Best Slam Team. Ever.

I love the Rhythmic Cypher slam team. In a typically male dominated format it’s ALL women. They are all great writers and performers. For me it’s all about the writing first.

Grand Slam Champion: Princess. Total rockstar. Black, big and proud. Best poem about boobs and big breasts ever. I love you. You are awesome.

T Love Smith: Love that your are on the team. The Rhythmic Cypher now that it’s at Dobra Tea I am sure is everything you dreamed it could be. Just beautiful. Safe space allows magic to happen. You are also a hell of a poet.

Robin Merrill: One of my favorite people in Maine and favorite poets. We are each other’s fans. She calls my Twitter (@rurugby) one of her favorites. Her “Jesus is a Feminist” poem makes me think that maybe that Jesus is the divine feminine and that God is a phallus. More of a balanced energy than the father/son of the Bible. I have always thought women make better ministers than men do. Women tend to be collaborative and are usually better listeners. I love matriarchal churches and the divine feminine. It’s one of the reasons I am drawn to pagan spirituality. I recommend you read Starhawk and Margot Adler for more on the divine feminine. You are an amazing poet, I am glad you are being recognized in the performance/slam community.

Zanne Langlois: I have always loved your wordsmithing. It inspires my writing. And I want to learn more from you where to walk and be away from the world. I am so thrilled that you will be part of RC. I love that all of you can help each other write better. The energy of female poets has inspired me since the first time I saw a Women of the World slam.

Sarah Lynn Herklots: 10th to 5th in the last round is a heck of a comeback. I love your humor and style. You have always made me belly laugh. And I have always been a fan. I think stand up is great training for performance poets. Going to Slainte on a Wednesday night for a comedy open mic though proves how much better poetry is. There is real honesty in poetry. Even funny poems come from an honest place. Your work is beautiful.

Everyone competing tonight was amazing. I am so looking forward to what group pieces and other pieces Rhythmic Cypher comes up with. What a beautiful group of women. I love you all.

Edmund
ed2d2

Embrace the Geek: A Writer’s Journey Selected Poems 2010-2013

Putting out my first book online to readers of my blog. Do have physical copies, and am planning to put it on Kindle soon. Couldn’t figure out the software. If you want to give a donation can paypal ecquinn@yahoo.com

Here is “Embracing the Geek: A Writer’s Journey Collected Poems 2010-2013″, I hope you enjoy it.

“If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

Acknowledgements:

This ebook is designed for all the people who have helped me in my writing and poetry journey. It is also a lesson and case study in why you do not mess with poets. So if you have made this list of people who are awesome, you have earned a free chapbook. I would love to do trade for the poets in the room, and to pass the gratitude forward for those who are not. And maybe even inspire you to write.

I first want to dedicate this chapbook to the love of my life, the wonderful, fabulous and amazing Lanna Lee Maheux. She is my rock, my partner, and makes me life immensely richer. I love you.

Next I want to dedicate this book to the radically inclusive and safe space, Rhythmic Cypher. The 2nd poetry slam from the amazing small city of Portland, Maine. This was a dream and vision of my good friend Tina “T Love” Smith, and had a difficult birth in an imperfect space. Now that it has found its true home at the amazing Dobra Teahouse in Portland, Maine at 7pm on Sundays, it’s one of the best poetry slams in America. A place where genderqueers, gays, lesbians, freaks of all size, shapes and colors, and those afflicted with madness can feel safe. Where a 16 year old with panic disorder can read a beautiful and amazing poem about her condition and feel safe. Where Toben Tilgenman can make an amazing poem about what it means to be a man who was born in a woman’s body. Where music backs the poets, and the poets back each other. It is a spectacular success and I am so happy it is part of my community.

Next I want to thank New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover for first creating her wonderful young adult romance “Slammed” that used the power of the poetry slam to make the beautiful story of woman loses dad, woman loves boy across the street, boy across the street has no parents so transcendant, thank you. My friend Gennyfer Hanley sent me a link with the free eBook of slammed, and I loved it wrote a positive review on Amazon saying I was a slam poet and how much I love the book. She followed my blog at ed2dq.com and we became friends.

While Colleen was writing the follow-up to Slammed this time ahead in the story and from Wil (the boy’s perspective) called “Point of Retreat” she happened to see my blogpost/poem “Write Poorly” about simply writing and turning off the editor. She printed it off, put it up by her computer and looked at it whenever she felt discouraged or needed to remember to just write. I plan to make my second chapbook called “Write Poorly” with 500 copies. It is amazing to me that my little poem on my often not that read blogpost that often gets less than 10 pageviews a day inspired an author so much. So much that she put it in her book “Point of Retreat” that is a bestseller that has been read and loved by hundreds of thousands of people. Her 3rd book “Hopeless” is the number two eBook on Amazon so far in 2013, behind Nicholas Sparks’ Safe House. That fact is surreal and amazing, that I may have more page reads in 2013 than the absolutely incredible and amazing Andrea Gibson who was the number one seller of the best slam poetry publishing house in America, Write Bloody Publications in 2012. Just ridiculous, if you haven’t read Andrea Gibson’s work yet and live in Portland, Maine go to Longfellow books and get a copy of her work, it’s outstanding.

Next I want to thank the Port Veritas writing, slam and poetry community for showing me love, giving me a place to read, and encouragement. Wil Gibson is a force of nature, and him saying “Write Poorly” is the best thing I ever read meant a lot. I have seen Port Veritas go from Acoustic Coffee, to the much beloved North Star Café, to Wil’s House, to the Mayo Street Arts Center, to Blue, to the wonderful restaurant Local Sprouts, and to it’s current location at Bull Feeney’s upstairs every Tuesday at 7:30pm.

I would be incomplete without talking about the amazing contributions of Tricia Hanley to Portland’s poetry scene and craft beer community. Her little bar, Mama’s Crowbar in Munjoy Hill, has some of the best craft beer you will ever drink in a wonderful small place. It would be my regular if I lived on the hill, but alas I live in Westbrook. They also host a reading hosted by Ryan McLellan that is unmiked, and at 9pm on Mondays. I do wish the reading is earlier so I can attend more. Unfortunately, I wake up at 4am most Mondays. It’s a great place to read.

Next I want to thank the heroes, friends, and compatriots of my journey towards embracing my inner geek. My recently departed father, Henry Edmunds Davis who passed away very recently on April 1, 2013 at 66 years old to brain cancer. You are one of the nicest men and fathers any son could wish for. I expected you to live so much longer, as did my wonderful mom Christine Davis. Their marriage is the great love I have seen through my life and it’s so sad it’s over after 42 years. Mom, I love you.

I also want to thank my wonderful and insanely intelligent sister, Melinda Davis Layten, who is ABD (all but dissertation) in computational biology and SUNY – Stony Brook. Dad’s illness I think took a lot out of my sister and brother-in-law Robert Layten, and I hope my dad’s journey away from pain, suffering and cancer allows her to become the brilliant scientist she is meant to be.

Next I want to thank the people who I have known the longest growing up in Montgomery Township, New Jersey north of Princeton. This chapbook may have the longest acknowledgements ever and I will just name some of my good friends that made feeling like an outcast in school easier: Greg Seidel, Bill Dyer, Conrad Saam, Anthony Schubert, Ben Dalbey, Eva Hanna, Kayt Sukel (who has an amazing book called “Dirty Minds” about the neuroscience of sex and love), Beth Cooper, Laura Hahn, Susan Flora …

Teachers including: Cheryl Watson, Jay Prag, Mr. Juliano, Mr. Harry Brobst, Ms. Williams and so many others.

