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by ROBERT A. DAVIES
The poet is saying his poem,
has opened his picture gallery.
One is crawling into a cave
the floor covered in cigarette butts
dried shit and blood
where something horrible took place
is still taking place.
From the two eyes of the cave
one makes out carvings on the walls
pictures drawn by a child
over the years,
without the pictures unbearable.
One looks for the entrance to make an exit
but there is no leaving.
One is wrong from now on,
there is no pleasing except
by begging for punishment
by those one most loves,
living a nightmare
an empty plate, cigarette burns, The Cutting
screams still echoing.
Time for the poet to put on
his smile, his stetson.
Time also for one to leave.
Ethan’s View of Things
by ROBERT A. DAVIES
Worse than drunken Mr. Foss
back from the Oxford Grille
Ethan totters down the street.
He keeps his cane for home.
Last time he took it he got looks,
pity from brazen neighbors.
He’d rather fall if it came to that.
He repeats, “And another thing I hate
is the smiles I get from perfect strangers.”
His list of things he puts up with is long.
He grumbles to himself as he walks.
Nor does he end there.
Cell phones internet and pods:
we’re going to hell in a handbasket.
There’s no reason to adjust.
That’s the word that gets him going.
Ethan Considers His Youth
by ROBERT A. DAVIES
You read about the West
New and Old that low sky
lone rangers laconic
their feelings hidden even to themselves.
But here in New England
the place where I’m from
the sky hovers over hills
spaces are small
little room for talk.
“Wild” means out of control.
A meal means only
Eat your meat and potatoes!
Effusive talk forbidden.
Summer camps had Nature Lodges
where most of my friends kept lists
Howe, Wheelwright, Walker
Wood and Green:
how little they talked and when they did
they spoke of things.
So many hot to name
birds plants trees
all the stars in the heavens.
Robert A. Davies lives in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at email@example.com.
[Editor’s Note: The tradition continues! Past Birthday Poems can be found here: http://crowvoice.com/2013/04/16/birthday-poems-pre-2013/]
Birthday Poem, 2013
by MARC BEAUDIN
The morning snow
becomes steam rising from the road
into the Lamar Valley
where I slow for crossing bison,
elk and pronghorn antelope
Rippling sheets of juncos
and ribbons of mountain bluebirds
decorate the grey air
as I park and hike above Slough Creek –
carry a buffalo skull
to the top of a Precambrian outcropping,
place it facing West and
burn sage collected on the way up
I’m answered by a pair of flickers
chasing a red tail into the spruce
rising above me
a bowl-sized indentation
in the lichen-spackled rock
holds just melted snow
like a font of holy water
so, like some fool pilgrim,
I lie flat on my chest
I’m answered by chorusing wolves
from somewhere across the creek
Back at my camp,
the fire’s heat is swallowed by icy air
before reaching me
so I retreat to my sleeping bag
and dance these words into my journal
I’m answered by the staccato song of snow
tapping on the skin of my tent
throughout a night too cold for sleep
or dreams of anything
Marc Beaudin is the poetry editor of CounterPunch. His website is CrowVoice.com.
Editorial Note: (Please Read Closely Before Submitting)
Poets Basement is now on Facebook. Find us as http://www.facebook.com/poets.basement.
To submit to Poets Basement, send an e-mail to CounterPunch’s poetry editor, Marc Beaudin at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, the titles being submitted, and your website url or e-mail address (if you’d like this to appear with your work). Also indicate whether or not your poems have been previously published and where. For translations, include poem in original language and documentation of granted reprint/translation rights. Attach up to 5 poems and a short bio, written in 3rd person, as a single Word Document (.doc or .rtf attachments only; no .docx – use “Save As” to change docx or odt files to “.doc”). Expect a response within two months (occasionally longer during periods of heavy submissions).
Poems accepted for online publication will be considered for possible inclusion of an upcoming print anthology.
For more details, tips and suggestions, visit http://crowvoice.com/poets-basement. Thanks!