Poems wanted for Poetry OmniBus Competition


The ninth annual Poetry Omnibus program is now accepting entries from Juneau residents for the 2015 competition. Winning poems will be read at a to-be-announced celebration and then displayed on Capital Transit buses for a full year.

The deadline for submissions is October 15. There are two age categories: fifth through twelfth grades and adults over 18 years old. Poems can be on any subject, but must be suitable for public display and not exceed ten lines. One poem may be submitted for free and additional poems may be submitted for $3 each. Entry forms, which contain complete rules and instructions for submitting, are available at local public libraries, the Juneau Arts and Culture Center, and the Canvas Community Art Studio.

Questions may be directed to juneaupoets_AT_gmail.com



Found this found poem at twitter where i rarely roam as the shack_poet. Thanks Emily Wall for the prompt.

knife found in muskeg, peat, rust
browned blade fashions paper lantern into wings
my departure under their power
requires no jumper cables

3 Poems in 2014 Tidal Echoes Journal

3 of my poems, “Light like coal,” “Dream Seed,” and “Dear Toi” have been selected for publication in this year’s UAS Tidal Echoes Literary and Art Journal.  Come get a copy at the launch on Friday April 25th, 7pm at the Egan Lecture Hall.  Don’t think I’m going to be able to make it to read this year but the readings and presentations by included authors as well as featured author Christy NaMee Eriksen and featured artist is Rachael Juzeler are not to be missed.  Image

The Continuing Bewilderment of Fatherhood

Well we’ve made it almost 4 months into round two and I’d have to say that bewilderment continues to be the most constant theme in life since the arrival of our first adventure, Finnegan.  Having spent a few hours walking around town yesterday and on our bellies on the living room floor, Oscar, my second son and I are really tuning into some common ground.  We both like to talk, a lot, both of us a bit incomprehensible at times, we both like to sit in silence after reading aloud the seemingly simple verse of ancient Chinese Zen masters.  We are amazed at the infinite small print of existence and the role we play in attempting to draw meaning from these details while seizing on the occasional opportunity to write our own additions to these operating instructions of life.

And it was during this amazing afternoon spent searching for the “Go Wilde” button on my little boy, Oscar that I realized how much I was going to miss this guy and Finn when I seized on such an opportunity to rewrite the fine print of existence and treat myself to the Poetry Workshop at the Wrangell Mountain Center later this summer.  These guys change so quickly as do we all.  I read last night in a great sci-fi novel Machine Man by Max Berry that our bodies, all of the cells that make the fine print of our physical presence in this world, are completely regenerated every 7 years, we are in fact completely different physical beings now than we were 7 years ago.  So not just the boys will change significantly during 3+ weeks we are apart, my wife too will no doubt have rewritten some of her fine print too when we are back together in Juneau.  But despite this hesitancy to take advantage of a great opportunity to spend a week writing, embracing solitude and living by the inkblood, I know this workshop and this trip is essential in keeping my fine print telling a good story, or at least giving good instructions.

I remember struggling with identity and purpose quite a lot when I first became a father.  Shifting from egocentricity to allocentricity did not come easy, would I be able to maintain enough of the time I needed for myself to write while selflessly devoting myself to my new family?  The answer wasn’t forthcoming but I feel confident now, nearly 5 years in that balance can be found.

Dan Beach-Quick will be leading Strangeness: A Poetry Workshop in Accuracy’s Paradox, at the Wrangell Mountain Center and I was looking around trying to get a feel for his work and came across an essay he wrote for the New York Times a few years back and it was this essay, Modern Love: Disassembling my Childhood that got me writing this post and really thinking about the gifts we are given, the ones we overlook when they arrive due to too much anticipation, the ones we mistake for burdens, the ones we give.  My family is the gift that gave my life a certain purpose an easy answer to the big questions (the one that I never really believed 42 was a reasonable answer for).  The question this spring, as I gear up to rework my habits as an undisciplined poet and get to work again, is this year’s big gift the chance to go to this workshop or the chance to again appreciate all of the small gifts that come to me every day?  Ones that begin with a cry of “Daddy I need you” or a smile and silence when I pick up sleepy Oscar from the warmth of the comforter.

“I felt like a child myself, sitting on the floor next to the undone puzzle. A child with a child of his own. Parenthood, for me, occurs in the paradox of being a father and a child at once.”– Dan Beachy-Quick  from the essay, Modern Love: Disassembling my Childhood

A Dream Dog

Some rights reserved by Nomadic Lass

While it would be easy to remember only the disappointment of waking to rain and low clouds following a beautiful night at Boy Scout Beach this past weekend, I have just remembered the wolf!

The four year-olds woke early (before even the dogs) in their tent and I laid with them until 6:30 when we emerged into the drizzle and packed up camp deciding on breakfast at the Sandpiper would be a great motivation to getting going and out of the rain quickly.  The four year old were troopers and walked the mile and a half back to the trail-head with very little complaining.  Neither Melinda or myself had time for our coffee and were equally bleary eyed by the time we got all the gear and kids and dogs loaded up into the car and headed down the road in a thick mist.  Nearing the intersection with Glacier Hwy I saw something gangly loping down the road.  Not a deer, maybe a stray german shepherd?  “Was that a wolf?” asked Melinda.

It was a wolf, long and lean and in a hurry.  A dream runner on the hunt  through the in-between time of morning, mist and fog.

a dream
a dog
something resembling both
somewhere in between
waking and awake

a wolf
wrong lane
a paved road between
two roads or rivers
of ice and melt

Progressive Energy Solutions: Alaskan Style

While I love living in Alaska, it’s not typically a place of a lot of progressive thinking in terms of energy.   A typical Alaskan energy story includes the big 3 oil (BP, Shell,  Conoco -Phillips) companies pushing for more access to public lands for exploration somewhere of environmental or cultural significance.  Either that or some toxic spill they’re being fined some hand-slap amount for.

However, there are very cool things going down all over the state that never get good press which is why I was excited to read these two solid articles from the Fairbanks News-Miner highlighting the passive-energy projects of contractor Thorsten Chlupp.   What an amazing concept to be heating a home through an Alaskan winter with renewables!  Check out these river rock masonry heaters.  Note to self: disregard owner built fears and someday build a small home heated with passive solar energy and intelligent design.

Thorsten Chlupp’s Chena Ridge home.

Karl Kassel’s Murphy Dome Octagon Home.

Readjusting to Small Town Life

Wishing I could grow a beard if only to provide a tiny layer of anonymity in a place where everyone knows your name and business even if you can’t quite place them.  But it’s not all bad, in fact I spent the entire time I was away from Alaska talking to people about Alaska, so I am very glad to be home.  Heard these lines in a Drive By Truckers song the other day and thought they really hit the mark in terms of the way things are remembered in small towns.

The pretty girls from the smallest towns
get remembered like storms and droughts
that old men talk about for years to come
I guess that’s why they give us names
So a few old men can say they saw us rain when we were young

Lyrics: Mike Cooley / Music: Cooley, Hood, Morgan, Neff, Tucker and Gonzalez
© Razor and Tie Music (BMI)