And of course fellow poets including, who are mostly performance poets. I am about 20% a performance poet, and 80% a writer. Many of these excel at both and include: Heidi Therrien, Greg McKillop, Beau Williams, Jen Jacques, Toben, Emma Bovril, Paulie Lipman, Rachel McKibbens, Andrea Gibson, Billy Tuggle, Ryk McIntyre, Tony Brown, Melissa May, Sam Sax, Denise Jolly, Zanne Langlois, Robin Merrill and the fabulous Nancy Henry.

There are so many others I can mention but this is already an over 1,000 word acknowledgement to a chapbook. To all the friends I have made in the amazing city of Portland, Maine. Twitter has been an amazing way for this geek to meet people so I must thank Chyrstie Corns, and .. for creating them.

Also want to thank my Twitter heroes and friends like Alex Steed, Alexis Lyon, Greg Daly, Keith Luke and so many others who make Portland a jewel of American cities.

I can’t name all the people who are part of my journey towards acceptance, but thank you all so much.

Nature Lover

This poem is dedicated to the amazing Maine poet and teacher Zanne Langlois. I love to hear her work, and look forward to seeing her keep develop.

I sense that you are somebody,
that on a 50 degree morning,
as the sun rises wants to spend 3 hours on a quiet mountain.
As the sun moves up the sky, the weather warms,
water coming down off after it’s long hibernation over the bare White Mountains, untreed.
The weather warms.
You take off your flannel shirt,
and revel in bare arms,
white skin that has not seen the sun in 6 months.
The sound of cars faded in the distance,
as you sit with your journal a 1/2 mile from anyone else,
find a cold rock that is still warmed by the sun.
Take off your shoes,
and let them sit in a creek with a pen.
Grab your water bottle,
grab some granola,
sit, read, write, meditate, take your feet out of the water and take a nap in nature.

So on Sunday I went out to Rhythmic Cypher and did a pantoum workshop. A pantoum is a form where the 2nd and 4th lines of each 4 line stanza are repeated in the next stanza as the 1st and 3rd line. In the last stanza the 1st and 3rd lines of the first stanza are the 2nd and 4th lines of the last stanza. It’s a cool format that can make for some awesome poems. I am not sure if this one qualifies but here it goes.

Griffin Club Kitty

Lazy cat hanging out in the window
Surveys its domain.
Forty five stories up
Just below a griffin hangs out.

Surveys its domain
The kitten stretches out
Just below a griffin hangs out
Its stone face stares down.

The kitten stretches out
Loving his perch
Its stone face stares down
The window shouldn’t be open.

Loving his perch
The kitten stretches on stone
The window shouldn’t be open
The wind increases.

The kitten stretches on stone
Heads back through open window
The wind increases.
The kitten loves to look out.
Heads back through open window
The kitten loves his perch
The kitten loves to look out
Still surveying.

The kitten loves his perch
Lazy cat hanging out in the window
Still surveying
Forty five stories up.

It’s a fun form. I thought of kitten, John “Survivor” Blake’s prompt was skyscraper. Will have to try it again. I need to embrace, not fear form poetry.

Lion and Lamb

March
It comes in like a lion,
roaring with the wind of cold of the North.
Blowing it’s frightful cold.

Then it teases us.
The snow melt,
the warmer days.
Crocuses, birds coming back.

Then the lion blows it’s cold,
the clouds roll in,
Snow, rain, sleet, hail.

The lamb leaves the trees of their white,
then slowly the ground.

The plowtrucks work overtime,
take 2 weeks off,
come back again.

Then when the spring is almost here.
Comes a fierce storm,
a merging together of two fronts.
Dumping snow, blowing it around,
Old Man winter isn’t quite ready to sleep.
The frost enjoys it’s last few bites.

Lambs are shy.
They aren’t ready to come out yet.
They wait,
dipping their paws into the ground.

The green is coming,
the green ones are almost out of their slumber.
But Winter isn’t done yet.
Enjoy the cold, it’s fleeting.
Even after the months of it wear you down.

And remember the memories in the back of your head.
Snow can be fun, make snow angels, throw snowballs, have fun.
Winter isn’t going to last much longer.
Even when summer seems eons away.

Haiku Set #1
Forces of tolerance
Fundraising, phones, door knocking
Celebrate victory

Blinded by science
The curious one keeps asking
Discovery is fun

Beware of poison ivy
Leaves of three let them be
and watch out for Joker

The songs of rainbows
Beautiful, double, infrequent
Connections, reading.

The active mind
Wanders from topic to topic
You don’t stop with play

Attention deficits
Watching television, phone, computer
Attention to nothing

Hungry Hungry Hippos
Love the taste of plastic
Shoot it out butts

Jay and Silent Bob
Blond one, talks much, says little
Quiet brings wisdom

Curiosity Roves
Over red sand, rock, cold
Scientists cheer, cry

Insomnia time
Hours confusing light and dark
Naps be the rub

Sometimes are whining
Sometimes are joy, laughter
Wine rids of whine

Beer marvelous beer
The cause of and solution
Of all life problems

Knowing glances
Sly looks, wanting to ask, afraid
Take the glorious risk

Stacked, seasoned
The wood waits, prepares
Toasting winter

Rhythmic Cypher Dobra
White, Black, Gourd, Hummus, Desserts
Gratitude, Wordplay, Tea.

Lights come on
After two weeks dark and scared
Families rejoice

I was at a poetry reading for Westbrook poets at the Walker Memorial Library in Westbrook, Maine when poet Bruce Spang pointed out a sign as a found poem.
The room is often used for storytime hour. This is adapted for poets. Please feel free to steal this one.
I guarantee anyone who has ever been to a poetry reading can agree with these rules. Again this one is free to steal for any reading. Would be cool for me if you said the first time I got this from Edmund Charles Davis-Quinn’s book “Embrace the Geek.”

At Poetry Time
I will
Sit quietly while the poet reads their work
I will
Listen to the poet
I will
Not run around, past or through the poet while they read. I will wait for a break to do so.
I will
Have to leave the room if I’m not behaving.

Embracing the Geek
This piece was originally written for a nerd slam I didn’t attend. And is the title poem of this book.
I am a geek
a nerd
Eddie Einstein
Mad Scientist at 3
Freezing random things.
Random stuff in the kitchen, like Windex.
Huge glasses.
Patch on the right eye to make the left amblyopic eye work.
Feeling the outsider
Feeling weird.
Feeling different.
Shy, afraid
Fearing rejection
Didn’t believe when girls liked me in HS.
Plenty flirted with me.
Follow them on Facebook, they are amazing.
20 years later.
I embrace the nerd.
I love the geek.
I have learned to love my friends
and ignore my enemies.
To love who I am
not who I am supposed to be
I still fear rejection
I still worry about not being in control.
But, I have a partner
A fellow geek
Who can I lay next to and just read together.
I have friends
who embrace my geekiness.
I have Twitter followers, who choose to stay with me.
I have a blog ed2d2.com to post my ramblings.
That lets me be a fan.
Of music, food, and most especially books.
Life is good.
It gets better.
It’s not just true for gays,
it also true for geeks,
And of course gay geeks.
Embrace the geek
Love the self
Become the dork you are meant to be.
Open up and let us love you.

