Archive for December, 2012


2013 NFL Playoff Predictions


AFC Wildcard Games

Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans

(6) Cincinnati Bengals vs. (3) Houston Texans

Theses teams met last year in the exact same game, except the Texans were without Matt Schaub. Right now the Bengals are hot, having won six of their last seven, and the Texans are not, having lost three of their last four and Schaub wasn’t looking hot against the Colts in week 17. There’s the difficulty in this pick. The Texans are the better team, especially the defensive front line, but the Bengals are playing more balanced football lately. The Texans are at home, but I’m going with the Bengals. The Texans offense and offensive line just aren’t doing it for me. It should be a semi-low scoring game as the Texans, if they are smart, will try to run the ball, but even Arian Foster doesn’t look as strong as he normally is. At the beginning of the year, I predicated this Wildcard game, except I had the Bengals ranked 5 and the Texans ranked 4. In that same prognostication, I had the Bengals defeating the Texans. Today, I say: Cincinnati Bengals 23, Houston Texans 20.

Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens

(5) Indianapolis Colts vs. (5) Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have lost four of their last five games, and of their ten wins, six were against teams that have below .500 records, two have .500 records, and two have winning records (New England Patriots early in the year and New York Giants late in the year). The Colts, however, are hot, but they’ve only defeated three teams with a winning record (Minnesota Vikings early, Green Bay Packers after a bye, and the Houston Texans at the end of the year.)  But there’s confidence being built and an emotional rise is occurring. The Colts are coming up and the Ravens are falling. I think the Colts should win, but their run game isn’t strong enough. Raven’s Ray Rice should be the deciding factor, but in the end I love T. Y. Hilton for some big plays: Indianapolis Colts 31, Baltimore Ravens 20.


NFC Wildcard Games

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers

(6) Minnesota Vikings vs. (3) Green Bay Packers

Playing in the cold at Lambeau Field should be helpful for the Vikings and their run game, but it won’t be enough help. The Vikings won’t win back-to-back games against the Packers, especially against the more experienced playoff team at home. Minnesota Vikings 24, Green Bay Packers 37.

Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins

(5) Seattle Seahawks vs. (4) Washington Redskins

This is the game I want to watch. The Seahawks are the only favored road team this week, and they are favored by 4.5 points. The Seahawks are also the most equipped of all the wildcard teams this week. They are strong everywhere. The receivers aren’t great, but they are good enough. At the beginning of the year, I thought this team could be good if they had Marshawn Lynch, and they did, and if Matt Flynn wasn’t hype. He was hype, but Russell Wilson was not. I love the Seahawks right now as everyone does. I don’t think the Redskins are as good as they appear. They have won every game since their bye, which is seven in a row. Two wins were against winning teams – Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants, two were against .500 teams (Dallas Cowboys, twice), and the rest were against below .500 teams, so that’s kinda respectable, but I’m not buying into it. Seattle Seahawks 37, Washington Redskins 20.


AFC Divisional Games

Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos

(6) Cincinnati Bengals vs. (1) Denver Broncos

There’s no way the Bengals are going to defeat the Broncos. There’s nothing even really to discuss. Denver’s got it going on everywhere. Cincinnati Bengals 17, Denver Broncos 30.

Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots

(5) Indianapolis Colts vs. (2) New England Patriots

The Bengals would have a much better chance against the Patriots, and could maybe beat them, but the Colts will not defeat the Patriots in New England. It would be fun to see Luck vs. Manning in the AFC Championship game, but Brady vs. Manning will be as good. The Colts just aren’t ready yet. Indianapolis Colts 31, New England Patriots 44.


NFC Divisional Games

Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons

(5) Seattle Seahawks vs. (1) Atlanta Falcons

It’s playoff time, so it’s time for the Falcons to fold. Their offense can’t keep carrying them despite the week’s rest. Seattle is solid, and their defense can slow down the Falcons’ offense. I’m still high on the Seahawks. In the battle of the birds: Seattle Seahawks 31, Atlanta Falcons 24.

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

(4) Green Bay Packers vs.  (2) San Francisco 49ers

Packers defense vs. 49ers defense – 49ers defense wins. Packers offensive line vs. 49ers offensive line – 49ers offensive line wins. Packers run game vs. 49ers run game – 49ers run game wins. Packers passing game vs. 49ers passing game – Packers win. Do you see where I’m heading with this. 49ers are just a better team where it matters. Passing is very important, but it’s not enough, especially on the road. Green Bay Packers 31, San Francisco 49ers 33.


