Can't get you out of my head


we spread a blanket      spread
ourselves               almost pulseless

in pacific deception

- from A Duet of Novices by Gail Waldstein
from The Hauntings


I've got word envy. Or poem envy. Or something like a revved-up appreciation for another's work.

Does this happen to you? You read a line, a passage, a chapter, and you are moved, but it comes with a twinge of wish. As in, I wish I'd written that.

These twinges, this envy, at first feels petty but is really instruction in disguise. This yearning awakens, and then asks why? And the why leads and encourages us to find our own version, our own voice, our own way. 

What's leading you?


Thankful Thursday: Yes

Say yes.

Yes opens the door.

Lately, I've enjoyed a sequence of yes. Like shopping for a car, once you notice the Subura, you see Suburas everywhere (or you just live in Oregon).

My friend Vicki sends out a weekly poem (she researches and writes backstory on each poet. It's a great free service produced by a real poetry appreciator). A few months ago she asked me to serve as guest curator. I shared a few of my favorite poems, including God Says Yes to Me by Kaylin Haught, and concluded with one of my own, Turn Up the Quiet.

One of her readers noted that yes made a frequent appearance. I hadn't noticed, and thus, began a fun exchange:

In response to yes, Careful Reader sent me a no poem by Vsevolod Nekrasov:

no no
no and no

no and no and no and no
and no and no and no and no
and no
and I     no

I responded with another yes poem, an excerpt from On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong:

Say amen. Say amend.
Say yes. Say yes

When Careful Reader said she was having trouble finding no poems, I felt heartened. Yes had triumphed.

Still, I kept on the search, digging up more yes poems (though at this point, vindicated, I kept them to myself). I found this poem by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer:


Not just on the wall—
the writing's on the sky,
the river, the bridge, your hands.
Wouldn't you love to believe
all those blue and red lines
make a map, and if only
you could read those lines,
you might know where to go
from here? Yes, we're lost
and wrinkled and surely doomed,
but god, in this moment
between concerns, isn't it beautiful,
the place where we wander,
this hour when gold gathers
just before the plum of night?

Wanting to know more, I discovered Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer approaches writing and life with yes. I liked her style, and I reached out to learn more. Rosemerry is now featured on the blog series I host, 3 Good Books, sharing her top picks on the theme of, you guessed it, Yes.
Don't you love the power of poetry, how it nudges us to pause and consider, how it moves us toward yes

It's Thankful Thursday, a weekly pause to express appreciation for people, places, things, and more. What are you thankful for today?


Sunday Funny

John Atkinson, Wrong Hands


Fill me up, it said

. . . And turned, therefore,
 to the expected silence of a page,

where I might simultaneous assert
and hide, be my own disappointment,
which saved me for a while.
But soon the page whispered

I'd mistaken its vastness for a refuge
its whiteness for a hospital
for the pathetic. Fill me up, it said
give me sorrow because I must have joy,

all the travails of love because
distances are where the safe reside.
Bring to me, it said, continuous proof
you've been alive.

— from Turning to the Page
by Stephen Dunn

To view full poem, go here.



When we read . . . 

I ask questions: What are you reading? Why? What is it about this topic that resonates with you? How does it influence your own work?

I liked the responses so much, I made a place to share those answers, influences and ideas: 3 Good Books.

Because when we read, creativity stirs. And when we create, our lives expand.

Expand yourself. Get to know great writers and artists. Now Showing at 3 Good Books: Ebony Stewart, a performance poet and sexual health instructor (that's her in the video). She's funny, tender, smart and sharp, and she's got some great book suggestions.