Sunday, December 30, 2012

I'm leaving Paris today and I'm already sad the time is up. I also love Paris in the winter as it turns out. I should have been making notes for my next book but I've just been enjoying being here. My bad. Guess I'll have to come back soon then, Huh?

Monday, December 24, 2012


For a REALLY SPEEDY Christmas gift please give an electronic copy of my book. It will be there in a FLASH! (Just roll your mouse over the link at REALLY SPEEDY above and it will take you there when you click on it)

Friday, November 23, 2012


join us
we are
going to
get together

we are
going to get
hold a meeting
laugh and drink

we are going to
spread all over
and never see
one another
have an annual
meeting in guadalajara

write and blog
share interesting
things together
play cards on our
computers while we
skype or facebook
lives abandoned

work ignored
what was really
so important to
thirty five thousand people
not dying miserably
every day for
want of poetry
but living

in form and
content reading
poetry join us

(dedicated to modpoers everywhere)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

terminal 2

(for john ashbery)

im looking past roses
in bed
from kitchen dreams
at cold tile mornings
a hard mattress wall
makes nuclear physics nights
paltry you know

very paltry indeed
and restless
as a bus ticket
a road that
runs between
young souls and
the terminal
random ruminations
what do you think

Monday, October 29, 2012

I never wear a beret in Paris

so we were in the moulin rouge
in 1890
i would never go there
today or tomorrow
the deux moulins
has a red framed
glass barrier
the hotel lift
door opens on tomorrow
the day after
people walking
escalators down
sidney is not a city
he loses his head
in my paris
balconies watch
people walking
geraniums flower
windows with
paris inside
doors open onto balconies
henry cant find
the other door
the importance of being
in paris is
coming home
geraniums flower
in my window
who will water them
no bell rang

Friday, October 26, 2012

An open leter to my fellow Coursera ModPoers

I’m taking a little holiday from studying modern poetry (ModPo is a Coursera study course) because I have pursued it capriciously in the first place, starting in the third week and playing catch-up with what should have been, in some sense background material, a history or a lineage of a kind of “Adams family” of odd members (poets). I never intended to pursue it as if it were for credit because it has the great benefit of not being something attached to getting some kind of degree. This is education as it should be – with no extrinsic pull of the carrot other than the sometimes not so gentle tug of love (intrinsic). I have been free to enjoy it while I have felt those urges (ultimately urges of self-discovery, because they are lacking exterior and, somehow, ulterior motives).

This holiday won’t be as long as the last one (about a week because of a writing deadline), maybe an evening while I write this, because I am also looking forward to a sense of community that I know is tied to the temporal boundaries of the course. So I must do some of this course work which interests me during the same time as others do it and therefore I will be able to share, in some sense, in the process of reacting in new and different ways to already familiar poetry. This is the student community I have so greatly missed in the many years since I was young and at a university.

The community that I have had for the last ten years has been that of the contemporary poets who are connected by the internet. Many of us have never met during our lives although we have come to know one another well over the years. Suddenly I am now part of a (also internet driven) community that has a very different interest in poetry. This gives me the opportunity to make some comparisons. On the one hand, both communities are about poetry but only one part of the contemporary poets, the language poetry people, seem to be a part of both worlds. I find that extraordinary!

Most of the rest of the contemporary poetry group are getting filtered through the market-place of the internet readership. There are a few shy ones in the group but most of us are more or less interested in being viewed. Some years ago we were all happily blogging along when the e-zine editors started refusing poetry that could already be found by Googling. Suddenly we were no longer able to share our poetry and everything had to go through the filter of the e-zine editors in order to appear on the internet. This goes along with that old theme of some things are simultaneously good and bad. For example, suddenly a lot of the poorly conceived experimentation nearly disappeared. The need to get work through the editors was like the discipline of writing a pantoum or villanelle. True to the publishing business, a lot of editors are pretty conservative or reflecting some particular style or school so their tastes must be taken into account (or in some cases, at least pandered to).

