Undercover Poet

One of my writing loves is poetry. As a writer it stretches me. It is a bit of a running joke with my brothers and my fishing buddies who chide me regularly about bongos, a beret and a soul patch. It takes a man comfortable in his masculinity to cross that line between metaphor and muskie fishing. I am that man.

I once said during a poetry reading that I was reading at that it was my goal to be Wisconsin's tallest poet. It was an attempt to lather up the audience, and it got a good laugh. Of course a tad-more-pretentious poet sitting in the audience came up and told me I was too late that he knew of a poet that was taller.

Well, shucks. Nothing to live for now.

But as I said, I enjoy it. When my first poem was published by Verse Wisconsin about 4 years ago, it started to fuel my desire for publication. It was a short little poem, but seeing it in print was about the coolest thing going at the time.

Now, the publisher that picked my book does publish poetry chapbooks (that's hip-talk for a small book of poems.) It is my hope that on the heels of Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir, they would be interested in publishing my poetry. I've developed quite a catalog of them and it would be cool to see them all together in a book. Something I need to talk to them about.

And so, to switch things up a bit, here's a few of my past works. Some good, some not. One poem I saw in The Sun magazine talked of a poet who in his lifetime probably writes 4000+ poems with maybe 100 or so published. That leaves 3900 that get thrown away when he dies. Yet, here he is starting another poem. That's about how it works.

So here's a few that will at least get read by someone before they're thrown away. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Great Love                                                                             by Jim Landwehr
They swam in Lake Ontario
When they met in Rochester
Fell in love long-distance style
And nurtured it by mail

They swam in Lake Michigan
After they married two years later
On a beach in Milwaukee
Before it was toxic

They swam in Lake Superior
In their forties with their two kids
The lake was pure and deep
Like their love

They’ve yet to swim in Huron
And Erie still awaits too
Perhaps with grandchildren in one

Each other’s ashes in the other

Fat Cat                                                                                                           by Jim Landwehr

Fat Cat was a stray we welcomed
Who never really got a name
Other than Fat Cat
Creativity gave way to appearance
He was a shade of roly poly grey
With a kangaroo sack stomach
That waddled when he ran
Which wasn’t often
He did run at the sound
Of the kitchen can opener
It meant a disgusting wet meal
A Fancy Feast for a Fatty Beast
A beast named Fat Cat
He had a thing for the ladies
Tommed all night
Slept all day
One day he went missing
Never came back
When we found him in the gutter
We changed his name

From Fat Cat to Flat Cat

Morning Home-icide                                                                         by Jim Landwehr

The Pop-Tart Strudel
Loaded into the mouth
Of the half-cocked
Middle schooler
Shot out of the car
Rifling into the heart
Of his day

Late for school

Got the Time?                                                   by Jim Landwehr

The change between yesterday and today
is minute in some ways, grandiose in others
A new wrinkle
A bit more rust
A flower withers
But at the same time
In another part of this world
A mother loses a daughter
A car hurtles off a cliff
An earthquake levels a city
Which causes free thinkers
To ask themselves some questions
Why am I here?
What’s it all about?
When is my number up?
After some thought
Conclusions are reached
I'm here for a reason
My time is short

I'd better get going


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