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Poetic License

I wrote a poem.

And two weeks ago, I debuted that poem at The Association of Rhode Island Author‘s monthly “Lively Literati” poetry reading event in Cranston — and I wasn’t asked to leave.

Though I’ve dabbled, I have never considered myself to be a poet, preferring to leave all that esoteric meter, rhyme and verse nonsense to the beret-wearing, patchouli-sniffing crowd. I prefer the longer, more thoughtful forms of creative expression, like the novel, where you can procrastinate for decades and still be revered because people think you’re working on it.

But I was inexplicably inspired, and went ahead and wrote a poem anyway. And for better or worse, here it is. Warning: have a hanky ready, it gets pretty intense.

Ah, Autumn

Ah, autumn… You son of a bitch.
With the promise of cooler days,
And restful, peaceful, cricket-filled nights,
You wish away summer for us all,
Leaving in your wake a cold rain, sleet and the searing pain of a northwest wind,
No more comforting than the confused hand of a schizophrenic mistress.

Ah, autumn… You son of a bitch.
You deceive us with your dazzling displays of color,
The vibrant reds of the proud maple, the yellow hues of the comforting birch.
And now your vibrant colors have departed,
Stripping once majestic trees bare naked, exposing neighbors I’d hoped to forget.
And leaving my debris-filled yard to resemble  the ass-end of some joyous, drunken parade.

Ah, autumn… You son of a bitch. 
Speak to me of that legendary  blanket of majestic color,
That now sadistically cuddles my lawn like a warm, snuggly quilt,
Plotting to  suffocate it — dead.
And with oak leaves the size of dinner plates,
You then swathe the squishy surprise the dog left me after his early morning walk.

Ah, autumn… You son of a bitch.
Those people. Oh yes, you know those people.
You encourage those people who never leave their homes, and never raise their blinds.
Who reek of mulling spices and declare autumn to be their “favorite season.”
Yet as soon as the temperature drops precisely below 69.5 degrees,
They burrow into a wool sweater to whine of the terrible cold.
Only to declare spring to be their “favorite season.” Oh, shut up.

Ah, autumn… You son of a bitch.
And alas ’tis Halloween! Your signature moment arrives.
It is your holiday, veiled in an October cyclone of brown leaves that swirl above chilled, hidden puddles.
Giddy, misbehaving girls and boys in enabling costumes. Assurances of chocolate, sweets and treats!
Yet I get a bruised apple and a giant… stale… orange… marshmallow… peanut.
And a two-hundred dollar dental deductible.
And my pumpkin is missing.

Ah, autumn… You son of a bitch.
And so now the snow descends and hides evidence of your plunder.
Winter has mercifully pushed you aside. Even it doesn’t like you.
Ice. Snow. Slush. Hoarfrost. Flu.
Winter carries no pretense. It was designed by its creator to be evil.
Yet the heartless winter brings a December solstice that lengthens my days, and brings me hope,
And once again fills my spirit with dreams of the balmy summer sunshine that you stole from us all.

Good riddance,  autumn.
You are a son of a bitch.

~Steven R. Porter


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Signature Moments

Association of Rhode Island Authors

Association of Rhode Island Authors

Come join me this Saturday and Sunday at the Johnston Apple Festival, along with Rhode Island authors Lynne Holden, Erin Whalen,  Jo-Anne DeGiacomo-Petrie and others, as we sign and sell copies of our new books. The special group signing is brought to you by the Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA) — a recently organized collection of local writers interested in selling and promoting their works, and who have recognized that it is time that Rhode Island authors stand up and take their place in the state’s vibrant arts community. There are over 20 published RI authors who have voiced their support to the new organization.

The formation of ARIA is partly in response to the upheaval that is underway in the publishing world. It is difficult to explain why revenue from adult fiction sales (according to the New York Times) is up 8.8% the past three years, while companies like Borders are liquidated through the bankruptcy courts. The answer has something to do with the 300 year-old business model that doesn’t include little old ladies in retirement homes huddled around  Kindles. To make a long story short, power has shifted from the Publishers and Booksellers to the Writers and Readers.

Irish Soda Bread

Gaelic Breath

The Apple Festival will be held at Johnston Memorial Park on Saturday and Sunday (9/24 & 9/25) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. If you cannot attend, come see me at the Harmony Library next Wednesday, September 28 at 6:30 p.m. where I’ll be reading from Confessions of the Meek and the Valiant as part of the Harmony Library’s “New Authors Series.”  (NEWS UPDATE: Sources have confirmed that Dawn’s delicious Irish soda bread will be making an encore appearance.)

Tuesday night, Harmony’s own Lynne Holden read at the Harmony Library from her recently published memoir, The Pastor Has Gorgeous Legs. For those of you who missed it, shame on you. It was a treat.

One of the unexpected side effects of this new power shift? Many of these emerging, new works — once ignored or suppressed by the status quo — just happen to be pretty good.

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