Vox Populi

A curated webspace for Poetry, Politics, and Nature. Over 16,000 daily subscribers. Over 7,000 archived posts.

Michael Simms: Prospero needs a little nap

Dear friends,

Thank you so much for subscribing to Vox Populi, this curated webspace for poetry, politics, and nature. As some of you know, VP began in 2014 as a newsletter for anti-fracking activists in Western Pennsylvania. It featured political articles, scientific reports, interviews and satire in order to raise consciousness about the dangers of fracking and to prevent our communities from falling into the hands of corporate vandals. As VP’s readership grew, I started including poems and personal essays, and later films and book reviews in order to keep the newsletter from being too enviro geeky. Well, we lost the fracking battle, and predictably western Pennsylvania’s streams, wetlands and ground water have been poisoned, our local governments have been corrupted, and cancer pockets have “mysteriously” appeared through the region. But on the left, we take our wins where we find them, right? And VP has been a winner. The number of daily subscribers has grown steadily to over 16,000, and our posts are often picked up by other publications.

This week marks the ninth anniversary of Vox Populi. During that time, I’ve posted two, sometimes three pieces a day: roughly 40% poems, 30% political articles, 10% personal essays, 10% short films, and 10% humor, book reviews, and miscellaneous oddities. A total of about 7,000 posts. Whew! I need to slow down a bit.

I’m 69 years old, and in good health, but truthfully, I’m feeling the years closing in on me. This week my cousin Susie Belver, a brave woman who proudly served in the Abilene, Texas police department, will be buried. I’ve said goodbye to so many people I’ve loved. 

This morning I woke with blood covering my right eye. It looked ghastly, like something you’d see in a vampire movie. My wife Eva, my dear one-and-only, drove me to the Urgent Care unit 15 miles away where the nurse took one look at my sclera and said, “Oh, we see that all the time. College students get drunk, vomit violently, and blow out a capillary in their eyeball.” 

She raised an eyebrow at me and said, “Do you drink?”

“Actually,” I answered, “I’m in AA where I tell a story about that very subject.” I looked at my watch. “How much time do you have?”

She laughed and said, “Probably not enough for the whole story.”

My peeper, as it turns out, is fine. The broken capillary will heal, but I need to reduce the strain on my eyes.

So starting tomorrow, I’ll be cutting my daily routine in front of the computer from twelve hours to eight. I’m going to nap every afternoon, increase my cardio workout from twice to thrice a week, and post only one piece to VP each day, loosely following this schedule:

Monday: a contemporary poem

Tuesday: an essay or article

Wednesday: a contemporary poem

Thursday: an essay or article

Friday: a legacy poem

Saturday: wild card!

Sunday: a spiritual/inspirational piece

Vox Populi will endure, albeit at a slower pace. As Prospero, Shakespeare’s reclusive magician, who may be the Bard’s stand-in, says at the end of the play when the actors have left the stage, and the life-like illusion they created is melting into thin air, allowing our own small lives to fade into the dreams they always were:

We are such stuff

As dreams are made on, and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep.

Copyright 2023 Michael Simms.

Michael Simms is the editor of Vox Populi. His recent books include a collection of poetry Nightjar (Ragged Sky, 2022) and a fantasy novel The Green Mage (Madville, 2023). He lives in the historic Pittsburgh neighborhood of Mount Washington with his wife Eva and their kelpie Josie.

Prospero and Ariel (from Shakespeare’s The Tempest), 1797 by William Hamilton (died 1801), Gallery: Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin (Wikimedia)

106 comments on “Michael Simms: Prospero needs a little nap

  1. Jonathan K. Rice
    April 29, 2023

    Hey Michael, I am more than familiar with that eye thing. That always freaks me out when it happens. I’m 69 as well. I get it. Rest those eyes and take care of yourself. I appreciate & enjoy all the work you do.


  2. miketyoung
    April 27, 2023

    Take care of yourself, Michael. I’m so grateful for Vox Populi as a source of great articles and poetry and also for your own wonderful writing. And I’m also deeply grateful for the many poems of mine you’ve published.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      April 27, 2023

      Thanks, Mike. I admire all you do. Working a demanding job, raising children, writing… how do you do it?


      Liked by 1 person

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