Wednesday, December 28, 2016

New Liver

After my last blog posting, things moved rather quickly.  Within hours of Geri being reactivated on the liver transplant list, she received a liver offer.  After a long night and next day of waiting, she was finally ushered to the operating room at 3 a.m. on December 22nd.  The seven hour surgery was a success.  We had hoped she'd be out of ICU within a day, but the docs needed to fine tune some things first. 

Meanwhile, on the evening of the 26th, Geri's vehicle lost its front driver-side corner.  I dropped it off at Progressive early this morning. It will take about a week to fix and cost us a $1000 deductible.

Finally, to make a long story short, here's what I posted on Facebook a couple of hours ago (evening of the 28th):

Been a couple more long days at the hospital. Was here till midnight last night - had gone home at 8 but had to come back because Geri wouldn't take her medications for anyone but me. But slow and steady progress continues. Tonight she finally made it out of ICU to the transplant special care floor, one step closer to returning home.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Santa putting a liver in Geri's stocking?

The infectious disease doctor and anesthesiologist have cleared Geri for transplant. Her breathing is much better than yesterday. The kidney doctor is gonna switch her from continual to intermittent dialysis. And they're starting some mild physical therapy. All good news. But the biggest news is that the liver fellow was just in and said they're gonna try to have her relisted by this evening and because her meld score is so high, there is a chance she could get a liver by Christmas, or soon after.

A few very kind friends of ours have expressed a willingness to serve as a living donor, for which we are grateful beyond the best words I can muster. But we haven't been able to follow up because both the Clinic and her insurance wanted Geri to be active on the transplant list before starting the screening process. However, now it's looking like she will get a liver from a deceased donor faster.

As I was writing this, a transplant surgeon came in and gave her the final good-to-go. So she'll definitely be relisted today.

We are amazed by your extraordinary kindness and generosity. Lots going on here, so I'll try to catch up with personal messages later. <3

Monday, December 19, 2016


c. 10 a.m.:

Her breathing tube came out yesterday. Lots of progress since. Lots of different doctors coming in and out today to assess and clear her. They just did a CT scan of her chest. And if everything checks out she could be reactivated on the transplant list as soon as tomorrow. We're most grateful for your kindness, concern and good wishes.

c. 5 p.m.:

Update: CT shows she has a pleural effusion around her right lung, so they're doing a thoracentesis to drain that. But we're still on track. Only awaiting clearance from one more doctor, the transplant anaesthesiologist.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

She's Awake

Got a call from Geri's nurse at 5:45 a.m. She said that after a night of dialysis she's almost totally awake for the first time in around a week. Of course she can't talk because she still has the breathing tube in. But she was trying to tell them something, so they gave her a dry erase board and asked her what she wanted. She wrote, "John."

Friday, December 16, 2016


The doctors have identified a likely culprit: uremia. Because of impaired kidney function, she has high urea levels in her blood. This can deactivate platelets, causing unusual bleeding, and can also make her extremely drowsy and out of it. The doctors are optimistic that by doing some short-term dialysis, they can reduce the urea and solve both her bleeding and her consciousness issues, allowing them to take her off the ventilator and get her reactivated on the liver transplant list soon.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

If it ain't one thing...

Lots of ups and down this past week. Last Thursday we thought they were releasing Geri to a rehab facility, Friday she went back to ICU with breathing difficulties. Sunday and Monday she was largely unconscious. Tuesday she seemed to be coming out of it but then she started choking on blood and had to be put on a breathing machine to protect her airway. Today they were planning to extubate her because she can't be reactivated on the liver transplant list until she's off the machine. But that didn't happen because they need to work on her clotting issues, deal with some declining kidney function issues and get her more conscious first. That's making a long, extremely complicated story as short as possible. Everytime I go to post an update, something changes. Thanks for all your best wishes and support.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Back to ICU (again)

Yesterday, we thought Geri might be going to a rehab facility by Monday. But today they're working on sending her back to ICU instead. Her difficulty breathing increased overnight. Fluid has been reaccumulating in the pleural area around her lung, so she needs another thoracentesis to drain it. But paradoxically they also need to give her fluid to increase her very low calcium level. Everything is a delicate balance. They can monitor and fine tune it more closely in ICU.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Updating Yesterday's Update

Well, yesterday when we were told she had no more infection in her lungs, what they were referring to was bacterial infection. Another doctor came in this morning and said it appears she has a yeast infection in her lungs. He said when they take the samples via bronchoscopy to see what grows in them, it takes longer to see a fungus (which is slower growing) than it does bacteria or viruses. So they didn't detect yeast until today.

