Shaving with Richard Blanco

Unfortunately, that headline is not followed by a photo of Richard Blanco and me draped in bath towels, side-by-side in the mirror and shaving. I’m sorry to disappoint (myself). No, this is supposed to be a more family friendly post for Global/National Poetry Month.

The Monkey and I are doing a project in which we choose the same poet each week, and then each record a different piece by said poet. You can go back and listen to the results on both of our pages. In fact, we’d truly love it if you did that. We put a lot of brain power into selecting two living and two dead poets for this project. The dead poets wouldn’t get back to us, and we’re hoping that the two living poets don’t mind.

The chosen poet this week is a favorite who we both got to meet a few years back in State College, Pennsylvania.  When he became the inaugural poet for Barack Obama I felt as if I were somehow, by extension, included in the honor. A gay poet, reading for the president. I was seeing one of “my own people” up there, being given the respect that this country historically has failed to give us. More importantly, although we were the very last in a long line of admirers, he was gracious and kind and took an interest in my son and his own writing. This at the end of what must have been a very long day for him at Penn State.

Besides all of that, we just find his poetry so enriching. We hope you do too. Click here to listen to Micah’s lovely reading of Blanco’s poem, “Burning in the Rain.” As for my choice, the following piece seemed exactly right for this father-son effort. The text is not available online, but please, do yourself a favor and purchase a copy of the book for yourself. You can do that at one of the numerous places conveniently linked to from Blanco’s own website here.

Tuesday Tunes from the Monkey

Milton wants a cheery tune.

Since I had a busy Monday, complete with a car that failed to start before an impending Northeastern snow storm, followed by a toothache that turned into a miserable headache, I never got around to making a Music Monday post. But Milton and I were just listening to a cheerier post from one of our favorite humans with sounds from one of our favorite musicians.

Milt says he personally recommends following the link to Micah’s Tuesday Tunes. Just the thing with a hot mug of soup on a blizzardy day.

Cleaving, the Video

Bluebird and Owl, Favorite Mugs

Back in September of 2016, my poem, “Cleaving,” was published in the online literary magazine, Yellow Chair Review.  I almost forgot that five years ago, my two youngest sons and I did a little recording of it for YouTube. But after the editing of the poem and the video, we decided that it was good enough to submit for publication somewhere and kept it “under wraps.”

At that time I had started sporadically submitting things to be published and most places considered anything Google-able to be “previously published.” Almost nobody wants to print previously published poems. And though the words were not “printed,” they did appear onscreen in the minute and forty-five-second clip, so we thought it best to just “temporarily” shelve the wonderful piece of production, as of that time seen only by a few friends.

Well, I’ve been submitting more regularly and frequently the last two years, and thankfully Yellow Chair Review saw fit to include “Cleaving” in its 8th issue. Six months have passed and while you can read it there on their pages, along with two other poems they were gracious enough to publish, I decided it was time to dust off the video.  Continue reading

A Tuesday Tune

I have been meaning to share this song on a Monday Music post or a Saturday Song feature, but my youngest son, Micah got it up on his blog first as a Tuesday Tune.  I know not every Christian is like this. There are many out there who are good people but many of the ones from the protestant subculture I grew up in, well . . . it is rare to bring back emotion from that time, enough to choke me up, but this is how they made me feel.

Please check out the Monkey’s blog:  Source: A Tuesday Tune

Friday Love Poem

Proud Papa Moment #7642:

Micah reading at the Osterhout from Word Fountain, Winter 2017

Micah reading at the Osterhout from Word Fountain, Winter 2017

The Monkey is reading poems out loud again. He read for us at the launch party for Word Fountain’s winter issue and he read as one of the only two readers to participate in the open mic portion of a local coffee shop’s guest poet visit in his hometown of Lock Haven last night. The best part for me was hearing both his pre-event nervousness and his post-poetry euphoria.

He and I have been working on a new project, a big goal for us for the year, a father-son chapbook, and you’ll hear more about that in upcoming posts. We got some creative and organizational progress done on that while he stayed with me this week. And as always, he’s a big help at the library.

Go check him out, please.

My father does these on Thursdays, but I want to do it Friday at eleven o’clock at night. This poem is technically a love poem. It is a poem about love. In fact it’s right there in the …

Source: Friday Love Poem

Dad Libs: Throwback Thursday

My son Jonathan and I trying not to lose it.

My son Jonathan and I trying not to lose it.

This has been a scary week, the first week of a certain presidency that pushes my family and me way past the uneasy mark. But rather than give that blowhard, narcissistic, buffoon any more press today, we’re going to jump back to some old Dad Libs, our twist on the classic Mad Libs game.

Micah is spending the week with the old man here and he mentioned to me that he’d like to record some new versions of these, so as we warm up for new Dad Libs episodes, here are three of our favorites from over the years. The first is from 2010 when we recorded the very first Dad Lib on my old Acer laptop, so pardon the poor quality. The next two are just, well just favorite examples of the most fun a family can have indoors without alcohol.

Oh, and we seem to have a thing for butchering Robert Frost poems and great political speeches.