Sunday, November 03, 2013


This is the most recent painting. It's my 13th. It looks a bit better from a distance. I am slowly improving. Wrote two drafts of poems yesterday as well. Trying to type up manuscript #4, but procrastination has come. Will type two poems this week. That's my goal. I have a title for the fourth collection. Scared mostly about finding a publisher for #3 and #4, but pleased that I have written so much in the last year.

Thinking a lot about compassion for myself. And others. Thinking about the poems of Alfred Corn (Contradictions) and Robert Creeley (Earth). All alone in cyberspace. Thinking about anonymity as a poet, but more so how I am learning some things about letting go of ego. Just beginning, but starting where I am. It is difficult to let go of ego, to move on towards joy. But that's where I want to go.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I think this is my 12th painting.  I was going to take a class in painting with acrylics, or 6 classes at the Active Adult Center in Wheat Ridge, but it will have to wait until later.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Here are my sunflowers. They need more work than I thought. I think this is the 9th or 10th painting and people say I am too hard on myself-- in general of course. So I wish I'd added more petals, but it's okay. Will try to add more detail to purple flowers which are supposed to be morning glory.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Here are two more paintings I did at the Living Arts Co-op

http://www.livingartsco-op.com/

I'm still enjoying painting. I'm a beginner, and I'm too hard on myself!!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Monday, September 09, 2013

I just wrote on facebook about how I am glad I am not up for tenure at an academic institution because I can speak freely. Also, I am not sure if tenured professors feel they can speak freely. Finally, I am thankful I am not an adjunct living without health insurance. All is well. Everything is okay.

Time to do some more writing. I've been plugging away, putting it all down, writing like I mean it.

Today I did help teach the creative writing class at the mental health center's wellness program, and it was nice. We did some free writing on the topic of recovery. It was a good experience as I feel no longer stuck in a place of negativity and shock from my illness. I am well on my way to recovery, and it feels fantastic.

I have a project I hope to finish tomorrow. There may have been a mishap on my part, but if that's the case I'll survive it. Feeling okay with things these days. Feeling like I am free to write, free to speak my mind, free to enjoy life.


Monday, September 02, 2013


A color mess! Ugh. Well I need to buy more paint and use the color wheel thing. This was an atrocious day of painting. LOL!
At least I did something creative. I think this may be a sign from the universe that it's time to go back to writing.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Here's the most recent painting I've done. Still needs a lot of work. A friend said not to re-do parts, but I want to do so. It's my 8th painting. The seventh one was so bad I plan on painting over it.

Talked to a friend tonight who used to belong to a radical Chicano group called The Crusade. Very interesting stuff. Often with radicals comes hypocrisy.Not that everyone in that group today is a radical, but wanting to help an abstract conglomeration rather than real people is lame. Wanting to help only a certain type of person is also lame, especially when this regards gender or socio-economic standards (ie: only helping or interacting with people who went to Harvard or some other top notch school or are well situated geographically.) Lots of support for Latino men, little support for Latinas. It's often unconscious too. I'd like to continue interviewing Latinas because we should be in the forefront, not the background. I am interviewing some women now, but want to do one more round after that and have kindly been offered a venue which could help give Latinas some more visibility.






Thursday, August 22, 2013

Here is the sixth painting I did in acrylics. I tried to paint the last two nights and it did not turn out well. I suppose it's similar to writing in that much of what is turned out needs to be tossed. 



Wednesday, August 14, 2013



Here's some basic artwork I did at Living Arts Co-op. My beginner's trees. One is in acrylics and the other is oil pastels with q-tips and mineral spirits. I've been doing more art than writing and enjoying the art tremendously. It's a release of sorts, a way to relax and enjoy life, and it makes me feel like a kid again which is a healthy thing for the imagination.

I do have a third manuscript circulating a little bit and being looked at by a few people for errors and lack of clarity. Plus I have about 13-14 newer poems I will be working on soon!


Sunday, August 04, 2013

Seven - Sheryl Luna : Small Press Distribution

Seven - Sheryl Luna : Small Press Distribution

Here's some art I did at the Living Arts Co-op. The first is my second attempt at acrylic paints and the second is my attempt with oil pastels, markers and colored pencils. I enjoy doing this, but I find paint expensive. Lucky for now the Co-op has paint.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Feeling much better today. I will be making a lesson plan for the creative writing class I am helping teach. I have to admire creative writing teachers who come up with their own writing exercises for students. I will look at THE PRACTICE OF POETRY for a couple of exercises for the class. Teaching for a mental health center is somewhat similar to teaching a college course, but the best thing is that there is no grading involved. This allows students to extend themselves, to take risks, to have fun. It also allows me to relax and lead without any anxiety. I am however more of a peer, as I am not the main teacher.

I've been sending the manuscript out, but I've decided to really buckle down in terms of grammar and any phrases that are too blurred to make heads or tails of-- Guess I do believe in clarity. Mystery is nice too though. The stray lines or phrases or images that need to be reigned in will be. This new collection of poems is more surprising, more unusual, and I honestly feel my style here has changed. It feels good.

In terms of poetry world b.s. I've decided that I've been much more blessed than I think. I have hope that persistence will be the name of the game. And if there's one thing I'm good at-- it's persistence.

Monday, July 22, 2013

In Dallas visiting family. Just was in touch with someone with some hopeful news about a potential future publishing connection. Fingers crossed, but I need to really work hard on the manuscript for a while, maybe a couple of months. Will get some poems ready to send out soon. Am thinking about tense in poems and how conservatively people like a poem to be in one tense. I am having a battle with this in how some poems move towards reflection from the past to the present and reverse in their thinking, so I'm going to have to communicate this to an editor who likes things to be in one tense. I'm not so sure they need to be.

I've been at times getting down about the reception of SEVEN, which I think is a strong book. Maybe the fear is all in my head, but I'm just not sure about the poetry scene, and I express this in a recent interview. All I can do is try to be genuine and work hard with my own writing, and let go the b.s. that surrounds us all. It's kind of crazy sometimes how bad work is promoted over strong work, but se la ve. The important thing is that we live fully and vibrantly, and that is outside of the po-biz and even the writing.

Also want to send a couple more stories out to journals. Writing is much more fun than sending out new work. There's so much to contend with these days.

This one guy, Seth Abramson is his name I believe, wrote a long, long, long article at the Huffington Post which seemed to knock just about everyone down including avant-garde poets, confessional poets and so forth. Here's the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/seth-abramson/on-literary-metamodernism_b_3629021.html I don't want to be part of the new thing? The article felt like Marjorie Perloff all over again. It seems that we shouldn't have to put one another down to get good work done. Sometimes I think the new thing is the old thing with new rags. But there's the expectation that one be innovative, yet even when one is doing something new, people don't see it because it's all sensationalism and know-it-all ism. It seems at times people are putting on an act or several acts. All we can do is write and write and write and try to be genuine. Speaking/Meaning/Saying and this broken identity searching for wholeness-- isn't that what poetry has always been about?

