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James Blevins

An Old Poet

An old poet

arrives at a reading,

sits alone, waits his


his breath a hiss,

issued patiently.


old words held

close to a sudden



a sudden drop

in the cavern

of his hollow





           He grumbles

an introduction to the crowd,

recounts an old heart’s



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.

old poet
ode to a rock road
these are the musings
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