Background Information on Select Poems

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"We Did Not Fear The Father" 

“We Did Not Fear The Father was completed n three years:
The first draft took the shape of a prose poem. (At times,
I write my poems in prose, in longhand up to fifty pages at
one sitting on 8 by 14 single-spaced pages.) Work indeed.
The second year examined the form. There were shorter lines
and stanzas in quatrains. I attempted to use the line We
did not fear the father
as the approximate line length of the
entire work. The third year refined its metaphor, rhythm,
and meter.  I also used a longer line length: We did not fear
the father as the barber who stood
, and I found the emphasis
I had originally sought in the shorter line remained. I also
sustained the poem’s unity and its narrative elements by
using the phrase as a refrain.

 There are two key transitions in the poem. (We did not
fear the father until he entered the tomb of noise) The ashes
in the poem are lifted by love and fear. The son fears his
father’s weariness (we did not fear the father until he stooped
in the dark.) 
and mortality even as his father lifts his sons
and daughters like birds into the top bunk beds. The time
clock was a pendulum inside his father’s heart that kept
him alive. The father had a wife, seven children, a small
black dog, grapevines, and a summer garden. The father
was a workingman who toiled on the night shift grinding
ball bearings in New Britain, Connecticut (once upon a time
called the Hardware City of the World) from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00
a.m. for forty years. The father was a barber from 10:00 a.m.
to 6:00 or 7:00 p.m., depending on the holiday and head
count, for forty years. The father was a landlord in his
three-story tenement house with second, third, and attic
apartments. He was on call twenty-four hours a day. I wanted
to capture the three jobs he had as well as his fourth and
fifth: he was our father and the scaremonger.”

The Vagrant Hours

The Vagrant Hours is not a mere calendar of genres or
a reckless treatise on the creative process. I attempted to
meld a narrative thread within variant forms, always a
wheelbarrow task for any closet formalist. I am not a
farmer…yet a sense of form tills memory and imagination
into earth’s dominion. It can assist the intuitive journey down
the precarious cliff with a flared tongue from heaven to
hell. Form is a rhetorical vessel, a velvet bag found in the
back pocket of the drowned poet, images and jewels on
the gang-plank after the last great dive shipwrecked on the
landscape of the heart’s repair. I end with the concluding
lines from one of my variant sonnets: Salieri breeds his own
cross and crown/Amadeus hears the singing of the earthmen
and their ruby dolls.