Twilight of the Idols: The Importance of Lindsey Buckingham’s Fiery Performance in Clearwater

 

Buckingham at the mic with his crackling band, Federico Pol and Jimmy Paxson on bass and drums respectively to his left, and Brett Tuggle in the foreground on keyboards to his right with Neil Haywood playing behind him.

Buckingham at the mic with his crackling band, Federico Pol and Jimmy Paxson on bass and drums respectively to his left, and Brett Tuggle in the foreground on keyboards to his right with Michael Kianka playing behind him

Marty Balin weighed on my mind as I entered Clearwater’s Capitol Theatre the night of Oct. 26 to see the latest stop of 69-year-old Lindsey Buckingham’s 2018 solo tour.

The Jefferson Airplane/Starship legend died a month ago just minutes away in Tampa. Balin’s former bandmate Jorma Kaukonen, one of the few living guitarists whose abilities rival Buckingham’s, said in a blog post following Balin’s death that, “Marty and I were young together in a time that defined our lives. Had it not been for him, my life would have taken an alternate path I cannot imagine. He and Paul Kantner came together and like plutonium halves in a reactor started a chain reaction that still affects many of us today. It was a moment of powerful synchronicity . . . Marty always reached for the stars and he took us along with him.”

I couldn’t decide if it helped or hurt to see a poster on the Capitol Theatre walls promoting Kaukonen’s upcoming acoustic Hot Tuna show in January with brilliant bassist Jack Casady. Yes, the pioneers who invented what now is referred to as the “Rock Era”–there is no more emphatic a sign of an artistic movement’s demise than its banishment to the remainder bin of “eras”–still are hitting the road, taking the stage and, particularly in Kaukonen and Casady’s cases, taking no prisoners with their electrifying talent. Still, it hurts to realize the likes of Kaukonen and Casady–and, for that matter, Lindsey Buckingham–are among the last living specimens of the long-gone cultural moment that enabled their ascendancy.

As Balin weighed on me, I too thought about Kantner. How nearly three years already have passed since Kantner, one of the purest badasses rock ‘n roll produced, left this world on Jan. 28, 2016, following a heart attack. Balin had watched Kanter push himself to the brink of oblivion as he paired what Kantner’s bandmade Jude Gold described as a “love affair” with vodka with a demanding tour schedule that spanned the globe. “He was a hard-headed German,” Balin said. Balin knew as well as anyone that the history of rock ‘n roll is a tale of many hard heads and harder stories. Lindsey1

More often than not of late, the stories have been hard. Tom Petty had been dead for more than a year as I headed into Clearwater to see Buckingham, who had contributed vocals to “Walls,” the achingly gorgeous opening track of Petty & The Heartbreakers’ 1996 soundtrack for the Ed Burns film, “She’s The One.” Petty was just 66 years old the day he died. Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen. They’re all leaving us. The curtain is falling. The stage is darkening. Time is rushing past the memories their music made in our lives.

It should be no surprise to anyone familiar with that music to see Grace Slick, every bit the hard-headed personality that Kanter was as the two combined their genius to bring to the world Airplane anthems like “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit,” still kicking life in the ass at age 78. In a September 2017 interview with Variety, she advised that, when you do acid, “You’ve got to have somebody who is not high to make sure you don’t decide you’re a raven and fly off the roof.” Fair enough. Deciding you’re a raven is bad. But something else Slick told Variety in that interview underscores the vulnerability Buckingham is embracing as he tours the country with performances far more fiery than most 69-year-olds could muster.

Slick often says that 70-year-olds on a rock ‘n roll stage are like 25-year-olds in kindergarten. She said it again in the Variety interview: “There are just things you do when you’re 25 you don’t do when you’re 70 because you look silly.” She has been saying that for decades. Variety’s interviewer, Steve Baltin, had done enough homework to know that. So he fired away with a question in which he asked Slick if, despite her aversion to aging rock stars, she had seen a stage show recently that she liked. Slick said Madonna had been putting on some laudable performances. Then she said this: “I also saw a program with Fleetwood Mac. They sounded good, but I couldn’t look at it because there’s all these old people singing.” (Madonna’s no spring chicken; she turned 60 in August.)

