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Mid-Summer’s Return

Mid-Summer’s Return

Cliffs of Moher. Photo by Douglas Pinson/2003.

Welcome back to Spinozablue, everyone!

The move is all but complete, and we’re fairly close to being back to normal. The main thing needed right now is for our many fine contributors to let us know if there are formatting issues with their works. We did our best to keep the originals intact, but for some of them, especially the poems, the ride was far too bumpy and jostled them out of position, here and there. Please contact us to let us know of any typographical errors, and we’ll fix them ASAP.

We’ve also added two new poems by Doreen LeBlanc, who has graced the pages of Spinozablue before.

Stay safe, everyone, and enjoy the summer!


March: On the Cusp

March: On the Cusp

The Lighthouse at Two Lights. By Edward Hopper. 1929

Tis a strange month, March. Both Winter and Spring, cold and temperate, it transitions us from Death to Life, fallow to green. Depending upon the region, depending upon one’s position on this earth, by design or chance, this month will bring us all great changes.

For Spinozablue, March brings us poetry by Virginie Colline, and fiction by Donal Mahoney. For this editor, March takes me closer to the lighthouse, and another rereading of the masterful, brilliant goddess of prose, Virginia Woolf. She brought us closer to lighthouses — metaphorical, fictional and in real time — because she brought us closer to the mind in search of.


In Search Of: Six Questions . . .

In Search Of: Six Questions . . .

My interview with Jim Harrington is up over at his Six Questions blogspot. It’s a good series for writers (artists, musicians, filmmakers, etc) to delve into, giving them an idea of what editors might be looking for. Of course, my particular interview won’t do that. It will just muddy the already foggy, murky, swirling waters. Hopefully, your great and untapped strength will overcome the confusion.


The Way of the Harvest

The Way of the Harvest

Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The Harvesters, 1565

Spinozablue welcomes in the month of October with new poetry from Alessio Zanelli, Kyle Hemmings and Joshua Bocher.  


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Hilary Sideris, one of our contributors, has a new book of poems out. It’s called Sweet Flag, and you can purchase it through Finishing Line Press. Congratulations, Hilary!



Form is Emptiness. Emptiness is Form

Form is Emptiness. Emptiness is Form

Spinozablue welcomes the poetry of Virginie Colline, Hilary Sideris, Changming Yuan, Kenneth Pobo, Joan McNerney, and the fiction of Shanna Perplies.


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A tip of the hat goes to nnyhav for the link to Tim Parks’ excellent article in the New York Review of Books, The Chattering Mind. While most of the article is about modern literature, there is a section on the Buddhist quest to still the mind which I found brilliantly concise and relevant to past and future discussions here. The entire article being relevant, of course . . . .


Sitting for ten days on a cushion, eyes closed, cross-legged, seeking to empty your mind of words, it’s all too evident how obsessively the mind seeks to construct self-narrative, how ready it is to take interest in its own pain, to congratulate itself on the fertility of its reflection. That chattersome voice will even be pleased with its progressively more elaborate analyses of how difficult it is to quiet the mind and empty it of the very reflections it is making. But alas, you cannot sit cross-legged without pain unless you learn to relax your body very deeply. And, as neuroscience has recently confirmed, when the mind churns words, the body tenses. As if in a laboratory one is obliged to experiment the perils and pleasures of what the Buddha called the second arrow, the mind that brings energy to its own pain.


On the way home from work the other night, I listened to the radio and caught an extended instrumental embedded in a rock song. I forced myself to listen to nothing but the music as a whole and the notes making up that music. No words. No commentary. No language. I wouldn’t let them in. This heightened the beauty of the work for me and would have been sustainable if not for the vocals that finally kicked in.

I had never heard the song before, or the band, and that may be why I can not remember the names for either right now. Though because I forced out language, I also forced out names. Both may have worked in conjunction to rob me of memory and gift me with its absence.

Could I have emptied the auditory moment of words, if I had known the song or the band? It would have been far more difficult, because I would have heard more than the song. My listening would have been layered with all the associations already in the mind, all of the images that song provoked, all of the places it took me, along with the layers of opinions of this or that layer or opinion. Folding in on itself, unfolding, multiplied, extended, repeated – what would I have heard? That moment’s song or a thousand moments before and after?

Afterwards, commentary kicked in. The music was a strange mix of CSNY, ELP and King Crimson. A jam band, turning the focus over to individual instruments, one at a time, in waves — organ, guitar, bass and drums — in swelling crescendos and spontaneous bursts of energy. I placed it in the 70s. I placed it in a bygone era.

Why do I seek emptiness in form? It is not fear of mortality. It is the hope that I can strengthen muscles and someday control the jar of life. Not that jar in Tennessee. Mine is everywhere and nowhere.


