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My wife’s belly shines with clear gel
as if glossed by ice,
our daughter frozen inside,
awaiting the thaw—
we see fingers, toes, spine,
each chamber of her heart,
we watch her kick and spin
and reach, an astronaut
beyond gravity, weightless,

I wonder back to my own beginning,
when my mother first looked at me
as my body took shape;
They said we would have died,
had it been a natural birth
she later told me,
scalpel, stich, and scar.
Such evil in me then,
before choice and reason, a threat
by mere emergence—
yet she bore me still
as my wife will ours.

I turn back to monitor, to the fade
in and out of my daughter,
the color like newspaper print.
Our own, old articles are printed there,
in her gray scale image.
We read, and read, and read again
the lines penned by our mothers and fathers
a lineage of authorship
and notice her hand—curled, poised,
as if to take up a pen.

Bryn Homuth
November 21, 2015
After a second prenatal appointment

Painting: A Comfortable Corner
Charles Courtney Curran
Oil on canvas, 1887 


Commission #3: "Poetry Markers"

 At certain moments along the curve of history’s arc, certain works ought to be penned, printed, painted or preserved. In those same moments, a person may may be found as just the one for said charge. This is all well and good, but what will they eat upon to have the strength to lift the pen or give in return for a place to lay the head? This is when the society reaches for the back pocket, as it were. We are, therefore, pleased to present these, the Commissioned Works of The Ink Society.

While poetry is perishing under the rising tide of the climate change that is "personal" music, Bryn Homuth is respectably ignoring the fact and composing poetry. Beautiful lines they are too. However, even amongst the sea of poetic novitiates mucking about, one moment of contemplation lends itself delectably to the soul of poetry. This moment is the surveying of a local prospect or even foreign land. The act of looking upon a scene springs within the individual a desire to give voice to the feelings invoked. This is where the Ink Society saw the need to provide those very words at the moment of need. "Apples of gold in a setting of silver" as it were. Thus, the third commission of The Ink Society. It is something we would like to call "Poetry Markers." Historical markers for events of the heart. Poems placed in public upon the location of description that brings both scene and poem to life. Much thanks to Bryn for allowing the literal publicizing of his works. The first of the series is "Evening Harvest" that may be read here or on a sign next to a field somewhere in the midwest. Keep a keen eye out on your travels as a "Poetry Marker" may be just over the next rise or behind that old oak. 






The celestial spheres silently roll,
The frozen sun sits, gazes, grows full;
Three-hundred plus suns, yet rising from one,
Round whom bodies must live, unless out-run.

One sun sets, rises, another awakes,
Obeys his father, his dear duty takes,
Daily toils in his terrestrial trade,
Humbly he lowers both body and spade.

Spuds, sprouts, carrots, corn and the waving wheat,
Rise from dusty dirt despite the sun’s heat;
Father, mother, son to earth’s goodness raise
Glasses with gladness, the Father they praise.

Brave liturgy! The silent soul’s routine,
Obeys the Son’s law, its praise it may preen;
Our weekly rotations, on bended knees,
Shall daily make our knees weak and minds freeze.

Broom Snow,
Written at the Desert Schooner,
Las Vegas, Nevada
November 9, 2015

Painting: "Wallasey Old Church and Manor House, Wirral, C. 1853"
By Harold Hopps,
Oil on board, n.d.


Gambler, No. 5 [The Trees That Talk]*

Were I a rich man, I would propagate all kinds of trees that will grow in the open air. A greenhouse is childish. I would introduce foreign animals into the county; for instance the reindeer. — Samuel Johnson


Suppose a man, disillusioned with society, were to pack his bags and flee that society for the hills, until he arrived in the forest; suppose that this man made a nice little hovel for himself to live in, digging and scraping his existence, until he created a new Society of One in the woods; suppose, then, that this man decided one day to inquire of the trees his intrusion. I suppose those trees would trounce on him immediately. “Sir,” they would say, “We very much hate your presence; you are a nuisance.” I suppose that if those same trees could walk they would squash him immediately, especially if he tried to give them a hug. Now, I could not flee to the forest if I wanted to, for lack of trees here. If I walked to the nearest wood, I would most assuredly give up the ghost on the way. Even if I did arrive—if any of us arrived at the wood—we would all perish within a week if not by Wednesday. There might be nothing more obnoxious that a man telling you to pay homage to, even to sacrifice your life for, a tyrant. A human giving up his humanity for the forest is no different than a Christian giving up his Christianity for Nero. But to say Nature is tyrannical is not to say that she is not lovable. And to say that she is lovable is not to say that I have to hug her.

I have been noticing a queer fact about a few of the trees recently. There might be certain, scientific explanations for what I’ve noticed, but I care not for such explanations. Go ahead and give me your science; I will give you my mysticism! I will write a bad poem. For when I gaze upon a tree at Freedom Park, near my hovel, I can’t help but notice that these trees (fruit trees of some sort, I gather) do not shoot straight up like your everyday tree. Perhaps I have been palling around with palms for too long now, but some of these trees barely make it five or six feet out of the ground before they start shooting over to San Diego or San Francisco, as if setting off for the sea. I do not mean to say they always shoot west. Some are so gnarled and gangly, Medusa’s head might be buried beneath. But, whatever the direction, trees ought not randomly sway halfway through their trunk, as if leaning on a fencepost and staring at the sunset. One almost wonders if they are leaning over to listen in to the rest of the trees in the grove.

We had a few trees like this, I suppose, back in Kansas. The grove of Walnut Trees on Kansas State’s campus all lean to hear the organ of the university religious center. And I can’t blame them for wanting to hear such a noble instrument. But these trees here make little logical sense; we have no organs here. I imagine the tall strait ones are giving the orders; the leaning ones are listening and preparing for action.

