Wednesday, May 31, 2017


My daughter
Has been sleeping
In odd places.

She has a bed--
Two, in fact--
But she is even now in neither.

She sleeps
On the couch
Or on the floor
Of the living room
Under blankets
Held aloft by tables
Pushed together.

Why she does is unclear.
It does make me wonder
Why I pay for her to have sheets.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


I lift and I carry,
I lift and I carry,
I lift and I carry,
And I do it some more.
My life has grown hairy,
But I remain merry
As I go to carry
More stuff through the door.

Sunday, May 28, 2017


O, how I love my blackened brew,
The way in which it sees me through
Each day, how it helps me to do
All the things I must!
I quaff my cup, and once again,
I can to others be a friend
And be one on whom they depend,
One whom they can trust.
Another cup, and I can see
How many things have come to be;
My mind's gears begin to come free
Of their encasing rust.
Then, yet one more, and I will know
How it is that things can go,
And my perceptions start to grow
'Til I can see the just

And how too many turn away.

Saturday, May 27, 2017


I am sometimes frustrated
By the fact that I have to answer the demands
Of my body
I think that frustration
Spurs punishment
Because I do not treat myself
As I ought
I do not maintain
The fleshy bits in which I am enmeshed
And it shows

I really should do better.

Friday, May 26, 2017


The apartment is full of smells.
I know I leave one behind me,
But I do not often smell it
Unless I have had a fair bit of fiber the night before.
My wife smells of herself
And of perfume
And of the plastic plastic-wrapped her work has her handle.
My daughter smells of sweat
And the growing warmth and heat of the late spring Hill Country
And playground sand
And others' children.
The cats,
Of course,
Leave an acrid, biting stink behind,
Especially one
That refuses to cover over what he has done.
And people wonder why I buy air freshener.

Thursday, May 25, 2017


I think I'm doing social media wrong.
I do not pass much news right along,
Nor post I videos of cats amid song,
But rather leave lines that perhaps run too long.
Even online, I seem not to belong,
To have little place among the teeming throng,
And I am aware of the difference?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


I seem to ever run behind.
It's not as if I do not mind;
I do, but I can never find
The time to get caught up.
Many are the tasks I do,
And I work to see each through,
Doing 'lone what needs a crew.
Of course I can't keep up.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


I stayed awake too long again last night.
I was reading.
I've not done so for a while,
Not like that,
Not turning page after page after page,
Consuming the words on each
While they remain in place,
A cornucopia.
It is not drained,
But I think I may well be,
And I know I will be again.

Monday, May 22, 2017


The cat kept me up last night
And into this morning.
It needed care,
So I provided it.
I do what I can,
But I wish I could have slept.

Saturday, May 20, 2017


I know I run a bit behind,
But I do not seem to mind.
I am aware that I will find
Something different in delay.
I also know I've got some time
In which to think, myself to prime
For work today, ongoing grind.
I suppose I should get to it.

Friday, May 19, 2017


I'm starting in another place
On today's leg of my race,
Lengthening my given chase
A bit.
How it'll work, I need to know,
For it won't be long till I go
Along the route today will show
To me.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


I am losing track of what day it is.
I just had to look at a calendar to find out that
Today is Thursday
The 18th--
I did recall the month and year.
That much is good, at least.
The rest does not bode well.
I have to think I'll miss a deadline,
And I really hate that notion.
But I doubt I can be on time
When I do not know the time--
And, despite what the one band sings,
I care about what time it is,
As do those who rely on me.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Again, it seems it is the time
For me to sit and put in rhyme
My thoughts ere I go earn my dime
While my boss makes a dollar.
The problem, though, is plain to see:
When I write, I write with glee
And put down words that amuse me
But that make others holler.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


I am glad to be back home
From where I did lately roam,
But I do not get to rest.
Work remains my Everest,
Rising high amid its kind,
But I do not really mind
Since its from the work I eat.
I will earn my tasty treat.

Thursday, May 11, 2017


I am once again at the International Congress on Medieval Studies on the campus of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It is my seventh time attending the conference in eight years; I've been coming since 2010, missing only 2012 in that time. And in the day that I've been in transit to the Congress and on site so far, I've run into a number of old friends and begun to make new ones, both of which are always welcome.

I have a fair bit of work to do at the Congress this year, as I have most years that I've attended. This time around, I'm giving a talk on a roundtable and presiding over two sessions of papers. I'm also set to chair a business meeting for the Tales after Tolkien Society, about which more information is here. I also have plans to attend no few sessions and some few other events, and I still have to do some work for the teaching that I yet do, so I am and will be busy.

That I am and will be so, though, does not mean I am not paying attention to what is going on around me. Some will have been following the Blanket Affair, but others will not know, so: between the opening of Congress registration in February and, well, the Congress, some authority at Western Michigan University decided to retire the blankets that had traditionally been issued to those who register for dormitory accommodations. (I am one such person; the dorms are convenient because on-site and inexpensive.) No replacements for the issued blankets were forthcoming, although many have been made available for sale at the "low" price of $17. I am not alone in reading the gesture as something of a money-grab--although I am also not alone in forbearing to vent my anger at Congress staff, who have no say, or even Congress administration, who might not have had any input into the decision. I am, to note online testimonies, not alone in having brought a blanket with me--although I did not sleep with it last night. And I am far from alone in noting the action of medievalists to support our own by working to make blankets available to our colleagues who acted in good faith with an understanding that has since been changed. I support it as I may (which, admittedly, is not much, but, hey, this).

