Friday, September 30, 2005

Singing the Blues

The infection is back. I can't write. I'm in pain. I've only had rare short times out of pain since the end of March. A lot of the pain turned out to be a massive yeast infection brought on the antibiotics. I find that when I'm in the middle of emotional times (like yet another bacterial infection now), my writing becomes whiny and very bad. It's only after, well afterwards when I've come to some terms with these rough patches that sensible words begin to come. I need to write a poem, but the page is empty. I wish I could be one of those people who write terribly clever and upbeat funny things when they're in the midst of life struggles, but...

A haiku I wrote last year to share.

autumn to autumn
the soles of my shoes
still clean

(I AM grateful for a great GYN who's now working with me on this. So few doctors care about their patients any further than their body parts, anymore. So...I'm lucky. Hey, maybe I'll even write a poem about HIM one of these days:-)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

More from the Hammond Gallery

Karen: from The Hammond Gallery by Adam Prison.

I love this painting. I'm still trying to break my writer's block. Sometimes interesting art can do it.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Cleopatra by Rocco Spider

This painting and others can be found at this super site I discovered, The Hammond Gallery. E-cards of the artwork can be sent from there, too. Does this inspire a haiku, a short short poem or just a funny??

her asp
toppled Egypt...
and Richard Burton

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Letters Not Sent

From today's online Washington Post, the outcome of the trial of one of the abusers of Iraqi prisoners that was in the news two years ago. She was photographed holding a leash bound around the neck of a naked Iraqi prisoner. Yes, atrocities go on in war, but war IS an atrocity. We don't need to add to it.

Here is a further account in the Sept 28 online Washington Post

My other opinion?? The officers who sent untrained young servicemen and women, rather than trained interrogators, to gather information should receive the same sentencing, if not more.

Below is a poem I wrote about the sexual degradation/abuse when I first read about it.

Letters Not Sent

There were ten of them,
skin the color of desert dust.
We culled them from cells
the size of barbwired closets
into that courtyard where
we laughed , watched
them strip, toss off torn rags-
discarded cloth fluttering
like yesterday's butterflies, made
them spread their cheeks wide, enter
the next man down the line,
made our own chain of daisies
like the ones made in childhood,
took photos not attached to letters
or sent (Son, I'm so proud),
knew we were showing
those terrorists who was
boss and serving our
country too, but oh mom,
I still smell their fear and
their sex on my hands.
It's been weeks now.

Pris Campbell

Before The Sea Turned Cruel

Taken in Naples, Florida on the Gulf Coast 1989

Monday, September 26, 2005


Silence: by Henry Fuseli from

dance for me once more
before sunset

pris campbell

Saturday, September 24, 2005

What Are Friends For?

Barb and I met when I was 29 and she was 32, in Boston. We worked together and played together. The male nude calendar was one of our more venturesome projects. More important, we became lifetime friends. I still see her almost every year. Before CFIDS, when I could travel, I went back to New England to visit her. Now, our times together are when she comes here. Our friendship continues, despite the many changes we've both gone through. Long term close friendships are a rarity and to be valued.

This photo was taken in 1989, the year before I became ill, in my back yard here in Florida, and it's one of my favorites taken over the years. Click to see a larger version.

This photo was in the Boston apartment where my first husband and I lived while he attended law school He snapped it as we were about to go out and hawk our calendar at Harvard Square. Barbara is one of the few friends who's seen me go through my many metamorphases (and husbands) through life.

Lastly, this one is of Barb's last visit, Feb 2004, over at the ocean, 3 1/2 miles from my home. Did I mention she's a fantastic cook? She spoils me every visit!

Other solid long-time go-back-forever friends, too. Don't feel ignored, guys...Margie, Mar, Joe more...

In your comments, describe a friend who's been there for you over the years, if you like...and in what important ways. I'm curious what makes some friendships click and not others. Yes, an unanswerable question, but I'd like to hear ideas, anyway.


