Monthly Archives: March 2023

Patreon goals, new poetry/music album, and poetry workshops

I know I’ve posted all this before but I’m trying to consolidate info into one post and keep it current. So…here we go.  Includes a new payment option for the workshops.  

I’ll be releasing an initially exclusive album of poems and music to Patrons subscribed at the $25/month tier on my site whenever I reach the goal of $1000/month in contributions (less than $200 to go now).

If you join or upgrade to the $15 dollar/month or above level by end of Saturday, tomorrow, April 1 — you’ll get it too. Little incentive for all.

Link to join: 

I’m running Zoom workshops on: April 16 (The Poetry Of Place) and April 30 (Voice, Craft, and the Line)
that will be free to patrons of the site at the $10/month level and up.

Time for both: Sundays, 5 to 7 PM EDT.

If you want to attend without being a Patron, it’s $35 for one, $50 for both, payable through PayPal or Venmo. Links to both are now available and will be sent upon payment.

Venmo: @Anthony-Brown-95
CashApp: $DuendeProj

Thanks in advance.


The Money Tree

A dozen bills
in my wallet
at the end of winter. 

Maybe now that
the sun’s shining harder
upon us, more
will grow— not on trees,
of course. I know
the proverbs too well
to expect such a thing.

I’d have
to change the world
with a violent shaking
to make that happen,
to bring us all
a true money tree.

Imagine coin buds unfolding
into tender notes, falling
into our open hands when they ripen.

Imagine plucking one or more
from an overhanging branch
as needed.

A dozen bills
in my wallet
at the end of winter.

Who speaks 
of money by bill count instead of
by total and denomination? I do,
today at least. Need to treat this
as if they are part of nature’s bounty
carefully chosen, lovingly
enumerated. To say:
I have a dozen bills today
saved all winter 
from the cold and snow.
They fold, they
take up space, are real. 
What they are worth
feels secondary

as I take them out,
clutch them in my hand,
then put them away
without looking at them.

It may be spring
but I don’t want to 
enter the pain of
the growing season
just yet. I don’t want to do
the work of abstraction
just yet. 

The Dream Of Order

Revised from 2010.

In this house
there is order

a cut above the order
in all other houses.

There is order in the hamper.
There is order in the drain trap,

order at the bottom
of the garbage disposal.

The compost heap
decays in step with a timer.

Even in the bowls of chaotic potpourri,
there’s order.

This is no place
you’d expect to find a junk drawer,

yet there it is right where
it always is in every other house:

in the kitchen, top drawer
below the most-used cabinets,

close to the most-used door;
there sits Martha Stewart’s junk drawer.

There are of course, the
old screwdrivers, twist ties,

an expired coupon for microwave popcorn
that in fact come with every junk drawer

straight from the manufacturer —
but they do not rest alone

in Martha Stewart’s junk drawer,
because it’s deep. Really, really deep.

In Martha Stewart’s junk drawer
there’s a red 1982 Ford Fiesta

with one black fender
and a donut on the driver’s front wheel.

Fifteen baby shoes.
A bootleg copy of “The Rocketeer.”

A tea-stained ticket stub
for a show in Branson, Missouri.

A purple thong, size M.
A blue hat made from a plastic bag.

A fibrous growth from a boar’s kidney.
A jammed .45 with a broken grip.

Hollow points loose in the bottom,
and a rust-caked cleaver.

A map to the stars’ homes.
A small address book bound in bonded leather,

blank except for the letter “K”
written on the page for “J” in orange crayon.

A broken rib she calls “Daddy.”
One old rose, 

and in the darkest corner,
something squirming

the approximate size of a human fist,
squeaking “I’m a good thing!

You touch it and
the wardrobe in the guest bedroom

begins to shake, the wildflowers
in the far meadow to tremble.

Martha’s far away, but somehow,
her stomach knows the danger

and she sits for a moment in fear,
twisting a paintbrush in her fresh aching hands.

When you shut the drawer,
everything falls back to sleep:

the house in perfect order,
the forks aligned in their trays,

the tissues in Martha’s body
nestling back into place, just so;

while in Martha Stewart’s junk drawer
the lovely chaos resumes its churning

and the house begins to dream 
of its brief sojourn as a home.

It’s In The junk Drawer, Maybe

The thing I thought about
for hours turned out to be

in the place I thought I’d left it
when I at last got up out of bed to check.

In fact it was in the place I have always
stored it, which I knew again

when I went there first in my hunt
out of sheer luck or some sense memory

and there it was as it always is,
except when I worry

about it being elsewhere. 
Maybe it travels on my insomnia,

riding my anxiety to see all the places
I have never left it, then rushes back home

when I stagger out of bed to search; now
I can’t remember what it’s called other than

the thing I thought about for hours that isn’t
where I left it until it is. A silly thing

to be crying about,
whatever it is.