I have continued to experiment, currently with the non-punctuated mechanisms of speech as it can be applied to the written format. It is demanding and interesting while not being so much of a put off to the reader who hasn’t studied your manifesto or read your scientific abstract (average person readers don’t do that stuff and are usually left to consume greeting cards, sadly). An earlier example might be found by reading my poem hourglass beach which is in Book of Aliases. It was written probably in 2007 during a trip to Turkey and only has a couple of hyphens that are used rather conventionally. It is a mish-mash of styles that include lists, objects as narration, some clunky metaphors stuck in as a kind of shorthand, a kind of faux objectivity of the Oppen/Zukofsky objectivist variety, indirection as a way of transcending my own spiritual and intellectual limitations, and just a touch of Jack Spicerly “oh I was just taking a dictation” lyricism thrown in for good measure.

It interests me deeply that the world of academic poetry is such a difficult world, in the sense that one must leap some hurdles and scale some technical barriers in order “run the Hash” with a bunch outlandish seeming fellow members of this particular in-club. It is also interesting to me that it is so different from the world that creates the poems currently. This is the most perplexing observation for me because it makes me ask about, most importantly why this division has occurred? We both use much of the same literary/linguistic jargon although I am aware of a more practical basis underlying why I use and am familiar with those terms. I find myself tempted to speculate that poetry is changing (in terms of the people who actually write it) precisely because of the unique pressure the internet is putting on it. There is great freedom and, with the exception currently of the e-zine editors and the langpo people, there is also no guiding principle to form little cohesive pockets of like-minded poets. We more or less loosely form them among ourselves but it seems a lot “looser” than the physical alignment that occurred earlier when the poets lived in the same city or went to the same cafes.

Still it remains that the two worlds seem divided by an impenetrable barrier and the poets want the interest of the people (it worked for Whitman) while there remains an ivory tower element (sorry Al) to the workings of the academics interested in poetry. Inevitably, we all come to the same place of wanting to enjoy the magic of words more but we seem to have such different ways to get to there. Most often I feel the richness that has come into my life via my education. I don’t regret that richness and have been sharing those sentiments with students at every opportunity but I also relish the joy, beauty and personal discovery that became a part of my life when I began to want to write well enough so that people would find value reading (I want them to hear it when they read) my words. Now I guess I ought to get back to doing a little studying. I’m really enjoying this course and the thin, clear air way up here in the tower!

Friday, October 12, 2012

On feeling buried alive

Have you ever felt like you were buried alive inside of something and it was like as if the thing outside was telling you who you are or who you were ever going to get to be? Life sometimes makes us feel like we are all hemmed in. I know you probably have a pretty clear picture of what I’m talking about as that is unfortunately an all too common sensation. So naturally I wrote a poem about it called Sometimes a Pearl and dedicated it to a poet friend of mine named Pris Campbell who has a currently incurable and very limiting illness known as ME/CFS. You can find the poem in Book of Aliases: ( and I’ll put a copy here so, in case you don’t have the book yet, you can follow along as we take a look at it.

Sometimes a pearl (For Pris Campbell)

The whitest flower grows in a sea of mud,
Never seen, never knowing the lips of the sun.
I grew up in a culture of lost relatives,
Finding the ones I didn’t want,
Searching for mystery and what I don’t know;
Looking for John Merrick in all this deformity,
Trying to make my own light,
Trying to glow in the dark,
Trying to get past the hate and anger,
Finding gentle humor, licking a wound -
Sometimes not hurting so much,
Sometimes breath taken in the deep beautiful,
Sometimes a pearl trying to invent
An oyster I like.

(Originally published in the Banks of the Little Miami)

Also, If you would like to hear me read it, this is the You Tube link:

This poem is an experimental sonnet in terms of form, by the way (fourteen lines is a good clue). Knowing that will help to understand what the poem is doing in the various places. So let’s start with the “whitest flower” found in the first line.