And as this photo of today's board in her room shows, the docs are always working on multiple things at once.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Update 12/5/2016

self portrait at the Clinic today
We found out this morning that here's no more infection in Geri's lungs. Then she got up and walked a few steps for the first time in about a week. So hopefully they'll let her out of ICU and reactivate her on the liver transplant list today. Interesting that my Kindle tried to autocorrect her name to "Hero."

One good thing has come of Geri's illness: it looks like the US Department of Education is gonna completely discharge her $6000+ in outstanding student loan debt. Of course we'd much rather have her healthy and owe the money.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Back to ICU

Today they took Geri back to ICU so they can be more aggressive in getting her lungs clear - and more attentive.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Commitments, Cancellations

Yesterday I canceled my 17 December reading in Pittsburgh and my April appearance at the 2017 Poetry Throwdown in Kansas City. I hate to let folks down, but I'll need to stay close to home for the next several months. I've also resigned as editor/publisher of the annual Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology.  It's been a blast to do it the past two years, but I've needed for some time now to clear things off my plate as we continue my wife's liver transplant journey and I'm devoting most of my attention to her.

I have another 20 titles in my Crisis Chronicles Press to-publish queue, and I still plan to publish those, though I have fallen way behind schedule and the next few months will continue to be unpredictable. I'll formulate a new tentative timeline and contact our forthcoming authors soon, giving them more details, options and so on, including permission to find another publisher if they would prefer (as a few have waited a very long time already and I wouldn't blame them at all for losing patience). But I will definitely get all the books done at some point if folks can endure delayed gratification for an indeterminate while longer.

Thank you for your kindness, support and best wishes.  I'll write an update blog when I have more time at the computer.  I just let our dog out and am heading back to the hospital. <3

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


outside the Cleveland Clinic main campus
Geri's resting, so I'm heading home. We're thankful she got final clearance and is officially on the liver transplant list.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Three Bits of Good News Today

1) The doc says that Geri's colonoscopy this morning is clear. That should be the last hurdle before she is officially put on the liver transplant list.

2) Writing Knights Press has just released a new updated edition of my 2011 chapbook Electric Company. Now it's perfect bound with a color cover and includes three poems that weren't in the first edition. If you want a signed copy, please PayPal $8 to me at Postage included in the US.

3) A month or so ago, Columbia Gas dug up part of our yard, including the tree lawn, to lay new pipe. Today they came back to restore and replant.

Leda watches the Columbia Gas contractors

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Brief History of Geri's Liver Disease Journey, and the Latest News

Bringing you up to speed: I'm gonna leave out a lot of the dramatic details and ups and downs and repetitions here and try to tell you this very long story in as little space and time as possible.

In late 2014, my wife Geri was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. Turns out she had had NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, also known as fatty liver disease) for some time, and the cirrhosis had developed out of that.  Coincidentally, her mother had (and eventually died of) the same thing(s).

Following her diagnosis, Geri got so sick she was in and out of the hospital and could no longer work even when she was out, so she had to quit her job around March or April 2015 and file for early retirement.  (She was due to get her full, normal retirement in September, but there was no way she could make it that far). 

She spent much of 2015 in and out of the hospital, seriously ill.  Monthly and then weekly she would have to have a paracentesis to eliminate fluid that was accumulating in her abdomen.  The Cleveland Clinic team would drain 6 to 9 liters off and she'd feel better; but it kept coming back and within days she'd feel much worse and they'd have to do it again.  Finally, they had to do something more. 

