Thank you, Plants and Poetry, for publishing one of my favorite poems I have ever written, “The Itch.” AND if you click on the link (the photo, or poem name) you can not only read my ode to bad gardening, you can hear ME read it to you! There is an MP4 there you can click on just above the poem’s title.

I love love love writing poetry, but poetry is a hard sell, and my poems are long trailing vining affairs, like “The Itch,” and that makes them an even harder sell to publishers and even readers.

I was extra happy that when my poem was accepted the editor wrote, “This poem is much different than others that have been submitted and I really enjoyed it. I like your voice. I think it will make an excellent addition.” I think my poetry is different than most poems that get published, and I am so glad she appreciated it for its difference.

Usually (and I know a lot of authors don’t like hearing this but) there is a fee to submit a poem anywhere, and journals may be themed, which may mean there is only one poem you have that could hit the mark. That can get to be pricey. And there is a lot of rejection.

The best we can do is try, and try, and try again, and, somehow, all by ourselves, keep our hopes up, which, if you read my poem, “The Itch,” is not that different from gardening.

I have had some other poems published online if you’re curious.

How to Swim Under Water. This one I published myself (I mean, I do run a publishing company, so occasionally the boss lets me sneak one in). Because it is collage and poetry combined, you may (fellow eyeglasses wearers) need to click on it to read it clearly.

Good Dog This poem is brought to you directly by slower lower Delaware, where one sees such things on a much too regular basis.

Jackie Don’t You Go This last one was written about two years ago, and revised and hacked at a bit before publication last year. A poem that has a lot of emotion to express can get so big that you have to chop at it and “smallen” it so it is not completely maudlin dreck. It is about my friend, Jackie B. who died at her own hands before the internet was a thing, so I cannot even check the spelling of her name. She was a bit older than me, and just a lovely human being, both inside, and out. I was envious of her poise, her kindness and calm affect, and her physical beauty. She was independent, and I truly thought she had it all figured out. She had none of it figured out, and, all these years later, I am still trying to come to terms with her actions and the loss of her, and how, for the rest of us, we keep ourselves going when we know that we have none of it figured out.

Well, you ignore the rejections, and you celebrate the wins.

Here’s to you having a win soon. Share it when you do; we need to know people are winning.


To Love Somebody by The Bee Gees

I grew up on this song.

My dad loved The Bee Gees, and we just passed his birthday. It would have been his 87th? I think so.

My dad was a man’s man, and so were The Bee Gees. Good-looking (more or less) Australian guys, macho culture (at the time), singing a song about a girl not treating him/them like a man, because she is not meeting his/their desires. A bit sexist, yup.

And you can see, in the video, how masculine and confident Barry is. He holds his place at the front of his family in that video. I was very surprised to see that it is actually Maurice hitting those “oh no no!” bits. Maurice died first, and never got a lot of attention, but his voice is flawless, and he sounds just like Barry. Robin was often the lead, did you know that? And from this video it appears that Robin must have had dental work done after they had made some money, because he certainly looked much different by the Saturday Night Fever days.

I think The Bee Gees are often dismissed with the whole “Disco Sucks” thing.

First of all, The Bee Gees do not suck; they were very talented singers, and I have a hard time finding a song by them I don’t like, and my dad felt the same.

Second, and I have to say this, loud and proud, DISCO DOES NOT SUCK.

This song is pre-their disco days, but still.

“Disco sucks,” I think, was a way to push out Black artists and other non-white guy groups who had begun to take a serious bite of the rock market. The Bee Gees, well, most American white guys weren’t afraid of The Bee Gees stealing their women. They dismissed them as effeminate. And I think Disco was dismissed for the same thing, but Disco is awesome, and The Bee Gees are awesome too.

And this song, I can feel the angst in it, sexist or not, and I love it. It’s a simple song, but it digs into the soul with it’s tune, and that elevates this song to one I could hear all day long (and, today, I probably will).

While looking for this song today, I found two more amazing versions of it.

First, Janis Joplin.

Fuck, Janis, Grrrrrrl!. “A volatile vial of nitroglycerin,” reads Dick Cavett. Hell yes. I mean, how did she turn it on every single time? How did she know how to riff so flawlessly? How did her body dance from the waist down, and suffer on the cross from the waist up? Damn I love this version, and I never heard it before today.

And, if you didn’t know this about me, I am a huge Janis fan. If you want to karaoke sometime, I’ll do my “Summertime” for you. I do a pretty terrible Janis impersonation, but I feel it when I do it. Janis, man, the rest of us are just amateurs.

And there is one more version I discovered.

And another musical thing you probably didn’t know about me.

Add this to disco, and I may damage my reputation for being cool.

(Wait, you have a reputation for being cool? Fuck yeah I do. )

I like Michael Buble.

I love his voice.

Most of his songs are sappy, but I love his voice. I think he adds something to Sinatra, and I just wish he sang more songs that were worth his time, and less pap.

His voice is great.

