“Phantom Limbs” . . . and other poems in responses to your last Wednesday Writing Prompt

I am proud to have my poetry included in G Jamie Dedes​’ Wednesday Writing Prompt and to have one of my poems a centerpiece among so many other talented poets and heartful poetry …


“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents [recommended – read it too late and wish I’d read it sooner. Would be a great holiday gift for young and/or about to be parents]

These are responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Zero At Bone and Marrow, November 28, in which I asked folks to write about their children. These poems bare in common…

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“A Dark Matter” … and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

I am honored to be included among so many fine poets and to be in G Jamie Dedes’ spotlight. For those of you who don’t yet know Jamie, she uses her own wonderful poems to prompt us and inspire us to write our own poems. Jamie has often been my muse …


“We sit and talk,
quietly, with long lapses of silence
and I am aware of the stream
that has no language, coursing
beneath the quiet heaven of
your eyes
which has no speech”
– William Carlos Williams, Paterson

These responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, your darkness, my light – how is it that love transforms us, October 3, 2018, delight, intrigue, thrill your mind and touch the heart. I know you will enjoy them and the two “value-added” sections (Frank’s lastest victory and Mike’s comment) as much as I have.

Kudos and thanks to Renee Espiru, Frank McMahon, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Marta Pombo Sallés, Mike Stone and Anjum Wasim Dar. A very warm welcome to Christi Moon. I’ve been reading her work on Facebook for some years and am delighted to have the opportunity to include her here today.

I’ve included links to blogs or websites where available…

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Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Michael Dickel

Michael Dickel is interviewed by Paul Brookes on The Wombwell Rainbow and our upcoming poetry project is mentioned …

The Wombwell Rainbow

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Art credit: Angel of Time, Oil Painting by Lica Kerenskaya (owned by Michael Dickel, painting ©Lica Kerenskaya). Digital image ©2018 used by permission. Art to be used for Nothing Remembers, Summer 2019, Finishing Line Press.

Michael Dickel

Michael Dickel’s writing and art appear in print and online. His poetry has won international awards and been translated into several languages. Nothing Remembers is due out Summer 2019 (Finishing Line Press…

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October 1, 2018 · 3:19 pm

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Mike Stone

I am proud to have my interview included in the Wombwell Rainbow Interview series! I am honored to be in the company of such talented voices. I also appreciated the depth and relevance of the interview questions. I felt great satisfaction in responding to them.

Mike Stone

The Wombwell Rainbow

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following poets, local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.


Call of the Whippoorwill

Mike Stone

In his blog Mike tell us “I was born in Columbus Ohio, USA, in 1947. I graduated from Ohio State University with a BA in Psychology. I served in both the US Army and the Israeli Defense Forces. I have been writing poetry since I was a student at OSU. I moved to Israel in 1978 and live in Raanana. I am married…

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Rationality vs. Rationalization

Rationality refers to a state of mind which possesses these attributes: reasonable or logical thought processes, clear and precise thinking, thinking which is internally consistent with experience, exercising good judgment, and thinking which is compatible with one’s actions and beliefs.

Rationalization refers to the action of attempting to explain or justify behavior, decision, or attitude with logical sounding reasons, even if they are not appropriate. Rationalization (also known as making excuses) is a defense mechanism in which controversial behaviors or feelings are justified and explained in a seemingly rational or logical manner to avoid the true explanation.

As we can see, rationalization bears no meaningful relationship to rationality, except that we might refer to rationalization as “fake rationality”, something some of us fall back on if we think it might get us out of a bind.

Rationality does not require knowledge in order to work well, although it certainly works well with knowledge by breaking down concepts that are difficult to understand into their component parts and by integrating new concepts into existing systems where appropriate. The beauty of rationality, however, is that it helps us deal with uncertainty and what we don’t know in an appropriate manner, knowing what you don’t know, as it were.

It is clear to me, as I would hope it would be to you too, that rationality is a useful trait to have, certainly a lot better than rationalization.

Now we get to the crux of the matter: let’s say you believe that you are a rational person. You are a normal guy or gal. You exercise good judgment. Your thinking is clear to you. Your beliefs and actions are compatible with your thoughts, and vice-versa.

How do you know you’re thinking rationally? Well, for one thing, you think like everybody else around you. How do you know that? Can you read their minds? Well, nobody around you has told you that you are not thinking rationally. Maybe they are just being polite. Maybe they aren’t very rational themselves. Look, I know what I see and hear. I know what I know, and that’s that.

There are formal rules for logical implications and proofs. For instance, if one proposition implies a second proposition, that doesn’t mean that the second proposition implies the first one, but it does mean that the negation of the second proposition implies the negation of the first proposition.

But we are not logical systems, ourselves. Being biological systems, our commitment to logic is haphazard and unreliable at best, and non-existent at worst. We can be illogical and still survive for an indefinite period of time, depending on whether the person taking care of you is relatively rational, you are rich and powerful enough to hire rational people to protect you, or other factors.

Okay, so my commitment to logic does not go all the way down my cellular level. Let’s assume for a moment that I’m a full professor of philosophy and I’ve taught logic and propositional calculus for the last 50 years. Assume that logic is second nature to me. Let’s now assume, however, that the magnificent neural structures in my brain are succumbing to the insidious attacks of Alzheimer’s beta-amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and tau proteins. Assume that the cells of my brain, containing my memories, my capacity to process different kinds of information, and my abilities to muster my motor system into action, are going dark, slowly but inexorably.

Now, my question is this: what fail-safe mechanisms, if any, exist within our systems of logic that would allow me to know that my mental processes were functioning rationally or not? Obviously, it is not so difficult for us to answer that question about others; however, about ourselves is another question altogether.

If there is no fail-safe mechanism that can let us know beyond a doubt that we are not functioning rationally, then what good is rationality? Certainly the demented, the neurotics, and the psychotics have no use for it.

Mike Stone

Raanana Israel


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“A Child Said, What is the Grass” Walt Whitman … honoring Michael Rothenberg’s Read a Poem to a Child Initiative

An unexpectedly amazing poem for your edification …


“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” Maya Angelou

A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full
How could I answer the child?. . . .I do not know what it
is any more than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful
green stuff woven.

Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropped,
Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we
may see and remark, and say Whose?

Or I guess the grass is itself a child. . . .the produced babe
of the vegetation.

Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow
Growing among black…

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What’s my name? | Michael Dickel

A lovely read …

Meta/ Phor(e) /Play

The man sauntered up to the woman with a beard. He seemed familiar, not familial, not famous, just…familiar—a shadow that crossed her path on a distant-past sunny day.

He said her name.

No one knows her name, but her mother, and she doesn’t usually recognize her anymore.

When he said her name, he held her in his power. She knew he came from before. The other time. When life filled her with joy and dancing, when her lithe body figured in her pleasures, when her soul sought union with the sun and moon.

Clouds lifted from sea cliffs, and she saw him decades ago, his hair long, pulled back in a pony tail.

They made love on the beach, in the woods, rarely in bed.

Where have you been? She asked.

Lurking in your memory, he whispered. You seldom call me, though.

In her memory, she lurched away from…

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