Friday, September 23, 2005

Ron Androla

Ron Androla's new book is out. Click on the bookcover to see it more clearly and look for ordering information HERE. The following is a review by the publisher:

To say that a book length collection of the work of Ron Androla is long overdue would be to merely state the obvious. However, if one knows the author and his purpose it is a bit more comprehendible. The advent of the world wide web as well as the ever advanced and ever improving technology has vastly changed the poetry underground from what it was years ago when poets such as Charles Bukowski, D. A. Levy, Steve Richmond, Jim Chandler, and yes, Ron Androla had work published in hundreds of small mimeographed and hand stapled journals, virtually all of which, are now nonexistent.

Buk and Levy are dead. Chandler’s semi-retired. Richmond is MIA, but Androla’s still plugging away after almost 30 years at the forefront of what can now be referred to as a “movement.” With his unique style and a voice, which is most definitely his own, Ron continues to go forward as writing is as important to him as the very air he breathes. By and large it’s what this man lives for. That is the reason we haven’t seen a collection such as this until now. The author is a true poet. He’s not a self-promoter, a shoulder-rubber, or someone who works constantly to manipulate his way into print. This is exemplified by his notes at the beginning of POET HEAD when he apologizes for not being able to remember everywhere many of these poems have appeared.

In my mind as a publisher, this was a book that “needed” to come forth. It was almost like a responsibility. The access to all types of poetry on the internet has made being or becoming an original difficult. The work of those who have attained such stature should be preserved at all costs. This is how I felt about this book and how I continue to feel. I am grateful for the opportunity to have facilitated its publication and proud to be associated with it.

Charles Whitley
Rank Stranger Press

Another introduction to Ron's writings comes by way of a link to a recent write-up and interview by Jack Anders in this MiPoarticle. The article speaks to the core of what post-beat poetry and Ron are all about.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Lee Herrick...A Thousand Saxophones

(This poem blew me away when I first read it on cafecafe and Lee Herrick's blog (see links to both blogs in my links column. He graciously permitted me to reproduce it here on my blog. Thank you, Lee!)

A Thousand Saxophones

After Hurricane Katrina — A Poem for the Living and the Dead

You can live by the water and still die of thirst.
I said you can live by the water and still die of thirst
or the worst nightmare come true:
that body of water taking over the bodies.
Sometime, tonight, see which echoes most—
a whisper or a scream. Make it something beautiful,
like, we will endure or Yes, I love you. Sometime,
tonight, think of water—how it purifies or terrifies,
cleanses, gives and takes away—think how fast
some things can rise—water, fear, the intensity of a prayer.
Officials in New Orleans said they want to save the living.
I hope they do. But I hope they can also honor the dead.
On Bourbon Street, there were over 3,000 musicians employed
on any given day. Last night, before I fell asleep,
I imagined what a thousand saxophones
would sound like if they all played together—
one thousand saxophones, different songs,
different tempos, Dixieland, Miles Davis.
Maybe it would sound like birds or bombs,
planes or preachers praising the Word
on a hot Sunday and the congregation saying Amen,
some people whispering it, some people screaming it.
Maybe it would sound like lightning tearing
open the sky or a thousand books slammed shut after
a horrible conclusion, or a thousand children crying for their
mothers or fathers. Last night, I thought, how far
would a thousand saxophones echo from New Orleans or Biloxi?
Would we hear them in Fresno? Could we imagine the sound?
Could Baton Rouge? Could Washington D.C.?
I don’t know what I should tell you.
But I feel like the saints are marching.
They are singing a slow, deep, and beautiful song,
waiting for us to join in.

Lee Herrick

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Memoirs of a Banana

Men creep around,
take my measure,
denigrate my size,
discuss Freud's theory
about penis envy
in loud voices
ad infinitum.

I ignore them.

Women peel me
with gentle hands.
Swallow me
with warm mouths.
I have given my life
many times
for the love
of a good woman.

Once I starred in a movie.
W.C. Fields.
Mae West.
Lord, that woman
adored me.

That was my finest hour!

Pris Campbell

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Lyle Daggett on Anya Achtenberg's poetry

Read Lyle Daggett's August 30 blog entry to see his review of The Stone of Language by Anya Achtenberg (published 2004 by West End Press, PO Box 27334, Albuquerque, NM 87125). I just read her book and it has brought me to my knees. She's mind boggling. She's superb. Her language is beautifully cruel. Read her. You won't regret it!


Monday, September 19, 2005

Two more hurricanes loom....