What could that be? There are some clues in the second line which says it is “never seen.” Where would that flower be? The second line continues by telling that it never knows “the lips of the sun.” So it would have to be literally underground, something that grows under that “sea of mud” and how is it that anything which grows literally inside all that muck could be the “whitest flower?” The answer is: it is pure white inside because it is a potato. This is the first of the “buried alive” images and is my attempt to set the tone for this poem. It also shows that something buried in the muck can be beautiful inside, in spite of what surrounds it, which is the message of the poem and is somewhat mysteriously hidden in the first two lines.

That message will be repeated again when we get to the part about John Merrick but first we have to talk a bit about family and why the “I” of the poem (not necessarily the same person as its author) feels buried alive in that environment.

Who could those “lost relatives” of the third line be and what is meant by “culture of?” Perhaps you have known of families that have crests on their wall or a family tree or maybe even some oil portraits of some long dead, well known family member. The “I” of the poem seems to be implying he/she has grown up being told of the lives of the great family members from the past (“culture of”) who are no longer there and therefore “lost.” The “I” of the poem perhaps identifies with some of those long dead relatives but perhaps looks at her/his mom and pop and wonders, “how come you aren’t as special as those old relatives were?” Those famous ones were pretty interesting but the ones he/she has to live with now “the ones I didn’t want” are pretty ordinary by comparison.

Now we finally get to John Merrick and the stuff about “searching for mystery.” The mystery is how do ordinary people come from famous parents? We tend to assume that famous people are different than us regular folk so how can these really ordinary folks who happen to be our parents have come from somebody who was famous and therefore different. It’s like some kind of genetic deformity or an illness that makes the formerly perfect into something much more flawed. We look at somebody like Merrick, the “elephant man” of Victorian times and we see something like the potato; we see a beautiful spirit buried in hideously deformed flesh.

This is the core mystery of the poem because we have to ask ourselves if there isn’t something special buried inside the ordinary seeming shell of our parents. This is the place where the sonnet, as often happens in the middle of sonnets, begins to question itself. This is when the speaker in the poem is faced with “what I don’t know” and cannot give an answer. Instead of trying to solve this larger question, the voice in the poem goes back to trying to solve the discomfort felt by doing personal things. That “I” is like an injured animal: “Trying to make my own light,/ Trying to glow in the dark,/ Trying to get past the hate and anger,/ Finding gentle humor, licking a wound –“ and like all injured things it tends to be primarily self-concerned.

Now starts the repeating litany of “sometimes.” The first one (“Sometimes not hurting so much”) is kind of saying that things are getting a little better. The second one makes a great improvement (“Sometimes breath taken in the deep beautiful”) and also takes us to the bottom of the ocean to set up for the final image contained in the couplet.

This is the part of the sonnet where everything has to get resolved somehow. It finishes the series of the three “sometimes” by focusing on the startling beauty you experience when you find a pearl buried in all that muck inside the oyster shell. It feels and sounds almost proud when it says: “Sometimes a pearl trying to invent/ An oyster I like” as if the voice in the poem has found the way to sort of overcome the obstacle of being buried. It’s as if this rather proactive style of looking at this problem lets the poem’s voice and the reader as well, celebrate some kind of victory.

I hope you enjoyed doing that close reading of this poem with me. I really like that little sonnet and I hope you enjoyed it too!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

YUM YUM! I made big juicy jalepeno hamburgers for Brunch this early afternoon. I love to share pictures of the food I enjoy but unfortunately the burgers never stayed on the plate long enough for the camera to be used. Pity! you'll just have to take my word that they tasted fantastic. Look at that satisfied expression on my face and maybe that'll help.

Monday, August 13, 2012

My NEW workspace

My little study where I write is improving with the addition of a new desk chair and a new computer desk. I now sit facing the wall (Russell needs to concentrate, not look out the window) and have less mess and more usable space. I still water the plants in my window sill and look out the window, enjoying the sunlight flooding in during the morning hours but it is less temptation than it used to be when I sat next to the window. The chair is wonderful on my back and I enjoy sitting in it while I work. Matsuliya, my little white cat, has taken up my nap blanket on the couch behind the desk as her own personal workspace. She is good company. I like my workspace a lot!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Book of Aliases

Who are you?
You'd like to know.
A cause for pride?
Or a need to hide?
The answer's in the Book of Aliases!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

“Help me,” she cried, “I’m drowning in the gelatin center of this birthday cake!”