Well, I'm feeling at the bottom of the barrel these days with the poetry, but I'm hopeful that it's all in my head, but it sure looms dark today. Fact is, I work hard, and I sense I'm underestimated and well, largely invisible. The preoccupation with such things has deep roots, and what truly matters is arriving at pleasure and growth from writing. Everyone probably feels this way.



Saturday, July 13, 2013

Here's a painting I did in acrylics for the Living Arts Co-op. I was told it was good, but I'm not so sure. In any case, it's a lot of fun! I did another one and hope to do some more. I had been doing oil pastels so painting is very different. Most of the people in the Co-op have a lot of experience doing artwork. They can paint realistically or precisely. My uncle is an artist, and his work really makes this look like a joke, but we start where we're at, and I'm sure I'll improve.

I enjoy creating something. Need to get back to revising my third manuscript today. It's not bad. I'm a better writer than painter! This is true.

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My poems are getting better. They are getting pretty wild, somewhat out there, but I sense my work is doing something different than I've done before, and it's exciting. I like swinging surprising juxtapositions. I don't really think what I'm doing is enjambment. Yes, a bit, but more so swinging from line to line with unexpected imagery and also now a lot of abstractions. I'm seeking a middle ground somewhere between avant garde abstraction and linguistic play and narrative. I think this is the way to go-- tilt the canon slightly ajar, no need to knock it over. At least that's what Eliot said. I used to hate T. S. Eliot as an undergraduate.

I need to look at about 30 pages of poetry to catch slight errors and fix phrases which can have more clarity. I'd like to finish this by tomorrow evening as I want to get it in the mail. No matter how many times I send work out, I find ways to make it better. I am far from exhausted with the revising at this point, but I'm wanting to get it out and circulating. No more farting around. I'm serious about the poetry.

I have written three stories and have sent one out to a couple of journals. So overall I'm expanding my creativity, and it feels good. Nothing wrong with having fun!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Surprisingly, I wrote a pro-MFA post on facebook yesterday. I want to reiterate here how getting an MFA and/or a doctorate can help one become a better poet. Some guy said that you could just buy books and read them -- forty dollars worth! Ha! I am sure we've all read more than that. Anyways, some bemoan the MFA as a money making cash cow for universities. Although there is a lot of truth to the statement it doesn't follow that the MFA is "worthless." The guy said one should take community workshops or find a mentor they admire. The "either/or" attitude there doesn't work. There are some fantastic community workshops and some horrible community workshops. I attended one where the guy running it hates MFAs and PhD's for the most part. He thinks he knows more than most of us who earned an education. He is so bitter that he is blind to learning new things. This community workshop was a failure.

I think that hating what these degrees offer is strange as there are so many programs to chose from, which are all very different. The two programs I attended, University of North Texas, and University of Texas at El Paso were completely different in ideology, workshops, reading lists, mentoring, form and criticism.

In any case, I don't want to argue with the man as he has deemed himself an authority regarding the worthlessness of the MFA. I wonder if he has one? I hope he doesn't find me here in the ether.

The whole thing, the generalizing has made me re-think my language and opinions regarding academics who are poets. I tend to distrust the political privilege that goes on in an academic setting, but to say that one doesn't learn a great deal in MFA/PhD programs is ludicrous. It depends on the program. It depends on the student. Not all of them are expensive. Not all of them are just interested in the tuition money. People care genuinely about their students. Learning from people who teach well and write well is the goal. I was fortunate enough to learn a great deal from professors, fellow students and visiting writers. Yes, there were some bad things learned as well, but those things taught me a lot about what kind of writer I wanted to be.

I also took a number of fiction workshops and recently sent out three stories. My education, which I have long regretted, was not worthless or a waste. Knowledge is something which is essentially priceless.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Reviewing and teaching

I have a couple of book reviews I need to write. One, I have been told will appear on la bloga; the other will appear in an online journal. I also have to answer some questions regarding my second collection SEVEN (3: A Taos Press). I'm certain I will get to these tasks after the fourth. I very much look forward to reading the two collections and answering the questions. Usually once I get started reading the books I am simultaneously immersed in the review process.

I am also blessed with plenty of time to concentrate on writing work, which is a good thing. Not sure how I used to juggle teaching five classes with this stuff.

Glad the teaching overload is over. I feel sharper, more intense and more focused that I ever did while I was burdened with low pay and excessive classes. So much for universities tightening budgets and trying to scrape out a living despite that practice. Colorado is ranked towards the rear in higher education pay and it is clearly obvious when in some places 80% of the faculty is part-time without benefits. Wonder what this is doing to the future of our country. Seriously.

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I did however help teach a creative writing class at the mental health center which was interesting. Lots of talented students. Lots of insight in terms of cliches being used intentionally versus unintentionally, striking metaphors and sheer emotive energy. I was impressed. The neatest thing about the experience is that I came out with two poems due to the exercises assigned. One was simply based on a poem of questions. So one poem was a series of questions and the other poem was a series of answers. Both were working for me. Things just clicked shut and open and shut with the poems. I felt all the poems the students wrote were energetic and challenging for a reader yet playful and furtive.

I used to strive to hear the click of a poem shutting at the ending. Now, I'm finding the poems may linger, come out to play, play hide-n-seek and simply hide at some level or streak through the parking lot.

Hope to help with the class again in two weeks. I can put forth some knowledge, encourage and teach something about poetry and learn as I go.







Saturday, June 29, 2013

I'm very glad that my publisher isn't promoting herself, (as a poet), over my book. I was extremely lucky to have published with 3: A Taos Press. My publisher has a lot of class, and overall it's been a fantastic experience. It's very important for a publisher to take care of his/her writers in terms of encouragement, commitment and some publicity. It makes a writer want to promote the press. My publisher also was committed to thoroughly helping with the editing process and making changes according to my requests. This was not completely done last time around with the first book, so overall I feel the second collection is a stronger collection. I hope more people will purchase it and read it. A couple of positive reviews have been written, and I suspect a few more will be written about it. It's difficult to know how things are going in terms of reception, but I have faith that things will turn out better this time.

It took me a long time to feel comfortable with the collection since it dealt with trauma and recovery. I think that's why it took so long to write. It is my hope that the book will touch someone and help them with these issues-- to not hide and feel shame.

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My next manuscript also deals with trauma and recovery. I've been sending it out to presses. It's my hope to have some good luck with it soon! This manuscript came together much more quickly. I think this is because I have progressed in my recovery. I think it's working well! It will be interesting to hear back from another press and to re-send it to the earlier press which said they liked it.

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Looking forward to a couple of books this fall! (Especially Rachel Daucus' and Paul Manuel Lopez's)
Not a lot going on in Colorado. Will spend some time with family on the fourth, and then I hope to get back to revising third manuscript and hopefully writing some new poems. It's amazing how much more time I have to write and how that has made a huge difference in terms of productivity. Time is money, and money is time, but I'd rather have the time than the money, and for this, I am truly, truly blessed.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Exhausted and recognizing that I do this writing here to relieve stress, irritation and over all misplaced ambition.

I've been writing a lot. Recognizing I should open a tumblr account or something, but I like the blog format. We'll see.

