What I find particularly special in poetry, whether it’s in the form of a sonnet, ballad or free verse, is organic storytelling. Of course, most will tell a story, most will tell of a life experience that could be translated into novels or film. However, often these poems are centred with huge metaphors or grand descriptive pieces. Sometimes, keeping it simple, telling the facts, telling us simply what happened and leaving the reader to interpretation, works best. Israel is storytelling in poetry at a brilliant level; I felt completely transported from the start. I’d open with a further introduction to the piece but it’s completely unnecessary. It’s clear, concise, communicative and cooked, straight out the poetry oven.
John Yanez, the writer, kindly let me share it with my friendly followers. I very much look forward to more from him. Enjoy!
It wasn’t god
or an angel
that dislocated my hip.
It was a steer.
No one called me
The ranch didn’t become
Pa just loaded me onto the serape bench seat in his truck
and we bounced our way down
the old dirt roads,
rutted like a wagon trail,
while I prayed for pavement
and then doctors
and then sleep
and then for all the pitiful looks to go away.
Ma was liquid fire pouring on them.
Bruce and Jeff and Denny.
She grew up simple but she wasn’t dumb.
The scent of their goading
was heavier in the air
than the palpable union
of dirt and manure.
“Of course we all have done it.”
“I would say it’s still a calf.”
“Just a child of a bull.”
Just a child of man.
I thought the pain would shut me down
but I could still taste the earth
feel it in between my teeth
turning to concrete on my gums.
I remember noticing
The dead tree in the Johnson’s lot had been
The sky was odd without the spider legged branches
crawling towards the clouds.
They were burning all that broken wood,
as we drove by.
I didn’t realize how much memory could fit
in just a few moments
It’s been seventeen years.
No one calls me Israel
they just stare at me when I limp.