Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Photos & Photo Poems Now Available on Fine Art America

June 24, 2019

 

I have been focusing recently on making my artwork and poem art available on Fine Art America. These are my first four images.

 

Still Life Of A Necklace Made From Wood Squares, Glass Pearls And A Shell Feather. Necklace and photo by Mike Smetzer.

Still Life Of A Necklace Made From Wood Squares, Glass Pearls And A Shell Feather.

 

Still Life of a Necklace” is a photograph of a necklace I made for Vera several years ago. It is presented here as a still life. The central feature is a white feather made of shell. The secondary features are the square wooden beads, which are spaced with pink and burgundy glass pearls. The background is black pastel paper.

 

Poem Spirit Door Over Lapis Spiral In Bed Of Tourmaline. Poetry, Photo and Mosaic by Mike Smetzer.

Poem “Spirit Door” Over Lapis Spiral In Bed Of Tourmaline.

 

“Spirit Door” explores the feelings I had about the back door of our cottage in Missouri. The poem was first published on this blog.

“Lapis Spiral in Bed of Tourmaline” is a still-life photograph of a bead mosaic. It was created as a strung spiral of lapis lazuli beads. Around the lapis are tourmaline pebbles bunched loosely against the spiral. All the stones are natural. The lapis beads have been organized with the highest lapis content toward the center. The outer beads have other minerals such as quartz and iron pyrite and are intended as a transition to the mixed colors of the tourmaline pebbles.

 

Lapis Spiral in a Bed of Tourmaline Pebbles. Photo and mosaic by Mike Smetzer.

Lapis Spiral in a Bed of Tourmaline Pebbles.

 

 

Poem Sunday Morning, January 1, Over Marble And Serpentine Mosaic Of Cross. Poetry, photo, and mosaic by Mike Smetzer.

Poem Sunday Morning, January 1, Over Marble And Serpentine Mosaic Of Cross

 

“Sunday Morning, January 1” is a simple poem set in a kitchen where the speaker is looking out the window while having breakfast and listening to hymns on the radio. It was first published in Mostly Maine.

The visual background is a wall-like mosaic of green/black serpentine rectangles surrounding a cross of brown marble rectangles that have lines like wood. All stones are natural.

Blonde with Fingers: A New Free Kindle Book

January 20, 2019

Blonde with Fingers: Poems of Love and Joy with Art Photography of Original Necklaces is now available on Kindle. This new book presents sixteen short poems. They make me happy and I hope you will enjoy them.

The text is supported by art photographs of necklaces I made. These photographs present the necklaces as still lifes rather than as fashion accessories.

Like the other books I have published on Kindle, this new book is listed at the minimum price of 99¢.

If anyone is interested, Blonde with Fingers and my six previous books are all available free, Sunday & Monday, January 20 & 21.

You do not need a Kindle device. The book can be read on a PC, Mac or phone. This book can be reached by clicking on the image below or with my earlier books on

my Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/mikesmetzer

 

Blonde with Fingers cover - Mike Smetzer

Judgment Comes: A New Free Kindle Book

December 16, 2018

JUDGMENT COMES: Poetry from Many Lives with Original Beadwork is now available on Kindle. This is a book of serious poetry about people living their lives, and sometimes where those lives have led them. Like the books I published earlier this year, this new book is listed at Kindle’s minimum price of 99¢. If anyone is interested, all five books are available free, Sunday & Monday, December 16 & 17.

JUDGMENT COMES consists of twenty-four poems supported by photographs of seven bead “paintings” that were created on a loom and framed using wooden hoops wrapped in leather. Some of the poems are recent. Others were published in earlier versions in Cottonwood, Chants, Hanging Loose, Kansas Quarterly, Mostly Maine, New Letters, Poetry Now, West Branch, and Wind.

You do not need a Kindle device. The book can be read on a PC, Mac or phone. This book can be reached by clicking on the image below or with my earlier books on

my Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/mikesmetzer

 

Judgment Comes cover

 

 

Greatness Passed Us By

October 26, 2018

 

We chased the literary world in our youth,
confident, a pack of beagles, legs pumping,
tails whipping, heads low and sniffing,
or muzzles up and howling in the wind.

We chased, but greatness passed us by,
aloof, impenetrable as an Abrams tank.
We bayed and nipped at its grinding tracks,
then fell back, silenced in its wake.

The cadre of Accepted Writers moved on.
Most of my peers left the pack long ago
for a dog’s life and a home, or departed
to sleep in the warmth of God’s hearth.

But this old hound is chasing still,
limping along behind the eager pups,
watching for an open hatch, for that
moment when I might yet jump in.

 

Copyright © 2018 by Michael B. Smetzer

 

Stream through an Autumn Woods. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

Stream through an Autumn Woods. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

The Great Art Exhibition

October 19, 2018

 

Many years ago, a young man with a love of painting
traveled to The Great Art Exhibition held annually
in the largest city of a country much like our own.

The show was filled by painting in a Classical style.
He loved the proportions and eloquence of the work
and stayed in the city visiting the show until it closed.

