As of April 16th, 2008 all I knew for certain was that I could provide no one with any information about my health with any certainty. Oddly, living under the perpetual cloud of one step forward, one step back was not only familiar but oddly comforting for me. It was, after all, the one truism that I knew to be absolutely true, namely that everything good goes bad, everything alive dies and everything gained will be lost.
Originally posted 2009-04-24 06:55:35 -0500,
It was, after all, the one truism that I knew to be absolutely true, namely that everything good goes bad, everything alive dies and everything gained will be lost.
Somehow we moved from my clinical trial to my first real successful HIV treatment regimen with a few stops along the way. I said I'd pick up exactly where I left off last week, so here we go...
When I was an undergrad, I took a poetry course focusing on the Black Mountain poets, especially the four most famous ones (Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley and Ed Dorn). It had to have been one of the most challenging and difficult and ultimately rewarding of my classes that semester, as I eventually took three more classes taught by the same prof in the same general vicinity of contemporary poetry.
Thousands of Tiny Taps Almost at Once
Almost frozen rain drops bounce
off slanted glass: molten BBs
the second impact of which
humans can barely detect.
The defroster-warmed windshield
lubricates the basal slide,
a glacial race across car parts
toward salted road like wrist blood
down fingers. Red and blue sirens
intermittently flash blinding,
weary authority from cops, ambulances,
and plow apparatus-strapped pickups.
That's the last line from a Lawrence Raab poem I love, Attack of the Crab Monsters.
I'm a poet. I went about 10 years between poems, having just finished one recently. I'm not really sure why that gap yawns across the last decade. I could say it's because we've been raising two kids, working our asses off, watching in disbelief as George Bush took this country down a few notches, losing everything due to my disability, and starting all over out here in Rural upstate New York. But it's really because I just didn't have much to say.
Promoted. Originally posted 2009-01-24 16:09:45 -0500. -- GH
When I was a young, broke but care-free philosopher in the University of Arkansas, hanging out with poets, working at a red-neck bar for beer money, and fancying myself a writer, I worried a lot. The bar had a big red button behind the counter, right above a double-barrel, twelve gage shot gun. I was told it was loaded with rock salt. Pressing the red button killed the juke box and called the cops. I only had to use those bar-back tools once, then promptly quit.
Promoted. Originally published 2009-01-21 17:30:02 -0500. -- GH
Poets are seldom put on the spot to speak on national television next to a popular president, as Elizabeth Alexander did on Tuesday, abruptly standing in front of a crowd of millions. Before I took poetry seriously, I once addressed a large crowd on the Mall in Washington protesting the war in Vietnam. I was so overwhelmed standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where Martin Luther King Jr. famously spoke and facing a sea of expectant faces that I don’t remember what I said.
Poetry helps us remember what’s important. Alexander, a widely published poet, reminded us what was important about the path of Barack Obama’s amazing journey from obscure community organizer to president of the United States.
In 1915, Robert Frost -- an American poet -- published a poem entitled The Road Not Taken. It spoke of two paths through the woods -- one well-worn, and one somewhat overgrown from disuse. The poet spoke of how he took the one less traveled, perhaps knowing the significance such a decision could hold when applied to the vast number of paths a person or a nation may take on life's journey. Here is the poem, in full, for your consideration:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Would it be as rewarding for us, as a nation, if we took heed of the poet's words and goaded our Congress into acting as a Congress should, taking the road less traveled by politicians and putting us back on the path forged by the founders of this nation, who had the wherewithal to define and build a country based not upon the whims of man but instead upon firmly established principles and laws that served the people above all else?