Poetry and Various Other Sundries

This weekend, I attended the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College, and I had the opportunity to share a few conversations with some of my favorite living poets. I shared breakfast with Scott Cairns (yes, I imposed) and met Jeanne Murray Walker at the airport. I also met a new friend, Phillip Mauer, whose poems you'll not find on the internet just yet. (One day, Phillip.) The conversations we shared were brief (too brief), but I walked away with the firm conviction that the world needs more poets who produce gentle, true poems. Search your heart. You know this is true, don't you?

Today, I'm sharing a poem I scratched out weeks ago for my Patreon community, the community that makes my writing (poetry, short fiction, various sundries) possible. I'm sharing because I generally believe in the power of poetry, and specifically believe in this poem. If you enjoy "The Pain of Waiting Is," consider joining my little Patreon community. I think you'll be glad you did.

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The Pain of Waiting Is

an empty yellow chair, a cup with no coffee, a blank piece of paper,

a simple prayer for company, comfort, a new Genesis. -this is what it means.

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***PATRONAGE FOR POEMS***

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A Letter From My Grandson

I don't normally post on Sundays, but the events of the weekend this poem out of me. Thanks for reading.

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January 29, 2067

Dear Grandpa,

The historians remind us, now, how you and yours leveraged your last gasp to make us and ours great--definitions being what they are, fracturable things.

Yours were the days of the news outlets, the reporters, the cameramen and college-educated journalists chasing the facts by the tail, and what are facts but wild dogs, tamed now by the great government then given to The People on a leash. It was the time before the New Iron Curtain was built by the chicken pullers in De Queen or the ranch hands from there to Brownsville, before an avocado cost more than a line of coke or a good night with the women who negotiated affections to stay in this great America. (There are always ways of getting around a wall, they say.) Yours were the days before the brown huddle masses were returned to their wars and rubble, before you crucified the many Jesuses--women-Jesuses, child-Jesuses, honest-men-Jesuses--and left their remains to the many devils.

(At night, I pray "forgive them, Father, they know not what they've done.")

The new Oligarchs have won our hearts, now. For free whiskey and all the American flags we could drink, they worked their ways into our homes, and we came to count them as friends, and if not friends, at least kind, and if not kind, at least as stern fathers who might excuse our drunkenness so long as we waived our flags and paid the poll tax.

Your people might call this greatness jingoism or xenophobia--definitions being what they are these days, fracturable things--but The People see past small notions of equality, now. We are called The Patriots, and we were fashioned by strongmen, by paid-for history, by the projection of fears you harbored in secret without speaking, without acting,

action being divisive as it was,

action being destructive as it was,

action being revolutionary as it was.

And what are revolutionaries but people whose bones are scattered as forgotten martyrs?

Sincerely,

Your Grandson

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The Confession

In the silence of this housethere is a frequency humming, needle sharp. Piercing electric madness, it sings from

where?

The refrigerator? The air conditioner? The morning stars of all the universes shining through these walls? This mole has tunneled somewhere past my brain every morning for three years-- these bone-dry mornings. There are days, I confess, I miss the dull thud of drunk veins throbbing

in my ears.

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To the Saints

It's All Saints' Day, the day on which the church celebrates those of the faith who've gone on before us. It's the day of the year when I consider the canonized ones--Mary, Luke, Francis, Mother Teresa, etcetera, etcetera--but it's also the day I consider the everyday saints who've stretched into eternity--Grandpa Ducky, Grandma Ducky, Rich, and Olivia. In celebration, I'm offering this poem, a piece I wrote this summer. I hope you enjoy it. (And if you do, follow this link to my YouTube channel and click "subscribe.")

***TINY LETTER***

Thanks for stopping in! If you enjoy reading here, sign up to receive my bi-monthly Tiny Letter. If you sign up, you'll receive my free eBook, Coming Clean|Austin OuttakesAnd, if you enjoy this website or my Tiny Letter, consider signing up as a monthly content supporter.

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The Old Man

Each week, I try to bring at least one piece of poetry to the table. Sure, poetry might not be your bag, but poetry is the full-body workout for the avid writer or reader. It hits you where you're weak, builds up mental muscle. Poetry stretches us in word economy, metaphor, and abstract thought. In that way, poetry makes us more complete readers and better writers. Today's poem, "The Old Man," is a reflection on seeing. Enjoy.

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"The Old Man"

Among the mysteries of seeing, of knowing and being known, two are most unfathomable, most improbable, most true: how aged eyes feel youthful without the mirror's reflection; how the soul remains unknown without hushed prayer.

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In this month's Tiny Letter (my monthly newsletter), I'm discussing the idea of resting within church practices. There, I'm speaking candidly about some recent changes in the Haines' household, and I'd love to hear your thoughts. Sign up to read along!

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