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
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)
“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
My first poetry collection Trash Picker on Mars has just won the 2017 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award in the category of Arizona poetry. I would like to thank my publisher and editor Karen Kelsay (Kelsay Books) and freelance editor Kate Robinson for their help and support. Mostly I wish to thank my readers over the years who have enjoyed my poems and encouraged me to keep on writing.
Stay tuned for exciting news of the next poetry book.
Meanwhile, if you wish to purchase a signed copy of Trash Picker on Mars, you can do so here. It is also available on Amazon.
As I drove past
the shirtless man,
his head wrapped
in cloth against
the desert sun,
he peeled the last
bit of bark
from a young
as if to strip
trace of green
from a world
he once knew.
How dare it grow
when acid hate
falls from the sky
and the ground
bears only fear
when the buds
wither and die,
and the rot
goes all the way
to the roots.
My little book of poems has picked up another review, this time by my local newspaper.
TRASH PICKER ON MARS
By Gene Twaronite (Kelsay Books, $14)
Reviewed by Christine Wald-Hopkins for Arizona Daily Star
This collection of poems, which came out last year, is an expression of the concrete, the contemporary, and—see the title—the imaginative unlikely. Two-thirds of the thirty-two poems previously published elsewhere, “Trash Picker on Mars” is Gene Twaronite’s first book of poems. Covering such subjects as a porn-peddling bus station, a sleeping woman in a subway car, a container store, the death of a mourning dove, the poems reflect upon gritty, working class life in modern American society and the nature of life itself. AZ daily star/southern arizona authors