Worn out by poetry snobs these days. Seriously.

Let it go--

Let it go--

Let it go--

One thing I learned at Leadership Academy (Colorado Mental Wellness Network) is that to be a leader means to serve. I don't think this necessarily means serving in a highly visible role. Sometimes it means lurking in the shadows and teaching something like developmental writing while peers are teaching poetry or ethnic literature or something that may make them feel quite self-satisfied. Sometimes it means helping others quietly. Sometimes, it means working outside of mainstream institutions in the community, for real.

Like I said, I'm a bit irritated, but it's time to think about the third collection I am working on, and I am working hard at it. There is always work to be done, and I suppose that doing such work is the backbone to contentedness-- in part.

I have no desire to dictate to others what needs to be done via the "community" as in my opinion, everyone is different, everyone has their path. Trying to force my path on someone else doesn't seem like a worthy endeavor for me. I believe in freedom and responsibility need not be someone else's demanding agenda.

Listening to Fur Elise and relaxing, trying to relax, outside beneath a large black umbrella. A mesh of net to keep bugs away, flowers everywhere. Time to revise and write.






Saturday, June 15, 2013

Recognizing that I've written only one scholarly essay of late. Somebody was encouraging me to write more since I have the PhD. I did recently write something on trauma and Latina Poetry. It will be interesting to see how it is received. I've written it in terms of cultural and personal trauma, but I'd rather not go too far into it on the blog as it is being considered elsewhere.

I'm trying to think what writers and thinkers and artists have been major influences, and one answer is obviously Bob Dylan. Other influential poets include Yeats, Eliot, Plath, Sexton and interestingly enough, Wallace Stevens. More contemporary figures include Stephen Dunn, Forrest Gander ("Eye Against Eye," John Ashbery, Joy Harjo, and people like Tony Hoagland, Dorianne Laaux and Lorna Dee Cervantes. This is not to say that I find everything written by these people my cup of tea, but I do feel they all have recently and in the past affected my language and stylistic choices.

I am still learning, and I'm recognizing the sheer loneliness of being a writer tonight. One is sometimes surrounded by friends and peers, yet one is ultimately dealing with an extensive amount of solitude, reflection and consternation, but there is also pleasure that comes with the territory. Some days one might even question the talent or capability one has. Some days one might even overestimate the talent or capability one has. The pendulum, for me, is often swinging back and forth, but the balance comes "outside" of writing and finding what really matters in life. That takes me outside of myself, and it helps me see what I'm doing more clearly. This kind of balance is new and healthy.


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For some reason, Bob Dylan remains a central figure in my continual development as a "poet." I find his work compelling and always have found it so. Used to listen to Blood on the Tracks intently, among other albums. His language is always intense, sometimes soothing, sometimes reflective, angry, wild, soft, impatient, hardened, loving and hateful but always precise and cutting. This seems to me central for a writer or poet, to have a range of emotive and/or intellectual reach. I want piercing language, and I want to challenge myself to find a cadence, a rip, a rift, and a reason for the choices I make. I don't want to write something that is haphazard and not thought out carefully. Mostly I want something that matters to humanity. I strive to make sense of what is often nonsensical. Sometimes I relish in the playful harmony or disharmony of language. It is this unearthing of the unconscious that I find appealing. Often, I do not know that the unconscious is speaking. It makes a poem more layered and oftentimes results in a subtext which is beyond the writer's consciousness which is interesting.

I do not tend to focus on others sense of language, politics, urgency or sense of community. I try to focus on the poems, and although I have been a slow writer the last eight years, I'm finding a burst of creative language and poems are coming very quickly.

I do not want to command, cajole, demand or condemn other poets anymore. This has a lot to do with that balance.

A bit of humility is a good thing, but perhaps I've had too much of a sense of a false humility. It is difficult for me to say I am careful with my language as a writer, and I try not to rush poems. When they come they arrive often as surrender, prayer, dream and gift.

I am feeling that sense of isolation again, and it is perhaps a good thing for people to walk down that path.

Need to send out some questions to some Latina poets again, write two book reviews and continue to revise third collection, which is coming together.

Not sure why I blog when blogging is over. It helps me to think things through, to be true to myself and my writing. I think the poetry world is totally full of crap, and I feel I have a voice, and I do in the end have something relevant to say.









Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I was invited to help teach a creative writing class at the local mental health center. It seems my path is working out in the community rather than in academia of late. I am so happy! Also, I attended a state caucus on mental health and have been taking a class called "Wellness Recovery Action Plan" which teaches one how to be an effective peer for others. I am still interested in becoming a "peer specialist" in the mental health field.

I believe that creativity heals. I recognize that sounds hokey to some people, but I believe one can not write about others until they understand themselves. Again, this is why I believe in the first person lyric. It seems a necessary step, like learning the classics for me. I believe in narration because stories matter. One can be innovative in these forms too. Poetry is not restricted to one narrow aesthetic. People are free beings and we will write what we wish to write, not what others dictate to us!

104 degrees here in Texas yesterday. At least 100 today. Will go to library tomorrow and write/revise. I need to get busy with it.






Saturday, June 01, 2013


The Conversant re-published the interviews I did with Christine Granados, Cynthia Cruz, Carmen Gimenez Smith for HerKind. I plan to do some more interviews of the same type later this summer, but I'll publish them in a different place.

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Will be heading to El Paso, Texas next week. Very excited. I have a reading with Matt Mendez at the Percolator downtown. It will be at 5pm on June 14th. My book SEVEN was selling nicely, and it seems to have slowed down a bit, but I think the reading in El Paso will help. Lots of activity here in Denver as mom is in town.

Thinking a lot about how I need to get back to the manuscript for the third collection. This one was written fairly quickly compared to SEVEN. Needed to work through some things obviously. Ironically it took seven years, plus a year of editing to get SEVEN out in the world. A Poetry Therapist has shown interest in the book and said it can be of help to others dealing with trauma. This makes me happy.

In any case, it's time to work on manuscript #3. I've been unfocused on polishing it the last month or so, but I did send it out to a contest, and will get it out to a couple of presses soon. I've cleaned up some typos/errors and formatting issues since I sent it to that press. Hopefully another press will like it as much as the first one did. I have a good feeling about this one, too. It came together very quickly, (about ten to twelve months or so), but I'm not teaching, so I have had more time to write.

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Song to Woody

A beautiful day in CO. Read some more interviews in POETRY IN PERSON: Twenty-five Years  of Conversation with America's poets. Many of these poets were interviewed in the late seventies and early eighties, and they seem to remove themselves from the first person lyric I, which I addressed a few posts ago in regards to trauma and recovery and the fragmented self. Healing involves finding and celebrating that self and reconstructing an identity based on new core beliefs about one's self.

The collection I am working on, as a press has noted, successfully meanders through internal landscapes, once again tied to trauma and recovery. A bit at odds with this view that first person I or internal landscapes are a bad or immature thing to do. We do what we must do as writers. I understand how such self-involvement without concern for the external world is viewed as immature or something young writers do, but again I stress those narratives that have been suppressed and taboo in not only the larger society but in the literary world are necessary. Recovery helps others who have gone through the same thing. These issues are not mere family drama; they devastate lives, harm psyches and objectify women.

Poetry is not an exercise in cleverness necessarily where narrative is something to sneer at because it's been done. So much depends on the poet, what his or her art is doing (hopefully). This is one reason I am glad Sharon Olds received the Pulitzer, though I haven't been crazy about STAG'S LEAP, which I've been unable to read. I do remember in grad school, the guys making fun of her. I think omission and dismissal of violence, sexual abuse and trauma is inhuman of late. When I hear such dismissals in the future people will discover I have found my voice.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I really have second doubts about what I posted yesterday. My displacement in academic settings is however real, and most everyone I know believes I will be a better peer specialist in the mental health field. Letting go of ambition, unhealthy ambition is difficult. But I have for the most part let go of any hope of having an academic career. Yet, I am still writing and this is a good thing as there is time now to write. My third collection, recently rejected by a very well known press, has me feeling giddy as the press sent some very encouraging words about the manuscript. This manuscript was at the outset very rough, but I sent it out on a whim. Just goes to show core concepts which are negative self observations need to be thrown out the window!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Bob Dylan's "Day of the Locusts" is my new theme song for my experience in higher education. Yup, he sums it up quite nicely, my experience. I pursued four degrees, trying to learn how to write. It was definitely a mixed bag of magic and dust. The magic came from reading every poem I could get my hands on; the dust came from trying to be somebody.

Competition in academia, at least in the backward provinces, isn't pretty. I am relieved for the most part that I have escaped the strange distances between people that occurs. This is partly from rejection, partly from needing to find some recovery for my illness, and partly from the current the universe has me gliding quite nicely through these days.

Someone close to me insists that part of my difficulties came about due to the fact that I am not upper middle class. He believes selling oneself is a learned behavior from the economic background of the individual. I spend the majority of my time interacting with people who have had no higher education in a different way than than my failed efforts to communicate with academics. I am quite successful among meth-heads, crack smokers, brilliant schizophrenics and the roller-coaster moods of a friend. I can negotiate this landscape. It is difficult after being in school forever and NOT in this world-- a world of honesty, anger, open rudeness and yelling!

I mean this stuff quite seriously. I do not believe the language of the educated is superior, it's just a different language. It's a privileged language, a language deemed necessary for success. And oh success, that two headed snake, that lying son-of-a-bitch, that mummified fate. But the question here is how much does economic background affect "fit" and "comfort" in such settings?

A friend's father is a prof at Berkeley and he, the father grew up quite poor in New Mexico, but he too had to learn the lingo. The friend speaks up and feels what he has to add to a conversation is pertinent, necessary and meaningful. Usually what he says doesn't make a lot of sense, but once in a while he'll pull off a zinger wit-filled comment. It's amazing how many people will nod and approvingly compliment him when he makes no sense. This is academia at times.

I just now recognized that the father didn't let go of his straight forwardness, and this perhaps has hampered him in academic settings. Mostly he put his nose to the grindstone and published like a mad man. This too works?

Watching videos of David Foster Wallace discussing education is interesting too. He too seems to believe there's something dry and distant and that many people teaching aren't into the teaching.He is critical of avant garde fiction, calls it "un-fun." I don't know. I know there's often a sense of supremacy in the academic ideal, that one be producing, hustling, marketing, networking, interacting, schmoozing (you hear this openly!) And yet, I think the story, the "real" story in my life lately is working-class people, downtrodden people, people who live simply. And yes, this can get frustratingly difficult. For example, I don't watch much TV and this makes me appear alien and out of touch. How can I NOT watch American Idol like an addict needing a fix? But fact is, I love my friends. They are cool. They don't write and yet come to every reading cheering me on, and even though they can't afford a book, they are there genuinely, happily and best of all they like my poems, especially my curse poem to 7-11. They get it. They get me, and this makes me a million times healthier than dealing with someone at CU coming into my office, snubbing me about not having read so and so.

No. I read people.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

The ordeal the women in Cleveland went through and are going through also unnerved me. Many people are horrified how a human being could take control of another human being's freedom. The bombing at the Boston marathon was also sad and horrific. I want to write today about sexual assault, rape, and childhood sexual abuse and healing, how women are objectified in the media and by men and pornography daily. We can become numb and move on quickly regarding these acts of violence and oppression. Society has a move-on to the next act of insanity brief attention span. There are some sick individuals, some damaged individuals who oppress and abuse. It is often a cycle. There has always been such individuals throughout history.

But there are some individuals, as a friend stated, who seem to have no reason for their being aggressive, hateful and violent.

As a survivor of rape and childhood sexual abuse, I can only say that I truly believe negative thought patterns emerge because of society's right wing extreme religiosity that a woman should be pure or a virgin, demure, quiet, amicable and non-verbal, or at least non-confrontational. It's not just religion, double-standards and sicknness, but it is also the objectification of women in mainstream media, pornography and society in general.

I have found a voice through writing, and it is there that I have gained my power back. I am working on doing so in other aspects of life. I am okay where I am at because I am learning to be compassionate towards myself and shed those harsh views, those core beliefs that are entrenched in one's psyche often through such abuses.

I believe Healing is a means of taking one's power back. Negative thought patterns often emerge when one feels victimized by trauma. Healing involves changing and re-framing the shame, humiliation and distrust that occur when one is abused. This is a difficult battle, one that should not be dismissed or discounted in any way in my opinion. Yes, we acknowledge darkness, which I feel I do in my new collection, SEVEN (3: A Taos Press), but there is the issue of taking one's power back, finding one's voice, shedding those negative core beliefs. For me, this is the core of transfiguring what is dark into beauty.

It is in acknowledging darkness or violence occurred that one can develop an awareness and self-concept,  which has often been damaged and distorted. For me, through my writing, I see the beauty that comes from such triumphs as gaining one's self-esteem and healing as transforming.

Healing is a slow process. It takes strength, fortitude and commitment. It is in my opinion more important than focusing on that darkness, that which is meant to dis-empower an individual.

This is one reason I argue for the lyric I in my poems. Fragmentation, loss of a sense of power, all these things can emerge when one is a survivor of long term abuse. Such stories can reaffirm the experience of others, which I have found as women who have read my book share similar experiences and relay that to me. All in all, there is light, hope and power in such striving.

This month is mental health awareness month, and I am working on being an advocate for mental health issues. PTSD is one issue I feel needs to be addressed in order to combat the abuse of young girls and women.


Saturday, May 04, 2013

I have been watching too many David Foster Wallace videos on YouTube tonight. Brilliant mind. Such a loss! Here he discusses television and commercial entertainment and says avant-garde fiction is "academic and cloistered" and among other things "un-fun." I tried reading Infinite Jest in the nineties but found it too thick and overwhelming to read. I think I will be trying again. Just heard a video of him reading a short story and it blew me away. I have recently written or I should say drafted three stories. The fourth one is really not a story or a poem. In any case, I have written it, and I will lay claim to it even though I'm not sure what it is.

