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POETRY: my aesthetic map


Mostly, however many of the creative arts I practice, I'm a writer.


Mostly, I write and publish POETRY. Free verse; formal verse; hybrid half-forms; prose poems; lyrical narrative vignettes. At times, there's an overlap with low-key microfictions, or bits of creative non-fiction. There are a lot of monologues; I could file some under "playwriting." Do the labels matter? Show me an aesthetic map, and I'll want to write all over it.





Under the POETRY tab, you'll find poems from my 2018 Blue Nib chapbook, and from my 2021 collection Mutt Spirituals. Also some uncollected work that has appeared recently in journals and is in my next MS, Sort By Title. And not just the texts, but also some commentary on them.

(NB: these are teasers: read the journals! Get hold of the books!)








            THE CHAMOIS SHIMMY (circa 1990)


            The chamois shimmies, lithe and svelte,

            From crag to crag, to save his pelt.

            It seems a shame to dust our desks

            With what once danced such arabesques.

            Instead of yelping, Gimme, gimme!,

            I vote we let the chamois shimmy.


I also write LIGHT VERSE. Light verse is mostly filed at the PLAYGROUND tab, under PARTY PIECES. Still, some of the not quite light enough writing (listen, these are just labels; they're not laws) might find its way into POETRY. Some HYBRID work will be posted with the PIC LIT. And I'll risk posting some OLD STUFF at the PAST GLORIES tab. Here's one early poem which I can't remember tinkering with at all over the decades—and yet which I'll let stand right here. In its poetic stance, style, tone, tune, even taste, I still recognize myself. Weird.




                        LOOK AT ME! (circa 1972, 1973)


            Skipping across a tightrope; falling off—

            learning, skipping back, and staying on—

            who could look at him and shrug, or cough?

            Who keep on that hat we wear to doff?
           Sadly, it seems almost everyone.


            Dispersing, they ask, What does he achieve,

            tripping so boldly three feet off the ground?

            Okay, the wire's thin, but so what? We've

            no terror, no suspense—we yawn, and leave—

            we know he won't be dashed to bits or drowned.


            Personally, though, I don't see the thrill,

            defying death—who'll get us anyhow—

            when it's reduced to taking failure ill,

            mistaking nerve for truth and swank for skill,

            and giving death the chance to get us now.


            I'll take my own risks. Though I'll gladly pay,

            the point of them is never the expense.

            I hope that everything I want to say

            flies out the throat of one, one day.

            Meanwhile, I'll fall, and join the audience.

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