Saturday, June 18, 2022

Zelensky A Visual Poem/The Luna's Book/George Carlin/Elizabeth Herron Poems/

                           A Visual Poem

Congratulations, Elizabeth Herron, Sonoma County's New Poet Laureate (2022-2024)

Here are 3 wonderful poems by Elizabeth


Sleeping in the narrow bed in his study,
surrounded by his books,
I think of my father’s hands,
a scholar’s hands -- still,
hands that fixed the toaster, hands that
took apart and put back together.
Through the open window
on the clear cold wind after rain, the long
whistle of a train coming
closer, then passing.
This morning beside his hospital bed –
honey rose opening, the blessing
of falling away from old hurt.
The maw of grief already waiting,
Love, I said, pretending I am not afraid.


They aren’t quiet, the dead. We hear
their clamor, words jammed and jostled,
so we don’t know who’s talking
and who’s talking back.
From the four directions
we gather our drawn limbs and our wits.
The day reassembles itself
in the singularity of each rock, each
pair of eyes, a sunny sky. Well,
here we are in the post-post world
with its glassy silence. Our tongues
have been mended, but what can we say?
Most silent is Dear Innocence -- a barge for her
laden with lilies, roses and rosemary.
Look at her face, eyes wide as heaven
in surprise. She’s dead!
But she won’t shout with the others,
whose interrogations and insults
trouble even the dark. We close her eyes
with a moonstone over each socket,
so she will know the gaze
of her own bovine love. We did
the best we could for her.
She wore you thin as a wishbone.
She wore me thin as a whip.

Dust of Life

Bui doi they called the half-American
children of Vietnamese women, dust
of life. I learned this the day I heard
a baby was found alive in a trash compactor--
the same day a homeless man died
when the dumpster he was sleeping in
was picked up by the truck.
Dumpsters are warm because decomposition
is an active process. That might be what
kept the baby alive. The homeless man slept
perhaps like a baby. I lie awake
and rummage the dust and refuse
of my mind. It offers up what it can. Tonight
I forgive myself
for not being able to spin straw to gold
or make shoes, or sing a baby to sleep.

The Luna's Book

Please take a look at this tender heartfelt book by my friend Washington poet Chris Luna and his son Angelo. It would make a wonderful Father's Day (or any day) present. Exchanging Wisdom

George Carlin's Philosophy on His End of Days

I highly recommend that you watch the two part completely honest HBO documentary George Carlin's American Dream.  All of you are quite familiar with the great comedian/philosopher.  HBO does a deep dive into Carlin. I loved it!  Take a look here at Carlin's bleak final views on the prospects for the human race.

Photos From Cafe Frida Reading(s)
       Please send me more if you have them.

Your responses to anything in this blog are most welcome and 
invited.  I've decided to switch away from  using the Blogger interface for this purpose.  Instead, please email me  edjcoletti(at)  I look forward to hearing from you.


Saturday, February 26, 2022

Cavellini il Magnifico/Eddie Rosenthal/Sondheim On Poetry & Music/David Alpaugh's Mixed View/Ed Coletti Poem/Letter to Mary Oliver

 Cavellini il Magnifico

At times, I still wonder if  G.A. Cavellini and I might be related to each other on my Tuscan mother's side. She was Anna Cavellini.  He was born the same year as both of my parents, 1914.  A knowing few appear to regard me also as somewhat of an absurdist.

Ed Rosenthal - my friend, poet, Chess Expert, website developer, dog whisperer, and all-around decent fellow has a new blog he wants shared with you.  The URL is

Sondheim Contrasts Poetry and Music

Stephen Sondheim intensely loved poetry.  Here he looks at the differences between poetry and musical lyrics. See also No Money In Poetry November 2011 edition

“Music straightjackets a poem and prevents it from breathing on its own, whereas it liberates a lyric. Poetry doesn't need music; lyrics do.”

“Poetry seems to me to exist in terms of its conciseness—how much can be packed in,” he told Bernard Levin in 1980. “Lyric writing has to exist in time … Therefore it must be crystal clear as it goes on.”

 I firmly believe that lyrics have to breathe and give the audience's ear a chance to understand what's going on. Particularly in the theater, where you not only have the music, but you've got costume, story, acting, orchestra. There's a lot to take in. The whole idea of poetry is denseness, is concision, is abutment of images, and that sort of thing. You can't do that when you've got music going, and expect the audience to take it in.