My reading last week went well. Friends and people in my art class said when I read it's like I'm a different person. They say this mostly because I am quiet and shy or as my friend says, unassuming.

When I read the poems it was as if a new me came out because I am learning to trust my language. Once in grad school, a friend said, why don't you have confidence; you have a solid grasp of the language. Still at times I lean towards self-effacement because that is what I've been entrenched with for nearly half a century, but none-the-less, I feel more whole when I am engaged with language whether it be poetry or fiction or some sort of cross between the two genres.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Love this video!


Trying to sell a book of poems is like trying your whole life to avoid suffering. Trying to sell a book of poetry is like trying to teach pigs to fly, talk jive to a turtle, sing sweet nothings to every loss you’ve had. There’s a seaside burden in such loneliness. You walk to and fro, hoping to sell a bit of your wounded and triumphant soul and nobody gives a damn it seems. So you try to sing louder too. You try getting religious even with pleating prayers to a foreign god. There’s wind-chimes and all the lies come like a new kind of wind-song. And luck comes to you like freedom and you too breaking bread and drinking wine, and there’s an infinity of truths dancing through your mind. Every shadow a blessing in summer’s hot throat. Yes, you too nothing but a brief season.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My new website is up at http://www.sherylluna.com

It was designed by Amit Ghosh's team out of El Paso, Texas! They did a great job.

I have three readings scheduled now. The first two are on the website: West Side Books, in Denver and Innisfree Books in Boulder. Click on link for West Side Books info. The third reading will be at Ziggi's Coffee House (corner of Federal and 104th) May 16th for Third Thursday Open Mic Featured Poet 7-9 pm.

I'll re-post info about readings as they come up here and on facebook.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

To Purchase SEVEN: 


Special Pre-Release Order: SEVEN is available for $15.00 per book. 

Please mail checks to: 3: A Taos Press, P.O. Box 370627, Denver, CO 80237. 

After 30 April 2013: SEVEN is available for $17.00 plus shipping from:

3: A Taos Press, Amazon, or SPD Distribution. 
I'm thinking about poverty this afternoon. I recognize that many in society think it is a choice, a laziness, a lack of ambition etc. I've spent most, well, all of my adult life in poverty. I currently receive a social security check for 838.00, which Repubicans want to cut. In any case, it's not the politics of the matter, but the realization that I've lived most of my life in abject poverty that has me thinking. And interestingly enough, this is not a complaint about it, but it's rather a celebration of the fact that I have that lovely gift-- time. Now, I am at ease with it because I am no longer struggling to juggle 6 plus classes a semester with no health benefits. Adjunct hell, I'll call that. Now, I have time to write, time to heal, and these are huge blessings which make up for the low income, but the low income means I can't afford things like AWP, sending out to too many contests etc. A low income means living within one's means very carefully.  Sometimes, I think there is such a thing as destiny, or more so a place where the universe wants us, a place where we are meant to learn and grow. A friend thinks any concept like this or belief in God is silly, but for me, things seem to fall in place when you accept what the universe is giving.

I am going to advocate for mental health rights in the state of Colorado. After the tragic shootings in an Aurora movie theater, people who have a mental illness, are at risk of losing rights. The stigma which says most people with mental illness are violent is simply incorrect. There is so much stigma surrounding mental illness, I feel the universe is guiding me towards trying to tell my story in order to help others, who in many circumstances, are unable to speak for themselves. It's the one thing I can do. I can write letters to legislators and possibly speak at events. It's something which seems to be calling me, as I keep being asked to attend such events, to strive to support mental wellness in the state of Colorado.

My SECOND collection of poetry, in part, deals with trauma, both personal and cultural, and how one seeks and works for recovery. This concept of recovery has come into my life as well through various groups, invitations, therapy and organizations in Colorado. Recovery is all about healing and becoming whole and compassionate towards yourself. When one is broken by trauma, one can only recover and grow as best she can. A metaphor for trauma is a tree sapling that has been damaged, possibly almost broken, and then, despite the trauma, continues to grow. The direction of the growth may be haphazard and even appear abnormal. For example a sapling with a broken branch may find that very branch crawling along the ground, before gaining the strength to grow upward. It looks different.

Poverty in a sense, may be a symptom of having been ill and untreated, but when we are in flow with our purpose in the universe, we are essentially floating with the current rather than swimming and taking in water against the current, we are blessed. This is something I truly believe. We let go of that ambition that is unhealthy for us, we are drawn to the things that bring us to a place of compassion for ourselves and others. Poverty is really not such a terrible thing if it allows you time and peace, yet for many years I struggled against poverty in an unhealthy way. My worst time was working for the Seven-Eleven on the corner of Ralston and Wadsworth in Arvada, CO after I had taught at CU Boulder. I have a poem about it in my new collection SEVEN. I was devastated and believed myself to be a failure. Our society deems success to be in what we "do" rather than who we "are." I still think my suffering in part was due to my going against the grain of where the universe wanted me to be. I wanted to teach and that drove me to remain in a field which is not where I belonged.

Part of being ill, is being willing to ask for help, to accept health, which is also frowned upon by our capitalistic-marketing-ownership-for-profit society. I am not equating poverty with being ill, but in my own case, illness is tied to ambition, career and "success."

This is not to say that people who are poor aren't doing what they are supposed to be doing, but it's more about an inner struggle to find peace where we are at. Also, as I write, I am working things out in my own head, but being a failure may just be the best thing that has ever happened to me (in terms of having a "career"). It's difficult because now when people ask me what I do, I may say something like "write" or "I'm taking time of from teaching to write" and so forth. This seems to unnerve some people in that I am not "doing something for money"--because money is what career is essentially about in our society. Going further I would say that money is what our society has become to be about. Who has it and who doesn't have it, but letting go of that desire for financial success can be such a relief it is unbelievable. I am blessed that I've been able to almost let go of these societal norms about making money. Poor but blessed.


Saturday, March 30, 2013


Went to the Denver Zoo today and had a good time with my friend who is hilarious. I usually feel very sorry for some of the animals, but today, it was okay. They are safe from predators and many have been rescued from the wild. In any case, it was fun.

I finally bought THE GIFT: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World by Lewis Hyde. Margaret Atwood says, "The best book I know for talented but unacknowledged creators..."

So far it is about gift-giving culture in various tribes and in various stories and myths. Basically the idea is to keep the gift moving and not hoard it or use it merely for consumption and profit, so it is refreshing to read. I hope it helps me feel better about my anonymity when it comes to poetry. Yet, I am very, very blessed to have a new book on its way soon. It has been added to Small Press Distribution and Amazon, but it will take a while to appear in catalogs. Very excited. I have a couple of readings scheduled and it sounds like there will be a book launch in Denver.

