When I first started writing this poem, I had no idea where it would take me. I knew only that I had to follow. It showed me the way to write about something I was afraid to address in my poetry, even though it is an issue I care deeply about. Read it here: http://sisyphuslitmag.org/2019/04/perceptible-increments/
My new poem “Time for Sale” was just published in Sky Island Journal
A juvenile Allosaur skeleton arched as if to freeze its soul in lethal leap, a mammoth’s bones slathered with lacquer to gloss over empty halls, a 52 million-year- old bird with every feather intact looking as if at any moment it might fly again, or further back still a mega stone panel from Paleozoic seas filled with trilobites writhing in such profusion it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t live forever— it’s all for sale at the Fossil Show— just run your card and buy a piece of time to press like a fetish against your soft flesh as you dream of eternity.
the horticulturist replied as I pointed to the flowers atop a crested saguaro cactus I had tried to save, its life now oozing away from bacterial necrosis within.
But tell that to a bee who greets each flower she meets as if it were the first or Mexican bats who migrate a thousand miles to lap the sweet nectar from agave and saguaro blossoms or the young woman whose first flowing blood marks the opening of her new life or the young country where democracy once bloomed.
First published in Tipton Poetry Journal Issue #40 (Winter 2019). See page 11.
If I put a word here, say for instance, extravagance, how would that look? Or if I gave it a whole line e x t r a v a g a n c e like something that fills the sad space in your life by pumping itself up to seem important.
What if I put in a long pause…? not because I need to, but to make you stop and listen for whatever comes next as if the words held sacred truth.
What about all that space along either side of this page? I could pull it in like so
or take it all the way out to the farthest reaches of space just because it is there and I can.
Does it matter what I say here or how? Do words depend on me to give them life or do they possess lives of their own? Do they rise and go to work each day, and come home again to sleep at night? Do they aspire to perform great things, to come together with other words in poems and speeches for the ages? Maybe in the meantime I should give them something to do, some little task around this page to make them feel useful.
to fill this void today, would it be a tragedy if I left it empty?
From The Museum of Unwearable Shoes (Kelsay Books, 2018)
If you dig into the life of any famous author, more than likely you’ll find at least one or more traumas—sexual or verbal abuse, loss of parent, substance abuse, severe depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, irrational fears, take your pick—lurking behind the scenes. So where does this leave a writer like me, seventy years old, with not a single trauma I can think of that has influenced and shaped my writing? Read my latest essay “A Painless Guide to Trauma,” just published by Wilderness House Literary Review https://www.whlreview.com/no-13.3/essay/GeneTwaronite.pdf
“The Museum of Unwearable Shoes is simply stunning, filled with biting wit, subtle humor, insights, provocative questions and fresh looks at ordinary things that I’ll never again experience in the same way. I love the way Twaronite peeks beneath the ordinary, leaving me moved and at times inspired by what he finds there. Even the few poems whose images and metaphors I find disturbing also provide insight in how to deal with such things. Reading this book was a wonderful adventure and I look forward to going back many times to again probe its depths.” Susan Lang, Faculty Emeritus at Yavapai College and author of the novelsThe Sawtooth Complex& In God’s Trailer Parkas well as a trilogy of novels about a woman homesteading in the southwestern wilderness during the years 1929 to 1941.
My second book of poetry has just been published by Kelsay Books. This is my first full-length collection and includes 61 new poems, most of which first appeared in various literary journals. Available at Kelsay Books The Museum of Unwearable Shoes
Three of my poems were just translated and published in the journal Metaforología. This is the first time any of my poems have been tranlsated into Spanish, and I am honored and pleased to have my poems showcased there for a wider audience. You can read them here in both Spanish and English versions http://metaforologia.com/somos/
Metaforología, founded and directed by the poet Ana Cecilia Blum, is a digital Magazine of Literature whose main objective is the diffusion of contemporary poems, tales and essays that demonstrate seriousness, honesty and excellence to both the author and the reader.
I love how my poems sound in Spanish – such a musical language. My compliments to editor and poet Ana Blum for her excellent job of translation.
In memory of the great antipoet Nicanor Parra, 1914-2018
All I ask is honesty
Don’t tell me I look great
when you’ve seen better
on a cadaver
And please no gifts
No fitbits or trekking poles
Give me a break
And ditch the flowers
This ain’t no funeral
Don’t buy me a cake
especially one where
a woman jumps out
but I can’t remember
what to do with her
Perhaps a splash of wine
to wet this withered throat
And tell that guy in the mirror
to stop staring at me