Sunday, February 21, 2016

Book Review: Three Line Poetry [Prolific Press]



Artwork © "Fairy Mary's Dream ca 1870 A.F.L. 


Prolific Press oversees and publishes eight respected and established literary journals. As of March 2014, Prolific has been accepting full manuscripts for poetry and fiction, chapbooks, has resources for writers, and a bookstore. 



 Prolific Press currently publishes: 

Recently published in Issue #34 of Three Line Poetry, I had no idea what to expect, regarding acceptance of my submission, the type of book, the artwork and the writers included in this volume. For a writer like myself, absolute stream of consciousness, writing three coherent lines is difficult.




After receiving my book, I am stunned and delighted. More than delighted, I am exuberant and surprised. Not only is this publishing at its finest, the front and back cover artwork and production is magnificent and speaks for me, my writing, my vision of and for this universe.  

The book is humble in nature, yet finely formatted.

Issue #34 features over 40 writers, every page different. One page may be a haiku, another three lines of poetry and yet another page, a senryu or a masterfully crafted story formed from simply three lines of words. 

Prolific Press publishes out of Harborton, Virginia, edited by Glenn Lyvers and April Zipser. The book is ready for sale, with UPC and ISBN and promoted on their website as well as by the authors featured in this volume. 

The most compelling aspect of this over 40-page volume is that every page, although only three lines, leaves the reader with intense thought for further contemplation. Similar to Franz Kafka’s, The Z├╝rau Aphorisms, Three Line Poetry allows the reader to decide where to further look, if anywhere, depending upon his or her own path and direction at this point in time. 

I adore this book, especially this volume, due to the writing and the cover art. It is the first time I have dealt with Prolific Press and their work is outstanding from start to finish. I definitely suggest contacting them to purchase a few volumes from the eight subjects above, as well as submitting your work to them. 




I read this book in about 10 minutes however, it is the type of volume that keeps you going back, reading and rereading three lines . . . a book to keep close by for days when you may need inspiration or are in deep thought or simply to enjoy and pass along to another. 

For anyone new to haiku, senryu, three-line poetry, this volume is a perfect start. 




In short, this is a fine press. The book I received, along with a free subscription to more work, is outstanding. The submission process was short, the editing is fine-tuned and the artwork, impeccable. 

My cost was one free submission.

Prolific Press --> HERE

Three Line Poetry Issue #34 --> HERE

Bookstore --> HERE






Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Buffalo's Columbus Day Name Change in The Buffalo News



© Susan Schulman/Buffalo News





Via The Buffalo News and BN Susan Schulman in Politics Now and City Hallways

"The City of Buffalo has a strong history of American Indian culture. It is time for the city to reflect and honor that tradition," Susan Marie wrote in her e-mail, which also talks of Columbus Day as being historically incorrect.

Marie told me she is not Native American, but views this an ethical and moral issue all people should empathize with. 





Please sign and share this petition


We need more supporters before I bring the resolution to the Common Council. In one day, we have over 400 people that signed! 

Thank you! 





Tuesday, February 16, 2016

City of Buffalo Resolution To Change Columbus Day to Indigenous Heritage Day





 


Several major cities in America have been successful in changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day to celebrate and recognize Indigenous People to reflect upon the ongoing struggles of Indigenous people on this land, and to celebrate the thriving culture and value that Indigenous nations add to our city. 

The City of Buffalo has a strong history of American Indian culture. It is time for the city to reflect and honor that tradition in order to progress, recognize and celebrate the history of Indigenous People.

International Day of the World's Indigenous People already exists in August, first commemorated by the U.N. and celebrated in Buffalo, New York.

This petition is for the abolition of Christopher Columbus Day, the 2nd Monday in October, an outdated and historically incorrect celebration, in favor of Indigenous Heritage Day. 





Please join me in making this happen! 



Saturday, February 6, 2016

Rumi, Jake Sully, and A Starry Starry Night




© adrijana.polyvore.com 



“Learn well, Jakesully, and we will see if your insanity can be cured.”
~ Mo'at to Jake upon introduction to Omaticaya clan, Avatar

I know why Van Gogh lost part of his ear.

A quick glimpse through Tormented Genius, a small yet deeply impressionable volume, plainly outlines Vincent’s life. Honestly, you will empathize. I promise. It is simple to understand the suffering of another human soul.

