Flames by Billy Collins


Only you can prevent wildfires.


Dear Readers

“Faith” is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see—
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.

Hello dear readers, I just want to write an old fashioned blog piece that may bore you to tears, but it helps me. So, a few days ago I recorded 8 poems. I was going to post 5 of them at once here on the blog. However, a few silly mistakes happened. By that i mean more than the blooper of the poem above. And maybe not all of them my fault. I read from a source that was probably not the original version. Poems were worded differently and without Emily’s intended punctuation (including the dashes).Another embarrassing mistake I made was that I thought I was reading a four line poem. But actually I was reading the last stanza of a poem titled It Might Be Lonelier by Emily Dickinson.

So, I may redo some of that. The good news is I did 3 other recordings. One of them was a reading of John Ashbery’s Just Walking Around. But I made two other recordings. One of them a poem by Billy Collins and the other a poem by Tony Hoagland. I will post those two soon. I don’t know if anybody besides me is reading this but if you are thank you and have a good one. 



Just Walking Around by John Ashbery

Below is John Ashbery reading his poem “Just Walking Around” back in June of 2014. At the bottom of this post is my reading of the same poem.

I’ve heard it said on a certain podcast, that if you flirt for awhile with an Ashbery poem it’ll move in with you. Many of them never asked me out on a second date. But nevertheless here is my reading of  “Just Walking Around” by the late great John Ashbery. May he rest in peace.






Chalkey Cameron from The New Spoon River by Edgar Lee Masters

Here is a new reading of mine. I have the text to this poem below. And the whole book can be read here.

Chalkley Cameron

If the Declaration of Independence

Is the soul of the Constitution,

Why can you never get a court

To test ordinances and laws

By the inalienable right of the pursuit of happiness?

Here was I, a young lawyer with my first case,

Attacking an ordinance of Spoon River

Which forbade the ballet,

And arguing that it was void because it interfered

With the pursuit of happiness.

Well, the judges smiled at me,

And the crowd hooted me,

And I didn’t have a friend but my client,

And some of the ballet girls.

And I faded out for shame.



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