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
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
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
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.
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:
My new poem “Time for Sale” was just published in Sky Island Journal
A juvenile Allosaur
as if to freeze its
soul in lethal leap,
a mammoth’s bones
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
First published in Sky Island Journal,
the horticulturist replied as
I pointed to the flowers
atop a crested
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
a thousand miles
to lap the sweet nectar
and saguaro blossoms
or the young woman
whose first flowing blood
marks the opening
of her new life
or the young country
First published in Tipton Poetry Journal Issue #40 (Winter 2019). See page 11.
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?
pull it in
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 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
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.