poet

"Working Class Hero"

Mar 23, 2015

He wakes tired from sleeping rough
in the cab of a pickup truck
that remembers the Vietnam war.
He wakes up raw-bellied
from going to sleep hungry,
from driving a hundred miles the night before
in his failing Ford,
from needing this job too much.

His flesh cringes from the cold breath
of a mountain beginning
its withdrawal into
the season of solitude.
His flesh cringes from premonitions
of being touched by frozen wood and iron
before the first sweat of the day
comes to break the morning chill.

"Which Last"

Mar 2, 2015

In the thicket just west of my shack,
under the heaviest of canopied pines,

every day, all winter long, two does recline
and rest, and sometimes when I look

from the window their eyes are closed,
but still they go on chewing whatever

snowbound vegetation they've uncovered—
or just their sad, inadequate cuds, I suppose.

As I suppose my daily apple also
is due to them. I've been a little slow to learn

not to throw the core and make them run,
but to toss it gently between us, like so.

"American Nightmares"

Nov 17, 2014

(To the American False Dream)

America is
at the door
Soldiers are knocking
asking plitely:
Can we kill you?

America is suicidal
when the streets are empty
America is a bottle of alcohol
in the lonely playgrounds

America is a bloodstain
on Kabul's children's clothes

America cooks meth through gun barrels!

America, why don't you love me?
America, why are your legs shaking?
Do you know hyow the long-bearded men feel at night?
Do you know how many teenages have stopped hoping?

"The Milltown Union Bar"

Nov 10, 2014

for Harold Herndon

(Laundromat & Cafe)
You could love here, not the lovely goat
in plexiglass nor the elk shot
in the middle of a joke, but honest drunks,
crossed swords above the bar, three men hung
in the bad painting, others riding off
on the phony green horizon. The owner,
fresh from orphan wars, loves too
but bad as you. He keeps improving things
but can't cut the bodies down.

"Life"

Oct 27, 2014

To maintain balance of the soul
Is our ultimate goal
For death and life are foe
But yet together stroll
Between the stars and the grasses
As crescent moons come and go
With each winter of snow
May you walk in beauty.

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During this program, Paul Zarzyski talks about and reads from his latest collections of poetry and prose, Steering With My Knees and 51: 30 Poems, 20 Lyrics, 1 Self-Interview, both published by Bangtail Press.

Including:

Poem For October 20

Oct 20, 2014

Today's poem is untitled. It was published in chasers of the light: poems from the typewriter series, by Tyler Knot Gregson.

What good
is a half-lit
life?
You
can burn me
to ashes
as long as I know
we lived a life
alight.

"Best"

Oct 13, 2014

He told us a story of lightning splitting the lone tree
on a hill's top, killing three horses beneath it at once.

They lay that way through winter; come May, their
licked-clean bones gleamed from a bed to green tendrils

and clover. We knew it had meaning, the way he said;
nature takes care to spirit back what's hers; they'd

been his best. We watched him talk, then he stopped.
This comes to me today just as a curtain of white

sweeps the vineyard, buds thrashed by torrents combing
the rows, the clatter on glass waking my napping boy

"Responsibility"

Oct 6, 2014

At the lower fence line under the stars
he hears what at first he takes
to be the neighbor's mare,
come to investigate his apple pocket,

but then gets that neck-chill
and knows otherwise and turns
to see by starlight alone a dust devil
spitting along perpendicular to the wire

and straight at him. He's seen thousands
of the things but never crossed paths
with one on foot, and watches
as long as he can before the grit

"This Morning"

Jun 16, 2014

“Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?”
                                    – Roethke

It’s time. It’s almost too late.
Did you see the magnolia light its pink fires?
You could be your own, unknown self.
No one is keeping it from you.

The magnolia lights its pink fires
daffodils shed papery sheaths.
No one is keeping you from it—
your church of window, pen and morning.

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