When Summer Gathered

You can find my poem “When Summer Gathered” at Section 8 Magazine as the August 28, 2015, offering.


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Accepting personal essays about caring for people with Alzheimer’s for planned anthology

Gelles-Cole Literary Enterprises, publisher of the award-winning anthology CHILD OF MY CHILD: POEMS AND STORIES FOR GRANDPARENTS, is now accepting submissions of personal essays recounting a wide spectrum of experiences of people who are caring for, or have cared for, people with Alzheimer’s Disease. We are looking for caregivers’ stories, told with compassion but unafraid to confront the full range of emotional, financial, practical, or spiritual challenges caregivers face–compelling stories, expertly told in 600 to 900 words.

Reading fee: $5.00. Submission deadline is October 15, 2015.


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announce cover

If you happen to be near Woodstock, New York, this September, please stop by the Golden Notebook on Saturday, Sept. 12, when I will be reading new and selected poems at a Woodstock Poetry Society event. The reading begins at 2 p.m.

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Once, we had ample time to neglect a garden.

Originally posted on kensalzmann:

Once, we had ample time to neglect a garden.

As sometimes happens, that line, those syllables, rattled around in my head for years before finding what seems to be a fitting home in a poem. For now, in any case.

Of course, along the way the line has tried to settle into any number of poems I ultimately discarded, unconvinced that they ‘worked’ in one way or another. In the end–if that is what the published version is–the poem grew ever shorter, more compact, and (I can hope) became a fitting vehicle for the insistent line that demanded it be written.

Planting the Hyacinth Bean Vines

Planting the hyacinth bean vines today

in compost it took us all season to make

from the insistent decay of daily lives rich

in unread newspapers, orange rinds,

eggshells, the cores of apples,

compliant twigs, fallen leaves,

one of us might have thought to…

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When the Plum Tree Blossomed

No one saw the plum tree this year ease

into its cloak of springtime blossoms

in the same week the forsythia

proclaimed the sun, in the same week

the hospital demanded all the living

we could muster. No one watched new buds

prepare for lace in the ironic promise

of fruit that will not come in later spring.

There was a year when plums formed and

dropped from this isolated, barren tree

despite the certainties of borrowed science,

and there have been years spent far from

the hospital and far from ironic promises

of a spring that never stops arriving,

each time to blossom and bear fruit against

familiar probabilities. No one saw the plum

tree come into full bloom this year;

even so, it remains our godly gift

to watch over it while each petal falls

and each tender leaf searches for its shape.

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Lessons Learned

Originally posted on kensalzmann:

Chances are you never were a student in Mrs. Levitt’s class.

But you may have known her anyway, if by a different name and in a different place and time. For I don’t know how many hundreds of us, she was that remarkable teacher whose lessons continued to resonate through the decades and throughout our lives. For I don’t know how many hundreds of us, she became a lifelong friend and inspiration.

That’s why, when we learned that her disease was terminal and her dementia rapidly progressive, a number of us created a Facebook BookCoverPreview (2)group called “Mrs. Levitt’s Class,” where generations of her students compiled a sort of accidental anthology as a tribute, and a final “thank you.”

Over the course of her illness and beyond–a couple of years, as things turned out–the Facebook posts accumulated and formed what I think is a remarkable portrait of a remarkable person. Nearing…

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At Paul’s Mall

Freddie Hubbard on the bandstand
blowing away at abstract truth
until up jumped spring
and we smoke the darkness
of Paul’s Mall just as if
it will go on forever—
jazzed breath ascending
endlessly heavenward through
the coils of the flugelhorn—
and just as if one jazzedsex waitress
is still returning to our table
like first light, all lips without sound
when the trumpet washes over
the shape of her words
and we order another round,
another round if only for the sake
of the intervals sculpted by her
wordless tongue and teeth
on this again our maiden voyage.

Copyright 1998, 2014 by Kenneth Salzmann

You can hear Freddie Hubbard’s rendition of “Up Jumped Spring” on Youtube:  http://youtu.be/khby51sf82s

PaulMallLastNite StephenCabral-thumb-600x614-114754

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