Sunday, November 1, 2020 is Migrating

 Dear Reader,

Thank you for following my blog on Blogspot. I am migrating my blog to a new website. If you have enjoyed my (sadly infrequent) posts on this site, you can find me at:

I would love to have you follow me at that site! Send me a comment to let me know. I would love to hear from you!

All the best,
Frank Kearns

Lummox Number Nine: October 2020


Received this year’s issue of the Lummox Anthology today: Lummox Number Nine. I have all nine of these anthologies, and they are powerful collections of poetry, short stories, interviews and art. In the past 26 years, Lummox Press has published over 200 titles. What a great contribution to the poetry world!

I am honored to have these three poems in this year's Lummox. More than that, I am honored to have "Morning Ghazal for Poison Ivy" and "Again" chosen for Honorable Mention in the Angela Consolo Mankiewicz Poetry Prize contest.

Morning Ghazal for Poison Ivy

A chameleon glowing green to rusty red, that’s poison ivy
From early Spring to first snow-fall, many shades of threat, that poison ivy

A snake that seeks the sun along a damp road waiting
as walkers pass their boots across the edge, that’s poison ivy

Heat lamp like a desert sun burned the blisters dry as I,
a restless child, lay confined in bed by poison ivy

My brother fell from the elm tree once—
of all the things he learned to dread, it wasn’t poison ivy

At my mother’s funeral, regrets appear
on the edge of words, unsaid, like poison ivy

Listen Francis Xavier, savor the light this morning
through dream-born half-flight, free of ghosts,
and that bastard poison ivy.

after Joy Harjo

No matter what, we must cry to live
a family around a chrome-legged table
farmhouse groaning under winter wind
an empty chair, the sudden end of a world

No matter what, we must eat to live
the world a scared pine table
two of us in a cramped kitchen
that was one beginning
one long ago world

No matter what, we must shed our skin to live
at a maple table a few steps from the kitchen
morning light splashing
across the scratched wood floor
The world can begin here, at this table

where we two can say what can only be said here
as a day, a year, a world long enough to be a life
folds into the beginnings and endings
that stretch beyond our comprehension
perhaps the world ends here
again, and again.

Coffee Cup Rosary
after Juan Felipe Herrera

Our Father who sat in silence
hallowed by thy thoughts,
thy troubled times,
they meditations,
that haunt those who go on without you.
Give us this day thy spirit,
as we face our doubts and transgressions,
filter them through thy coffee and smoke,
let us find the strength you found,
in the dark of the early morning,

Monday, June 24, 2019

Casting Deep Shade

This posthumous book by the poet C.D. Wright defies all my expectations of what a book of poetry (or any genre, for that matter) should be. And yet I am entranced by it.

When I pick up this book, it has the weight of a sculpture. And a haunting photo of a Beech tree, which is the starting point of the book.

The inside cover. C.D. Wright and another glorious Beech.

The inside covers unfolded. The pages of the book sit like a tablet on the inside covers. Every time I open this book it creaks like an old house in the wind.

The pages: words, and amazing photographs.

To be clear, these are not poems in the classic sense. And if you are looking for a 3-act narrative arch, take a pass on this.The book is a meditation on the Beech tree, and her life, and our place on the planet. Just beautiful.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Rock-Paper-Scissors on the Maine Coast

Disclaimer: The schooners are real. The persons and personal interactions depicted here are strictly works of fiction.

The Grace Bailey up close.

        The historic Grace Bailey, eighty feet of white hull, high masts and bright wood cabin tops, glided through the crowded little harbor of Camden, Maine. The two dozen newly-arrived passengers clustered in the forward part of the ship and watched the captain thread the ship through a maze of lobster boats and small sailing craft moored in the channel. They approached another schooner tied to a dock with the exotic name of Angelique, and as they did, the deck crew on the Grace Bailey paused at their tasks to shout greetings to a young woman busy preparing the other schooner for the next sail. Jason, the first mate on our boat, and the young woman on the Angelique launched into a weird dance. They swung one arm up and one arm down three times, then quickly struck poses. Then they would laugh and start again.

       We passengers already knew the girl. Her name was Donna; she had helped our crew load our gear onto the Grace Bailey the night before. Afterward, she and Jason had done the same weird dance on the dock, which turned out to be a full-body version of the child’s game rock-paper-scissors. After about ten minutes of that, they had collapsed in laughter, then headed up the dock to the shops in the harbor.

       This morning, Jason showed up wearing a hand-knit beret, the same one that Donna had on the night before, and now as the boats passed each other they resumed their dance-game until the Angelique was hidden among the boats in the crowded harbor.

       We were outbound on a five-day sail around Penobscot Bay, a large bay on the central Maine coast the includes several groups of islands, with countless coves and inlets to explore. During the days that followed, we crossed open water under strong winds. The bay sparkled, low rocks and small trim lighthouses dotted the shores of the many islands. Beyond the shoreline our eyes soaked in the deep green of solid pine forests, and above it all the open sky. In the evenings we anchored next to secluded beaches or small coastal hamlets, and sometimes at night we would awake to find our little part of the world obscured by a blanket in fog.