That’s the challenge for rockers Buckingham’s age. How does the architect of the sound that launched Fleetwood Mac into the rock era’s stratosphere put on a show in the absolute twilight of his career that approximates the glory days? How does someone in Buckingham’s shoes do at age 69 what he has been doing since age 19, and do it as compellingly as he did in his youth? As patently unreasonable an expectation as those questions impose upon the man, one thing was clear by the time he and his band left the stage that night: Lindsey Buckingham is not your average 69-year-old man.

The crowd’s reaction when Buckingham came out with his crackling unit of a band–keyboardists Brett Tuggle and Michael Kianka, energetic Bassist Federico Pol, and wildly impressive drummer Jimmy Paxson–was curious. I sat in the mezzanine surrounded by gray-haired witnesses of the era Buckingham helped define, overlooking the sea of similarly gray-haired fans jammed into the floor seats below. What I saw more than silvered heads of hair as the band took the stage were pumping fists. What I heard were hollers so full-throated this might as well have been a Lindsey Buckingham solidarity rally rather than a Lindsey Buckingham concert.

There was a trace of defiance in the crowd’s fist pumps, in the applause hard enough to keep their palms stinging for minutes after they quieted down and took their seats. Their ebullience seemed to be about something more than Lindsey Buckingham. Maybe it also was about seeing this living embodiment of an “era,” this 69-year-old who plays like a disciple of those lines in Neil Young’s 1986 track “Hippie Dream” when Young sings, “Just because it’s over for you / don’t mean it’s over for me / It’s a victory / for the heart / every time / the music starts / so please / don’t kill the machine.” Everything about his performance in Clearwater made clear that it is not over for Lindsey Buckingham.

Buckingham's gratitude for the raucous crowd's reception was authentic throughout the night. He promised he is coming back next year "with a new album." and said numerous times that he is "making a new start."

Buckingham’s gratitude for the raucous crowd’s reception was authentic throughout the night. He promised he is coming back next year “with a new album” and said numerous times that he is “making a new start.”

Like Young, Buckingham has been fond of the word “machine” as a descriptor for the cannon of music he has amassed over the past half-century. Throughout a career in which he has alternated between larger-than-life arena tours with Fleetwood Mac and the more eccentric fare of the solo shows he has played in between, Buckingham often has referred to Fleetwood as “The Big Machine” and his solo work as “The Small Machine.” The title of his 2011 live album, after all, was “Songs from the Small Machine.” Even in Clearwater on Oct. 26, when he finally got around to introducing his band during an encore offering of “Turn it On,” the sublime ballad “Down on the Rodeo,” and the rather calculated closer “Treason” (more on what makes that choice “calculated” in a moment), he referred to himself and his touring band as a “mechanism” that wouldn’t be possible without the supporting cast sharing the stage with him.

The backdrop of tragedies weighing on my mind hardly could have been lost on the fellow Buckingham fans surrounding me at the Capitol Theatre. No one needed to tell any of them of them about Balin or Petty or Kantner or Prince or Bowie or Cohen. The most celebrated pioneers of that music may be dying away, but here for a couple hours in Clearwater, the music was starting again. The crowd’s raucous response to Buckingham’s entrance established that this night, particularly in the face of so much time gone by and the losses its passage has brought about, would be a victory for the heart indeed. This may be the music of an “era” now, but for these two hours it very much would be present with all of us in attendance. It was particularly present with Buckingham, as he proved with a blistering and beautiful set of unrelenting energy. (On my way out of the concert when it was done, I overheard someone say, “I wish I had that much energy!”)

Buckingham literally hopped in response to each high note he plucked amid a menacing guitar solo on “I’m So Afraid” that spanned about four minutes. As his solo soared, he largely kept his eyes shut, seeming almost prayerful or meditative, entirely in his own world. Buckingham delivered an onslaught of such solos throughout the night–none quite as long as the one on “I’m So Afraid,” but each rivaling the fierceness of the last. He circled the stage as he sent “Go Your Own Way” into a fiery denouement, running off toward Paxson to point his way as his guitar sirened the song home, then jaunting off to Tuggle to do the same. Then he circled the stage some more as his guitar raged, returned to the front-most fringe of the stage, lifted his guitar over his head with both arms, and swung it back down again to finish off a rollicking take on arguably the greatest moment of his career with Fleetwood Mac.

It bears repeating: This is a man who turned 69 years old on Oct. 3.

