Archive for ‘Doug’

December 2, 2018

Why Do I Do This?

by HemmingPlay

A writer of modest talent can only hope one day to put together a word or two—on on a rare week, a phrase—that’s worth keeping. This is not the conceit of perfectionism. This is just the reality of a mediocre vision that cannot totally grasp and share what floats in and out of view. It’s the frustration that has to be managed—The gap between what might be glimpsed, a brief impression of something sublime, and the skill that, were it a painting, only produces stick figure drawings.

So the experience is one of enduring a sense of constant failure, working to press my cheek up against the foggy glass that keeps me from the truth, but still trying to catch a scent of it and convey it honestly….Throwing the lariat a thousand times at a stallion that prances just out of reach, hoping that one more throw will tame the beast and bring him nearer to feel the heat and the true wild life of him.

That’s the job. (Neurotic? Of course it is. But what’s a little neurosis among friends?). It’s just a matter of putting up with failure long enough to feel the hot breath of something beautiful. It is insanity. But oh, so seductive.

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December 2, 2018

Lighthearted At The End of the World

by HemmingPlay
Ed: I’m researching one or more works on climate fiction –CliFi–that will tiptoe through a increasingly alarming future. In the process, I’m finding some previous works that, while dark, are also windows into the subject. So, to brighten your day, here are two:

A Song on the End of the World

BY CZESLAW MILOSZ

On the day the world ends|
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,

By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,

A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,

read more »

November 19, 2018

Common Grief

by HemmingPlay


A local story tells
of a dam that blocked a creek in late ’60.
The water rose, year by year,
seeped over a poor family’s
rocky homestead,
the one that was supposed
to be an assured future.
58 years under
the dark, cool waves,
bass and perch swimming past
foundation stones covered in mud and algae.
The loss of a dream
is a reason

read more »

October 5, 2018

I Come From A Place of Fireflies

by HemmingPlay

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I came from a place of fireflies,
where men were reasonable and tall,
Where people knew me by who my grandfather was, and his, and his.
Where farmers didn’t block views with trees,
To see at a glance from the kitchen window
How the corn was doing, the soybeans.

read more »

August 17, 2018

Crying

by HemmingPlay

*Part of the “Saying Goodbye” collection to be published soon. 

Do you remember our babies’
crying through the night
with colic, red-faced, kicking,
little fists clenched, punching the air?
We took turns with
futile soothings,
new at this baby thing,
desperate to comfort, to
silence that infernal noise
so we could go to work
in a few hours and not
fall asleep in the elevator.

They didn’t seem to want
comfort, did they?

read more »

August 15, 2018

August Request

by HemmingPlay

Please consider picking up a copy of “Snowflakes & Ashes…” at Amazon or Barnes & Noble online. The links are below. It’s not a beach book, I’m afraid. But that’s not all bad this time of year.

But don’t take my word for it. From one of the reviews.

read more »

August 14, 2018

Secret

by HemmingPlay

When the sands
of our deeper selves
shift, slide, scald
at 3 a.m.,
when buried grief
slithers out again,
the night holds its
breath a moment,
exhales and the Eastern
sky brightens.
Safe again, we wake.

read more »

July 12, 2018

Dear Readers and Fellow Writers…

by HemmingPlay

A gentle reminder for July’s sales (going gangbusters!.. probably): if you meant to get a copy of “Snowflakes & Ashes….” and haven’t yet, it’s available through several channels, including  Barnes and Noble. (Links to US stores below, but searchable internationally.)

read more »

June 28, 2018

Slender Thread

by HemmingPlay

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Different time zones

different continents

different days,

some days….

Different morn and night

hard to tell sometimes…

read more »

June 25, 2018

Martian Sunset

by HemmingPlay

 

“Not again,” He saw the ignition begin behind her eyes. 

“God’s an amazing artist,” she said, gathering her righteous energies to spring into the “do you know Jesus? speech”. 

“I just said I’d seen a sunset as though it were for the first time. Don’t make this all about you.”

“But.. “

“No. Just don’t. I was trying to tell you something, and you were about to use my pain to evangelize. It’s selfish. It’s unworthy of you.”

read more »

May 26, 2018

Snowflakes and Ashes

by HemmingPlay

41H2AS9iQaLI’m happy to announce that I’ve just published (via Gatekeeper Press), “Snowflakes and Ashes: Meditations on the Temporary.” It’s still being propagated through the internet, but Amazon and Barnes & Noble have it up already. Distribution will also be through independent bookstores, libraries and academic users.

For now, you can take a peek at https://amzn.to/2kpYDLC

Steve Jobs said once that we can’t connect the dots of our lives looking forward. It’s only later, after the journey has a few miles on it, that one can look back and draw some conclusions and see the patterns that are usually invisible at the time. Some things we know, but some things are surprises. I wrote this out of the jumble of my own life, but have the conceit that my experiences and accidental insights are probably similar to some of yours. I hope so. (Solitary journeys can be lonely. Glad to have some company.) I’ll be posting some promo codes as soon as I get them if you can’t handle buying a book at the moment. I am gladly welcoming reviews, however.