And in this video, not only is his voice great, but he’s even got a little sexy-something going on I don’t usually feel about him. It’s a little bit of Andrew Scott.(fuck me… Andrew Scott….)

And clearly he’s channelling the late-great Robert Palmer in this video, so what’s not to like?

Mmmmmm…. mmm.

Enjoy a little dessert Buble on me.

Can you dig it?


Ugh, so ugly.

To say nothing of my couple of knuckles that have also joined in the revolt. They are none-to-lovely either.

My thumbs have gone to the devil, on both hands.

Luckily I never learned how to type properly, so I don’t use them much for that.

I went to an OS last summer in a lot of pain and frustration, and he gave me the lovely accouterments you see above. And he told me my thumbs will basically work until they don’t.

This spring, in a bit more pain, and unhappy with the other doc’s pronouncement, I went to the top local OS, and he told me all about the disgusting and horrible thumb surgery they can do, and its good results after a long recovery period.

He also told me this thumb thing is a bit of a mystery because, more often than not, the pain just resolves one day. The thumbs never really stop working (which was a relief to hear). He said it is up to the individual: either the pain gets to where you cannot last any longer, and you have the surgery, or the pain will resolve, and you almost forget you ever had it. He said it is an individual choice, based on pain tolerance and lifestyle I guess, and said it was 100% patient’s choice.

I’m going to try and make it to the “resolve” stage.

My pain isn’t constant. It comes and goes. I learned to kayak recently, and doing things like kayaking in the braces hurts for other reasons, so I left them home, and the next day I learned the thumbs did not like the kayaking. And I plan to do it again anyway.

The thing is, chronic pain is wearing (I also have it in my hips, from the piriformis muscle, that total bastard, all wound tight like a Republican and refusing to relax). It makes one tired. I venture to say it makes one grumpy from time-to-time, and sleep deprived. It, in my case, also comes with anxiety sometimes as I worry that my thumbs will fall off one day, even though I know that is impossible.

And for chronic pain you will often suffer in silence, as others don’t see anything wrong with you, and it can be tough to imagine it if you don’t have it. There are times when the pain in my thumbs or my hips could be a solid 10 out of 10 for days in a row. No one who is not me can grasp that, though, right?

And then there is the bonus of the fashionable braces. I try not to wear them out of the house not because they’re ugly though, but because I don’t wanna get Covid all over them. Good lord! How we must think now.

I also don’t hate my chronic pain.

Last summer I began running again, after a long time not running, and after never being even very good at it when I did run. Anywho, that hurt, running. It hurt my lungs, my legs, my pride, it was a struggle to make myself do it each day. It was a lot of varying kinds of pain. It takes some inner fortitude, and, I’m going to use a dreaded sports term, mental toughness, to do that when neither you or your body want to.

And I think I posted in an earlier post about running for the shuttle in Williamsburg and how I could not have done that last summer, but I did it easily this summer.

I’m damn glad I started running.

So, this is where the chronic pain part comes in, chronic pain doesn’t give you a choice, It’s just, “Hello, you’re going to feel a lot of pain over a long period of time, and there is not much you can do about it. You cool with that? No? Okay. Well you’re just going to have it anyway. And here we go….”

I remember a scene in the incredible film Shirley Valentine where Shirley asks a waiter how he is doing, and he says, “I have a little pain in the back, but I say to myself, at least if I have a little pain in the back, means I’m not dead.”

Chronic pain forces you to survive, it forces you to find a way to ignore it or distract yourself from it or in some other way deal with the grind of the ongoing pain.

I think it has given me a higher pain tolerance in general, and a higher tolerance for all things painful and uncomfortable. And for that I am grateful. Chronic pain, you’re like that old friend who we love because we’ve known him forever, but who is reliably a total pain in the ass, and it’s not funny anymore because we’re all over 25 and not drunk. Still, I’m glad you came to the party, because you help me be strong and cope with all manner of challenges in life.

Fellow suffers… I feel you. Hang in there. You can do it. xo~


Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand (by Primitive Radio Gods).

To begin with, the title. WHAT THE HELL!?!? That title is amazing. I love it.

But, in truth, the song itself is what get’s me, because I only learned the title when I went to write this post.

The song, quietly, insistently, pushes itself into your pocket, and every time you pull out your subway pass, or the crumpled cash for that pack of smokes you smoked back then, the song comes tumbling out.

In some ways this is an 80s song, though I think it came out in the 90s. It has a Pet Shop Boys feel, but I think it surpasses anything they ever did, including West End Girls. And the 80s were mostly high school years for me, so the 90s, college, fledgling adulthood, kind of went by in a blur.

And the 90s bands I was into:

Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Sound Garden, Tori Amos, Jane’s Addiction, Pearl Jam… that was a lot of angst right there. And what about Live, and their album Throwing Copper? You remember “Pain Lies on the Riverside?” Damn 90s!

So yeah, and then this song.

I don’t think I ever knew who sang it or its title until today, but every time I accidentally heard it then, and still to this day, I’m like, Just don’t stop. Keep it going. Loop it. Throw the other records away man.

