Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Uh, Day(s) in the Life

As many of you already know, my wife Geri is dealing with end-stage liver disease and going through the process of getting on a liver transplant list.  Part of the listing process requires being checked out and cleared by pretty much every type of doctor you can think of, and that for us means a lot of running back and forth to the Cleveland Clinic and other offices.  Today, for example, we got up at 6 am and barely had time to let our dog out and wolf down a cup of coffee before we headed into Cleveland for an early lab draw, followed by an appointment with a pulmonary specialist, followed by an appointment with a transplant surgeon, followed by a thorocentesis in which a third doctor drained 1300 ml of fluid from her lung. Now we're back home, shortly after 5 pm and I just got dinner cooking.

Yesterday, we were at the Clinic for hours attending a liver transplant informational seminar. Tomorrow, we'll be there again for an anesthesia clinic, dentistry appointment and maybe more.  This is our new status quo, and has been for some time.

I called off work Wednesday and Thursday last week, canceled my trip to Maryland over the weekend, and didn't get to see my dad and step-mom who were in town from West Virginia yesterday and today.  First things first.  So don't please feel bad if I haven't answered your message or published your book yet. I will, I promise.  Maybe I'll finish reading a friend's chapbook while I'm sitting in a doctor's office. Maybe I'll share a YouTube video or political article from my phone because that only takes a few minutes and that's all I can cobble together to focus on something other than liver transplant stuff.  Maybe I'll even watch part of an Indians game when I get home at night because I'm too drained to do much more. But I promise I will give you the attention you deserve as soon as I can.

Peace, love and poetry,

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Home This Weekend

I did not make it to the 10th annual Indie Lit Festival at Frostburg State University this weekend after all.  Crisis Chronicles Press was supposed to have a table at their book fair and I was supposed to participate in a panel on Sustainable Literary Communities.  But given my wife's current health and needs I chose to stay home with her.  Thanks to Dianne Borsenik for taking some of my press' books to the festival. Maybe I'll make the trek to Frostburg in 2017.

A sampler platter of Crisis Chronicles Press books at Indie Lit Fest
[photo by Dianne Borsenik]

Thursday, October 13, 2016

With Her or Wither

On our way home from the hospital yesterday we passed the elections office and decided to go in and cast our ballots on the first day of early voting. I've spent more time than you know reading all the news, facts, opinions and conspiracy theories, and I've made the decision that I believe, all things considered, is best for me, my family, the American people and the world. When we got home, as I was trying to get my wife inside and settled in, some guy who was driving down our street saw this sign in our lawn, stopped in front of our house and started screaming at us at the top of his lungs and in a menacing fashion, "Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!" 

The last I checked, sending someone to prison who hasn't been found guilty of a crime by a jury of his or her peers (after due process of law) is unconstitutional, un-American, inhumane and even criminal. This type of crap (and not just this, by any means) is precisely why I feel we must vote for Hillary Clinton and ensure the defeat of hatemongering bully Donald J. Trump. In a more perfect world and time, I might have voted for a third party candidate (as I've done in the past), though it sure wouldn't have been the Libertarian. But this isn't that world or time, especially as I live in the too-close-to-call swing state of Ohio. 

So the deed is done and I feel good that we gave our votes to Hillary Clinton, Ted Strickland, Marcy Kaptur and the Parma City School District. I don't call you names or try to bully you or scream at your house if we disagree, so I hope you will extend the same courtesy to me and my friends and family.

Peace, love and respect,

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Indie Lit Festval this month at Frostburg State University

Crisis Chronicles Press and I are pleased to be participating in the 10th annual Indie Lit Festval at Frostburg State University in Maryland this month.

The press will be part of the book fair, and I will share in a panel on Sustainable Literary Communities with George Guida, Jane Ormerod, and Dianne Borsenik.

For more details, please visit the Frostburg Center for Literary Arts website.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Reading new work Thursday 9/29 at Heights Arts

I look forward to participating in Ekphrastacy: Artists Talk + Poets Respond on September 29th at Heights Arts. The evening will feature an artist talk by legendary photographer Herbert Ascherman Jr. and a poetry reading (of new works the Ascherman exhibit has inspired) by Heather Schmidt, Milenko Budimir, Holly Jensen and me. I'm grateful to Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate Christine Howey for inviting me.

