This morning I wake grog headed critical of dreams -

who in earth's abundance would dream of disease?

I don't know where dreams come from or where they go.

Maybe Mary Oliver writes them in dust.

Maybe dreams are the promises of soft poetry.

Maybe alien poetry comes down in our dreams.

Or the warped mirrors of mentally patients reflect the truth of dreams.

By the time I stumble to the bathroom,

I realize I am healthy though I dream of disease.

So I stop everything on the toilet

and make myself think a grateful thought. Thankful for bird songs.

Posted Sat Jul 22 12:40:01 2017

This morning Mom was in one of her orating modes, so I decided to start taking notes. I had her rewind a bit and go chronologically from age 17 when she started at Pembroke to 1973 when she met my father at age 30ish. (Born in 43.)

The part of her time-line that sung out to me were two conflicting layers.

One@ Age 25 she moved from New Bedford Massachusetts to NYC in pursuit of a boyfriend, though that was not what she might have said at the time, and also said her heart was with her "real friends" then.

Two@ Also in 1968 she remarked men were too dominating in the movements going on around her at the time, like the strike at Columbia. In terms of what is similar, men still dominate parts of movements, and there still are huge exceptions.

It is funny, for every part of her story, my story has a parallel. But she decided to get married to a man. I didn't.

I had this wonderful friend Scott who was an ecofeminist and a huge part of the mountain justice movement. All he really did was cook and read these feminist books, then he died way too young like before turning 40. Very sad.

I don't know if you were ever part of movements like any of these that me and my Mom tagged onto, which we always were generally just on the outskirts of the movements. Actually Mom broke the strike in the New York City Public School Teacher's Strike, and I was pretty anti-group in Mountain Justice most of the time.

If you have any reactions I would love to hear them.

Posted Sat Jul 22 12:45:44 2017

Rain skips umbrella

silences other sounds

mute raindrops falling.

Posted Sun Jul 23 11:48:12 2017

I admit I have chosen to submit my manuscripts sometimes at the expense of important things like rent or food. My monthly budget is 741 dollars which is already at the poverty level for this region of the United States. The objective of having a full manuscript of poems published by a noteworthy publishing house is more difficult when the Poet is poor. Period. End of story.

Sure you can just submit to chapbook contests that have no submission fee, but when you do that you are limiting your options by 90%. Just being seen by publishers is something that takes money. Due to the cost of submittable, the new submissions manager used by more and more publishers and writers, some magazines even charge general submission fees around three dollars. I never submit to them, but that's lowering my chances.

Between the years 2006 (my first college class in poetry) and 2016, I was recognized with the publication of 20 poems in journals and magazines such as Friends Journal, Tule, Alehouse, Postcard Poems and Prose, and Blue Fifth Review. This year that number has shot up to 35 poems. I also already received an Honorable Mention by Ron Rash for the Wild Leak Poetry Contest. I know that some day I will have a chapbook of my poetry published by one of these recognized publishing houses.

So onward! I am pursuing in poetry whether or not it is what is best for me. Maybe someday I will regret pouring so much of my life into poetry. Surfing was always a hobby I kind of wished I had pursued.

The world certainly is not fair to low income poets or publishers for that matter.

Posted Sun Jul 23 12:06:52 2017

It is one of those breaks in the heat wave and I am so grateful. I have become less tolerant of melting with age. Yesterday I got very interested in getting a small above ground swimming pool just big enough to lie in, and researched into resistance belts for swimming. The landlady doesn't like the optics of swimming pools in backyards though, so I am going to have to make do with what I have.

As for the walk through Tennessee, I find that it is too hot for me to survive. So I am giving up on that venture.

I saw a hummingbird yesterday which I think is a good omen for things to come.

Posted Mon Jul 24 17:40:57 2017

It is human to want to write to be published to say something witty and wait to be heard we mark the walls with buffalo everyone a writer.

A puzzle in the mix we sometimes wonder over talent something innate and hard covered born in some of us.

All of us have some innate talent, inmates writing on the back of soup wrappers it always develops improving with time.

There is something about freshness the nut cracked still green pistachio hued scattered against the seat.

Writing evolves fish with feet fish without feet fish laying eggs fish squirting sperm on eggs reading same chances.

Posted Tue Jul 25 12:02:27 2017

float like labs in water

sailing on their backs

sinking you learn to swim

Posted Tue Jul 25 12:16:35 2017

this is the cry of the falling bird

this is the death wail of new efforts

plummet a little with me

towards the ground

your mother

builds your nest

above a pond

to save you

fall with me

but flap your wings

an effort for life

high above you're circling!

