The Dance Over Words?

“Meaning necessarily entails words, symbols. They point to something other than themselves. Good music doesn’t point anywhere. It just is. Likewise, only unhappiness has meaning. That’s why we feel compelled to talk about it and have so many words to draw upon. Happiness doesn’t require words.” -Eric Weiner, “The Geography of Bliss.”

For that very reason, I wonder if my idea of trying to translate poetry into dance is a futile exercise. Good dance should convey an emotion, and not one capable of extrication by words.

I suppose I thus imply that the dancer is superior to the wordsmith of equal stature. Does dance, in my eyes, transcend the essence of writing because writing requires words while dance can simply symbolize?

This question of the heart merits further introspection. Is there added virtue, based on the quote above, in how writing (outside of forms that self-analyze, such as the ars poetica in poetry) points to something else? Does dance always point to itself, or can it point elsewhere as well? 

Please leave your thoughts below🙂.

Poetry: Uninstalled Strings

Listen to the rhythm of my feet.
Listen to the heart pour itself forth.
Like Pavarotti’s tenor notes,
Like Lebron yelling “Cleveland!”
Like the way monks in the Alps pray for humanity.
Listen not for sounds of skill
for my feet are delicate, slow, and untrained.
Listen not for hints of Heaven-instilled greatness,
all you’ll hear is a need
for consistently-hard work.
But listen instead for the accented voice that lacks eloquence.
Listen to the feet as they
stumble through shuffles like a poet through a sestina.
Listen. Watch. Feel.
And take heart.
Hear the ebbs and flows of the soul through the soles
like a high mountain creek.
Hear the dissonance of weakness and vulnerability
conveyed fiercely, ferociously,
in a stomp shim-sham shimmy and a paradiddle.
This poetry of rhythm does not come from skill.
It is not eloquent or gentle or soft-handed.
It is bred of pure desire and prayers for patience.
It is bred like the hockey player in the desert.
It is bred like passion breeds with age.
It is bred like a piano player breeds skill with Beethoven
on a piano with uninstalled strings.

The Newbie Chronicles (Part 5): Polo Matching…


The girl from my dance team, who is one of my best friends and one of the perennially best-dressed people I’d ever met, sent me a short string of “crying laughing” emoticons followed by a few, valuable words of encouragement.

I deserved every one of those laughter-teared faces. Plus some. Forever.

The tears, hopefully actually representative of her falling out of her chair in said amusement, came after I’d sent her a text saying “See, I always thought the phrase ‘the clothes match’ meant ‘they are the same color,’ but everything you just suggested shows me that isn’t true.”

Welcome to my life everyone😛.

That was the day I went shopping for work clothes. The day I sought help from my friend because quite frankly I had no idea what looked good with bright khakis. Or dark ones. Or anything.

To give you some gentle background here, I have no style sense except to say that I know I look pretty fly for a white guy  in a black and white suit. Or, to rephrase, I think that “pretty fly for a white guy” reference somehow still resonates with people as funny.

Apparently style sense comes from the same side of the brain as humor…and apparently, that particular side of my brain is a tad eccentric.😛.

Anyways, the reason I am writing this on a laptop inside a room full of polo’s hung up to dry, is to say thank God for friends like that.

Thank God for friends who send you crying emoticons and are patient with you even despite how completely helpless you are at their hands. For ones who don’t judge and who remind you to be easy on yourself. For ones who are patient with you, like the lady at the quilting store when the young reporter intern walks in and says “I’m writing a story about quilting, and I have no idea what the difference is between that and sewing.”

But we’ll get to that. ;)

Thank God for friends like that. Who look at you humorously, either in person or through text, with eyes that say “Oh, honey…”

But then who help.🙂.

These are The Newbie Chronicles.🙂.

Poetry: Awaiting Your Music

Awaiting Your Music
I want to listen to you memories
like the lines of a Jack Gilbert poem.
I want to feel
your heart shine through the lines,
where it becomes irrelevant how they sound
because the language is irrelevant,
though, coming from you, even that’s serene.
I want to sit and just listen;
On a rooftop with you, sharing
a sunrise, with the music of your voice
and the music of your heart
serenading me. I want to hear
about the lives you’ve lived,
and the dreams you’ve dreamt.
I want to listen to your past,
to hear you tell me of your adventures
barbecuing at the lake with your family every fourth of July,
roughhousing with your older brothers
growing up, dancing with your dad
in your living room, at 13, dreaming of your wedding.
There’s a fear within you that I can’t listen,
that all I’ll do is
interrupt. But every day I listen
to a thousand futile voices:
peoples’, life’s, love’s, my own.
Secretly though, the only sound I wish to hear
is yours.

Poetry: Three Freshman And A Puddle

My Notebook on a table in my newspaper's main office. :)
Three Freshman And A Puddle
Three freshman played in a puddle
during a thunderstorm. Surfing
across its two-inch depth
like it was 50-feet deep.
The skies were dark, the tornado
sirens stood at the ready, a watch in effect
and warnings recently expired, and lightning
still occasionally dancing through the sky.
Yet there they were. No regard
for safety, or perhaps ignorant
the way youth are, or the way stubborn
adults are, or the way the night
is of its own, finite duration.
Like the night, they savored
the moment, the fresh energy of the air,
the joy of warm rain.

