D. Russel Micnhimer

No Lines at All.

(“Virginia Woolf had said, “ As a woman I have no country: as a woman I want no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.”(Woolf, 2012) “ from the above)

There are imaginary lines drawn upon the dirt of earth

that divide each dry part into territories defined by birth

often, but more frequently delineated by results of wars

and drawn with jagged edges like constellations of stars

 

Histories are written to give a sense of unity and coherence

to complex series of events that trail behind as truth, as evidence

that a collective was formed by a series of occurrences over time

it has the name of a nation to show from those forces combined

 

But is that image formed lopsided by the written records of men

or is it balanced by the hearts expressed on paper too by women?

Evidence would seem mostly to support the earlier of the two,

writings of women’s words defining statehood examples are few.

 

But what if the eyes of Janus on this matter were opened wide

How would the words of men and women coincide, collide?
Would lines drawn defining territory even still stand up

or crumble like hard cookies in a milk filled cup?

 

Wars are won by might. Strength and power define the right.

Hungry bellies, thirsty tongues, need is satisfied on sight.

Superior strategies lead to superior minds’ lines prevailing

Feeding sustenance to minds and muscles, superiority revealing.

 

Men’s minds expand space on the map that it controls

His way is the right way, for all in his land, he extols

Women’s minds extend to all they nourish without walls

Feel we all may be better off if we drew no lines at all.

 

Happy Anniversary (A pantoum*)

Two things of great import happened on this day fifty years ago

A man first walked in space and he opened his first beer in a can

Emergences from a cylinder of metal marked new coming of age

Both opened new eras of reaching and new definition of cooling

 

A man first walked in space and he opened his first beer in a can

Creating new meanings for exploration and convenience

Both opened new eras of reaching and new definition of cooling

Confidence swelled with advances in extensions of competence

 

Creating new meanings for exploration and convenience

Boosted imaginations to tackle new heights and depths

Confidence swelled with advances in extensions of competence

Space exploration kept flourishing and pop tops evolved

 

Boosted imaginations to tackle new heights and depths

Two things of great import happened on this day fifty years ago

Space exploration kept flourishing and pop tops evolved.

Emergences from a cylinder of metal marked new coming of age

 

*The pantoum , a traditional Malayan fixed verse is a form of poetry, similar to a villanelle in that there are repeating lines throughout the poem. It is composed of a series of quatrains; the second and fourth lines of each stanza are repeated as the first and third lines of the next. This pattern continues for any number of stanzas, except for the final stanza, which differs in the repeating pattern.

 

Modern Poetry

Strings of pretty sounding words

are now often heard, like a string of birds

today by clever nerds heard and called poetry

but more and more I must conclude

only those that have something to say

actually fill the bill for me; it is easy to torture rhymes

make them spill all the guts and buts of their times

simply to eloquently complete empty previous lines;

torture syntax and grammar attempting to hammer

some unnaturally artificial reason for your yammer.

Trust me though my young poet friends, hearing the rhyme

Is only a beginning anyone can toss those into a salad of anarchy

And only those who learn control of syllables, feet and time

Will measure in the dust of history as writers of good poetry.

And only then if what they say shows universal in the personal

Reflect a depth of living a life without a precursoral rehearsal.

And along with the the music of the veritable verbal arrangements

Attempt to pass some lessons learned by those or other derangements

And when a poet has learned to pleasingly arrange the words

There is a final stroke of pen that may be the most important part

That is which of all the words are fully essential to be heard

And which will make no difference if they are not; and have the heart

To be relentless in the edit and chop all the dead words out

To know what lines or even verses are really not essential to make

Meaning clear and understood and slash and burn them like next crop

Planted in that space would determine survival of family or clan

And would make what was being said really gleam and pop

Into the ears and minds of all whose hearing fits into the plan.

Modern, gentle past or totally archaic too

good poetry demands a rule that’s non-corrupt

That says one essential thing –say what you

Have to say, then know when to shut up.

 

D. Russel Micnhimer has been writing poetry for forty five years while working at a variety of jobsDRC and traveling through much of the world pursuing his interests in the archaeology of ancient civilizations and rock art. He is author of several books on rock art, fiction and poetry including his latest collection Notes to Be Left with the Gatekeeper published by Global Fraternity of Poets which earned him the honor of Poet Laureate Award from that group. A second book by the same press, Leaves and Pebbles has recently been published. His newest book is called Lotus Mirage: 52 New Ghazals In English is available in a limited first edition. Strings and Wings and Soup With A Fork are his latest poetry book collections, available via Amazon. His poems have appeared in two International Anthologies and numerous literary magazines. He holds a degree from the University of Oregon.