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End-of-2018 Update

As the year winds down, I hope you are having good days and peaceful nights.

Everyone goes through much in any given year. A few hours ago I found out that a Facebook friend, an artist and poet and all-around wonderful woman, died after fighting cancer for much of the year. To say that’s huge is, of course, inadequate, but it will do for now.

Another friend of mine from real life had some health issues throughout 2018, as did my sister. As did I.

So we keep going, we warriors who can go. We go as far as we can.

Romances change, sometimes nicely, other times not.  Friendships begin ad friendships cool down.

Changes of fortunes, of living conditions, of jobs, of new habits replacing old ones, all of this and more mark a year’s passing.

To rearrange John Lennon’s and Yoko Ono’s famous line, “Another year over/and what have you done?”

Well, besides my normal credit course teaching at Raritan Valley Community College, this summer I taught for children and teens. Wow! It was both more fun than I imagined and more challenging, too. I learned new skills by teaching younger students, and for that I am very glad. I am also very glad to be asked to return to teach the young set this coming summer.

I produced two chapbooks of poetry, both released late in 2018, Exposed (Soma Publishing and Hidden Constellation Press) and Bloodline (The Blue Nib). Reviews have been extremely good for both books, for which I feel very proud. It’s gratifying to know tat my writing reaches the hearts and minds of readers.

I will be sending out the manuscript for my third chapbook, New Paths to Eden, in early 2019.

There have been many poems and some flash fiction and essay work accepted for publication during 2018.  I thank each editor for picking my work.

And, as ever, I than YOU for reading this.

I raise a toast to you and hope 2019 will be everything you want it to be.

Be kind to yourself and your dreams.

 

Mike

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Exposed from Hidden Constellation Press and Soma Publishing

I am very happy to announce that my chapbook Exposed has been released from Hidden Constellation Press and is available in paperback from Amazon. Some of the poems in Exposed were written during my time in a nursing home as I recovered from an injury which would eventually result in the amputation of my lower right leg. Others were written later and reflect on the healing process and growing older.

An expanded eBook version was created by Soma Publishing which features additional poems, color graphics, and an interview conducted with Soma Publishing’s Sy Albright. Mark Anthony Rossi at Soma did a wonderful job producing this eBook, and I am very proud of both the eBook and paperback.

The paperback is $5 and the eBook is $2.99.

Here is a poem which is in both versions of Exposed, “The cut man”:

The cut man

 

The cut man bleeding out

time in his bathtub ballet

astride one good foot, hands

on slippery walls as the other foot

crumbles

to mud.

 

Water runs, water washes,

showers down   time     an impure thing

runs a ring around him.

 

Twin terrorists Age and Infirmity strike as one,

some graceless balance,

a trigonometry uniquely his own,

cut man, the mud-foot man.

 

His balance always off,

his dance of elephant steps.

Water runs as time runs away

dirty.

 

Run no more, cut man,

clay man.

Time to stitch time.

Time to dry mud to cement.

Uncle by Michael A. Griffith

A new poem written in Connecticut this summer as the semester got underway.

North of Oxford

metal
.
Uncle 
.
Arms tired, hands
like useless crane shovels
legs strong but stiff as
tree trunks. Your shoulders

.

have held others up, as
the cane you’d just as soon leave
at the Elks’ hall after bingo
supports you now.

.

Now you sit fiddling with
glasses three years too old,
eyes awash, blinking, reading about a man
who you voted for but wouldn’t now.

.

Now a car passes, its music thump-
ing like the metal press at the foundry where
you gave your best years,
your best blood.

.

Blood in your hanky, your
coughing, your dreams. You
tell no one. It is your job now to hide
such things, to protect

.

your family, your friends, the
few who are still here, who
still might worry, might wonder.
Tired, how tired too soon.

.

Too soon to go to bed, Jeopardy
isn’t half-over yet, and your…

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Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Mike Griffith

The Wombwell Rainbow

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following poets, local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

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Mike Griffith

According to The Blue Nib

“began writing poetry as he recovered from a disability-causing injury. His poems, essays, flash fiction and articles have appeared in many print and online publications and anthologies. He resides and teaches near Princeton, NJ. His first poetry chapbook is slated to appear later this year from The Blue Nib.”

https://thebluenib.com/2018/08/29/forthcoming-from-blue-nib-publishing/

A link to some of Mike’s poems at The Blue Nib

https://thebluenib.com/article/michael-a-griffith/

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Homes and Gardens – Melanie Branton

Damn good poem here.

Homes and Gardens

The brambles went mental when my mum was ill.
I was too sapped of strength to pick up the secateurs
and, like mouthy Year 9s testing boundaries with the supply teacher,
they sensed my weakness, took the piss,
played Twister, graffitied all over the garden,
flung their hagnailed hands over the fence
to give the finger to the neighbours.

They infiltrated the house,
insinuated themselves inside my mother’s rib cage,
wrapped themselves around her lungs and heart,
popped them like birthday balloons
that shrivelled to scraps of burst rubber
in the centre of a dark and thorny thicket.
Prickly tendrils crept inside my skull,
clawed my brain, left puncture wounds that festered.

It’s only now I can bring myself to cut them back,
only now I can see over the garden wall again.

Melanie Branton is a poet and spoken word artist from North Somerset. Her first…

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