written poetry instead of buying guns to act out his rage? Would there have been 50 people right now, who still had a PULSE beating in their wrists, who could still laugh and dance away the darkness, and read a poem in their lover's arms. Then minuts later I am walking out through the sunroom of our house where there are big beautiful planters of flowers, all radiating color, all bathing in the light, and I stopped, as tears ran down my face,
THEY WILL NEVER SEE FLOWERS AGAIN, and what can I do, what can I say, how can I NEVER FORGET!!
To honor them, in all of their GLORIOUS GOODNESS AND BEAUTY, I offer this poem I wrote years ago, in tribute to another tribe of the dead, taken from us by AIDS, and published in Rattle Magazine.
WE ARE ALL FIRE ISLAND BOYS, WE ARE ALL ORLANDO,,,,,
The Fire Island Boys
Warhol wasn’t the only one
who loved those Fire Island boys;
marble statues cloaked in sand,
whipped by pleasure’s summers storms.
Caution fainted on a thousand zippers,
a thousand eyes and tongues. There
was no such thing as a stranger’s bed.
Every mattress played the same song;
Love as if loving makes you immortal,
carving a valley of light through the shame;
the crippling years of closet-shaped posture,
breaking the spirit’s spine.
Those were the days of aquatic ecstasy:
steam baths swirling with deep sea divers
trading their handfuls of pearls, risking
their lives in the dangerous caves of
some other man who had to be entered
to prove how good, how beautiful he was,
even if only for an hour. If I could weep
as loud as they laughed and rage as hard
as they loved, maybe the young wouldn’t die
so fast; alone, on the edge of a viral abyss
wailing at the red autumn moon; God waking up
to the sound of his sons, washing the sand from their eyes.
I am a very PROUD son of an EXTRAORDINARY FATHER!! Emmanuel Moore, Jr.
Now the world will know as well.
All my love, DAD.
This morning I am asked this question in the poem "Whiteout," by the late poet Brett Foster.
Ponder if you will. I will do so during my day and write more later. It's 14 hours later.
I permit silence to speak louder than words.
I permit suffering to help me learn how to love me.
I permit poetry to make me my hometown.
I permit ignorance to rust on the hardest parts of me.
I permit light to last only till my eyes rest in shadows.
I permit my skin to say what my mind has no tongue for.
The words above are from the poetry book, "Night Sky With Exit Wounds," by the poet Ocean Voung,in the poem "Immigrant Haibun." Being adopted, those words are such a dramatic revelation about how we arrive where we do in the world, and raises the question of do we chose to be born into families that raise us? And of course metaphorically these words are limitless in their power, and scope of possibility. I am personally recommeding this book to anyone such as myself who knows and feels that inner state of exile, always calling you back from somewhere to take more risk, be more couarageous with your feet and words and go into the darkness with torches of words. There is such little fire to trust in the world, and this young, gay, Vietnamese poet, is burning beyond the realm of heat. Read this book and get ready to peel off some skin.....
As you will often hear in these pages, I have things that occur to me after my sitting in the morning, that I will share to help others have a clearer context of my LIFE as a poet and how that process sometimes works and doesn't to make a path so to speak, and to write, that always ends up being the same path. Here's a guote from a book I'm reading by Sarah Manguso, called, "Ongoingness, The End Of A Diary," she says " Time punishes us by taking everything, but it also saves us, by taking everything." I resonate deeply with the freedom of impermanence here, the arisng and passing, breathing in and out, the built in ART OF LETTING GO....