Monday, May 26, 2014


It’s Memorial Day and due to the events of honoring those who served, there will be no post today. You're welcome to peruse previous posts.
Come visit the site again next week.
Thank you.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Writer’s Workshops 8: Found Poems

Is it plagiarism when you do a found poem?

I’ve always wondered if I was breaking some copyright law, but I’ve learned a couple of things from taking poetry workshops and I share them here with you.

A found poem is one where you find words to use to build your poem or specifically use words for your poem, but re-arrange them. In other words, a found poem is something found not intended to be a poem and made into one. You’re either faithful to the words/phrases and use them as they are, or you’re unfaithful and change the order to get to a new meaning. Think of it as a collage of words.

One way to write a found poem is to randomly choose words in a dictionary.

Another way is to use street signs or titles of books or songs to make your poem.

You can also choose phrases to make your poem.

You don’t have to use the words exactly as you find them, but can switch them around. If you do use them in order, it is important to cite the source of where you found them. That way, you are not plagiarizing. For example, let’s say I wanted to use song lyrics as part of my poem, then, I would need to say who sang them. “Live and Let Die” should be cited at the end of my poem as coming from Paul McCartney and so on.


As an exercise, make an attempt at a found poem using random words from a book you’re reading. Just go through a chapter or two and pick out ten words. Then, you can decide if you want to add more words or use what you found.

Here’s my attempt from a teacher book on reading:

step      table    fan       graphics           words  produce           fluently            cross    point    chips


fanning words
fluent graphics
crossing steps
on pointed chips
left on table

After deciding where I want my words to fit, I added extra “filler” words to complete the found poem. I also changed the structure of some words to fit the meaning I wanted to convey about reading. Since I didn’t use the words in a set order from the book, I don’t have to cite it, but if I used any of them as phrases taken directly from the book, I would have had to cite it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Death as Metaphor 10: Meaning from the Self via Object and Vice Versa.

We make meaning of the world around us as we try to address issues by being reflective of the target object or situation. We construct meaning. We transform symbols. We can have multiple-meanings of these symbols.

For instance, death may be a topic for discussion and a way to communicate to the dead, especially if they are buried in a cemetery. The graveyard or tombstone becomes symbols for the individuals who died and are now remembered as alive during a visit. Sometimes, the topic of death is reversed and the thought of the coming end draws on symbols that comment on the unknown.

To aid in meaning making, imagery is a technique used by writers to assist readers to visualize an image by describing a smell, sound, or feeling. In Charles Olson’s poem, “Pacific Lament” (, the ocean is used as a metaphor for the violent death of William that the speaker refers to in the poem. These images are what set the mood of a poem and writers utilize them in order to have readers share a deeper feeling with the events put forth.

Similarly, symbols are objects or images that represent, or stand for, other things. A symbol is created when people agree to its meaning such as the octagon used for the ‘Stop’ sign or the skull on bottles that mean poison.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Short Stories& Such 10: Not Your Average Bar Fight

As usual, I was just minding my own business at this Mexican bar down the street where I live. I was checking out the girls when a man the size of an ape approached me.

“What do ya think yur doin’?”

“I’m sorry. What do you mean?”

He grabbed me by the collar and lifted me off the stool. “Ya know what I mean. Ya have been eyeing me girl.”

“I don’t even know which one it would be --”

“Ya callin’ me a liar?”

Clearly, he had been drinking way too much liquor. His breath was a stench of axe and olives.

“If you will kindly let me down, I can explain myself.”

“Explain it out back runt.”

My knees buckled with each step toward the sandwiched alley with one exit out back. I began to perspire and my heart pulsed fast. I was sure this is what having your heart ripped out felt like. I wasn’t scared about duking it out, but because it wasn’t avoidable, and I would land in the hospital with my arm twisted backward.

“Well?” He placed his fists in front of his face and maneuvered them like a boxer dancing.

Think, think, think… “Uhhh, how about we settle this the old fashioned way?”

“What ya talkin’ ‘bout?”

“You agree that fist fights are so old… and there is another way to settle any argument?”

His eyes looked around to the people gathered for the big event. “Yeah, like what?”

At least he was hearing me out.

“Like how about we settle this by having a race to see who makes it to the end first, wins.”

He stopped dancing and looked around again. A woman in an extra short glittery red dress, no straps and long legs held her hands in prayer, and nodded her head.

“Awright, you got yurself a deal.”

We had two barrels placed at the end of the alley and we made a runner’s stance at the other end. The bartender popped a bottle and we were off.
At first, I thought my idea was stupid because he was right next to me laughing. His eyes told me he still was going to beat me to a guacamole sauce. So, I mustered up the courage to run faster than he did, and when I passed the finish line, I didn’t bother to look back. I just kept going, but I came to a standstill about three blocks away. I turned, though I was safe from any danger, I veered to the left, and ran back to the bar.

I must have been crazy returning to face the big brute, but something inside me couldn’t let the image of his laughing face go.

When I got to the front door, my calves pulsed and sweat dripped down my forehead. I opened the door and spotted him in the midst of boasting about the race.

“So, yur back fur more?”

I marched toward him and punched him in the nose. He swung at me and I ducked. I grabbed the stool and lifted it to him. He got hold of it with his huge hands.

“Not bad fur a runt.” He gritted.

“Not bad for an ape.”

He let go and chuckled, then, bolstered a laugh my teeth ached.

Seeing his mood had changed, I lowered the stool and joined him.

Soon, everyone joined us, but I should have paid attention. A fist struck me across the face and I was down for hours.

The short story originally ended with him running away and never returning to the bar. But what’s fun is that drafts can be changed!

You can see the original post for January 31, 2012 at: