2012: A Year in the Writing Life

There was a time when I could not write. There was a time when I was very sick and did not have a grip on life. So now that I am stronger and healthier, I feel I absolutely must do it. I must do it for my survival. I must write to discover meaning, to know myself more deeply and to contribute something beautiful to the world. It is a responsibility and I honor it with my best. I live this commitment because the ability and time to do it is not promised.

My life is somewhat illuminated now, but darkness is ever-present. I have to keep striking at the dark with my best energies and efforts. I hold firm to the belief that “Each success, no matter how small, in practice of what I love is a lightning strike against the dark.”

I hope you take that statement into your heart and live it for yourself.

The Writing Life 2012:

Debut full-length poetry collection, Eating the Heart First, published October 1, 2012 by Press 53 as a Tom Lombardo Selection.


Founded the Voices Seasonal Readings Series

Presented “Vision and Voice: Introducing Youth to Poem-Making” to middle and elementary gifted and talented students—April, 2012, Zachary, LA

Coordinated Words of Fire, Words of Water, the literary component of the Fire and Water Rural Arts Celebration in Arnaudville, LA

Presenter and participant, Acadiana Worldlab, Cite des Arts, Lafayette


“Any Winter Sunday in Louisiana” nominated by Referential Magazine for a Pushcart Prize

“What Winter Told Me” nominated by Thrush Poetry Journal for inclusion in the Poetry Daily online anthology

“The Bird in My Ribcage” and “As We Are” were selections for “Vision/Verse #4” ekphrastic arts project by the Arts & Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana. (June 2012)


9 submission packets sent out. 26 poems rejected.
14 Poems published:

“Of the Gone Woman” Unlikely Stories
“Because We Love” Unlikely Stories
“Dream of Sudden Water” Unlikely Stories
“The Disease is at Home in Her” Melusine, Spring/Summer
“The Embalmer’s Wife” Melusine, Spring/Summer
“Seeing Through” blue five notebook, Spring
“Ink on a Mirror” Louisiana Literature, 29.1
“Convergence” Louisiana Literature, 29.1
“Distortion” Unlikely Stories, Spring
“The Word Does Not Come” Unlikely Stories Spring
“Poem to the Madonna” Unlikely Stories, Spring
“The Oak Remembered from My Childhood” Referential Magazine, Winter
“Any Winter Sunday in Louisiana” Referential Magazine, Winter
“What Winter Told Me” Thrush Poetry Journal, January 2012


“Words of Fire Words of Water” Fire and Water Rural Arts Celebration, Arnaudville (December)

First Friday Reading Series, Lake Charles (November)

17 Poets! Reading Series, New Orleans (November)

Sundays@4, Baton Rouge Gallery – center for contemporary arts (November)

Voices Seasonal Reading Series, Lafayette (November)

DAF Grants Recipient Ceremony, Acadiana Center for the Arts, Lafayette (October)

100 Thousand Poets for Change, Cite des Arts (September)

Vision/Verse #4, project by the Arts & Humanities Council of SWLA, Lake Charles (June)

Festival of Words reading series at Casa Azul Gifts, Grand Coteau (April)

“Voices in Winter” with Patrice Melnick, Carpe Diem! Lafayette (February)


Interview/feature article, “Eat Your Heart Out” The Independent Monthly (November)

Interview/live reading on KRVS (88.7 FM–www.krvs.org) Après
Midi with host Judith Meriwether. (November)


I am a visionary, not just in the poetry I write, but in how I live and create. Vision and creativity are my most necessary powers. I envision my present; imagine a life greater than surface, greater than doubt.

I feel sad for people who do not see themselves as visionaries, who do not claim the title of  “creator.” To them the world is ordinary and becomes more so as they drag themselves around. Their very own life is dull—they are reticent to live. This is not a condemnation but a cry for us all to see with new eyes. To you I say: see yourself with new eyes. Be the revelation in your own life.

Today I am more myself than I have ever been.  Today I am happy and new. I open myself to newness. And in this mindset rooted in love, I find absolution.

