Thursday, April 28, 2016

I say in passing

do you




how quickly this can end


what a gift that is

my friend


Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

Poets and writers, it seems, are somehow compelled not only to create but to share their creations. Considering the history of literature, I suppose that puts us in good company. It doesn’t mean, however, that we aren’t as crazy as the rest of them. Unfortunately, for those who don’t have blogs and whose books never sell, they must rely on other outlets of sharing. Unfortunately for those who do have blogs, they’re stuck with us. Sorry. Enjoy.

The Forest Road

Everything conspires to end;
entropy stalking in the woods;
fading light at every bend;
an unforgiving shadow-hid
roadside bandit who demands
toll and our destruction.

Perception almost drowned
in leaves, disguised by stillness
exposed by a whispered breeze.
Safe road. But there, up ahead…
a roadblock…fallen trees.

Copyright 2011- Mortal Remains, Gary B. Fitzgerald


Now tarnished black like silver bars,
a few remaining ingots of gold,
long hidden in a vault of years
my hoard of memories, dull and hard,
become smoothed and worn
by the counting and the tears.

My treasure grows smaller every day,
pilfered by the thieves of entropy and time
and though its value undiminished,
much less in weight with each assay.
Once rich and full, this empty mine
much less in quantity, thoughts unfinished.

A priceless trove cruel age and mortality stole
and even yesterday has lost its shine.

Copyright 2009 – Tall Grass & High Waves, Gary B. Fitzgerald


Change occurs so quickly,
slowly, unexpected,
invisible in the timber rot and rust.
Inevitable yet so sudden.
One day the barn roof falls in!
The fender falls off of the tractor and
people turn to dust.
Energy pays the price
demanded by space,
but the cost of being is time.

Copyright 2008 – Softwood: Seventy-eight Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

Lon Anderson said...

Waking up to reality can be a beautiful thing, or perhaps not beautiful at all, but at least that person is awake.

William Michaelian said...

Gary, with a smile I take exception to only one word, and that word is “sorry,” which, of course, neither of us are, nor need be.

Things have changed a lot in the blogging world since our heyday back in 2009, 2010, and 2011, so many since having forsaken the medium, primarily for Facebook, where I too maintain an account and share what I share here. Almost all of the dozens and dozens of blogs I followed back then have been long inactive; only a handful remain. I keep at it because I love the format and the ability to at least partly control the way what I post appears, and also for the treasured few friends who still pass through and continue posting on their own blogs. It’s also a matter of record-keeping. Like you, I am the author of books which rarely sell. To be frank, that is something I simply don’t think about anymore. The books are out there, they are still available, for anyone who might be interested, now or after I’m gone. I love them like my own children, all off now on their own. Nothing prevents you, of course, from setting up a blog of your own, but I understand (or at least imagine I do) the reasons you haven’t. In any case, I think trying to assess one’s effectiveness in terms of numbers is a mistake. We make contact with each other one person at a time, bringing our own lights, memories, experiences, and understanding to the table.

Anyway, not to preach, not to go on and on, for we have talked about these things before. Better I offer my sincere thanks for responding with your poems, which I appreciate and enjoy.

William Michaelian said...

Lon, that’s it exactly, and let us emphasize that there need be no judgment as to its beauty at all. Warm thanks for your visit.

William Michaelian said...

Gary, for whatever reason, this comment of yours did not appear, but it did arrive in my email inbox. I will copy it from there and try to post it now:

Gary said:

Thank you, William. You are, as always, a most gracious host. I had planned to respond to you with a comment about the death of blogs and the transition to Facebook. I find it a little spooky that this is something you actually mentioned. (Are you psychic?). I saw a comment last year from a fellow who used to comment on Harriet (Poetry Magazine blog) who was bemoaning the death of the “golden age of poetry blogs”. The comment streams of Harriet, of course, are gone, as is Silliman’s (where I believe we first met) and where you arranged our three way book swap with Brian Salchert. Alas, all the poetry blogs have either become defunct or have evolved to Facebook.
I went to an old poetry forum the other day, Delectable Mountains (a quote from E.E. Cummings, BTW) and posted the W.B. Yeats poem ‘The Second Coming’ (I believe I posted that here, as well. I was inspired by NPR News). and discovered that it, too, is no longer active. Some old hands were nice enough to say hello, but it was obvious that there had been no activity for some time. I left a few final comments, one of which I thought might interest you so I include it here.

“Excellent poems, Libramoon. It's uncanny how Yeats’ observations from nearly 100 years ago are so relevant today. I’m not a religious person, but I'm beginning to wonder about that Armageddon thing.

