It would be frightening to know how many people in the world can sing the theme song to “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Whether they learned it in the 1960s, when the television show originally appeared or whether they learned it in reruns and syndication in the decades since, millions of people, world-wide, are familiar with the basic outline of one family’s story. The strange thing is this family never really existed. Continue reading
You sit in your cave, wrap
your many-colored blanket
over your still shoulders,
watch spiders, maggots, ants
perform the handiwork of decay. Continue reading
The world offers us a great number of ways of getting from A to B, in our lives, so to speak. These are opportunities in the daily run of life. I view it as just sitting down and doing our job of living. Filling out the job application, paying the bill, responding to the email you do or don’t want to respond to, getting the children to the gymnastics class, remembering the flowers for the anniversary. These are the tasks that if we do them and do them with intent and focus and care will build up and take us where we need or what to go. Continue reading
Lyman is in his den. He’s sitting in his favorite chair. His father’s chair. Big and leathery. It makes him feel masculine just sitting in it. He thinks of pouring himself a drink, a scotch maybe. His dad drank in this chair. A scotch? he asks himself, do I want to get a little high. No. I’ll get sleepy, and I want to finish the new book I’ve been reading. Continue reading
The Ghosts in These Muscles
Four years ago, at age thirty-four, I had had enough. I had emptied my bag of life tools. It was time to admit that my life would be either painful repetitions of the past or a scary adventure into new territory. When I came to this realization, circumstances (or was it God? A higher power?) offered a ticket for adventure. This ticket states: “You can change your life if you so desire. But if you accept, you will change your life in ways never imagined.” Continue reading
I made some evaluative comments about a few poets in the previous commentary. I wrote:
- [Leonard Doughty] is still very much unknown and perhaps that is just.
- Heine is a great poet by anyone’s standards and continues to find new translators in every generation.
- A. E. Housman is also a wonderful, if perhaps minor, poet.
Make me a weed,
a wild and restless thing,
too burning for a flaming sky
to green myself in shade. Continue reading
Looking back, I believe it was with this poem that I first began being a different kind of poet. Shall I name this being “a serious poet”? A “self-aware poet?” I have already said that I began writing poems about 1968, as a sophomore in Temple High School. By the time I wrote this poem, I had graduated from the University of Texas, and then in June 1975, I took off to Texas A&M for graduate school. I had written hundreds of poems in high school and in my senior year at UT; I had written a year’s worth of material in notebooks, and I had pieced together poems for special projects in government and education classes. Now that I think about it, these special projects were in my senior year. Continue reading
You know that burning that I felt
(Not in my heart, nor mind, but you know where),
Well, no worry, this world never
need care about this poet’s first affair. Continue reading
This poem is another of my senior year at the university notebook poems. In the house that I shared with Claud and Neal I had the bedroom in back corner with windows on two sides, facing South and West. My single bed was along the South window and the desk faced out the West window toward the back yard and a creek that most often was dry. The three of us were pretty focused on our school work. Claud was a chemistry major and would spend long nights at the university in the lab doing whatever chemistry students do, and then he would appear without warning in the middle of the afternoon, make a couple of sandwiches put on a stack of Joni Mitchell albums on the stereo, move the speakers into his room, close the door, and fall asleep. We would or wouldn’t see him the next day. Continue reading