Howie Good: Ennui

Howie Good: Ennui




A bird I can’t identify by its red markings visits me, holding a playing card in its beak. I feel elated to finally be remembered. But when I grab for the card, the bird darts away.

Come back, I yell, and the bird does. I realize then that its markings are actually splashes of paint or maybe even blood. The shock wakes me up.

I once took thirteen years to write a poem, if you count the mass of scar tissue that throbs in our dreams.





Sometimes we talk like characters in the kind of indie film nobody goes to see. To live, I say, dooms us to a life that’s never really ours. You think you know what I mean. You think I mean the hitchhikers we just passed on the entrance ramp might be escaped convicts. And it’s true, nothing survives here in the darkness behind words but dry fallen leaves, everything used up, worn out, cast off, and the white bony ass of the moon.





There was blue darkness,
cold & growing colder,
& somebody from somewhere else
who looked like somebody
I knew from here,
her head cocked
& her eyes sadly puzzled,
as if inferring for the first time
the rumble of panic
underneath everything.



— by Howie Good



Copyright© 2012, by Howie Good. All Rights Reserved.


Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the new poetry collection, Dreaming in Red, from Right Hand Pointing. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to a crisis center, which you can read about here: He is also the author of numerous chapbooks, including most recently The Devil’s Fuzzy Slippers from Flutter Press and Personal Myths from Writing Knights Press. He has another chapbook, Fog Area, forthcoming from Dog on a Chain Press.



The Mystery of the Manga Girls

The Mystery of the Manga Girls


Manga Girls Need Love: Rebel Little Rebel


Little Rebel in denim shorts, a Tee-shirt that reads Potter Got Punk’d. Her room. I’m stranded on some outpost of love, hoping it doesn’t get nuked by mutant minds. Her face is all about innocent sex pot vengeance, her eyes of some dark artificial intelligence. On the radio, a techno beat, then gothic metal w/ screech & growl. Little Rebel flipping through the pages of Egg magazine. I’m not exactly a fan of Ganguro. “The world is ending,” she says, chewing gum, her eyes, flashes of intensity, as if scanning secret codes from page to page. “People never talk to each other. They just want & destroy. The only ones remaining will be a few punk skull autistics like me.” She throws down the magazine. We stare at each other as if one could be made marble and the other could crumble. We make love with trapped animal longing & despair. We dress like cyborgs with detailed instruction sets. At the door, I turn & say “I love you.” She says she still wants me. Her eyes are glassy. Her voice is broken glass.



— by Kyle Hemmings



Copyright© 2012, by Kyle Hemmings. All Rights Reserved.

Kyle Hemmings is the author of several chapbooks of poems: Avenue C (Scars Publications), Cat People (Scars), Fuzzy Logic (Punkin Press), and Tokyo Girls in Science Fiction (NAP). His latest ebook is Moon Down Girl from Trestle Press. He blogs at



Recent Additions & Musings . . .

Recent Additions & Musings . . .

Spinozablue welcomes the fine Haiku of Virginie Colline, and the poetic works of Dan Corjescu and Neil Ellmann.


The Cemetery of Humility

As long as we are alive, nothing is complete. We define this or that aspect of art, music, religion, life itself, and we kill it. In some way, small to great. Yes, poetry can lift art; art poetry. But neither can define or limit or stifle the other. There is always more. Much more. And the best critics know this. The most attentive, aware, tuned-in admirers of all the arts know this.

Nothing is written in stone, literally and metaphorically. The stone does not last. It crumbles and becomes something else. The metaphors are a bridge to another place and time, another way of seeing. Ancient sages recognized the multitudinous quality of perspective and embraced that for centuries. But we lost that, until the late 19th and 20th centuries when revolutions shook the arts and sciences.

Those revolutions were made possible by a return, a sneaking, stealth-like return, of humility in a sense. Paradoxically, the masters of those revolutions, the Einsteins, Heisenbergs, Kafkas, Schoenbergs, the Picassos, the James Joyces . . . were not what most people would define as “humble.” But in order to pursue their ventures, they needed to recapture the ancient past (Buddhist relativity, African ceremonial masks, Noh Dramas and a myriad cultural complexes) to don “the Other”, to live outside themselves and their hand-me-down assumptions.

In short, they escaped their egos at least long enough to create dynamic beauty that shattered the present again and again.

All great revolutions are both a return to the commons, to our shared human roots, and an explosion of tired, dated, outworn egos. On the individual all the way up to national and international levels.

The winds and the sea, the animals and the green, all tell us it’s time again. Prepare the way for another return, another joyous, riotous humbling!!


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