Archives for category: Authors’ Departures

by Thom Amundsen

I have tears this evening
Pools, welling in my eyes
Imagining a spirit soaring
Streaking across our skies.
Hers, a delightful voice
Allowing us our choice
To recognize the human condition
To celebrate her marvelous vision.

We were hearing your words
Welcoming a stately event
All of us gave pause afterwards
This new sound began an advent.
Hers, a delightful voice
Allowing us our choice
Realizing today we have a mission
Heartfelt we wish only inclusion

You spoke eloquent verse
Eyes that recognized nature
Passion of a healing nurse
We needed a path mature
Hers, a delightful voice
Allowing us our choice
We are a society driven by a common
Ground; shrieks to lessen the demon.

That day, you shouted aloud
Spoke of nations, of people
A message of love so loud
Tipping the cynic’s steeple
Hers, a delightful voice
Allowing us our choice
Know today we have made a decision
Sweet words shall stifle our aggression

Remind me your love today
Compassion, delight in real
Moments may lead our way
Paths we may reach surreal,
Hers, a delightful voice
Allowing us our choice
When will our song bury oppression
Live wise, sing Maya’s lasting impression

© Thom Amundsen 2014

IMAGE: Maya Angelou, poet & author (1928-2014).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Thom Amundsen has been writing poetry nearly all his life, but recently attacked it with a feverish urgency, enjoying dabbling in many different variations of verse. He is a family man, teacher, director of theater, and an uncertain poet. Visit him at

Joan Jobe Smith, author of the Silver Birch Press release CHARLES BUKOWSKI EPIC GLOTTIS: His Art, His Women (& me) paid a visit to her friend and mentor on Sunday, June 16th — Father’s Day. She offers these details: “Confettied his grave with pink geraniums. Buk loved flowers, preferred yellow roses and sunflowers. He didn’t say what he thought about [my book] EPIC GLOTTIS. But he has said ‘Don’t try!’ And I didn’t. Writing my Buk Book came easy. Buk was one fine Muse. He is also the Literary Father to me and Fred [Voss — Joan’s husband].”

PHOTO: Joan Jobe Smith stands next to Charles Bukowski‘s grave while offering pink geraniums and her memoir, CHARLES BUKOWSKI EPIC GLOTTIS. Photo by Fred Voss. (Charles Bukowski is buried at Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.)



“Once a novel gets going and I know it is viable, I don’t then worry about plot or themes. These things will come in almost automatically because the characters are now pulling the story.” CHINUA ACHEBE, author of THINGS FALL APART

Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic Chinua Achebe passed away on March 21, 2013 at age 82. He is best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958) — the most widely read book in modern African literature, and one of the first African novels written in English. Set in pre-colonial Nigeria in the 1890s, the book tells of the clash between colonialism and traditional Nigerian culture. (Source: Wikipedia)

From the book: “A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so.” 


the feel of it

by Charles Bukowski

A. Huxley died at 69,
much too early for such a
fierce talent,
and I read all his
but actually
Point Counter Point
did help a bit
in carrying me through
the factories and the
drunk tanks and the
along with Hamsun’s
they helped a
great books are
the ones we

I was astonished at
myself for liking the
Huxley book
but it did come from
such a rabid
and when I first
read P.C.P
I was living in a
hotel room
with a wild and
alcoholic woman
who once threw
Pound’s Cantos
at me
and missed,
as they did
with me.

I was working
as a packer
in a light fixture
and once
during a drinking
I told the lady,
“here, read this!”
(referring to
Point Counter

“ah, jam it up
your ass!” she
screamed at

anyway, 69 seemed
too early for Aldous
Huxley to
but I guess it’s
just as fair
as the death of a
at the same

it’s just that
with those who
help us
get on through,
all that light
dying, it works the
gut a bit —
scrubwomen, cab drivers,
cops, nurses, bank
robbers, priests,
fishermen, fry cooks,
jockeys and the

Photo: Aldous Huxley and his cat muse (crawling up Huxley’s back!…a hallmark of creativity, as Bukowski referenced in “air and light and time and space,” included in a separate post on today’s blog).


Cervantes and Shakespeare occupied almost the same lifespan. In fact, they both died on the same day, April 23, 1616, by the Gregorian calendar. Don Quixote was published in 1605, and the first edition of Hamlet was probably published in 1603 or 1604. It is as if the two men stood back to back, Cervantes looking backward and Shakespeare looking forward. Cervantes pointed his genius backward and illuminated the medieval consciousness that was just ending in Europe…Shakespeare, in Hamlet, looked forward and made a statement about the modern man who was to come.” ROBERT A. JOHNSON, in Transformation: Understanding the Three Levels of Masculine Consciousness

Illustration: “Ecce Cervantes” an entry by Brazil‘s Gustavo Berocan in The Cecilia Prize, a contest honoring amateur art restorer Cecilia Gimenez. To date, the contest has received about 4,000 entries. View the gallery here.


As we remember Patricia Neal, who passed away on this day in 2010, I’d like to mention that Neal is included in Great American Catholic Eulogies, a wonderful, uplifting book that celebrates the lives of many renowned Americans. Writers and artists featured in the volume include: Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Andy Warhol, and Andre Dubus. Award-winning journalist Carol DeChant selected and introduced the eulogies and celebrated author Thomas Lynch wrote the foreword. Find out more about Great American Catholic Eulogies here.


Frida Kahlo (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954)

On this date in 1954,  Frida Kahlo left her body — at just 47 years old — but left us with her visionary, inspiring body of work.  She resisted when art critics called her work “Surrealist,” saying:  “I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.” Her last painting depicted sliced watermelons — and in one of the slices she painted, “Viva La Vida” (live the life — or live life).  A gifted writer as well as painter, Frida was the author of the illustrated Diary of Frida Kahlo, available here. (Note on above illustration: Mural in Los Angeles by Siner; photograph by Patrice Raunet)



Ray Bradbury‘s masterpiece Dandelion Wine takes place in the summer of 1928 in the fictional Green Town, Illinois (based on his hometown, Waukegan, Illinois, on the shore of Lake Michigan, about 40 miles north of Chicago).

While Bradbury departed this earth during the transit of Venus on June 5, 2012, he will live forever in his beautiful, brilliant, mind-bending work.

There is always a sad ache to summer — a feeling that everything will end, and you want to postpone the inevitable. No one expressed this better than Bradbury.

Let’s revel, bask, soak, and splash in the opening paragraph of Dandelion Wine:

It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed. Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing of the world was long and warm and slow. You had only to rise, lean from your window, and know that this indeed was the first real time of freedom and living; this was the first morning of summer.