You are probably a blogger or a Google searcher if you are reading this and you probably have a Facebook page as well. I’ve got one also. So what can go wrong with wishing someone happy birthday?

All Facebook users get notifications about the birthdays of the people who are their Facebook friends. I frequently see people making comments that using the birthday alerts is some kind of cheat or something stupid because it is so easy. I will openly confess I am a bit of a cynic but I find the dismissal of sending a greeting to somebody you may not know as well just because there is a notification as bordering on criticizing someone for doing something nice because it was easy.

Certainly I understand that some people are going to be insincere when they send that kind of birthday greeting but, more than likely, a lot of their more personal correspondence may suffer from the same complaint. On the other hand, some people may actually be glad to reach beyond the limitation of their own close acquaintances and send good wishes to people they would have been happy to be friends with if they could have had more time and closer ties.

The question here is about motivation, why are these people sending greetings, and some blanket dismissal of everybody who does so is neither accurate nor perhaps even appropriate. You can’t simply say smiles are stupid because some people smile insincerely. All I get from hearing such silly comments is that some people are high in cynicism and low in logic.

The headline for this little rant of mine was a metaphor for the girl that comes out of the cake in a fancy, staged birthday bash. Instead of the cake merely being a place to hide a girl who is supposed to surprise the birthday person, it actually has something sweet and gooey (sentimental) in it. So instead of jumping out, she is actually gets stuck in the stuff. I guess my question is really, which is more superficial, the gooey stuff inside the birthday greeting or the surprise appearance?

Anyway, I’m going to keep sending birthday greetings to everybody I get a notice about and I’m not going to listen to any sour people who would call me superficial for doing so. I think you should do so also. Go ahead, call me sentimental!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Listen to what Matsuliya says!

Matsuliya says, "Don't just sit there; buy Russell's book!"

Sunday, July 08, 2012

A lost and happy soul!

Here is a link to some reworked photos of mine that you might enjoy. You'll find them on my Facebook book page called the Poetry Street metro:

I hope you enjoy them!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Can you give a kid a good reason to read?

This is a world full of video games, movies and rap music clips. You can turn on your TV and find, news, new technology, science, medicine, history, art and even sometimes literature. This gives us the impression that things are to be viewed. If we transfer that perspective to people, they become less interesting to actually meet because they are more comfortable to us when viewed with the kind of detachment we have when we are watching them in a monitor or on a screen.

We want to look at them generally rather than specifically more often and perhaps even by preference. This distancing even changes the way we think about the people we actually meet when we are with them in person because of the tendency to relate them with groups, ethnicities and movements. All this has taken place as a shift in my lifetime with the ascendency of media products such as radio and television. This is because they seem to originate within us, like all of these things were our own ideas. They are sound or sounds and images that seem to start as rather intimate personal experiences. We own them from the first moment we experience them even if we disagree with them.

Other mass media, like newspapers and magazines are, by nature, also an internal experience. It is a different experience than the audio-visual one however because it tends to be one we are easily able to separate ourselves from by doing something as simple as putting the paper or magazine down and sitting there preoccupied by our own thoughts for a few moments. Certainly these are thoughts that can somehow spring from the material we have been reading but still we find ourselves feeling kind of separate from reading and able to disengage.

All this is not to say that reading won’t be something internal, intimate and feeling like a uniquely personal thing. I know I do that too but somehow it happens best when it is on my own terms and not dictated by an ambulance full of edited together two second images shot at my optical nerve machine gun fashion. I sometimes find myself slipping into a trance like state because of something beautiful and pleasant I have been reading. Watching a rap video can also be trance inducing but for me it is more like slipping into a slightly bad dream.

