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So Many Poems Which Sweeten On Loss


Filed under: Poetry — Val at 10:57 am on Sunday, August 2, 2009




One thought drops across the hillside.

Its facets shine along cold furrows,

breaking into consciousness,

slide down

deliberate as rain

into pipes a hollow silver

into troughs

their green arms open

into ruts full up with a brown laughter

into old weeds

a joyous handshaking

after young ducks

chuckling even as bridesmaids

their white wings floating

through each puddle

and every pool

the pale color pouring

across the threshold.




Val Morehouse,

This version: May 2000


5 (Five) Summer Haiku To Enjoy!

Filed under: Poetry — Val at 8:58 am on Sunday, August 2, 2009

Click title to read each haiku:

August (Haiku)

Baseball Season (Haiku) 


 Crickets (Haiku)


Grass Dancer (Haiku)

The Concealment (Haiku)



______© Val Morehouse, 5 Haiku

 writing and poetry

Coming of Age in Five Days: David Benioff’s City of Thieves

Filed under: Books For Adults, Reviews — Val at 10:41 am on Sunday, May 24, 2009

City of Thieves

Read the fifteen perfect lines opening screenwriter David Benioff’s novel, City of Thieves, and you will be hooked.

Transported into the Nazi siege of Leningrad, with the Russian winter clamped down harder than God’s fist, you become third-party to the abomination of war and fanatic politics, and eavesdrop on conversation between a wildly bawdy Russian con-man/deserter and the skinny teenaged son of a Jewish poet, a pair of the most unlikely heroes in recent fiction. (Read on …)


Filed under: Current Events, Poetry, Politics — Val at 7:30 pm on Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bright-faced flowers and bushes circle these old foundations,

the way wagons rolling West once curved in defense of life and limb.

This is the country where seasons still bloom from memory to hope.


Settlers have put down 30-year stakes and nested here on the

well-kempt streets, caped inside green yards played by stair-step

next generations, romping with their furry side-kicks.


Weekdays childish hordes grab lunch boxes decorated with

super heroes, stuffed with PB&J’s,  and run for a bus to that place

where they are all taught to count on the future.


Weekdays Moms and Dads back out of the driveway,

bearing lunch in a brown paper sack. Frugal and reasonable, they

support the PTA, make work happen, help neighbors, and pay on time.


For this crime of naïveté all stand in contempt, and are

accused of harboring the ‘American Dream’. Guilty of

trust and that silly old belief in the law, these little people have


Mortgaged it all to powers housed far from the family place,

in great skyscrapers of marble, steel and glass fed by

concrete streets and elevators that rise higher than ethics.


There nothing but a faceless number in a computer knows

their address, their name. The only thing green is plastic,

% interest is the only crop; and honesty died with the Pilgrims.


Even then some insider with options back-dated, off-shore shells, birthday parties

where the ice statues piss champagne, and bonuses for failure and greed,

is stealing their last identity for quick sale on the internet.


______© Val Morehouse, September 2008

 writing and poetry

Titanic USA: Smashing Into “Disaster Capitalism”

Filed under: Books For Adults, Current Events, Politics, Reviews — Val at 7:24 pm on Saturday, May 2, 2009

If, according to Bob White of the Allentown Morning Call, “[Hell] is full of overpaid, outsourcing, golden-parachuting, employee-abusing, worms…”; then Barbara Ehrenreich’s book, This land is our their land: reports from a divided nation, documents what a “heck-of-a-job” this “market is deity” crowd has done on the country and everyone in it since 9/11.


Her scorn hot as a griddle, Ehrenreich frys the corporatocracy, health care, and academia (AKA Fleece U) in the fat of their own bloat. Her wit is wicked, her research eye-opening, her courage unstoppable, and her conclusions scathing: “the flip side of misery is gluttony”–-starring super rich who can never get enough to “appreciate …what it feels like to have enough.” Think Dickens. Robber Barons. Enron. McCann’s seven (or was it 8?) houses. Disgraced bosses caging $100 mil+ from bankrupt companies. Think $50 for a hospital gown (better damn well be from Talbots). Think the latest local salary abuse story in your local newspaper. (Read on …)

Caution: Close Mind Before Striking

Filed under: Current Events, Poetry, Politics — Val at 10:32 am on Saturday, October 18, 2008

_____”Librarians much prefer reading to the ‘infantry’
rather than becoming the infantry in a cultural war.”

With the sound of one small snick it begins.
A tiny fiction struck by hand across the truth,
like red phosphorous on a matchstick it conjures

A devil’s firework of intimidation from the
once inert ground of sulfur, KClO3, and silica.
Scratch and its head spews fear

Jagged as a swastika. Sparks explode
thermals of smoke, slice through bindings,
tear quotes from context.

