Poetry Friday: “Goodbye”

Poetry_Friday logoI mentioned this past Tuesday I’ve been rather busy lately, but I couldn’t let Poetry Friday slip past without sharing something! This is my newest poem; I hope you like it.

Goodbye

The cupboards, bare.
The counters, clean.
The table…gone.
……….The floor
is worn from years
of paws and soles
that scuttled through the door.
.
Boxes, packed.
……….Papers, tossed.
No food, no clothes;
……………no spouse.
With one small word
the home I loved
…..goes back
……………to just
…………………….a house.

© 2015, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

My folks, who are both in their 80’s, are at a crossroads, trying to decide what to do with their home and property. Mom is in a nursing home, so dad needs to sell the home I grew up in so he’ll have the money to afford her care…but, as you might imagine, he’s having a difficult time making that decision. I wrote this last night, after visiting with each of them.

On a lighter note, Keri is hosting Poetry Friday today (in-between egg-gatherings and honeybee-swarms) at Keri Recommends – and shares a poem Irene Latham wrote about Keri’s “little” farm that is growing, growing, growing!

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SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
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To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Candle at Midnight”

Candle at Midnight

ID-10020422 (candle)I light a candle at midnight.
Why?
Now, you can see
a radiant glow –
the smallest of blazes –
deep within
suffocating darkness.
Beyond the
shadows, beyond death,
what remains are
gifts of life:
extinguish the flame,
the scent lingers…
it becomes part of you
with one single breath.
Breathe.
Carry it with you,
your candle at midnight.
Carry it with you.
Breathe.
With one single breath,
it becomes part of you;
the scent lingers.
Extinguish the flame –
gifts of life –
what remains are
shadows. Beyond death,
beyond the
suffocating darkness,
deep within
the smallest of blazes…
a radiant glow.
Now you can see
why
I light a candle at midnight.

© 2014, Matt Forrest Esenwine

Buffy Silverman is hosting Poetry Friday…and also has candles on her mind! Visit her blog for all of today’s poetry links.

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Cybils-Logo-2014-Rnd2Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Revenge”

Poetry_Friday logoI don’t think I’ve ever used the word “spree” before in my life.

Why is this worth mentioning? Because “spree” was the Word of the Month over at poet/author David L. Harrison’s blog this past October.

I enjoy challenges, but have not been able to participate in the “WOM” for the past several months due to my hectic schedule. But since October marked the 5th anniversary of the “WOM” challenge, I really wanted to write something to share.

As it turned out, I didn’t get the poem completed until October 30 – which meant it only stayed posted for a couple of days before it disappeared to make room for the November Word of the Month, “brew!” So in order to keep the poem alive a little longer, I thought I’d share it here.

But be forewarned:  while most of the WOM poems are fun, children’s poems, this is…not. But I hope you like it! And for all of today’s Poetry Friday links – along with a perfect November poem by John Freeman – please visit Diane Mayr at Random Noodling!

Revenge

I hadn’t seen the hornet, hiding
under the lip
of our watering can. Unaware, I was,
of paper wasps waiting
for someone like me
to open that old, weathered shed door
behind the woodpile.
Shaken, stung, yet
resolute and undaunted, I
set about to exact
vengeance.

Armed with hubris
and two giant cans of propellant-poison,
my killing spree began
under eaves,
behind shutters, beneath deck
and stairs – my hands
like machines, I
spared no mercy
on every wood-pulp nest,
every mud-dauber domicile,
every honeycombed bell
brimming with yellow-striped clappers
ready to ring.
.
I must have slain hundreds –
laying waste to their homes and families
in liquid immolation
to save my own
from the threat of pain
and fear
and anaphylaxis.
Proud Conqueror of Nature, I
smiled in satisfaction
when, turning to the back door,
one lone, weary hornet –
in a feeble attempt to fly,
only half-alive
but with double the fury –
came out from that old woodpile
and in an instant
was barely more than an arm’s length
from my face.

With one last drop of death
remaining, I finished off
the final can, spraying furiously, franticly
determined
to not let this lowliest of creatures
have the better of me.
I no sooner heard the hollow sound
of air discharging from the muzzle
when I felt a bullet – hard and organic –
slam into my temple
with a ferocious heat.
Brushing the enemy away, I
watched a spent casing
fall to the lawn,
destined for compost.

I stepped forward
and faltering, fell to one knee, ignorant
of my circumstance
as my vision became blurred,
my muscles, weak;
breathing, labored.
Sinking to the grass, I
wished I could call out
to my wife,
my son,
someone, anyone,
but all I could do
was watch my world darken
while beside me,
the wing of one lone, weary hornet
twitched.

