Welcome to where I am, where my kitchen's always messy, a pot's (or a poet) always about to boil over, a dog is always begging to be fed. Drafts of poems on the counter. Windows filled with leaves. Wind. Clouds moving over the mountains. If you like poetry, books, and music--especially dog howls when a siren unwinds down the hill-- you'll like it here.


MY NEW AUTHOR'S SITE, KATHRYNSTRIPLINGBYER.COM, THAT I MYSELF SET UP THROUGH WEEBLY.COM, IS NOW UP. I HAD FUN CREATING THIS SITE AND WOULD RECOMMEND WEEBLY.COM TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A WEBSITE. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT MY NEW SITE TO KEEP UP WITH EVENTS RELATED TO MY NEW BOOK.


MY NC POET LAUREATE BLOG, MY LAUREATE'S LASSO, WILL REMAIN UP AS AN ARCHIVE OF NC POETS, GRADES K-INFINITY! I INVITE YOU TO VISIT WHEN YOU FEEL THE NEED TO READ SOME GOOD POEMS.

VISIT MY NEW BLOG, MOUNTAIN WOMAN, WHERE YOU WILL FIND UPDATES ON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MY KITCHEN, IN THE ENVIRONMENT, IN MY IMAGINATION, IN MY GARDEN, AND AMONG MY MOUNTAIN WOMEN FRIENDS.




Saturday, April 17, 2010

POET OF THE DAY: MIKE SMITH


Mike Smith lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his young daughter and son. A graduate of UNC-Greensboro, Hollins College, and the University of Notre Dame, he has published poetry in magazines such as Free Verse, Hotel Amerika, The Iowa Review, The Notre Dame Review, and Salt. His first full-length collection, How to Make a Mummy, was published in 2008.


Two Poems from Multiverse, BlazeVOX Books.


(The following two poems are anagrams of one another. The letters of one poem have been rearranged to write the other. No letters have been added and no letters have been left out. )



Anecdote of Defeat and Defeat



Those afternoon visits to the West Virginia

countryside…Exhausting courses

of flies, flowers, and the feeble grasp


of weeds under a cow-belly sky

the wisest once deemed worthy of worship.

Blue mountains. Black earth.


Only this day, I ran to follow

(Was I eleven?) my mother, trespassing

her way over a patchwork pattern


of forest and yellow pastures, the ever-present

tipples and tracks, toward two stray dots,

unmoving, on the distant mountain


that became, in time, something laughably

incongruous: Free-standing porch swings

in a field, a chair and ottoman, no,


more sensibly, deer blind or outhouse,

the remnants of a rusty still,

some altar. (This should be the painting


of a photograph on the game-room wall)

But the mother and young calf swung

their heads to stare my way. I paused to mark


the mother’s warrior’s helmet of a nose,

the bones easy under loose hides,

the lousy insects everywhere, swarming


over sores and soft parts—Trojans destined

to extend behind the ramparts, yet shiny

with surf. The wide-eyed calf stayed


beside his mother. Something like the taste

of hate rose in my throat. I guessed then

there would never be real fight in me,

but, also, that there would never be a need.



Hellbender



Slide the blue river on a tube, cheat

with a shout the heads of stones, tunnel

the narrows, breathe in every pore

the constant spray


and stay


or branch off with a splash

to walk my fingers above the surface

of the water. God, it is good

to get drunk in the woods.


I used to jam together every word

that rose in my thought so long

as it retained a ripple of sense.

Here, I let senses go. And words.

Catch and release, since what we have

we are sure to lose anyway.


Let me loose my pants

for a dance

on this very stump, for the drunk mind

seems to get nearer these passages, these lit reds

and yellows, soft browns, and hard purples

and greens, so I let myself drop

to my fern bed. I sleep, calm, beneath trees

some early god made whose eye

now only envies as it kills.


From a distance.

With furious aforethought.


Which is why I refuse to return,

but turn,

instead, my bottle up

to this salamander supreme

I see swim so largely the stream,


whose only commandment

is to enter further the forest, mix up

on the way another batch

of the stream’s bubbly, and imbibe

what you can.

............ ......... I down it all

for the devil dog that exudes

this new truth, my patron saint

of having nothing to lose. I drink

to having nothing to lose. I rise. I drink.



Multiverse, BlazeVOX Books (Buffalo, NY)




4 comments:

nina said...

always, always, so good to come here -
you and i are due for a lunch date xx

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Hi Nina, maybe next week, if all goes well with some family stuff!!!

Vicki Lane said...

The anagram poems are quite a feat!

I'm still trying to imagine a cow belly sky . . .

willow said...

This is fabulous.