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The Journal of Glenn Currier

This poem I can't let go of
08/14/2010 03:36 p.m.
This poem I posted: "Still Howling" - I can't seem to just let it go. I am so conflicted about that first stanza, repeated in the 4th. Should I have equivocated with the word "some?" Should I have left the word "artists" rather than changing it to "poets" - being uncomfortable putting myself in the company of artists? This morning I was thinking that poems are like offspring. Once you give birth - there it is - might as well just accept it even if it IS defective. But then I think - yes but you can revise a poem. The only problem is, I cannot for the life of me figure out what to do that that stanza. I even thought about cutting it/them all together, but then the rest of the poem wouldn't make much sense. Soooooo... I guess I will just be comfortable with the ambiguity and learn to live with it. Maybe I will wake up tomorrow and be under the Bodhi tree, awakened to why I am so conflicted about this.
I am currently Bothered
I am listening to the soft sounds of the AC - glad I am INSIDE in this hot August

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Dealing with criticism
02/03/2010 05:22 p.m.
I recently had a criticism of my teaching (still teaching part time even though I am officially retired. It threw me for a loop. I felt really inadequate and discouraged. I can't believe how difficult it was for me to deal with it. This morning I journaled and realized how much my ego was involved and concluded that I need to rely more on God and his "opinion", that is, on his unconditional love. Then I can accept my limitations and the fact that I am human (i.e. limited) and then I might be able to laugh at myself a bit more. So, my poem, "Oh Happy Fault" is a result of these reflections. No doubt... I am still on the workbench - even at my age - maybe ESPECIALLY at my age. :-)

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About these magnificent writers
01/15/2010 04:35 p.m.
Episodically I have been reading bits of a wonderful book recommended to me by my friend here, Gregory O'Neill. The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing, by: Richard Hugo. I have found in this book not just wonderful ideas about writing, but things that I find profound about life. I am underlining and dog-earing so many pages. My librarian wife and good friend Joe David would be scandalized by what I am doing to these sacred pages. But what makes them sacred to me are the pieces of wisdom there that I do not want to get lost in the demographics of the pages.

This morning I read a poignant story about high school student (Hugo remembered it) who read aloud(as required by his creative writing teacher) a personal and special moment in his life about going to a whorehouse and blundering badly. The teacher applauded him, insisting on the appreciation of someone had offered a moment in his life with honesty and generosity.

Hugo was supporting creative writing classes as places you can go where your life still matters. I just love that! And it occurred to me that on this website I am richly favored by people who share themselves with honesty and generosity. And here on pathetic.org, their lives DO MATTER. What a gift!

I am loathe to single out any poets here, but this is, after all, my journal, so I figure I will dare to do so. I am thinking about Vince Blake and Paul Lorenz whose work I have recently read. Sometimes I am momentarily taken aback by the honesty, by the willingness to unveil for us sentiments that some might judge as base or rebellious or too negative. Of course, the reason I am taken aback at all is due to my age, determination to avoid pain at all costs, and my codependence. But I am glad I stick with this poetry and re-read and let it sink in. I learn so much about human nature and myself by doing so.

I think I might try use these journals as places for personal less-processed reflections and musings about the poems I am writing or NOT writing.
I am currently Amazed
I am listening to the doves flying away from the birdfeeder after hearing me cough

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Follow up to: "Love is multigenerational"
07/26/2009 07:17 p.m.
My poem: “Love is multigenerational” seems to have struck a chord with some. So I am moved to do a bit of a follow up. It seems a good part of my later adult life, trying to figure out why I am so screwed up, I have concentrated on understanding the dysfunction in my family of origin. There was plenty there. I don’t know if it is any more or any less than other families. So this morning I was thinking about how my little love decisions with my wife – that don’t necessarily come naturally to me - propagate love if only a tiny bit. While, on the other hand, my moments of harshness or insensitivity propagate shame or sadness or other kinds of pain. So maybe this poem is a tip of the hat to love for a change. I must have gotten a bunch of it from my mom and dad – along with the bad stuff – or I wouldn’t be able to love. I certainly have gotten loads of it from my wife and friends… all of which soften me and make me a better lover.

