Saturday, November 19, 2011

Brand Spankin' New Poem in a Brand Spankin' New Anthology

I have a new poem, written especially for this issue of Cellar Door: An Anthology. I have only scanned part of the poem. To see the rest of it and some other really great writing, art, comics and more, check out Cellar Door's Etsy page. You can also find many wonderful buttons created by local artists. Buttons feature authors, rappers, persons of note and quotes to go along with them. Funds help support the anthology.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sharon Kumm's Beautiful Art

I make a lot of wonderful connections by being a barista, often with artists whose work I admire immensely.

Some time ago, an artist named Sharon came in with her lovely handmade cards depicting historical buildings around Denver. I have posted some samples of her work above (click on the image for an enlarged view of the images). I remember being so giddy with how wonderful her art is. I told her so.

I asked her how much the cards were. They were wrapped for sale, seemingly. She said she would just give them to me but I insisted. "Eight dollars. . . ." was her timid response. I gave her twenty, bought two sets, sent one set to an architecture student and another to a dear friend in Mumbai (who collects handmade cards). "You should be selling these," I said, "I'm not just going to take them from you."

A light seemed to ignite in her eyes. I asked her if she had her work anywhere around town and she said she hadn't, said that maybe she should do something about that. And I thought, "This is nuts! Surely the historical society or the tourist peeps would want these in their store," so I offered to help her. She said that was okay. I went to the tourist center anyway and asked them if they took consignments (while showing them the card sets) and they said yes.

She came in to the store after that, many days in a row, thanked me and showed me each new project, often giving me her work after I had told her about what I had done. Each time she came in I asked her if she had checked the tourist information center or if she had thought about putting some of her work, framed, around the Santa Fe Arts District or somesuch thing. Most days she said she hadn't. She seemed a bit discouraged, especially after she had gone in to the Tourist Center and had been rejected with a stern negative.

I offered to take the work in again because I suspected that her rejection was a product of a certain kind of discernment that I detest but she said that was okay.

I have been worried about her. I hadn't seen her in months until yesterday. One of my coworkers had one of her cards. I ran immediately into the lobby to see if she was still there, found her, and then asked her how she was. She told me that she had put some of her work into a few different galleries. I wanted to hug her right there. She said that I was an inspiration and then I noticed her right hand above the table, shaking uncontrollably and realized when I asked her if she had been drawing any new work, there were only ever unfinished drawings or a few spare lines on any given blank page.

I don't want to end my post here but this is the image that has been with me for almost 24 hours, now. This image and the image of Sharon digging through trashcans for bottles and cans overlap in my mind. This image along with the realization that Sharon probably doesn't have healthcare or very good healthcare and certainly low means (I've tried to call her and her phone has been disconnected).

I can't end this post selfishly, either. I thought I would say something like, we don't know how much time we have with the talents and interests and loves we have, and that I've taken all this to heart in lieu of my own skills and interests and loves. . . . I thought that I might tie in to the political things that are happening right now, the protests and what not but that doesn't feel right, either. Both of the latter things feel like exploitations to me.

The thing is, despite the shaking hand, Sharon is doing something with her work, even if she is only intermittently able (or maybe not even able at all) to draw. Despite the shaking hand, Sharon is being proactive and every time I see her, her eyes are bright!

I suppose then, the right thing to do here is to say that Sharon is an absolute inspiration to me and I have definitely made sure to tell her so.

Monday, September 26, 2011

No Shirking

Last night, I told someone I haven't had time for poems though I saw poems brewing. The truth is images and ideas come to me fluidly, serendipitously. They are brilliant like the fiery sunset I watched last night as some friends and I descended from the mountains from a special time together in love and meditation.

Images like that leave their imprints. They are gifts, metaphors already written. . . .

I told my friend I hadn't time to catch them, just yet. Putting them onto the page would have to wait. I would have to mix them into lines and stanzas later, whenever time permitted.

It's 5 a.m. I have been awake since twenty to three after only having slept a short time.

I haven't written much in the last year. I have finished a journal, intermittently made myself sit down to free write and I know better. All of this is fleeting and the filter through which I see any of this right now changes. Plus, the memory -- it can't be trusted. Memory is such a tricky thing.

The poems are brewing. The gifts present themselves. I must be willing right now, no matter how busy I am, to give something to it. My conscious tells me so. The nervous sour smell in my room tells me so.

I want to sleep and I want to sleep soundly.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Poetry Library at Art from Ashes

This is just a very quick post about the main project I am working on right now. Info follows below:

The Poetry Library at Art from Ashes

The Poetry Library at Art from Ashes aims to build community surrounding Art from Ashes, the Denver Poetry Community, the poetry community at large, and the youth that Art from Ashes empowers on a daily basis. This is a community outreach project, just as much as it is a community support program.

For news updates, and more, please check out our blog:
To watch the poetry library grow, check out our Library Thing:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Comics at Thirty Plus: Introduction

My foot is in my mouth about comics. Throughout my teens and early twenties I believed that comics were not worth my time. I was your run of the mill snooty-toot on the matter. I had plenty of friends with comic book collections, some of whom had boxes and boxes of them carefully packed away in their plastic wraps. I was curious what the allure was, and at times, I looked over the shoulders of someone who was reading a comic, but I never committed myself to reading one cover to cover. I never asked to borrow one. I never searched them out in the library (nor did I know they could be found there). I never really gave them a chance until quite recently, something like wintertime, 2009.

At that time, I had been invited to join a group of writers and artists at Denver's Drink and Draw, which meets at Leela's European Cafe every Tuesday. I was introduced to many artists and a few writers with whom I became enamored right away. It wasn't difficult to see the amount of talent contained in one room. It also wasn't difficult to see that the main emphasis at this particular shindig was comics.

Because I was so impressed, I began asking some of the artists I met what their top five comics suggestions were so I could become savvy to the medium. I wanted to be able to talk about comics with the Denver Drink and Draw Crowd. I had my mind blown by quite a few of the suggestions, which resulted in my deeming comics as a medium more than worthy of respect and study.

That is why I have decided to do a series of little articles featuring these top five lists. I hope to relay what I have learned from the artists and a little bit about the artists surrounding Cellar Door and Denver's Drink and Draw.

I hope you enjoy what is to come!

originally published at the Cellar Door Anthology Blog (, March 27, 2011.

Last night, while preparing for an upcoming shindig that will feature poets, musicians, actors, and more, I noticed this poster (pictured left) on our hostess's wall. I was reminded of some of the conversations we have had in R.A.W. about the pertinence of growing our own food.

This is something I would like to discuss further. I know that there are many people, locally, nationally, and globally working on this, practicing this, teaching others, etc. I would especially like their input, ideas, and expertise. How can this be done? Is it feasible?

Also, what are we giving up if we are not participating in the creation of our own foodstuffs? Some of this is evident to me, but I want to hear from others on this! Let's talk. Let's continue this conversation:

This post originally appeared 3/27/2011 at the R.A.W. blog.