jrlewis's blog

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If Connecticut, Then Fiction

I think it was not fit,

but friction, when his limbs brushed

my back, he was already rushing, running, resisting. 


I was writing and he was life, 

a teacher; a man whose shirt was always unbuttoned

one button too low.  He was showing me how,


in fact, I was wanting you.  Now he is not wanting

to know me, now I am growing away from him, now I am

going where I am wanted. 


He was younger than you, yet, there was such richness

in rest or rant or wanting.  There was my writing.

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Life Writing

“What do you know?”

said the sister to the writer.

“A writer is a little island, a summer land, 

what is a writer in winter?”

“What was I, when I was your age?”

I was torn.”


“Who are you, when you are not writing?  

You are the listener, the reader, the other.”

“A writer is only one who writes.  

Who I am, when I am not writing?”

“What does it mean to be a mature writer?

You should learn there are no mistakes only poems.”

“When I am writing, I am talking to you,

who are you?”

“When you are not writing, you are talking to me.

Who am I?”

“Why do you ask?”

“I am still torn; bitterness is also basic to us.”

“Well yes, we are twin cultures, where a poem

can be a puzzle, like a chemistry problem.”

“Either is interplay between the part

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More Trees


Here is a tree that is her horse away

from home; it carries her a way from her

home pain,this roaning out gelding, bay.  

Sitting at sixteen two hands; she is higher,

safer from ants and students alike.  She

is resting with her horse before the course.

She must be quiet and still for the tree

like a horse can sleep standing up, an old horse

can turn into one of the trees dotting the field.

She doesn’t stand on the second branch, it is sway

-backed, so she won’t pain the animal that way.

She is tender towards the tree, and he still yields

in a rustling of leaves and legs, he comes

to love; he wants to be her treehouse, horse, home.  

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Tree Three


She and the tree be together

in the afternoon sun.  She is gently

fingering its bark; the tree is thinking only

about her.  How her hands are slow travelers


on its trunk.  Her hands are soft though

her feet are tough.  It is the first time for the tree

being climbed.  Can I hold her? wonders the tree.

Will my twigs tear? worries the tree.   Oh!


She is sitting now, in the understory. 

Here is a tree feeling human flesh resting,

neither perching, nor running, just resting. 

She is starting to imagine a story,


where the branch before her is the neck of a horse. 

Here is a tree that thinks itself a horse. 

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The Tree Continued


Here is a tree drowsing;

there she is, walking along the trail.

She is singular, thinks the tree,

a human, out in the heat, without a dog. 

Humans, like dogs and birds, are pests, the tree thinks

heat makes humans smell most foul.

She has walked too far into the mid-west sun,

too far away from the university. 


She lets out a sigh of relief

after laying her cheek against the trunk

its thick bark.  The tree is learning it can offer relief,

if not to itself, to another, and that is a sort of power.

She is not nesting or shitting; she is only

resting; she and the tree together.

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The Tree


Here is a tree hoping

to be struck by lightening. 

It seeks relief from these dog days, 


when more water is rushing away than

is rushing toward it.  The river is leaving;

the tree can not. 


The tree is feeling invisible, to everything

Save the sun. 


Once a friend, the sun is now a foe. 


Isn’t dehydration, under the summer sun,

the worst way to die?


Here is a tree wanting

to flee from life, it was wanting to

flee from suffering, until she came into its life. 

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Copper Mine

If horses were wishes… 


I would have taken the horse

on trial, for two weeks before I left for Iowa City. 


Would he stay sound?

He has four off-white hooves and they have tender frogs


in the spring grass.  I’ve never had a horse with so much chrome. 

He was very fancy. 


How would I win the hack? 

This horse would tell me how to ride him, not why.  His mouth was soft,

but his head was hard.


Was he too much horse for me?

Sometimes, I would have to be closing my fingers on the curb chain,


hoping to hold him back, back him off, half halt.  I must make contact from

my hands to his head.  I was afraid of failing. 


This horse as he was?

I was afraid of falling from him.  I was afraid of falling for him. 


What do I know?

I am afraid of heights, though this horse, he has kind eyes.


How like a bridge is a horse truly? 


A horse can carry a person across a bridge, closing up the distance.

Oh dear, difference is seductive.

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A Night Late

A night late…

(poetic license please)


After the night when you turned off the light; after

the night, when you couldn’t find your Peru radio station. 


She wanted most to be your pleasure,

to alter your breathing, to build an altar to your breathing. 


Her breathing faltered because she was wanting too much

most.  Overwhelmed was she. 


Overnight, she left it to the poet to tell you. 


She is berating herself and she is elated.


She has tried your hospitality; she is hoping

despite impolite blood, rude blood red, rust, risk, revealing, reveling. 


Learning, leaching, sucking, teaching,

will you teach her?  Teacher, will you let her teach you?


She is learning to teach a little philosophy of knowledge;

knowing her is about getting it less wrong. 


She is teaching to learn something new, you. 

This is some serious play. 


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Getting It Less Wrong

Hey now, he had to be aggressive,

always pressing.  For she saw him as her


older sister, bearded, holding a gray sieve,

and knowing everything.  She was resisting.


He wanted to be pressing towards her;

was there something else he wanted to ask?


Always.  He was trying to teach her;

his eyes were quiet and his body was calm.


His eyes are grey, brown, green; she sees

and her greenness makes her forget the color


of her sister’s eyes.  So she is yielding,

and becoming the student to whom


her teacher is true. Where he is close,

to her, oh so close.  Here he is the man


whom she is leaning toward, walking toward,

because she wants to be always learning.


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I need a goat,

to eat the gifts,

of the first year of my relationship,

I thought.   



knee socks,

green and pink lemons,

a solar powered butterfly,

et cetera …


Once, I was green. 



I know better

of our growth together,

the second year of our relationship


the goat.


I will leave

the real baby goat at Bartlett’s Farm,

April Fools,



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