The first “public poetry” I ever read was on a bus in Chicago. It was a poem by Charles Bukowski, and it made me fall in love both with his work and the idea of poetry circling our heads instead of advertisements. On those bus rides, I read pieces from Langston Hughes, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, and many others, and I responded to them more deeply than when I encountered them in a classroom.
So, I’m delighted to be a part of the Winston-Salem Poetry in Plain Sight project. Last year, it featured my poem “Baking with My Daughter.” This month, people around town might see the following, which will also be in my next book, This Miraculous Turning.
We Were Only Going to Stay a Year or Two
The way my children speak sounds strange
to me. They put more syllables in words
than I think they need, and watching football,
my son says, “Daddy, that’s just a big ole mess.”
And it’s odd that I can name other children
around the block and where they go to school,
and that I know the jobs their parents have
or desire or have lost. I give directions now
according to where places used to be,
and I no longer think anything about taking
the neighbor’s garbage can to the curb.
This is how it happens. Roots simply grow.
In the spring, no one should bother asking
the dogwood if it intended to flower.