Written with wit and compassion, Gene Twaronite’s amazing poems give readers a whole new view of many ordinary experiences of our culture. Nothing can ever be seen the same way again. A few lost keys “Scattered across the pavement/they lay, like shiny petals/plucked from their flowers” become windows into their imagined former owner’s soul. In “Mannequin,” Twaronite’s compassionate view of what was once a semi-human form now become only “eyeless sockets in an empty face–/all that remain of the life/she once possessed” and manage to suggest the way we are all seen by corporate commercial interests. With metaphors embodied in gritty, graphic images, Twaronite sometimes makes astonishing hairpin turns of meaning in his poems as he does in “Trash Picker on Mars,” where this planet seemingly “defrocked of its canals/and green men by Carl Sagan” ends up to pose a chilling potential indeed.
Susan Lang, Faculty Emeritus at Yavapai College and author of the novel The Sawtooth Complex as well as a trilogy of novels about a woman homesteading in the southwestern wilderness during the years 1929 to 1941.
My first poetry book Trash Picker on Mars, published by Kelsay Books, will be coming out in late September.
My first poetry chapbook Trash Picker on Mars has just been accepted for publication late this year by Aldrich Press (Kelsay Books imprint). Though the title poem is science fiction, most of the other poems address more general themes, including nature, religion, mythology, popular culture, and feminism, liberally sprinkled with the usual dark humor. The poem “Trash Picker on Mars” first appeared in the online journal New Myths. You can read it here https://sites.google.com/a/newmyths.com/nmwebsite/poems/trash-picker-on-mars
We must be ever vigilant in the thoughts that go through our heads, especially in our reactions to current events. Here is a poem I wrote upon hearing of the death of the so-called mastermind of the Paris terrorist attack.
I saw the news flash on CNN —
Abdelhamid is dead—
and heard a voice inside me
He is dead! He is dead!
His body mangled by bullets
and a nearby grenade,
he died not soon enough.
To call him mastermind
of the Paris massacre
makes him sound more important
than what he was—
just another cancer cell
in a metastasizing tumor.
Blind to everything but his belief,
he was master of nothing.
Relieved as I am to see
this murderous cell zapped
from the body of humanity,
I yet find myself looking back
at my thoughts, wondering
what kind of person it was
who could plot the deaths
of fellow humans as if
they were mere avatars
in a video game,
or whether he ever
looked up at the stars
and dreamed of a girl.
And I find myself wondering
what kind of mastermind it is
who this morning cheers
the death of a young man
who went so horribly wrong,
who once was human
before he blew it all up.
First they fled out of Africa,
seeking new sources of food
or maybe a change of scenery.
Then they fled the ice sheets
and dire wolves haunting their dreams.
From hunger and drought they fled
over the Bering Strait and beyond.
From religious persecution they fled
to a New World of unbridled freedom.
From war, famine, and disease they fled
to whatever country would take them.
They fled the whips and chains
of Southern plantations to live
in crowded cities of the North,
as others fled the same cities
from immigrant hordes and dark races.
They fled into gated communities
to free themselves from parties
and viewpoints not their own.
They fled into space out of boredom
and because it was the last frontier.
Finally they fled from the earth itself,
in their luxury starship cruisers,
all the way to the center of the galaxy
and a big black hole
that swallowed them up,
every last one.