As Buckingham seized upon the invitation he says he got from Warner Bros. to put out an anthology culled from his handful of sporadic solo records, he clearly fell in love with his audacious 1984 album, “Go Insane.” He and his tight band pounded through a pulsing take on that album’s title track and ripped up a rendition of “Slow Dancing” that had the throbbing pace of a sweat-drenched spin class. His band kept the tone Buckingham had set from the start with the bouncing opener, “Don’t Look Down,” from 1992′s radiant “Out of the Cradle” album. It came off as the perfect selection for whipping his band into shape for the two hours of ferocity he would demand of them. As the show passed its halfway point, Buckingham glistened with sweat under the spotlight that pursued him from one end of the stage to the other.

For all that vigor, two of the night’s quieter moments also proved two of its most pointed and powerful. Buckingham obliquely alluded to the circumstances of his banishment from Fleetwood Mac earlier this year when he joked that he was touring “for a couple of reasons,” then proceeded only to detail one of them directly–the Warner Bros. invitation to release a solo anthology–and let the crowd make what they would of the elephant in the room. More recent reporting on the situation put the lie to the band’s initial explanation that Buckingham wanted to forestall their present tour a few months to first support his anthology with a brief solo tour. Buckingham’s Feb. 28 email to Mick Fleetwood, which became public along with Buckingham’s lawsuit against his former bandmates, made clear the man had every intention of setting aside his solo project for a lucrative tour with “The Big Machine.” Lindsey3

Both the email and comments Buckingham has made since demonstrate that his ouster from the band absolutely devastated and blindsided him. Perhaps the most heartbreaking admission came in the form of a passing remark during a brief set he performed in May at a fundraiser for Mike Levin, a democratic candidate for Congress in California. He said that he largely had lost the calluses on the fingertips of his left hand, suggesting that he had spent possibly a month or more not even touching a guitar following the call he received from manager Irv Azoff saying Stevie Nicks never wanted to share a stage with him again.

None of this backstory was lost on the crowd, either; when Buckingham curled his nose and snarled out the last line of “I’m Never Going Back Again,” growling like a man crazed with conviction, it elicited almost as riotous a reaction from the crowd as his entrance had when the night began. These were people who knew the new meaning the song had acquired this year, people who showed up as much to be entertained as to demonstrate their allegiance with the band’s newly ostracized genius.

As Youtube’s “Real Music Observer” David Spuria has said in one of his many illuminating videos about the Fleetwood Mac crisis, an instructive glimpse of the long-festering tension that ultimately culminated with Buckingham’s ouster can be found in the absorbingly fascinating 2003 documentary, “Destiny Rules,” about the making of 2003′s “Say You Will.” There, you see Nicks bristling at Buckingham’s admonishment over her switching between past and present tense in one of the songs she was contributing to the album. (“You wouldn’t say that to Bob Dylan,” she told him.) You see Buckingham imploring the group, much to Mick Fleetwood’s frustration, to make “Say You Will” a double album. That took some chutzpah from Buckingham, who knows better than anyone just how negatively the band reacted to the grand experiment that became 1979′s “Tusk,” the double album which sold “only” four million copies after Rumors had sold 16 million. While not the commercial success “Rumors” was, “Tusk” is, in retrospect, probably the finest album in the Fleetwood Mac cannon.

No, it was not an unwillingness by Buckingham to tour with The Big Machine that led to his ouster, as Nicks tried to claim. Nor was it, as more recently was reported, Buckingham’s smirk as Nicks gave an overlong speech at this year’s MusiCares event. A smirk is enough to end a dynasty only when there is too much water under the bridge to begin with. Watch “Destiny Rules” and you get a good idea of just how much water this band had been treading together for decades. In light of all this, Buckingham is closing out his shows with the bluntly titled “Treason,” a breezier, more acoustic-oriented track from his brilliant 2008 solo record, “Gift of Screws.” Buckingham himself has said on Twitter that lines like “We will rise from this treason” take on a decidedly new meaning now, after all that water has washed away the bridge completely.

Perhaps the intensity of Buckingham’s performance in Clearwater derived from a defiant refusal to let Fleetwood Mac or anyone else kill the machine. When Buckingham signed off after “Treason” by telling the crowd that he would “be back next year with a new album,” the comment came off as the last line in a two-hour-long closing argument. The argument? This machine isn’t dead yet. Not even close.