I'll post more information later about readings, plus Amit Ghosh is designing a website for me which will list readings and events.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

I and I- Bob Dylan. I haven't heard this song since I listened to my old vinyl copy a long time ago. Read interviews with June Jordan and Loiuse Gluck in POETRY IN PERSON: Twenty-five Years of Conversation with America's Poets ed. by Alexander Neubauer, which I still consider a find at $4.98 at the Tattered Cover. The main thing I keep coming back to as I read these interviews is that the conversation about poetry really hasn't changed that much since 1978, 1979. Poets were still concerned about first person I limitations, marginalization, collage, fragmentation, ellipsis, politics and external and internal landscapes. I really do like these interviews which were done by a woman named Pearl London. London was the daughter of M. Lincoln Schuster, cofounder of Simon & Schuster. Poets would bring drafts of their work to class and discuss it, as well as answer London's questions. I find each interview  helpful in that they make me more thoughtful and reflective about what it is I'm trying to do with my own poems.

Gluck's comments on moving away from the depersonalized voice. That she wanted to move away from communication of the self. She states, "No, no, not communication of the self, that's not what I want. The issue of ego is a sensitive one. I think that most contemporary poetry is horrifically disfigured by it. The territoriality in most poetry that goes out to claim "my pain," "my father," "my mother," "my past." There's a swagger in it that offends me greatly. I would like to write poetry that was intensely personal and seemed absolutely devoid of egotism."

Again, I find myself thinking about trauma, and how it is personal yet non-personal and dissociated. I can't therefore quite agree with what she said, but I understand what she meant by egotism in a poem. But for working with trauma, there is a necessity to find oneself, one's ego if you will, to help others who have been traumatized (I mean by a life-threatening situation or violence).

June Jordan was interesting as well. She was bold about African-American poets needing to defend their work, but what I found myself most interested in was her references to Rilke and how she saw Rilke as one of her favorite poets. She specifically addresses Rilke's address to a young person who feels they have lost God. She says Rilke responded with "You are God" and she ties this to women in South Africa. This type of empowerment is important to me as a person who has experienced the shock of trauma. I think it is a means of expression or communication. And as Jordan said, "When I write poetry my purpose is to express myself, about whatever it is, to as many other people as possible."


Wednesday, February 20, 2013




I asked 3 questions of 3 Latina writers at the HerKind blog here.

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I've been reading Pema Chodron and hopefully learning a lot. Trying to learn about radical acceptance and "maitri"-- The complete acceptance of ourselves as we are. "Trying to fix ourselves is not helpful. It implies struggle and self-denigration...Does not trying to change mean we have to remain angry and addicted until the day we die?...Trying to change ourselves doesn't work in the long run because we're resisting our own energy. Self-improvement can have temporary results, but lasting transformation occurs only when we honor ourselves as the source of wisdom and compassion." She talks about a practice called Tonglen which I am going to try to implement. It is difficult as I often have an "us" and "them" attitude about things, but the basis of all of this is compassion for oneself and others. When one is traumatized, it is difficult to have compassion for oneself and therefore others. Also, interestingly regarding forgiveness, she says one must forgive themselves first. Overall, I like this book better than the first one I read by her which came highly recommended. Not sure why this one isn't the one recommended. I guess I like it because it is more hands on regarding how to practice and implement these things.

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I've been reading some Czeslaw Milosz poems, so far specifically dealing with poetry and poetry in Poland. He has one Ars Poetica which I read. Also, I found a book at Tattered Cover for 4.96 called POETRY IN PERSON: Twenty-Five Years of Conversation with America's Poets edited by Alexander Neubauer. It is very interesting. So far I've read interviews with Philip Levine, Louise Gluck, Robert Hass, Muriel Rukeyser and Maxine Kumin. The two most interesting for me were the ones with Levine and Gluck. Levine talks a lot about Detroit and his love for the people and factory life there, in terms of both not being a "nightmare" for him. This was compelling as I feel similarly about El Paso, Texas. He talks about his twin brother and how that comes to play in a poem. I like that these interviews took place in 78' and 79'. The Gluck interview was probably the most interesting read for me. She talks a lot about white space and silence. Also, she mentions things like ellipses, collage and fragmentation, which I would have not ever expected from Gluck because she is labeled as "mainstream." So these "new" ideas apparently were being knocked around in 1979. The Rukeyser one was probably the most unnerving for me to read. I found her somewhat bitter and haughty, although her poem was the bomb!!!! So, poets can be flawed individuals which is a good thing since I am flawed, but I'm also precious ;)



Tuesday, February 05, 2013

It seems the times are changing. My friend Janet Gates used to always say, "the one thing you can count on is change." She passed away in 2008, along with my friend Sharon, who used to say, "all you have to do is get through the day." I am proud to have dedicated my collection SEVEN to these beautiful women who died too young.

The times are always changing, and today the "browning of America" is in full force. I think Richard Rodriguez first coined that term. Speaking of changes, I have always struggled with my own identity. Culturally I was confused. My adoptive step-father wanted to beat the "hispanic" out of me. He tried very hard to instill shame about identity. I never knew my real father until I was 35 I believe. I count the women in my life my cultural makers. And yet today, being Latino/a will soon be being in the majority, so yes, times have definitely changed, but there is still a long way to go, at least in some instances. People are still rebellious about the variances of culture. They are still reactive to the celebration of diversity. They are still hostile to cultural pride. They still see things as pure or impure, culturally one must be "authentic" and this term in and of itself is charged. What does it mean to be authentic?

I was raised when I was very young on the U.S. Mexico border by a grandmother born in Mexico. Does that make me Latina? I was charged and political throughout graduate school because there was such resistance to anything deemed "political" in art. Does that make me Latina? Overall, I'm tired of struggling with these issues and have decided I define myself. Note I am not even touching "Chicana" or the preferred "Xicana".

But the rage for La Raza isn't with me most days. Although I nearly blew a gasket reading what an old grad school colleague (?) wrote about the inaugural poem by Richard Blanco. So, I am full of contradictions and know only that everything is constantly changing, and surprising images bombard us daily.

Today, I read a bit of TRES by Roberto Bolano. It was pretty good. I enjoyed it. The speaker speaks of the text, which I find very post-modern adopted. The speaker seemed to write in an autobiographical manner of being without a Visa in I believe Spain and being poor at 28. For some strange reason this gives me hope. But poor at 48, oh I just don't know. Our culture judges our status by our economic value, our monetary power. I'm losing that battle gladly, although there are anxieties about the future, but I must stay grounded in the now.

I bought 3 books today. RADICAL ACCEPTANCE: EMBRACING YOUR LIFE WITH THE HEART OF A BUDDHA by Brach,  THE PLACES THAT SCARE YOU: A GUIDE TO FEARLESSNESS IN DIFFICULT TIMES by Pema Chodron, and a book of interviews of twenty five poets titled POETRY IN PERSON: Twenty Five Years of Conversation with America's Poets.


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Reading Chomsky on Anarchism. In the first essay titled "Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship," Chomsky slams what he calls "the new meritocratic elite." He is speaking about intellectuals and scholars. He writes the following about the danger he sees in  both. What is most interesting is he wrote this essay in 1969.

