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jay_leeming2Jay Leeming

Jay Leeming is the author of the poetry books Dynamite on a China Plate (Backwaters Press, 2006) and Miracle Atlas (Writers and Books, 2011). His poems have appeared in a variety of magazines including Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, Poetry East and Pleiades, and he has been a featured reader at Butler University, Robert Bly’s Great Mother Conference and the Woodstock Poetry Festival. He has taught poetry workshops throughout the United States and abroad, and is the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He makes his home in Ithaca, New York. (http://www.jayleeming.com)

I love this poem for the simple reason (though I’m not sure this was his intent) that it shows the absurdity of our news coverage today. The pure running-everything-into-the-ground on 24/7 news networks. Honestly, I don’t really know how I feel about it!

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Man Writes Poem

This just in a man has begun writing a poem
in a small room in Brooklyn. His curtains
are apparently blowing in the breeze. We go now
to our man Harry on the scene, what’s

the story down there Harry? “Well Chuck
he has begun the second stanza and seems
to be doing fine, he’s using a blue pen, most
poets these days use blue or black ink so blue

is a fine choice. His curtains are indeed blowing
in a breeze of some kind and what’s more his radiator
is ‘whistling’ somewhat. No metaphors have been written yet,
but I’m sure he’s rummaging around down there

in the tin cans of his soul and will turn up something
for us soon. Hang on—just breaking news here Chuck,
there are ‘birds singing’ outside his window, and a car
with a bad muffler has just gone by. Yes … definitely

a confirmation on the singing birds.” Excuse me Harry
but the poem seems to be taking on a very auditory quality
at this point wouldn’t you say? “Yes Chuck, you’re right,
but after years of experience I would hesitate to predict

exactly where this poem is going to go. Why I remember
being on the scene with Frost in ’47, and with Stevens in ’53,
and if there’s one thing about poems these days it’s that
hang on, something’s happening here, he’s just compared the curtains

to his mother, and he’s described the radiator as ‘Roaring deep
with the red walrus of History.’ Now that’s a key line,
especially appearing here, somewhat late in the poem,
when all of the similes are about to go home. In fact he seems

a bit knocked out with the effort of writing that line,
and who wouldn’t be? Looks like … yes, he’s put down his pen
and has gone to brush his teeth. Back to you Chuck.” Well
thanks Harry. Wow, the life of the artist. That’s it for now,

but we’ll keep you informed of more details as they arise.


(Picture Credits: Jay Leeming — www.boxcarpoetry.com / Will Ferrell — www.people.com)