So, that happened.

Have you ever summited something to a contest and the announcement date was so far in the future that you forgot you ever participated? Yeah. Me too.

Back in 2019, after having some of my Mobile Photo Manipulation pieces in art shows, I saw a post about the MPA, Mobile Photo Awards and I put some of my work in because, why not.

After a pot of coffee the other day, I ran a search of my name online. Which you should occasionally do because weirdness gets attached to your name when you’re “out there” in cyber world. I’m not talking about you Grizzly Adams who lives off the grid to hide from the brain frying 5G emissions that can penetrate your tin foil hat. And Griz, you won’t read this post anyway, unless you log on at an internet café that lets you skulk around on Torch to see if your ex has posted any of “those” photos from back when you were entwined. I’m talking to the rest of you, Google yourself and laugh, cry or be freaked out by what comes up as parts and pieces of you.

I digress. So, I Googled myself and a couple pages back there was this link to winners of the MPA 9th Annual Awards with my name connected. WHAT THE FRACK? Click….. scroll… WHAT THE ACTUAL FRACK? There it was.

One of my photos was in the Honorable Mentions Visual FX category. 5,700 entries total. Each of the twenty categories had one grand prize and 30 honorable mentions. Not gonna lie. That was pretty cool to be recognized amongst that giant murder of Mobile Photographer crows.

I never would have known if I hadn’t consumed mass quantities of caffeine and had some free time to waste. Really, they didn’t call. Didn’t write. No flowers. No fruit sculpture deliveries preserved with chemicals to keep them looking “fresh” for weeks.

Had to laugh because it was my photo I had done from an Architectural Boat Tour of Chicago in Spring 2019. I had photographed the Trump Tower and then transformed it into a graphic novel style image I called, Fortress of Evil. True story. There it is-

I’ve got poems and writing that I have sent to competitions in Ireland various and sundry sites now awaiting judgement. I should probably keep track of that stuff. Like a lot of creatives, my super power is in creating and not in organizing and following up. S’pose I should work on that. Soon. Ish.

Here’s the link I stumbled onto in my navel gazing web search-

Stop what you’re doing and open up another tab to Google search yourself right now. Tell me the weirdest thing associated with your name.

Not you, Griz. I don’t have enough bleach to clean my eyeballs after seeing whatever the heck that was in your photos.

Song Lyrics & Poetry as Literature

Bob Dylan 1966 Sony Music Images

In 2016, the New York Times ran an article about Bob Dylan’s unprecedented win of a Nobel Prize in Literature for his body of work as poet/songwriter. While many understood the award and found it long overdue, some critics laid waste to the choice with some interesting words.

From the NYT 2016 article- “Bob Dylan winning the Nobel in Literature is like Mrs. Fields winning a Michelin star.” said novelist, Rabih Alameddine.

First, who the hell is Rabih Alameddine? In my many decades on planet Earth, I have never heard that person’s name. I had to look him up and now that I know who he is, I’m still not intrigued enough to search out his work.

Dylan? Oh, yeah. I know who he is. As does most of the world. I’ve been aware of him since the mid-1960’s when my mind was freshly opened to music and words and his lyrics filled my imagination.

Years after hearing, “And she aches just like a woman, but she breaks like a little girl.” forgetting that its inspiration was that slice of lyric, I wrote an essay that included this, “I am a very smart woman but my heart is a stupid teenage girl.” Still accurate and confessional. Dylan leaks through my consciousness at interesting times.

Poetry or song lyrics are to me the same thing but one has been lit on fire with music. Are they literature?

lit·er·a·ture/ˈlidərəCHər,ˈlidərəˌCHo͝or/Learn to pronouncenoun

  1. written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting merit. ‘a great work of literature.’

By this definition, yes. They are, without a doubt literature. And moreso, the easy consumption of these carefully cultivated words make for a palatable introduction to word crafting beyond the world textbook and technical writing we must absorb to complete our educations. Can you argue against it? I’d like to hear that debate.

For many, poems and song lyrics are the first introduction to the art of writing for pleasure; creating something that allows emotion to have its way with us.

Poems and lyrics are words we absorb by choice. Some repeatedly so we can savor their existence like fine chocolate melting on our tongues.

These, smaller than a novel, meals of words have the same lasting impact as a well written book. Their place in our world is spotlighted whenever large moments happen. Amanda Gorman, reading her stellar poem The Hill We Climb, at President Biden’s inauguration drove that home again for me and others this past January. You’d have to have a small, cold, narrow-minded heart to have heard this young women and not be deeply moved by her words.

