Doppelganger

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

An Eye-Pleasing Assemblage

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

The Yellow Snake

By Gene Twaronite

I can take you further than a ship. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The Little Prince

I liked him from the start.
People don’t stop and talk
with snakes anymore, especially
about things that matter.

He wished to go home to
his little planet and the vain
silly rose he loved
more than life itself.

He asked me about my poison
and thought I was his savior.
But I wanted only to tell him a story
to live in for a time and forget.

He tried to make me bite,
but I slipped past him in a yellow flash.
I saw him faint and fall to the sand.
But he did not die.

He thought his body was
too heavy and his planet too far.
He thought he needed poison
to leave behind his mortal shell.

But he had everything he needed,
right there inside of him.
As he made his little planet live for me,
so he made it live again for himself.

And you don’t need a snake for that.

First published in New Myths https://sites.google.com/a/newmyths.com/nmwebsite/poems/the-yellow-snake

A Little Planet of My Own

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

“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)