Monthly Archives: December 2009

The Tangled Bank Table of Contents Announced

News of this just arrived in my mailbox.


Tangled Bank Press is pleased to announce the Table of Contents of its first publication.

THE TANGLED BANK: Love, Wonder, & Evolution will launch on Darwin Day, 12th February, 2010.

The anthology, which celebrates the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, is bursting with over 100,000 words of fiction, poetry, artwork, and essays.



Dance on the Bloodfloor

I know, silly title. Only makes sense to those who know the not-so-successful album by the late (or in hiding?) Michael Jackson.

Following is a quote from

Today it is more shameful to be an Israeli because the world, as opposed to Israelis, saw the scenes. It saw thousands of dead and injured taken in the trunks of cars to something between a clinic and a primitive hospital in an imprisoned and weakened region one hour from flourishing Tel Aviv, a region where the helpless had nowhere to run from Israel’s arsenal. The world saw schools, hospitals, flour mills and small factories mercilessly bombed and blown up. It saw clouds of white-sulphur bombs billowing over population centers, and it saw burned children.


Nice having other dance partners like Egypt and the US in prolonging the siege on Gaza. Viva Palestina 3, the convoy originally started by British MP George Galloway, has been refused entry into Egypt and its members have gone on hunger strike. Turkey has stepped up in support of the international move to break the siege.

Warm Christmas

When I arrived in Cape Town in October 1994 the newspapers mentioned it was the coldest winter in ten years.  There was snow right on Table Mountain.  And I was told just before I took the plane that spring was on its way.

I have to admit, I came to South Africa with the barest of knowledge of the place and its people.  All I knew about Africa came filtered by Hollywood’s misleading eye.  Friends and family were warning me about lions and gorillas roaming the streets.  Chanting tribal folks with spears.  Yeah, ignorance is easy to catch and feed.  It is still an effort to explain to those back home that this place is just like any other place in a lot of ways.

In terms of the weather, it took me a while to work out that this place has its seasons backwards.  Even back home December was colder than most times of the year.  Here it is summer.  Winter begins to hit around June and July.

Now I sit here, 9:00 AM watching the summer breeze gently rustling the greenest leaves of trees.  Our Christmas tree stands in the corner, lovely and bright with all the glittery decorations two seven-year-olds could hang.  The biggest tree we’ve ever managed to get.  It is dressed up to look like a tree in winter, of course.  Winter in the middle of summer.

The mind is a strange thing.  What it remembers and what it takes in remain a mystery.  I have memories of midnight Christmas masses, the cold air before dawn, the warmth of people.  It is very different here.  It has taken me a long time to say that this, too, is now home.  I am lucky to be with family.

Some Sad, Some Gud, and a Tangled Bank

Mouse on one-armed mommy or daddy cat (or leopard?) with kitten

Random thoughts and news.

What happens when you go through a few days with little sleep. You get two hotdogs from the fridge, place them on a plate in front of the microwave, open the microwave door, slam it shut and turn the knob; the machine pings and you flip the door open to find nothing in there. Behold, the two hotdogs are still cold on the plate right before your eyes. Fleeting reminder of how my wife and I pretty much functioned in the first few months when our kids were born. Thus we vowed never again.


Today I got word of some sad news from my family back home.  My eldest sister’s husband, George, suffered a heart attack on Saturday and has been in intensive care since. I phoned my sister but I could hardly say anything to her. I felt useless. Her anguish tore right through the static on the line.


I bumped into a warm online review of the latest issue of GUD Magazine, Issue 4. The blog is called The Bowery Birds Press by John Washington. My poem “Ghosts of Sweaty Air” gets a favorable mention (yippeee!).  Here is the link to the review.


Over the weekend I received a welcome letter from an Australian publisher of an anthology called The Tangled Bank. My poem “Creatures of Lava Tubes” was accepted for inclusion. Before the letter came I had been receiving nothing but rejection slips.  Aaargh. Those and a lack of time to do some writing had driven me down muddy roads of the mind.