When you are not meant to exist within ordinary spaces in society, regardless of the day, the era, even the century, yet attempt to squeeze yourself into that puzzle when you are not even a piece, you are not going to fit. It will be uncomfortable, quite painful.

A strange phenomenon occurs when you attempt to defy your ultimate purpose:  

Society does not accept you.

I know you have been there. Arms wide-open, heart full and giving. Ready, willing and accepting of all things. I can bet, sitting there reading right now, free-flowing and innocent, yet far from naive, you are misunderstood.

Vincent tried to fit. Thankfully, Van Gogh burns eternal within his work, gleaming like the fire within his eyes. Vincent adored people, he wanted to create, and always be creating and manifesting. He wanted to be a part of what was going on, to join in. 

Unbeknownst to him, society was not his tribe.

The irony is, Vincent was born into a world blinded by his light, yet in desperate need of his inspiration. Van Gogh felt most at peace in a sanitarium. People drove him there. I like to believe that Vincent became sane again, after going insane attempting to fit into places he did not belong.

I can see him now, watching crows in the wheat fields out of barred windows. I surely know he found bliss again. In solitude. Thank goodness.

This is why I write. It provides me with an avenue to speak without ever uttering a word. I write on scraps of paper, publish articles I hope, somewhat, are understood, but that is okay if they are not. Writing is for me.

If you grasp anything coherent from the thoughts that transpire inside my ever-ignited skull, well, you just might be my tribe.

If dull conversation tires you because no one around you is saying anything that excites the very core of your being, know that I also feel this way. It is okay, it means you are paying attention.

There is much to offer the world, yet it seems as if most people are asleep. This causes me to become quiet. Apathy and ignorance force me into solitude.

Nature does not tell me how to write, speak or spell. Trees do not scoff and decide if I am fat, skinny, pretty or ugly. The grass does not yell obscenities at me while I walk beside it down the street. The dirt does not shove me in boxes labeled according to my ethnicity, financial class, race, spiritual beliefs, and sexual gender.

My tribe is scattered across the globe. At least I know it exists. However, we are facing strange times. This is nothing new. I am simply reiterating, compounding upon and carrying forward, what I have learned from those no longer with us.

I hope that after I return to dust, my words live beyond me, so others know that they are not alone in this wondrously mad and deranged place, and to recognize that one must be insane to fully exist in any society, with its rules, regulations, ordinances, governance, policies, and delusions.

I know you want to rest upon the arduous path, if only for a little while. Just a quick nap underneath the pine trees, bed down like a doe, perhaps. To keep going, regardless… now, that is true power. Now, that is living.

Trudging uphill, sun searing delicate skin, salt of sweat stinging sight, the air thick with purity, your polluted lungs heave and struggle for oxygen, knees buckle under the weight on your back and above you, vultures circle, awaiting your own demise.

Ah, do not fall prey to trivialities. Tilt your chin upward and bellow like the wild sacred spirit you were born to be. Swear to the barren landscape that no matter what humankind attempts to do to you, that today is not your day to die.


Rinse and Repeat:


In order to progress, I must first be insane.


Like Jake Sully up there.


One of the greatest love stories ever told is that of Shams and Rumi. When they met, alchemy. Rumi, once a teacher, now a student, and Shams, once a student, now a teacher, formed a union that no one understood. Everyone was too busy being insane looking outward at two men looking inward, gloriously ill with sanity.

There are lessons hidden within the tears Rumi shed after Shams disappeared. This obliterated Rumi. Crushed, he did not yet understand the purpose for the depths of his own heartbreak and confusion. Shams left Rumi’s side without uttering a reason. He did not leave out of spite or hatred, quite the opposite.

Shams left because Rumi was meant to bleed and then burst like Phoenix rising.


Then Rumi taught the world of love.

Thinking of those no longer around, how I wish to speak with them now, standing on my balcony, the sun shining magnificently, so utterly lovely for winter. The birds share their songs, selflessly. The trees readying themselves with fresh buds and herbs starting to grow.

I am thankful right now, here in the sunshine. This immense ball of energy, sustaining life, thankful for my sight, my heart, my mind, and although it is often an isolated path, for my soul that is alive, awake and oh-so-utterly free.