The House of the Squiggy Squig (song)
(To House of the Rising Sun)

There is a cat in Westbrook town,
They call the Squiggy Squig
He’ll wake you up a 3am,
but you forgive the adorable Squig.
When you take a shower he waits,
On the side of the tub.
Waiting for you to be done.
Then he’ll lick all over the shower curtain.
In the House of the Squiggy Squig.
When someone new comes in the house,
Squiggy will hunt them out.
You better give him some petting time,
you’re in the House of the Squiggy Squig.
And you love to see this cat,
With the off center nosemark.
It’s cute it’s black, and again so cute.
Welcome to the House of the Squiggy Squig.
You’re in the house of the Squigggy Squiiiigggg.

Cat Dude
Sung to the tune ofBatman TV theme. I sing this one in a round. One half of the audience starts Eddie Eddie Eddie Eddie Eddie, then after 5 Eddies the next side starts. Repeat 3-5 times.
Eddie Eddie Eddie Eddie Eddie
Eddie Eddie Eddie Eddie Eddie
Cat Dude
Eddie Eddie Eddie Eddie Eddie
Eddie Eddie Eddie Eddie Eddie
Cat Dude
Eddie Eddie Eddie Eddie Eddie
Eddie Eddie Eddie Eddie Eddie Eddie
Cat Dude
Cat Dude
Cat Dude
Cat Du—de.
Yep, it’s going to be a hard piece to memorize.

The Poet

The poet
watches, sees, listens, observes.
As people
Eat, mingle, talk, look down, drive.
Takes information in differently.
Sees the beauty in an old car, seagulls, pigeons, trees, rain.
Sees the sadness.
Takes it in.
Listens to the self.
Takes it in.
Knows there is always more out there.
But sometimes what it really takes to see it is the silence.
Not all conversations come from talking.
A lot of the deepest thoughts come from listening.
To your heart, nature, the world, your mind, your madness.
Sees the madness.
Comments on the madness.
Is sometimes part of the madness.
And also knows to observe, to read, to watch
To pick up cadences, to steal them.
To pick up styles, to use them.
To pick up his/her own way of seeing and develop of voice.
My poetry voyage is still young.
I am curious where it takes me.
I love slam.
Love the Portland, Maine community.
Love the support.
Love buying chatbooks.
And still discovering, always discovering.
So far this year discoveries include Philip Levine’s “What Work Is”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “A Coney Island of the Mind,”
Carl Sandburg’s “Chicago Poems.” All entirely different.
Being both awed by and sometimes find repetitive Bukowski.
And listening, always listening.
For listening helps you bring the words.
And the words bring performance.
So listen, it’s harder than it sounds sometimes.
Do it anyway.
Or just find a silent place and write.
For me the woods bring good haiku.

Haiku Set #2
Sometimes are whining
Sometimes are joy, laughter
Wine rids of whine

Stacked, seasoned
The wood waits, prepares
Toasting winter

The sly youthful smile
May hide with age and wrinkles
Always eyes twinkle

November’s cold
Approaches the house without power
On comes the light, heat.

Haiku deathmatch
Rounds of poets, jokes told
Fun had, laughter

Animal Poems

One of my favorite recent books is Moon Pie Press’ “Animal Spirits: Contempary Animal Poetry” edited by Alice Parsons. My cats Lenny and Squiggy are a big part of my life. Here is some poems to celebrate our four legged companions and familiars.

Fleas, Fleas, Fleas

So I had a good day today.
Spent some time my my in-laws cat Loki.
Played some golf with a friend in the rain.
Had some gumbo.Had a banh mi. Good stuff.
So why am I buggin?
Fleas! Fleas! Fleas!
Used the flea comb on Loki for a few minutes, no fleas on him, dozens on me.
Tried to brush them off before I drived to Freeport, nope biting me on 295.
Let the cat back in.Flea combed him again.More fleas on me.Fleas! Fleas! Fleas!
Feel like I killed one just inside my door.Sprayed the floor and the stairs with bug spray.Already put Frontline on Lenny and Squiggy.I really, really don’t want fleas in the house.
Time to do a 3rd fogger round on Saturday. Going to release 2 at once this time.
I really, really, really don’t want any more fleas.Even when I am pretty sure there gone and I showered and I threw away my socks, I still feel like they are there.
Fleas! Fleas! Fleas!

Homeless (with a Guitar)

Homeless (With a guitar)
Homeless

many nights under Portland skies

Have my guitar
My shoulder hurts so

Beer helps
Rum helps
Beer I need another beer

Anything to get me drunk
Anything to dull the pain
to feel different

To stop the tears
To stop the pain
To stop the sadness

Addiction
Homelessness
Insanity
Sadness
A tough life

I need my guitar
I need my music

Reminds me I can make music
That I can create

Reminds me I just need a home
for my guitar
for my music
for my mind

To settle down
To finally feel home

To play
create
to sing
to dance
to make people smile
not pity

I have to hold this guitar
I have to have my guitar
Almost pawned it so many times
For some money, for some beer, for some rum.

I have held this guitar a long time
My shoulders are so sore, so very sore
Lost my home to addiction, drink, madness

I just need a home
I just need some help
I need to grow
I need to settle

And need to just play
I need to just play
and
sleep
in
my own bed.

And perchance to dream,
and rest the sleep of the settled.

(c) 2011, Edmund Davis-Quinn

This is the blogpost that was hardest for me to write in the last four and a half years. I don’t think I could have wrote it until after he died. Was written five days after my father’s death.

A Constant Struggle, A Constant Worry

It’s been a tough 4 1/2 years since I heard my dad had cancer. Weeks in the Neuro ICU waiting for the blood results to get better to operate on a grapefruit size tumor in the frontal lobe. The worse kind of cancer glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). It was a hematology issue and as good as the nursing staff at Lehigh Valley Hospital is (it’s exceptional) they had a hematologist of the day, which did not work.

My sister Melinda found a doctor who does bloodless surgery for Jehovah’s Witnesses at the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia (the oldest hospital in the US near Independence Hall). Dad was finally able to have surgery, and it was successful and complete.

Later my dad was able to be part of a vaccine study at the University of Pittsburgh that was very successful and kept him mostly cancer free for the next 4 years. He was the star of the study. Someone with glioblastoma multiforme who lived far, far past the 12-18 month life expectancy.

Then in August my dad came home driving with the left side of the car scraped up, and the left mirror almost off the car. My mom took him to LensCrafters to get his vision checked and it turned out that we was missing a big chunk of his peripheral vision. His license was pulled, and time to see the Oncologist again. Turns out the tumor was back it was big and in the difficult to reach right thalamus a control center of the brain.

Back to Lehigh Valley. Where they said they couldn’t operate and it would be 2 months. The same doctor at Pennsylvania Hospital was able to operate again. The surgery was successful, but there was a stroke on the table and removing the thalamus also effected his motor skills. My dad was not able to move his left side.

Later came a few weeks of rehab, a month in the nursing home, and 3 months in hospice. Almost 6 months without able to get up. Craving nothing more than a shit, shave and shower. Wanting to get up. Wanting to be active. Not able to. Only got up out of bed with the help of physical therapist. Using the Hoyer lift at home was too difficult. Tried once to bring him to the dining room for dinner, but just far, far too much.