"Free  institutions certainly exist, but a tradition of passivity and conformism restricts their use-- the cynic might say this is why they continue to exist. The impact of professionalization is also quite clear. The "free-floating intellectual" may occupy himself with problems because of their inherent interest and importance, perhaps to little effect. The professional, however, tends to define his problems on the basis of the technique that he has mastered. and has a natural desire to apply his skills...." And later, "These various factors-- access to power, shared ideology, professionalization-- may or may not be deplorable in themselves, but there can be no doubt that they interact so as to pose a serious threat to the integrity of scholarship in fields that are struggling for intellectual content...The danger is particularly great in a society that encourages specialization and stands in awe of technical expertise. In such circumstances, the opportunities are great for the abuse of knowledge and technique..."

He feels that intellectuals, due to these things, are moving closer to the center of power. He feels that the specialists and experts have become involved in "special government undertakings" and he suggests that these intellectuals that are application oriented have access to "power, prestige and the good life." He gives lots of examples, mostly about the Vietnam war.

Again, maybe I am misreading. but I found his criticism of professionalization and specialization very interesting. Conformism, I see as an essential factor in a academia. Perhaps when one has the privilege of tenure this is less likely. Yet schools I attended and worked at in both Colorado and Texas were quite conservative in terms of conformity. The nature of these academic institutions seemed to lend to a bland conformity and an unwillingness to speak out against injustice, even so far as a desire to impose injustice on anyone who didn't fit the mold. This was often true of "creative" writers. There was a model or a "school" which needed to be followed, and if one did not fit this "school of thought" they were booted. This is dangerous for poetry. But poetry is, I hope, beyond the confines of academia. Although I would say that there is access to "power, prestige and the good life" in an academic setting. This is one reason I am skeptical of academics who speak on such issues as "labor." This position of mine for today at least, I do not believe it is anti-intellectual.

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Last night I threw my knee out and I am in a great deal of pain and can barely walk. I see a doctor tomorrow. Wanted to go to the emergency room, but my medicaid was cut since I am no longer on Aid to Needy Disabled but have received social security. This is strange. Now that I've been deemed disabled, I have no health insurance. I've arranged to be in the medicaid buy-in program which is part of Obama care for the disabled from what I gather, but it doesn't start for a few months. There's a great deal of irony in the system. One does not receive medicare until two years after one has been deemed disabled. Luckily, I don't have a life-threatening disability.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

My book is going to the printer next week. Yay!

I think it will be with Small Press Distribution. I feel good about my press. Seriously. I feel very good about this press.

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Need to work on the next one now, and I have to confess, the last few weeks I've been lazy. It was my birthday today, and I feel sometimes that I am moving very slowly as a poet-- perhaps too slow. I am coming up on 50 in a couple of years. And it's too easy to compare ourselves to others, especially those younger than us who steamroll through book publishing like it's easy. Sometimes those that are younger can irritate us too. LOL! But we all go at our own pace as writers and people, and our lives come with difficulties, challenges and heartbreak. But overall I am filled with gratitude at this wonderful time in my life. I have time to write, a roof over my head and am finally coming to terms with limitations, as well as potential. Sometimes I reflect on the past with a great deal of regret, but I am learning to move forward, to stay in the now. It's a difficult lesson, but one that matters.

Monday, January 21, 2013

I am thankful to have witnessed Richard Blanco deliver his phenomenal poem at the presidential inauguration. It gives me a lot of hope for our country, our people and our progress.

I feel better too, about community, and recognize that gender gaps I see, are in large part inflamed in my own mind due to my past. I am very consciously aware of gender differences and sometimes this is a barrier as I am suspicious of what I view as the patriarchy. There is still a ways to go regarding this reality. But my own issues with abuse and power in regards to men has me too inflamed at times. It is a non-issue for some women, I recognize. Yet, I sense there is still a ways to go regarding gender gaps, respect and equality. When I was teaching, younger women that were my students often expressed disbelief in gender inequality. I think this is in large part due to a belief that they would be treated as equals in the workplace. Similarly, some people argue that now that we have an African-American president, issues of racial inequality are ridiculous. But my observation of anti-Obama advocates in Texas, shows me we still have a ways to go. And it was wonderful to see Obama addressing the issue of gay rights in this country too!

I experienced a great deal of gender bias in grad school, where most of the students in my PhD program were male. The sense of authority and entitlement that came with being male, in my opinion, was often similar to that same sense of authority and entitlement that came with being white. So overall, I am somewhat suspicious of male privilege. This is what I think I was wanting to say before, but couldn't seem to come up with the right words.Chicano men sometimes do not realize that they too can contribute to the old patriarchy.

Despite so many past concerns regarding gender bias, and what I believe to be real-life experiences of injustice, I have hope that things are changing. As a woman who was sexually abused as a child, my sense of gender based inequity is charged. I am a firm-believer in gay rights, but I would say that being gay does not preclude one from being patriarchal.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013


Writing here and there in utter obscurity. It's an interesting journey. Posted stuff about status anxiety and nobody on facebook seemed to have taken an interest. It was a philosopher named Alain de Botton,
and he discusses society's need for and belief in success. The myth that America is a meritocracy is examined. Someone today said I was successful. But I have taken De Botton's version of Rousseau that one can either want more money and more success or lessen her desires and therefore find happiness or "success." I am learning to chose the latter. But yes, the poor are blamed for being lazy in this country. Some who profess to support Latino/Chicano lit won't have anything to do with someone who is on disability. De Botton calls such people snobs. There are a few of them. No, maybe it's more a sense of not knowing what to say. I hope this is the case and that I have personalized some rudeness.

My sabbatical may be lifelong. There's always hope for recovery, yet this need and idea that success makes us happy runs through our society like acid. I have had to accept limitations and career path has stalled due to the reality of illness. It is hard. But healing is necessary. The book grapples with illness and recovery. So many do, but I feel this one deals directly with PTSD and the shock of violence. I really should read that book by the poet who spent time in Iraq.

Amit is designing a website for me. I think he will do a good job. So despite obscurity and a bit of anonymity in the big city, I am feeling free. Mostly I feel free because I have time to write. Travel money is another matter. Yet one need not travel too much to write. I have traveled a great deal in the past. I will likely go to Albuquerque for a reading, maybe Taos and will set some local readings up as soon as the book is out. I really still love the cover.

Back to isolation and obscurity; maybe everyone in the arts feels this. Our society is all about consumption, "hustling," and getting ahead. I think maybe there is something to slowing down. Yet I have to confess to getting in a hurry, but at least I have 3 poems that will be published later down the line. And this need to "succeed" can eat at us. Poetry is at best a quiet thing, a musical thing. I don't know what it is, but it is freedom and will. It is us grappling with humanity, what it means to be human, invisibility and loss and praise. I need poetry I think.

I am thinking about writing 3 reviews, but I simply can't begin to do so until March. Interview questions I've asked three Latina writers will be coming out in Feb. and of course I will link to them here and on fb and twitter. It's the name of the game, but a game doesn't seem to level up or create a new plateau?

Facebook is growing a little old. I feel that I will post book cover down the line and promote the book, but I'm finding it for the most part quick and shallow. The more flippant and outrageous or outraged the better. Someone dies that people don't even know and they are all over it praising the person, joining those that truly mourn. It's not bad to offer condolences, but on fb it's like everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon. It doesn't always seem sincere.