I don’t know how you feel about it but I tend to think of reading and dreaming as being rather similar. Some dreams let you work out problems and, although while not the most pleasant of experiences, they certainly have a useful purpose in life. Other dreams let us experience pleasure and joy that are a much rarer bi-product of real life. They let us dance through meadows barefooted feeling the grass between our toes without even a single sticker or insect bite. They allow us to relax and regroup certain that there is pleasure and joy to come and we can find it, even look for it as we go through our busy days when we wake up.

The point is people who read, look at the world from a different perspective than those of us who have been raised on the television, the movies and the music videos that are so popular today. For better or worse, the world is a different place than the slower, more reflective one that existed before the advent of the visual mass media. So, back to the question that headlined this article: can we give a kid a good reason to read?

Answering that question means that we must come to a value judgment type of conclusion about the relative merits of the two types of experiences we have been taking a look at so far. I wouldn’t be very believable if I told you I had no preference because I am obviously biased toward the slower and more easily disengaged from experience of reading. So let’s parade out the reasons behind that bias a see if it could give us an argument we could use to convince a kid of the value of this seemingly anachronistic persuasion.

I guess I am most biased about the difference in thinking. Call me Orwellian but the visual immediacy of experience seems a lot closer to the idea of mind control than the more self-directed state of the reading experience. I can understand it is easy and convenient to let others do the thinking for you but is it safe? Another part of that same point is that reading gives you time to stop and reflect and you can decide what you really believe in moments like that. The pace of thought is too rapid when someone else is entertaining you by orchestrating your emotional response to allow you such a luxury as in time to reflect. I don’t mean to be alarmist but I see some real dangers in the visually orchestrated entertainment process. Is this an argument, however, that would be useful to persuade a kid with? No, I’m afraid not.

I guess people of my generation are stuck with being out of the fast pace until we can come up with some kind of argument for the reading experience that would seem important to modern children. Well anyway, this seems like a pretty important idea to explore. If you’ve got any suggestions, I’m sure the readers here will be interested to know about them.

Russell H. Ragsdale,
Poet and songwriter,
Author of Book of Aliases
(a poetry collection, which can be purchased electronically at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Sony, and many other outlets)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Public Libraries Today

Give a helping hand to somebody less fortunate!

Most of the time when somebody says something like that to me, I get on my guard because I’m pretty sure I’m about to get asked for money. We have come to think that about the only thing we have that somebody else wants can be found tucked away inside our wallets. It’s a pretty sad modern state for most of us isn’t it?

I guess I believe that if we care enough, that is more important than any amount of money we could possibly throw at a problem. I suspect you’ve come to the same conclusion and if you still don’t believe me, you can go right now and lock your money up because I promise you I’m not going to ask you for a cent! In fact, I want to say thanks to you because you have bought my book and I’m really grateful to you for that. I believe that somebody who would buy Book of Aliases must be a nice, thoughtful person who likes art of the gentle persuasion such as is the nature of poetry. Maybe you have been reading my poetry for years already and have developed a fondness for it. If that’s the case, I’m even more grateful to you for caring enough to enjoy what I have given freely, hoping for someone just like you to come along.

So okay, you are a caring and intelligent person and that I already know. You have gone to the trouble to buy and read my book and hopefully enjoyed it, maybe even though it was pretty good. Maybe you’ve even given it as a gift to somebody you love or told a friend about it because you know that is the kind of reading they would enjoy. Thanks for that! It means more to me than you could imagine.

But what can you do for somebody else? I guess you are a pretty fortunate person, with a good education and a healthy bank account. In other words, not everybody is as fortunate as you are. Don’t get nervous now, I promised I wouldn’t ask for any money and I mean to keep that promise. What you can do is a lot simpler and much more caring than to pull out your credit card. This is a real act of love for somebody whom you will never meet and they probably will never guess somebody did this for them as an act of kindness and consideration.

Think of all the great books you have enjoyed over the years, many of which you got for free because you had a library card. You probably still have a library card and, if you don’t, that is the first thing you can do that won’t cost you a cent but might be a great boon for lots of people – so go get a library card.

