Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Contest Deadline Extended; New Review!

It's come to my attention that although I extended the contest deadline until April 30 that I had only mentioned it at facebook and not here.

Again, to win a hardback copy of "Unexpected Light," send one poem, preferably your best, published or unpublished with "Contest" in the subject line to:

cechaffin (at) gmail (dot) com.

Also there's a new review in A Capella Zoo, short and sweet but insightful, here's the link:

Unexpected Light

Our garden has started to take off and so far one Delphinium was stripped by the deer but I inspected it and the root system was healthy and then I noticed three shoots coming up so I re-planted it. Score: Deer 1, Gardener 1. Also I spread iron pellets last night as I had noticed that a marigold was savaged by a banana slug. This morning I found him dead by the blackberry bramble. I think the marigold in question is still viable. Score: Banana Slug 1, Gardener 1.

Of course the two greatest sins of gardening are overwatering and overfeeding. And the three rules of gardening are: location, location, location. Is it the same with people? The old saw advises, "Bloom where you're planted." But doesn't it help immensely to have the right location, the right family, the right school, the right geography and the right encouragement? I'm so happy in Mendocino that I call it home after three years and hope to live another twenty here in the same rental. Now wouldn't that be a stunt for a peripatetic guy like myself?

Yes, I continue to labor to write a poem a day, skipping a few days, here's today's, a love poem:

Now You Have

On the porch with the Mendocino-blue ocean
before us, Icelandic poppies and apricot twist
and lavender striving towards summer,
I long for you. Beside you in the car
I long for you, even as I hold you in your sleep.
When you must be away I busy myself
while your magnet draws the iron filings of my adoration.
It's not like you were queen—no, that's partly it—
you are my worry stone, my Celtic rose,
my dolmen and my Grail.

Again I notice your legs, creamy and muscular,
your breasts beneath the halter top,
your ass wrapped in black canvas shorts,
but above all your soft face telling me,
“You don't have to do the laundry today, let's spend it together.”
That's where I'd rather be than anywhere,
whether your coronation or me reading
these few lines at Carnegie Hall. I know the same
obtains for you. Each morning we repeat,
“Have I told you today that I love you?”
And the refrain, “Now you have.”

I think for the rest of the month I'll write love poems only. If you were to peruse my book you would see a whole section of love poems at the end, why the book is subtitled, "Selected Poems and Love Poems 1998-2008."

Not much more to report except that I remain rather fearful vis a vis all the mail and paperwork piled up on my desk; I don't think of winning the lottery, rather missing some arcane payment that will land me in poverty again. This attitude goes back to my days as a poor married student. Here is another poem on that very subject:

My Inheritance

I didn't grow up poor
but I fear poverty just like my parents,
who lived through the Depression.
Mom hoarded rubber bands from
throwaway papers and after Dad died,
re-used dental floss.

When Dad was doing well, financially,
he super-glued a loose tooth to his bridge
rather than pay a dentist. He was so proud
until the tooth turned black.
"You gotta make a buck," he'd say.

Mom sampled mystery foods
from Tupperware containers
left in the fridge for weeks.
She couldn't bear to throw a thing out.
"Never marry a woman who cuts
the twine on packages,"she'd say,
winding another orbit around her ball.

After his goods were stolen
and children murdered, Job said,
"What I greatly feared has come upon me".
What my parents feared never did.
Instead fear drove them to plenty
though they were always poor, like me.

(published in Poetry Superhighway)

I wish there were some cure for this neurosis, and when it works, faith is the key. Nevertheless, even if I were rich I think I'd be subject to the same anxiety as it's so deeply inbred. Rockefeller was once asked how much he'd need to feel comfortable: "Just another million," he answered.

I should mention that my shrink, after listening to me tell him that my book wasn't sellling as fast as I'd hoped, said: "I hope you weren't expecting to make money off of a book of poetry. That would call into question your reality testing." Yes, exactly! But hope springs eternal unless you have a foam bed. Ka-Ching!

Thine at 1 kilobunny,



  1. Well who knows? I think if there is anyone to make a lot of money from writing poetry it will be you.

    Your poems are magnificent as always. They always leave me feeling envious for your talents. I love the image of your loved one as a worry stone...that is perfect.

    I was wondering if you might stop by to share your experience about using medication to help with your mood disorder. Everyone always has the horror stories to tell but seldom do you hear about when the meds are working.

    Here is the link: http://www.healthcentral.com/depression/c/84292/68340/depression-week

    You are such a fascinating fellow. I would love to interview you sometime.

  2. Merelyme, you are too kind, you even like my rough drafts. I would be more than happy to do an interview. I've helped many with mood disorders, both as a doctor and private citizen, and a lot of them have been artists. As for posting about my medication success, I'm presently swamped but I may get to it since you asked. ;-)




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Unexpected Light

Unexpected Light
Selected Poems and Love Poems 1998-2008 ON SALE NOW!