(click to make larger)
I'm in Southeast Florida, to the right of and slightly below the large lake shown in the map. Phillipe is already generating winds here from its outer bands. The Keys are being evacuated as Rita heads off across the bottom of our state and is projected Northwest to Texas. Rita is of far more concern since, with the slightest chance, she could hit the Gulf states hit by Katrina. I don't even want to think about that happening! The other part of that is that the vast majority of Katrina survivors have been taken to Texas and many aren't in stable structures if it hits there.


All the Web Search Engine

Click the post title for the latest search engine out and recommended by the Kim Komando newsletter as an alternative to the current bigger ones.

In trying it out by checking my name, I found one link to this collaborative poem with Tim Deer, published two years ago in Blackmail Press, a good New Zealand based journal. I hadn't looked back on this collaboration since we did it.

I also found that by clicking on photos in the search box in this engine, I found, to my horror, tons of photos of myself that I had used in the past as profile photos and discarded (with good reason:-), as well as photos, haigas, and artwork found on my website.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

National Museum of American History

The current issue of Smithsonian magazine includes an article entitled 'Snapping Up The Past'. The curator is searching for casual snapshots of servicemen from earlier wars to include with the more formal war photography. She wants originals, but I'm loath to part with the original posted here. I'll send her a couple of jpgs and see if printing it out works, if she's interested.

This was my cousin, Dolph, taken in New York City, while on leave from World War II. My parents raised him from age 10 to 18. I was born the summer he left for war. He made it through the war safely, only to be killed by a drunk driver at age 26. My memories of him, of course, are dim, but I remember him as the most handsome man I'd seen and had plans to marry him when I grew up:-)

(click to see full size, as the photo above). This was my Uncle Harry, at age 19, taken during a break in action in World War I. Uncle Harry was so attractive as a boy and young man that he received the nick-name of 'pretty boy'. Ironically, he never did marry. Family lore is that the woman he loved married someone else and he could never settle for second best. He did live with someone in his later years, dying of a heart attack at age 60.

If you have photos to contribute, email the curator, Michelle Delaney at


Poets Who Support Survivors

Click on the post title for the link. If you're a poet and haven't seen this site, you might be interested in participating.

Sunday PS..Absolutely neat! I just got word I have a poem on the site. So does Michael Parker, I see, with a stunning one.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

If you have a blog.... is the latest tool.

I'm making it a hot link, so type the name of your blog HERE and see what appears. I was surprised to find some entries from mine I'd had up for a day and deleted.

It also tells me that whatever I say in my blog is gonna be out there for a while. Okay, here's my chance! I confess. I was the one who threw the darn cornbread under the table in the cafeteria in third grade. Milton Griffen didn't do it. It tasted like mush and was hard as a brick, but I let him take the rap. Sigh..I feel better.



Friday, September 16, 2005

Can you use an apostrophe correctly?

I thought I could until I took THIS QUIZ. It's only ten sentences and takes less than a few minutes to do. I scored an abysmal 63 percent. Shame on me. How did you do??


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Blackflash Dreams in Ochre Nights

Luke struts into Sully's on fifty-fourth street
East side. Upscale Manhattan.
All spruced up and ready for the kill.
Best gray suit. Red silk tie.
He snaps thin fingers to a Phil Collins
beat. Checks out the room.

Under the strobe, breasts bouncing
in and out of her black beaded dress,
Kim swivels her hips, stomps her feet,
figures Charles, Keith, and maybe even
William already argue over who will try
to take her home to strip off that hot
one hour dress and fuck her.
She figures the old creep in gray wants it, too.

Chardonnay in hand, Anthony Chee Emerson
sits in the corner, knees upraised
as his easel, painting the crowd.
He watches this wild woman lift proud
shoulders high, hands stroking
the air, black hair swaying, reminding
him of the buffalo he loves to paint.
He digs out a older canvas,
swishes black over the dried ochre.
Buffalo Bloodbath he plans to call it.

The music segues to a tortured guitar
and Kim kicks off her shoes, hikes up her skirt.
Anthony Chee's brush glides faster.
Did one pink rose peek out of that
blurred beaded gown?
Sweat pours down Luke's neck,
staining his collar dark. He swallows
hard, joins the men already circling, but,

in sweeps Meg wearing bo peep blue,
puffed sleeves, pleated bodice and
grabs Kim's hand. Red lips against pale,
blonde hair swirling with black,
the women weave and grind through
two crotch-to-crotch dances, then split,
Kim already biting Meg's damp pale neck.
Loaded guns drop, unused and limp.