Posted Tue Jul 25 12:24:18 2017

Deep in the summer, even yesterday's cricket seems to have left the scene. This would be a good time to think about what made me. Not my mother, not my father, but loneliness extended over long stretches of time.

Am I alone in wondering if the world would come differently if I was paired in the world? Alone? When a person dies surrounded by love and family is it possible they don't still die alone? How is it humanly possibly to be anything but single in the world?

These are some questions I have experienced deep in my summer lethargy, in a time when by myself it seems no one looks for me anymore. All my friends are gone. I am 34 and the world is moving on. I have apparently moved past hope for dying in a crowded room. I spend every day by myself so why would any stranger seek me for friendship again?

How could I possibly build from this strange loss to a good place again?

Life is avoidance. Interactions never come with a serious extension of connection.

It's been a long time since I felt.

I live with my mother and she does her best to love me despite me. I don't regret anyone or anything. But it feels I am trudging nowhere, deeper and deeper into lonesomeness.

I was a cast out for many years of my life. I found friends who meant something a time or two. And they dissipated both times.

Moving is not my answer. There is no special place for me in the whole world where I am better with people. I love and I lose. I loved and I lost. I feel there were so many missed opportunities. I almost would have had friends. I almost would have had my best favorite person love me deeply.

I wish there was a job where I could have a society again. I wish there was a church like me here.

It is the end of the month and I have about a dollar for each day this month. There are very few answers.

I know I need to go swimming and I will. These thoughts will dissolve into the world happening around me. The blessings counting.

Life marches on whether we are stuck or fluidly enjoying the motion.

I guess the answer really is that I need to change the question. I am solitary, so I shall entertain myself with what I have. In these stuck times, I will pour into my poems. I will dance like Billy Elliot until there is nothing else but joy.

It is possible to be alone and not lonesome.

My standards don't have to blend.

Posted Tue Jul 25 23:34:41 2017

Shop Keeper

The definition of a shop keeper is a good listener.

Like some dude named Patrick.

It doesn't matter that he's worn out his ear buds with loud music.

Music is meant to be loud, he says.

Then he can listen to you.

And this is not clinically proven but there's

something therapeutic happening here.

There is something shared.

Posted Thu Jul 27 11:50:01 2017

When the Comprehensive Planning group met at Slater Center on July 27, many of the participants expressed a unified concern about the fact that young adults have a hard time remaining in Bristol due to lack of jobs. So how can we be sure that children can grow up to stay in Bristol? The issue really comes down to if they can have a good job that is not just in retail.

You might think retail is a sure thing that is not going anywhere, and that is probably true from the consumer end, but from the viewpoint of the jobs, the future of employment in retail is diving. According to the World Economic Forum, sensors and digital devices are going to create “hyper-personalized” customer experiences which with technology serving us, the retail jobs will fall significantly, checkout will be done remotely when you leave the store with your product, so no need for baggers, there will be automatic household deliveries that could be done by driver less cars and drones, and all of these point to less jobs in retail.

The cost that has been poured into the Pinnacle seems problematic because it is not sustainable and all the money spent in these big box stores is funneled out of small private businesses.

In the past couple years, Bristol Virginia and Tennessee have invested heavily in retail oriented job development such as that in the Pinnacle and Cabella shopping areas. But what happens when retail goes bust? As our community builds a comprehensive plan for the next 30 years,

Between 1993 and 2009 Ponca City Oclahoma lost the single industry that had been providing the majority of the jobs for the town. According to a 2010 study by the International Economic Development Council, “Ponca City, Oklahoma was not only a one-company town but a one-industry town, with the local economy 80 percent oil-dependent and totally invested in the success of Conoco.”

Yet Ponca was not passive in its response to the busting local economy, it formed an economic development advisory board, started an aggressive business retention program, a workforce training program, a business incubator and a business accelerator. 3,000 new jobs have been created in Ponca due to these efforts.

Maybe you don't want Bristol to look so barren as it currently does in parts, but if you are like the people who so far have been polled at a Comprehensive Plan Meeting, you know the need to be careful as we build our town that we do not build for a boom that does not last. That is what people mean by sustainable economics.

One area that already seems super strong is our region's health care jobs which are on the influx. How can we bring more of those jobs into our city?

I have no doubt that Bristol's sustainable future lies in the hands of the participants of the upcoming comprehensive plan meetings. It would be good to see a packed room of young people at that meeting.

Next Community meeting for the comprehensive plan will be in October.

Posted Fri Jul 28 17:25:40 2017

I meet strangers passing and wonder how the world has changed.

Posted Mon Jul 31 12:06:06 2017