The Flowers of Kansas State University

A flower grows outside Fairchild Hall at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.

I took some photos of flowers here at Kansas State University. Here’s some of the stuff we don’t always notice as students. I avoided the university gardens, since that would have been obvious. These were all taken elsewhere. Enjoy.🙂

Baylor’s Day Of Reckoning Just Became Real

Heads are rolling at Baylor like marbles today.

I was raised never to celebrate a person’s firing or a company’s failure; I remember a distinct lecture on that the one time I did when I was 11 like the conversation happened yesterday. Still, I was raised even more, both by my parents and by the amazing girls I grew up befriending, to respect and value women.

The fact that the football program and university didn’t look out for the women of their campus to such a well-documented extent causes me relief for their campus’ sake. Baylor will be better off with a new direction, and with an administration that refuses to tolerate the intolerable.

Here’s the announcement made by their Board of Regents.

Easter 2016

It wouldn't be a gallery of my parents' farm unless it had baby goats in the mix.

Some of my favorite photos from my Easter trip to my parents’ farm in central Kansas.🙂

Poetry: “Sacrifice”

After “Red Delicious” by Maggie Smith
Because he was the oldest
he was always the one sent.
On errands, on long drives,
on long shifts into the night when the night sky was beautiful
despite how it also mirrored the chaos Adam would collapse into.
Like the way that first explosion rocked the night,
as it sucked away heat like the vacuum
of space consuming a star’s energy into the essence of nothingness.
Adam was the kind of guy you always wanted around,
until he wasn’t. Then you hated him
even after he died, not the death of a warrior or of the scorpion king
but of a climber who was on R&R, and had lunged for a precipice but misjudged
how much strength his hands contained.
Or maybe not.
May his memoir
never become an ode.
He climbed on,
persisting like the cold night in the foxhole that never seemed to cease.

Poetry: “Internal Dialogue”

“Internal Dialogue”
Finished on November 15th, 2014 at 6:26 a.m.
On a cold day I was woken,
To a frightening kind of sound,
A thundering chaos,
Surrounding all around.
*Note to self: This poem speaks to you Shelton. Within your soul it hides. Finish it when you’re ready* -Signed; Yourself on July 23rd, 2010.
*Note to Self: I am here sir, and I am ready.* -Signed; myself on November 15th, 2014 at 5:50 a.m.
Five years later the frigid wind and clouds,
Red with the reflection of the city lights,
Swirl about my window outside,
Frigidly wishing to bring the season’s first snow…
I wrestle internally at 5:50 a.m.
I wrestle within,
Seeking to draw back to life my long dead muse,
A muse that, though not very effective by anybody else’s standards,
Always seemed to work for me?
A muse, I just realized, I’d killed via journalism.
Like a greek goddess, it was given to my by God,
Not some foreign, pagan God,
But by the God of my fathers,
The God of Abraham.
All Glory be to Him… *internal thought: “Him” = capitalized*
My light words flutter across the page and even now I fight it,
The desire to go back and edit in Associated Press style,
Even knowing that by the nature of what this is,
Journalism would never regard the writer worthy enough to share such emotion.
Such frustration and angst… *shakes head*
So I sit here.
Cuddled up in bed at 5:50 a.m. alone,
Hoping I can save the essence of the lovely one as she hides in my soul,
Like the lovely gaelic goddess Venora, waiting to be rescued.
Very few readers will get that reference, and those that do will probably roll their eyes😉
So I search my soul,
Longing, looking, exercising poetic devices I know how to use,
But can’t really truly use,
When inspiration remains hidden within, locked away in a cell like William Wallace,
A few more people will probably got THAT reference.😉
So much sadness!
So much frustration at not writing poetry for so long!
So much fear, that perhaps I’ve killed my second true love!
My second passion….
Hockey was the first…
I seek within, pondering, praying,
Then I shut the screen off all together.
And freehand it.
This work should not be of the eyes, but of the heart.
I don’t need to see what I’m writing….This is an internal affair.
My writing starts to flow and my heart starts to glow!
Suddenly, maybe she isn’t dead! Maybe my muse survives!
I channel her, praying I can summon her from the depths of my soul!
Come to life oh lovely heart! Come to life oh muse!
My heater in my place turns off, holding a comfy 68 degrees…*so cold*.
Oh a cold day, I was woken
to silence….
The birds chirped not, the traffic was stopped,
The phone was silent,
Life’s pulse seemed to drop…
In that awkward silence, I felt I could hear my own heartbeat.
On a cold day I was woken,
By fear of the day,
My cool heart dreading,
The performance of the play.
Then a wind came over me,
and my sails filled again
And I rode the soft poem,
Right through the ocean’s end.
I create something marvelous,
Alone it grows in my soul…