© 2014, Matt Forrest Esenwine

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Cybils-Logo-2014-Rnd2Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

On life, death, and all that stuff in-between

It’s interesting how some things come full-circle.

I attended the funeral for the father of my best friend in college this weekend. As I sat there in the very last church pew, I listened as the priest spoke about all the things this father, grandfather, husband, and friend would never do again: tend to his garden, prune his fruit trees, play with his grandchildren.

A sad occasion, obviously…so I surprised myself when this :15 TV commercial featuring The Most Interesting Man in the World popped into my head:

There really is no better time than now to start beefing up your obituary – and as this concept settled into my brain, I began thinking of all the things I’d like to accomplish before I pass.

Not a “bucket list” of what I want to do, necessarily, but what I want to accomplish. And to me, those are two different things.

How will I be remembered? Will I even be?

There are plenty of things I’d like to do: visit a foreign country, sing in a band, resume playing with my indoor soccer league. Things I’d like to accomplish are a bit more difficult, because they require more time and effort and are harder to define in concrete terms: be a good father and husband, make a positive difference to someone through my poetry, land a national animation voiceover gig my kids would be proud of.

These kinds of accomplishments are not the kinds of things you go out and just do, and check off your list. They require time, patience, and wisdom…and although I have plenty of the first two, that last one I have found to be the most elusive.

I try to be a good father and hubby – spending time with the kids, teaching them, supporting them, supporting and loving their mom. I keep working to make inroads to get my children’s writing published, not just because it’s my vocation and I’d like it to be a career, but because I genuinely feel that someone, somewhere might benefit from it. Perhaps that’s unrealistic, perhaps that’s egotistical…I don’t think it is, but it’s what I feel nonetheless.

Working hard and taking chances

My baby!As for that voiceover gig, I’ll keep plugging away with that, too. I’ve voiced enough commercials, corporate videos, and other random projects…so a national animated voiceover project – while still a longshot – is an attainable goal if I don’t give up.

And I don’t!

If I come across an audition for a project that is not right for me (deep movie-trailer voice guy is one of ’em!), I skip it. But if I see something that I’m not sure if I’m right for – but could be – I’ll probably go for it and see how it sounds. How else does one grow and develop their skills if one doesn’t take chances?

How does one “beef up the obituary” – or the resume, for that matter – without a little extra perspiration?

Whatever you do in life, you’re not going to get any better or go any further if you don’t push yourself. Even if there are a hundred other voice actors competing for the gig, what have you got to lose? Even if your manuscript has received 50 rejection slips from agents and editors, the next one you send to might be the one who loves it! Whether I succeed or fail depends entirely on whether or not I give up, and believe me…I’ve failed so much that success just has to be around the corner!

(At least, that’s what I tell myself.)

TMIMITW took a chance!

Well, actually it wasn’t The Most Interesting Man in the World who took a chance – it was Jonathan Goldsmith, the Jewish, Bronx-raised actor who portrays him.

As I mentioned early in this post, things have a way of coming full-circle sometimes, and this is one of them. As I searched for the commercial online, thinking about those 15 seconds of wisdom the Dos Equis’ copywriters had shared about beefing up one’s obituary, I stumbled upon a recent blog post about how Goldsmith was cast as the company’s Latino pitchman.

If you don’t think you have a chance of scoring a big sale, nailing a big gig, or even winning a lottery…think about the odds that Goldsmith faced as a new York City Jew auditioning against 499 Latinos!

That’s right – out of 500 actors, he was chosen. And if the casting director had picked anyone else, The Most Interesting Man in the World would not be the man we know today.

It pays to take chances. And you only have NOW to take them. Tomorrow might not get here.

Better get busy.

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

 

 

 

Crime and Poetry revisited

As part of my month-long celebration of National Poetry Month this past April, I had the pleasure of interviewing Gerald So, webmaster and editor of the Poems on Crime blog, The 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly.

5-2-V1-Cover-165It was enlightening, to say the least, learning about this unusual genre of poetry and reading some of the poems that had been published both there as well as in So’s previous eBook series, The Lineup: Poems on Crime.  The different styles of poetry, the unique voices of those writing it, and the varied crimes that served as material for these poems serve to bring poetry to a new audience.

I hoped my interview, likewise, would help bring the poetry audience to the genre.

Having said this, it’s my pleasure to share with you one of my poems that was accepted for publication in The 5-2.  Entitled “Flight,” the poem is a short vignette of ‘flight’ that has been suddenly…stopped. You’ll see what I mean when you read it HERE.