Dad kept forgetting he couldn’t use his left side. At rehab, he was coughing blood and back to Lehigh Valley HSP. He may have had another stroke there. I was called back to Pennsylvania, not long after leaving him after about a month off from work.

He thought mom was holding him up from getting out of bed. Said if I could get him out of bed with a stool, it would be okay. Unfortunately, okay was passed. He was stuck in bed. Hospice, pain management, preparing the soul to be released from the body. The body broken down. My dad was only 66 when he died. His mom lived to 90, his dad to 86. Mom expected 2 more decades I did too.

About a month ago, I was called back to PA for 2 weeks expecting it to be soon. Dad still had some cognitive ability. I found a copy of the amazing and seminal jazz record “Kind of Blue” and watched the documentary about how it was made with him. Dad loved jazz. Always loved jazz. Took me to see Dizzy Gillespie when I a toddler and made happy noises.
Loved jazz while I got him an iPod shuffle at the hospital, with some of his favorites like Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, etc. Kept hearing stories about jazz, often the same stories. I know the music helped him. Reached a part of his brain directly that wasn’t the same.

It was a slow decline, but much worse after the surgery. And much, much worse the last month. Dad looked so much older in just the last 3 days we spent together. His light brown hair touched with gray, became white. The death rattle came. Moved him to his side, gave his lips water, and left the room for a second and he died around 3:45pm on April, 1st 2013.

It’s just Monday. I may be crying more writing this post now than I have since Monday. There was a sense of relief. My dad’s soul was released from a body broken down in pain. If you ever experience the miracle that is someone passing firsthand, you can see how the soul is in the body, then gone. My dad wasn’t there after death, just like my father in law.

So much pain in the last 14 months, my father in law’s sudden illness starting on President’s Day Weekend, 2012 and dying 6 weeks later. My dad doing pretty well, driving to see Walter in early March, 2012 while he was still doing pretty well and entertaining his vast extended family. Dad drove to the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in Phoenix, AZ this summer and then up to Boise, Idaho to see my mom’s best friend, Mary Hester in an RV. He loved the idea of the RV, me and my mom thought it was a PITA. A good month on the road in mid-summer. A few weeks later not able to drive at all a new brain tumor.

I guess it was meant to be their last trip together. After 42 years. The last long trip was something else entirely. After my dad went to home hospice just before Christmas, mom almost never left the house. She wanted to be close, wanted to manage his medications. Tried the best he could to be a caretaker. The aides were there once a day to change him and clean up the bed. The nurse came once or twice a week, and was on call. Being a caretaker of hospice is so challenging. Humans make so much mess without a bathroom. So, so much mess. Nothing brings humility like changing your dad’s diaper and wiping his ass.

I’ve been back since yesterday afternoon. Did my first poetry feature last night, it was wonderful and affirming. At a bodybuilding competition all day today, a friend competing. Amazing but exhausting. Going to a poetry reading in Westbrook this morning, hearing that Alice Persons would like me to submit to her Animal Spirits poetry book sequel.
I feel like a weight has been lifted. I have been worried for the last 4 1/2 years when cancer would return. Since late August, I have been worried it would be soon. The surgery may have killed my dad. That may have been a blessing in a way if it did. I have missed 6 weeks of work in the last 6 months. Read less, wrote less, still blogged every day.

Got called back 3 times expecting death could be soon, on the 3rd time it was. Dad was almost unresponsive and hardly there. Whatever your beliefs of the afterlife, and as a UU theist I just don’t know, I am glad he is rid of his pain and his suffering. I felt his suffering in my heart. I felt in my soul. That worry is gone. That suffering is gone. Dad’s no longer here. I did expect him to live longer. But it’s a blessing I had these 4 1/2 years. But I need no more death for a long, long time. I have had too much in the last 15 months. Two beloved and close family members, two entirely different experiences.

To all those who are suffering brain injury and loss I offer my sympathy and prayers. To all those family members dealing with illness I offer my prayers. To all those seeing the slow death of Alzheimer’s, I offer my prayer. I offer my energy and intention. To get better with cancer. To get better with Alzheimer’s. To understand the brain more. Seeing your beloveds slip away slowly is one of the hardest things I can imagine. Whether you are 2 miles away or 400 miles away.

Being a caretaker is so challenging. Blessings to the aides that cleanup. The friends that listen. The parishioners and friends who pray. Blessings to nurses who listen. Doctors who try their best.

We have to get better, we must get better. I miss my dad. I’m glad his soul has been able to leave his broken body.

Peace. Rest in Peace.

Blessed be.

Edmund

Memorial poems

This section is dedicated to my father Henry Edmunds Davis October 23, 1946 – April 1, 2013. May we find a better way to deal with cancer. I am thankful for hospice, and the spirituality of death, but I really wish I had two more decades with one of the anchors in my life.

My Dad’s Soul Free

My mind reawakened
My dad’s soul free
My mind free of worry
Sometimes the slow struggle of death exhausts us.

No worries about illness
Not seeing his suffer
Seeing my dad out of pain,
the slow death of brain injury and cancer gone.

I miss him.
I wish I had 20 more years.
But it wasn’t meant to be.

He had a beautiful life.
Was an honest man.
A wonderful friend, amazing husband, great father.

I feel my creative soul re-awakened.
Like it’s time to go all in with poetry.
It’s time to go all in with poetry.

First feature last Friday,
2 slams this week.
2nd feature on Saturday,
April is so full of poetry.

My heart does hurt,
writing about his death makes me cry.
It also makes me glad,
of time together, working together especially as a young adult and teenager.

Of times with the piss jug in the back of the cube van.

Of always buying more equipment, but not always maintaining the old stuff.
Too much rent,
too many terrible employees,
but a business and going concern.

Great relationship with his customers,
maybe sometimes being too nice,
too trusting. Cheated by employees several times.
Not looking at costs and overhead in charges.

Had a Ph.D. in Agronomy ie Weed Science.
The occasional prank calls with his business the Weed Doctor.
Knew the entire map of greater Princeton and Montgomery in his head.
Even asked for run for city council a few times.

Active guy.
Loved the outdoors.
Love the desert of the Coachella Valley, California where he grew up.
Grew to love the midwest of Madison, Wisconsin and Columbus,
and the rolling hillsides of Montgomery Township, New Jersey.

Wanted to thru hike the Applachian Trail but then came the cancer
then came the cancer,
then came the cancer.
Literally planning to lead a hike in the Poconos at UUMAC, the Unitarian Universalist Mid Atlantic Conference on the day he went to the hospital in July, 2008.

Brain cancer, long wait for surgery, long time in Neuro ICU.
One of the only responsive people there, kept saying “Jailbreak, Jailbreak”,
couldn’t get surgery because of blood condition.

Eventually found a bloodless brain surgeon at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.
Able to get the tumor out.
Completely.
a clinical trial, 4 years mostly cancer free.

Came back in August, 2012.
First hospital didn’t want to do surgery, gave him 2 months.
Back to Pennsylvania Hospital.
Surgery was “successful” he removed the tumor, but it affected his left side greatly and a stroke on the table.

Another stroke a few months later.
Rehab, Nursing Home/ “Skilled Nursing”
Home Hospice just before Christmas.

Mom as caretaker,
when she is used to dad taking care of so much.
Not just lawns and lawn care, but her spirit, a lot of driving, just listening to hear talk so, so fast.

