Poet of the Month

 JULY: JIM GWYN, AMERICAN POET 

(c) 2021 Jim Gwyn


Jim Gwyn is an American poet of Welsh descent. He began writing poetry and fiction in the Sixties. He has been published in numerous anthologies and magazines, among them, Lips, The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow, andThe Paterson Literary Review.He has four chapbooks and a full-length collection forthcoming. Jim was the 2008 First Prize winner of the Allen Ginsberg Poetry contest, and he has eight Pushcart Prize nominations for poetry.

 

AT MCGINNESS POND

My son doesn’t want
to learn how to cast.
Close up to the shore —
that’s where he likes to fish,
just dropping the line in,
jerking it whenever he sees
that sunnie take hold.

He doesn’t want
to have to throw,
wait, and do all that work
toward silence
to the moment when
the dipping bobber
and the tangible world unfold.

I could show him
technique, and I would never
have to tell him why I am there,
why I haven’t caught a fish
in over twenty-five years.
He wants me there
to take his fish off the hook.

What he has learned so far
from books is that
he is Huck Finn.
He doesn’t want
the tug of silence
to go on.

He wants that fish.

 

IN PLAIN SIGHT

When my son closes his eyes
and cups his hands over them,
he thinks he's hiding from me.

It doesn't work that way, I say.
You can’t see me, but I can
still see you. He repeats

his Morse Code of peeking
and closing his eyes
a few more times in a mix

of shyness and regret.
I finally get it out
he didn't want me home yet,

he had five more math problems,
and he hoped to be finished
before I walked in with the world.

I'm glad it's only math, I say.
Here, maybe this will help,
and I cover my eyes,

announce I'm not home,
wishing I were seven again,
living in plain sight,

wanting to promise him
a simple plan, to show
how to live with all illusions intact,

living inside my dreams,
instead of dying inside my life.

 

REALIZING 

Realizing you have to arrange
for everything.

You have to figure the space
and what you choose

to fill it with and if there
will be decorations,

if there
should be permanence.

How can any of us
fill any space

to be everything
you wanted.

How can we make do
with whatever time

we are allowed,
realizing nothing

may be what you wanted.
Where we are

is more important
than anywhere

we may have been
or will be.

But we realize
we never wanted

to be anywhere
than in those moments

that filled the end of your life,
those moments we now start from

without you.

 

LET IT BE ALL THOSE DAYS 

I want it to be one of those cool
Upstate New York nights
in August, the crickets going crazy.

Or let it be 20 degrees,
mid-January
the smell of snow on the way.

Wonderful warm spring day
a breeze strong enough
for a kite with a 15-foot tail.

I want it to be 5:30 a.m.
after I have rolled out the door
for my shift at the GM plant.

Another of those mornings,
7 o'clock, when I'm waiting
for my ride to the greenhouses.

Or the years I came in from some road,
Montreal or Montana,
sunny afternoons or 2 a.m.

I'd talk of Canada
or the stars of Ketchikan.
Or May 4th, her birthday.

I want it to be all those days.
Yes, thank you, a hot cup of coffee,
milk, one sugar.

The way you make it
for yourself.

  

DESIRE

I've stood in line so long
I have forgotten why I was there,
blinked and looked around ─
oh, yeah, grocery store ─
then down at the cart before me
and noticed I didn't have milk,
what I probably came for.

In this century I look around
and am not sure how
things got to be there.
Besides lamp or dresser,
wind turbines, Myanmar, strangers
waiting to exit a train.
I must have wanted them somehow
or dreamed them into being.

Have I ever wanted anything
so much I've lost all memory of it?
The name of the author of that book
I liked called “Stranger something. . .”
My hard copy edits for the third
draft of this poem . . .
That item at the grocery on sale
two for $4, or was it three for $5?
Where's the line for that?