On September 11th 2015 they installed a TIPS (transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt) in her hardening liver, artificially connecting her hepatic and portal veins, and it made a huge difference almost immediately.  It stopped her from retaining dangerous amounts of fluid and allowed her to feel pretty good and lead a more normal life again.  They told us the TIPS might last one year or five but that it was only a temporarily fix. Eventually she would still need a liver transplant, but they hoped to put that off as long as possible.

Around August of 2016, almost a year after that procedure, she started getting very ill again.  They suspected the TIPS had narrowed, become plugged or otherwise stopped working (as we always knew it would).  But now, fluid began accumulating in the pleural space in her chest, filling to the point where her right lung couldn't expand and she was short of breath all the time.  They would do a thoracentesis to drain the fluid so she could breathe, but soon the chest fluid would return and they'd have to do it again.  Soon she had to use oxygen at home and a wheelchair to travel more than a handful of steps.

The more often they had to stick a needle in her chest, the more the risks multiplied, so they wanted to do something more than just keep draining it.  Her doctors then decided to expedite getting her on the liver transplant list.  She would have to be checked out by every kind of specialist under the sun before she could be listed, to make as certain as possible that a transplant could be successful.

She was almost through with that process when she had to go to the hospital again this most recent time.  While there, they drained 1.6 liters of fluid out of her chest for immediate relief; but her sodium level tanked so low (among other issues) that they had to put her in ICU. They then did a TIPS revision procedure, essentially going in through a vein in her neck to reach the shunt in her liver, then putting two stents in there to keep it open and allow fluid to pass through again.  It was supposed to take about an hour, but ended up taking closer to five.   And it seems (so far) to have been successful. In the best case scenario, this is still a temporarily fix, because although the TIPS allows fluid to move through her liver and be eliminated by her kidneys again it doesn't resolve the fact that her blood/fluid are no longer being filtered by her liver.

After getting her chest drained, the TIPS fixed and her electrolytes back in order, she felt like coming home again, and the doctor released her straight from ICU on the condition that she have someone at home to help her 24 hours a day for a while.  But soon after she came home on Saturday the pleural space in her chest became full of fluid again, making her miserable, and I had to take her in for another thoracentesis yesterday.  This was half expected, as the body can take up to a week to adjust to the TIPS working properly again.  This time they drained another 2.6 liters of fluid from her chest, and she said afterward that she feels like a new person.  This allowed both of us to finally get a sound, uninterrupted sleep last night.

Now, she's been cleared to get on the transplant list by every department but one.  That one is gastroentrology, contingent on a colonoscopy, which is happening early tomorrow (November 17).  Hopefully, it will go perfectly and we'll be on our way to getting a liver.  Meanwhile, today she's consuming nothing but clear liquids and Movi-Prep.

In other news, I got a letter from the Cleveland Division of Taxation this week about an audit, threatening that if I don't get a ton of paperwork in to them by tomorrow, they're gonna start criminal proceedings against us and charge us over $21,000 for unpaid taxes, interest and fees that I'm certain we shouldn't owe. So I need to quit writing this blog entry and get back on the task of addressing that.

More soon. Thanks for all your good wishes, care and support!

Peace, love and poetry,

Monday, November 14, 2016

Responding to "The Real Bubble is Rural America"

I just read I’m a Coastal Elite From the Midwest: The Real Bubble is Rural America by Patrick Thornton.  Here's my response:

I'm neither coastal nor elite, but a lot of this article rings true to me. I was born in Appalachia, raised to have conservative values, and in high school wanted to be a Southern Baptist minister. I never (knowingly) met a gay person until I was an adult. I never (knowingly) met a Jewish or Muslim person until I was close to 30. At age 18, I voted for Reagan. At 22 I voted for Bush. And at 26 I voted for 3rd party candidate Ross Perot because I had become disillusioned with both major party "establishments" and wanted to "send them a message." My journey took me to college, to managing a gay bar, to seeing the justice system from the inside, and to exploring a number of different denominations and religions before I reached my current status of atheist and thoroughly/proudly liberal. I didn't vote for a Democrat for President until 2004 (when I was 38).

