Poem by Ken Poyner

 

The Text

How many words get copied down
Badly? There is the trouble
Of reading your own hand writing
Days later; or of a scrawl getting
More exhausted towards the end,
Leaning in on itself like a man
Envious of those sleeping;
Or the shorthand marks
That make so much sense
At the beginning,
But a few days later could mean
One of three or four unremarkable
Things. And listening.
By definition, you are doing
More than one task: apprehending
The instructions, writing down what
You think you hear, keeping
The paper properly cocked, imagining
An abbreviation system that can help you
Keep up. And, even
Spoken in your own voice, select words
Sound alike and some roll together sounding
Like the cats that dogs would have as pets;
Causing you to leave a word out, or
Spring ahead to add an expected
Article or pronoun or adjective,
Just in trying to get in front
Of the spoken word.
The noise of your heart in your ears
Can flip a ‘the’ to a ‘that’, and being
Conscious of your own sweat and effort
And the failure in your fingers, pulls
Your attention bare typographical
Conundrums away. To hear
And to write are not the same
Motion and you are not exempt
From jealousy at being the one asked,
Told, commanded, to do this horrible
Transcription of the ultimately
Indescribable revelation. How
Envious you are of all
The coming others who will only read,
Who will not look back on what
Might have been missed, wonder
Why words even un-wasted can be
Unwelcomed. How blessed are the
Ignorant.

Listen, God whispered,
I will only say this once.

 

After years of impersonating a Systems Engineer, Ken Poyner has retired to watch his wife of forty-one years continue to break both Masters and Open world raw powerlifting records. Ken’s two current poetry collections (The Book of Robot, Victims of a Failed Civics) and two short fiction collections (Constant Animals, Avenging Cartography) are available from Amazon and most book selling websites; as well as Sundial Books in Chincoteague, where Ken and Karen go to escape irreality.

Judson Evans is a full-time Instructor in the Liberal Arts department at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee where he has taught a range of courses, from a Poetry Workshop on haiku, prose poetry and haibun, to a course on theories of cave art and the role of the cave in ritual and philosophy. In 2007 he was chosen by John Yau as an Emerging Poet for The Academy of American Poets. He was one of the founding members of Off the Park Press, and published work in each of its three anthologies responding to provocative contemporary painters. His most recent work has been published in (print journals) Laurel Review, Folio, Volt; 1913: a journal of forms; and Green Mountains Review, and (online journals) White Whale Review and Amethyst Arsenic. He won The Phillip Booth Poetry Award from Salt Hill Review in 2013. He has collaborated with composers, such Mohammed Fairouz, Mart Epstein, and Rudolf Rojhan, who set several of his poems to music, as well as with choreographers, dancers, musicians and other poets, including Gale Batchelder, and videographers Nate Tucker and Ray Klimek.

 

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