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)
“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
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.
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.