Tuesday, August 26, 2008

On First Reading Kay Ryan's Poems

Homage to New Poet Laureate

Were you
Those years
I needed you
When critics
Told me
Did not
Old maids
Like Emily Dickinson
or old farts
Like Me
Sticking up
Like a
Middle Finger
At the world.

(Appeared originally in The New Verse News)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Selected List of Poems Published by Earl

There is No Crying in Baseball (Third Lung Review)
Hanging with Auntie (Southern Gothic Online)
John Travolta Stars in my Flick (Strange Horizons)
Night Owls at Work (Muses Review)
Lost: One Typewriter (Lunarosity)
Skateboarders (Lunarosity)
Send in the Jackass (KAKALAK)
I Want to live Forever, Learn how to Fly (Aroostook Review)
Once Upon a Road to Derry (Aroostook Review)
Kinsey's First Interview (The Centrifugal Eye)
Crane Forests, 2006 (Arabesques Review)
A Gleam in Freedom's Eye (Arabesques Review)
Arabian Knight on the Run (Arabesques Review)
The Great Jack Complex (Underground Voices)
Poetry in Motion (The Centrifugal Eye)
The Last Days of Crazy KAP (Underground Voices)
Teaching an old Bird New Tricks (The Centrifugal Eye [Pushcart Nominee])
News Flash: AC Invented in Arkansas, 1945 (Word Riot)
Lament for a Baseball Dad (AETHLON)
At Walter's Wake (Arkansas Literary Forum)
The Human Stain (The Centrifugal Eye)
A Funky Mister Faulkner (Faulkner Newsletter)
Carolina Snipe Hunt (The New Verse News)
Between the Sheets with Bette Midler (Southern Gothic)
Carpe Diem, Saturday (Lunarosity)
How the News was Delivered Today (New Verse News)
Postponing the Slippery Slope (KAKALAK)
On the Burning of the Community Theatre (New Verse News)
Winter Solstice--Dream Variations (The Centrifugal Eye)
In addition to this group, Earl has published more than
40 poems in The New Verse News and Elsewhere.

Ode to a Baseball Cap

To the non-believer, you're a colorful cap,
nothing more than a beanie with a brim.
For the faithful in baseball nation, you
are a hallowed, even holy, head covering.

Your colors call us to worship in cardinal
red, pure white, or royal blue---caps of many
colors for the game in which players and fans
find their way around the bases, ending at home.

When we put on our hats, we are acolytes,
troops for our team,living and dying as we
win or lose. Little lid, you are the common
cap, the beanie that binds hearts and soul.

For the nine-inning outing and for all the
nights and days our lives, we wear our
caps to work, to worship, to play, to shop,
to eat, to sleep, to dream, to the hereafter.

(Originally published in Third Lung Review)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Slow Pitch

Before Dizzy & Daffy,
Maris & Mantle
Bonds & McGwire,
before TV showed us
baseball's seedy & greedy side,
I taught two talented groups
of the sporting life in Texas:
jocks & beautiful girls.

Baseball players,
lackadaisical learners,
seemed secure in a simple desire---
earn a passing score.
Always dressed to the nines,
the beauties spent
their days dreaming
how to spend $1000 a month
allowances provided by rich oil papas
and sizing up options as tycoons' wives
or mates of men dreaming of major league
stardom by polishing their curve, slider,
and fast ball.

Like dense pitchers shaking
off signs from cagey catchers
the ball players seemed almost
oblivious of fast balls thrown
their way every class by beautiful
curves from across the aisles.

I never knew who scored or struck out.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


The title of this poem was cribbed from Robert Frost.
I'm sorry he used it first, but I will not let his luck
stand in my path to claim it, too. This poem has none
of the mysterious aura surrounding Frost's. Nothing
here will entice readers like those who believe they
know Frost's meaning about a whispering, smooth
scythe. No hay, just grass, we're mowing this morning.

The mowing my granddaughter did today for the first
time is a different thing. A pre-teen, she wants to learn
how to mow grass, not with a scythe, but a lawn mower.
The venerable Powercraft push mower, a family friend
for two generations, has been put out to pasture some
years ago. My Toro mower, with gears and gadets to
please, waits patiently to be primed, coughs itself into
starting, drones happily as a June bug on an oak.

I mowed a row back and forth, showing her some minor
hazards such as rocks and toads (another poet probably
used that toad earlier, too, but never mind) or baby birds
and the occasional black or green garden snake, the kind
that lives in fescue grass or cool clay among us in Carolina.

After a couple of rounds, she has the knack of it. No more
reason for me to stand nearby commenting about strands
of grass which hadn't been mowed closely enough, or her
lackadaisical lapse in overlapping. No point in say here
you mowed well or there's a patch needs work. My concern
was not the straight row or the amount of time she took. She
knows I'm watching while she mows even if I'm not there.
I will be looking long after she quits mowing this morning.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hush Little Baby, Don't You Cry

Sudden summer thunderstorm cadences
march in like invading armies, push
aside resistance from ballgames, equestrians
jumping over latticed fences, placid
summer scenes forced to become quixotic.
Threatening, dark clouds overwhelm
skies, dominate landscapes, sending crushing,
cascading lightening, hail, and rain.

Summertime living is not always easy,
despite jumping catfish, high cotton,
rich daddies and good looking mamas.

(Originally published in The New Verse
News, August 02, 2008)