Finally, the word, “gene” at the end of the poem is metaphorical (I guess that would be the right word) and not scientific.
I am currently Bemused
I am listening to The ceiling fan

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08/18/2007 06:46 p.m.
From today's personal journal:

Dear Papa, Thank you for those precious moments of sharing with Janet at lunch yesterday in which she, misty-eyed, told me how you fill her with your breath and enough divine oxygen for a day, how you are not only patiently waiting for her to stop and pray, but how you jump into her consciousness like a child who, without fear on a hot summer day runs across the scortching pavement and leaps, arms up like wings, into the waiting pool. Why am I surprised that I, in my high intellect and higher education, can learn so much from this glowing woman? Why am I surprised at the way you knit our hearts together over burgers under the blowing fan, the ivy growing and breathing above our heads? She was unabashed in her love for you and I, for those brief moments, was able to put away my cultural and group ideas that abhore anyone whom I JUDGE to be evangelizing. Thank you for the keen grace you gave me to really listen to her as a student earnestly listens to a teacher, eager to soak in the wisdom, not knowing that the finite pieces of information he has to give are as a grain of sand on the beach of your knowing.

Thank you, God, for Janet and her beautiful soul, for her huge heart pumping love into the veins of our lives.
I am currently Blessed
I am listening to the soft hum of the little fan punctuated by the ticking clock

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Between the lines
08/18/2007 06:38 p.m.
Written in my personal journal after a long absence:

Dear Papa, It has been a while since I have been here to write myself on these lines, to line myself up within these infinite spaces. How could I avoid this contact with you, knowing its refreshing water on so many occasions, knowing that placing my pen and moving it here moves me closer to you and your sweet energy?

Hello, God, I would ask where you have been, but of course, that would be a dishonest question because I know you have not only been here between these lines waiting for me to try to touch you, to dip into your infinite wisdom, but you have been in all the spaces in my life waiting for me to find you if only for a few seconds in the midst of my day, in the nterstices between this goal and that task. How can yo still be there for me, who with determination ignores you, but for a few minutes a few times a week? To say you are good is so feble, but as I think of your patience and always-waiting-for-me love, I feel soft and loving and receptive and willing and energized. Oh God, if I could have a mote taken from your universe of patience and love, I would be a saint. But, of course, I know you do not make these distinctions among your creatures - whether they are saints or sinners, good or bad, becuse you accept us into your embrace no matter what we do or say or think. You are always there and although this is almost completely inconcievable to me, you still are. And so I end this brief treck between these lines today with gratitude and the hope that my heart will be open as yours today and willing as yours to love and accept my fellow creatures all.
I am currently Blessed
I am listening to the soft hum of the little fan on my desk

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Poet dead?
11/28/2006 03:14 p.m.
Recently I have wondered if the poet in me is dead or just dormant. I suspect this is me falling into fear again. For years I was depressed until finally I realized that it was mostly fear that anchored me in that gelatinous darkness. But, like a creature lurking below, it casts its sticky tentacle onto me and all but pulls me under.

Joy trickled into me yesterday when a poem finally came to me. I had watched a documentary about Leonard Cohen the previous night. I love his music. In the movie, Cohen tells of a rough time in his life and how he became a Buddhist monk. That shocked and delighted me. I had no idea that this was a part of his life and of who he is. The people they interviewed for the film spoke of Cohen's dedication as a writer and how much time he spends on a piece. It is funny the way real art seems so effortless to a viewer or listener. I first noticed this when I was watching the Houston Astros practice before a game in the Astordome eons ago. I remember watching the center fielder throw a ball back to home plate where the coach had been hitting fly balls to the players. He threw the ball perfectly from that great distance and his arm seemed to flow in a easy arc with the grace of a cat jumping up onto a chair. I knew from personal experience how hard it was to throw the ball a long distance, much less with accuracy. In that moment I began to understand the meaning of the word, professional.

So back to my poem. I was sitting in our garden room where we had assembled two large metal shelving units and Helen had taken in our plants for the winter. I had not yet sat in that room for any length of time this fall. But I noticed how I felt strangely calm yet in the presence of others. It was as if these plants were creatures with small gentle souls. I just sat for a while looking at their leaves and the way they leaned toward the light. How they were so unpretentious and without ego and seemed to be satisfied just BEING. I began to almost envy them, but more precisely, to admire them. And then the words of the poem began to come to me. And before long I found myself at the computer taking the words I had written in my journal and assembling them and populating them with new thoughts that came to me. I was in that "flow" that feels so natural and gentle and softly energizing. I came back to the computer throughout the day until finally late last night I got the poem into acceptable (to me) form and wanted to post it here.