Truly Worried About ‘Fake News’? Promote News Literacy.

If the old adage is that truth sometimes is stranger than fiction, the new problem is that many people no longer can tell the difference between the two.

A December 2016 Pew Research survey demonstrated the magnitude of that problem, revealing that 64% of respondents believed fake news had caused “a great deal of confusion about the basic facts of current events.” More recently, on Oct. 16, a study of attitudes young people harbor about news and the remarkably varied ways in which they consume it found that 45% of the 6,000 students surveyed expressed difficulty distinguishing between fake news and actual journalism. Merely 14% of those surveyed for the report, published by Project Information Literacy and commissioned by the Knight Foundation, said they felt “very confident” in their ability to discern fact from fiction.

Compounding that confusion is a growing distrust of media such studies also reveal. John Wihbey, a Northeastern professor who helped produce the Project Information Literacy study, made the observation that, “The rather contentious and poisonous public discourse around ‘fake news’ has substantially put young news consumers on guard about almost everything they see … We don’t want to raise a generation not to believe in the power of well-reported, well-researched, well-sourced news.”

Things like this bumper stick spotted recently by WNYC senior editor Andrea Bernstein in Park Slope, Brooklyn–a place this Brooklyn-raised writer knew well in his youth as one of the most liberal enclaves I ever encountered–illustrates the depth of that “contentious and poisonous discourse”:

Slope

While a newer Pew Research study released just this week yielded what some might consider the hopeful headline, “Younger Americans are better than older Americans at telling factual news statements from opinions,” the Poynter Institute’s Daniel Funke and Alexios Mantzarlis suggested that the study “might underestimate” the public’s ability “to distinguish between fact and opinion outside the pristine parameters of a research experiment.”

If indeed the public’s inability to tell fact from fiction is as widespread as those studies by Pew and PIL suggest, recent news makes it easy to see why. In just the past several weeks, photos shared on social media that were said to depict Hurricane Michael or its associated damage in and around Panama City, Florida, were revealed to be fake. As Peter Adams documented in the Oct. 15 edition of his excellent newsletter for the News Literacy Project, The Sift, one photo actually was a manipulation depicting a hypothetical catastrophic flooding event at JFK Airport in New York, while another had been snapped in Pensacola and published months earlier.

The Oct. 1 edition of The Sift explored similar hoaxes surrounding the hearings to consider Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court. Both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, were misidentified in photos shared on social networks that cast them in an unflattering light. One turned out to be a stock image from Getty of someone who was not Kavanaugh; the other clearly was not an image of Ford but turned out instead to be Ukranian human rights activist Lyudmyla Kozlovska.

Such hoaxes demonstrate that an age in which anyone can be a publisher is an age in which everyone needs to be an editor. Whether it’s the frenzy accompanying a monster hurricane or the heat of a political firestorm, organizations such as the News Literacy Project, the American Press Institute, Poynter, the PIL, or even Twitter feeds such as @HoaxEye are helping people appreciate the importance of slowing down, verifying claims they encounter, distinguishing between credible sources and propaganda, and employing key tactics for combating fake news such as reverse image searching. The NLP’s quiz, for example, which they recently produced in collaboration with global communications marketing firm Edelman and comedian and filmmaker Mark Malkoff, does a great job demonstrating the urgency of today’s news literacy crisis. (Think Darth Vader actually said, “Luke, I am your father!”? Wrong!)

Social media companies increasingly also are stepping up to combat fake news. On Oct. 11, with the 2018 midterm elections rapidly approaching, Facebook announced that it had purged more than 800 accounts the company said were generating fake political content while “using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate.” Meanwhile, reporters themselves are becoming educators as they increasingly recognize that the general public’s understanding of what the practice of journalism entails may be less informed than ever before. Michael S. Schmidt of The New York Times, for instance, last month gave a richly detailed interview to Slate in which he broke down meticulously how sourcing works and how many nuanced and analytical judgments reporters must make on a daily basis.

Yes, the truth may well be stranger than fiction sometimes. What would be stranger is to live in a world in which people no longer distinguish one from the other. That outcome is best prevented through news literacy education.

