Style Counsel


My personality

is out of style.


My personality

is in my poems.


My poems

donÕt appear in certain journals because


my personality

is out of style.


Robert Hass

said so.


Not about me personally.

Robert Hass has no idea who I am,


nor should he,

since my poems donÕt appear in certain journals.



he wrote that twenty years ago.


I was

out of fashion then, too,


but twenty years ago,

I wasnÕt writing poetry


so I didnÕt

find out about it until twenty years late.


Thanks, Robert.

That explains a lot.


IÕll keep

developing that understanding,


because even though

I donÕt appear in certain journals,


fashion feeds on itself.

I could be back in style one day,


twenty years from now.



Wiki Wages


Wikimedia says if everyone consulting

Wikipedia gave only $3 a year,

their operating expenses would be covered.


My 30 bucks just picked up the tab

for 9 of you slack-asses, half of whom

are probably plagiarizing paragraphs for a school paper.


See how good people facilitate

a scum of social flotsam in the interest

of keeping a good thing going?


Sacrifice half a pack of cigarettes, half a pint at the bar.

Leave two Big Gulps in the soda fountain,

pass on half a cup of mocha latte expresso, just once.


See what it feels like to pay your own way

to stoke the questions of a hungry brain.



Dirty Granpa

(Homage to Frederick Seidel)


He writes unbroken lines that must set typesetters crazy squeezing print into margins.

Condense the font, shave the point size, cozy up the kerning —

Whitman and Ginsberg must be shitting themselves in the poesy ether!


Walt with a hand in his own compositions,

Al reliant on FerlinghettiÕs paperbound inventions to cast those ambling lines —

neither positioned for software-assisted textual subversions.


And the Fred-head word verve!

Topical nerve with Seussean insouciance:

trolling under bridges in bespoken threads,


dog poop on Broadway, Ducatis in France,

ViagraÕd dalliance with tender young ladies in lace underpants.

How does an eighty-year-old get away with that?


Sir, will it soon come to light you cut a Faustian bargain?

No wonder, then, you donÕt fit the margins.



Brrring, Brrring, the Homophone Is Ringing


Timmy T.Õd been fired before,

wearing a bowtie at a necktie radio station:



No surprise to hear

hit the road for posting a blog explaining homophones

to students of ESL, enrolled in Provo from 58 nations.


ÒBasic stuff,Ó Timmy said,

though at the time of firing, his boss

did not know the definition,


begging the question — if your name were

Clarke Woodger would your mind go,

 ÒPeople at this level of English


might think a blog on homophones

has something to do with homosexuality,Ó

the kind of Òadvanced stuffÓ


Nomen Global Language school

did not teach its students — English

as foreign language to the native speaker.


But who knew what Utah taught you?

Provo prompts provocateur . . .

or perhaps provolone. Get it out of here!


Though in aftermath, it remains unclear

if fridges were purged of homogenized milk

and Nomen its homo sapiens.



Provo, Utah, July 14, 2014

Clarke Woodger, owner of the Nomen Global Language Center, informs teacher and education blogger Tim Torkildson, ÒThis blog on homophones is the last straw. You canÕt be trusted.Ó



Wisdom of Ages


Frozen in that vinyl-clad living

room, superfluous from unuse,

I heard GrandmotherÕs impression of

the ultimate truth —


a slow-arriving realization

once her premise became clear —


ÒI canÕt believe you havenÕt

dedicated your life

to preaching the Word of God.

You talk so good.Ó


I was only age eleven,

had yet to abjure notions of heaven.



After Her: Empathy for the Pig


The bristles are bunched for hairbrushes.


The fat is rendered into lard.

The skin fried as cracklings or rinds.


Ribs, roasts, and loins carved from the carcass.

Intestines rinsed clean for chitterlings.


The organs stewed into various treats, tinned

     for humans, cats, and dogs.


The skeleton shaken free of cartilage

     for gummy bears and the like.


The bones ground for fertilizer and meal.


All thatÕs left is the squeal.


© Winston Derdenis


Bio:  Winston Derden is a poet and fiction writer residing in Houston, Texas. His poetry publications include New TexasBlue Collar Review,  Big River Poetry ReviewIllyaÕs HoneyBarbaric Yawp, ÕMerica MagazineSoft CartelDown in the Dirt, Plum Tree Tavern, and numerous anthologies. He earned a BA and MA at the University of Texas, Austin.