Anthony Chee chuckles, dapples black
running legs across his canvas bottom,
imagines those earlier buffalo stampeding
through empty black nights to find their freedom, too.

Pris Campbell

Art: Fire Woman by Marques Vickers
copyrighted and used with permission

Also, see the art of Anthony Chee Emerson, the artist mentioned in the poem.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The photos people take in their spare time...

See Fuzzy Squid for some of the more unusual photos you'll encounter all in one group. These are submitted to the site and posted as they come in. The woman tied to the....well, I don't want to spoil any surprises but, as Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman (paraphrased,)'people surprise the hell out of me all the time':-)

PS I just discovered that the photos change fairly rapidly. You'll likely not see that woman!

Here's one from my today's visit to the site (Thursday):

A minute later that batch had gone and I found this photo in the new display:-) (I can hear you saying right now, 'why doesn't that crazy woman get a life?' lol)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Frida Kahlo

I've done a previous post on self portraits, but found this one recently. It's outstanding. For those of you not familiar with Frida Kahlo, a bulk of her art was self-portraits, partially due to her illnesses during most of her life. She was a beautiful woman and courted by many men. She was also a determined and talented woman.
This portrait came from The Hammond Gallery, a site filled with art that can be purchased as posters or sent as e-cards. The title of this one is 'Diego on my Mind'.


Monday, September 12, 2005

Calling Grammar Experts

A friend and I got into a dispute over a particular word usage in something we're writing. He feels he's right. I feel I'm right, but I can't find a reference in the Good Writing and Grammar book that I use. I've googled with every combination of words and can't find an online reference, either. If you can find a link to show which usage is correct, I would appreciate it.

The sentence refers to a dry cleaner named Jack. The word controversy is in bold.

And she had no intentions of losing the only dry cleaner that/who seemed to know what he was doing

I say 'who'. He says 'that' is correct. I say 'who' because the modifying phrase refers to a man/person. He says 'that' because it sounds correct to his ear (a method I often use, myself).

I need either a link (preferably) or an explicit explanation. I'm a real stickler on grammar and, at this point, want to know out of curiosity if I'm wrong.


NOTE***I wrote a childhood friend who teaches Creative Writing at the U. of Colorado and has his Ph.D. in English. I figured he would know, if anybody did:-) I just got this reply.

This is the kind of answer I LOVE to give: both of you are right.

Check out the following link:

In general, "who" is preferable when referring to a person or to people; but "that" is also considered correct. Personally, I would use "who" in the sentence that you quoted: not only is it more personable and human: it also works better with the sound of the rest of the sentence: the "oooo" sounds in "losing," "to,"and "doing," plus the aspirants at the beginning of "had," "what" and "he."

I did a google of "that / who"--typed just that way--and it turned up several links. I cited the second one above. If you want to go deeper, just google "that / who."

Sunday, September 11, 2005

In Memory of 9/11

This article in The Jeruselem Times describes today's commemorative plans in New York.

...and a poem by Sylvia Plath.

by Sylvia Plath

The woman is perfected
Her dead

Body wears the smile of accomplishment,
The illusion of a Greek necessity

Flows in the scrolls of her toga,
Her bare

Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.

Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One at each little

Pitcher of milk, now empty
She has folded

Them back into her body as petals
Of a rose close when the garden

Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.

The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.

She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag.


I would also highly recommend the very moving poem posted on Chella's Blog today.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Latest haiga

(You not only have to click on the image, but also click on the bottom right-hand icon when it comes up, to see full size)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sherman Alexie

People seem to love or hate this Native Indian poet's writings. Read more about him HERE (I'm one who loves his work!)

Follow the link at the bottom of the page for more, as well as a link to other Great Modern Poets.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Your tossed shirt
brings the scent
of cool rain, salt air.

You move quietly,
thinking I sleep,
but my desire

this night is a tsunami
and so I tug down
your jeans, pull you
into remembrance
of depths we have visited
on other such nights,

nights when I'm
convinced Neptune,
himself, sits,
waterwings at the ready,
on our bedroom floor.

