Because reason is inadequate.


We must have reasons for speech, but we need none for silence.

This newly released anthology contains one of my sonnets.  It is edited by Mary Meriam, and is available from Amazon:


One needn't be loud to be true to one's recalcitrance.


Three thousand
haiku examined.
Two persimmons. 

- Asoka Shika


It is not possible to possess a love language without also loving silence.   


From Cold Front:

Laura Riding Jackson

From The New York Review:

The Secret Auden


When the music changes, so does the dance.


Kitsch, Kitsch, Kitsch

Kundera on kitsch:

No matter how much we scorn it, kitsch is an integral part of the human condition.  

No one knows kitsch better than politicians. Whenever a camera is in the offing, they immediately run to the nearest child, lift it into the air, kiss it on the cheek. Kitsch is the aesthetic ideal of all politicians and all political parties and movements.

In the realm of totalitarian kitsch, all answers are given in advance and preclude any questions. It follows, then that the true opponent of totalitarian kitsch is the person who asks questions.

“Kitsch" is a German word born in the middle of the sentimental nineteenth century. Repeated use, however, has obliterated its original metaphysical meaning: kitsch is the absolute denial of shit.



Pondering kitsch
and shit
as opposites

has left me
none the wiser:

one is plum
and one
is fertilizer.


From BAP:

Poetry and the Occult

Virginia Quarterly has dropped its paywall for the month, so its contents are free and available on the net.   I have a couple of poems in the current issue:

Table of Contents, VQR

Thanks to Allan Curtis of the AIC for his invitation to feature my visual work this month:

Artist of the Month

I'm reminded several of my poems are featured on Poetry International:

Poetry International


Wonderful insights from Nina Martyris:  

The Art of the Elegy


The Snowshoe Kitten

Curiosity is the purest form of insubordination.   - Nabakov


Raising a teeny tiny helpless snowshoe kitten has rendered me a drooling, cooing, mindless thing this winter.

 Forgive me. I am under the influence of Cuteness.

We are utterly surrounded by it.  We sleep with Cuteness, dream in Cuteness, speak of Cuteness.

Any poor unsuspecting person who walks through the front door is taken in and reduced to Cuteness mush.

In addition, I notice I can't read much these days.   The creature of Cute finds page-turning an activity which requires immediate attack.

I notice I don't eat much either.

And when I leave the house, I indulge in ridiculously long, mewing, purring goodbyes.

Beauty, yes, Beauty, sure.  Beauty and Truth, yes, yes, yes.  Keats, Goethe, O'Keefe, Michelangelo, Kandinski, Mozart !  Beauty is the stuff of poetry, art,  mystery.  Beauty is the stuff of the strange, the stuff of dream.  Beauty is the language the poets and the prophets have longed for centuries to comprehend. Beauty, Camus tells us, is unbearable; it drives us to despair, offering us the mere glimpse of eternity. 

Yes, I've spent a life time seeking, exploring, questioning, avoiding, surrendering to, and occasionally even reproducing Beauty.

But Cuteness ?

Even my children, when they were soft, sweet little infants, always struck me far more beautiful and mysterious than... Cute.

Naturally I have undertaken a Cuteness Research Project.

The word itself is quite new, and derives from the word, acute:

The Word Detective


The Birth of Cuteness

We often recoil at the very mention of the word:

The C Word

It seems the Japanese have been studying the physiology of Cute for some time, and have made a bundle doing so:

Kawaii Culture 

And of course Wiki reminds us that Cuteness, as a general rule, pushes all our cellular nurturing buttons:


At evening when the lamp is lit,
The tired Human People sit
And doze, or turn with solemn looks
The speckled pages of their books.

Then I, the Dangerous Kitten, prowl
And in the Shadows softly growl,
And roam about the farthest floor
Where Kitten never trod before.

And, crouching in the jungle damp,
I watch the Human Hunter’s camp,
Ready to spring with fearful roar
As soon as I shall hear them snore.

And then with stealthy tread I crawl
Into the dark and trackless hall,
Where 'neath the Hat-tree's shadows deep
Umbrellas fold their wings and sleep.

A cuckoo calls — and to their dens
The People climb like frightened hens,
And I'm alone — and no one cares
In Darkest Africa — downstairs.

 Oliver Herford


In Praise of Idioms:

Idioms and Words that Remain


Learn to Paint with Alcohol Inks

For information on ordering instructional DVDs, please contact Wendy at


Dear Friends,

Here lie the dreams we put to rest.
And there, the things we meant to say.
Further on, those bits of faith.

