Update August 2014

I’m not exactly sure what size or sort of audience these words will find once they’re out in the world, but I haven’t updated this blog in about a year, which is roughly 25% of its short life, so an update seems appropriate.

At the end of June my family said a tearful goodbye to the Twin Cities and headed west to Santa Ana, California. I’ve moved away from Minneapolis once before, in 2002, to Chicago, where I got married, and it was at a time when I was fairly rootless and, as such, portable. This time, though, we’d been living in Minneapolis for a decade, and saying goodbye to family, friends, and even our house was difficult.

I’m currently staying home with our young son and looking for work teaching high school English, a task I’ve made more difficult for myself via my stubborn insistence on teaching in a public school district (i.e., not private, not charter). That’s a topic for another conversation, one in which I’d happily indulge for anyone who is interested, but for now, suffice it to say, it’s tricky to feel too connected to a place in which my life hasn’t yet really gotten going.

Meanwhile, the world is in chaos. Gaza. Iraq. Unaccompanied minors. Eric Garner. Robin Williams. Michael Brown. Probably a host of other terrible things I’m missing. It can be a dark place, this world, and a casual observer of this blog may wonder if I’m trying to make a cottage industry of poems about murdered teens.

But the world can be beautiful, too. It smells good here, nearly all the time. That’s something. Really. There are a million plants that I’ve never seen before, and some (like jade) that I do recognize as houseplants are growing free and wild and giant here. That’s something else. Standing in the ocean is a beautiful thing, and so is seeing dolphins or sea lions. 

I should write some poems about those things.

We should all, each of us, spend time focusing on some of those beautiful things in our own lives, in our own locales. It’s therapeutic, and, lately, necessary.

But as we do, I think it’s important not to take our eyes off of the ugliness, the injustices in the world. I think we have to hold those things in balance so that we can work to make the world more beautiful, to set things right.

It’s maybe naive to think that an ad hoc manifesto on a wordpress poetry blog might have something to do with that, but I’m okay with that. I’m pretty good at balancing my naivete with a heavy helping of cynicism. 

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