Well, I don’t exactly remember when Delectable Mountains first started, but I believe I first met Terreson in 2006 on the site. It’s kind of funny how I first encountered Poetry blogs on the internet. In 2005 I submitted my first book to the Pulitzer Prize competition. I learned that Ted Kooser was one of the judges. Since my poetry was Nature oriented/bucolic and, in my opinion, also modern and conceptual in design, I figured I was a shoo-in.

I didn’t win, but the press release announcing Claudia Emerson as the 2006 winner also noted that she had been selected by Ted Kooser as the winner of the Witter Bynner award some time earlier. I was outraged. First of all, Witter Bynner was a personal hero due to his translation of the Tao Te Ching, so I noticed this ‘coincidence’. Hmmm, I wondered, isn’t it interesting that the guy who was on the Pulitzer nominating committee also knew the winner personally and had actually picked this individual for a previous award.

I went to Google and looked up ‘poetry scandals’. I then discovered Foetry, which at the time was all about Jorie Graham having selected her husband as a prize winner somewhere. At any rate, there was nothing about Kooser or Emerson, but the rest is history. I found Harriet (Poetry Foundation), Silliman,, et. al. and there met Terreson. I’ve been checking in ever since. Unfortunately, everybody’s on Facebook now or out of the comment business. It has, however, been a long time since I first met Tere and the rest of you.

Jeez…now I’m starting to feel old.”

William Michaelian said...

Well, Gary, apparently it worked. Your extended response is there now in all its glory. Good.

Now, I think a brief word about Facebook and my experience there is in order. While I don’t much care for the ad-laden environment and lack of typographic control, I will say that I have met a good number of people whose work and attitude I admire, and who have definitely enriched and expanded my outlook. Also, a large number of those friends and acquaintances who used to follow and participate here, made the migration when I did, some earlier, some later. And so we have been able to keep our connection, which has deepened along the way. It’s a very easy-to-use platform that makes sharing what we do a snap. It’s possible, with its user controls, to share a post with one person, a select few, friends, friends of friends, or the general public. (Like here, I always do the latter.) Yes, I do see people fall into the trap of posting before they think, or have thought long enough about what they are about to share. But by now we should all know the importance of self-editing and self-restraint. To sum up, the platform, like any, is as good as we make it. How long it will last, or what it will eventually become, or what might replace it, I have no idea.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

This a test. I copy and paste. Does direct typing work?

William Michaelian said...

Direct typing works for me, but I do so only with short comments. Longer comments I copy and paste.

Your previous two attempts, at 8:27 and 8:29 Oregon time, were cut off at “emulate my heroes and on” . . . I don’t know why. On a related note, just to be clear, I have comments set to moderation on all posts that are more than two days old. I had to do that because of spammers.

My email address is at the bottom of the right-hand column.

William Michaelian said...

Gary, thanks for the email note. I’m sure the problem will iron itself out eventually. Here in its entirety is what you were trying to post:

Gary said:

Yes, I am Facebook shy. I have been admonished for this by people who want to “friend” me. But I believe I have two good reasons for this failure to ‘keep up with the times’.

First off, I love music. Back in the sixties we bought ‘vinyl’ record albums. My father had 78’s, then there were 45’s, but we were special…we had 33 1/3rd. I collected all my favorites: Dylan, the Beatles, the Stones, the Dead, etc. Then along came 8-tracks. I bought a lot of them. Then, along came cassettes. So I rebuilt my collection. Had ‘em all. Then along came CD’s. Here we go again. I think I have even more of those than my original album collection. CD’s, of course, are now also obsolete. Okay, okay, enough is enough. Now I just listen to the stupid radio. I just can’t keep up with ‘Moore’s Law’, that is, that technology will accelerate faster and faster.

The other reason is a little more personal. When I decided to publish my first book, I made a decision to be a rebel and emulate my heroes and self-publish. No corporate money-grubbing academic, self-serving, shortsighted editors for me, by golly. I’m sure you have seen my famous list of ‘Self-published writers’ that I have posted on about a million blogs. At any rate, when I serendipitously discovered internet poetry blogs, as noted in the previous post, I had a brilliant (NOT) idea. I would be modern and “with the times” and use this new medium to market and promote my own work. To hell with those greedy corporate bastards. I would make my own way based on the merits of my poetry like Blake, Whitman and Poe.

Well, let’s just say that I have learned my lesson and, based on the popularity of poetry I’ve observed lately (har-har, yuk-yuk), I don’t think I’ve missed out on anything. After all, our only real fan is posterity.

William Michaelian said...

