James Blevins

An Old Poet

An old poet

arrives at a reading,

sits alone, waits his

turn;

his breath a hiss,

issued patiently.

 

old words held

close to a sudden

drop—

 

a sudden drop

in the cavern

of his hollow

chest.

 

   ***

 

           He grumbles

an introduction to the crowd,

recounts an old heart’s

bruising—

 

to the room, to some empty chairs,

to other poets gathered,

too young to know:

 

                      he had long forgotten

                      the poem’s reason—

 

                      but still holds it

                      close—and shares

                      it again, just as easy.  

Ode to a Rock Road in Ohio

 

I desire to be warm as red paint, spread on dying wood:

Behind my best friend’s house, on a barn, in Ohio, something like 1985,

On a rock road, by an adjoining church parking lot, where I learned to ride my bike.

The dialogues I had back then with God have followed me all of my life.

My father, he held me high over his powerful arms then, and I didn’t mind.

My mother, she tucked me in and read me stories till I dreamed of writing my own.

 

With ruddy eyes, I’d stare out from the wood of the shed;

I’d stretch my red lips into a smile, watch the trees finally release,

With a touch of regret ingrained, the snow above my head.

Knowing full well the fleetingness of these moments,

And the time spent wishing I could grip longer—

But I don’t waste that time holding my wooden breath.

 

I’d befriend the rocks that skinned my knees,

Behind my best friend’s house,

In Ohio, as I am spread, like warm, red paint

on the dying wood of a barn,

that had probably been there for decades before I first fell;

Watching all the five-year olds like me, breaking in our knees, bleeding on the white rocks—

Twin wheels spinning lazily in wind shear off timber skin,

Whirling struts sharing in the light-motes off holy glass;

A bike waiting to be pulled up from the ground; a gust emits,

like that of unseen hands, ushering the boy along back home.

These are the musings of poet student James Blevins:

 

                                                                 Valentine’s Day, 2016

 

I put Poem down on my knee

I rub Poem’s back

I scratch Poem’s shoulder blades

I knead Poem’s muscles till my fingers ache

 

I cup Poem’s cheeks

I kiss Poem’s lips

I push Poem down

I lean Poem back

 

I hold Poem close

I give Poem more than enough

I pour Poem a drink

I size Poem up

 

I wish Poem a nice night

I fork Poem’s tongue

I quarter Poem’s heart on a page

I force Poem’s eyes wide

 

I finger Poem’s core

I guard Poem’s weak knees

I total Poem’s bar tab

I garner Poem’s ear

 

I treat Poem right as rain

I march Poem out tonight

I singe Poem’s skin

I sign Poem’s yearbook

 

I dream Poem’s dream

I clean Poem’s fingertips

I warm Poem’s feet

I maroon Poem’s seed

 

I wash up on Poem’s beach

I dig Poem’s hole

I corner Poem’s prey

I lure Poem within reach

 

I need Poem’s eyes

I hate Poem’s lies

I waste Poem’s time

I love Poem as nothing else alive.

 
 
 

THE COURTSHIP OF WINDS

© 2015 by William Ray