We writers of short things, word ninjas, are sharpening our imagination. Readying our pens for a run at channeling bottled lightning onto the page next month. And in the end, we won’t do it for the reader. It’s really just for us. A private moment when we win the game of rearranging 26 letters, over and over again until we’ve built a small word castle where we can walk around for a bit admiring the view.

If you’re a lover of poems, try these. Japanese Death Poems. A collection of haiku and poems written by Zen Monks and Samurai just before their death. Their own brief farewell to the world. The stark beauty will keep you reading and re-reading to be with them one more time.

From Zen Master Ichikyo at his death on February 12, 1360-

Empty-handed I entered the world

Barefoot I leave it

my coming- my going

two simple happenings

that got entangled

Where do the inspirations arrive from, who gets to catch them and what will they do with them? The answer my friend is blowing in the wind… as it always has.

And I’ll be out there waiting for the words to come, knowing that no matter how many words line up, it is literature. It is the stuff of human dreaming. Worth the work… See you in the word field.

Find this book at online booksellers like Amazon

Revving the Engines of Creativity

32 days away. That’s the countdown to NaPoWriMo 2021. April is National Poetry Writing Month and I’ll be joining thousands of poets from around the world in the 30 Poems in 30 Days challenge again.

It’s an interesting endeavour to force yourself to go deep and listen for a few shining words to craft a little offering to the ethers. Like speed dating, readers/followers blast through the poems posted, plucking flowers here and there to stop and admire.

Last April, while I was writing in isolation with my family way at the top of the Leelanau Peninsula where I live, someone from a Poetry Site in the U.K. saw one of my poems and reached out to invite me to be in their NaPoWriMo2020 Anthology, available here:

I’m doing my pen lifts and my speed word gathering. Got my eagle eyes in and my super hearing tuned up. I’m ready. 30 Poems in 30 Days? Bring it.

Poetry! Cosmic Detention or Contemplating the Universe Beneath a Dark Sky. And No, I’m Not High

Cosmic Detention or Contemplating the Universe Beneath a Dark Sky. And No, I’m Not High

Maybe-

the reason we haven’t had a recent visit from extraterrestrials

is because we just aren’t ready for them.

Maybe 

this planet is a giant playpen

with high sides on our technology

so we won’t climb out

and stick our fingers

into the

Socket Of Creation

and break it

Maybe

we need a few more millenia

to winnow out our aggression

and our massive egos

before the Galactic Babysitters

will consider taking us

on a deep space field trip

Maybe

they already left behind

a whole lot of evidence of their earlier visits-

You know,

before humanity grew into

an out of control

raging

hormonal cluster of adolescents

who perpetuate the myths

that only males should rule the planet

and colors should be sorted into

keep

and 

discard piles-

and myths like animals are food

and that one group’s religious superhero

could beat up another groups religious superhero

Maybe

many light years out

there’s a perimeter warning that reads:

RESTRICTED AREA;

INHABITANTS CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO MAKE GOOD CHOICES

They’re right you know.

We aren’t ready

So here we sit

drumming fingers on our desks

waiting for the door to open

that let’s us out of Cosmic Detention

Poetry Day: Night Vigil

Night Vigil  by  Mimi DiFrancesca

On the last night of his life

My father asked to see the stars

So I lifted his frail weight into the chair

And wheeled him out the door-

Beneath the Phoenix midnight sky

His cloudy eyes looked up

To soak in the vast dome of wonder-

A million points of light awaited him

Visible, even hindered by the street lights

His old friends were waiting still

Like they had so long ago

When he ran through an Illinois field

His brothers at his side

Surely, like they did as he stood on deck

To cross the channel of black water

That brought his different brothers 

to the shore of Normandy

Even then, those same shining friends

Stood guard

As promise of more-

And on that last night of July 

Beneath the desert sky

He took one last look

Certain then the stars were true

Forever holding their celestial vigil

Witnessing the lives 

Of every being

Across the universe

Reminder

Promise

Of something more.

Poetry Day: My Full Moon Face

My Full Moon Face            

you think you know me

because you can stand in a certain spot

on a particular day

at a specific time of night

and, 

if the sky is clear

you can find me shining again

at a determined declination 

and right ascension

you think you know me because

a few times each year

you can see

my full moon face

you think you know me 

because you’ve studied what I’m made of

and ascertained the orbit of my life

In truth

you’ve observed 

the least of me

and then, only for fleeting moments

on occasional sightings

the rest of me

that’s always 

hidden from your view

is the most of me

you think you know me-

you don’t know 

what I get up to

in the collective

of the immeasurable 

dark sky