Today, the ascendance of Trump frightens me deeply, and I disagree strongly with his supporters on almost every issue. But because of my experience I do feel I can understand where they're coming from. I was once one of them. I can feel them, even when I believe with everything I am that they're wrong. But I don't feel like they feel me. Indeed in many cases it seems that they don't truly feel anyone outside their bubble. On the other hand, many liberals who've never been otherwise don't always seem to feel those outside their own bubble either. This is part of why I don't defriend or block people who disagree with me politically, even if I find certain things they believe reprehensible. I don't fault others who feel they need to for their own reasons. But I would've never reached this point in my journey if everyone who didn't like me because I was Republican or Baptist or a convict or a Hare Krishna or an atheist or whatever blocked me because they couldn't stand where I stood.

Now I'm 50. Over the years, I've learned and grown much more through connection and communication than through disconnection. And I plan to keep doing so, gratefully.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

New review of my The Eater of the Absurd

Many thanks to Michael Marrotti for reviewing my 2012 NightBallet Press book The Eater of the Absurd at Amazon!  He says:

"John is a rarity in the realm of contemporary poetry. The man has a talent for the art form, he's even made me think twice about rhythmic poetry which comes up frequently in this book. I found myself eagerly turning pages towards the next poem. He solidified his rank with me through the poem Fuck Poetry. This is the stand out piece, the pinnacle poem of the collection. It's a poem on writing, which is a subject I've always been fond of. There were a few ambiguous moments, but besides that, the journey was pleasing. John here is worth the time! Do yourself a favor, take a gander."

Check it out at

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Weekend Update 11/5/2016

View from Geri's room yesterday
Thanks to everyone for their concern and best wishes. Sorry I'm so behind on responding to messages. I hope you won't mind a blog/Facebook update for now. Yesterday, they did a thoracentesis and drained 1.5 liters of fluid from Geri's chest cavity, which allowed her lung to expand again and gave her some relief. Now today they're supposed to go in and try to open up the TIPS (transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt) in her liver. They installed it late last year when she was so sick and for around eleven months she was feeling somewhat better, but it's no longer working. There are risks to messing with it (for example, doing so can cause her liver to fail more rapidly). But those risks are less than the risks of other possible solutions to the severe fluid retention and other problems that are drastically lowering her quality of life. Our hope is that they can open the TIPS back up without incident and she'll return to feeling better like she did for much of the past year (though that's a temporary fix) and remain healthy enough to proceed with the liver transplant process.

In other news, my grandson Camren was also at the Cleveland Clinic yesterday, for surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids.  That went well, though the poor fellow is not happy about it.

Finally, today is my dad's 72nd birthday.  Happy day to you! <3

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

O (say, can you see?)

Really grateful that a couple of friends have offered to give my wife part of their liver. Alas, neither is a match (she needs someone blood-type O and under 55). Still, in the middle of such an in-many-ways awful election season and world situation, it's heartening and hope-inspiring to know such kind and generous people exist.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Weekend Update 10/28/2016

Self Portrait 10/27/2016
So far this morning I've washed dishes, seen a good interview with David Crosby on Morning Joe and now we're waiting for Geri's visiting nurse, who will be followed by her physical therapist. Saturday, if life cooperates, I'll be part of Linda's Good Eggs: Arts Benefit For Ovarian Cancer Research in Erie, Pennsylvania, and then Sunday at noon I'll be giving my last Cleveland area reading/performance for the foreseeable future during Author Author at the Coffee Phix Cafe in South Euclid. Hopefully at some point this weekend I'll get to work on some Crisis Chronicles Press stuff before the Cleveland Clinic grind resumes on Monday. What are you up to, friends?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

One More Chance

Cover art by Smith
Thanks to everyone who's bought a copy of my Poet's Haven Author Series chapbook, It Takes More Than CHANCE to Make Change. Publisher Vertigo Xi'an Xavier has just notified me that it's going into a new printing. So if you still haven't gotten your copy yet, you can now for a mere $6.  Just click here.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Getting my Phix: Last Call CLE 10/30/2016

I look forward to sharing poetry and maybe more this Sunday, October 30th, during Author Author at the Coffee Phix Cafe on Mayfield. The event features several authors and runs from 10 am to 3 pm. My hour begins at noon, and will be my final Cleveland-area performance for the foreseeable future.