What can we teach one another? Show me what I do not see.

Enlighten me.






Monday, February 1, 2016

Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui [Penguin Random House Book Review]





 

 
Karen Kingston, the world’s leading expert in space clearing, a branch of Feng Shui that specializes in the art of clearing and revitalizing energies in buildings, published a revised and updated addition since 1998. Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui became an international bestseller, establishing this book as a classic in its field. Karen has over thirty-five years’ experience helping people to clear their clutter.

Her first book, Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui published in 1996 was a general approach to the practice of Feng Shui. In this current volume, Karen approached the subject matter as a whole, explaining and educating people on the art and practice of Feng Shui as an emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual freedom. 

Already practicing Feng Shui, this book solidified simple daily things I do in my own life as essential and necessary to my well-being. Like our physical bodies, the spaces around us hold onto energy. If that energy is out of balance, stagnant, too high or too low, disease occurs. The same applies with your home, your vehicle, your work-space and your environment.

Easily explained, "Feng Shui is the art of balancing and harmonizing the flow of natural energies in our surroundings to create beneficial effects in our lives." 


Karen explains that in Bali, for example, people still live in total harmony with the seen physical world and the unseen energy world. She describes Feng Shui as "not just a set of principles applied to a building for a result, but being in tune with the sacredness of the land and surroundings as a way of life."

The book is divided into parts:  


·         Understanding Clutter
·         Identifying Clutter 
·         Clearing Clutter 

Within each part, Karen delves into the importance of understanding how clutter affects you, and how the clutter of other people can affect you as well. The act of letting go of things you no longer need, yet hold onto, is imperative. This not only applies to cleaning out closets, drawers, cupboards and shelves, but to your own mental, emotional and spiritual wellness by freeing yourself from wasted space and stagnant energy. 

For example, I recently went through all of my books. There were hundreds. I decided which books meant the most to me, which books I wished to donate or give away, and which books I might be able to sell. After dividing my books into groups, I then moved my bookshelves to a different area in the room and arranged the books the best I was able into categories. 

This simple practice of going through my books ended up in a complete rearrangement of my entire bedroom to accommodate new space. With one part of the room feeling free and organized, the rest did not. I moved my bed, my desk, my tables and mirrors. The entire room now feels complete and whole. 

That is how basic Feng Shui is. 

In this volume, Karen directs attention towards the importance of clearing clutter, which can depress you and put your life on hold without realizing. The simple act of going through old clothes, photos, letters, bills, and anything that you do not need to keep is a freeing process for the mind, body, soul and a massive architectural and fashion based statement for your home or space. 

After I cleared my books, I decided the walls needed change too. New draperies and blinds installed, as well as artwork and tapestries. I did this myself and now when I enter this room; it feels more open, warm, inviting and energetically sound. 

Before going through my books, stacked haphazardly on the shelves, unorganized, many books with paper stuffed in between, half written poems and stories, bills, photographs and things that did not need to be in my space, I found it is now easier to breathe, my atmosphere is lighter. Now when I come home, my favorite place to go is to my bedroom. 

Before I mentioned that I practice Feng Shui on a regular basis and I do, however, after reading Karen's book, I realized just how much I am helping my entire being and that of those that visit my home by clearing away what is not needed. We often tend to clear away clutter in our careers and relationships, yet rarely where it is most needed, our homes, where we spend most of our time. 

Beside the mind, body and spirit aspects mentioned in this book, Karen goes into other hazards of clutter such as fire hazards, financial costs of keeping clutter and storage, how much extra cleaning is needed due to clutter and how clutter distracts you from important things you need to care for daily. 


Many of us keep things to identify with them, or a "just in case" mentality. Becoming unattached to belongings is the first and most essential step in clearing clutter. Some may believe that "more is better" or keep things for "financial status" reasons. Others may find security in holding onto things and be territorial about their possessions. Inherited tendencies even come into play like obsessive-compulsive disorder and using clutter to suppress emotions.

For me, the largest lesson outlined in this book is fear. Fear of letting go. Fear of losing, fear of not having. "Fear suppresses your vital life force energy; releasing clutter helps you reconnect you to your own natural vitality."

