A note about “Manifest Density”

/ Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 / No Comments »

All my poems stand on the words of others in some way, this particular one more explicitly than most. When my buddy Bud Webster became poetry editor at the controversial Helix: Speculative Fiction Quarterly he hit me up for some verse, but I was stumped at first. My longtime friend Vickie Holt started me off by suggesting what became the poem’s first line — and during a beta-read another longtime friend, Cathy Reniere, suggested the line about Slurpees and U-turns. Finally, it was Bud who came up with the poem’s title. So I owe all of them for the existence of this piece, which is a delight to perform live.

As to the topic: in our corner of the world, zoning law is an ungainly thing akin to water and sewer utilities — it’s something that affects our daily lives in all sorts of ways seen and unseen, but nothing about it fires the imagination. As a government reporter I tangled more than once with the unenviable task of attempting to present a zoning issue so it would be interesting to readers. In my quest to come up with something for Bud, I got to thinking that I’d never ever seen a skiffy poem that dealt with things like commercial and residential districts and comprehensive plans. So that’s what I wrote.

(Read and hear the poem here.)

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