Can you dig it?


There’s quite a bit of story to this book, which began life as part of a sermon by the Reverend Charles S. Wing, and then had a few iterations before being claimed, so to speak, by publisher Arnold Munk, who published under the pen name Watty Piper. But the story still remains the same, and so does the message: that someone small can sometimes do a large and necessary job if he/she has enough effort and grit.

We love these children’s stories of determination, I think, because we want our children to be resilient. I know I have taken a lot of comfort, in my life, from The Little Red Hen, who did what she wanted to do, even if it meant she had to go-it-alone, and, in true children’s picture book fashion, it all worked out for her in the end.

Sometimes I feel like the little engine, like the tasks I choose to take on are too big for me, and I wonder if I have enough grit and effort to do them.

Anyone out there feeling me?


Dave hard at work on HP21 cover.

buy the supplies and stand back.

Well, not just stand back.

It’s an interesting thing, running a creative business with your one-and-only, especially when both of you are creative and have visions.

Dave creates every single cover we make.

But, about half the time, I have envisioned the cover, maybe found something on the web as an example of what I would like to see as the cover, and, occasionally, even designed a sloppy hot-mess version of a cover that Dave has to magic into the wonderful covers he does.

This is not without occasional… tension. And then, add in an author, in the case of our single-author books, and you have a third party who wants to be heard from. And we do our best to make those authors happy with their covers, while still keeping the cover in the style we want for our books. because we have made the commitment that all our books, from any of our imprints, will have a similar look, so that when you see a book from us, you know it.

Some books that some people produce, IMHO, don’t look so good. We want all our books to be books you will be proud to display, and that we will be proud to have you display.

So, it is something to think about, as we all (including Dave and I) willy-nilly try to get people to publish us. Do we ever look at the other stuff they are publishing? Do we look at the wrapping that will surround our words if we go with them? I think, so often, we just feel so lucky to get chosen, we don’t think past that. “I was chosen!” so any cover is okay. But, we should consider what things look like, and if that will please us.

I consider myself a bit off-beat; Dave is definitely off-beat. Trying to be a publishing company as a second-half of life career is absolutely not a move a wise or stable person would make, and our covers reflect that (forgive me for this word) vibe.

So, nights like tonight, the three of us are around our large kitchen table. Sophie is sketching, using her iPad, making something called aqua beads, and eating noodles. I am doing DPP secretarial work, blogging, and eating cold tomato soup (it was hot at one point), and Dave is drawing. He got up at one point to snag a half an avocado and some salsa and lost his seat to the dog, and, in true Dave fashion, got himself a different chair. Dave is a very nice person, and we have worked hard, learning to co-manage this company.

My very first job that I ever had was taking care of ladies with disabilities who lived in an institution. My ladies never were dirty, or hungry, or lonely, or bored. In fact I’d probably still be doing it now had it paid even remotely well. I loved that job so much, and I don’t know if that job turned me into a helper, or if I was a helper and so that job was a good fit. Either-or, I am a helper by nature, and I think that may be why, in my fifties, I am dragging my family through this publishing adventure. I think it is unfair that good writing does not have a chance to see the light of day, and I want to help with that, and so, on a night like tonight, we are all around the table, working, in our own ways, on being together while publishing books.


Get out your romaine lettuce and hay flowers! It’s time to celebrate the piggies!

BTW, in case you haven’t tried this, GPs adore cornhusks and cornsilk (when it is fresh and damp)! Around here we call cornsilk piggetti!

We love Addy and Sugar!


So, I tried this little game online that compares your writing to famous writers, and I came out, based on one of my prose pieces, as James Joyce.

Then I tried two poems.

For the first one I got Joyce again.

For the second one I got:

I’m guessing it is some sort of comparison algorithm at work here. I have never read DFW, and only read short stories by JJ. I cannot imagine I am much like either of them with my writing, but I do love to spin out a long sentence, which enrages my fellow poets, who have argued this makes me a non-poet, but I’m going to say I don’t agree with them, though it may be why I have yet to win a poetry grant. I think no one gets it. But, when no one gets it, does that mean people are incapable of grasping it, or that I just suck? I admit to being open to both possibilities, though I try to encourage myself that the former is true. If I didn’t, I’d probably stop pecking away.

BTW, as I peck away, it occurs to me, having grown up typing (without learning how to type) on a typewriter, that one of the kindest things I have done for my own writing is to purchase a separate keyboard that is bluetoothed to my laptop, and looks and feels more like a typewriter, and makes it a lot easier for me to type quickly. I typically, in case you happened to be curious, use two hands but only three fingers to type, and I don’t look at the keyboard most of the time, so a typewriter-like keyboard has made it a lot easier.

And, if I ever write or say I don’t look at the keyboard, I find, for at least a few sentences afterwards, I type nothing but gibberish unless I look at the keyboard. Which means I am the suggestive type. 😉

In any case, I found the thing fun, though I was hoping to be compared to Tom Robbins, and no one else.

Who do you write like?

Wanna try it?