 Poetry is something that you can go back and read multiple times to extract its meaning. But with lyrics, you hear them once and they have to stick."

Now see David Alpaugh's mixed view on the subject in my then favorite of his essays which I originally featured here in 2011.

When Poetry Counts Even More

I once again caught myself wondering about what had happened to the status of poets actually influencing the course of history in many countries and the poet's quieter influence on the health of readers. I recalled my own poem in the Fall 2020 issue of  So It Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum Library and especially the amazing letter of gratitude to Mary Oliver (1935-2018) from a teenaged girl who had been  pondering suicide.

If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools.  — Plato


Underground During Ages of Autocracy

 when all the writers and artists who depart

facebook twitter instagram and even email

begin painting and reciting in caves catacombs

and other hidden chambers from which

their material work emerges clandestinely   

being distributed by hand subversively

much the same as the works of


Gallileo Voltaire Pussy Riot Ai Wei Wei

Pasternak Solzhenitsyn Thamsanga Mnyele

Wally Serote Thomas Paine Mayakovski   


whose creations became entwined with struggle

as ferns with mosses and mushrooms surviving

even thriving in the cool obscurity of caves

where these poets of truth and even hope expanding

as ocular pupils beyond restraint by the iris

enabling oversight engendering action

more substantial than  the statesmen politicians

and silenced effigies of incendiary leaders


while all the more of us in our catacombs

study and write our muses continuing in us


Diogenes Socrates Plato Sappho Pindar

Hypatia of Alexandria Hildegard Von Bingen

Thomas Merton Teresa of Avila Salman Rushdie


No one knows how it all ends

with a bang a whimper a sigh

something there is senses an ending

to the all there is was or won’t be

the scent from funereal blossoms waving


 Ed Coletti in So It Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library (Fall 2020)

Monday, December 06, 2021

Borges/Short Animation/Coletti/Agnosticism/Joe Cottonwood's "Poetic License"/


Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)

Here is an excellent Poetry Foundation bio of Borges this giant of writers, probably the most remarkable, readable and thoughtful author of the twentieth century.  Borges recently has been returned to prominence by Jay Parini's  superb inspirational and witty best selling memoir Borges and Me.

Then check out the following short animation nicely introducing the short Borges stories or Ficciones.

The Compass

All things are really only words in a tongue of endless gobbledegook that someone or something is writing in a book that is the history of the world. In herds, you, I, everyone, Carthage, Rome travel, and my unfathomable life too, and this stigma of having been an accident, a cipher, an enigma, of being all the unmelodious dialects of Babel. But behind every name is what has no name. Today, I felt its shadow flicker and take aim in the blue compass needle, lucid and light, that points far away across seas that gleam, something like a timepiece glimpsed in a dream, or the stirring of a bird in the middle of the night.

Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield

Fragments from an Apocryphal Gospel – Jorge Luis Borges


Fragments from an Apocryphal Gospel

3. Wretched are the poor in spirit, for under the earth they will be as they are on earth.
4. Wretched is he who weeps, for he has the miserable habit of weeping.
5. Lucky are those who know that suffering is not a crown of heavenly bliss.
6. It is not enough to be last in order sometimes to be first.

