Monday, December 2, 2013

Svyatogorsk 2013

New poem published by Vox Poetica! Check it out here!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Two More Poems Published

The Spirit of Saint Barts has just published two of my poems, "Unwashed at Bethesda" and "Sabbath".  This LINK will carry you to The Spirit of Saint Barts but evidently the link to the poems has been broken.

Here are the poems:


Fallow field turned; 
broken, bruised, and burned
by bright Apollian heat. 

Some call it abuse
to leave in such disuse
what should brim-fill with wheat.  

Yet divine sense demands
relief from workers' hands;
a sabbath-rest for land:
a chance for brief retreat.

Unwashed at Bethesda

I suppose I should feel gratitude;
I had been a cripple all my life.
But who gave him the right to force his way
into my world and turn it all upside
down? Oh, he knew full well my game
and put me to the test with his burning
eyes and pointed question: “Do you want
to be made whole?” I tried to put him off
with some excuse. People never ask:
they don’t want to know. They just throw
their money at your feet and avoid
looking at your maimed and crippled legs
or into your eyes. Oh but he did. How
I hated him, hated the way he forced
his way into my life. That is why
I turned on him and told the others who
he was. But he found me out all
the same and now I never will be.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Girl in Black

Who is the “girl in black” that appears in several of my Ukrainian-setting poems? It interesting to me she almost always appears in places of transportation: a taxi girl in an airport, a girl smoking a cigarette outside a subway, running across a street, or a girl at a train station.

The taxi girl was based on a real person who I encountered in the old A terminal of the Boryspol Airport of Kyiv. Although she didn’t actually wear a “black Tegin dress”—she wore a black pants suit— still,  she was quite a stylish young lady. The others just seemed to appear in my poems almost by accident if that were possible. I am not certain who they are or whom they represent. Perhaps they are Ukraine herself: hopeful, cynical, frightened. Perhaps she is Lybid, still hopeful but still cynical as she witnesses her namesake dry up. Perhaps she is the poet, Lesya Ukrainka[1], who died at the early age of 42 (making her forever young).

 As the girl in black appears more often in my poetry, I hope to make her acquaintance and perhaps learn the mystery she would reveal to me.

Perhaps she is the future of Ukraine—always on the move…or at least in places where movement is possible, but she really isn’t moving. She seems to be waiting for something to happen. Will someone take her away? She’s looking into the eyes of passers-by with a dead look at times—has she given up or not? She is insular and self-contained—at times cynical—but I think she wants to be open and vulnerable. But she has been so abused in the past.

The girl in black is not a Cossack, nor is she a Hutzul. She is not a Tatar. She is not of the warrior caste. She is someone who has been helpless—a woman of antiquity. Yet, she has been resourceful. She has survived. She is nobody’s fool, either—while she is none of the above groups, she is all of them, too. 

I think the women of Eastern Europe have shown incredible strength and resilience. She is no victim or helpless damsel in distress. She is savvy and strong. But yet, she cannot seem make it on her own, either (at least she doesn’t believe she can). As much as she wishes to appear strong and confident, she also needs assistance.

I love this girl in black for all that she represents. The pain and abuse she has suffered in the past and the hope she represents for the future. I love her resilience, perseverance, and yes, her strength. 

Will the future be kind to Ukraine? I don’t know. But I know Lybid has been around for centuries. And although she has been bruised, she has never been broken beyond repair. She still remains.

[1] Lesya Ukrainka is the pen name of Layrissa Kosach-Kvitka (1871-1913). Her mother suggested the pen name which means literally “woman of Ukraine”). Lesya was one of the three pillars of Ukrainian literature. Her first published poem was titled, “Nadiya” (Hope). I find that appropriate.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New Spoken Word Piece: Damascus Road

I've been experimenting writing some spoken word pieces. This one I wrote in April as a personal project for National Poetry Month and for a speaking engagement. I'd love to hear any input!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Three Previously Published Poems

The following poems were published in Apropos. Since then the website has moved or closed. So here are the poems:


Blue sky over a field of grain.
And in the square a little girl
in braided hair stands alone
in grief with hollow, sightless eyes.
Deep thoughts have been taken away
by her deep pain.

                             Deep calls to deep
and sorrow to sorrow. I would give
her hope but all I have are my tears
falling into Lybid’s stream
while hers fill the wide Dnipro.

River Song

Moonlight spills tonight over 
the Mississippi as the water 
tumbles southward; black as the mud 
that lines the bottom where catfish hide 
trash feeding, only to surface 
hook in mouth to grace a plate 
in Midtown Memphis. The river moves 
to the rhythm and beat of Beale 
Street blues. Black water muse 
infused with primal spirit-song 
merges with the big gulf water: 
New Orleans jazz, an old man’s laughter. 

Street Corner Blues
Street corner straight soprano sax
playing tunes on Preston and Travis streets.
Most walk by without notice. He doesn't
seem to care. His eyes are closed; keeping
beat in weathered blue suede shoes.

He doesn't see me watching, listening from
my wrought-iron perch, sipping 'jo
and taking in his smooth musical moves:
bold java Sumatra brews slip
down light and easy into rhythm and blues.

-Darryl Willis- 
originally appearing in Apropos Literary Journal 2010, Inaugural Edition

Saturday, April 6, 2013

April Fool

This year April first is the day
that follows the Resurrection.
McCartney's fool could appreciate
the irony. (Not the Maharishi
but the mysterious figure who walked
with him on Primrose Hill and disappeared.)

From here you can see the world's revolution:
the final departure and new arrival.
The world is forever ending and waiting
for re-creation and resurrection.
While only the Fool on the primrose hill
can clearly see things as they are.

Poem A Day Challenge, April 1, 2013

Thursday, February 7, 2013

My daughter's poem and challenge

My oldest daughter, who holds a BA in Theatre from UNT has started her own creative challenge for February called 28 to Create. She and a friend put this together here! Check it out. I loved this piece she wrote and recorded based on a sordid little story from the biblical book of Judges. Read and listen here.