A poet faces the great unknown empty.
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?
pull it in
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)
Some say there’s no poetry in numbers. Well, here’s proof that there is, in this moving poem by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer.
“By the Numbers” by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
For those of my readers who are Amazon Prime members, my latest poetry book, just published by Kelsay Books, is also available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Museum-Unwearable-Shoes-Gene-Twaronite
“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 novels The Sawtooth Complex & In God’s Trailer Park as 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
Note: First published in Metaforología, a digital literary magazine. http://metaforologia.com/gene-twaronite/
Think I’ll pass on
and wait till
me so I can
doing a hundred
and eat my dust.
First published in NewMyths.com Issue #43 https://sites.google.com/a/newmyths.com/nmwebsite/poems/the-next-big-thing
Snoop and Snort pounded all day
on a rusty Remington typewriter
missing the letter “e,”
writing stories for Metro Daily News
about mythical creatures called humans—
smart as dragons, some say—
but no one believed them.
They needed proof.
So off they set to find a human,
a hard thing to do, since none
existed in all the dragon world.
As they passed through an alleyway,
all at once the air around them
began to shimmer and squiggle,
like something struggling to be.
Then out popped a tiny creature,
wearing striped shirt and baseball cap,
chasing a ball.
Snoop and Snort stared in wonder
at the human-shaped creature,
which did not seem fierce at all
and not half as big
as the beings they wrote about.
The creature froze, as Snoop and Snort
sniffed it from head to foot.
Grinning with sharp teeth,
they licked their chops
as their bellies growled.
It was nearly lunchtime.
The creature screamed and ran,
but not nearly fast enough
to outrun a fiery breath.
Snoop and Snort searched in vain
for more delicious creatures.
Tired and still hungry, they returned to the office
where they pounded all day
on a rusty Remington typewriter
missing the letter “e,”
writing stories for Metro Dragon News
about mythical creatures called humans.
First published in Lowestoft Chronicle Spring 2018 http://lowestoftchronicle.com/issues/issue33/genetwaronite/
My first sestina was just published by Tipton Poetry Journal, Winter 2018. According to Poetry Foundation, “a sestina is a complex French verse form, usually unrhymed, consisting of six stanzas of six lines each and a three-line envoy. The end words of the first stanza are repeated in a different order as end words in each of the subsequent five stanzas; the closing envoy contains all six words, two per line, placed in the middle and at the end of the three lines.” https://www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/glossary-terms/sestina
Whew! It’s enough to make your head spin. But a recent poem I had written in free verse that didn’t sound quite right to me. It just lay there on the page. So, despite my trepidation, I decided to see if I could rewrite it as a sestina. I even used a famous sestina poem (“A Miracle for Breakfast”) by one of my favorite poets, Elizabeth Bishop as a model.
The result is my poem “Rape and Shell Collecting.” You can read the poem here (turn to page 40). https://issuu.com/tiptonpoetryjournal/docs/tpj36
I seek to fill it
whether it needs filling or not
inserting my vanity into space
undefiled by actuality
as if I could fill the vacuum
between the stars and electrons
as if I could fill the gulf between us
no matter how close you seem
as if I could fill your vacant stare
so you don’t have to be there alone
as if I could fill all the holes
and lonely places within me
as if I could fill the blank slate I embrace each day
with words enough to keep the void at bay.
First published by The Ravens Perch. It’s a great new literary blog which allows readers to rate published pieces. You can find this poem as well as three more of my poems at this link http://www.theravensperch.com/whenever-i-see-empty-by-gene-twaronite/