Other times we would
play first, splash
in the tides,
giggle, tickle,
but tonight...

tonight, my hands twine
seaweed through your hair
and we dive until
dawn finally beaches
and, gasping for air,
we sleep.

Pris Campbell

Published in Erosha

Monday, September 05, 2005

Day of Rest

I've had major freezing with my puter since I updated Yahoo Messenger late two days ago. I've deleted the program, did a system restore and have a few other troubleshooting things going on at the time, but won't know until after a day of intermittently hitting on the hyperlinks on my desktop if the problem is solved. In the meantime, here's a picture I took off of a Schooner of the sky near Stonington, Maine in 1986. I'll be back tomorrow. Wish me luck the problem is solved!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Fantasy Challenge

Go to cafecafe (link on right) and join the Fantasy Challenge to raise money for donations to the Red Cross. If you're not a member of that blog, email didi menendez through her profile there with your poem, since non-members are welcome to enter, too.


Your smile slices my breastbone open
and I bleed pink wantwords across
the restaurant, watch while confused
men and women pick missed you, kiss me,
touch me
from clean dresses and jackets.

Your hair is graying.
I'm twenty pounds heavier.
You ask if my husband is good to me.
I inquire if your children turned out smart.

You lay your hand on mine and our feet
dance to that room, the room where we
wanted to be from the start of this night,
the room with the blue shiny spread and Degas
prints on the walls, the room where
we urgently throw our clothes over a white
fuzzy chair and discover that our bodies
haven't forgotten the old rhythm between us.

In this night when the stars sink
close to the ground and the clouds
step aside for the wild, rising moon,
I'm twenty again. You're twenty five.
Dylan and Baez sing live on the radio and
we pledge love forevermore.

Later, zipping your trousers, the marks
of my lips on your face, your body, you say,
We'll do this again.
At that moment, that one nano-grain in the
sands of our time, I see in your eyes that
we won't meet again and know, too, it's fine.

You hand me the rose you pilfered
from our table upon leaving, pull on your jacket,
bend for one last lingering kiss.
A thorn from the rose pricks my finger,
draws blood as the door closes softly behind you.

Pris Campbell

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Friday, September 02, 2005

Elvis...before he was the Sequin King (I had to get my mind off the Katrina posts)

I found this clipping in my old album about Elvis' induction, the heartbreak of teenaged girls everywhere when that happened. In this newspaper photo (click to enlarge), you can see the soulful eyes and pouty lips that, along with his voice and hips, made him a legend. One thing I've never understood...why do all of the Elvis impersonators choose to imitate him when he was in his decline, his body puffed with drugs in those horrid rhinestone outfits and capes. That man wasn't the Elvis our hearts throbbed for on the Ed Sullivan show. He WAS an impersonation.
I took this photo of three of my friends, sprawled across my mother's bed, holding Elvis' first album. Believe it or not, I still have that album, though it's scratchy now and almost unplayable from all of the use it got at the time.

Another slice of life over the years...

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Missing Persons Site and Disaster Relief for Katrina

Sept 19:Washington Post Article about the ethics of looting in the aftermath, focusing on 'looting' ordered by the mayor to get fuel, a generator and a stove to help people.


NEW FROM GINGER (Sept Three). A general relief information site is HERE


JUST IN FROM GINGER: Click HERE for a listing of places to stay for victims of Hurricane Katrina! Pass the word along.

New!! September 3 Washington Post Article re New Orleans

New!! Read the Open Letter to George Bush from Michael Moore on the top righthand side of his main website.

********original post below*******

In Kim Komando's newsletter today, she provided links for disaster relief organizations needing donations to assist the victims of Katrina. She also has the link to a site that is beginning to list the names of people in that area who are trying to get word out that they're okay, as well as a list of names of people relatives and friends are looking for. Go to her webpage HERE.

***Countries all over the world are pouring in offers of help. So far, Bush hasn't accepted any offers. Why?????********



The Question

Remember when you asked me
the question-THAT question?
I do.

I was child, disguised as woman,
still gathering gold into red wagons.
By the time I turned back
to answer, you had gone.

Your footsteps sparked
through labrynthed streets,
then faded, traveling
places I could no longer follow.