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I needed some confidence tonight so I put on Emmy-lou Harris, which reminds me of Mom, who thinks I’m awesome.  Problem solved.  If you listen long enough to get past the George Jones part in “Here We Are” you realize what a knockout she’s always been. Mom and Emmy both.  I kinda love the word knockout.

I also got to thinking about water, because I read this poem: The Lyric “I” Drives to Pick up Her Children from School: A Poem in the Postconfessional Mode.  

Paying so much attention to my thoughts makes me uncomfortable, so I tried eliminating the “I” in some poems.  All that came of that was the use of the second person and some pronoun replacement therapy, though, and when I’m not writing confessionally I tend to try to write about nature which is hard to do well because, you know. Wow. Nature. And I think of all things elemental, water has got to be about the hardest to write about well.

Thinking about water today got me thinking about West Virginia, especially Elk River and   people without safe water.  We can donate through my friend Sarah Vekasi’s Eco-Chaplainacy Initiative to help.

So, I’m going to try to write about it. And I’m going to use “I”. Because I can. Forgive me if I venture into sappy water poetry. I’m not good at water. Whatever.  Maybe that should be rule #4: One Water poem per month.  Then at the end of the year, I’ll have 12 crummy water poems. Or, maybe, 11 crummy ones and one badass water poem.


Water Stories

Listen. Hear the water story the rock? Today it sounds exactly like the trains.

Some people hear choirs, others hear children, but everybody hears human voices from the current.

Once I heard a ghost by the creekbed.  She sounded like nursery rhymes.

It started when we forgot what we were made of,

but the real poison started with the first drop of profit.

This venom that cuts the flesh of the Earth

with every spring flood is not as poisonous as that in the veins of those who

think they can own it.

Almost, but not quite.

For a long time we have propheted that the worst and most gruesome will be water stories

but got outshouted by oil.

Time, I believe, to lend our voices to the water now,

as it does for us when we are alone,

and even if it begins in a whisper it will grow into

a torrent

that sounds like the force of a great wind.


What do they call it at school when you think about stuff that you just did? Oh yeah, “processing”.  Agh. Well, that was painful and I’m glad its over because I’m tired. I know. I should’ve just called this The Tired Poet. But also? I think you are tired too. I think that if you are an adult person of not-so-middling income, which is everyone I know, and you have a job and interests and probably pets or kids and stuff, you are really fucking tired.  You don’t look as tired as you are in your photos, though, so there’s that.