Monday, June 04, 2007

How popular Is this blog? Love poem by a ex-poet.

Short answer: not very.

But I should add the biblical story about when David decided to number the troops of Israel; on God's part it was considered an act of pride, of trusting in someone beside the Lord by measuring one's own strength; afterwards God gave David three choices for punishment, of which he wisely chose plague, the most easily blamed on God for political reasons.

So if this post results in reduced visits, so be it. I can accept God's judgment in modern cyberspace just at easily, though I don't think it would apply, since this is no righteous enterprise endorsed by God, unlike the surety of suicide bombers.

I started a stats tracker eight months ago. We just reached 10,000 "hits." I say we for obvious reasons. In terms of universal knowledge exchange, it's very much mom-and-pop, you-and-me-baby here. This projects to 15,000 visitors a year, and I don't know how to decipher unique visits. (Maybe someone can explain to me how 23 different domains and 46% IP addresses sorts out in this regard.)

If I should ever rise to the level of a celebrity, I promise to remember everyone I stepped on to get there, and the imprint of my size 13 shoe on their dented spines. My real feeling about "unique" visitors is that most of you are retreads, because once the reader has tasted of my unique vision, he is forced to return either to confirm my insanity or marvel at it. I can be addictive.

Then there is a whole group of those misdirected by Google, as in my mention of therapy above. When therapy is combined with David's dilemma in the Bible, it guarantees I will now be visited by puzzled fundamentalists asking God's permission to see a psychologist. How the web works! (Strange how much that sounds like "wet works," a term all you Sopranos fans have long since mastered).

I won't bore you with page views. The current average is 50 visitors/day, inflated, I think, by the current debate and my recent resignation from contemporary poetry. 40/day is more realistic. I am truly grateful to you, the readers, for making my solitary existence less pointless, though naturally protected behind the gates of cyberspace, as few of you know me as a meat person. But I am open to meet anyone who reads me in meat space. That is preferable in my mind.

Except for Kathleen, none of my immediate family reads this thing. But I know if I dwelt more upon the foibles of my siblings and children, chance would have it that one would alert the others until I am roundly crucified. There are some places I dare not go. But if you are a close relative and reading this, please let me know, and I promise my Christmas card won't be late this year.

Still, 40/day is more than a standard high school classroom, and not a compulsory audience--so even if a few are entertained, I'm happy. The irony is that when I edited and published The Melic Review, with all its awards and Pulitzer winners and la di da (if I can speak of a magazine in the magisterial we), we got less hits overall--excepting the poetry board, which was, of course, instant publication for the literarily impaired. That was the big fish that pulled Melic, not the other way around. But back to life's basics.

We (Kathleen and I, not the magisterial we) hit the road on Saturday, June 2, and I played a brief gig at the Benbow Lake Festival in Humboldt County, where I was essentially ignored--due to the engineer's bad miking of my guitar and the next band's bassist playing too loudly in warming up behind.

Meanwhile Kathleen had an allergic reaction to something in the grass, we think, and I don't mean the inhaled kind--though that is always a possibility at such affairs-- so she became miserable with systemic itching. Afterwards we were ripped off by a motel posing as a hotel through Orbitz, a service I now roundly condemn for the wallet-impaired. And whether my chronic back pain, the chief reason for my disability in practicing medicine, was increased by the drive or packing or loading I don't know. Suffice it to say we were both miserable when arrived to house-sit at my sister's in Burlingame.

If I have to be in this kind of pain for the rest of my life, I am happy Kevorkian was just released from jail. Happily, pain tends to improve over time, though the waiting is often fatal.

No comments on the love poem I last posted. Oh well. As an ex-poet I will try again with another poem CE wrote when he thought he was a poet.

We need something to break the reader's granite heart; is the theory of contemporary poetry so much more interesting than the same, same, same bleating of the human heart, already known in all conditions so that it takes a miracle of style to render anything fresh?

If the human heart has not changed, and it has not, how have Homer and Dante and Shakespeare maintained their hold on us? Because they are poets.

