Seriously, how can you be scared of a hurricane named "Sandy"? It's almost as un-scary as "Bob" from a few seasons ago. "Bob" isn't a hurricane; it's your next-door neighbor who lends you his weed whacker. And he could be married to "Sandy". So when this weather phenomenon began to acquire the names "Superstorm" and "Frankenstorm" (a clever tag for a Halloween-week storm that was a hybrid of three different storms), there was more cause for alarm. It was truly frightening how big it became and how much it affected practically the whole Eastern half of the country. Of course, the Jersey shore, northern NJ and New York City got the brunt of it, and the images of the flooding and destruction are chilling. In my neck of the woods, closer to Philly, we had our share of damage and inconvenience, though nothing of the magnitude of those other areas. We got hurricane-force gusts but not as much rain, and no storm surge to worry about. Still, many of us were without power (some still are) and there's a number of downed trees all over. One came down in my yard and pulled a "hat trick", taking out my electric line, cable and phone line all at once, early in the storm. For a while I was the only one on my block without power. We made the most of it, with plenty of candles and flashlights, and we could still cook on our gas stove. We even played a board game together by candlelight (a fine alternative when electronic games are not an option). By Tuesday we were worrying about our perishable food, but we got everything back except the phone line by that afternoon - even had a local tree service cut up our fallen tree. None of us in in my house had work or school Monday or Tuesday, but today (Wednesday) my wife, who works for the state, was the only one who was off. Things are almost back to normal here, but The Big Apple, where two of my sons live, is another story. They're okay, but lower Manhattan is still flooded and mostly without power. If global warming was a factor in the formation of this monster storm, then we'd better start getting used to more of the same.
In poetry: My new chapbook is out! It's called Twenty-four by Fourteen, and is a collection of two dozen sonnets and sonnet-like poems, published by Maverick Duck Press. We had a "launch party" a couple of weeks ago at the Daily Grind in Mount Holly, which was sparsely attended, but I appreciated my friends and family who did come (including my wife, who rarely attends these things). The cover art, as usual, is by my talented graphic artist son. Here's a link to the publisher's website, or you can contact me directly for an autographed copy. Here's an image of the wrap-around cover - note the 24x14 array:
Happy Halloween: Here are two pumpkins my kids decorated - my son did the carved pirate emblem, and my Korean international student did her version of a witch:
Poem: Once again I finished in the top 10 in Robert Brewer's Poetic Asides blog Poetic Form contest. This time it was for a "chant poem". The title suggests a seasonal subject, but the theme is more serious, about the dark side of human nature.
My monster will rise from two teenage boys
who killed a young girl for her bike.
My monster will rise from a commentator
who called the President a “retard”
and from those who hang him in effigy.
My monster will rise from the men who shot
a girl in Pakistan who wanted an education.
My monster will rise from those who bullied
a girl to suicide.
My monster will rise from those who say
the Holocaust never happened.
My monster will rise from the two men
who crucified a young gay man against a fence,
the three white supremacists who dragged
a black man to pieces behind their pickup.
My monster will rise from the slime of hatred
and intolerance, from the stench of inhumanity.
Who will kill my monster?