AFC Conference


Championship Game


New England Patriots at Denver Broncos

(2) New England Patriots vs. (1) Denver Broncos

This was my preseason pick for the AFC Championship. This time, however, I’m going with the Broncos. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen them play more this year and have not seen much of the Patriots, but the Broncos are a solid team, and their run game is very good, especially lately. But I could say the same of the Patriots. Statistically, the Patriots are better in passing and rushing, but the Broncos are better on defense. The only thing going against the Broncos is that they have won 11 games in a row and 12 if you count the playoff game above. Meaning, they are due for a loss. Nonetheless, the Broncos at home with a better defense and Peyton Manning will be more than the Patriots can handle. New England Patriots 34, Denver Broncos 41.


NFC Conference


Championship Game


Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers

(5) Seattle Seahawks vs. (2) San Francisco 49ers

These teams are in the NFC Championship Game because they are the two most complete teams in the NFC. Both have good run games and good defenses. The 49ers have a better offense line. The Seahawks have the better quarterback. The receivers are about equal, but maybe the 49ers have a slight advantage. The Seahawks crushed the 49ers in week 16, but that won’t happen again. My first instinct is to expect the score to be closer to the 13-6 score in week 7. And then I think again. The Seahawks can put points on the board (at least lately), while the 49ers have only scored over 30 points six times this year. Whoever gets the early lead will win this game because then they can just work on their major strengths: running and defending. I can see the Seahawks jumping to a quick a lead, but only if it were the first game in the playoffs. By this time, all their luck will have run out. Seattle Seahawks 24, San Francisco 49ers 29.


Super Bowl XLVII

Super Bowl XLVII – Broncos v 49ers

Wow. What a match-up this will be, and two new teams (that haven’t appeared in awhile), too – Denver Broncos vs. San Francisco 49ers. The first thing that strikes me is the quarterbacks – experienced vs. no experience – Peyton Manning vs. Colin Kaepernick. Is that all that needs to be said? Both teams have very strong defenses, and they are equal. Both have very good running games, with the edge going to the 49ers. The passing games, however, are not equal, and that may be all the difference. However, Manning really isn’t very good in Super Bowls. He’s 1-1, and the one win came against the Bears in the rain when the Bears gave the game to the Colts. That Super Bowl reminds me of Devin Hester and his 92-yard opening kickoff return for a touchdown, which makes me think of special teams. The Broncos have and edge on special teams, except for kickoff returns. With all of that in consideration, I’m going: Denver Broncos 20, San Francisco 49ers 24. The 49ers will remain undefeated in Super Bowls! Yes, the 49ers will step it up, especially on defense. Manning will get sacked and throw picks. The 49ers will also get one kickoff or punt return for a touchdown. #ManningFail//


Noelle Kocot’s The Raving Fortune (2004)

Over the next few weeks or months, I will post all my reviews (“Tom’s Celebrations”) that appeared in Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose (formerly Redactions: Poetry & Poetics) up to and including issue 12. After that, my reviews appeared here (The Line Break) before appearing in the journal. This review first appeared in issue 4/5, which was published circa early 2005.


Noelle Kocot's – The Raving FortuneNoelle Kocot’s The Raving Fortune (Four Way Books, 2004) represents what many in this new generation of poets (roughly aged 25-40) are going through with their own poetry – trying to write a poetry that satisfies the self, their peers, & all the poets who preceded them: a poetry that talks to all poets at all times. This collection starts rough & punky in poems like “To the Place in My Head Where Ideas Come From:” & “I am the Supernova of Your Psalmistry,” where she makes clear she wants to make it new:

   I don’t like poetry, poems, or poets lately,
   Yet I get excited so easily when lines come to me:
   [. . .]
   I want to scream with aggravated pleasure
   Like the woman with the pierced clit in the porno flick.
   The images stand at attention at my fingertips,
   But I want none of it, I want to say I am 17
   And have quit writing poetry to go to business school,
   [. . .]
   Everything has been done a googol of times,
   Yet I write this still with far flung steps
   And yes, I crumpled miles of streets beneath
   Our snowy feet as, together, we slid across the threshold
   Of an age to smash the old Rosetta Stone.
                                                              (ll 13-14, 15-20, 22-26)

The poems do settle down until we reach the meditative “Poem Written in 17 Minutes,” which incorporates all the themes I have mentioned.