This room you are in
was intentionally built
as a circle on a turntable
with walls too high
to see what else is out there

so you barely bother to try and see
if they told you the truth,
since they have told you
for your whole life
that this room you are in
is the envy of the world;

it’s so dangerous out there;
everybody wants in
and here you are, allegedly
safe, clinging with your back
to the wall. 

Whether you believe the danger
will break in from the right or the left
you will act the fool 
running the other way
but you cannot run
on a swirling floor and you will
fall to the center. There’s a whole heap of people
just like you down there 
in the middle, clawing to get back
to the walls that are growing higher 
by the minute.

You suddenly realize
you are in a vessel being shaped
on a potter’s wheel.
Hands somewhere are doing the work
of raising the walls as you spin.
The opening at the top narrows
and less and less light enters.

You are hoping to live through 
the firing to come
long enough to see the flowers
this was made to hold
when you realize that if you do
get that far, with those flowers
will come your drowning
as you were never meant to be
anything but food
to sustain someone else’s beauty.

The Dark Messages

The dark messages, the
wisps of smoky intrigue: these
confusing inflections of sex,

this flood of impulses of how to begin
to fumble into the space
of another: we likely never

shall understand any of this
well enough to say
we are not at sea

when faced with it, and yet
we come back to it again and again
behaving as we did the first time.


Count upon the succulents
in your front window
to show you how
to help life thrive.

Watch how they soak in what they need
from water you pour into a pan
below their roots, and how you 
may assist further by shifting them  

toward good light
from their dim past. Understand
how to gently move them
as they grow toward bigger pots

without breaking those roots;
if they flower, learn how to be tender
with the long thread-blooms rising
from their centers:

so much to be said for the succulents;
for the stone plants, the jade trees,
the fierce and hardy cacti. They are
the book of understanding how to care

About money, etc.

I wanted to take a minute or two — this won’t be a short post, so be forewarned — to explain a lot of my recent “hustling, money- grubbing” tenor here and elsewhere. I am usually pretty embarrassed by talking about this and I’m not a big believer in the reverence people have lately for “hustle culture” or “the grind” so having to do it is really hard for me.

Read on, if you’re interested…

Right now, I’m working a fair amount in my usual “day job” as a freelance trainer/facilitator etc. And it appears — fingers crossed — that there’s for the first time in a while a lot of continued, prospective work ahead.

When it’s good, the money is good but not great. When it’s terrible — and it’s been mostly terrible for a while — it’s terrifying that things get as bad as they do.  I did get some recent grant money that helped to pull us out of the hole for the most part, but I am desperate about not getting there again. And if another car emergency or something happened, it would SUCK.

By creating workshops and pushing lately for new Patreon subscribers I’m trying to build some more sustainable side income that will help build a cushion to fall onto.

I’m also trying to find out what works before the next slow season for my contracting work, which is usually a brief stint in mid summer and a more sustained one from the end of November to February/March.
Because of vacations, companies tend not to book sessions in the summer, and the holidays and end of the fiscal year concerns make the second slow season more serious. ( I did no work in that field from mid-November till March this year. It HURT. Still recovering, slowly.)

Add in the increasing amount of time I have to give to family issues. Mom is 95, mobility and hearing are terrible, and has moderate dementia. My sister has moved in with her and has her own health issues; of late I’ve been spending time there 3-5 days a week, sometimes more. I run my training session via Zoom from there as one way of ensuring I’m around pretty often. It’s 20 miles one way so gas has added an expense i’m not used to having since I’ve been working from home for years before this.

I really don’t get much time or energy to go out to readings, and I’m usually “Zoomed-out” by night so even online readings are sometimes too much.  Frankly, the stress is killing me. I’ve got other longstanding health issues too, of course, which I’m leaving off of this post beyond saying that.

So…when I post about workshops coming up, ask people to join Patreon, put out Venmo and PayPal requests, etc., to try and raise $, it’s not greed. It’s fear driving that. It’s pain and the like. And it’s a desire to not just ask but to give something back to those who donate or contribute.

I hate doing it. Hate it. I would prefer to just do my job, write, and make music. But…

I think that’s enough. 


At sixty-three I ought not to care
as much as I sometimes do 
about what people think

I mostly don’t except for
how much fear I carry
about how much I’ve begun to forget
about the past and
what’s back there that people
might not find palatable
or forgivable and here I am

at sixty-three and I’m fretting
about how I shouldn’t care
if I’ve been forgiven for things
I don’t recall doing and offenses
I don’t recall giving

why are the old days considered
the best days when people I know
from the old days won’t
bother with me and here I am

at sixty-three forcing myself
to walk down these old paths
mostly overgrown and invisible
as if something said don’t go there 
to everyone including me and
I neither listen nor care except

for the fear that I lost something
down one of them and somewhere 
down one of them is a person
I don’t recall having met
who will look at me and say 
you dropped this and I’ve
been holding it for you

and at sixty-three
it will not be
a good thing to have
to take and hold

Announcing Workshops…

Next month is National Poetry Month, an occasion I usually celebrate by doing the same damn things I always do.
This time, it’s gonna be different.

