Take a look at me and Mike James pontificating about process.
“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.
On the passing of Lucille Clifton, 1936 – 2010
I would like to think
that B.B. King named his guitar for you.
I know he didn’t. We in the know
know the myth
the real story –
we know that it is not you
whom he played to make music so sweet
that I, a grown man, cry when I hear it –
but I am comforted thinking it is so
even though you did not need a man
for making music, your wide hips
spinning men like tops
(we never doubted it for a second!)
and your words spinning out
to the sky because the pages could not
hold them for long, Lucille,
could not keep them silent all black and white
your words like you bigger than what they laid upon
and they echo like you now that you’re gone
so that sadness cannot take
hold for long, Lucille.
© 2010, Shawn Pavey. All rights reserved.
“Grisly, foul, and terrific
is the speech of bones”
— Donald Hall
Brittle and dry,
white and empty
of marrow – bones
cook in a desert sun.
Molecules in the heat
crack wide open,
atoms spill out onto sand
a fine powder once alive.
Vestige of frame,
purpose of structure,
crumbles and flakes
layer after layer.
Over what was once coyote, wind
thunders through skull cavities,
howls a vox phasmatis.
© 2011, Shawn Pavey
Previously published in Cant.
Little Big Star: for Alex Chilton (1950 – 2010)
“I never travel far without a little Big Star”
— Paul Westerberg of The Replacements in the song “Alex Chilton” on Pleased to Meet Me
All that mattered was the song, Alex,
the letters and the words
and those succulent poppy hooks.
We danced for you, Alex,
we learned diminished chords for you, Alex.
We bought your records.
We played them on our turntables
until the vinyl wore so thin
that light passed through the grooves
and it is that light that we miss, Alex,
but it shines on wax and gleams in bright
binary code like the light we drank from you –
our “Blue Moon” in darkness.
It will sustain us for now, Alex
until that next misfit unearths
a copy of “In the Street”
without a thing to do
except talk to you.
Previously published by PresentMagazine.com.
© 2010, Shawn Pavey. All rights reserved.
for the Astronauts of Apollo 11
That unrestrained spire riding
Olympic flames of science and prayer
landed two men on land
never before bearing a weight of man
all those miles above the very sky itself:
Apollo’s flaming chariot bearing no gods
but men armored in suits crafted by hands
that never escaped the earth
except only in dreams or in death.
And wasn’t death the risk
that three faced before,
that fourteen others faced after,
that escaping the surly bonds of this mass
on which all of us must always walk
save the twelve who strolled on lunar soil
somehow defies nature’s numerical sense
of the unwritten laws even Icarus
could not escape.
I was only two when
that single white needle of 36 stories
but so much more than even that
stuck ghostly in my brain
with black and white memory
propelling me later to view
the silver face of the moon
through a white cardboard telescope
lying in summer nights on Colorado lawn
praying the deepest prayer a ten year-old could muster
to get a closer look,
oh, please God, let it be so
to only drift later into dreams
of silver darts shooting past the sky,
dreams as sacred as prayers
that even now I pray harder than any boy ever could.
Copyright 2008, Shawn Pavey. All rights reserved
So, I had this blog over at Open Salon (http://open.salon.com/blog/kcpoet). I was active for a while, posting poems and whatnot. But then I ran into a spell of writer’s block. During my hiatus, Open Salon all but shut itself down and it’s a coin toss as to whether one can log into it or not on any given day.
Anyway, I thought I’d resurrect the blog idea but do it over here on WordPress. I will begin porting some of that old stuff over, start building a link list of blogs that I follow, promote poets I love/respect/enjoy, but maybe not focus so much on my poems. Sure, if I’ve got something burning a hole through me, I’ll share, or if I get something published, I’ll link to that, but I want to write more about writing, reading, thinking, and maybe guitar playing. Or cats.
Stay tuned, faithful readers. Good things to come!