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood tonight. Maybe its the neo-conservatives that sometimes post pro-guns, pro-God in school, in other words my family. Ugh. Maybe I just need to stay away from the sway and swagger of success when it comes to writing poems and "hustling." I want to see beauty. I want to see depth and not repetitive posts, that seem sometimes to almost shout out the agony for success we Americans are bred to pant after.

The blog is more of a journal, a notebook for me. Facebook of late is a jumble of tid-bits and braggings, and of course I too engage in the "marketing" and the "networking" as one must, but I need a break from the "news" or the "gossip." I hope to write this weekend, spend time with some friends, remember and praise myself. Yes, you heard that right. I'm going to praise myself. I'm going to have compassion for myself and perhaps then I can learn to have compassion for others. I have a long ways to go, but I sense that I will never write well if I spend too much time playing a game. Some balance is necessary and a good game is healthy. I just sense some have thrown the baby out with the bathwater. I don't want to sell my soul, but all the capitalist crap about success runs through my veins too. So I'll post this and move on to the next thing, however small, however obscure.

We never know the future. Only today. And today I had something to say. A vague need to be heard which opens itself up to a great silence. A silencing? No, it's more of a breath. I am learning to breathe and poetry is, I agree, breath. There is no language, no sound, only the limitations, the fact we are spinning small on this blue planet in insignificance, and the game is indeed, just a game.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013


So happy Richard Blanco was chosen as the inaugural poet. It seems things are changing in this country, and I am so glad to see it.

The Richard Blanco appointment makes me very happy. It has taught me a valuable lesson. The cream does rise to the top.

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Tomorrow I go the the "On Becoming Van Gogh" exhibit at the Denver Museum of Art. Very excited. I'll take the bus to avoid the ridiculous parking charges there. I actually sold three pieces of my art-- very much a beginner but it was exciting, and my one piece was one of 24 chosen from 180 submissions, so I feel good about utilizing my creativity and working hard on improving with oil and chalk pastels. I saw recently on facebook a piece that Picasso did in pastels. My God, it was fantastic. So I am truly a beginner but it is exciting to work at it and see improvement from year to year.

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Friday, January 04, 2013

Reading BASIC WRITINGS OF NIETZSCHE. Presently BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL. Skipped "The Birth of Tragedy" as I found it difficult and somewhat dull. It was of course about literature.

I like BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL immensely, but the part where he challenges and questions various philosophers is a little difficult. Some are not so difficult, where I am a little bit familiar with the philosopher. This from many, many years ago when as an undergraduate I was a philosophy minor.

If anything this whole phase of reading Nietzsche has reminded me of the importance of reading "outside" of poetry. This is not to say I shouldn't read poetry, but that I should expand my interests. Reading Nietzsche helped me write the poems in the collection I am currently revising. I sent it out, but reality tells me it will more than likely be rejected (aha! I have caught myself! No more of this crap. It will be accepted in time because it is good!). His propensity to argue the "will" with a "ruling thought" and what I am in my own way interpreting as confidence. He is wild, unruly and poetic.

"It is almost always a symptom of what is lacking in himself when a thinker senses in every "casual connection" and "psychological necessity" something of constraint, need, compulsion to obey, pressure, and unfreedom; it is suspicious to have such feelings-- the person betrays himself. And in general, if I have observed correctly, "the "unfreedom of the will" is regarded as a problem from two entirely opposite standpoints, but always in a profoundly personal manner: some will not give up their "responsibility," their belief in themselves, the personal right to their merits at any price (the vain races belong to this class). Others, on the contrary do not wish to be answerable for anything or blamed for anything, and owing to an inward self-contempt, seek to lay the blame for themselves somewhere else. The latter, when they write books, are in the habit today of taking the side of criminals; a sort of socialist pity is their most attractive disguise....the fatalism of the weak-willed embellishes itself surprisingly when it can pose as "la religion de la souffrance humaine (the religion of human suffering), that is its "good taste.

He is often out there, wild, willful and like Zarathustra certain of some sort of superiority. For some reason, this outlandish confidence appeals to me. Perhaps I am reading Nietzsche through the lens of someone who has, due to trauma, been weak-willed, uncertain and brooding. Freud, I believe said Nietzsche was noble. And I do find it noble to be self-assured. I find this "will to power" that he talked about in THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA appealing. So it's likely in some ways I am misreading, but I believe even misreading can be a healthy thing at times.

Nietzsche's sister misled people to read Nietzsche as an anti-semite, and for many years his work was used by the Nazis, based on his writings. The introduction of this book discusses how Nietzsche is often misread, if not read in his entirety.

In any case, I am hoping to read more. I still have the Chomsky books to read, which a friend said, are difficult. But I think a book on anarchism will do me some good. :)


Wednesday, January 02, 2013





Beck-The Golden Age

Recognizing more and more that things are going well. I need to stay in the here and now and go with those who actively support my work. I need to be in the present and not worry. I feel confident that SEVEN is a good book. I feel confident that my third collection, secretly titled is also good. I am blessed to have time to write, and I will and can work with those who have a common goal for their own work, whether it be in the community or on the page. But my community is essentially all around me right now. I need to recognize and support them--those with truly generous spirits. I am finding they are often less chest-beating than other people who talk about being community supporters who don't seem to be. Appearance vs. Reality. I know who supports the work, the hard work. Canto Mundo was a fantastic experience, and I feel I was lucky to meet some wonderful writers who aren't into playing power games of machismo, masculinity and arrogance. They are simply writing, and I must say, they are writing well, which is a goal of mine. I am going to live in this moment. They also support a larger cause, and really truly support it. It is something to state something and another thing to truly believe and act on it.

I met some good people at Canto Mundo, and I feel that they are seeking more, being more. So blessed to have made some solid connections there. Genuine "connections." Not mere faking support and pompous arrogance-- thank God! Need to move beyond the past desire to be part of a clique- a small tiny clique that leads to nowhere. I'm into the here and now where people spark and sizzle with true tenacity, eagerness and generosity. Don't tell me you're fierce if you are a lion for destruction and causing hurt. Don't tell me you are fierce in political action when you merely are misogynistic, hateful and arrogant. From now on, rather that getting upset about it, I'm moving on into the light that is true community. And there is peace in that.

I'm here in El Paso, Texas and I'm going to make the most out of these last few days. Looking forward to going back to Denver. I have a ticket to the "On Becoming Van Gogh" exhibit at the Denver Museum of Art. Very excited to see the exhibit as many have spoken highly of it. Let go of those who we expect generosity from, who are not generous. Let go of such expectations. Find your audience. Find your community. They might not be who you think they are. This I am learning. This is the now.

A true generous and community spirited individual is designing a website for me, and he has a large vision for building connections that are solid. I admire his work because he is a good writer and a good spirit. No chest-beating, no treachery towards hurting others. It's about the writing. It's about the now. I will let go the past. I will no longer expect support from those who are only interested in their egos.