7. Happy is he who does not insist on being right, for no one is or everyone is.
8. Happy is he who forgives others and who forgives himself.
9. Blessed are the meek, for they do not agree to disagree.
10. Blessed are those who do not hunger for justice, for they know that our fate, for better or worse, is the work of chance, which is past understanding.
11. Blessed are the merciful, for their happiness is in the act of mercy and not in the hope of reward.
12. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they see God.
13. Blessed are those who suffer persecution for a just cause, for justice matters more to them than their personal destiny.
14. No one is the salt of the earth; and no one, at some moment in their life, is not.
15. Let the light of one lamp be lit, even though no man see it. God will see it.
16. There is no commandment that cannot be broken, including the ones I give and those the prophets spoke.
17. He who kills for a just cause, or for a cause he believes just, is not guilty.
18. The acts of men are worthy of neither fire nor heaven.
19. Do not hate your enemy, for if you do, you are in some way his slave. Your hate will never be greater than your peace.
20. If your right hand should offend you, forgive it; you are your body and you are your soul and it is hard if not impossible to fix the boundary between them…
24. Do not make too much of the cult of truth; there is no man who at the end of a day has not lied, rightly, numerous times.
25. Do not swear, because every oath is bombast.
26. Resist evil, but without shock and without anger. Whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him, as long as you are not moved by fear.
27. I do not speak of revenge nor of forgiveness; oblivion is the only revenge and the only forgiveness.
28. To do your enemy a good turn can be the work of justice and is not difficult; to love him, a job for angels and not men.
29. To do good for your enemy is the best way to gratify your vanity.
30. Do not accumulate gold on earth, for gold is the father of idleness, and it, of sadness and boredom.
31. Believe that others are just or will be, and if it proves untrue, it is not your fault.
32. God is more generous than men and will measure them by a different standard.
33. Give what is holy to dogs, cast your pearls before swine; the important thing is to give.
34. Seek for the pleasure of seeking, not of finding…
39. The door, not the man, is the one that chooses.
40. Do not judge the tree by its fruits nor the man by his works; they may be worse or better.
41. Nothing is built on stone, everything on sand, but our duty is to build as if sand were stone…
47. Happy are the poor without bitterness and the rich without pride.
48. Happy are the brave, who accept applause or defeat in the same spirit.
49. Happy are those who hold in memory words of Virgil or Christ, for these will brighten their days.
50. Happy are the loved and the lovers and those who can do without love.
51. Happy are the happy.

Borges also said: "Being an agnostic means all things are possible, even God, even the Holy Trinity. This world is so strange that anything may happen, or may not happen. Being an agnostic makes me live in a larger, a more fantastic kind of world, almost uncanny. It makes me more tolerant."

On Agnosticism 

by Ed Coletti

 I don’t know

 What’s   True


Do you?


the person who

you most need to impress

with the quality of your work

  is yourself. 


— Ed Coletti May 2012



Official Licensed Poet

I go to the hiring hall for poets
but a bouncer at the door demands to see my license.
“What license?” I ask.
Don’t play dumb, he says. No license, no entry.
“But I’m a poet,” I say.
Lemme ask, he says. You got poems in the New Yorker?
“No,” I say.
You got the MFA?
You got awards? Prizes?
“Just a bowling trophy,” I say. “How do I get a license?”
You got to take classes, conferences, workshops taught
by Official Poetry Teachers. Then, the license.
So: no hire, I’m illegit.
Oh well. The pay was shit.

I keep the day job. Go around the city. Open mics.
Reciting poems to small groups.
Out loud. For free.
The audiences, they never ask to see a license.
After the reading a few men, always men,
come up to me and say
I don’t really like poetry but I like your stuff.
Always, they call it stuff.
Women say they like it, too, but without
the disclaimer and they don’t call it stuff.
Face it, guys are uncomfortable with poetry.
Me, too.

I find a wise woman. She’s got the MFA,
the publications, the awards.
An Official Licensed Poet if ever there be.
She says, I met that same bouncer.
Everybody meets the bouncer.
She walks with me to the Hiring Hall.
The bouncer blocks the door.
With a quick move, martial art,
she flips the bouncer to the floor.
She says, A poet is a verb, not a noun.
A person writing a poem is a poet.
A person not writing a poem is something else.
You’ll find her poems in anthologies of Great Lit.
She says, By the way, the pay is still shit.

So listen, bouncer: I write stuff, therefore I am.
My license. Now scram.


- Joe Cottonwood 


By day, Joe Cottonwood has worked as a carpenter, plumber, and electrician for most of his life. By night, he is the author of nine published novels, three books of poetry, and a memoir. He lives in the coastal mountains of California where he built a house and raised a family under (and at mercy of) giant redwood trees.

Your responses to anything in this blog are most welcome and
invited.  I've decided to switch away from  using the Blogger
interface for this purpose.  Instead, please email me
edjcoletti(at)  I look forward to hearing from you.


Friday, August 20, 2021

Celebrating Amy Trussell RIP June 3, 2021/Robert Graves & The Illusion of Writing Poetry For a Living Wage/ Advice From Amy Dickinson

First of all,  thank you Eddie Rosenthal* for removing the dastardly "ghost box" from this blog*   

*Higher Source Sites
websites since 2001


Goodbye, Amy Trussell but for your place in our hearts, minds, and on the page. 