   Last week I looked up my name on the Web
   To see if anyone shot up anything nasty about my poetry

   Lately and sure enough they did. One person called me an “idiot,”
   (Re: inept sestinas), said I had drunk too much
   Champagne, that my words were a bunch of “bubbly nonsense.”
   It’s a step up; in grad school they were merely croutons.
                                                                            (ll 7-12)

(The “croutons” also appear in “I Don’t Think I’ll Ever Write this Poem,” a parallel & complemental poem to the one just mentioned, which illustrates how the poems talk to each other in this book.) Further in “Poem Written in 17 Minutes,” “But earlier today I went back to Celan, / And for once he didn’t scare me” (ll 18-19). She then yokes together the past literature with the current pop culture & announces:

                                                  This is beautiful   
   To me somehow. We have survived.
   We’re dying, yet we have survived, like dead bridges calcified.
   There is blood on my hands as I write this.                           
                                                (ll 26-29)

The tone of this poem rides throughout the The Raving Fortune as she finds balances between eloquence & punkiness, beautiful images & contemporary allusions, while often disobeying a few of Ezra Pound’s suggestions in “A Few Don’ts,” such as “undulant tomorrows” (in “Consolations Before an Affair, Upper West Side”) & “foam languishing” (in “The Newlyweds and the Funny Papers”), but that is her goal & she succeeds, as do almost all the poems in this collection.//




Kocot, Noelle. The Raving Fortune. New York: Four Way Books, 2004.//


In Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine: Day 126 – E=MC^2 Quantum Reserve Relativity Vineyards 2007

The end of the year is near, and so is my most prolific poem writing year or nearly most prolific poem writing year. On December 26, I realized I wrote 92 poems and two poem translations this year. That seems a lot, at least for me. But it seems like previous generations of poets wrote a lot more. You hear stories of how they work up each morning at 4 a.m. and wrote for a couple of hours into the sunrise. My generation and the ones following my generation are not at all like that. It seems, however, I should be able to write at least 100 poems per year. You know, two per week. That shouldn’t be that difficult. I’m mean, especially if I’m a poet. But lately (over the past few years), it seems one poem per week is a good pace. But since I was close to 100 poems for the year, I tried to write and get there. I’m at 96 poems and two translations, now. I’m not going to make it to 100. It’s not that I can’t write, but I don’t know what to write about. Nothing is coming. Maybe it’s just because my three years of writing Paleolithic poems has come to its end, and I’m having a hard time remembering how to write a standard poem. The 96th poem I wrote was a blank verse sonnet (unrhymed sonnet) titled “Coda.” I woke up with it. It came out quick and easy. And it might be the last Paleolithic poem I write. Even though I thought I had stopped writing them in November sometime, they keep popping up. I still would like to move on.

E=MC2 Quantum Reserve Relativity Vineyards 2007 bottleSince I’ve nothing to write about, I’m going to drink and write about it. I am fully aware that a drink cannot fill the emptiness of an unwritten poem, . . . but the writing about it can be a temporary fix. Bonus! I’m going to be drinking what I hope is very good wine: E=MC2 Quantum Reserve Relativity Vineyards 2007.

I went looking for images of this wine, but there’s not much out there, and there’s not much written about, either. It is a blended red wine. It is 15.4% alcohol, which is a lot. I found someone who claims the blend is:

zinfandel, petite syrah, syrah, charbono, gamay, cab, and malbec, selected from excess bulk wines provided by some more well-known and unnamed vineyards.


I did take this picture of the cork. You can click it to make it bigger.

E=MC^2 cork

The label is hard to make out. But the in embossed in black near the label’s top, it reads “E=MC2“. Below that in red, it reads “RELATIVITY VINEYARDS”. And in the red band, it reads “Quantum Reserve”.

E=MC^2 Quantum Reserve Relativity Vineyards 2007 label

The back of the label indicates the wine is from Saint Helena, California.

Enough of the surface stuff. Let’s get the bottle’s insides. Let’s get to the tasting.

Einstein's tongue

E=MC2 Quantum Reserve has dark cherry color. It’s about 85-90% opaque.

It’s nose is delicious. There’s vanilla, plums, raspberries, dark cherries, black currants, and a hint of strawberries. I think it going to be jammy.

It’s oddly salty, especially on the finish. That’s weird. I’ve never experienced that before. I wonder if Saint Helena is near the ocean. (I just checked. It’s about 60 miles inland. I doubt salty ocean breezes travel that far.)

I pick up cantaloupe on the taste and maybe a hint of chocolate and a hint of raspberry jam. It’s hard to pick up much. This would be a really good wine if it wasn’t salty. It’s less salty each sip, but it is still noticeable . . . noticeable on the finish but not in the mouth. I think the salt is some how related to the Malbec. There’s also cherry Kool-Aid on the finish.

