And Words Are All I Have


Soulmates, Two and Four Legged.

Micro poetry -- the challenge therein to create an entire world, or conjure just a single moment in time, in as few words as possible.

It's akin to calisthenics for the poet, and the closest I'll get to a gym.

At Rest

Placed atop the bed sheet,
his lovely soulful hands,
mapped in deep indigo veins,
the long expressive fingers,
this was where his humanness would reside
the longest.

~ tm

I can't imagine a more eloquent or true description of friendship than the one here by the Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran, written for a young man who asked him about the essence of friendship.

Lovely way to start a Friday, is it not?

Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside. For you come to him with your hunger,
and you seek him for peace.
When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “nay” in your own mind,
nor do you withhold the “aye.”
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires,
all expectations are born and shared,
with joy that is unacclaimed.

Hamish for elevator story
When pet friendly hotels weren't a thing...

Our first Westie, Hamish, pictured above, in all his curmudgeonliness (not a word but sh0uld be) was a fine wee fellow. But feisty.

In the days when we pet owners were largely considered a nuisance on the road, my husband would tuck (well, wedge) Hamish’ corpulent self under his arm, throw his trench coat overtop of him, and spirit him in to hotel elevators, hoping to go undetected.

But Hamish was unreliable at best. Invariably, within seconds, he would register his distaste of the situation via a resounding guttural schnortle/schnurfle, a sound audible on Mars, to which Martin, shaking his head, would pipe up in exasperation:

“Excuse me: I cannot seem to shake this chest cold.”

Vigorous nods in commiseration abounded - invariably - from our fellow occupants.

Best tweet of the week:

I'm through listening to the sad stories of the latest mass shooting...
unless it happens at a NRA convention... that's different.

Second best...

Me, an American, watching the UK force their leaders
to resign in disgrace:
I want what they have.

The Most Creative New Business Idea I Heard This Week...

If you pay me $50 I will show up to your funeral and stand at a discreet distance holding a black umbrella regardless of the weather so that people will think you died with a dark and intriguing secret.

I want to write poems for construction workers and dreamers
For revolutionaries
For deadbeats and those on the low
I never want to ask please fix us all
I want for us to want
to patch every heart
and pave every road
and destroy every system
that has ever left us
broken. I want to sing
like frank ocean, like wonder
like sonder, like mereba, like the sea.
I want to recite the line
Took the wretched out the earth
Called it baby fanon,
I want to call someone baby.
I want to stop smoking because I want to live,
I can only love my comrades if I live,
and I want to clean my room,
I want to clean my room every week
and make my bed and put peppermint in my hair
to stop needing my inhalers
and to inhale solidarity, and to eat the rich,
I want to eat the rich, to cancel the rents,
to know my neighbors
and to know my neighbors
are safe. I want to move like water, to move
from unity to struggle to unity,
to have no perfect world we haven’t fought for.

~~ Jordan Jace

(Listening to Lana Del Rey)

The jazz singer on the radio makes me want to buy a manual typewriter, smoke a cigarette, read Kerouac. When she sings, suicide becomes an obligation, an orphan looking for its mother, the best idea I’ve had in years. I pour American Honey in a tumbler, and settle in with The Collected Poems of Plath. Certain girls aren’t happy without a little sadness. Sexton, jealous that she didn’t die first, passed out every night in her mashed potatoes. There are secrets in this life, and for some of us, all we can do is write the ghosts and demons out of our bloodlines.

~~ Carrie L. Krucinski
Soulmates aren't the ones who make you happiest, no. They're instead the ones who make you feel the most. Burning edges and scars and stars. Old pangs, captivation and beauty. Strain and shadows and worry and yearning. Sweetness and madness and dreamlike surrender. They hurl you into the abyss. They taste like hope.

~~ Victoria Erickson

Recent Post

Gabby Petito

For all of the girls and the women who trusted too much... those found and never found, the lost ones, the lonely ones, whose stories go untold, their heartache entombed alongside them. Last Text from Gabby Petito No service here, but at least I’m free from the cage bars of my body; remember what I’d blogged in observation of …
Gabby Petito

Michael O'Donnell didn't return home from the Vietnam War, but his poetry did. Alum Daniel Weiss was so taken by O'Donnell's work that he spent the last decade-plus learning about its author.

This is from an essay by Bret McCabe, himself a vet, published Spring of 2020.

Helicopter pilot Michael O'Donnell could hover near the ground for only a short time before returning to the sky. On the afternoon of March 24, 1970, O'Donnell had guided his Huey below the dense foliage of Cambodia's mountainous northeast region to retrieve an eight-man reconnaissance patrol that had been inserted to gain information on the size and movements of enemy forces but encountered gunfire early on. Three days into a planned five-day patrol, they needed to be evacuated.

O'Donnell, a 24-year-old from suburban Milwaukee, was part of the helicopter rescue mission involving two unarmed transports and four gunships that were dispatched from an airbase in Vietnam's central highlands. After lingering at 1,500 feet, waiting for the recon team to reach the extraction point, one transport had to return to base to refuel. The transport was on its way back when the recon team radioed that it couldn't hold out much longer. O'Donnell dropped his helicopter into a windy canyon and through a small opening in the canopy, lowered his craft to just above the ground. The recon patrol emerged from the jungle with enemy fire trailing after them. It took about four agonizingly long minutes for all eight men to board, a little longer than the average pop song.

After ascending about 200 feet, O'Donnell radioed to air command, "I've got all eight, I'm coming out," right before his helicopter burst into flames, likely struck by a ground-based rocket. The pilot, his three-man crew, and the recon patrol were officially declared missing in action in 1970. O'Donnell wouldn't be declared dead until February 7, 1978. His remains were discovered in 1995 but not officially identified until February 15, 2001. And on August 16, 2001, he was interred at Arlington National Cemetery, which was created as a final resting place for soldiers on land seized from a plantation owner after the Civil War. O'Donnell left behind his wife, his parents, a sister, his best friend and music partner, and a collection of 19 poems, some of which he included in his letters to friends, discovered in his footlocker after his death.

One of those 19 retrieved pieces, printed below, O'Donnell had mailed to his friend Marcus Sullivan in 1970. Sullivan served as a combat engineer in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968, and they wrote each other throughout their training and tours. O'Donnell's daily missions transporting the dead and wounded back from the front lines were taking their toll.

If you are able,
save them a place
inside of you
and save one backward glance
when you are leaving
for the places they can
no longer go.
Be not ashamed to say
you loved them,
though you may
or may not have always.
Take what they have left
and what they have taught you
with their dying
and keep it with your own. And in that time
when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane,
take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes
you left behind.


Book Sales

The Music of Leaving, my collection of poetry, is available to order.
Order directly online — for both Canada and U.S. orders — from Amazon, Brunswick and Demeter.
The Music of Leaving - Tricia McCallum

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