Poem “The Container Store” Wins Honorable Mention

My poem “The Container Store” won honorable mention in Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2016 Poetry Contest  http://sfpoetry.com/contests/16contest.htmlTWARONITE COVER 1 (2)

The poem is part of my first book of poetry “Trash Picker on Mars,” available from my store or at Amazon.

Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy My Poetry Book

TWARONITE COVER 1 (2)1.You’ve never heard of the author. Real poets have names like Shelley, Byron, Bysshe, or Percy Dovetonsils.

2.) You’ve always hated your sophomore English teacher.

3.) There are no gunfights, car chases, exploding cows, or sex scenes in my poems (well, maybe a little).

4.) All the really good poets are dead.

5.) Buying books means killing trees.

6.) Poems are all about romance, pain, grief, nature, and the mysteries of life and death, and you hate that stuff.

7.) You only like poems that start with “There was an old man from Nantucket.”

8.) You can never remember the difference between a simile and a metaphor, and frankly don’t give a damn.

9.) Most.of the poems are free verse, so why should you have to buy the book?

10.) Poetry is like truth, and “you can’t handle the truth!”

If you’re still determined to buy my book, visit Amazon or purchase it here  

 

 

 

Praise for Trash Picker on Mars

My first poetry collection has just been published by Aldrich Press (an imprint of Kelsay Books).TWARONITE COVER 1 (2)

Read an advance review: “The poems in Trash Picker on Mars, as the title suggests, range from the concrete to the abstract, from Pascal to mythology, from the homeless, represented by weeds, to a trans-gender person in a gym. What stands out in this collection is Twaronite’s attention to the details and textures of ordinary life as he presents us with reminders that the ordinary—the working man, the sleeping woman on the train, are not to be forgotten when seeking the sublime.  In “The Container Store” the poet longs for “just the right vessel/to store your thoughts/and emotions in safe/and accessible places”—a wish many of his readers will certainly share.”

Nancy Owen Nelson, PhD, author of Searching for Nannie B: Connecting Three Generations of Southern Women.

Available from my online store or at  Amazon

Advance Review of Trash Picker on Mars

TWARONITE COVER 1 (2)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.

Trash Picker on Mars

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

“Gardening in Difficult Places” by the Absurd Naturalist

Gardening is always a challenge. Even in the mildest climates, with abundant rain, keeping our plants alive and looking good is no small achievement. But there are places in this world with such extreme limiting factors as to sorely test even the most determined gardener.

Consider Antarctica, for example. You wouldn’t think water would be a limiting factor there, when the continent contains 70% of the world’s fresh water. Only problem, it’s frozen. There’s not a lot of soil, either. 99.68% of the land area is covered by an ice sheet. The mean summer temperature, by the way, is -30 degrees C.—a considerable stretch for even the cold hardiest garden plants.

Gardening on a live volcano also poses challenges. While volcanic soils can be quite fertile, gardeners should be advised to wait at least until the lava cools off and hardens a bit. Although a common roadside plant called noni is one of the first plants to colonize cracks in lava flows around Mount Kilauea in Hawaii, so far as we know no species of plant can tolerate molten rock. It’s also really tough on gardening shoes.

Sometimes the challenge lies in a place not commonly thought of as a potential garden. Sitting on a jetliner as it taxied down the runway one day, I got to thinking about the depressingly boring landscape of its wings and why no one ever tries to plant anything there. Do other passengers feel the same way, I wonder? While I can understand some of the gardening problems posed by traveling at 600 MPH at an elevation of 30,000 feet, that is no excuse. Think of how much more pleasant our air travel might be if we had nice hedges and beds of colorful flowers to look at against the backdrop of clouds. All plants would have to be kept severely pruned back, of course, in the name of both visibility and aerodynamic efficiency, but every garden has its compromises.

And think of how much more pleasant our daily commute might be, if we allowed ourselves the time and space for a little garden inside our cars. It wouldn’t have to be grandiose in scale. Perhaps a neat little rock garden of low growing plants on the dash, and maybe some beds of day lilies or irises in the back seat. Particular emphasis should be given to plants requiring a minimum of deadheading, pruning and other maintenance, as these can get a bit tricky in heavy traffic.

Even our bodies present abundant opportunities. Just think of all the unused spaces and orifices in the average body. For instance, instead of bemoaning a lack of hair on one’s head, consider the possibility of trying out new kinds of vegetation there. With a little site preparation and adequate irrigation, the hair challenged gardener could grow a nice head of fescue or bluegrass—a far superior alternative to most toupees. For a more exotic, full-headed look, one could try pothos or Algerian ivy. Speaking of ivy, it would be a far more welcome sight across the dinner table than the ugly growth of chest hair curling out from under your open shirt. And think of all the little pockets of opportunity in our clothes. I can imagine a time in the not too distant future when no well dressed man or woman would dare venture out into open society without some strategically placed little flowers and ferns growing from every pocket, hem, and trouser cuff.

Perhaps someday we’ll even have gardens in outer space. We could start with the International Space Station. Sure, they’ve got a few experimental plants up there, but how about a nice rose garden or veggie patch for those astronauts? They’ll have to make the station a whole lot bigger, and haul up tons of soil, water, and fertilizer, especially if they want trees and turf. And they’ll need more gravity, too. For some reason plants are fussy about growing under weightless conditions.

Who knows, maybe we can even get some gardens going on Mars. True, it makes Antarctica look like a resort. The average temperature at mid-latitudes is a chilly -50 degrees C. The thin atmosphere is composed mostly of carbon dioxide. And what little water there is remains frozen beneath the ground or at the poles. So we’d have to find ways to heat things up to melt the ice, and get some oxygen into the atmosphere. But I’ll bet the soil’s good. Maybe we could send some gardening robots there to prep things first. If we can put a man on the moon, we can plant some petunias on Mars.
                                                    ©Gene Twaronite 2014

Originally published in 5enses July 2014  http://www.5ensesmag.com/gardening-in-difficult-places/

Trash Picker on Mars

In the dim time before dawn
the woman clamped her metal
fingers over a beer bottle.
Her buckets overflowing with
litter from a dying world,
she sat and stared at the
alien landscape of asphalt.
The stars had all faded
except for the one red light
of Mars still defying the sun.
The woman smiled at the
mythical planet now
defrocked of its canals and
green men by Carl Sagan
and the Legion of Reason.
But still she dreamed.
In her electric cart she glided
over the red-gold deserts
of ancient Barsoom—
past  the fairy towers
of Grand Canal and the
monoliths of Helium where
a once great race of Martians
lived, played and died—
filling the canyons of
Valles Marineris with the
excess of their empty lives.
Out of habit she picked up a
fluted green shard, then
laughed and flung it along
with her buckets into the
trash heap of lost Martians.
Through the dark grottoes of 
Great Rift Valley she roved to
the shores of Mare Sirenum,
whose salty crust reminded her
of past ruins and distant times
when she could still cry.
For a moment she stared at the
sun, weak and small as it
rose above Olympic Mons,
igniting her in a ruddy glow.
She was the Princess of Mars
and there were still a few
unhatched eggs inside her.
And at the edge of
Candor Chasm she
bared her heart to the
silent, scouring winds.
Then into the dawn
she drove to begin her
new race of Martians.                                                                       © Gene Twaronite 2013
(Originally published by NewMyths.com April 2013                                      https://sites.google.com/a/newmyths.com/nmwebsite/poems/trash-picker-on-mars)