Heights Arts
2175 Lee Road
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Friday, September 23, 2016

Bopping at the Stop this Sunday 9/25 with Étienne Massicotte

Étienne Massicotte at the Barking Spider during
BeatStreet Cleveland [photo by Chandra Alderman]
Twice in 2015 I had the distinct privilege and great pleasure of performing my poetry in collaboration with Étienne Massicotte, trumpet player (and composer) extraordinaire - first during BeatStreet Cleveland: The International Beat Poetry Festival and then at storied Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra.  Now I'm thrilled to announce that we're doing it again.

This Sunday, 25 September 2016, at 4 pm, Étienne Massicotte presents: New and Unusual Sounds of the Trumpet at the Bop Stop in Cleveland. A live performance and discussion of modern trumpet repertoire curated by Mr. Massicotte, this special event features four crazy-cool performance sets including works by Olivier Messiaen, Peter Hatch and Christopher Biggs, along with our aforementioned trumpet and spoken word collaboration.

From the official write-up:

"This collaboration between John Burroughs and Etienne Massicotte began as an informal experiment in interpretive improvisation. The goal was to explore various means of reflecting the imagery of spoken text through the voice of the trumpet. Spontaneously, a unique accompaniment to each of Mr. Burroughs’ pieces began to develop, as his words were ripe for translation into musical language. Influenced by artists such as Miles Davis, Giacinto Scelsi, and Luciano Berio, these instrumental musings include use of modern techniques such as multiphonics (singing one pitch while playing another) and circular breathing (a method of inhaling and exhaling simultaneously)."

Please don't miss this very special event.  Admission is free, although donations to support the performing artists will be gratefully accepted.

BOP STOP at The Music Settlement
2920 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44113

Click here to read more about Étienne Massicotte. 

And here's the program:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Cringing at the Mac 9/23 - with Buffalo, Kent, Cleveland & Rust Belt Boy

I'm thrilled to be reading this Friday at historic Mac's Backs-Books On Coventry with Buffalo's Cringe-Worthy Poets Collective (Nathanael William Stolte, Julio Valentin & Misty Khan-Becerra), a couple of Kent poets (Cassandra Adams & Joseph Bocchicchio), Cleveland's own Dianne Borsenik and, all the way from New Hampshire, Paul Hertneky (author of Rust Belt Boy). To borrow a phrase from Prince, we'll have "a pocketful of plentygoodtime." The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m.

More info on the Mac's Backs website.
Even more info on the Facebook event page.
Like the Cringe-Worthy Poets Collective and be happy.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Losing my head (poetically) Tuesday in Painesville

Head of Saint John the Baptist, unknown artist
I took this photo a few years ago at the Cleveland Museum of Art
I'll be putting it all on a silver platter this Tuesday, September 6th as the featured poet for Words and Wine at Bistro70, 70 N. St. Clair Street in Painesville Ohio.  Margie DeLong and Tobin Terry will host, and the evening will include an open mic. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m.  Come eat, drink, share and be merry. And, as the Kinks remind us, don't forget to dance.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Jesus Coming Saturday (to Pittsburgh)

Everything is finally moved from our old apartment to our new house. Now I just need to find my calendar and to-do lists in all these stacks of boxes.

I do know I'm reading a poem or two in Pittsburgh on Saturday.  The event is Free Jesus Poems About Jesus, hosted by Margaret Bashaar and Rachael Deacon at Most Wanted Fine Art, and it promises to be one of the most crazy, wild and fun poetry events I've ever participated in. Hyacinth Girl Press will release an anthology (see photo) in conjunction with the shindig, and my poem "LeBron Jesus Returns to Cleveland" is included.  For more info, click here.

Free Jesus Poems About Jesus
Saturday 27 August 2016 at 7 p.m.
Most Wanted Fine Art
5015 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15224

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Farewell and Walk On

Two photos I took with my phone last night, along with the captions I gave them on Facebook:

Farewell for the last time, 3344.

Leda on her first walk from our new house to South Park - also her first walk without her mama and constant companion for the past eight years, sweet Lady.