Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hello Again!

It's high time I updated this sucker. I was at the Philadelphia Writers Conference this past weekend, and in the session on blogging, the presenter said you have to post regularly, whether it's daily, weekly, or whatever, to expect to get any kind of regular audience.

Speaking of The PWC, this year was the third year in a row I attended, and it was possibly the best one yet. The poetry instructors, Leonard Gontarek and Aaren Yeatts Perry, were both excellent, and the other workshops were quite good too. But the highlight for me was winning first prize in one of the three poetry contests for my poem, "Dream". The prize is free tuition for next year's contest plus a small cash prize. I actually went for free this year, too, thanks to winning first prize last year as well (and second prize too). I can't print "Dream" below because I've submitted it for publication elsewhere. ("Elsewhere" is Poetry magazine, where I have a snowball's chance in you-know-where, but at least this summer they're accepting poetry only from poets who have not been published there previously.

Hung with my homeys at the Quick and Dirty Poets meeting tonight. (Alas, Anna was at a reading in North Jersey tonight.) Great bunch of folks, and incredibly talented too. We enjoyed a nice backyard barbecue (thanks, Don) and swapped critique of our poems. Donna, our "honorary" member, wrote an incredible three-piece (triptych) poem about spontaneous human combustion.

Music: Most recently enjoyed the Faces 2-disc "Definitive" collection. You can read my review on Amazon.com (I'm thinking of switching my reviews over here - I wouldn't get nearly as many reads, but at least I would still own the reviews.) The Faces weren't technically a "pub band", but they sounded like one - what the Stones would have been if they didn't start to get arrogant. And Rod Stewart was their front man, before he forgot how to rock. His mates weren't too shabby either: Ronny Wood (who later joined the Stones), Kenney Jones (later joined the Who), Ian MacLaglen and Ronnie Lane.

That's enough for now, kids. It's 11:56 and we old folks turn into pumpkins at midnight. Meanwhile, I'll leave you with my poem that appeared in this year's issue of
Journal of New Jersey Poets:

Mister Peanut in Atlantic City

For years you could see him
in front of the Planter’s Peanut shop
on the Boardwalk. Dressed to the nines,
this six-foot legume sported top hat,
monocle, spats and cane.
He waved a white-gloved hand
to passersby, patted children on the head,
while standing outside the store
where the aroma of roasted nuts
enveloped him like a cologne.
Kids and pigeons loved to hang out here.

If you were lucky enough to have some change,
you could go inside and buy some of his wares,
or at least a red plastic bank in his likeness,
with a long slot in the back of his head,
where you’d put your nickels and dimes,
saving for a game of miniature golf,
a box of boardwalk fudge, or even more peanuts.

I imagined him stepping out in his younger days
with that little tycoon from the Monopoly cards.
They’d check out the 500 Club,
the little tycoon with a diminutive blonde on his arm,
Mr. P. with an exotic Brazil nut, or a Jordan almond
in a pink candy coating, her perfect manicure.

He disappeared when the casinos sprang up,
but he was an institution in his time,
welcoming visitors with a handshake
and a painted-on smile,
as the city around him
slowly turned into an empty shell.

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