Amy Trussell  

(June 15th, 1959 – June 3, 2021

                                                                    by Ed Coletti


           She dwelled in worlds of

moonlit deer and upon her

own habitable moon as well


Perpetually dancing she

in several parallel worlds

flourished through suffering

diversely alchemical effects


Amy uncomplaining

so kind and such a poet

who could make anything

real while she suffered

in and out of doors and

she later did write of doors

with the wolves sniffing at them


Amy trailing the veils she wore

like numerous troubles blown

behind by ever lengthening stride

and by dancing visibly and invisibly into

her numerous fierce winds and milder breezes


She gently cultivated fruits and flowers

in Martin’s community garden

along a stretch of Yulupa behind

the Methodist Church where she with

her frayed fingers dug in the dirt


Amy worked both to feed the hungry

and simply to work the earth-given soil

on her native planetoid equally as authentic

as other worlds she created and where

she likewise thrived and the evidence

endures in the verses she’s produced

Poems by

Amy Trussell

Poems by Amy Trussell

Blade apples

Aggie was like a mangrove tree
                           Legged into the reflecting pool
All black eyes and non cooperative tresses
      "The old man will reveal himself to you soon"
                     curing bat wing     nailed upon the door
looked into her windows
gypsy moth alighting
                          hot paste of poke root
will help you turn the corner
                pods of black medic     hang from the rafters
                                    grimalkin died last February
shakes the brass candlestick
                               while I am in there bathing   never getting clean
Oya with her blasting gelatin
                anger coming back at me     little urchins in the yard
Setting traps with cords and blade apples
                          If you dig any closer to the grave
You'll be neutralized
hopefully the flesh has been entirely consumed
      and there's a nice neat skeleton in there
If you bury near water, you bury deep
                     Rusty knives of the landlord come up in the flood
Why do the hawks sound so lonely today?
There are three of them, they should keep each other company
Its because the leaves die in the bowery
                Alongside the green thumb that fed them
with fish blood and meal
card of several pentagrams in the umbra's cape
Shade Lady come out with me tonight
           forked mother tongue
                     embrace me each way
"I'm healthy except for this" he said
                               The last time they saw him



Science and Dumb Luck

Science and Dumb Luck

Looking beyond the veneer of strife
for a door, real or conjured.
Or if  I'm to remain on this
lopsided planetoid, the search
goes on to find what's right and holy
in this crumbling civilization.
Essential co-mingling of science,
and what mother called dumb luck.
But made with simple ingredients
on its journey from the larder to hearth .
Yes the yeast is part of our DNA
and therefore familiar when you
smell it tumbling from the oven
or mixed in barley malt for a sour mash.
It's properties are as dependable
as the wolves sniffing at the door. 
The cleansing of the hands to bring forth
an edible sculpture, and meditative bend
toward measuring and sifting.
Invigoration of breath upon smelling the risen.
Please bury me with several golen loaves
like my foremothers of the matriarchal days
in the valley beside the Danube.

Amy Trussell


There's no money in poetry, but then, there's no poetry in money either. - Robert Graves


Hence, as always, the title of my blog is "No Money In Poetry."  While some folks consider it to be somewhat negative, I expect that most of my readers fully get the drift of it. (see below)

The concept of writing poetry for a living wage is illusion. I write poetry for the sheer passionate joy of creating a poem which pleases me and perhaps others. I do know when I am accomplishing this. Secondarily, I also feel the satisfaction of publishing and thus sharing where I can. This pretty much has been my modus operandi for fifty some-odd years. My accountants advise me that I should be deducting business expenses. I choose not to since that would feel like I am nourishing the illusion.  Furthermore, having run my own consulting business for thirty years, I've developed s healthy distaste for the bookkeeping involved in operating a "business" particularly a sham enterprise tailored to reflect miniscule revenues in order to get write-offs.

Emily Dickinson

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —Success in Circuit lies

Too bright for our infirm Delight

The Truth's superb surprise

As Lightning to the Children eased

With explanation kind

The Truth must dazzle gradually

Or every man be blind — (Emily Dickinson)

Thanks to Dave Holt for this.

Your responses to anything in this blog are most welcome and
invited.  I've decided to switch away from  using the Blogger
interface for this purpose.  Instead, please email me
edjcoletti(at)  I look forward to hearing from you.

Zelensky A Visual Poem/The Luna's Book/George Carlin/Elizabeth Herron Poems/

                                   A Visual Poem Congratulations, Elizabeth Herron, Sonoma County's New Poet Laureate (2022-2024) Here a...