Poem Swallowing Itself

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Poem Swallowing Itself

Reading aloud—
people turn their heads
and step back, never

imagining what lies behind,
expecting neither snakes
nor bear traps nor other ambush.

Beginning where one ends, or
continuing a conversation
over decades, the truth

rises then subsides,
like soaring vultures or
cubes in scotch whiskey.

Measuring volume by
glance, the poem shivers,
opens its mouth wide.

vulture

“Poem Swallowing Itself” first appeared here in April 2016.

Landscape with Jar

 

Landscape with Jar
(after Wallace Stevens)

What vanishes more readily than the breakable
and transparent? Not here, not now, it says,

never voluble in the morning. I have work.
The horizon exists simply in perception.

Try to touch it – the hill meets the sky
only from afar, offering discordance

up close, no measurement possible.
And among the trees and vines, a glimmer

of spite, twisted open. Moving closer, we see
through. We see rocks, a bird. We see air.

“Landscape with Jar” was first published in Birch Gang Review in July 2017.

Countdown: #4, My Writing Space

My last five posts of 2017 are reruns of the five most viewed posts on this site during the year. This one appeared in July.

I am fortunate to have a writing space of any sort, much less a comfortable one.

Shack X

This is the shack that launched a thousand rejections…or something like that. It’s small, with a 10 x 12 footprint, and is getting crowded inside.  The photo was taken in August 2013, a few weeks before the interior was finished out. Note the inspector, Jackboy, with his ball.

Shack 1

The most important feature of the shack is the air conditioner. The bookcases are nice, too, but the heat would be unbearable without the a/c unit.

Shack 2

Books keep migrating here. I wonder why. The cattle dog spent many hours in the dog bed, but the Chihuahuas prefer the house.

Shack 3

I try to use the available space as efficiently as possible, hence the skinny book cases. The painting is by Stuckist painter Ron Throop, whose art and words inspire me.

Shack 4

The desk is usually messier than this…

Shack 5

Birds often smacked into the righthand window, until I added the little mobile fabricated from a piece of cedar and wooden bird ornaments.

Shack 6

Yes, that’s a stationary bike. The good thing about having such a small space is that I can ride the bike and reach over for a sip of beer without having to pause.

Shack last

I’ve been banging on that guitar for forty years. It’s a little worn, but then so am I. The broadside is a Galway Kinnel poem, “Little Children’s Prayer,” which joins a small group of signed broadsides in the shack, featuring poems by Jane Hirshfield, Arthur Sze and Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge. Alas, I’m running low on wall space.