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Month: April 2021

Sean Howard’s star damage

Sean Howard’s star damage

grammar (sentenced, for nietzsche)

the history professor
telling new students
“just keep it simple,
short sweet simple:
subject verb noun
all you need


battle lines

april 27, 2019

bus into bristol, goose-
step on banner: military
boot camp! royal marine
instructor to lick – yum! –
you into shape. (this
being the 21st
century, the


the damage

some students from
atlanta, visiting cape
breton, ‘freaked the
fuck out’ by
the milky

—by Sean Howard

Copyright © 2021, by Sean Howard. All Rights Reserved.

Sean Howard is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently Unrecovered: 9/11 Poems (Gaspereau Press, 2021). His poetry has been widely published in Canada and elsewhere, and featured in The Best of the Best Canadian Poetry in English (Tightrope Books, 2017).

Supermoons and Ode to Hendrix

Supermoons and Ode to Hendrix

Okay, so, yeah. It’s entirely subjective. The best of. The best that. The top of the heap. Towering over us all like ancient mountains. The pinnacles and centers and foundations of the Sublime, the extraordinary, the heat from a thousand suns and so on. Who was the best? And what stands out amidst their own medleys of genius, as we climb ever higher and higher? As in, among those deathless glories, those white hot suns, which work rates as the brightest, the most unforgettable?

When it comes to Jimi, I really don’t know. I’m not qualified to make that call. I can only tip my cap, lost in mesmeric fog, to all that was and could have been. I can only marvel at the context of these explosions, and how they burst through barriers some of us didn’t even realize were there at the time.… Click to Continue “Supermoons and Ode to Hendrix”

Joshua Bocher’s Sartrean Moons

Joshua Bocher’s Sartrean Moons

Frozen Life

“There is nothing left for you here.”

The head of this shadowy figure
Tilts towards the ground.

Salt is scattered about,

The snow a blinding mirror,

Human figures in the distance
Tiny as the hairs on his chin,
Visiting from
An old Chinese painting.


Queen of All Under Heaven

The moon reigns over the night sky,
Queen of all under heaven.

The stars serve her:
What she wants, she gets.

I stand below the kingdom
As the clouds cry tears.

With nothing to shield myself
I can’t find my way home.

The wind freezes, the air is still,
My breath is a dry cough.

I think of my love so far away
And feel colder still,

But on the surface of the moon
I spot her lovely smile.… Click to Continue “Joshua Bocher’s Sartrean Moons”

First Gatherings and other True Myths

First Gatherings and other True Myths

I try to simplify things somewhat with this group, especially The Mermaid. Even when I painted in the real world, aeons ago, it could be said that over-painting was a trap I couldn’t always avoid. Thinking a bit more of this color here and another shadow there would make it all work, finally! More often than not, “too much of a good thing” prevailed. And sometimes, there was . . . mud.

Less is more isn’t just a hackneyed phrase. When it comes to art, to writing, to music — most things in the creative realm — it holds true more than one might think. Of course, just as frequently, the problem of doing too little strikes at the heart, and trying your damndest to simplify tends to lead to “That’s simplistic, damn it!”… Click to Continue “First Gatherings and other True Myths”

Trilunar Phases and Cosmic Debris

Trilunar Phases and Cosmic Debris

Have been productive along the artistic front lately, though that old black magic, inspiration, seems to come and go. But I’m pretty happy overall with my progression these days, taking more and more chances with media and medium. The latter is the message, or so I’ve heard.

The two Cosmic Debris paintings are possibly the biggest departures from previous efforts, and made primarily in Gimp. I like the direction #34 is taking me, especially. Have figured out that I can actually blend colors, smudge them, pamper and schmooze them enough to go beyond previous limitations, though the program is still unpredictable at the oddest times. I’ll get my paint brush, colors, and vision just the way I want them, and then seem to lose the ability to increase the scope of the brush, despite desperate attempts at playing with various icons, drop-downs and tabs.… Click to Continue “Trilunar Phases and Cosmic Debris”

The Equivalents, by Maggie Doherty

The Equivalents, by Maggie Doherty

What was and is lost, and all the work we do to try to prevent this, or at least reduce the fallout from those losses. The things we don’t do to include all, and the ways we choose to exclude. Our choice, even if it’s just to go along with the status quo. These are among the most important takeaways (so far) from Maggie Doherty’s fine group bio of several extraordinary women from America’s past.

Radcliffe, Boston, San Francisco. The enormous pressures in the suburbs and the city to conform. Dilemmas, macro and micro, swamp the lives of would-be artists and scholars. They swamp everyone, of course, but artists and scholars are the subjects here. To make a home, or make art? To build a family, or pursue unfettered artistic expression?… Click to Continue “The Equivalents, by Maggie Doherty”

Horrid clichés, New Roads, and old Regrets

Horrid clichés, New Roads, and old Regrets

Photograph by Malcolm Lightbody

Nothing could be less true about life than this: If we just work hard enough . . . if we put our minds and hearts and . . . if we just believe, we can do anything! Nothing can stop us! Nothing!

No. A thousand times no.

Yes, it sounds wonderful to hear, to think, to feel — deeply, or on the surface, only — and the entire business and marketing edifice rests upon our blind acceptance of this sentiment. Beyond the merely commercial, too, it’s one of those “necessary fictions” we humans live for, which makes it far easier to swallow in any form, for any reason. Generation after generation bestows this “gift” (mercilessly) on its children. It’s virtually written in unbreakable stone.… Click to Continue “Horrid clichés, New Roads, and old Regrets”

Sacred and Profane Gardens.

Sacred and Profane Gardens.

Got in a good walk today, listening to music as I moved through the blue air. Strange beginnings, with “Revolution 9” by the Beatles spinning up first, splitting my head in two, then four, hoping “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” would follow, but she didn’t. Thought, too, about my most recent paintings, and about friends who have already left this world, one who also painted. He was self-taught, and could have been great if he had had the time. July 7th, 1979, and it was over. More on his life and art in the next post. 

Music often does that to me, as does walking. The push-pull of life and death, surprising joys and sorrows, spinning out from the notes and words and visual echoes competing for my attention, again and again.… Click to Continue “Sacred and Profane Gardens.”

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