The other authors, who will each also have an hour, are Mindy Carter, Abby McCarthy, Ericka Thornton, Mary R. Woldering and Alex Grayson.

Author Author happens every month with a different slate of writers at

Coffee Phix Cafe
4485 Mayfield Road
South Euclid, Ohio 
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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.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Good night, sweet Lady Persephone. I've never known a better dog. We have loved you deeply since 2005 when we moved into a house where you'd been left behind, and we're so fortunate to have had so many years with you. Here's a photo I took of you during our first Christmas together. <3 <3 <3

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Busyness As Usual

Yesterday, I posted this as my Facebook status: "Well, it looks like Geri and I have a house and will soon be moving 6 or 7 miles to the southeast. Busy, busy, busy...." 

This whole year has been extremely busy, and feels like a blur with no end in sight. As I've said before, I published 10 books between January 1st and May 9th via Crisis Chronicles Press. There are three primary reasons for that rapid (and for me unprecedented) pace: 1) I was so behind (so far that 6 of those 10 had taken me over 3 years to publish) and being so far behind was becoming more and more unbearable to me. 2) I suspected I'd be doing a lot more seasonal day work during the spring, summer and fall, and didn't want to fall even further behind on press work when that time came, so I needed to get as much as I could done while I was still largely homebound. And 3) for once, for several months in a row no life crises came up to slow down my progress significantly.  But by May I got a non-Press day job again, and then another, and other life priorities came up, and as expected, press work slowed to a crawl.  I'm not complaining, just explaining.  I know that by the end of fall my day job will slow down, other issues will be resolved and I will pick up the press pace again.  Meanwhile, I hope to at least get a few new books out while it's still summer. Two forthcoming Crisis Chronicles Press titles, Ode to Horatio and Other Saviors by Carolyn Srygley-Moore and Inquiry into Loneliness by Meg Harris are THIS CLOSE to being published.  Meanwhile I continue to "make hay while the sun shines" in every way possible.

And then this new house business came up fairly quickly.  While I was working, Geri kept looking for places.  The stairs to our upstairs apartment have become too much for her. They're also becoming too much for our dog Lady, who was diagnosed with cancer this year.  I didn't expect us to find and afford and be able to close the deal on a place so quickly.  I thought maybe it wouldn't be till next year or later in the nebulous future.  But before I knew it, we're here, and suddenly I have a lot of packing and other move-related things to do every free moment I get.  I feel stressed (and not just because of all this), but also excited and very fortunate.  We're picking up the keys to our new house this evening.  I just need to keep going at a breakneck pace for the next month or few to get everything done.

There are so many other pressing things that I'd like to talk about, but I can't right now.  Maybe one day. But I've rambled on enough for one morning, and I need to DO more than I need to talk.  Hopefully, I'll have photos to share the next time I write.

Peace, love and poetry,

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Expedition Flyer

I just got this flyer for the Expedition: Spaces II event I posted about recently.  Gonna be great fun!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Expedition: Spaces II: A Guided Journey of Words, Sights & Sounds! (6 Aug 2016)

Photo: Tim Kaiser

Expedition: Spaces is an annual multimedia art blast curated by Craig Chojnicki and Lisa Miralia at quite possibly the coolest gallery in Cleveland, SPACES, and I'm so happy to be a part of it again this year.  Here's a copy/paste from the SPACES website and the Facebook event page:

EXPEDITION: SPACES II: A Guided Journey of Words, Sights & Sounds!

Performance: Saturday August 6, 2016 8-11pm
Doors open 7:30pm, Show starts 8pm
$10 – all proceeds will go to the performing artists


This guided expedition brings together artists from across the globe to explore the realms of experimental and electronic sound, live projections, and performance art.

(See performers' bios below.)