Why Being Present is the Hardest and Most Rewarding Thing You Can Do

If you are a parent inclined to take your kids to Disney World, as I do on occasion with my three-year-old daughter down in Florida, listen a little harder to the banter among surrounding people as you wait in lines for rides. You too may be surprised by how frequently their discussion turns to questions about what time they have reserved their next ride through something called “FastPass,” an app that allows park-goers to avoid longer waits by reserving rides in advance. After hearing this sort of back-and-forth among people in line after line, day after day, over the course of three or four Disney visits per year, the irony of Disney’s FastPass feature occurred to me: The very technology designed to enhance one’s experience of the present moment inflames a human tendency to resist embracing the present moment. The greater allure for too many of us is to always be looking beyond it. Something as superficial as an amusement park app turns out to underscore something far more troubling: the inconsolable restlessness at the core of our being.

I say this not in judgment of anyone but rather out of recognition of this shortcoming in myself. I myself often am this person who merely exists in the present moment instead of actually being present, someone who just as frequently as anyone else counts down the hours until the end of a workday, the days until the next paycheck, the weeks or months until the next vacation. The “now” in which I am typing this races through our lives unnoticed, or it is noticed only to the extent that we regard its passing as the gateway to whatever it is we anticipate. Walt Disney saw his parks as opportunities for people to “escape the everyday world—the strife and struggle.” No working parent has to be sold on the appeal of such an escape, even though a Disney trip with small children sometimes can feel like an extension of the struggle back home. The notion that may be harder to sell to working parents such as myself, but one that ultimately may be more powerful than any fleeting getaway, is the magic of embracing the present moment—however loaded it may be with the anxiety, stress, worry, uncertainty, unfairness, embitterments, angers, slights, pettiness, or ennui from which Disney sought to provide an “escape.” In fact, especially because it is loaded with the off-putting realities of the mundane.

Consider the courage it takes to embrace those banalities as ardently as we cherish the anticipated moments of our lives, to practice what Pema Chodron describes in her book, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, as “relaxing with the present moment.” Especially since, if we’re being honest with ourselves, we know that the majority of the things in which we invest a great deal of hope or anticipation are things that don’t linger with us for much longer than the time it takes to experience them—the moment that next paycheck arrives in your bank account, the one “parents’ night out” at your kid’s preschool during which you’ll enjoy an hour or two of uninterrupted adult conversation over a decent meal somewhere or, yes, the next ride you’ve punched into a day’s itinerary at an amusement park in a land of sea and sunshine. What if we don’t need an “escape” so much as we need to liberate ourselves from the desire for one? What if that is how actual contentment is found? What if daring ourselves to be at ease with the present moment is at once the most challenging and the most rewarding endeavor we can pursue amid the insane turbulence of our daily lives?

Instead, for most of us, the present moment is an inconvenience we nudge out of the way. Chodron argues that the reasons for this are “rooted in our fear of death,” which she says is the reason “why we feel restless, why we panic, why there’s anxiety. But if we totally experience hopelessness, giving up all hope of alternatives to the present moment, we can have a joyful relationship with our lives.” Whatever the reason, the present moment is something we live through the way we live through our exasperation at the old lady laboring over a checkbook in the grocery store line as others roll their eyes because now they’ll get home three minutes later than planned. We pummel ourselves with a frenzy of anticipations, the plans we have made for the “nexts” and needs and wants with which we shoo away our lives like some housefly fizzing in a windowpane. As the old John Lennon lines goes, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” If we’re too busy making other plans even as we experience the very things we’ve planned, as is the case with folks pulling up FastPass itineraries on their iPhones while flying Dumbos revolve overhead amid the shrieks and giggles of toddlers, then maybe technology has thrust us into a world even Lennon—even Disney—could not have imagined.

What is the source of this discontent? What is our problem? Maybe Chodron’s answer is the right one. Or maybe Douglas Coupland was on to something when he wrote during a recent stint in rehab, “I think data consumption has replaced organic experience as the measure by which our bodies perceive the passing of time.” True as that may be, how much more disturbing is it that “data consumption”—folks flipping through their phones to memorize the details of the day they have planned instead of actually experiencing the day they have panned—has replaced not just organic experience, but even the synthetic experience one has within a stultifyingly manicured place like Disney World? What I’ve been telling myself lately is this: Stop it. Stop yearning. Stop desiring. Stop anticipating. Be. Just be. I know I am not alone when I concede to the unlikelihood that I ever fully will rise to that challenge. I also know this: What’s worth trying is worth trying.