 

April 21, 2018

Reluctant Spirits

by HemmingPlay

A woman I know,
a believer, told me
she saw angels hovering
over our house.
I can’t see them, but
it wouldn’t surprise me.

Sitting by your bed
through the long nights,
feeling you slip away
a bit at a time as the cancer
races through you,

read more »

January 23, 2018

On Missing You Too Soon

by HemmingPlay

I find myself imagining
how the differences will
play out…
The unfamiliar,
lengthening silences,
stretching into the dusk.
The way dust devils will
gather in corners, waiting
for something that
will never come.

read more »

January 1, 2018

And So It Begins

by HemmingPlay

And so it begins, again,
that urge to shrink from
the cool touch of machines;
the hushed offices,
the looks of concern,
the competent compassion.
Maddening, imprecise precision–
“the blood test found something, we
need to do more tests…..
something’s there
on her scans…”
a blurry, thicker patch there,
spots on bone, lung, breast, too.

read more »

December 27, 2017

Snowflakes and Ashes*

by HemmingPlay

To this brief journey,

to this time-travel adventure,

to the utter absurdity of our

helpless leap into the future;

to all the surprises and the pain…

read more »

December 22, 2017

An Ordinary Day

by HemmingPlay

She had wanted to
sell the house.
She thought
he’d go first
leaving her alone.

Everything happens
on an ordinary day.

read more »

December 18, 2017

Lazarus, After

by HemmingPlay

Lazarus never smiled
after he rose from the dead.
For 30 years, until he died again,
he was haunted by the
unredeemed souls he saw
in the four days he
journeyed in the afterlife.

Laughter died stillborn in his chest.
That was what he told neighbors—
when he talked about it.
But, it was hard to speak, and
had been since that day.
His throat was always dusty
and his tongue thick.

read more »

December 9, 2017

Epiphany

by HemmingPlay

When the sun comes up like thunder

I knew a guy.
Cancer survivor,
worn down to the lacy bone,
thin, with dry skin.
But a light shone through
his stretched parchment skin
like some kind of
organic fire.
The brush with death
left a calling card.
“I’ll be back” it said.
“You won’t know when.”

read more »

November 29, 2017

Rock Bottom

by HemmingPlay

Hemmingplay

I’ve seen it, several times,
although much later.
It’s in the eyes
of men who
all had owned real estate
on the hopeless end
of Rockbottom Drive.

I didn’t want to find out
for myself what
was behind that look, though.
My dad made sure, as
He let me visit the address once.

read more »

November 13, 2017

It Is Something To Have Been

by HemmingPlay
Karma-New-Orleans-Louisiana-USA-4

“Karma,” New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. An impressive sculpture is located in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, which is found at the New Orleans Museum of Art. It is made by Korean artist Do Ho Suh.

I am well past my 20s,
that golden time
when I only saw a little—and even that
with optimistic eyes.

I’m past the days of cheap
apartments with friends and wine and roaches,
lentils and rice for breakfast,
or leftover cold pizza.

I’m beyond learning of
war and death and pestilence.
The visitations of grief
have marked me, too.

read more »

November 11, 2017

Endings

by HemmingPlay

It’s easy to see the beginnings of things,

not so easy to see the endings.

With eyes like cameras,

the silent guide

can tell you things

you will not believe.

read more »

November 9, 2017

I Wanted

by HemmingPlay

I wanted to be Steve Jobs
I wanted to be Joni Mitchell
I wanted to be Leonard Cohen
I wanted to be Carl Sagan,
Bobby Kennedy.
I wanted to be that person,
the one they’ll say years from now,
“yeah, whatever happened to him?”
The way people do, about certain
Rare, shining talents, like Joni, or Steve,
Or Carl. Mystery
that can’t be explained.

read more »

November 9, 2017

Beatle Me

by HemmingPlay

1943-2001

If I were a Beatle

I’d be

the quiet one–

catalyst

bare-foot pilgrim

read more »

October 29, 2017

Touching Glass

by HemmingPlay

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The Earth rises and roils the seas,
smashing warnings of
end times
against the land,
afflicting
sticky-tacky neighborhoods, with
houses all the same,
shaming complacency.

read more »

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October 29, 2017

A Fantasy of Permanent Youth

by HemmingPlay

I’m racing the inevitable,
my only weapon an
optimistic fantasy
of permanent youthfulness.

The 1970s are to blame.
My generation is to blame.
We started this crap,
pretending we could play
where, before,
only teenagers and children could.

read more »

August 30, 2017

Touching Glass

by HemmingPlay

The Earth rises and roils the seas,
smashing warnings of
end times
against the land, afflicting
sticky-tacky
neighborhoods, with
houses all the same,
interrupting complacency.

read more »

August 11, 2017

Second Coming

by HemmingPlay

In response to current events…

W. B. Yeats

audio: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/play/77066

BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

read more »

August 6, 2017

Perspectives*

by HemmingPlay

We see what was always under our noses

only when death’s fingernail

scratches the window pane, asking….

Not today? Ok, then. Not today.

But nothing is the same.

We had an orchard when I was a kid,

read more »