God, Dad, and Cars

I had an interesting conversation with a coworker this morning. Unfortunately, my boss asked for his promotional postcard for my upcoming chapbook to be sent to the main library. So the impression was that I was being pushy since we received “multiple” postcards (I think really only the two unless she’s referring to the other branches as well).

Ah, sometimes the negativity bugs that crawl around work places–they just show up, no matter how good your intentions. The first question asked was why the library wasn’t getting donated, signed copies. I quipped (half-jokingly) that I didn’t write the book to just give it away. But I eventually assured her that copies were being bought and donated to all the branches and I would happily sign them. I just wanted my coworkers to know about it and share my joy.

Then she said that she didn’t “get today’s poetry.” I confess I was annoyed for a half second, expecting the old “but it doesn’t rhyme!” complaint. But then I thought, well, it’s really a fair, albeit broad statement. I mean, I’m not crazy about some poetry today either.

She and I don’t work together often, only once or twice a week when I am down at the main branch. And it occurred to me, what a great opportunity this was to talk about poetry! So I asked what she liked and she quoted the opening lines from “The Children’s Hour.” In response, I shared a recitation from memory, “Ask Me” by William Stafford, which she was surprised to discover she very much liked. “It’s beautiful, and it flows!”

I told her it was a favorite of mine, that the poet had died a few years back, and that he was one of my heroes. While my writing is not as brilliant as his, he was certainly an influence. I like to play with sound and line endings, to find a rhythm in the language that might not be expected, and often isn’t traditional.  Then I pulled up the following poem, originally published in The Blue Hour Magazine. I told her this is a small sample of what’s in this chapbook, though there are some other more surreal pieces as well.

She looked over my shoulder at the screen as I read it aloud to her. She seemed to brighten even more and said she liked it. I’m hoping this was a step toward making a convert.

God, Dad, and Cars

I’m 8 years old, perched
on a headlight under the raised hood
of our white four-door Chevy,

which has somehow stranded us
at Uncle Bob’s farm.
But this isn’t like the time before,

in Canada, when we broke down
along a country road, far from home.
Across the back seat Crystal and I

had played cards with mom while you
paced, and raged how God must hate
you. I wondered, why you thought

He’d bother a little family like ours,
only on vacation. Wouldn’t He
have more important things to do?

No one home at the farm,
but you know where the tools are—
your hands gloved in grease.

You are in control, under sweat
and sun. I hold something in place
while you work. Afterwards,

when the engine cranks,
you thank me, slap me on the back.
“Thank God you were here,” your smile

wide and rare as the words you say:
“I couldn’t have done it without you.
I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Originally published in The Blue Hour Magazine, August 2013

Please consider pre-ordering the chapbook, Moons, Roads, and Rivers, from Finishing line Press. Just click here. 

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My Debut Chapbook: Moons, Roads, and Rivers

Image by Michael B. McFarland

Moons, Roads, and Rivers, my first chapbook, is now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press. Click here to order your copy!

The official release date is November 17th, so if all goes as planned, you’ll have your copy of Moons, Roads, and Rivers in time for the holidays. Just be aware that these things sometimes take longer than anticipated. I’m looking now to schedule readings for the new year.

What’s this Chapbook About?

Moons, Roads, and Rivers is a small collection of poems set along highways and side roads from Pennsylvania to Indiana, from backyards and bar stools to graveyards and broken-down cars. You’ll meet a boy who hasn’t learned how to swim and a little girl “who cried / when the moon fell in the river.”

Find out what my dad has in common with Hoover Dam. Discover my favorite graffiti and why my neighbors shake their heads. Some poems were previously published in places like San Pedro River Review, The Blue Hour Magazine, and Contemporary American Voices.

What some good people have said:

With images wrought in highly perceptive verse, David J. Bauman’s poems speak eloquently of what we love, and what prevails over the artificial and transient . . . Such poignant natural details, personal and reflective, “slowly / raise the relics to light,” recalling the land and riverscapes of James Wright. The poems of Moons, Roads, and Rivers embrace and take solace in what blesses our lives, generously offering a luminous, enduring work.
Jeffrey Alfier, editor of Blue Horse Press and San Pedro River Review

David J. Bauman threads dynamic energy throughout Moons, Roads and Rivers, which leads the reader to palpable angst and longing . . . movement between floating and sinking as you travel the circuitous curves of his journey . . .
Dawn Leas, author of I Know When to Keep Quiet and Take Something When You Go

David J. Bauman‘s debut chapbook, Moon, Roads, and Rivers, is a celebration of  everyday elements that we often take for granted . . . Bauman’s lines and rhythms are precise and fine-tuned . . . At the heart of the book, the poet celebrates humanity, despite our flaws, and acknowledges that we are at our best when we are attuned and respectful to the greater world around us.
Brian Fanelli, author of Waiting for the Dead to Speak (NYQ Books)

Read the complete book jacket blurbs at Finishing Line Press when you pre-order Moons, Roads, and Rivers by clicking right here.

An excerpt:

Age 13

I stood on the bank, under the old
Black Bridge, my toes secretly
digging pebbled sandstone.
My friends had just transformed into fish.

We’d been splashing in the shallows.
Now their feet kicked spray.
Arms over arms, faces turning
to breath with each stroke, they swam
through the deep water, all the way out

to the first pier. Knee-deep on its
concrete ledge they were calling to me.
I’d never told them that I hadn’t learned how.

—from “Swim”

Order your copy of Moons, Roads, and Rivers from Finishing Line Press (You guessed it, by clicking right here).

Blizzard 2017 Is in the Books

“Let’s read ‘Snowbound’ together” – Kenneth Koch

Or it will be. Someone should write books about it. I imagine there will be some epic poems coming out of what the Weather Channel was calling “Stella.” Apparently, the National Weather Service is not involving themselves in the marketing scheme of naming winter storms, though. They’re sticking to hurricanes for that kind of treatment. I did hear someone call it Stormageddon 2017. Still, it was not the end of the world even if it did nearly suspend Northeast Pennsylvania in time for a few days.

Twenty-six inches of snow fell here in my neighborhood and Continue reading

Tuesday Tunes from the Monkey

Milton wants a cheery tune.

Since I had a busy Monday, complete with a car that failed to start before an impending Northeastern snow storm, followed by a toothache that turned into a miserable headache, I never got around to making a Music Monday post. But Milton and I were just listening to a cheerier post from one of our favorite humans with sounds from one of our favorite musicians.

Milt says he personally recommends following the link to Micah’s Tuesday Tunes. Just the thing with a hot mug of soup on a blizzardy day.

Issue #12, Winter 2017

Most of Word Fountain‘s Winter Issue is live on the website version now, and the rest is coming this week. BUT, you can still get gorgeous print copies of these babies with this luscious cover art by Ainslee Golomb. and you can

And you can submit to lucky issue #13, the spring-summer edition! The deadline is March 31st.

Just follow the links to find out how to do all that. Any donations you make go toward our printing, shipping, and operating costs. It’s a Continue reading

Barely South Review and Other News

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Yes, I took this photo.  A one-word poem on a tree.

I’ve been so busy working with Word Fountain, the fantastic little literary magazine that my employers enable me to edit (along with three super-cool coworkers who are editors and artists for the mag.) that I forgot to post about the excellent lit mag Barely South Review where my poem “Advent” was recently published in their spring issue!

Check them out. Check out the rest of the issue, and do all that stuff like “liking” and following on social media. All that sort of support is helpful, especially now as Continue reading