–Gianmarc Manzione

 

Why Contemporary American Poetry is Diminished by the Poems About Donald Trump Already Appearing in Various Literary Journals

I’m probably in the minority on this among my poet friends but it’s really bugging me: I think contemporary American poetry is diminished by the number of poems about Donald Trump I’m seeing in the latest issues of various literary journals. I’m not interested in calling out any particular poet or journal; I’ll leave that to Trump’s next undisciplined and embarrassing tweet. But here’s the problem . . .

Trump has been president for four weeks; he hasn’t even been on the national political scene for more than 18 months, and he didn’t emerge as a formidable contender for the White House until maybe a year ago. That means in most cases these poems couldn’t have been conceived more than 12 months ago, give or take, no less gone through many drafts or revisions. I don’t know who exactly it was that advised leaving a new poem in a drawer for a year without looking at it, then taking it out to see what you may have on your hands. But it’s good advice. Only then can you objectively evaluate your own work, and in almost every case, the objectivity one only achieves with the passage of time makes the new poem’s flaws glaringly obvious, and revision begins. How can a poem about Trump conceived before he even became president possibly have gone through such a process?

I felt exactly this way when Galway Kinnell’s poem “When the Towers Fell” appeared in The New Yorker a year after the 9-11 attacks. There was no way to have achieved an objective distance from that atrocity within 12 months of its occurrence, and therefore no way to process it meaningfully into art. Not yet. Kinnell’s poem, and indeed these Trump poems popping up now in a variety of journals, could have benefited from the patient scrutiny that yields great literature.

The urgency of this moment in our politics demands that poets–and editors, for that matter–practice that patience and discipline more rigorously than ever before. I know we all are in a hasty and emotional rush to have something to say about the strange and unruly moment we’re living through, but that is exactly why we, and perhaps most of all our poets, should guard against becoming unruly ourselves. Literary journals are not blogs.

My Poetry Chapbook, ‘The Panic inside the Stars,’ Wins Second Honorable Mention from Comstock Review

Well, the agony and the ecstasy, I guess.

I’ll be honest: I really, really wish I had won this one. Last October, I submitted my poetry chapbook, The Panic inside the Stars, to The Comstock Review’s “Writers Group 2016 Chapbook Contest.” A poet whose work I adored when I was a graduate student, and one who has won the Pulitzer Prize and served as Poet Laureate of the United States, won the competition. His name is Ted Kooser, and his winning chapbook is called At Home.

As someone who is very familiar with Kooser’s work–its voice, its pervading preoccupations, the unassuming tone and precision of its language–I think the title suits perfectly the kind of note Kooser has been striking for many years now. His work always takes you home and keeps you there; often, his poems obsess beautifully on the most mundane, and, yes, domestic, scenes and objects. This is a guy who does what Rilke sought rather deliberately to do in some of his work; he makes the ordinary things of your daily experience more vivid to you than ever before by “defamiliarizing” them. You’ve never seen the things Kooser captures as vividly as you will inside a Ted Kooser poem, and you’ll never see them the same again.

I’m thrilled to be able to say I won “Second Honorable Mention” in this contest:

TedIIAs I said to Betsy Anderson, the Comstock Review co-managing editor who notified me of this, I think I can live with losing a chapbook contest to a Pulitzer Prize winner, no less a Pulitzer Prize winner whose work I know well and respect. Kooser’s chapbook has just been released, and it’s available to order here: https://comstockreview.submittable.com/submit/77278/ted-kooser-new-chapbook-at-home.

The reason I say I really wish I had won this one is–well, there are several, really. Most obviously, it’s pretty damned thrilling to win a chapbook contest. What will be just as obvious to those who take a gander at the winning chapbook’s design is this: It’s breathtakingly gorgeous. See? . . .

TedObviously, Comstock Review has served these poems with tremendous affection and attentiveness to detail, and I eagerly look forward to getting my copy of this chapbook. Thirdly, I’ve been laboring over the poems in my chapbook for more than a decade; some of the poems therein are pushing 15 years old. Some poets talk about their poems as their “babies.” At this point, I’ve got teenagers. A gaggle of restless ones, pining for a home. I do hope they find one soon. Here’s hoping the next chapbook contest I send them off to will be–pardon the pun, Ted–home.