Just a heads-up for anyone who might want to show up in Amesbury, Massachusetts, tonight. I’m the featured reader at this month’s Prime Time Poets gathering. The open mic starts at 6:30 in the Market Square Bakehouse, 5 Market Square, just a few blocks from John Greenleaf Whittier’s home. And, yes, I’ll be paying homage to Whittier in his more topical, acerbic vein.

Once again, Bryan P.T. Riley has put together a lively slate of reader for the coming months. Here we go!



Those first years out on your own introduce their own drama. Typically, you split an apartment with others who just might also be friends. On that entry-level wage, your address will likely be in a rather marginal neighborhood. And then there’s the life on the street, day and night.

Maybe you move on to something better. Or maybe this simply continues. But it has its own unmistakably funky nature.

For me, it’s found in a few blocks near the Riverside. Stop over when you can. There’s always tea or coffee. We’re up on the third floor.


Riverside 1To see more, click here.


I’ve already written of living along the Susquehanna and being introduced to the trail that wove through a wooded strip between the water and the freeway.

The site included a bridge that stood closed to vehicular traffic and a low dam that once diverted water to power cigar factories along the riverbanks. Only part of the foundations of the mills remained, along with some of the weir, which filled with moody water after a heavy rainfall.

At the time I was living in an inner-city neighborhood – Italian by day, Afro-American by night. The riverside provided a mostly private escape into nature.

It was enough, though, to give rise to poetry. Follow its seasons and flow in my new chapbook by clicking here.

Susquehanna 1


The Susquehanna is a remarkable river. Its mouth opens into Chesapeake Bay – in many ways, the saltwater bay is simply its continuation.

The Susquehanna originates in the Allegheny and Catskill mountains of Pennsylvania and Upstate New York, depending which of the two forks you follow.

Where I lived, the river traversed the Southern Tier of New York and the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania, highlands of mountainous forests and valley farmlands. It was broad, meandering, and strewn with small wooded islands – not all that different from what I would later encounter where it flowed between Lancaster and York counties in Pennsylvania and on down to Havre de Grace, the town that gave name to my Harbor of Grace collection of prose-poems.

Through the years, its energy has also been harnessed by a series of dams – first for the mills and later for hydroelectric power generation.

I’ve long loved repeating its very name as it rolls from the tongue. There’s something magical and seductive in those four syllables.

No wonder it inspired my newest volume of poetry in the Thistle/Flinch lineup. For your own copy, just click here.

Susquehanna 1


As I said at the time …

To what extent can we break free of prose narrative cloaked in verse form? (What the critic Paul Chowder calls “slow prose.”) Sing and shout! Chant! Evoke incantation! It’s always comforting to know of others who feel the same way! Keep it up! The night is friendly, indeed.


Sometimes, even the galaxy seems to drum along with the crickets.