“Mortal Danger” and Two Other Poems Published

My poem “Mortal Danger” and two other poems were just published here at The RavensPerch. At the end of the poem, go to “Next” in the right hand corner to read the other two poems.

Perceptible Increments

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/

Time for Sale

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.  

First published in Sky Island Journal,
https://www.skyislandjournal.com/issues#/issue8-spring2019/

Flowering Means Nothing

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.



A Blank Page

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?
               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: “Simply Stunning”

“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

 

Trash Picker on Mars Winner of 2017 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award

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.

 

Peeling the Bark

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
palo verde
as if to strip
away all
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
and despair,
when the buds
wither and die,
and the rot
goes all the way
to the roots.

First published in Ginosko Literary Journal 19

Trash Picker on Mars Review

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

Latest Review of Trash Picker on Mars

A new review of my book Trash Picker on Mars. Thanks, Susan.

In Trash Picker on Mars, Gene Twaronite ends a poem with “They are the people I carry within. I’d show you their picture if I could.” Yet that is exactly what readers of this small volume of poetry come away with: snapshots of everyday people our society tends to ignore, those lost on the streets, asleep on the subways, or hidden behind plastered smiles as they serve daily lunch crowds. Through detailed imagery, insight, and compassion, Twaronite takes us behind their concealing smiles to the persons within, to their hopes and dreams and frailties, revealing them to be a reflection of ourselves. From the moment that lasts no longer than a handshake where we dare touch one another before stepping back into our “fortified trenches” of safe anonymity, to the eyeless faces of modern day mannequins, Twaronite’s poetry introduces us to trash pickers with their dreams still intact and to strangers on buses who will nod and recognize us as lifelong friends. I urge lovers of everyman American poetry in the vein of Robert Frost or Walt Whitman to pick up a volume of Trash Picker on Mars. Amazon customer review Trash Picker on Mars

–Susan Shell Winston, editor at New Myths, and author of Singer of Norgondy