Both huge readers,
both consumers of knowledge,’
always tons of books in the house and lots of paper.
Still have the fetiish to keep papers until I read them far too often, Lanna my wife knows it too well.

Loved his jazz music to the end. Straight ahead jazz, be-bop, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald.
The iPod shuffle I got him sustained him in hospital, rehab and nursing homes.

Late in his life became a gun nut.
Even asked for his guns while his brain was falling away,
watching too much Military Channel,
too many shows of survivalists on the National Geographic Channel.

Getting in more pain,
having less cognition slowly,
on steroids, eating so, so much raisin bran.
Obsessed with his poop.

Pain management,
Oxycontin,
steroids,
anti-psychotics,
nursing aides,
caregiving,
couldn’t get up, couldn’t use the bathroom.

Almost no eating last 2 weeks,
his beautiful light brown/blonde bushy hair
going from flecks of gray,
to white.

Lost 20 pounds last 2 weeks,
still a big gut after all those steroids
and raisin bran.
A death gasp,
and gone.
Pain gone.
Worry gone.
Caregiving gone.
Dad gone.

Now time for me to move on.
Time to create.
And write.
And write.
Wanted to be a writer in 2nd grade,
4th grade,
working to be a writer and poet again.

Art is not the way to make a living,
but is how to make a life.
I miss you dad,
and this goes out to you.

Henry Edmunds Davis, RIP
October 23, 1946 – April 1, 2013.

Write Poorly is my most important piece. I want to encourage people to write. We live in a time of e-books, where anyone can become their own publisher. So I encourage you to write and keep writing. A lot of it will be terrible and that’s okay. If you do just a 100 word blogpost a day that’s 36,500 words a year. That’s a lot. A small novella. 250 words a day every day is about 365 pages the size of a modern novel.

And the truth about writing is you won’t get good unless you keep it as a practice. For me it’s blogging at ed2dq.com. For you it could be journaling. Typing on page, and writing to journal use different places in the brain, so use what works for you.

And if you can, read your work. Poetry slams are great, receptive audiences. This poem is previously published in Colleen Hoover’s best selling book “Point of Retreat”. I hope me book encourages you to write more. You know you have something to say. And even if it’s terrible as Kurt Vonnegut said you will have created something. Unforunately, Ms. Colleen Hoover and Atria books never compensated me for using copyrighted work, did contact Amazon. (c) 1/5/2012 http://ed2dq.com/2012/01/05/write-poorly/

Write Poorly

Write poorly
Suck
Write awful
Terribly
Frightfully

Don’t care
Turn off the inner editor
Let yourself write
Let it flow
Let yourself fail

Do something crazy
Write 50,000 words in the month of November
I did it.
It was fun, it was insane it was 1,667 words a day.
It was possible.

But, you have to turn off your inner critic, off, completely.
Just write.
Quickly.
In Bursts.

With joy.
If you can’t write run away for a few.
Come back.
Write again.

Writing is like anything else.
You won’t get good at it immediately.
It’s a craft you have to keep getting better.
You don’t get to Juliard, unless you practice.
If you want to get to Carnagie Hall, practice, practice, practice.
(or give them a lot of money).

Like anything else it takes 10,000 hours to get to mastery.
Just like Malcolm Gladwell says.
So write.
Fail.
Get your thoughts down.
Let it rest.
Let it marinate.
Then edit.

But don’t edit as you type,
that just slows the brain down.
Find a daily practice,
for me it’s blogging every day.
And it’s fun.

The more you write, the easier it gets. The more it is a flow, the less a worry. It’s not for school, it’s not for a grade, it’s just to get your thoughts out there. You know they want to come out.

So keep at it. Make it a practice. And write poorly, write awfully, write with abandon and it may end up being really, really good.

(c) 2012 – Edmund Davis-Quinn

A Long Drive

A long drive
To Pennsylvania
Dad diminished
Not the same
More demanding
Different
Loves his jazz
Very particular
I know he wants to be home
Needs to get his left side working.

Nature poems/Haiku

I do a lot of haikus on nature especially. The way I was taught is to make it a snapshot in verse. Basically a point, counterpoint.

The point isn’t the syllable count, it’s to provide that snapshot. To give an image or a thought words. It should be short. It needs to be short. I try to go 5-7-5 or under. Beyond that if it’s under 140 characters I just call it a Tweetpoem. I am on Twitter as @rurugby and would love to follow poets.

Chasing the Aurora Borealis

Last night I went outside to see the Aurora Borealis at 9:30pm in Westbrook, Maine at Foster Field. At first I went in a t-shirt which isn’t a good idea when it’s in the 20s. Then I walked around with my coat on and was awed by the beauty of looking up. It was estatic and joyful, and I am in much better mood today than I have been in a while. I have been in a melancholy cloud with my dad’s illness and impending death.

Chasing the Aurora Borealis
Looking at a beautiful winter trees
The lions of March and coming snow in air
Sounds of the open sewer
Trickling into the Presumpscot.

Chill of winter’s frost on earlobes
Enjoying the quiet
Restful times of night
Cold air in the lungs.
Seeing the high stars above cities light
Aurora hiding, barely seen
Nose dripping with the cold
Loving the frost, loving the cold.

The green ones come soon
Opening up from their icy slumber
Brave birds and Crocuses here for Spring
Snow in the air
Winter does not leave easily in Maine.

The frost comes down from Canada and the Great Lakes,
the richness of winter is almost gone.
The beautiful greens of spring are coming soon.
Enjoy the ephemeral frost and snow, even as you wish it gone.
The turning of seasons is a beautiful thing on the dark, crisp night.

Nature Haikus

The bare tree blows
up and down with the wind
Waiting for winters coat

Tree bare for winter
Reminds us that
The green will return

Darkness comes early
the birds fly from cold
Mainers hibernate

Mainers hibernate
Have stores of wood stacked
Toasting winter’s fire.

We are made of stars
Atoms from distant stars
Exploding, collapsing

The winter tree
Blows with the wind
Misses its limbs

Here is me as a baby, and me as a toddler with my dad. I have a huge head.

Rest in Peace

My dad Henry Edmunds Davis passed away at 3:45pm today.

It’s been a long and winding road. He got sick in Summer of 2008 with brain cancer and survived a very long time with a glioblastoma malforma (GBM) brain cancer. The first four years were very good, he did really well. But then it came back in August with a vengeance in the left thallmus. The surgery did remove the cancer but there was a stroke with it and he did change a lot after it. His left side didn’t work, and he couldn’t get up without help the last 6 months.

He has been home since December 21st which has been mainly a good thing. It’s a lot of work, a lot of changes, diapers, pads, changes. Humans make a lot of mess without a bathroom and a shower.

He has been frustrated, often bewildered, and hating that he couldn’t move on his own. Dad had a lawn care business and was used to being outside most of the time, and very active.

So it’s over now. It’s a relief in a way but I am numb right now. It’s good to be here and it’s one day at a time. My dad is no longer with us … a year and 8 days since I lost my father in law, it will get easier. It’s not easier now. And it’s strange to not see him in the room and just see an empty bed.

I am very glad I got him a iPod shuffle with some music. It helped him a lot before and after surgery, in rehab, skilled nursing and at home. Although the TV was on here. Was good to have Pandora to listen to on the Roku.

My dad is no longer among the living. I am lucky. He was a fantastic father, friend, husband and man. I couldn’t have done much better.