And, on a less serious note--because cool to cold weather is expected here, blankets matter--the dining hall that has long been in place at the Congress has moved. Instead of the old cafeteria system that had been in place for decades, Congress meals are now served in a new-built dining facility--and the complaints are many. The aesthetics of the facility are at odds with the dormitories it serves, and the clash is unpleasant. Too, the position is not as convenient as the old location--which matters little for me, but there are many Congress attendees who are limited in their mobility, and the extra walking does not do them much good. To my mind, the food is not any better than it was--which is not to say that I do not eat more of it than I likely ought (because I do eat more of it than I ought), but I would have thought that the shift to the new facility (and staffing) would have improved the product on offer.

I will certainly have more to say about things as the Congress moves forward. Hopefully, more of it will be to the good. In the meantime, though, I have some work I must address...

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Oh, Mother Dear, I must away,
Although I know it's your birthday
And I mixed cards amid the fray,
Sent the wrong one to you.
I know I'm sometimes a poor son,
Leave off things that I've begun
And leave the tasks only half-done,
Foisting some upon you.
I'm trying, though. I really am,
Though saying it, I sound a ham.
Still, I'm doing what I can;
I hope it matters to you.
And I am glad today years gone
You opted to join along
And add your voice to this world's song,
So, happy birthday to you!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Tomorrow, I will head away--
Off to the zoo to go and play
With those like me who will say
We study early yesterdays.
And I will miss you.

Monday, May 8, 2017


I'm going to be giving exams yet again,
Repeating a process that seems not to end,
One that goes on, though it fewer defend,
And I'm not sure why I still do it.
Still, I have said it, so it I will do,
For what I say, I strive to see through,
Which concept, I'm told, is far from brand new,
Although fewer people will do it.
Such is the line, though I the line doubt.
Liars and cheats have been ever about,
And complaints about them can be found throughout
The groupings of those who will do it.

Sunday, May 7, 2017


It's been a while since I made a post in prose to this blog--I believe the last one was this one from last year, when I considered consolidating this personal blog into my other webspace, Elliott RWI. (I've not made the consolidation, as I think obvious.) Then, I returned to prose--and I hope it was lucid--to mull over the future of the blog. Today, I return to it for another purpose--although I continue to hope my prose is lucid. Today, I return to prose to note that this is the 1,500th post to it; today, I have made 1,500 posts to my personal blog.

It is something of a milestone, to be sure, although I am perhaps a bit disappointed to have missed doing so on another milestone: the recent anniversary of my blog. On that day, I offered a brief snippet of verse, one that noted having been away--but not having spent seven years in writing here, starting with a bare few keystrokes announcing my return to blogging as such. I had other things on my mind, admittedly, so I am not angry--but it would have been nice to tie things together neatly.

That it has taken me just over seven years to make 1,500 posts to this webspace means that I have averaged just over 214 posts per year, one post in just over 1.7 days (I figure it's been 2,557 days I've been blogging--seven 365-day years plus the two Leap Days, of which one received comment). Other concerns of the day mean I will not have time to put together word count and reading level statistics (not that what I normally write scores well on reading level tests), and I'll not venture a guess as to my average output--except to say that it's probably lower than it ought to be. But whether that's part of having been an academic for as long as I have or what, I'm unsure.

At this point, I'm not sure what, if anything, I can do to drive up my averages--or if it matters that I do. What I am sure about, however, is that I'm going to be doing more of this writing, more posting to this blog, and I can hope that I'll have another 1,500 posts to make--at least. So, until then...

Saturday, May 6, 2017


I slept in a little bit,
And I feel like quite the twit,
Much diminished in my wit
By being such a sluggard.
Though I know I needed sleep,
I know I've a schedule to keep,
So my rest does not come cheap,
And I've not a large budget.
I suppose it could be worse.
I could travel in a hearse,
Or I could suffer a curse
Other than what prevails.

Friday, May 5, 2017


I'm told that today
Is the fifth day of May,
And there's something to celebrate.
It's Revenge of the Fifth,
And for it, nerds with
More time than I have can't hardly wait.
Cinco de Mayo, too,
Is marked today, it's true,
And many folks will be out late.
I still have to work,
A curmudgeonly jerk,
For my needs do not abate.

Thursday, May 4, 2017


For a few days, I've been away,
And it won't be long I'll stay,
Though I'll be here at least today,
An I'll be here tomorrow.

Monday, May 1, 2017


Yesterday was a gorgeous day.
The sun shone bright from a clear, cool sky,
And a breeze kept things fresh.
But one sour note snuck into things,
One foul odor penetrated,
A waft of flatus that grew,
Pungent, putrid stink
As if an unwashed gamer baby ate of bad sushi tacos
And filtered them through rancid cooking oil.
We are still retching from it.