How I want to write poetry. And how I don’t.

I can’t always do it. I would never be openly showy or make any form of art before an audience. I don’t think I could. Challenges or prompts during writing group meetings and a few online are the most I can do in social settings where people know me. Other than that, my writing is a solitary effort, although I’m not exactly the poster boy of the garret-imprisoned scribe. I do write in coffee shops, libraries, parks, waiting or dining rooms, and even during my morning walks. But usually I write at this desk on this laptop.

Yet, I have times of emotional outburst writing. At least one reader seems to know or recognize exactly when that happens. I love the experience, and I find satisfaction when I read my scribble after the excitement has passed. If I can let go of something within me, an inner editor, judge, or critic, I like what happens. I feel so free. It’s about emotionally letting go of something.

I don’t listen to music when I read or write. I can only tolerate classical type without being distracted. I am not sure how it would work. I may try it sometime.

In order to give you an example for what I have in mind, I did some research on a well-known artist who I am familiar with. Well, I thought I was. Nothing about the art is independent of the artist—not the form, method, appeal, depth, or reputation.

Jonas Gerard of Ashville, TN, puts on an impressive show. The personal emotion he displays in making his art is the poster for explaining how I sometimes want to write, especially poetry. I have been to his studio, I have talked to him and several of his assistants, and I bought some of his work.

The youtube video below is an example of what I mean (he did a number of these). The vision of personal emotion (fake or real) is inspiring. But, artist or not, apparently old Jonas (he’s 78 or so) has had issues with untoward behavior (sexual harassment, maybe assault) in his past. I never put this guy on a pedestal or thought of him as anything more than a cool modern artist. Yet, I’m disappointed, angry, and confused. Because of what I learned, I considered not writing this piece or posting it.

But this is about me and I agree with what he says in the video about fear.

I want to write with emotional vigor displayed by Jonas Gerard when he paints. I want to let go, as he mentions. I love it when I can let go. It’s the temporary feeling and process I enjoy. The product, like all writing, will outlive the writer.

Look both ways. Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future.
Mind the gaps but dismiss excuses.

Poetry: Outback Cowboy

Where ignorance is king,
where men wear silly expensive hats
and spurs and can hardly put
a coherent sentence together,
that, what I just said is not true,
these cowboys are on top of
their game.
I am always confused
if you’re wearing spurs,
where’s the fucking horse—
or cow? Always confused.

I want to sit on my back porch
on a rainy Wednesday night
with a cool porter
and listen to Seger
and write a poem
about how I feel. About life
or death. About important shit,
like vanishing telephone poles and
parked cars and garage doors
and the Stepford wives or
Beatles and Stones and old dogs
eatin’ chicken bones.

I’m not a branded Texan,
ah got no gun or rope,
no horse, nor spurs
in my immigrant collection.
Just Bob; this notebook,
a few memories and
confused convoluted feelings
about everything except the rain.

And boring people
who are interesting, and interesting
people who are not and why
none of that matters.
On my back porch,
where ignorance is king
an’ old Bob can still sing.

Look both ways when you wonder about what you think.
Look for gaps in cowboy hats, that’s how the light gets in.

Poetry: Silence is no Coward

I am strong, but I am tired, Stephen, tired of always having to be the strong one, of always having to do the right thing.” Brenda Joyce, An Impossible Attraction


I’m not always much of anything.
I’ve been an old white man for a long time,
a branded stereotype with good teeth
and a bad attitude,

apparently not supposed to ask for
some things, cuz I am old and white.

It’s okay. Perhaps they’re fucking right.
Equality is in, unless you happen to be
old…
white…
and have what’s left of an old hard on.

Others were (and still are) treated like shit
by white guys. Nazis were, are, white,
male; no fucking idea how old fits.

Some old men are idiots, non-millennial
impotent bastards who hate everyone,
and everything, especially women.
Stereotyped, hairless shit heads
with nothing to do
but make mankind worse.

It’s a tough world, but we can try
to make it better each day.
To make it last.

©Bill Reynolds, 6/13/2019

Look and listen both ways for real equality. At least, don’t be unkind.
Mind the gaps like lifelines with stories to tell.

Why Two things?

Almost everyone wants
to be a writer, claims
Clive James.

I am two things:
an old man of a type or
a kind, and I am
a writer of some sort.

But I
am not of the almost
or even most who
want to be. It is
what I am.
An identity.

Some things I do
because I must –
I eat, shower,
shit and shave –
walk about and I
swim. I take pills
and shots of various
kinds in odd places
like my right ear
or part of my derriere.

I read because I
must, but also
because I want to
just for pleasure.

Why do I write?
I don’t have to,
but it’s like I
need to. If I
don’t, I’ll become
impacted with
words. My muse
may stop visiting
and my mind will
go and I will die
from constipation
of expression.

So, I write this shit
and it feels good.
The old man part is okay
but can’t say it feels as good.

Look both ways at the buffet of life, sample it all.
Mind the gaps to find a treasure of pleasure.

Poetry: Gettin’ Shit Done

I live my life on a road
somewhere among stop
and smell the roses,
live this day like it’s your last,
or be active and get shit done.

Torn a little between bitchin’
‘bout being old and its baggage
and happy as hell to be so well.
Lucky is what they say, privileged
to be no worse, like dead ya’ know.

I used to say — live fast, love hard,
and die young. Like the Meat Loaf song,
two out of three ain’t bad, and besides,
I’m still having fun wonderin’
and wanderin’ up-n-down this ol’ road.

It’s time for some wildflowers
and maybe tomorrow I will
stop and look them over, and live that day
like it’s my last, dance like y’all ain’t lookin’
maybe I’ll even find a way

to get some shit done.

©Bill Reynolds 6/4/2019

Live, love, and look both ways. Find and mind all the gaps. Live well.

Poetry: Fixing Things

broken
dirty
people who want to feel better

puzzles and problems

edit to make it better
fix by ignoring edits
aligning painting adjusting
solving brightening or darkening
and resolving

healing and being healed

fixed or broken

repeat

© Bill Reynolds 5/30/2019

Look both ways and mind the gaps.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it unless it’s poetry.
Always fix a poem.

********

Poetry: A Place for Weeds

Jim was watering his experiment
for his ag doctorate, Grasses of the Brazos.
The good ol’ country boy let his smile show
when I observed and laughed at him
for making a big deal out of a bunch of weeds.
They were not flowers or cash crop plants.

Jim said, without looking at me,
“a weed is just a plant out of place.”

Over fifty years now. Where did they go?
I remember Jim
and his greenhouse full of weeds at A&M,
we’d go spray water on them weeds daily.
Later Jim would defend his dissertation about
Brazos Valley dirt and river bank weeds.
Doctor Jim was a dirt man, agronomist.
Just a plant out of place.

Jim got his Ph and D in dirt.
Then, he moved away to California;
who with his high-pitched, out yonder,
Texas drawl, old Jim
was decreed Doc Jim, the good-old-boy
from Meridian, Texas.
In his own way, he became
a plant out of place.

Many times, I have been a weed,
a person out of place,
or so I felt.
I needed to be in a different place,
to feel unweedly,
wanted by anyone,
or not. Was I where I belonged?
Or, was I just another plant
out of place?

Was I
in the place I was supposed to be?
Bloom where you’re planted,
that’s what they say.
Weeds need to grow everywhere,
but it is nice to find your space.

No longer, am I,
a plant out of place.

©Bill Reynolds, 5/23/2019

Look both ways crossing but look all around for misplaced plants and people.
Mind the gaps, weeds grow there.