I feel almost guilty and selfish about posting my poem here since I have been such an absent member of this community for so long. At the same time, I know my friends here and I know they will welcome me back with open arms. Leonard Cohen says something on that film that really impressed and helped me. He spoke about the experience of wanting to be a success at something and thinking you had failed. But being able to be in that place without feeling guilty. As I watched that film and took in the creative genius of this great artist, I had been thinking--before I heard him speak of this--that I was such a poor amateur compared to him. And then when he made this statement I remembered that great line from one of the wise men in my life: "Comparisons are odious." And I decided to focus instead on Cohen's wisdom and to remember the other song where he says that the cracks let the light in. That is such a profoundly human and spiritual idea. I get myself down when I see the cracks as fatal flaws rather than an essential part of being the creature God has made. Being human may not be as awful as I have pictured the species in recent weeks. Again comparisons I have been comparing the human species to other so-called "lower animals" -- our cats for example -- and I have felt shame for us. And we have certainly done shameful thing and acted in shameful ways and do so regularlybut then. I find a Leonard Cohen and see his humility and his creativity and then I realize again that we ARE spiritual creatures trying to be human.

I am currently Peaceful
I am listening to the hum of the computer and the tick of the clock

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Moment of glory?
09/03/2006 02:29 p.m.
Yesterday I taught a class in which everything seem to come together in a sweet conspiracy to create a moment of glory in which those present knew that something special had happened among them that they will remember and maybe even cherish. As I bask in the afterglow of that marvelous experience I find myself not quite at war but certainly in the throes of a mighty temptation to claim it as my own. It is as if I am trying to remake an orgasm as a solitary act, denying the climactic movement of the music that can come only from the intercourse of two people in love. Why is it that I am so afraid to say in public that God and I did good? I know in this momentary certainty that it was not just I but the two of us who made this music together. Yes, I had to say yes, I had to open the door and walk through, to pry open the windows that would confine me to my past. But as soon as I say that, it is as if I teeter on the brink of ego's clutch. Maybe I just don't have enough practice yet at this sweet conspiracy. I just need to be patient.

I write this knowing that there might be no-one out there that has the faintest idea of what I am trying to say. But I felt a need to express a bit more of what was going on with the poem I just posted, "Moment of Glory." Maybe I should just let the poem stand on its own. I don't know. But here I am, undressing in public again. Not that I am an artist, but I suppose every artist does this with every work.
I am currently Thoughtfull
I am listening to that little fan on my desk and the tick of the clock

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from fear to amazement
08/28/2006 05:03 a.m.
I have been having a particularly lively conversation with my ego lately. I have been trying to change from fear and victim-based thinking to a more positive creative process. But I can feel my bad old engrained controlling patterns kicking in with some pretty negative and cynical self-talk. The poem I posted this morning is an opening some creative bubblings-up that I really enjoyed. Didn't fully understand what I wrote, but the last stanza seems to be a metaphor for what has been going on inside of me the past few weeks. And I am lovin it.
I am currently Amazed
I am listening to the hum of the computer and air conditioner and the clock tickin

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22 Stories
10/04/2005 04:24 a.m.
I wrote my latest poem while sitting in my hotel room high above Minneapolis one night. I was at the Association for Conflict Resolution annual conference. I got to thinking about some of the stories I had heard from the time I entered the airport in Dallas until that night looking out at the lights and shadows of the city. I didn't want it to be a dry narrative. Wanted to chronicle some of the details and impressions. May be more prose than poetry. No real metaphors, just people and their feelings. I am not sure if people will understand the situation, but that is ok too. I am determined NOT to put in author's notes... at least for a while. One reason I am writing here. I don't know when or how the co-incidence of the hotel story and the other stories happened. But I sure am glad I asked the registration lady for a room with a view. Rm. 2244 will stay with me for a while now. I love being able to look down on the roof tops. What I saw there could be a whole other poem.

Anyway, one reason I wanted to write this poem is that I remembered the first poem I wrote after returning to poetry about 5 years ago after a long hiatus. I wrote it at a conference, describing some of my feelings and impressions.... posted it on poesie.com... and then re-posted it here... I think .... "The Conference." Haven't read it in ages, but kind of remember what I was feeling at the time. Alienation... a usual feeling for me at these affairs... so many people so much smarter and wiser than I. But this time (last week) I didn't get into that at all. I felt really connected with myself and others. That gives me some joy and peace.

I am currently Peaceful
I am listening to the A/C and the clock ticking

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