After reading this book, I went through my closets and lo and behold, found so many things to sell and donate. I was holding onto old technology, cameras, laptops, computers, computer parts, clothes, books, shoes, trinkets, jackets and noticed my home had four television sets. We rarely watch television here. What was I doing with four! 


I sold one flat-screen. I donated an old television to charity. I gave away computer parts, donated books to libraries, clothes to charity, and sold technology that was still useful.

Not only does it feel good to donate to others, or simply give to someone who may need what you have, it clears your space and by clearing your space, you clear your mind, in turn clearing your emotional and spiritual well-being. 

Now when I enter my home, I feel more natural, more welcome, more secure and more at peace. Anyone that enters my space has always felt this way, yet more so now with the help of Karen, explaining and educating through her book, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui

It is a necessary volume for everyone to own, a small, hardcover, easy to read book that puts an age-old practice into everyday living. 

For more information on Karen: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/15760/karen-kingston/

To purchase the book: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/536088/clear-your-clutter-with-feng-shui-revised-and-updated-by-karen-kingston/

What a wonderful gift to give to someone you hold dear.  

Especially yourself. 




"I received this book from Blogging for Books."

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Stillness Of This Precious Night






I set down the book I am reading, The Bones & Breath by L.R. Heartsong, halfway through the last chapter, Wild Soul, Wise Heart, telling myself that this chapter was written specifically for me:
“Our bodies reveal Nature in all its intelligence and innate, untamed magnificence. We are primal, sensual, sexual beings — wild souls — bestowed with self-reflective consciousness and higher states of awareness.
Yet nearly everyone is locked in fear and stuck in their familiar cage. Our ego never heals us, only the body does. And grace.”

I stop at this exact place on the page, marking the spot with a bookmark made of maple, walnut and cherry reed, and rise from the comfort of the luxurious warmth of my bed to the living room.

The floor-length blinds are closed. I draw them wide open, brew coffee, pull a leather-bound chair up to the sliding glass doors, and begin to write.

The words I just read were written by a knowing heart, one spent awake and alive on nights such as mine. Contemplating silence and space, focused not on time, but on placement and purpose.

My home. Absolute peace. The only sounds, the lazy sputter of freshly brewing coffee and the palpable, otherworldly still breath of the wind.

This silence is pure. My loved one snug, sleeping peacefully. Warm. Safe.

Heavenly.

I bend slightly to one side to heave open a sliding glass door and allow the freezing breath of night to welcome me. My legs clad in cotton flannel pajamas, I allow frigid winter to envelop me completely.

My breath catches in my throat as the midnight air greets my face, gentle and fresh, filling my lungs with life. I breathe her into my body fully.

Sitting slightly forward in my chair, I peer into the darkness of night.

There is a mad irony at play witnessing nature in repose. A season that seems closed, yet is fully alive and growing beneath what human sight cannot sense. Energy is transforming beneath this icy veil, lives yet to be birthed hide within her embrace.

Roots are semi-hibernating beneath the layers of snow; they hold solemn conversation with the dirt, packed close for survival. This season is a death-like slumber. Another form of life.

Like me, now, silent in my space and placement on Earth, contemplating nothing of importance whatsoever, resting within and with my human form, my body, my breath, my blood.

The fresh snow is divine, untouched my humankind. It blankets the ground like a virginal bridal gown.

There are tracks on the porch, not sure from what, small animals, perhaps squirrels or the starlings that berth in my roof and sing above my head to me when the wind grows fierce. I hear their pitter-pattering in the crawlspace above me during harsh weather, and it makes me smile.

They come to me after dawn though, hundreds of them, it seems. The tracks are not from the starlings.

The ravens keep their distance, and never visit at night. Not to my knowledge. Instead, they choose to squawk at me from across the lawn during the day, telling me tales. There are three of them.

The strutter is the one that speaks, the other two keep watch on the tips of the tallest branches of two pine trees beside the strutter. He prances back and forth on the ground like a peacock, staring at me as if I understand birdspeak.

Oddly enough, I do.

I wonder if they have visited my porch as well. There are many tracks here in the snow tonight. I left my planters out after Autumn, still alive, now half-asleep, full of fragrant homegrown herbs and the roots of vegetables.

