Congrats to Tracy K. Smith as the new U.S. Poet Laureate.
My poem “An Endless Afternoon of Now” was just published in the latest issue of Tipton Poetry Journal. For much of the past year, I have been reading all the novels of John Steinbeck and came across a remarkable line from his last novel The Winter of Our Discontent that seemed to cry out for a poetic response. So here’s my poem.
AN ENDLESS AFTERNOON OF NOW
It wouldn’t be bad to be that way, suspended in time—not bad at all, an endless afternoon of now.
~John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent
To enter you must first
choose a now—sitting
on a bench with your
first love and the touch
of her knee against yours
or the way you watched
him through the window
as the train pulled slowly
away from the station—
think of Hopper’s
naked to the dunes,
a cigarette dangling
from her fingers,
and you get the idea.
Make it something for
the ages, something
that looks good on the wall.
First published in Tipton Poetry Journal Issue #33 (see page 30)
When I first read this article, I couldn’t help but think of that old TV public service announcement “This is your brain on drugs.” While poems don’t fry our brains, there’s something peculiar going on inside our heads when we read them, infecting us, in the words of Nabokov, with “the telltale tingle between the shoulder blades.”
Wish I could find a picture of what your brain actually looks like on poetry. Meanwhile, read more to see what science tells us. this-is-what-happens-to-your-brain-when-you-read-poetry
Just like him to wait till now—
always the procrastinator
promising to write but
never getting around to it.
I can barely read the words,
scrawled like drunken
worms across the page.
And look at that stationery,
all crumpled and rotted
like he didn’t give a damn.
But what really ticks me off
is the postage due.
A new review of my book Trash Picker on Mars. Thanks, Susan.
In Trash Picker on Mars, Gene Twaronite ends a poem with “They are the people I carry within. I’d show you their picture if I could.” Yet that is exactly what readers of this small volume of poetry come away with: snapshots of everyday people our society tends to ignore, those lost on the streets, asleep on the subways, or hidden behind plastered smiles as they serve daily lunch crowds. Through detailed imagery, insight, and compassion, Twaronite takes us behind their concealing smiles to the persons within, to their hopes and dreams and frailties, revealing them to be a reflection of ourselves. From the moment that lasts no longer than a handshake where we dare touch one another before stepping back into our “fortified trenches” of safe anonymity, to the eyeless faces of modern day mannequins, Twaronite’s poetry introduces us to trash pickers with their dreams still intact and to strangers on buses who will nod and recognize us as lifelong friends. I urge lovers of everyman American poetry in the vein of Robert Frost or Walt Whitman to pick up a volume of Trash Picker on Mars. Amazon customer review Trash Picker on Mars
–Susan Shell Winston, editor at New Myths, and author of Singer of Norgondy
There were so many memorable events at the recent Tucson Festival of Books. I wanted to share this delightful performance by my local poet friend Jeanne Missey Osgood, a fellow docent at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. She has now memorized a hundred of Emily Dickinson’s poems – a feat which astounds me. I can’t even memorize one of my own poems. Jeanne seamlessly recites Dickinson’s words through her charming puppet, bringing this beloved poet (and her dog) to life on the stage. Bravo, Jeanne!
There’s a store in the mall selling
personalized engraved gifts
to remember every occasion.
Too bad there’s not a store
to help you forget
engraved on your brain:
that time in second grade
when the bully won and you ran away,
the slap in your daughter’s face
and the slam of the door when she left,
the thud of his head as it hit the windshield,
the look in your wife’s eyes
when she caught you in your naked deceit,
the words that still echo in your head
or the words you should have said,
the relentless pain she endured
that helped you decide at the end,
the hour just before dawn when you
relive the horrors again and again.
No need for fancy gifts—sandpaper
and a buffing wheel will do,
applied judiciously to remove
just enough letters to dull the pain
without losing their meaning,
just enough to let you sleep at night.
Originally published in Tipton Poetry Journal Issue #32 (see page 76). Read more here (click lower right corner to expand to full screen mode).
It was a nice space
as universes go—
everything was free there,
from love, will, and time
to lunch, radicals and verse.
But the cost was too dear,
it could not last,
as even the strong force
was freed of its role
and things flew apart.
They had a big sale
but no one came,
so they closed their doors
and blinked goodnight.
Originally published Jan. 2017 in Care, a special publication of the science fiction fan magazine Not One of Us
My poem “The Container Store” won honorable mention in Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2016 Poetry Contest http://sfpoetry.com/contests/16contest.html
The poem is part of my first book of poetry “Trash Picker on Mars,” available from my store or at Amazon.
Have you been to this store? It gave me the idea for this poem in my new book “Trash Picker on Mars” published by Aldrich Press and available on Amazon. YouTube (The Container Store)