I do worry about mom, but she seems relieved in a way too. She no longer has to be caretaker. She can move on. This time without a partner.

But my theme song for this sickness has been “For the Good Times” by Johnny Cash. Thank you for your support.

And some classic Miles Davis “So What” from his amazing Kind of Blue album, because my dad simply adored jazz.

Rest in Peace, and forever be in our memories. We love you dad. Blessed be.

Driving Back South
Going south today. My dad’s time on this earth is limited. He may pass in the next few days he may not. But he asked for me so I am coming down.
I realize with the difficulty of travel for 8 hours from Portland, Maine to Allentown, Pennsylvania what a gift it was to have my father in law close when he was passing. It’s barely been a year. And it’s soon for my dad, I can sense it in my heart. I think he is waiting to hold my hand one more time, and then go into the great beyond. As an agnostic, he is not sure what is there. He does want my mom to hold on though. They have been close for so long.
This is going to be a very tough drive, I am glad my wife is there with me. It’s tough just thinking about it. I need to be there so I will. I will feel displaced, but it’s where I need to be. It’s been a long road. It’s not quite over yet. I am really not ready, as much as I have been prepared for it. I am not sure I can ever be ready. It’s a tough thing to lose a parent, especially when he is only 67 and you expected him to live for a few more decades. But, it’s time to say goodbye, I’m not ready, I don’t think i could ever be ready.

There Not There

In Pennsylvania.

Dad is alive. But he is hardly there. It’s just a matter of time. Still planning to go back to Maine on Wednesday. I just can’t afford to be here very long.

Not working gets expensive quickly. As does travel.

Good to be here. I am not sure if my dad knows I am here. He is drinking a little, and eating very little. It’s soon, I still don’t know when.

Good to be here. Hard to be here. It’s all too soon, much too soon.

Do wish I could eat some lamb today but both my wife and my brother in law don’t like it, so having a downgrade to pork roast. So it goes.

Life is an odd adventure. You just have to roll with it. It’s a tough time time right now. Not sure if I will feel better or worse when it’s over. It’s been a long road, and it is not over yet.

But my dad is still with us, but he is hardly conscious. Hard times. Tough times. Death is not easy no matter how it comes. Especially to those it leaves behind.

Book

This is a tribute piece to one of my favorite poets, Laura Lamb Brown-Lavoie of Providence, RI. An insanely great poet and performer. She is an urban farmer. Honorable, beautiful work and an honorable beautiful poet.

I bet everyone in this room likes poetry.
Thank you so much for coming out.

I bet you like to read things, and you like to read things.
And you like to write things, and you like to write things.

And you want a book, and you want a book, and you want a book …

Embrace the Geek

© 2013 Edmund Charles Davis-Quinn

The poem “Write Poorly” is previously published in Colleen Hoover’s book “Point of Retreat” that was both self published in e-version through Kindle and other e-readers. It is also published by Atria publishing, and imprint of Simon and Schuster. I encourage everyone who loves poetry and a good story to read Colleen Hoover’s “Slammed” series. The first book is Slammed, second book is Point of Retreat, and the third book “This Girl: A Novel” is due out in ebook form on April 30th and print form on August 13th.

Colleen Hoover’s story of a social worker getting by, who writes a book after hours is inspiring. She lost sleep in order to write “Slammed” a young adult romance novel that involves slam poetry, and released it on eBook in January, 2012. And a few months later she was able to buy her first house, and become a New York Times Best Selling author. It’s the American dream and it happened because of the eBook. Although eBooks are still not great for poetry. You can’t keep the line formatting when you expand the text.

Thank you for buying my book, and I hope you enjoy it. You can contact me via, Facebook, Twitter, or my e-mail address. Let me know you bought my book and would love to friend you on Facebook at Edmund Charles Davis-Quinn. My twitter is @rurugby. And you can reach me by e-mail at edquinn@gmail.com. I would love any feedback and thank you so, so much for enjoying my writing, my poetry and my art. Make art, it’s good for the soul.

Edmund Charles Davis-Quinn
Westbrook, ME
April 10th, 2013.

Embrace the G∑∑K:
A Writer’s Journey

Selected Poems
2010-2013
Edmund Charles Davis-Quinn

$10

A Month of Poetry

In National Poetry month, and after a dry spell were I have been seeing my dad slowly die and finally be released from his broken body on Monday, April 1st, it’s time to go all in with National Poetry Month.

Tina “T Love” Smith invited me to feature twice this month. The first was on this Friday for First Friday which was just amazing. 10 minutes great music on the show, amazing feature. Even a great piece of art I helped dedicate and put attention into. It was afffirming. Made me feel like I was an important part of the Portland, Maine poetry community. Just awesome.

Planning to slam tonight at Dobra Tea at 7pm for the Last Chance Indy/Team slam for Rhythmic Cypher. Probably insane since I didn’t sleep well and got up at 3:30am for a 10 hour shift. I feel like I need to try to see if I can qualify to the semi-finals at RC. I love what Tina has done to make a radically inclusive and safe space for all of those that feel other. All of those that feel different. Where they can open up and be beautiful.

Yesterday, I went to a wonderful page poet (and I include Nate Amadon on that, he’s a slam poet who I think would just be fantastic on page) reading at the Walker Library for poets in Westbrook. I was also invited to submit poems for Moon Pie Press’s “Animal Spirits”, the first book was one of my favorite poetry books of 2012. She is taking submissions until June 1st for any animal/pet related poems. Contact me and I can forward you her information.

Tuesday, I am planning to slam at Port Veritas at 7:30pm at Bull Feeney’s upstairs. Another chance for page poets and slam poets to be together since the feature will be Bruce Spang, the poet laureate of Portland, Maine. Again last chance slam, feel like I need to go for it.

I will also be featuring at Dobra Tea at 11am with amazing poets for a fifteen minute set on both April 20th and April 27th. The feature for the April 27th feature is Dominique Ashaheed, the 2012 Women of the World Poetry Champion and second place in 2013. She thinks enough of our fair city of Portland, Maine that she will be doing a fundraiser for Port Veritas on Friday, April 26th, the Dobra show, a Rhythmic Cypher fundraised on Saturday evening at 7pm at they Mayo Street Arts Center. And then the RC poetry slam team finals on Sunday, April 28th; the Mama’s Crowbar reading on Monday, April 29th and the Tuesday, April 30th PV finals. Should be an amazing weekend of poetry. Thank you Ms. Ashaheed for loving my city.

I will be performing with amazing poets like Robin Merrill, Ryk McIntyre and Lanna Lee Maheux at the Unity $1,500 Cash Slam at Unity College in Unity, Maine. https://www.facebook.com/events/466680430054441/?ref=22

National Poetry Month is a rich time. There are now 2 slam teams in tiny Portland, Maine a small city of only 60,000 people. That’s insane. Already one of the smallest cities to host a slam team, now we have 2. After this week will be poetry slam team semi-finals on April 14th and 21st at Dobra Tea (Sundays – Rhythmic Cypher) and a final on April 28th. There will also be the similar same amazing semis and finals on Tuesdays at Port Veritas at 7:30pm at Bull Feeney’s upstairs. Semi-Finals April 16th and 23rd, and the finals on the 30th.