You probably haven’t thought about it but in this modern, electronic age it is not only the big bookstores that are closing down … the public libraries are having problems too. It doesn’t matter so much to you because you’re all grown up and doing pretty well, not to mention the fact that you have your Kindle, Nook, iPad, Sony or some other e-reader plus a good home library as well. What about the people who really need the access to a library these days though, don’t they deserve a chance to get the advantage of free printed material, including all the new stuff that’s coming out electronically? Did you know that they can even check out e-books from the library these days? Shouldn’t libraries be there for them too just like they were for us when we were kids?

So here’s the deal! First, if you don’t already have one, get a library card. Second, call the library and ask them for a copy of Book of Aliases and some of the other wonderful books that have meant so much to you in your lifetime. They’ll probably put you on a waiting list to check them out but that’s okay, at least they will know that people that read are still out there and, more importantly, that will give them a reason to exist. Third, when it comes your turn, check them out. You don’t have to keep them long and, if they are e-books, you don’t even have to return them. What could be simpler?

We can’t let this wonderful institution called the library cease to be and, even if you don’t need one so much these days, somebody who isn’t as lucky as you sure as heck will. Think about it and make the decision to show you care. And, as I promised, it won’t cost you a cent.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

The question’s not what but who is your dad? Think about it!

So what are you going to get the big guy for Father’s Day? Life is more than a bucket of Super Bowl beer on ice. This is the guy who taught you everything you know about life, love and family!

You have come to understand he is more than a box of candy or matching socks, tie and hanky set. There is a soul in there that has made years of sacrifices so that you could become who you have grown up to be. You can’t just give him some back-of-the-bottom-drawer gift.

Maybe he’s the guy who held your hand and went with you from house to house all dressed up on Halloween. Maybe he watched you learn to dance ballet or taught you to play softball. It was undoubtedly him who was with you when you fell or failed and he gave you that helping hand when you most needed it.

Maybe he’s the guy who invariably let you down occasionally because he’s only human after all. I know there have been times when I have let my own kids down and I have regretted doing or not doing something just like he probably has. He probably has forgiven you for your childish mistakes even though some of them were probably pretty costly and you may have come to terms with his humanness also.

What would you be willing to do for this guy, the man who was by your side all through childhood? Love is an incredibly powerful force and there are probably few, if any, sacrifices you wouldn’t be willing to make for him. I’m sure the same has been true for him.

What I’m talking about here is this: you know pretty much who this guy is and you are wondering what you can do for him on Father’s Day that is going to be really special? We all know he’d be pleased with a funny card and knowing that you are thinking about him. That would probably be enough for him, wouldn’t it?

But we also know that this is when you want to show him some small measure of what he means to you. Yes, he’s your dad but that is just what he is. If you wanted to do the same as everybody else you would also be willing to go with the all the abundance of Father’s Day merchandise that is getting stocked on the shelves to give him as a gift and then sit down for dinner with him. That’s all about what he is but I believe the question you are starting to ask yourself is more about WHO is he? That’s the question that will make what you do when you spend time with him on June 17th be the kind of experience you are really looking for.

The unexamined life is not worth living.

Does he like to garden? Or would he rather have a fountain in the front of the house to make him feel like a king when he comes home? Does he like to read? Or would he like to spend a few hours in the afternoon telling fantastic stories to a bunch of neighborhood kids? Does he like to look at travel magazines? Maybe what he would really like is to learn French and spend a few weeks in Paris learning how to use Le Metro and finding out which Boulangerie in Montmartre makes the best croissants? He may have been so busy raising his kids that he really hasn’t considered doing some of the things he would really prefer. In fact, he might be approaching the age of retirement without knowing how to get on with some of the things he would really enjoy the experience of doing, being or having.

That’s one of the problems in life! We get so busy living that we don’t spend much time asking if what we’re settling for is what we really want. That’s why Socrates’ words make us uncomfortable. Most of us never even get to the point in our lives where we can speculate on whom, not what, we really are. We are like trains on a track; our course is in front of us just a little further ahead and, when we come to the end of the line, is that going to be somewhere we really want to be?