That is the other thing about it. The tall, straight trees—palms, primarily—have no roots. In fact, many of the trees here have no roots, that is, no roots that shot up out of the ground. When rambling around campus at UNLV, I cannot help but notice that the trees look placed. It is as if a group of giants have come through during the evening and thrown their toothpicks at random. It is as if some large, underground porcupine woke up and stretched too far only to get stuck. It is a wonder to me at any rate that the trees stay where they are and don’t get blown away by the wind. They look as if they were born full-grown, as if all of that majestic root-ness that accompanies natural growth was done away with. They look anything but intimidating. I know a few cottonwoods and oaks that would have them for dinner—or use them as toothpicks.


Having recently moved to Vegas, I question with men before me whether city-life or rural-life is preferable. Johnson and Chesterton loved London like they loved life; Wordsworth and Thoreau were more pastoral. As with any of these debates, we quickly recognize that the answer is both. A field of corn is prettier than a graffiti-laced building; a man does not experience the mass of humanity in a field like he does in the metropolis.

While I’m scurrying around this place like any other ant, I often forget the deeply spiritual nature of everything around me. It is easy to contemplate a man’s soul; it is difficult to contemplate a man’s ears. So I forget that the trees here were placed; their physical presence nearly presumes a spiritual truth—that Someone thought these things up. That a being actually thought of that tree! Reality! What curious facts surround us! They tell us there are nine-thousand genders. Two will do just fine, thank you; I don’t even understand the female. I say, the contemplation of mere fact ought to be a regular ritual for me.

I think we modern, American Christians are often a bit confused on what to do with the trees. We’ve got people out their hugging and fawning all over them, while lumberjack Joe is trying to shave the world bald to build his barber shop. I wouldn’t be the first to say that virtue is somewhere in the middle; I wouldn’t be the first to say that virtue is a little bit of both without either extreme. The proper end of man is certainly not to discard his humanity and be one with the trees; that is stupid suicide. I say we would be silly not to cut down a few trees for they make lovely tables. But if we are going to cut a few down, might we stop for a few seconds and write their epitaphs for them? We’ve allowed criminals a few last words, why not the innocent trees?

I’m not sure how moral the point is I’m making, but if I turn from the grove to the grocer I see the same thing. I use trees; I do not contemplate them. I use grocers; I do not contemplate them—those men who stack the melons so neatly and make sure no bad apple spoils the bunch. They are the new gods of the new garden:

The nectarine, and the curious peach
Into their hands themselves do reach.

If then, these gods grace my presence I imagine I ought to act a bit differently. If these talking trees that surround me in all colors, shapes, and sizes are eternal gods placed here by a jolly giant, I imagine I ought to give them my daily sacrifice. I can, at the very least, do them some good; and perhaps the little daily good I do them will have eternal value. It cannot hurt to contemplate the fact of man; it cannot hurt to do good to the fact of man; it can hurt to hug a tree, specially if we hug too hard. For we do not know if we are hugging a tree or the sword of Cyclops.

Broom Snow,
Written at the Desert Schooner,
Las Vegas, Nevada
Early November, 2015

Painting: "Cocoanut Palms on the Coast near Galle, Ceylon"
By Marianne North,
Oil on board, 1877


*The only excuse for this essay is that I have been reading a lot of Thoreau lately, as well as Wendell Berry’s “Christianity and the Survival of Creation," which I don’t completely agree with but find interesting nonetheless.


The Mad Motorist

(c) Luton Culture; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Little Ford and his boys hated all joy,
As chiding children, they made a new toy,
For they loathed legs, and knees, and feet,
Instead of lawns, they’d sit in the street,
As lecherous goats, they grazed and gobbled grass,
Giants came, bulldozing hills, plains en masse,
But horrors are justified by such lies,
When we’re told we’ll fly, we ought to sigh.
Concrete is poured across all this land,
It’s ugly, but Independence is grand,
To zip around town in a new red car,
Who cares if there’s smoke, and smog, and tar?
What does it matter that we’re blotting the sun,
To Phoenix and back in a day, what fun!
Our fathers had more adventures per inch,
But could they make Boston in a tight pinch?
Our father’s sons, well they had a plan,
To kill space, time, contract them in a span.

“The horse,” they said, “is all too tame a beast,
He does not sputter or leak or overheat,
He—like our living feet—is a fetter,
We need something faster, something better,
We need to make the fair plains in an hour,
Just like those babblers needed their tower,
Texas and Maine can talk, that’s fine,
But for them to be one, that is divine,
Let’s create a machine that crosses town,
Let’s create a devil that will break down.
Our sons will honor us, they’ll build statues,
Those men without cars they’ll nobly rue,
Men to come will pay parking fees,
But they’ll take comfort in knowing they’re free,
Free to be forever vexed, chafed, and irked,
Free to nearly die when driving to work,
But those ignorant few, using feet like old,
Don’t have a heater, get stuck in the cold,
They’ll be forced to buy our new gods,
They’ll be dependent on these new frauds.”

Freedoms, for a few who can pay the repairs,
Are chains for the many who own but mares,
If Ford and Sons saw the monsters they made,
That they came to destroy the world, yet won’t fade,
They should start a revolt, take to the streets,
With their feet, hit their drum to a new beat,
Declare themselves free from the automobile,
To roam this world, to touch concrete and feel,
Then they, by their own devils will be hit,
In their coffins, they’ll all coil up and sit,
Since they hated joy, time, life, ambling, space,
The grave’s a fine and private place.
Why not creep into your coffin at once?
There is little enough space there for runts.

Broom Snow
Written at the Desert Schooner,
Las Vegas, Nevada
Late October 2015

Painting: "Dunlop, Early Motorist Asking a Cyclist for Directions"
By Gerry Fruin,
Oil on board, n.d.