What a weird wine.

I’m going to give this 87 points. Without the salt it could be an 89, but it’s difficult to be sure.

I definitely over paid for this one.

And now for a haiku I wrote earlier this year:

   Einstein's Haiku
     (For Melissa)

   Everything I do
   Means I want to love you squared –
   Come with me and prove

To learn more about the cool things going on in that haiku, go here:


Melissa Kwasny’s Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry, 1800-1850 (2004)

Over the next few weeks or months, I will post all my reviews (“Tom’s Celebrations”) that appeared in Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose (formerly Redactions: Poetry & Poetics) up to and including issue 12. After that, my reviews appeared here (The Line Break) before appearing in the journal. This review first appeared in issue 4/5, which was published circa early 2005.


Melissa Kwasny's – Toward the Open FieldMelissa Kwasny has compiled a collection of worthy essays by poets on free verse, or the movement toward free verse, beginning with William Wordsworth’s “Preface to the Lyrical Ballads” & up to & including Charles Olson’s “Projective Verse.” As with all anthologies, there should be some surprises, or unique opportunities that are seized, & both are had here. Included in this collection are two often overlooked essays: “Modern Poetry” by Mina Loy & “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” by Langston Hughes. But that is not what makes this anthology a unique & exciting collection of poetics. What puts this anthology over the top & is it contains essays from poets of non-English languages, including Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, Stéphane Mallarmé, André Breton, Federico García Lorca, Paul Valéry, & Aimé Césaire. Kwasny’s Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry, 1800-1950  (Wesleyan University Press, 2004) also comes with a decent “Selected Bibliography” for other sources of essays on poetics, but it does lack an index.

I recommend this anthology for every poet’s library as a great reference & to remind us of where we came from & what we are trying to do. I also strongly urge that every MFA program across the land incorporate this anthology into their creative writing poetry classes, as a historical primer for free verse. This anthology is too beneficial for our younger poets to overlook. I do hope another volume comes out that features more essays from 1950-2000 by more contemporary poets. There is always growth in poetry, & there has been significant growth since 1950.//




Kwasny, Melissa. Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry, 1800-1950. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2004.//


James Longenbach’s The Resistance to Poetry (2004)

Over the next few weeks or months, I will post all my reviews (“Tom’s Celebrations”) that appeared in Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose (formerly Redactions: Poetry & Poetics) up to and including issue 12. After that, my reviews appeared here (The Line Break) before appearing in the journal. This review first appeared in issue 4/5, which was published circa early 2005.

//James Longenbach – The Resistance to Poetry

After reading the first paragraph of “Preface” in James Longenbach’s The Resistance to Poetry (University of Chicago Press, 2004), I was ready to have a page-by-page argument with Longenbach. I thought his premise was not well-founded. His argument, or apology, is interesting: “Poetry is it own best enemy” & “Poetry’s mechanisms of self-resistance are themselves the source of our pleasure.” One of the premises on which he builds his argument is:

Poets who embrace these aspects of language are inevitably schooled in the art of self-resistance, and they consequently tend to recoil from any exaggeration of the cultural power of writing poems. At their most brazen, these poets have erred on the side of underestimating their art, aware that to exaggerate the extent of poetry’s purchase on attention is to weaken it.

But after I got into chapter one & after I finished chapter two, my attitude towards the book changed. I was not resistant to it, I was embracing it. I was learning. I was realizing & would conclude after finishing the book that Longenbach’s argument is not really the big point of the book, in my mind. I think Longenbach uses the argument so that he may discuss the beauty of poetry – the complex beauty of its inner workings –; the argument allows him to push forward in sharing his understanding of poetry. This is a book of poetics, & a brilliant book of poetics it is. Chapter two, “The End of the Line,” is an enthralling, in-depth study on the relation of line, syntax, & rhythm of free verse. This is the chapter that made me give myself to the book because I was learning, & on its own this chapter makes the book completely worthwhile. Another chapter, “The Other Hand,” is devoted to the use of “or” & its many implications & resulting effects. The chapter concludes: “‘Or’ is our means of defending ourselves against our own strength.”

