Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Valerie Owens

Fighting for the control of the radio,
he grabs my wrist,
I attempt to pull away
and fail
I tease him for trying to take
my hand
And then,
for a moment,
he really does take my hand
a joke
(I think)
I pull away (or was it him?)
I shouldn't have
let go
I don't remember what was playing on the radio

Monday, April 21, 2008

Solo Gone Maverick

Solo Gone Maverick

Valerie Owens

When I was eleven,
summertime, I started cross-stitch-by-number
I spent most of July
so things would turn out like they're supposed to
Now, eighteen
I am trying life-by-number
There is no July to spend
and nothing is turning out like it's supposed to
So I think I'm gonna...

Scrap conformity
Throw out the rule book
Go a little crazy

be a little bit...


Word of the Day

Word of the Day:
Maverick: A Maverick is a person with independence of thought or action, a non-conformist.


Valerie Owens

When I was eleven,
summertime, I started cross-stitch-by-number
I spent most of July
so things would turn out like they're supposed to
Now, eighteen
I am trying life-by-number
There is no July to spend
and nothing is turning out like it's supposed to

Scrap conformity


Sunday, April 20, 2008


Valerie Owens

My heart is not to be won
and your attempts to do so are stifling
The prize goes to
the boy who never tried;
the boy who never wanted it,
not like you did.
The unfairness strikes me as cruel
which is why
I haven't told you
I tried,
but the words felt thick and unkind,
so unlike the me you claim to love.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Billy Collins

As promised a little sample of Billy Collins. I was unsure what poem of his was most worthy of blogging and in the end I chose one I can relate to. Hope you like his poetry and perhaps I will post more later. What do you think?

I Go Back To The House For A Book

I turn around on the gravel and go back to the house for a book, something to read at the doctor's office, and while I am inside, running the finger of inquisition along a shelf, another me that did not bother to go back to the house for a book heads out on his own, rolls down the driveway, and swings left toward town, a ghost in his ghost car, another knot in the string of time, a good three minutes ahead of me — a spacing that will now continue for the rest of my life.

Billy Collins

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ode to the paradelle

I have fallen in love. He is a poet. His name is Billy Collins. Of course, the affair is entirely one sided, but I have spent the last week immersed in his poetry. I have come to the conclusion of what is the essential flaw of my poetry. It is too weighed down with adjectives. Collins has perfected the art of light poetry, unimpeded by adjectives. Someday Collins, you will know my name too.

For now the work I post is not the work of Collins, but of Cody Mace and with it I issue a challenge unto my faithful imaginary readers. I will post Collins work at a later date when I have carefully selected which work of his speaks most strongly to me.

The topic of today's blog is the paradelle. I discovered the paradelle in the among the works of Collins. As Collins defines it: "The paradelle is one of the more demanding French fixed forms, first appearing in the langue d'oc love poetry of the eleventh century. It is a poem of four six-line stanzas in which the first and second lines, as well as the third and fourth lines of the first three stanzas, must be identical. The fifth and sixth lines, which traditionally resolve these stanzas, must use all the words from the preceding lines and only those words. Similarly, the final stanza must use every word from all the preceding stanzas and only these words." The wonderful thing about it? There is no such thing. Collins invented the paradelle to parody strict poetry forms, Collins himself being a free verse poet. I, unknowingly duped, issued the challenge to a friend to write a paradelle. He accepted the challenge, cursing me violently. But nonetheless, this is what he produced.

Cody Mace

This task is very hard to do.
This task is very hard to do.
But I know I will succeed.
But I know I will succeed.
To but succeed I will do this task,
I know is very hard.

How could you be so cruel?
How could you be so cruel?
I just wanted something simple.
I just wanted something simple.
Something so cruel, how could you?
Just be simple, wanted I.

At least I will get you back.
At least I will get you back.
With a task extremely hard.
With a task extremely hard.
Back extremely, at least,
With a hard task I will get you.

So I just wanted to do,
A hard but simple task at least.
This is something I will succeed.
Know I could be cruel, very hard back.
You get, with how extremely
I will task you!

Now dear unknown reader, go into the world with a paradelle of your own, mocking the demands of structure and conformity. No, that would be too ironic. It is a task I dare not ask. Thank you Mr. Collins for making my week. You are fabulous.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Best Poems Ever

In elementary school I won a book entitled The Best Poems Ever. I picked up the book today, after it had sat unread for years on my shelf. Perhaps I am uneducated, ignorant, or unappreciative, but much of the poetry failed to strike a chord with me. However, two poems of the collection stood out. The first, by Gwendolyn Brooks. I looked Brooks up, found some more of her poetry, and fell in love. Also, check out Brook's "Sadie and Maud," "Speech to the Young: Speech to the Progress-Toward," and "To Be In Love," among others.

The Bean Eaters
Gwendolyn Brooks

They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair,
Dinner is a casual affair.
Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood,
Tin flatware.

Two who are Mostly Good.
Two who have lived their day,
But keep on putting on their clothes
And putting things away.

And remembering...
Remembering, with twinklings and twinges,
As they lean over the beans in their rented back room
that is full of beads and receipts and dolls and
cloths, tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes.

Also found in this collection is a poem by Ezra Pound... Definitely different. What do you think?


The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

Ezra Pound

Ethics and Poetry?

Linda Pastan

In ethics class so many years ago
our teacher asked this question every fall:
if there were a fire in a museum
which would you save, a Rembrandt painting
or an old woman who hadn’t many
years left anyhow? Restless on hard chairs
caring little for pictures or old age
we’d opt one year for life, the next for art
and always half-heartedly. Sometimes
the woman borrowed my grandmother’s face
leaving her usual kitchen to wander
some drafty, half-imagined museum.
One year, feeling clever, I replied
why not let the woman decide herself?
Linda, the teacher would report, eschews
the burdens of responsibility.
This fall in a real museum I stand
before a real Rembrandt, old woman,
or nearly so, myself. The colors
within this frame are darker than autumn,
darker even than winter—the browns of earth,
though earth’s most radiant elements burn
through the canvas. I know now that woman
and painting and season are almost one
and all beyond saving by children.

I read "Ethics" again and again and again, desperate to understand. That's the beauty of it. Let the poem stand for itself, I will say no more on the content. But I will ask this question: who decides what is poetry, and what is prose chopped up into aesthetically appealing lines? If this poem were written as a paragraph, would it be viewed differently? Do
you think it's poetry? And would it even matter as long as Pastan feels its poetry? Just take a moment... Poetry? Look again, count the syllables, seek out the meter. Does that change your opinion of whether or not it's poetry?