There's the rub. Aye, if the poems I post as an ex-poet do not elicit comment, it confirms my suspicion that CE was never a poet. He's not asking for comments; their lack confirms his suspicions, thus he rejoices in his failure.

Here's today's verse, as I cannot anymore call what CE wrote "poetry," though love remains, however poorly communicated:


If I said I would disembowel myself in public
for one last benison from your sea-green eyes

or clean the Augean stables with a toothbrush
to touch your white vase, what does it mean?

What does it mean to say, "Without you I am not,"
when I was here before you and content?

You make me a blushing boy, an adolescent
feigning diffidence while desperate for a kiss,

an old man begging forgiveness of his only daughter.
I would be closer than the lace that ivys your hips,

seal all your skin with my marauding tongue.
It is a delicious irony, this blurring of borders

in two so strong. Would you rather
we sat in citadels and sent ambassadors?

It is obvious CE thought he could write something fresh about love. The silence that follows (that is, lack of comment) reminds me of the silence in heaven in the Book of Revelation, when nothing is really happening (remember that God was the first to take a sabbatical). Ex-poet Craig Erick accepts that judgment.

If nothing is happening, not even the angels can gossip about it.


Craig Erick


  1. If you have to state that your an ex-poet, you probably aren't.

  2. LOL! This is a therapeutic blog. I like being an ex-poet; there are fewer ex-poets than poets, so it gives me a marketing advantage, as well as the psychological protection of not caring about what I used to write.

    Would failed poet be better?

    "He was despised, rejected
    Despised and rejected
    Rejected of men..."

    No, no Christ complex, I hope.

  3. Where's Carl when you need him?

    Busy creating t-shirts, so I heard.

    I think you should wear a t-shirt with the word "poet" on it---poet with a big black X on xing that word out.

    I've always been too embarrassed to admit I write poetry. I'm secretive about it. Only a 2 or 3 people in my real life know I read and write poetry.

    As for your love poem...

    I keep misreading "fever" as "fewer" and have been writing and rewriting response poems about that misreading in my head.

    You wrote, if I recall, I pretty wonderful love poem to or about your lovely wife---I think it ends with you listening to her heart beat, your head resting on her stomach.

    Does that ring a bell?

    Gotta go move my body.

    Have you? Moved your body today?

  4. I generally always read, and rarely comment. I usually read through Bloglines, I am not sure how that shows up on the stats.

    I wonder why some of us write blogs and tell no one in our meat worlds of the blog?

  5. I also preferred the love poem Ikd refers to, went back to re-read it (April 3rd) - great imagery and just a lovely piece of work.

  6. Find out how many unique IP addresses those hits represent. Unique IP's are a closer approximation of total people reading.

    Loyal IP addresses are what you're hungry for if you're in need of 'fans'. Reader bursts on particular columns should give you an idea on resonance. Where they're visiting from is always interesting info.

    1-2K per month for a blog that's less than three years old isn't bad, I think. At Stanford, 7 years ago we did 16K per day at the Business School's front page. Much higher on the more popular destinations within the school's website.

    It does seem a tad gauche to talk traffic in a therapeutic blog, tho'. Or is the traffic a kilobunny trigger? Just curious.

    Ah, the ex-poet. Now, whatever you write, no matter what it looks or sounds like, you know it won't be poetry. Who cares if it rhymes, whatever it is that ex-poets write, it not that poetry crap. Now there's a heavy load gone. Thank God.


  7. Anonymous8:28 PM PDT


    In your perpetual pooh-poohing of celebrityhood, I find you write quite a bit on celebrityhood. Most curioser.


  8. What, you don't want to be a celebrity? It's the easiest way to get books published, music marketed, etc. etc. If you are a man of parts and art, it's a terrific advantage.

    Would I like to be a famous and admired anything? You bet.

    And at my age, I think I could handle it with the proper cynicism and manipulation. You should go back and read my blog on "the whole thing." In fact, I'll re-post it just for you. Forgive my being self-referential as a damned celebrity.


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