My thought is this: I am best off, happiest and healthiest, when I leave myself out of the equation. Then, whether I write or remain silent (if we need see a difference between the two), I do so because it is a natural outcome of my daily life, not for Poetry, Posterity, or any other capitalized concept. The imagined future and the imagined past are beautiful, perhaps, but as changing and fleeting as autumn leaves. I cannot even prove I exist. I cannot prove I am alive. I cannot say with any confidence whether I am asleep or awake. Nor do I feel the need. And so trying to leave any kind of lasting imprint, or wondering what people think of me now and will think of me later, ends up being a fruitless, frustrating exercise. And yet, and yet, I feel engaged, immensely interested, in fact, in living. This mode of expression I have, and which has changed over the years and seems still to be changing — what else can I do but share it with others, friends and strangers alike? You know how dearly I love books. There are more than 2,000 of them in the room where this is being written. But what possible good is what I have to communicate (not that it is important) if no one reads or sees it? I would rather do my best with the avenues that are available, sans sales, sans promotion, sans grief, and simply enjoy the exchange, and then go outside and dig in the garden. If someone stops by, I am glad to see them. If I am left alone, I am glad for that. Aches, pains, revelation — it is all the same. The moment I agree or disagree with the world, I fool myself into thinking I am apart from it. And that, obviously, cannot be, whether I am dead or alive or somewhere gloriously in between.

Again, enough. Thanks, Gary.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

Very wise, William, and I basically concur. (Hey...I thought I was the Taoist here!).

My poetry has been called "didactic". I prefer instructive and maybe even enlightening. But I believe it has a purpose that transcends its author. If 'MacBeth' had been written by Anonymous, would it have any less value?

The problem with your view above, as I see it, is if noboby ever even reads your poetry, then what's the point? Why even bother?

William Michaelian said...

That seems another question entirely. In terms of sharing, the point is, with these avenues available, the poetry is read, and responded to. At least that is my experience. So if you ask me, personally, what I would do if I had no readers, and no way to share what I write, would I write anyway, my answer would be, I don’t know — especially since I have been writing and in touch with readers for many years now. In any case, life is much larger than writing or not writing, and being read or not being read. An hour beside a river or watching the ocean tide is enough to put all that in perspective.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

Important Things

I am anguished by these pending
momentous decisions to be made
that will in short time change
the course of my fate and all that matters.
Decisions to make
about my life, my work, my future,
new directions that will rearrange
the very structure of my world.
Who knows what can happen
with change, unbalancing chance?
…possibly an end to my small world.
Maybe failure or even death, I fear.
Important decisions must be made
and worry me to tears and tatters.

But wait! Look! In the pasture…
a deer…
no…two. Shhhh!
And over there, by the pond…
the ibis are back this year.

Copyright 2009 – Tall Grass & High Waves, Gary B. Fitzgerald

Good Day

Some days I just smile in wonder,
await whatever small miracle
or pleasure next will come my way:
a Monarch or a tree snake
or an eagle.
On other days I sit and I ponder
who’ll die next,
why life must be so hard.

But today, nobody died
and I saw a deer in my backyard.

Copyright 2009 – Tall Grass & High Waves, Gary B. Fitzgerald

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

And, to agree with and confirm your point:

An Old Friend

Visited a dear old friend today,
been a long time since I’ve seen her.
It was good to see her again. I missed her.
I think she was glad to see me too.
She gave me a little wave and we embraced.
She’s been a friend of the family, I’m sure,
for at least a few hundred years,
since I was a child at least,
and our affection was never misplaced.
As lives change and fortunes drift
it’s good to have a friend who’s always there,
someone constant and wise who offers
no rejection and never changes,
to fill your cup with a helping hand.

It was good to see her again…always the same
in her wrinkled old blue and white shift.
But though welcoming and willing to listen,
somewhat nervous, never still, ever tending
her garden, feeding her birds or, with delicate care,
her seaside souvenirs she continuously rearranges,
always fussing over and smoothing the sand.

Copyright 2010 – Ponds and Lawns: New and Corrected Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

William Michaelian said...

Very nice, all three, and ever timely, each bright leaves adrift on the pond.

Farm Boy

The tiny bubbles
breaking in my coffee
remind me of the water-skaters
in the irrigation ditch
back home.

Now they’re gone.

The water’s

(From Songs and Letters, February 7, 2008)

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

William, I see you have a birthday coming up this month. I also notice that you are a Gemini. So am I!

Of course, I don't believe in all that Astrology/Horoscope stuff, but then, I'm a Gemini and we tend to be skeptical.

Wishing you a Happy Birthday!


William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Gary, that’s nice of you. But it seems I am a Taurus, just in under the wire. Happy Birthday to you too, whenever that glorious day is.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

I now see it is May 20. I thought it was May 30 (need new glasses).

So you're a cusper. Me too! I'm a Gemini/Cancer cusp (Summer Solstice).

No wonder we're so reasonable (and so contrary).

Either way, we're compatible.