Featured performers include sound artist and inventor TIM KAISER, who is recognized nation-wide for his accomplishments as an avant garde instrument builder and performer. Writer and poet JOHN BURROUGHS will lead us from gallery to gallery with spoken word segues. MACHINE LISTENER will perform a set of complex tapestries of heady electronic sound. Performance art trio MARCIA CUSTER + ALYSSA D'AMICO + BETH LOMSKE will delight us with a set exploring the nature of friendship, fear, and the cyclical nature of leaving. MIKE MCNAMARA and NATHAN (GERONIMO) MELARAGNO will collaborate on a set of guitars, electronics, and found sounds paired with live analog liquid light projections. Underground vinyl DJs DAN COOK and MARC LANSLEY will open and close this Expedition, spinning an eclectic mix of minimal techno and electronica.
Want to volunteer?

Performers Include:

Tim Kaiser is well known in the homebuilt instrument and experimental music scenes nationwide for his blending of acousto-electric contraptions and Frankenstein electronics to create ethereal, layered drones.
His hand-built instruments are as alluring as the sounds they make, and his sonic landscapes have been called "experiments in adventurous art" and "eclectic genius" by the likes of Make Magazine, Wired, the New Art Examiner and the Associated Press. Tim has also been featured on the PBS program MakeTV, has scored films, and toured extensively, including headlining numerous experimental music festivals in the US. He's been a founding contributor and champion of the Weirdo Industrial Complex for more than 30 years.

Cleveland based visual and sonic artist Matthew Gallagher crafted his Machine Listener alter ego from early experiments peeking into and deriving sound works from the electromagnetic radiation that emanates from household electronic gadgetry, though he's slowly grown his repertoire to include synthesizers. Patched correctly, these became almost sentient, the self-generating patterns of control voltage evoking complex tapestries of deeply spun tones. Gallagher's latest missive entitled Endless Coil, is out now via Tusco/Embassy Press. - Decoder Magazine
Experimental sonic and performance artists Marcia Custer, Alyssa D'Amico and Beth Lomske are friends first and collaborators second. Marcia and Beth of Half An Animal and Alyssa D'Amico of NRML GRL will collaborate on a new performance experiment "Are You Afraid of the Light" which explores the nature of friendship, fear, and the cyclical nature of leaving. The artists have individually performed at venues and galleries such as SPACES, Guide to Kulchur, Mahall's, and Pilgrim Church. All three participate in the SPACEBEACH integrated media performance art collective.

MIKE MCNAMARA (music) + NATHAN MELARAGNO (projections) (CLE):
Mike and Nathan will perform a collaboration set of music and liquid light projections.

MIKE MCNAMARA is a guitarist and composer who has been active in NE Ohio and beyond since 1996. Mike has a wide performance repertoire and has performed solo at various venues, galleries, festivals and theaters in NE Ohio, as well as with Neil Chastain/Pureplex, Muamim Collective, LMNTL, and Kokolo Afrobeat Orchestra. He has also collaborated with movement and visual artists at multi-media special events like Ingenuity Fest and CPT's Pandemonium. Mike holds a BM in Classical Guitar from CSU and teaches privately and with the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society. For this evening's performance, Mike will be working with guitars and electronics and found sounds from the urban landscape to create an ambient, layered environment that explores stillness, austerity, and emotion.


NATHAN MELARAGNO is a multi-media artist living and working in Cleveland, OH. His artistry spans from analog liquid light projection, to film photography, sound environments, and large scale painting. Nathan preserves psychedelic history through practicing, studying and teaching analog techniques in all fields of his creative focus.

John Burroughs is a Cleve-based poet, playwright and musician whose books include The Eater of The Absurd, Barry Merry Baloney, and Water Works. He co-founded the annual Snoetry: A Winter Wordfest and performs solo and with random partners as Jesus Crisis Ban/ne/d. John has served as founding editor of Crisis Chronicles Press since 2008, publishing superb indie writers from around the world. John will be our guide for the event, responding to the evening's doings with poems improvised and/or memorized but never cauterized.