Going to be a heck of a month of poetry. Even on Saturday, April 27th there will be 2 chances to see 2012 Women of the World poetry champion (2nd this year) Dominique Asasheed in town. 2:30pm for a feature at Local Sprouts and 7pm for a fundraiser with another amazing poet at Mayo Street Arts Center. Will be adding links later.

Read poetry. Write poetry. Hear poetry. Join the circle of poets, it’s an amazing place. But it does tend to be a circle. Poets read other poets, and hear other poets, which helps them write poems. Join our circle and make art.

“If you want to really hurt you parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

Colleen Hoover Tribute/ Inside Back Cover of Embrace The Geek Chapbook edition. My first chapbook and book #1 in my writing career.

My friend Colleen Hoover started her writer’s journey with me as a self-published author in January, 2012. I was one of the first people to read her amazing debut novel “Slammed”. She is a major tribute of my first book. Here it is as part of book #0 of my poetry writing career to 100 copy limited edition chapbook of “Embracing the Geek: A Writer’s Journey Selected Poems 2010-2013″. A better edited true bound edition of the work that will probably be around 75 pages (chapbook is only 45) will be coming out near the end of the month details on that soon. Here is my tribute to Colleen and buy her book, please. The poem “Write Poorly” is previously published in Colleen Hoover’s book “Point of Retreat” that was both self published in e-version through Kindle and other e-readers. It is also published by Atria publishing, and imprint of Simon and Schuster. I encourage everyone who loves poetry and a good story to read Colleen Hoover’s “Slammed” series. The first book is Slammed, second book is Point of Retreat, and the third book “This Girl: A Novel” is due out in ebook form on April 30th and print form on August 13th.
Colleen Hoover’s story of a social worker getting by, who writes a book after hours is inspiring. She lost sleep in order to write “Slammed” a young adult romance novel that involves slam poetry, and released it on eBook in January, 2012. And a few months later she was able to buy her first house, and become a New York Times Best Selling author. It’s the American dream and it happened because of the eBook. Although eBooks are still not great for poetry. You can’t keep the line formatting when you expand the text.
Thank you for buying my book, and I hope you enjoy it. You can contact me via, Facebook, Twitter, or my e-mail address. Let me know you bought my book and would love to friend you on Facebook at Edmund Charles Davis-Quinn. My twitter is @rurugby. And you can reach me by e-mail at edquinn@gmail.com. I would love any feedback and thank you so, so much for enjoying my writing, my poetry and my art. Make art, it’s good for the soul.
Edmund Charles Davis-Quinn
Westbrook, ME
April 11th, 2013.

A Constant Struggle, A Constant Worry

It’s been a tough 4 1/2 years since I heard my dad had cancer. Weeks in the Neuro ICU waiting for the blood results to get better to operate on a grapefruit size tumor in the frontal lobe. The worse kind of cancer glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). It was a hematology issue and as good as the nursing staff at Lehigh Valley Hospital is (it’s exceptional) they had a hematologist of the day, which did not work.

My sister Melinda found a doctor who does bloodless surgery for Jehovah’s Witnesses at the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia (the oldest hospital in the US near Independence Hall). Dad was finally able to have surgery, and it was successful and complete.

Later my dad was able to be part of a vaccine study at the University of Pittsburgh that was very successful and kept him mostly cancer free for the next 4 years. He was the star of the study. Someone with glioblastoma multiforme who lived far, far past the 12-18 month life expectancy.

Then in August my dad came home driving with the left side of the car scraped up, and the left mirror almost off the car. My mom took him to LensCrafters to get his vision checked and it turned out that we was missing a big chunk of his peripheral vision. His license was pulled, and time to see the Oncologist again. Turns out the tumor was back it was big and in the difficult to reach right thalamus a control center of the brain.

Back to Lehigh Valley. Where they said they couldn’t operate and it would be 2 months. The same doctor at Pennsylvania Hospital was able to operate again. The surgery was successful, but there was a stroke on the table and removing the thalamus also effected his motor skills. My dad was not able to move his left side.

Later came a few weeks of rehab, a month in the nursing home, and 3 months in hospice. Almost 6 months without able to get up. Craving nothing more than a shit, shave and shower. Wanting to get up. Wanting to be active. Not able to. Only got up out of bed with the help of physical therapist. Using the Hoyer lift at home was too difficult. Tried once to bring him to the dining room for dinner, but just far, far too much.

Dad kept forgetting he couldn’t use his left side. At rehab, he was coughing blood and back to Lehigh Valley HSP. He may have had another stroke there. I was called back to Pennsylvania, not long after leaving him after about a month off from work.

He thought mom was holding him up from getting out of bed. Said if I could get him out of bed with a stool, it would be okay. Unfortunately, okay was passed. He was stuck in bed. Hospice, pain management, preparing the soul to be released from the body. The body broken down. My dad was only 66 when he died. His mom lived to 90, his dad to 86. Mom expected 2 more decades I did too.

About a month ago, I was called back to PA for 2 weeks expecting it to be soon. Dad still had some cognitive ability. I found a copy of the amazing and seminal jazz record “Kind of Blue” and watched the documentary about how it was made with him. Dad loved jazz. Always loved jazz. Took me to see Dizzy Gillespie when I a toddler and made happy noises.

Loved jazz while I got him an iPod shuffle at the hospital, with some of his favorites like Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, etc. Kept hearing stories about jazz, often the same stories. I know the music helped him. Reached a part of his brain directly that wasn’t the same.

It was a slow decline, but much worse after the surgery. And much, much worse the last month. Dad looked so much older in just the last 3 days we spent together. His light brown hair touched with gray, became white. The death rattle came. Moved him to his side, gave his lips water, and left the room for a second and he died around 3:45pm on April, 1st 2013.

It’s just Monday. I may be crying more writing this post now than I have since Monday. There was a sense of relief. My dad’s soul was released from a body broken down in pain. If you ever experience the miracle that is someone passing firsthand, you can see how the soul is in the body, then gone. My dad wasn’t there after death, just like my father in law.

So much pain in the last 14 months, my father in law’s sudden illness starting on President’s Day Weekend, 2012 and dying 6 weeks later. My dad doing pretty well, driving to see Walter in early March, 2012 while he was still doing pretty well and entertaining his vast extended family. Dad drove to the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in Phoenix, AZ this summer and then up to Boise, Idaho to see my mom’s best friend, Mary Hester in an RV. He loved the idea of the RV, me and my mom thought it was a PITA. A good month on the road in mid-summer. A few weeks later not able to drive at all a new brain tumor.

I guess it was meant to be their last trip together. After 42 years. The last long trip was something else entirely. After my dad went to home hospice just before Christmas, mom almost never left the house. She wanted to be close, wanted to manage his medications. Tried the best he could to be a caretaker. The aides were there once a day to change him and clean up the bed. The nurse came once or twice a week, and was on call. Being a caretaker of hospice is so challenging. Humans make so much mess without a bathroom. So, so much mess. Nothing brings humility like changing your dad’s diaper and wiping his ass.

I’ve been back since yesterday afternoon. Did my first poetry feature last night, it was wonderful and affirming. At a bodybuilding competition all day today, a friend competing. Amazing but exhausting. Going to a poetry reading in Westbrook this morning, hearing that Alice Persons would like me to submit to her Animal Spirits poetry book sequel.

I feel like a weight has been lifted. I have been worried for the last 4 1/2 years when cancer would return. Since late August, I have been worried it would be soon. The surgery may have killed my dad. That may have been a blessing in a way if it did. I have missed 6 weeks of work in the last 6 months. Read less, wrote less, still blogged every day.