On returning home, the artist set up an easel in his room.
For twenty years he worked to perfect his vision.
His paintings were wonderful. The works of his heart.

When he was ready, he took his paintings to the jury
that decided what to allow into each year’s exhibition.
But all the paintings he saw around him were Romantic.

The judges reviewed his work. “Classical painting!
We don’t want Classical art. Take this crap away!”
The painter went home weeping. “My paintings failed.”

After a few days, he decided to try Romantic painting.
“If I show the judges I can paint the art they want,
they might let my paintings into the Great Exhibition.”

He took twenty years to perfect his Romantic style.
“These paintings,” he thought, “are not works of my heart,
but they are bold and dramatic. And they are beautiful.”

He went to the jury with new paintings and new hopes.
When he got there he found the old judges were gone.
The paintings he saw around him were all Realistic.

The new judges reviewed his work. “Romantic painting!
We don’t want Romantic art. Take this crap away!”
And so he went home again, weeping. “I have failed.”

Now an old man, the artist gave away his paintings
to farmers and villagers to hang in their cottages.
He gave away his paints and brushes, and his easel.

For another twenty years the painter lived on in grief.
Then, after he died, an art dealer discovered his work.
The dealer bought all of his Classical paintings

and took them to the jury for The Great Art Exhibition.
The new judges wanted Neoclassical art. “Wonderful!”
they said. “Here is the grandfather of our movement!”

So they hung the dead artist’s work at the front
of Exhibition Hall. “Such promise this painter had.”
They all sighed. “A pity he never painted more!”

 

Copyright © 2018 by Michael B. Smetzer

 

Beauty in the Field. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

Beauty in the Field. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

Report to the Air: A New Free Kindle Book

October 14, 2018

My new book Report to the Air: Poems of Loss & Change has just been published on Kindle. This is a book about home. It is also about loss and change and about life in the rural Midwest.

The book consists of fifteen poems supported by photographs & artwork. The poems included here were published in earlier versions in Cincinnati Poetry Review, Cottonwood, Hanging Loose, Kansas Quarterly, Little Balkans Review, Tellus, West Branch, and Wind. The photographs included were taken by Vera Lisa Smetzer, Bernie Smetzer and Viola Smetzer. The paintings and the chip mosaic are my own.

Report to the Air is available for free on Kindle for two days, October 14 & 15. You do not need a Kindle machine. You can view it on PC, Mac, or phone.

 

Report to the Air by Mike Smetzer - cover

 

The Judgment Comes

October 12, 2018

 

I see an airy spinner smiling down
from high windows in the clouds,
hand spinning from bags of wool.

Patiently she spins her cops of yarn,
each cop the life of a soul below.
Her weighted spindles whirl the sky.

She spins out homespun strands
from unwashed and poorly carded wool.
Sometimes fat, sometimes thin.

Thin sometimes to a single hair.
Full spindles she plays out from her sill,
airy worms squirming into the wind.

Strands dangle and dance, fray and knot,
tangle together with wind-borne leaves,
fouled in life’s chaos of indirection.

Beginnings too frayed to thread.
Strands too loose, too frail to work,
too knotted ever to set free again.

At times, she stops, studies her work
and suddenly snips a strand from its hook.
She smiles as the wind bears it away.

For us below, the judgment comes
without warning, without trial,
as when a child, alone in a far field,

poking for hours in the grass,
looks up to black clouds
and lightning in his hair.

 

Copyright © 2018 by Michael B. Smetzer

 

Field before Mountain. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

Field before Mountain. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

I’m Not Sleeping in the Snow 

October 1, 2018

 

It’s time to blow out the nose
and breathe about the yard
It’s October and the air draws in cold 

My fingers untangle my hair
Two hairy arms roll sleep from my eyes
It’s time to rise up from the weeds

Squirrels have poked walnuts up my ass
Wasps crawled under me for the winter
Sow bugs are settled in my ears

It is time for a cold bath
My beard is as ragged as the trees


First published in
Cottonwood Review.

 

Winter Trees with Birds. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

Winter Trees with Birds. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

I Dream My Mother Enrolls in Freshman Lit.

September 14, 2018

 

“Why,” I ask, “did Cather superimpose
a plow on the face of the sun?” 

But the sullen guy I call on won’t talk
and you   Mother   you sit next to him
in the front row
smiling

“No doubt she had her reasons” you reply 

“Could the plow symbolize
domestication of the prairie?
Could the sun represent life?”

“Oh, I doubt that, Dear
Now take your words outside”

 

(first published in Taurus)

 

The Teacher and His Mom. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

The Teacher and His Mom. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

He Ain’t Barking at the Clouds

September 7, 2018

 

Squirrel’s not happy   He’s
flipping his tail
up and down   He wants to
punch someone out
Look out!   Squirrel’s gone
squirrelly   He’s mad I
tell you   Stay clear!

Keep out of squirrel’s
mulberry tree   Keep away
from his lady   Shit!
This ain’t no time to
go out on a limb

 

First published in Graduate Newspaper, Univ. of Kansas.

 

Checking Out the Noisy Neighbor. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

Checking Out the Noisy Neighbor. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.