DAN COOK is a techno DJ and producer from Cleveland, OH. He got his start DJing and throwing parties in 2010, culminating in the Solarity series of large format events at Oberlin College through 2013. More recently, Dan has been featured in Bent Crayon's monthly underground vinyl DJ series Hollow Earth and also runs a sound system in the area with sightings at local DIY venues and events.


MARC LANSLEY is a producer and DJ based in Cleveland,OH and Cologne, Germany. Marc has had a passion for electronic music of all kinds since the 90s, a path which led to becoming one of Cologne's foremost underground DJs and a well-established entity to connoisseurs of the city's somewhat secretive nightlife. In 2006 he started drip-feeding his own material to unsuspecting crowds, leading to a debut release with longstanding partner in crime Falko Brocksieper on the iconic Sub-Static imprint, a small batch of rarefied leftfield edits and remixes for acts like Walls, Kasper Bjorke or Fraktus. This remixing lead to Marc teaming up with Okinawa 69's Shumi as DJ/production duo Truffle Shuffle - which in turn resulted in them co-founding their own label Low Hanging Fruit, distributed by Kompakt and sporting releases by artists like Camp Inc., Bryan Kessler, David Hasert and more. Having recently relocated to the US, he now scouts new battlegrounds for his personal brand of electronic mayhem in Cleveland, OH, the punk queen of the rust belt and as much a staple in the hidden history of alternative music as was his former hometown. – (adapted from Resident Advisor).

Friday, July 8, 2016

Gr8 Day

8 Years ago today I officially launched Crisis Chronicles Press by self-publishing my own tiny Bloggerel chapbook to hand out at readings. At the time I had no idea that this would evolve into a "real" press. It couldn't have happened without you. Thank you!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Burning Books July 13th in Buffalo

photo courtesy of Burning Books' Facebook page
Looking forward to my first trip to Buffalo!

Policies of Truth: A Poetry Reading
feat. Joey Nicoletti, Dianne Borsenik, John Burroughs & George Guida

at Burning Books
420 Connecticut St.
Buffalo New York 14213

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 at 5:00 pm.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Review of Green by Theresa Senato Edwards

Theresa Senato Edwards is one of my favorite living writers, and Green may be her best work yet. Having recently lost my mother, and feeling like I'm on the verge of losing someone else I love as much, I find myself returning to this chapbook as I would a good friend to share grief and fond remembrance. And though immersed in loss, I somehow find my life less wan and my loving richer.

Green is available from Finishing Line Press and Amazon.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Delirious: A Poetic Celebration of Prince

Many thanks to NightBallet Press for including my poem "From Genesis to Exodus" in their marvelous new anthology, Delirious: A Poetic Celebration of Prince. I'm also thrilled that they used one of my photos on the front cover. The book's official release date is June 7th, which would have been Prince's 58th birthday, but you can order now for only $10 plus shipping.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Score Four

I'm thrilled to have published ten great books so far this year via Crisis Chronicles Press.  Here are four of them.  If you buy them all individually, you'll end up paying $39 plus postage. 

But you can buy all four together for $30, postage free.

Titles included:

God Save Your Mad Parade by Austen Roye (Denton, Texas)
Age of Aquarius: Collected Poems 1981-2016 by Dianne Borsenik (Elyria, Ohio)
Ship of Theseus by Christopher Willard (Calgary, Alberta)
When You Don't Know Who You Are by Alinda Dickinson Wasner (Detroit, Michigan)

And if you'd rather (because maybe you have one of these already), you can pick three along with any other Crisis Chronicles Press title in print and still get the $30 deal.

Much love to you for your friendship and support,

Monday, May 30, 2016

Three June Gigs, 2016 So Far, and Crisis Chronicles Press Titles to Come

It's been a busy busy busy past five months for me.  For the first time ever, Crisis Chronicles Press published 10 titles before the midpoint of the year.  Good thing, too, as we still have 19 more titles we plan to publish in the next twelve months. I've also given 11 readings so far this year, with 7 more to come.  I made my first-ever trip west of the Mississippi River and first-ever visits to Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Iowa. My father-in-law Arthur passed away in March. And I began a new day job in May, which soon gave way to an even newer and more time consuming job.