Of course that’s not something we can decide for another person, especially when he is our dad. The best we can do is follow his example and care enough to want the best for him and try to be there for him along the way. Tomorrow maybe too far away and today, God forbid may be the only option we have, which means we’ve got to start now! This June 17th has to be the day we really step out of that box of usual things and do something really loving for him.

Twenty-five years ago I got the opportunity to start finding out what I really wanted to do and had the good fortune to be able to start doing some of those things. I subsequently became a poet and changed my career to better suit the person I was discovering I really was. I was 42 when I began doing all this. That Father’s Day was pretty scary but, with the support of my wife and kids, it turned out to be something pretty wonderful. Recently I finished a book of poetry dealing with the self-discoveries, the knowledge of my many parts that were necessary for me to understand the nature of my real identity. I can’t guarantee your dad is like me but if this book opens any new door for him that would surely be wonderful.

Maybe you’ll give your dad that funny card and a copy of my book to read. It could be the start of something new and wonderful for the big guy! Here are some links you can use to find it:;;

Have the best Father’s Day!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

School is out pictures

School is out!

In Kazakhstan the kids were very excited on the 25th of May in 2012 because that is the day that this school year finished. You remember what that feels like – no more classes or homework – like a great weight has been lifted off of you and you can suddenly leap and run around again. Kids everywhere feel that way because the pressure to perform academically has been lifted. What started out to be the freedom of universal literacy where information is accessible to all has become a very pressing prison of you-better-do-well-or-you’ll-never-get-anywhere. It was a really generous idea that everybody should have access to the information found in print but it has turned into the nightmare before adulthood. That is why the yearly release from this drudgery was such a joyous and riotous celebration.

I just happened to be there this day at one of the places the kids picked to express their relief in a riot of activity they would not normally consider doing under any other circumstances. It is a normally fashionable fountain that has something to do with a calendar because it is divided in seven sections, one for each day of the week. On this day, some of them still wearing their sashes for academic achievement, the kids came in groups and many of them jumped in the water wearing their school uniforms. Most of the kids in the water, some with their shoes still on, didn’t come wearing sashes. The “sashes” group was more sedate and reserved seeming although some of them had bathing suits under their clothes, which they used when they got in the water with their classmates still in uniform. The “sashes” group didn’t seem inclined to abandon all decorum to celebrate as the rest of their classmates did.

I was intrigued by the social division because it was so visible and took some pictures with my phone to document the occasion. I hope you enjoy seeing what I saw.

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Workspace

This is my little workspace. On the other side of the curtain there are flowers growing in pots along the windowsill. I love the long pot of geraniums because it reminds me of the windows and balconies in Paris. I write poetry longhand in a red (currently) Moleskine which I carry everywhere with me and then I come back to this table and do my entry work and editing. My Wi-Fi is my outlet to a world which is distant yet always there in my heart.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

It's out there like a dream that's no longer a dream!

I suppose you have dreams you'd like to see come true, I guess we all do. Well mine, as of a few days ago, finally came true. A book I've been working on for some years now is in print (in the electronic sense). Don't you just love it when things finally quit being just a daydream. Think about something you would like to realize in your lifetime and then look at my book of poetry and know you can do what you wish for. Here's a short discription of what the book is about: This book of poetry explores the myriads of different personalities within each of us as we adapt ourselves to external and internal conditions. The concept of moods really doesn’t offer us the self-awareness we need to understand who we are. This is a collection of published works and earlier poems that fits this theme. If you would like to see more you can Google Book of Aliases, Russell H. Ragsdale and you will find some links. It is an e-book and is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Sony. I'll let you know of more outlets as they offer it.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hey Poet Mom, I wanted to leave a comment fopr you on your #poetparty post but the word identification wasn't working. Here is what I want to post: I loved seeing your answers when you had a little more time to flesh them out but it sure was fun being with you on #poetparty too! Thanks so much for being part of the fun.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Here is a link to me reading one of the poems I have published in the past. I hope you will enjoy this!
sometimes a pearl

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I hope you will enjoy this article in the Washington Post, I certainly did. I also left a comment on it you might find interesting. Click on the link or use the following address: Enjoy!