Here’s What People are Saying About My Latest Book

“The poems in Shawn Pavey’s Nobody Steals the Towels From a Motel 6 examine the seasons in the author’s life, broken down into days and then into moments, whether it’s a warm Kansas City wind, drinking on 39th Street, or a moment of quiet contemplation filled with the uncertainty that comes with just being alive in the 21st century. Pavey’s poems are straight and honest, taking the time to just live now and put it all down on paper, something that the rest of us usually put off until tomorrow. His words are as spare as bone, leaving the wind and taking nothing for granted.” John Dorsey, author of Appalachian Frankenstein

“Shawn Pavey’s poems capture the longing we feel when we lift the needle from a record album. In the turntable’s wishwiswish between Stratocaster riffs, there lies hope and resignation, Bruce Springsteen and hungry cats, maple leaves and ‘plastic blasted into space.’ Pavey’s poems give voice to our hunger for life, a medieval song heard through 21st Century earbuds.” Al Ortolani, author of Francis Shoots Pool at Chubb’s Bar and Waving Mustard in Surrender.

“In Nobody Steals the Towels From a Motel 6, I was reminded of how a gifted poet like Shawn Pavey doesn’t try to convince his readers to have things we don’t need but to slyly persuade us to open our eyes to the presence of the treasure of those things we cannot live without. In this book we have love, surprise, death, angels and more pictured for us in a flow of language both ordinary and extraordinary gracing us with a dancing vocabulary’s most lyrical and unforgettable choreography.” Chuck Sullivan, author of Zen Matchbook and Alphabet of Grace.

For Bob Sheldon — Friend, Activist, Murder Victim

From Indy Week.

From Indy Week.

The last time I saw Bob Sheldon, I was in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House protesting the Gulf War. I turned around, and there’s this little guy with that crazy curly red hair beaming a smile at me as big as all life. We hadn’t planned to meet there, but we did. Bob asked me if I had a place to stay.

“We’re all crashing at this house up in Maryland. I’m sure we’ve got some extra floor space for you.”

I worked at a Hilton in Charlotte at the time and had scored a free room at a Hilton in Tysons Corner, VA. When I told him that, he just laughed and said, “Don’t say that too loud. I don’t know how the other kids would feel if they knew that a couple of their fellow activists were staying in a room with a mini bar.”

Bob Sheldon’s murder occured 22 years ago today. For those of you fortunate enough to know him during his all too short life, we lost not only a friend, but a warrior for peace and justice. I thought it appropriate to include this poem today. Wherever Bob is now, if you subscribe to the whole afterlife thing, you know he’s causing some trouble. And laughing.

Here are links to learn more:

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.indyweek.com%2Fgyrobase%2FContent%3Foid%3Doid%253A15531&h=bd5c0

http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/9142405/

Remembering: For Bob Sheldon

These nights pass in such long hours
even moonlight seems so still
you can almost touch it.

Go ahead.

It won’t bite.
Can’t really hurt you.
Go ahead.

Time again to be alone.
No known comfort exists here before dawn
and radio is the only sound
save the humming of a digital alarm clock
progressed past ticking.

Dead.
Dead.

There, I’ve said it, again,
but writing it down
feels too much like writing you off, brother,
no shit.

Memory fails to bring you in focus
only patches of image come through,
your voice the only constant I conjure
your voice over warm sour mash bourbon
belly-laughing like a kid
on the beat up old couch on your bookstore’s front porch
before wandering out to catch a band
at a bar down the street to dance.

And we knew we’d always dance with you,
but a lousy little bullet got in our way
and you, shot in your head,
are just ash spread over some mountain now.

I would welcome any sound –
a click, a tock –
some signal of passage
other than the silent movement of constellations
and a fractioned sphere past my window

so slow, I barely notice

so slow, I sit alone in dark,
cigarettes my only light except hope
of a sun rolling up in the East.
Through my window, I’ll see it
knowing you can’t,
knowing you won’t.