The next three titles Crisis Chronicles Press plans to publish are Ode to Horatio and Other Saviors by Carolyn Srygley-Moore, Inquiry into Loneliness by Meg Harris and an as-yet-untitled collection by Helen Shepard.  After those are out, the press will be caught up to October 2014 and less than two years behind for the first time in, well, years. Titles we are committed to publishing after that include work by Juliet Cook, Christopher Franke, Eric Anderson, Mark Sebastian Jordan, George Wallace, Lyn Lifshin, Margaret Bashaar, Dianne Borsenik, Kathleen Cerveny, John Greiner, Lisa Cihlar, Luba Gawur, Elliot Nicely, Michael Estabrook, Christopher Mulrooney, Dion Farquhar, Sarah Frances Moran, Steven B. Smith, John Dorsey, Victor Clevenger, Chansonette Buck and John Swain.

Finally (for now), I'm very much looking forward to my next three reading gigs, all in new (to me) venues and with a wide and fine assortment of poets.

Shout out to Chandra Alderman, who took this photo of me. Not sure who the other photographers are.

Sat. June 4th - Cleveland OH - 8 to 10:30 pm
Gather at Twelve Literary and Performance Arts Incubator.  Hosted by Eris Eady. "This debut edition of Gather features poets John Burroughs, Daniel Gray-Kontar, Alishia McCoy, Terry Provost, and Marisol Ramos performing work in the tradition of improvisational jazz solos." 

Sun. June 12th - Toledo, OH - 6 to 8 pm
Cloistered Poetry at the Black Cloister Brewing Company. Hosted by Jonie McIntire.  Featured poets John Burroughs, Dianne Borsenik, Bill Hurley, Leonard Kress, Jackie Koch and Tom Barden will throw down. Open mic too.

Sat. June 18th
(Please note: rescheduled to August 27th) - Pittsburgh, PA - 8 pm
Free Jesus Poems About Jesus at Most Wanted Fine Art. Hosted by
Rachael Deacon and Margaret Bashaar.  Featured performers will include Requiem, Art Ettinger, Skot Jones, T.A. Noonan and many more.  Hyacinth Girl Press will release the book Free Jesus Poems About JesusOpen mic too.

See the rest of my 2016 poetry reading tour dates here.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

My Poetry Double Header May 21st in Mansfield and Lorain

I look forward to playing a poetry double header this Saturday, 21 May, at two of my favorite venues.

First up, at 2 p.m. I will be sharing poetry along with the incomparable Michael Veloff at Main Street Books in Mansfield, Ohio, as part of their monthly Borderlands: Poetry on the Edge series hosted by Mark Sebastian Jordan.

Next up, at 6 p.m. I will be poeticizing alongside featured artists Bruce Weigl, Dianne Borsenik, Tom Adams, Liz Delgado, Robert Moore and Ryan Sagert, hosted by Antonio Barrios at the Lorain Arts Council in Lorain, Ohio.

Both events will include an open mic, wine and more. 

Hope to see you at one or both!

And to see my full 2016 Poetry Reading Tour schedule (also including upcoming gigs in Cleveland, Toledo, Painesville, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Frostburg) please click here.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

2016 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest Winners

What a great day of poetry and friends new and old from far and near at the Barking Spider Tavern Saturday! Many thanks to everyone who contributed and participated. I am pleased to announce that the winners of this year's Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest are:

1st Place: Rosemarie Wilson (a.k.a. One Single Rose), "Motown Blues"
2nd Place: Tanya Grossner Pilumeli, "Sane"
3rd Place: Mindi Kirchner-Greenway, "In Medias Res"

These three fine poets will read their winning entries at the historic 2016 Hessler Street Fair Sunday 22 May between 1 and 2 p.m., simulcast on WRUW-FM 91.1 Cleveland.

Copies of this new anthology are available from Mac's Backs-Books On Coventry and at the Fair itself.  Read more about it here.

1st Place winner Rosemarie Wilson - photo by William Clarence Marshall