Category Archives: Poems of mine

Featured Reading August 19th

Come see me read with Tobi Cogswell on the third Sunday at Linnaea’s!

EVENT: Corners of the Mouth

DATE & TIME: August 19, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.

DESCRIPTION: A monthly poetry series held every third Sunday of each month. Featured readers Tobi Cogswell of L.A. and Benjamin Daniel Lawless of SLO.

LOCATION: Linnaea’s Cafe, 1110 Garden St. San Luis Obispo

COST: Free

CONTACT:Kevin Patrick Sullivan, 547-1318

My review of the new iPad

Excited about getting an iPad,
I forgot about my pets
and if they would enjoy it too.

The dog loves to jump in my lap
as I’m running from dinosaurs,
or jamming in a one man band,
or watching videos about much cuter dogs.
He craves the attention
this lifeless and wagless thing achieves.

My cat ignored it, until one day,
Nicole googled “apps for cats.”
He pawed at a little red ball darting
across the infinite blackness.
I wonder what a feline astronaut would see
perched at the window of a rocketship,
and whether he would wonder at how humans
spend more and more money on
what are poor substitutes for
the scurrying mouse, the tossed sock,
the vacant corner of a midnight room.

Check it out on Amazon! Currently, 2 of 7 people found that review helpful.

Update: Two really insightful comments on my poem have sprung up.

  • Gordon Bernard says: what sort of crap is that? Loser
  • S.R. says: My cat likes to use the ipad as a litterbox

Honestly, I love it!

Reading tonight!

Super excited to be reading at the Rosetta / LEVEL Studios annual kickoff party tonight.

I’m currently in Monterey getting ready for my turn at sound check.

Wish me luck!

Also, I’ll be the featured reader at the Nautical Bean open reading on Chorro Street in SLO. 7 pm Saturday, February 4th.

2011 SLO Plein Air Festival

This last week, I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of the San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival as an invited featured poet. I spent a couple of hours out in the foothills off of Orcutt Road with Dotty Hawthorne, she painting and I writing. Last night was the poetry reading, and I’d like to share with you the piece I presented. Enjoy!

Art with a horse

While trying to write a poem for the Plein Air Festival,
I kept getting distracted by a horse on the other side of a fence.
This horse seemed normal enough,
eating grass,
nudging her water trough.
Everything was absolutely ordinary about her,
save for the fact that this regular horse
was wearing a blindfold.

I walked over to the fence.
“Excuse me.” I tried to get the horse’s attention.
“Mmmm?” she replied, not looking up.
“I’m really sorry to bother you, but I was wondering
why are you wearing a blindfold?”

“A blindfold?” The horse asked me back. “Isn’t it obvious?”
“Please, humor me.”
“I wear a blindfold,” she explained,
“because I am the world’s finest art critic.”

“Well, maybe I shouldn’t tell you this,
but there is an artist painting right over there,
not twenty feet from you.”
“Of course there is,” replied the horse.
“I’m the most superior equine around.
Not only do I know fine art,
I am fine art.
Make sure she gets the right color for my tail, would you?
Just look at my tail!”

“Sorry, but it looks like
she’s really focusing on a eucalyptus tree
down the road.”

“Oh? I’ve never seen it.”

“Of course you haven’t.
You have a blindfold on,” I reminded her.
“How can you be such a great art critic
with that thing over your eyes, anyway?”

“Well, the less I see,
the less impressed I am,
and a good critic is seldom impressed.”

I said my goodbyes as quickly as I could,
and decided to never again
talk art with a horse.

Montaña de Oro

Tonight I’m a featured reader at the SLO Plein Air Festival. Come out and see me perform at 7pm at the SLO Museum of Art (1010 Broad Street). Poets were invited to shadow painters while they paint, and I was able to sit in with Debbie Veldkamp as the sun set in Montaña de Oro on Tuesday evening. I took that photo above, too.

In case you miss the reading, here’s the poem I wrote for the occasion:

Montaña de Oro, sunset

for Debbie Veldkamp

Sunset’s bold departure leaves an ocean stage
as the day’s third act comes to an end.
I watch egrets pull the cloud’s curtains closed.

Even as the sunlight goes out,
the orchestra is swelling.
Debbie scribbles with her paintbrush.
She has become a conductor
hastily beckoning the day back.

The Monterey shale stands in a thunderous ovation,
the waves applauding against it’s surface.
The human audience has begun to leave
but Debbie’s too busy discovering a daylight of her own,
every purposeful brushstroke uncovering colors no longer there.

If the shoreline is a body, she’s Dr. Frankenstein,
and she’s building a skeleton of the scene.
The sea scrub is sinew snapping to rock.
The skin is sky slipping from orange to purple,
the ocean pulses through this creature’s veins.

Time passes and she remains stubbornly composing.
Mist and darkness approach,
silhouettes of one wave in front of another.

Every autumn

The wind sweeps dust off old trees
like a french maid, nose in the air, her iPod earbuds jutting out,
lungs soundlessly exhaling lyrics of forgotten songs.
Those empty pop tunes breeze past you and me,
and with a shiver we see the accident as it happens.

In all the cleaning, leaves have started to fall.
The red-orange veins drop in slow motion sunlight,
and we watch the wind trying to catch them.
Everything stops for her, she leaps and slides under each leaf
and almost gets every one. They pirouhette and stall.
But there are too many, and
one by one crash on the sidewalk.

For the rest of the season, the wind will try to gather
all of them in neat piles, to put back what’s been broken
before she gets too cold to care.


Still writing. Another month of a poem a day. I’m so thankful for my life and the ability to find these moments in it.

The artist and the canvas

After dark, there’s an unveiling;
a curtain dropping from your shoulders.
And then the ballet, the paint brushing canvas,
the pen inking notes like flags through our lines.
We trapeze over the hushed crowd
and limbo under a flaming sunset.

Afterward, on your back I draw plans
for skyscrapers and airports,
wineries and dog parks.
In studying the blueprints of your shoulders
I find the best floor for a fire escape.
I’m scribbling a poem
in front of a twentieth story bay window
overlooking this new country we have built.


That is the April 22nd poem in my month-long effort to write a poem a day. It’s coming along great! Way past the halfway mark, and I’m considering just keeping it up into May and beyond.