Stoked by the storm of pages, quartos
crumble under the acrid stink of matches.
Edges singe. Books blacken, and sanity

Sucks like oxygen from rational discussion.
Whole futures die in the heat of censorship.
Thought itself dissolves in ashes of silence.

Safety matches are only ’safe’ because
they don’t spontaneously combust. But,
all it takes is one brazen lie to ignite a mob.

© Val Morehouse, Oct. 2008

Jersey Boy Jewish: Philip Roth’s Indignation

Filed under: Books For Adults, Reviews — Val at 2:47 pm on Friday, October 17, 2008

Roth Indignation, Philip Roth’s newest, is a small but potent box of surprises: a little J.D. Salinger, a bit of Henry James, and a dash of Alice Sebold’s voice from beyond.  Roth follows sophomore college student Marcus Messner from his Newark Jewish neighborhood to Ohio’s WASP Winesburg College. A master commentator on country and conscience, Roth’s story is set in 1951 as the draft reaps any man without a deferment for the bloody foxholes of Korea. Young Marcus, a kosher butcher’s son, is a true American innocent in spite of his intimate acquaintance with butcher shop blood and entrails.  Roth’s foreshadowing lovingly develops the boy’s meat market education in all its gory detail.

Soon enough Marcus and Roth’s readers will discover that killing can be done with more than a cleaver. (Read on …)


Filed under: Books For Adults, Reviews — Val at 2:07 pm on Friday, October 17, 2008

Spiritual Radical 

When a spiritual polymath with a poetic voice encounters a worthy biographer, who is himself an expert in French poetry,  thorough researcher, sensitive interpreter, and eloquent writer, the result is stunning.  Such is Spiritual Radical, volume two in Edward K. Kaplan’s study of Abraham Joshua Heschel, a foremost thinker of 20th century American Judaism. Winner of the 2007 National Jewish Book Award in the American Jewish Studies given by the Jewish Book Council, the book covers Heschel’s escape to the United States in 1940 until his death.

Walk the shelves of Temple Isaiah’s library noting author’s names, and you will touch the cast of this book. The seminal Jewish-American thinkers appear in intimate detail, revealed through their synergy and their cultural wars with Heschel. For readers it’s a verbal trip to Heschel’s study, piled with books and papers, as the man himself sits smoking a cigar, sharing notes from his latest conversation about “radical amazement.” The immediacy is heightened by numerous candid photos. (Read on …)

Prizewinning Novel Challenged: The Giver is Important Reading

Filed under: Articles, Current Events — Val at 8:19 pm on Sunday, November 25, 2007
The Giver, by Lois Lowry Popping pills? Suicide? Lethal injections? These are reasons given [CC Times, 11/6/2007, A1] for two mothers’ request for removal of Lois Lowry’s prizewinning novel The Giver from all Mount Diablo Schools reading lists and libraries. Not so fast. Before we “burn” this book, readers should take these out-of-context conclusions, and place the pieces right back in context where they belong, inside the whole story. (Read on …)

Death of a Refugee

Filed under: Poetry — Val at 5:08 pm on Friday, September 7, 2007

“Old woman, where is it? Give it up!”
You crouch saying nothing.
“Nothing?” One soldier ravishes
a green crust jaded with mold,
your answer, from the
small box of your body.

Like opals your eyes alarm them.
Faces consume your last moments,
but soldiers cannot devour
your miserable crust,
or your tears not different from
diamonds, or wind
that curls snail-like in each ear.

You breathe once. Still they find
nothing. Jewels in your cupboard,
gems in plain sight sparkle.
“You are wasting your time,” you say.
Armpit, breast, wrist, crotch,
eyelid, pulse, and pelvis are
pregnant with your secrets.

One brainy pearl mothered inside
your shell, wheels of blood,
the liver a garnet hub,
intestines that gust in weighty
rhythm; thus your heart keeps
time with sighs. The soldiers
at last synchronize.

One hand knots podlike lungs
with silence. Outside snow
dissolves into a white buzz only
soldiers hear now. Their hearts
counting down time yours lost, white
drifts ticking from bone of what was
once your house.

© Version 2007 Val Morehouse. All Rights Reserved.

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