Latest Review of Trash Picker on Mars

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 

Explore New Worlds of Imagination

This banner for our booth #477 (The Twaronite Zone) at the Tucson Festival of Books says it all. If you’re in the area, please join us for a weekend of literary fun for the whole family. The festival will be held on the beautiful sunny mall of the University of Arizona, on March 11 and 12, from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.

We have a number of activities planned, including a drawing demonstration by award-winning illustrator Rita Goldner, author of the picture book Orangutan: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy, readings by Gene Twaronite from his children’s book Dragon Daily News: Stories of Imagination for Children of All Ages and his first book of poetry Trash Picker on Mars as well as a visit from the Absurd Naturalist, fully equipped and dressed for a day in the field.

For those who can’t make it, you can purchase signed copies of my six books in my online store. Just click on store to enter.

As many of you have noticed, for personal reasons I am no longer on Facebook or Twitter. I would be much obliged if you would pass along this link to anyone who might be interested in following my writing.

The Container Store

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)

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

Mastermind

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.
 
MASTERMIND

I saw the news flash on CNN —
Abdelhamid is dead—
and heard a voice inside me
rejoicing:
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.

The Bathers

The_Bathers,_1884,_by_William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_-_Art_Institute_of_Chicago_-_DSC09582

The Bathers, William Adolphe Bouguereau, 1884, Art Institute of Chicago. Public domain image

The wall above my desk
cried out for something—
a seascape perhaps,
full of Neptune’s fury.

At last I found it—
the perfect painting
by a Frenchman
named Bouguereau.

Attractively framed
in large format,
it looms over me
as I fish for inspiration.

True, there’s not much
sea in my seascape,
just a little patch
of blue on the right,

mostly blocked by two
lovely naked ladies
in the foreground
enjoying the beach.

I could say they’re my muses—
in a way that’s true—though
the inspiration they offer
is hardly poetic.

No daughters of Zeus
or Mnemosyne, these
are women of earth
whose every curve I adore.

I feel that I know them.
By the wry looks on their
faces, it seems they know
my thoughts as well.

They remind me who I am—
a creature of lusts and dreams,
grounded by the tingle
of flesh and blood.

Originally published October 2015, at Wilderness House Literary Review  http://www.whlreview.com/no-10.3/poetry/GeneTwaronite.pdf

Fish Bait

“Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

If I could ask the writer one thing
it would be this: what bait did you use?
Was it a simple hook and worm
impaled with your usual deliberation?

Or was it a fly made from a feather
plucked with due reverence
from the wing of a dead neighbor?

Perhaps you preferred a bait more primitive,
crouching like a raccoon next to the stream,
attracting fish to your hand through sheer will.

For sure you would not have used
one of those shiny metal baubles
favored by today’s fishing dabblers.

No, yours was the direct approach.
I see you not waiting timidly as the stream
passes by, but diving deep beneath
its rippled surface, meeting the fish head on.

First published by Poetry Quarterly summer 2015  http://poetryquarterly.com/poetry-quarterly-issue-22/

Shades from the Chasm

Gazing down At Bright Angel Trail, I see no angels here—
only shades from the chasm: hikers dutifully descending
into hells of their own creation, then plodding upward again,
as in a Doré Purgatory; naked terraces laid down long ago
like the backbones of ancient sea creatures; swallows darting
across the layers like thoughts too fleet to recall; splashes
of red in the receding scarps of canyon walls
like wounds of a bleeding earth.

Originally published July 2015, at Wilderness House Literary Review   http://www.whlreview.com/no-10.2/poetry/GeneTwaronite.pdf

Writing Small

It was one of those
early grades when they
still taught penmanship.
I envied the girl
next to me who
wrote in tiny script,
neat and compact.
I copied her style,
made it my own,
writing letters
ever smaller
as the spaces
between blue lines
grew emptier.

One day my teacher
put her foot down:
I can’t read this,
write bigger!

Not wishing to fail
penmanship, I did.
But that girl with her
Lilliputian words
still remained
inscribed on my brain,
leading me to seek
ever more compact
ways of viewing life.
Like the cursive
I copied, small things
seemed more
appealing, whether
a house or a car.
Less surface
to clean and
less to care for.
Economy and
sparseness of form
I preferred
above all else,
extending this
feeling even
to my lovers.
Why not when it was
complete control
I sought in my
dominion of space?

Now I write
in script neither
small nor neat
but in a wild scrawl
that winds across
checks and documents
with a will of its own.
I try to slow it down,
show who’s boss,
but it ends up
looking mangled
and disrupted, like a
watch spring
suddenly sprung.
And in the checkout
line I see at last the
phantom ghost of
control mocking
me from the screen
while my artless
swiped signature
dissolves into
cyberspace.

First published June 29, 2015, at Turks Head Review  http://turksheadreview.tumblr.com/#sthash.SvKDIsQM.dpuf