My deer have been here. I spy their tracks at the foot of the balcony. I missed them this evening. Oftentimes I catch them quietly by the edge of the porch, feeding from bushes full of berries and greens. When I see them, I toss gigantic organic green apples to them. They like it here with me.

Their tracks are always by my balcony. As if they watch and wait, wondering where I am.

Across this vast expanse of land, there are only two trails of deer tracks heading towards my house. The rest of the frigid snow is untouched.

My deer. That is what I call them because they only visit me. Perhaps they come when I need peace.

I peer far over the railing, like an innocent wondrous child, my slippers now cold, filling with snow. My socks are wet, yet my feet do not mind. I must make sure my deer are not waiting for me, as they often bed down by large bushes, silent, like stone sculptures.

A garden light on the balcony covered in snow bravely shines, like a brilliant torch for existence, for nature. A beacon for the resilience of the human soul, and to all who may be alive and awake now, here, with me, in this sacred, soft glow, one solitary light bellows:
“I am here, I am alive, I am awake, and I matter.”



 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Let Us Dance


On Mogul






You are my sweetest downfall,
my setting sun,
the new dawn, exuberant,
my oceanic tides, rising,
the sweet caress
of the gentle breath of wind,
and oxygen sustaining life,
to my limbs, lungs, my brain,
neurons transmitting thought
across satellites and skylines,
messengers of existence,
this universe,
found within
words shared —
words spoken —
energy given and received —
intensely, inhumanly, human, bold, electric —
my spirit speaking to your own,
immortal.


This time,
is precious.


My lungs bellow to this thunderous, angry sky
grey and blurred,
shaking foundations of Earth,
brick buildings, skyscrapers,
ancient caves painted
with the livelihood of humankind,
renewing dirt and roots,
pounding upon rooftops
causing tables to turn, geologic,
senses muddied and marred,
like some wicked wild woman, crazed
fully alive, dancing for you, only you,
a wild man, masculine, softhearted and assured,
insanity abound, alive and aroused
in glory.


Dear friend, lover, love,
relish your beloved human heart, beating,
your muscles, expanding and contracting.


Let the mad onlookers point and stare,
for they wish they were us,
encumbered and enlightened,
by this strange yet glorious existence,
of human, spirit soul-speaking,
ultimate.


You are my sweetest downfall,
from distances,
close, my heart,
it sings praises and supplications,
and the piano-man sees
upon ivory keys —
soft pads of fingertips
dancing as silhouettes,
tip tapping gently,
vibrations of compositions of frequency
far across lakes, surpassing the speed of sound,
defying physics, science,
and placed distant,
waiting, here,
for the slightest songs
of Springtime,
coming.


Michelangelo knew,
he understood that meadows could not exist
without hillsides that rise and fall
with ecstasy and arrival,
like the body, human and remarkable,
like the luthier, diligent and precise,
stretching string upon string,
upon figures, shapely,
fine-tuned and taut,
in his palms,
delicate,
pure.


Like cherry blossoms ready to bloom,
the nature of life, beauty and vitality,
transience, impermanent permanence,
like my right arm raised
elbow slightly bent,
wrist acting on its own accord,
delicate horse-hairs in hand,
canvas tilted before me —


— Your body I shall paint with colors that have yet to exist —


My dear soul, how innocent this love is.
You hold dear my every weakness
and exalt within my illustrious morning glories.


Come, come with me now —
let us rejoice and explore
the forests and woods,
the waters and lakes,
the crevices and caves,
the leaves and limbs,
the sun and moon.


Let us upturn rocks and minerals,
where salamanders tend to hide,
and take pleasure in now,
in utter simplicity.


Let us run barefoot through mud and grass,
toes melding with Mother Nature,
both of us, separate and together,
hair whipping, furious and in flight,
wild eyed and awake,
as Dear Earth contends
with her one true lover,
the sky, majestic,
beauteous.


Let us be one
apart and close,
crazy and sane,
simultaneous.


Let go of my hand.
Do it now.
I dare you.


Push me from the ledge.
Into you, to myself.


Free us from shackles and bars
that attempt to hold
the spirit hostage,
and I shall hand you keys
that unlocks most holy doors,
from this illusion,
this reverie,
this reality,
this absolute rapturous
knowing.


Let go of my hand, love,
yet hold me close.


Let us dance
naked,
for the trees,


eternal.