Mindless things, they bore no pain
and easily went to their graves.
It's we who are not quite the same.

(With thanks to the editors at The Hudson Review, who not only nominated this poem for a Pushcart, but also  have selected it for their New Year's card this year). 


A new poem recently published:


It's official.  (Always a finalist):

Rattle Announcement

A Few Things Buzzing Among the Literati:

Everything You Need to Know About Smarm 

Gioia, Longing 

That Franco guy


It was a hard thing to undo this knot. 
The rainbow shines, but only in the thought 
Of him that looks. Yet not in that alone, 
For who makes rainbows by invention? 
And many standing round a waterfall 
See one bow each, yet not the same to all, 
But each a hand's breadth further than the next. 
The sun on falling waters writes the text 
Which yet is in the eye or in the thought. 
It was a hard thing to undo this knot. 

- Hopkins


Happy to learn that two of my poems have been nominated for a Pushcart this year. Thank you to Ronald Kourey of the Hudson Review, and to the editors at Kin.  Also, it's a snow day.

From Facebook:

In an era of the selfie, the silent bankrupcy, the family-scatter, an electronic loneliness and the yearning to be known, Facebook's anodyne: it can become: 

self-inventer and self-reviser, free shrink, free publicist, substitute mom & uncle, and dreamworld frat pack (someone grates? just skip 'em, block 'em, unfriend 'em). 

There's a kind of greed for counts without encounters.. how many "friends" he has! If you hate to hurt feelings, and say yes all the time to requests-- you may actually not know even half of them; if you think of friends as meaning something more intimate, you can't find them for the smileys.

Now and then there are bursts of good writing (not in this immediate posting, I assure you, I'm too cranky today to be writerly). The great glory of social media is that one comes to recognize some wonderful spirits one could ONLY have recognized in this very weird "here"-- they in their rooms, writing up a storm; you in yours, looking for lightning.

- Heather McHugh


After the leaves have fallen, we return
To a plain sense of things....
It is difficult even to choose the adjective
For this blank cold, this sadness without cause...

~Wallace Stevens

Am grateful to learn that the editors at The Hudson Review have nominated my little poem, Dear Friends, for a Pushcart.


The GJ Commission on Arts and Culture has selected this painting, "The Soul of the West" for their Champion of the Arts Award:

Poetry, says Auden, is the clear expression of mixed feelings.  


Why are we reading if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage, and the possibility of meaningfulness, and will press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so that we may feel again their majesty and power?  --  Annie Dillard

Vonnegut, on Letters of Note

New work of mine appears in the current issues of The Hudson Review, Quadrant,  Kin, and The New Criterion:


What's that you say, October ?

"I had sent a rather creepy narrative poem about Sleeping Beauty, called “Beauty is Sleeping,” to a small magazine, which wrote back to me that “you can’t write about beauty in the 20th century and get away with it.”  -  Annie Finch

No ideas but in things, we admonish the poet.  

Mechanistic science would have us believe that even memory is biological. 

Every poem begins as a ring of fire.

Most end in shallow pits of ash.

Still others, flight.


Let there be ash.

Let there be light.


As the spirit 
plunges under 
and the body 
knows its sender 

and the reaper
splices the moon,
we brooders 
burst into bloom.   

(from Nevertheless)


Adios, Lou Reed,

rest in leaves.

Said the keeper at the birth,
the girth
and the terminal,

take this kernel,


eat it raw,


may you be fertile.





Whut'd you say ?


North of Mist

Just north of mist,
along the border,
 half a color
from the water,

 under the kiss
of shadow's daughter,
 (two breaths backward,

one word upward),
 past the rumpled
terra cotta,
 down the salve

of templed sorrow,
 up the scales
of Bach, and Buddha,
 down the moon

of broken solder,
 through the eyes
of someone's father,
 in the grass

beside the water;
 one part liar,
one part seer,
 one part lyric,

one part scholar,
 this is the walk
we come to wander,
 one part illness,
 one part healer.

Wendy Videlock (this poem first published in Poetry)


A Word on Context

A pile of twigs will mean
a different thing
come autumn and
come early spring.


"Oral bards like Homer did not sing or recite or narrate according to some kind of rote script. They improvised, they created language as they went along, they drew on a mother lode of images and figures of speech that were cherished precisely for that purpose. They were, to borrow the translator Michael Alexander's description of the Old English oral poets, "the voice and memory of the tribe."

From "Arts and Letters", David Berber on memory:

Does Memory have a Future ?