© 1997, 2008, Shawn Pavey. All rights reserved.

14 Word Poem in Defiance of the 14 Words

I am invited to everything on Facebook and it’s my own damned fault because, you may be shocked to discover, I invite people to events on Facebook. Goose, gander, bed, lying — all that stuff. It’s become such a pervasive issue that, for the last year or more, I ignore event invitations. They just stack up and I ignore them.

But someone who always makes insightful, poignant, and, yes, interesting posts, a Washington Post contributing acquaintance of mine, sent me an event invitation. Only it wasn’t an event, but a project. A woman by the name of Jodi Barnes in Chapel Hill, NC, is going to, on February 14th, that most insipid of Hallmark-fabricated holidays, gather a group of volunteers to stand on street corners in Chapel Hill and hand out poems. The invitation is to write 14 word poems around the theme, “One World, One Race, One Love” in defiance of the 14 Words so commonly associated with the White Supremist movement.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteen_Words

Jodi and her All Volunteer Love Army will gather on the streets of Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro in North Carolina to distribute these small poems to any and all they meet. Here is my contribution:

14 Word Poem in Defiance of the 14 Words

“The Fourteen Words is a phrase used predominantly by white nationalists. It most commonly refers to a 14-word slogan: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children.” It can also refer to another 14-word slogan: “Because the beauty of the White Aryan woman must not perish from the earth.” – Wikipedia

Water, soil, and time
cracks acorns,
births trees.

I want this for you, me.

So, if you’re in the Triangle area of NC on Valentine’s Day, look for Jodi’s volunteers. Take a poem. Love fiercely. Defy hate.

Rengas for America: Now and Here

In Spring of 2011, I participated in a renga project with 30 other poets from around the Kansas City area as part of a traveling, multi-media art exhibit. The resulting collaborative poem, this renga, is titled Ghost Over Water.

You can go to the America: Now and Here website to view the poem in its entirety and view a photo of our poem stenciled on the wall of the Leedy-Volkous gallery in the Crossroads Arts District in Kansas City, MO. While at the site, click around to find out more about A:N&H. Here’s a link:

http://kansascity.americanowandhere.org/ghost-over-water-kansas-city-renga/

To hear the Kansas City poets (including yours truly!) read their contributions to Ghost Over Water on our local NPR station, go here:

http://kcur.org/post/kc-renga-ghost-over-water-1

But that was 2011. In 2012, I was fortunate enough to be included in a 150 Kansas Poets renga for America: Now and Here. As a result, I am spending several weekends this year traveling the state of Kansas, meeting other poets, and performing selections from this beautiful book. The poem is here:

http://150kansaspoems.wordpress.com/2012/01/01/to-the-stars-through-difficulty-caryn-mirriam-goldberg/

And it can be purchased here:

http://www.mammothpublications.com/

I wanted to share my contribution to To The Stars Through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices.

Listening: how wheat
bristles in wind like tele-
graph wires charged with part-

icles carrying voices
of dark communications

deeper than music
of our bright songbirds: seeds of
prairie grasses crack

secret in the loam, yearn for
wildfires of blanketing shoots.

Here is the Kansas Renga that I’ve mentioned a few times. I’m number 65, but I recommend reading the whole thing.

Heartland!

No other way most of the time, and yet the light
unscrolling from the milky horizon conceals what will shine
above, around, below us just hours from now on the longest night.

Snow, ice, and rain: what melts or refreezes clings to branches
and grasses. Did you think it would be easy to step outside,
to get on with the day and the weather of a collapsed blizzard?

Not when a beloved watches his life narrow to breath. Not when
the car barely starts, the windshield won’t emerge from its ice,
or the dear ones long gone suddenly feel close as sleet turned to rain.

The veil lifted. On the bare branch, like an inverse star, one bluebird.
— Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

View original post