A little different from my children’s poetry, yes?  Hope you liked it, though.  I encourage you to check out my interview with So if you hadn’t had a chance to read it yet – and I’ll be back this  Friday, June 7, with my weekly Poetry Friday offering!

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Did you like this post? Find anything interesting somewhere in this blog? Want to keep abreast of my posts?  Then please consider subscribing via the links over here on the right! (I usually only post twice a week, on Tue. and Fri., so you won’t be inundated with emails every day!)  You can also follow me via Twitter or on Facebook.

A Sad Way to Begin National Poetry Month

Sunday Eve coverIn honour of National Poetry Month, I’m planning on featuring poetry in all of my April blog posts (each Tue. and Fri.).  I’ll be spotlighting a different poem of mine each friday for Poetry Friday, as I always do, but each Tuesday I’ll also have some poetry news or information to share.

I had some fun plans for today. I was going to offer some ideas about how you can get kids involved in enjoying and creating poetry, involving books and cookies and magazines and scissors…but all that will have to wait.

New Hampshire has lost its poet laureate.

Walter E. Butts (Sept. 12, 1944 – March 31, 2013)

Butts succumbed to his battle with cancer on Easter Sunday at the age of 68.

He spent most of his life in the northeast, living in New York for years, organizing poetry readings and open mics, before moving to Boston, Mass. and then eventually to NH, where he was most recently professor of English at Hesser College.  He also taught a low-residency Creative Writing Program at Goddard College in Vermont.

Butts was a prolific poet, publishing eleven books and chapbooks.  The most recent is Cathedral of Nervous Horses, a collection of new and collected poems from previous books, which was published last September by Hobblebush Books of Milford, NH. His poems were also featured in numerous independent literary journals, as well, like The Atlanta Review, The Saranac Review, and The Fourth River.

Of life and death, family and friends

Butts drew inspiration from his memories growing up in the small town of Le Roy, New York:  the deaths of his parents, the questionable friends he hung out with, and the gritty yet beautiful scenes of a working-class community all figure prominently in his work. Take, for instance, his recounting of the loss of three family members and the touching honesty with which he tells the story, in “Inheritence,” from The Required Dance (Igneus Press, 1990). After noting that he was only eight years old when his uncle died and nine when the family dog was buried…he jumps ahead ten years and recalls the sight of his father lying on the floor, too weak to get up. It was at this point, he tells us, he was truly afraid:

I watched him at the hospital,
his frail body curled
like a fetus, and realized
he was going back, and I wanted
to take hold of those shrunken hands
and lead him there myself.

(© Walter E. Butts)

But like he so often did, he did not dwell on the negatives of the difficulties associated with these sad moments; instead, he would look for a positive way to continue on. In this case, after describing the emotional pain and turmoil his mother went through dealing with his father’s death, he concludes the poem with the realization that, “I understood, I was now the man she loved.”

Butts Cathedral coverCathedral of Nervous Horses: New & Selected Poems (Hobblebush Books, 2012)

Upon receiving the poet laureate nomination almost exactly 4 years ago, Butts said, “I really believe that poetry, in many, many ways, is the literary form that we
have that is closest to expressing the human condition, the human spirit.” (New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, March, 2009) 

I encourage you to pick up a copy of Cathedral.  While some of the poems are new, most are from previously-published collections, so it is a great introduction to Butts’ work.  His term as our state’s poet laureate was to continue until 2014; there has been no word on whether someone will be chosen to fill the vacancy.

On a happier note, because it is National Poetry Month, I’m pleased to be participating in Irene Latham’s 2013 ‘Progressive Poem’ at Live Your Poem – a poem that started with one blogger April 1 and will travel from blog to blog each day, with each blogger adding a new line to the poem. Prog poem 2013 graphic(By the end of the month, we’ll have a completed poem!)

Today’s tagged poet is Joy Acey – and I’ll be adding the third line to the poem tomorrow, April 3 – so please check back, and follow along with all the bloggers!

April
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Joy Acey
Matt Forrest Esenwine
Jone MacCulloch
Doraine Bennett
Gayle Krause
Janet Fagal
Julie Larios
Carrie Finison
10  Linda Baie
11  Margaret Simon
12  Linda Kulp
13  Catherine Johnson
14  Heidi Mordhorst
15  Mary Lee Hahn
16  Liz Steinglass
17  Renee LaTulippe
18  Penny Klostermann
19  Irene Latham
20  Buffy Silverman
21  Tabatha Yeatts
22  Laura Shovan
23  Joanna Marple
24  Katya Czaja
25  Diane Mayr
26  Robyn Hood Black
27  Ruth Hersey
28  Laura Purdie Salas
29  Denise Mortensen
30  April Halprin Wayland