Friday, May 23, 2014

Library Footnote

Welcome into the library at 15945 Edrose Shores, my cubbyhole of books within a house of books, 390 or so linear feet of them that are soon to be packed up and moved 19 miles to a new home in Brockport, NY. And with them the tchotckes; I dare not count the countless delicate tchotckes (14 turtle totems alone) that will need the most careful packing.  For, alas, my days in this space are numbered.

The view in the photograph is northward toward the Lake Ontario shoreline; Great Spirit Manitou lies but 60 feet on the far side of these poetry shelves.

To the left, a bookcase that is all Heyen (and some office supplies). The vintage portable typewriter (1930s) holds a couple dozen Bill’s Poemlet Press poems, illustrated, tucked into plastic sleeves.  A rooster peeks out from the largest one, its poem verso.  Artifacts of a friend, a beloved mentor, and a man who should be Poet Laureate of this country. The US needs him. But I digress, drifting into hero land.

Back in the here and now: The photograph is an outtake from a folder of archival shots, done with an eye on content rather than artfulness. Zoom in and I can read titles on the spines. With no visual assistance I can make out Poe, Snyder, Service, Frost, Tennyson, Clifton, Piercy.
In reciting their names, I recall that I’ve written several five? six? —poems about this cocoon within the chambers of my mind, a mere handful from among dozens and dozens I’ve written herein on dozens of far more far-reaching subjects.  Here’s one "library poem"; it’s from an unpublished (as of yet) collection, Virus in the Song, my book of “bro poems”, my ensemble of "little griefs:"

Going for the House Beautiful Aesthetic

I say it’s what happens, like
when you refurnish, say, a library
if you’re the sort of snooty woman
who has a room she calls a library,
&, like, the pricey new carpet
she imagines is ultra-rich blood red
& above it like a kind of Bible, her obese
dictionary, not that a Bible would be found
anywhere near this particular pagan temple,
of volumes & volumes (all of William Heyen’s
in one bookcase all to themselves),
& like  she’s done this kinda remodeling job
with oh-so-prissily arranged
pine cones, sea urchins, a turtle shell—
and, ohmygod, her brother’s bone dust.
I forget the words behind it.


Move your eyes around the room to a chair, desk, printer, laptop, that is, my work station extraordinaire, complete with morning light and (off-camera) hummingbirds at the feeder three feet from my seat. I must have a half-dozen bird poems set in the library.  Plus a few computer poems, a couple of printer poems, too, that plunk the reader down in situ.  Both old typewriters shown here, in fact, inhabit some poems. (I pause here to ask myself: Is there a chapbook lurking in all those pages of library souvenirs?)

Then there’s this, invisible to the naked eye: All my books have been born here.  All of them. (Although not pictured here, they have a shelf unto their own. Documented in my archival photo album.) Several more have been conceived here and are now in utero. Quintuplets, I believe, that will be born elsewhere in a library to be determined.

It is a “big grief” to contemplate leaving this world behind. But it is time.

Meanwhile, Roger and I will be off in June to Taos, NM, for a couple weeks’ vacation from the buying-selling house whirlwind. The library will get some rest while I’m away. Spiders will keep an eye out on a trillion words.

Happy holiday weekend,



For further reading, you may want to follow the links to:

·         A poem of mine that was recently published in Your Daily Poem - – thank you to editor Jayne Jaudon Ferrer.
·         What a delight to have a poem appear in Bare Root Review ‘s new issue, which you can read at:  Many thanks to editors Daniel Kilkelly and Tyson Tofte.
·         I am very proud to have had the honor to be part of Orion Magazine’s  “The Growing Season.” a poetry exchange project this spring that brought together collaborative pairs of poets. My partner was Jennifer Burd, author of Body and Echo, a fabulous collection of poems on nature and the human condition. For more about Jennifer, see; to read one of our collaborative responses to Orion’s “growing season challenge,” see
·         And, saving the best for last, here’s a photograph of my poem “Step Right Up, which was displayed at Everglades National Park’s Coe Visitor Center in  April 2014; it’ll return again next April! My efforts during my artist-in-residency at the park continue to reap rewards for me…and the park’s visitors.