Poem About Georgia O’Keeffe, the Desert, NYC, and the Moon

Ladder to the Moon
            for Georgia O’Keeffe
When it’s time, you’ll know.
You’ll see it hanging in front of you
as if it had always been there,
a hand-made wooden ladder
above night-blackened red desert hills,
its bottom rung too high to even jump for,
top rung reaching nothing
save the space between earth sand and moon soil.
And somewhere past this desert,
past every thing,
strains a music of cinder blocks,
choirs of cranes and car horns,
and towers in New York
reverberating a struggle
to reach only higher than they can.
If you can just see what is here,
then maybe a ladder will fall within your reach,
maybe it will carry you up
to touch and stand on a moon of your own,
to look down on towers of concrete, steel, and glass
that seem so small from there.
© Shawn Pavey, 2019

Cover of my new book

BIG NEWS! My “new and selected” works will be coming out sometime in May through Spartan Press and will be available online through Amazon and Barns & Noble. This is every poem I’ve written that I’m willing to let see the light of day, folks. It’s all in there.

Prepare for a barrage of shameless self promotion for the next month or so.

Photo by Jay Halsey, cover design by Jason Ryberg.

Book cover.jpg

From My Last Book

Lament in the Key of 4G

Out here in the Heartland, wind howls
hot across browning grass and concrete and cars.
We lose our voices; lose the sound of words
we use when shouting above the din of our lives.

Nothing provides comfort, so needed here –
this loud life.
                 So much to remember.
We carry expensive dig-
ital phones to track our appointments,
send our truncated messages in dig-
angelic text, take our calls, give us
direction so we are never lost wherever

we are and wherever we
go we never escape; noise follows footsteps and driving
and spending and
                 working and working and working.

Audio Time Travel

I Drive to Late Autumn, 1980

I drop a worn needle to a fresh groove
as Don’t Stand So Close to Me twinkles
into the cans of my Nova 40 headphones.
Here, vinyl gleams its petroleum rainbow
smelling of paradise.

I am 13 years old.
I am 13 years old
daydreaming of stage lights,
guitars, microphones, and the chance
that doe-eyed Denise Rodriguez bounces
in the front row of my rock stardom
with her long curly hair, exquisite silk skin.
She is everything lovely.
I sing to her and she adores me.

And now, gray-whiskered and 45,
driving a sedan on my way
back to work after lunch, I chant
Zenyattà Mondatta
Zenyattà Mondatta
Zenyattà Mondatta.