From adorable and endearing to harsh and uneasy, our nicknames can tell much about us – or about those who pinned them on us. Walt’s prompt triggered some memories, and stimulated our muses. Your works, words, and encouragement to one another is amazing, and is what we are all about. But for now, the task to choose only one poet/poem to highlight here is at hand.
MARIE ELENA’S BLOOM
My choice this week is “lanky yankee” by Andrew Kreider. “Lanky” is written in Andrew’s usual impressive style, which I have had difficulty pinpointing until now: artistic. Nearly always (and lanky is no exception), Andrew’s work calls for me to read it several times. With each read, lines and emotions reach out to grab my attention, and layers unfold to leave me in awe. This week, I offer my Bloom to the ever-artistic Andrew Kreider. Andrew, your presence here is a gift.
lanky yankee by Andrew Kreider
the old preacher is crying this morning
weeping for joy throwing dust in the air
witnessing that God shapes all things for good
even the ashes of our greatest hurts
I am fighting him hard and yet my mind
wanders off through the dust to settle on
the name I was given in middle school
inscribed on my brow – stupid words, glass shards
sharp reminders of privilege and class
the unwitting crime of being foreign
a foot taller than the rest and a yank
head hid in the clouds feet mired in clay
the cutting of words the wrong uniform
falling down the hill never admitting
to the bruises and the burning desire
for revenge within walls without windows
the old man sits down the school falls silent
and now Phil is a prison guard and God
is playing in the dirt making diamonds
and pencils writing my true name at last.
Marie is correct in that these memoir prompts have been revealing sides of us that are enlightening and satisfying. It is giving fuller picture of who we are as poets and human beings. Personal and real, we are comfortable with ourselves to offer these glimpse. It is what makes us such a tight and caring writing community.
That being said, I offer my BLOOM this week to a poet who from his first appearance showed something special and has carried through to this day. Consistent and self-critical at times, he gives a tender rendering of a name with which he has been bestowed. So, “Honey Bunch” this one’s for you. Michael Grove, here’s your BLOOM.
Sticks and Stones by Michael Grove
Though my God given name is Michael,
friends call me something I like.
It’s a pretty common one for sure.
Most people call me “Mike”.
I remember saying sticks and stones,
But, there weren’t any cries
when glasses in the first grade
got me nicknamed “Four Eyes”.
I’m thankful that one didn’t last too long.
I was so happy when those days were over.
Thanks to that guy on Sesame Street,
they began to call me “Grover”.
I played a lot of baseball in my teens.
Was a real smooth fielding shortstop.
Made each ground ball look easy.
All the guys called me “Grove Hop”.
In college they began to call me, “Chief”.
Then in business later, when I was the boss.
How two different groups came up with that,
I’m still at a loss.
I find great joy in my children.
I hope this never stops.
My son still calls me, “Dad”,
while my daughter calls me, “Pops”.
Now I’ve found my soul mate
Who I love so very much.
I call her my sweet baby
and she calls me “Honey Bunch”.
Congratulations Andrew and Michael on your achievements.