Two years ago, I was sitting in a crowded rooftop bar in Manhattan (sigh) when the bartender leaned over to tell me I was her doppelganger. I had to quickly access my memory banks to make sure I had the right meaning. It’s not exactly a word I hear a lot, especially when it’s from a young woman referring to me. I dedicate this poem to her, in hopes she is well wherever she may be. You can read it here on page 5 of the latest issue of Tipton Poetry Journal, where it has just been published https://issuu.com/tiptonpoetryjournal/docs/tpj45
As we celebrate this day of our national birth, let us re-imagine the country we claimed to be and the country we need to be. I can think of no better anthem to America than this poem “I, Too” by Langston Hughes. Let it ring out across the land!
I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong.
Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table When company comes. Nobody’ll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,” Then.
Besides, They’ll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed—
A former out-of-print bookseller, I have always been fascinated by the descriptions used to sell books. I have observed that, as the rarity of the book increases, so does the flowery language dealers employ in seeking truly stratospheric prices for them. And I decided that there might be a poem there. The result is this poem you can read here: http://star82review.com/7.4/twaronite-assemblage.html
I Just finished rereading Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic tale The Little Prince. It is a book I have returned to many times, and I always find something new there. To those who think of this as merely a story for children, think again. It is a story that works on so many levels it defies classification. If you have somehow made it into adulthood without ever reading it, I urge you to find a copy before it is too late and you lose all connection to your childhood and turn into a fossil.
Here’s a poem I wrote after my recent visit with the prince:
My planet is a trifle bigger than the one the Little Prince lives on. Instead of just three, it has a dozen volcanoes which erupt in iridescent salute every time I visit and never need cleaning. Mine has a waterfall that falls straight up into the sky where the stars are always laughing. There are baobab trees by the score with roots going deep as they please without breaking up the place and not a single sheep to menace my one silly rose visible only with the heart who speaks to me when I’m sad. And one yellow snake when I want to go home.
First published in the literary journal Star*Line Fall 2019
I had to share this eloquent poem by Rimas Uzgiris, published by Rattle in its weekly “Poets Respond,” in which poets respond to events of the previous week. Being Lithuanian-American, I was especially moved by the fact that this Lithuanian poet who teaches literature and creative writing at Vilnius University wrote this poem in response to those who mocked Greta Thunberg’s Climate Speech, including many in his own literary community. His poem eloquently captures the anguish of those of us who see climate change as the chief moral issue of our times. In the words of Greta, “How dare you?”
Here I am reading at Peregrine Book Company in Prescott, AZ. The video includes two short poems. The first poem (“All That Was Needed”) is based on a quote from 1984 by George Orwell. Watch the video here.