Grant Handgis ~ Poet/Author
"It all started in Jerome"
that day the old man led his hoary burro
over cobbled streets to dancing children
who clutched two bits in scrubbed hands
anxious for a ride to forgone days of
ease and sarsaparilla, hoops and bows,
horehound and buggy rides,
and lost in themselves for that moment
the stilted praise of miracle machines
that hastened the old man to his grave
that place where he returns again
to twisted shadows before my time
where the streets re-berthed at night as
songs played, women prayed, but the coin
held the loudest voice, from men
who carved the mountain's bowels for ore
and sank into oblivion, and all the shame
revised from memories of the clergy,
leaving for those who grow here still
as I and my bride do, no penitent mind
These people here have come to stay
with their multicolored customs, and shape again
the sagging structures to the dismay of the elders, as
Beads, bells, music, laughter, and child
have unearthed again the breath of rebuilding
the ghostly stillness left before them
Brought change, say the ones who remember
and hold to their beliefs, of times when
old men left the sound of burro's hoofs
on cobbled streets for the children.
This poem was one of the first of a collection of poetry that began forming in the early seventies while I was attending college. Up to that time, the poems I wrote were in the category of Love Poems for the Heart struck. I was young and in love. Those early love poems were inspired by poets of the time, such as Dick Sutphen, Hugh Prather (Notes to Myself) and Lois Wyse (Love Poems for the Very Married). Romantic love types. Those poems reside inside an old folder jacket on the shelf where they have lain for forty years.
The heuristic value of that experience was seemingly better poetry to come, after creative writing courses, and instructional discourses on shoddy products called poems. The first collection of poetry was followed by a second collection that was nearly complete by 1979, when I became, in an instant, a single parent. That changed a lot of things. There were three poems written of that later period which I included in the second collection, as they fit within the thesis of the collection.
I will begin posting poems from this first book of poetry, and later, from the second book of poetry entailing two later collections of poetry written while I was living in Mexico, but that is another story entirely. . . I begin with the first poem of all the collections.