National Poetry Month: April 14

Hi friends.

In 1987, around this time of year, Spring, I was working my first job in Los Angeles, a recent transplant from New York City. My pal, Gregory and I had travelled in my mighty Mustang across this vast country, full of mixed emotions, and the anxieties of moving to a place thousands of miles away from what’s familiar, what you’re accustomed to.

That same spring, I came home from slinging burgers at Hampton’s to find out that my childhood buddy, James, was murdered. He’d been studying at the University of Tokyo, and left to sightsee in Bangkok, before he planned to meet me in Los Angeles. I was anticipating his arrival any day. I still do.

The first time I heard the extra-ordinary poet Dorianne Laux read “Trying to Raise the Dead” was at Truth & Beauty Conference in Carter Hall, Virginia. There wasn’t a dry eye after she’d finished her last line, this poem is that raw, phenomenal. (I thought of you, James, like the endless times I do. And I thought about loss).

Robert Vaughan reads “Trying to Raise the Dead” by Dorianne Laux – YouTube

Did you lose someone you love? How do you keep in contact? Can you feel his or her presence like as I do James?

About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, Robert leads week long National writing retreats at sites like Synergia Ranch, Cedar Valley and The Clearing. His poems and fiction are published in over 600 print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Los Angeles Weekly, Literary Orphans, and Smokelong Quarterly. He is Editor-in-Chief at Bending Genres and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing in Milwaukee. He is nine times a Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His flash fiction was selected for Best Small Fictions 2016 and 2019. His books are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps); Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms); RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press), and FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press).
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3 Responses to National Poetry Month: April 14

  1. Dorianne Laux says:

    I write poems to stay close to my dead. And yes, I feel my mom’s presence so often, mostly in myself, I see, hear, smell, taste, touch or think something and suddenly I’m her, alive again in that moment. And when I look at my hands, or catch myself in the mirror, not when I’m looking, but when I look up from washing my hands or buttoning my shirt, and catch myself– it’s her, looking back at me. Thank you for this post Robert. I hear you. I’m there. xx –d

  2. Andrea says:

    I miss James too. I also miss my Grandfather, grandmothers and Tante like crazy. I feel they are around me all the time and sometimes they come too me in my dreams. Just seeing them again and sometimes talking to them is a great kind of solace for me.

  3. megtuite says:

    Where are you? I so LOVED this, Robert! It’s heartbreaking and beautiful! Thank you for reading this! I’m enjoying the daily poetry readings and the exceptional poetry you choose each day!

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