I will be offering TWO poetry workshops for patrons of my Patreon site who are the at the $10/month level or above…TWO!! 

One will be a repeat of “The Poetry Of Place,” and the other (already tentatively scheduled for April 30) will be a sorta-kinda generative session I’m calling “Voice, Craft, and the Line.” Still under construction, but I think you’ll like it.

April is going to be a test case for an ongoing series of these. 

I’d like to start offering a workshop a month (that’s the plan anyway) as a perk for higher tiers with a public option. I’m not sure exactly what this will look like yet and I’d welcome your input.

The current plan is to look at weekend afternoons for these as I think that will afford us the most accessible time for anyone. But…Saturday, Sunday? Early PM, mid, early evening? Certainly I can do a mix but I’d like to hear from y’all.

My current thinking is to develop three or four and then rotate them, bringing in new ones now and then, phasing out old ones, etc. Evolving curriculum. That sort of thing.

There will be an option for non-patrons to attend.  Keep reading…I’m thinking a $30 charge for non patrons for one workshop. Payable through Venmo, Paypal; send me a message for the details. I’ll start taking them now if you like for the April 30 session and will let everyone know when the other date is set.

Remember, if you join my Patreon at the $10/month level or above you will get FREE ACCESS to anything I do in this vein.  Speaking of which…

Here’s the Patreon link…


pointing fingers

Stop saying
how is this is happening here

Start saying 
this is being done here

Stop saying
this is being done here

Start saying
they are doing this here

pointing fingers

at those who do

Start recalling
this is not the first time

Stop saying
how is this is happening here

Start saying 
for some this is how it’s always been

wringing your hands

Stop pretending any of this
is new or out of character

gesturing at old paper

reading old paper

pointing at old paper

saying “But…but…” when you do

pointing fingers

ignoring your mirror

Three Turns Around The Post

I feel best when I take
three turns around the post
to secure the string
to the tuning peg. 
I’ve done fewer, I’ve done more,
but three turns feels to me
to be the best. Two 
makes me worry
I’ve not done enough and
I can’t play on stage
that way even when I 
do the old bend it back
and tuck it under
lock down trick — if you
don’t know what I’m talking about
count yourself lucky
to have never been slapdash
in your insecurity.
Four turns or more and you get
(or I do anyway) what looks more like
an anthill made of bronze
on the peg head — more likely
three or more of them — if you
don’t know what I’m talking about
count yourself lucky
to have never been this sloppy
in your insecurity.  Even when
I get it right I fret about it
being too perfect and 
I’m sure as hell that I missed something 
because doing it well
when everyone can see how it is
is terrifying — more like
a disbelief in my ever being good enough
manifesting as
tying up every loose end perfectly — if you
don’t know what I’m talking about
count yourself lucky 
to have never been
a musician, a writer,
a father, a son — count yourself
lucky to have had all the luck
some of us wish we had. 

Somewhere Else To Be

When the heralds stood 
on the mountainside,
waved their hands
and banners over
the masses assembled below
and said:

yes, every one;

that is where they lost me.

I looked around
without malice or even much fear
and realized at that moment
how distant these people
were from each other

even as we
were herded together, touching
shoulders in the throng, breathing
the same clear mountain air, 

all of them
choosing to repeat
without concern
for truth or motive
what they were told:

that they liked
each other, even loved each other
like family; were truly united
in the valley there 
in the shadow of the high peaks,
none of them thinking
there was anything strange
about being called nation
or congregation
so forcefully,
so insistently.

Every one.
A nation, a congregation.

I turned my face away
from the mountain top people
not out of malice or even much fear;

I just had somewhere else to be. 

Not A Mistake

It’s not a mistake
to reach into
the little you know

of how
a piano

to use
a metaphor about
the music

of a felt hammer on a wire
to describe
your own work

How by itself
each sounded note
rings enough for anyone

who hears
to speak of it 
as music

but to truly
let it be all
it could be

these words should
have been sung
by someone better

Then it swats you
across the face
You are the only one 

who could be the type
of better needed 
for your work to be perfect

so sighing
you bend back to it
before sleep and death

hoping one day you sing it
as it should be sung
It’s not a mistake to reach

for perfection past the limit
of your own grasp of the song
It’s not a mistake to try


Your mother handed
her happiness at birdsong
down to you.

You kept it
hidden away but today
pulled it out from
a hidden pocket and 
put it on:

a wren locket
on a cardinal chain
and now is that sound
of you crying, or is that
a mockingbird we hear?
It had to have learned
that melody somewhere.

in memory
a young girl
dances madly
in a mirror
to the warble
of your tears.