• Grant Handgis

Grant Handgis ~ Poet/Author

"It all started in Jerome"

in '58

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.

Copyright 1979-2011

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.

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g. Michael Handgis Photography


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