[Edited: Vision and creativity are even more necessary and vital for living well when you face lack and emptiness. To see through to a more abundant life, we need to envision one and create it for ourselves. ]


My first remembered toy was a small, red upright piano. I must have been a toddler when I had it, back when we lived on 6th Street, near the tracks and across the street from The Salvation Army.I remember loving that toy and wanting something more than it had to offer.

Years later, I made my own kind of music on my great aunt Lou’s piano, which she inherited from my great grandfather on my mother’s mother’s side. I remember “playing” on the piano for as long as I could while my mother visited with our aunt in another room. My mother would get annoyed with the obvious banging and would call off the concert when her nerves were near-shot.

There is music in me. On my 17th birthday I got an electric guitar. For a few years I played guitar in a dedicated practice and felt passion for it, but I let it go. For 20 years I did not play until I had an injury in 2009 that laid me up. During my “convalescence” I picked the guitar up again but I have since put it back down. My many dreams of playing piano urge me that the music in me needs to come out.

I have dreamed so many dreams in which I am playing piano. The poem below gives you a sense of my great longing and how the dreams unfold. Just a couple of weeks ago I visited friend for the first time and when I entered his home I saw the most amazing old upright piano. There were envelopes and magazines set on the keys, as though they were just tossed there for convenience. I thought: “How dare they! Don’t they know this object is sacred?”

Seeing the piano made me gasp. My eye was hooked to it when my friend was talking to me. My attention was on this rare to me thing and I would have begged to just touch it. My friend was cool and said he thought it would be okay if I played a little. (It was not his piano, actually.)

Just touching the instrument revived me, aroused me and gave me so much pleasure. The sense of my hands on the keys, the weighted feel when striking them, and that beloved dreamed-of sound fed a want in me. Again, I want to let my hands feel the keys, to put my body, mind and heart into the act of making music.

So tonight I put it “out there” on Facebook: “I need a piano.”

It is a need and surprisingly my friend Sheri offered to loan me an electronic keyboard. This delights me so much! I am eager to immerse myself in music-making—I have no real skill as of yet but I have music in me and very soon it will come out.

This poem appears in Eating the Heart First (Press 53, 2012) and will be featured on February 14th on From the Poet’s Bookshelf, Darrell Bourque’s program locally on 88.7 FM KRVS (www.krvs.org)


I am learning the instrument, pouring myself into the instrument onto the keys, through to the tight wires, creating sound.

I innately know the instrument and can perform masterpieces of original composition. I can translate what I long for into sounds executed on the instrument.

There is a room which houses the instrument. The roof of our house is a sieve and the voices of strangers rain over us.

Exposed, the instrument’s lacquered finish buckles and peels—but I play furiously with precision, in dreams, only in dreams.

My whole body is attuned. I shudder with rhythm. I am a virtuoso, abusing the keyboard with bruising passion—

I am the dreamer, always the dreamer, mourning a dismal sleep.

Three Bloggers Blogging–and a partridge in a pear tree?

Three wonderful women who are outstanding writers, published authors of poetry, books of fiction and nonfiction and so much more–blogged this week about our Words of Fire, Words of Water event at The Little Big Cup in Arnaudville held on Saturday which was the literary component of Fire and Water Rural Arts Celebration.

It was a fabulous day in great part because we were all together. Our energies synced and the celebration fired in our hearts.

Please read the entries at Cheré Coen’s Louisiana Book News, Margaret Simon’s Reflections on the Teche and Diane Moore’s A Word’s Worth, and add these wonderful bloggers to your bookmarks. Thanks to Cheré, Diane and Margaret for your great generosity and kindness.

I am only having my first cup of coffee today after a rough morning. More soon!!

New Poems at Unlikely Stories

My poems “Of The Gone Woman,” “Because We Love,” and “Dream of Sudden Water” appear in the current issue of Unlikely Stories. I am always happy to appear at this multimedia arts and political site–a very ambitious, brave and necessary project by Jonathan Penton.

These poems are very new and do not appear in Eating the Heart First. Now that I got one book out of me, maybe there will be another?

Please visit the site and get a mind-full.

Unlikely Stories

Thanks to Unlikely Stories for including and supporting my work.