Got called back 3 times expecting death could be soon, on the 3rd time it was. Dad was almost unresponsive and hardly there. Whatever your beliefs of the afterlife, and as a UU theist I just don’t know, I am glad he is rid of his pain and his suffering. I felt his suffering in my heart. I felt in my soul. That worry is gone. That suffering is gone. Dad’s no longer here. I did expect him to live longer. But it’s a blessing I had these 4 1/2 years. But I need no more death for a long, long time. I have had too much in the last 15 months. Two beloved and close family members, two entirely different experiences.

To all those who are suffering brain injury and loss I offer my sympathy and prayers. To all those family members dealing with illness I offer my prayers. To all those seeing the slow death of Alzheimer’s, I offer my prayer. I offer my energy and intention. To get better with cancer. To get better with Alzheimer’s. To understand the brain more. Seeing your beloveds slip away slowly is one of the hardest things I can imagine. Whether you are 2 miles away or 400 miles away.

Being a caretaker is so challenging. Blessings to the aides that cleanup. The friends that listen. The parishioners and friends who pray. Blessings to nurses who listen. Doctors who try their best.

We have to get better, we must get better. I miss my dad. I’m glad his soul has been able to leave his broken body.

Peace. Rest in Peace.

Blessed be.

Edmund

Here is me as a baby, and me with my dad as a toddler. I have a huge head.

Me and my dad.

First Poetry Feature

Had my first poetry feature tonight at Portland Sprouts. Read for about 10 minutes and 6 poems (well 13 if you count the haikus).

It was great and I had wonderful affirming feedback. Thank you so much Tina “T Love” Smith for inviting me to read. It means a lot.

Would love to say more about it but completely exhausted.

This is going to be a crazy week of poetry for me. I am planning to slam on Sunday at the Rhythmic Cypher reading at Dobra Tea (7pm), on Tuesday I am planning to slam at Port Veritas at Bull Feeney’s upstairs (7:30pm) and I am doing a 15 minute feature at the Poetry Brunch on next Saturday at Local Sprouts (11am).

Just a wonderful and amazing night of poetry. Proud to share the stage with Sam Mercer, Robin Merrill, Tina Smith, a wonderful artist doing an intention piece, and a fantastic feature Antonia Lassar from Brooklyn, NYC.

I also got a beautiful and amazing screenprint of R2D2 at the Art Walk tonight. In the words of Colleen Hoover it’s bemazing.

R2D2 Print

Also want to let everyone know I will be making a chapbook this weekend, so let me know if you would like one ($5). Planning to call it “Embracing the Geek.”

Cheers.

Edmund

p.s. Here are the links to the poems I slammed last night.

The House of the Squiggy Squig (song)
The Poet
Write Poorly
Embracing the Geek
Haiku set (did 8 from this list)
and Lucky.

Mike Rice

Yesterday on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” there was a story about Mike Rice, the Rutgers men’s basketball coach throwing balls at players and using anti-gay slurs. With similar evidence there was a 3 game suspension and $50,000 fine during the season.

Now, he is fired. I think it’s the right decision. As a proud alumnus of Rutgers, I would love to see stability in the program and a coach to be proud of. Especially as the school enters the Big Ten in 2014-15.

A coach to be proud of first, a good program second. It’s time. It’s beyond time.

We can’t see things like this on the banks again.

Micmacs ***

Enjoyable movie, very much a romp. I love Jean Paul Jeunet’s cast and writing. This is one is just fun. It’s definitely not the masterpiece of the wonderful “City of Lost Children”, “Amelie” or “A Very Long Engagement” but definitely a good time. Much smaller than those 3 classics.

I liked it. I also very much enjoyed the making of Micmacs documentary on the DVD. Was nice to see how they made scenes and the hassles of shooting in Paris. Far more interesting than the usual light interviews that really don’t say anything.

Good stuff. I like Jeunet, still need to see Alien 4. This one reminded my a lot of “Delicatessen” even though it wasn’t quite as good. It’s good to have eccentric movies with crazy characters.

***

Open for Business

Was in Manchester, NH this weekend for the North Beast poetry slam and to see our great friend Elizabeth.

On the way home I see the sign to welcome people to the state. Maine: The Way Life Should Be. We all love this sign. But when our complete imbecile of a Governor came into office he had to add “Open for Business.” So now it reads. “MAINE: The Way Life Should Be. Open for Business.”

Open for business? Really, Governor. That doesn’t mean what you think it means.

And Open for Business is not the way life should be. Open for business is Mountaintop Mining in Applachia, destroying billion year old mountains for coal and filling in rivers and valleys with slurry. Open for business is clear cutting of rain forest in the Amazon river basin, destroying all sorts of animal and plant species and the land forever. Even putting less oxygen in the air, and helping accelerate global warning.

Open for business is drag nets that are hundreds of square feet destroying the cod population of the Gulf of Maine for freaking fish sticks. A cod fishery that was so big when the New World was “discovered” that you could catch cod with a net.

Open for business is incentives for a company to destroy natural resources and leave the residents with pollution. Open for business has been the policy of the Republican Party for 30 years, where the rich get richer and the poor are blamed for being poor.

Maine is a beautiful state. It has amazing resources. Four distinct seasons although with a long winter and short summer. It’s a wonderful place. It could even be called the way life should be. But what it doesn’t need to be is open for business.

And Governor LePage, the sign should be taken down. Like most things you have done it’s full of bluster, and useless on paper. Open for business may sound good to some idiots, but it’s not what you think. Government’s job is not to prostitute citizens for industry.

Edmund

Durgin Park **

Durgin Park is one of the institutions of Boston.

“There from before you were born,” on 1827 according to Wikipedia.

I have heard of it before on cooking/food shows, and it got a great 5 star review on Roadfood.com that said it was worth going to from anywhere. But, really meh. It’s fine. But I live in Maine. It’s not hard to find New England food here. Boiled dinner is part of the tradition. I am sure a lot of you are having it today with St. Patrick’s Day and Corned Beef and Cabbage.

I can get great New England food that is far better than Durgin Park at my mother-in-law Dottie Maheux’s house. Having the pot roast which was recommended by Roadfood.com as leftover now and it’s fine. Not great, just fine. Honestly the corned beef and cabbage leftovers I had for lunch was better. I ordered the pot roast with squash and mashed potatoes. The pot roast was fine, if a little bland. The squash had nice flavor and the mashed potatoes were fine. The baked beans were actually quite good, probably the best thing I had there.

Even the room isn’t really that interesting. Feel like it should have more character. The restaurant was bought by Ark Restaurants in 2007, and maybe that calmed things down.

There is rumors that Durgin Park used to have rude service. Honestly, the server was one of the best parts of the meal, very sweet. And she did try to warn us off the Indian Pudding that Foursquare and RoadFood mentioned. I think my father-in-law would have loved it, but he ADORED molasses. For us, it had a very odd texture and taste. And she noticed we didn’t eat much of it, and took it off our tab. Very much appreciated.

So, it’s an option in Faneuil Hall but I bet you can find much better food for the price. Glad I can say I went, but I am very unlikely to come back. I think you can get much better food at a bean supper. Now that’s a Maine cultural institution I need to go to. I have lived in Maine since 2005 and still haven’t been to one, I will soon.