Each chapter James Longenbach’s The Resistance to Poetry has a specific aspect to study & can stand on its own. Each chapter is tonally enjoyable & insightful. There is not a dull, unintelligent, unimaginative point in this book. You will learn from Longenbach. This book will make you love poetry more, & it may even make you a better poet.//




Longenbach, James. The Resistance to Poetry. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.//


Chauvet Cave Negative Red Hand Print with Dupuytren’s Contracture

Chauvet Cave negative red hand print with Dupuytren’s contracture

This is the highest resolution I can find (or make). I’m still looking. If you have a better version or know of one, please let me know.//


I have a higher resolution. Two versions are below.

Negative Red Hand with Dupuytren's Contracture from Chauvet Cave (large)

If you click the above image, you can see this full sized. And from there you can download an 800 dpi 5.648″ x 5.164″ (4518 pixels x 4131 pixels) 36.337 MB image. (It might take a while to fully appear.)

Below is a close up of the same image.

Negative Red Hand with Dupuytren's Contracture from Chauvet Cave (small)

If you click the above image, you can see this full sized. And from there you can download an 800 dpi 4.684″ x 5.000″ (3746 pixels x 4000 pixels) 21.408 MB image.//


Robert Morgan’s The Strange Attractor (2004)

Over the next few weeks or months, I will post all my reviews (“Tom’s Celebrations”) that appeared in Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose (formerly Redactions: Poetry & Poetics) up to and including issue 12. After that, my reviews appeared here (The Line Break) before appearing in the journal. This review first appeared in issue 4/5, which was published circa early 2005.


Robert Morgan – The Strange AttractorRobert Morgan has been writing for quite a while, but this poet is new to me. The Strange Attractor: New and Selected Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 2004) begins with his newest poems, & man was I knocked on my ass. The language is tight, the rhythms are beautiful, & there are some of the best science poems I’ve read. But before I get there, it should be noted, except for the science poems, most of these poems are narrative & deal with this world, particularly his world – his life in the country. These are the poems of a man whose hands are dirty & calloused. Meaning, the subject matter could be, for instance, about an odometer & a man sitting on a tractor, which is written in a colloquial language; but when these two aspects (content & language) are accompanied with the rhythms (often in iambic pentameter or loose iambs), then movement & poetry are made & meanings are had. In a sense, he is a bit like Robert Frost — both are poets with dirty, calloused hands who write with common language, yet produce beauty. And whether in narrative-country poems or in lyrical-science poems, there tends to be the desire to connect whatever world he is in with nature. Consider “History’s Madrigal”:

   When fiddle makers and dulcimer
   makers look for best material they
   prefer old woods [...]
   the older wood has sweeter, more
   mellow sounds, makes truer and deeper
   music, as if [...]
   it aged, stored up the knowledge of
   passing seasons, the cold and thaw,
   whine of storm, bird call and love
   moan, news of wars and mourning, in
   it fibers, in the sparkling grain,
   to be summoned and released by
   fingers on the strings’ vibration
         the memory and wisdom of 
   wood delighting air as century
   speaks to century and history [...].
                                                   (ll 1-3, 8-11, 12-18, 20, 22-24)

The science poems (which are my favorites & make me anxious for his newest collection of poems to appear & to also read Trunk and Thicket (L’Epervier Press, which is now Sage Hill Press), represented in this collection by the long, sustaining, & energy-gathering poem “Mockingbird”) try to connect the universe with the nature here on earth, & quite often the connection is insects. What’s significant about these science poems is they take difficult subject matter & by the transference to this world make them understood. Consider “Time’s Music,” which deals with Cosmic Background Radiation which originated approximately 100,000 years after the Big Bang & still flows through the universe:

   Insects in an August field seem
   to register the background noise
   of space and amplify the twitch
   of partners in atoms. The click
   of little timepieces, chirp of
   tiny chisels, as grasshoppers
   and crickets effervesce and spread 
   in the weeds ahead, then wash back
   in a wake of crackling music
                    in every bit
   of matter, of half-life in
   the thick and flick of creation.
                                                   (ll 1-9, 13-15)

And I think the following lines from “Mockingbird” best illustrate what the science poems are doing: “[…] where the / watt and kilowatt accumulate like / cells of honey.”

Morgan is also quite often grounded in detail, which of course makes abstractions like background radiation more palatable, & as Norman Dubie says, “Detail creates intimacy.” But I think “Exhaustion” best captures what is going on in The Strange Attractor:

   The earth is our only bed, the deep
   couch from which we cannot fall. Suddenly
   this need to lie down.
   The flesh will flow out in currents of decay,
   a ditch where the weeds find dark treasure.

Morgan, Robert. The Strange Attractor: New and Selected Poems. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2004.//

The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

After Malagueña

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December 2012


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