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Poems by jhoward


THE PROMISE

Love, the winter is long this time around.
While you could melt me I long to discover
the perennial mystery of the treasure beneath.
I will always remember you are my girl
but could you tell me who I am?
Your kiss only puts a glaze on the ice
but kiss me, forever, that I should know
how to find life in this hueless white.
And an amulet is hidden somewhere in the fog



[something that wasn't nitroglycerine exploded in the chemistry lab]

For K.B.

something that wasn't nitroglycerine exploded in the chemistry lab with what started by mixing chemicals to make
rainbows of color. i notice it always happens at a bad time, and i'm mixing what i thought really would turn out
to be nitroglycerine or maybe just nothing more than pretty reds greens and blues but isn't it interesting -
this really happened. you know you really can make love in a chemistry lab, i mean create love, chemically,
because that night i felt like a girl being cajoled by a million men, except it was the other way around and i
didn't know girls could be so harsh. well yeah i did, but anyway, an hour in a chemistry lab and a girl who'd
never talked to me or looked me in the eyes suddenly knew who she wanted to go to our big dance with, and her
friends somehow thought repeating "she's got a pretty dress" a thousand times was gonna make a difference. if
they understood that i can't dance maybe they'd have left me alone. chemistry can do strange things, but not
everything. i won't ever forget you and I'm glad it wasn't nitroglycerine.



THE IRISH WITCH]

Across the Irish Sea, so deep so cold,
the dark blue waters bleed into emerald green
and in the place where Dublin is today
she lived, deep-rooted as the earth
in the earth, with the earth, and by the moon.
And the earth grew with her.
As it grew she saw things and people
she'd never seen before
because far away someone named Constantine
had a dream that shook the world with the vision
of a cross that inverted the Holy Trinity,
and she was christened a witch
which means she was destined to burn
with the wood from the trees in the fire
that she was from the beginning.
While the Old Religion never had
to compete with Christianity,
somewhere off in America it was happening
again to someone else
who didn't know the difference between God
and love nature and heart and when they came
she realized it was all the same almost
and she pitied them



A LOVE POEM


To the audacious critics who throw themselves into murderous hands by courageously waking up each morning after
butchering love poems by the pound,

To the lifeless cynics who eat meager portions of unholy manna to avoid filling up on overabundant cliché,

To the lost souls who spent their lives in college classrooms and on the streets searching for a theory of love
beyond Shakespeare,

To the hopelessly estranged politicians who shot dreams to the ground and spieled them into barrels of american
red-tape,

To the dreams themselves that were shut in the dark and laughed at in the eyes of hypocrisy, honor,
colloquialism and school bells timed to the second,

To the poets who let their poems fly upon strings that stretch without end into the land of aboriginal dream
time without understanding them or why they're there

This is a love poem

if a girl traverses a river experiencing you on the other side, it is only instinct in this world to begin a
journey - with her - (it's impossible to remember where, which is why i'm a poet) and the archetypal dark force
pervading you goes unnoticed until you trip on a carefully placed rock she unintentionally flies away and you
wake up suddenly remote. And a voice speaks from some other world, "a love poem doesn't know itself"

if the rain starts pouring, harder and harder, innocent drops of evil raging, filling the atmosphere with hate,
and you throw a friend into the mud, clinging to you, unaware of your intended harm, sudden compunction, was it
truly your intention when you dry him and carry him home? love, anger, guilt, what is it, a love poem? from
somewhere in the clouds you hear, "a love poem doesn't know itself"

if you must concentrate the collective consciousness of the universe into a coffee shop every day when that girl
takes your order, remember it's not your fault you're a nine to four stockbroker who's forgotten he's a 3 am
dancer and would be full-time if he let his mind go like a poet really a dancer who doesn't know the steps and
would if he could remember what he was dancing for. a voice speaks from somewhere inside yourself, "a love poem
doesn't know itself"

if reflections of lost dreams form in the ice as you skate, watch the dreams transcend into you as you take her
hand and skate with more ardor than ever; and if you can remove your skates and glide without them the world is
yours, and if you can melt the ice and fly it shouldn’t be so hard a feat to find her heart and know her.

if this is a love poem, why isn't anything happening? i'm still waiting… so is it? i'd be crazy if i
knew...



BARCELONA

A girl, the life of Barcelona,
stood outside El Templo de La Sagrada Familia
her life unfinished as Gaudi's masterpiece
and as full as the light of the day's sun
A voice God a voice was everything
it was soprano, no it was honey
she said hola (not to me) and
it was a cell phone and
i was somewhere in the air trying to come down,
as a bee in a rose garden i was lost in her
lost in her but i'd abandon everything to remember her now
only her voice never fades
if i didn't walk away from her and La Sagrada Familia
i'd have been crazy to repeat the word,
my english might have been even worse
but then perhaps i'd have remembered
scent of her hair, color of her eyes, her beauty



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Biographical sketch: amateur poet; influences: Ashbery, Bishop, Ginsberg... you tell me.

jhoward recommends:

Contemporary American Poetry by A Poulin, Jr. and Michael Waters

Reason: Contains some great pieces by among the best of modern American poets.

Recommendations for writers:

Write about what puts you in awe of the world. Write about anything you catch yourself daydreaming about. I also recommend writing from within yourself - break through of cliche and find the words within yourself. Keep writing - it took a long time even to get to where I am now. My first poems were horrendous!



 


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