Jeff Knight (just_jeff) wrote in tonystanza,
Jeff Knight

Jeff Knight introduction

Hi, I'm Jeff, happy to be here, and hoping this will be a good kick-start to my too-long-dormant poetry writing. I used to be an occasionally successful slam poet, have published in some okay places, and love the feeling of being lost in a poem, both as reader and as writer. Dead center of the overlapping circles in the Venn diagram of poetry virtues I admire and aspire to would be James Dickey, Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, and Stephen Dunn.

I tend to take on more than I can actually do, and have a couple of novels underway, besides being a busy dad, and working a fulltime job as a scriptwriter of educational media. But everything goes better when I'm writing poetry.

Here's a good example of my work.

after a line from Pasha

Just when you think the moments are moving too fast to track,
you remember that 500 years into it, the Basques still see Spain
as an occupying power, that some pages of the Sun turn slowly.
Evenings now I stroke my wife’s belly which daily swells

with life, and wonder when the new person will arrive
like the answer to a question our bodies asked. I lie awake,
questions falling like bread sending ripples across the reflected sky
that rests on the lake of mind, disturbing the surface and attracting

fish that feed on wonder, calling them from caves where they have
circled all the long while it has been since I was a child, curious then
and curious now, how one thing leads to a thousand, each of which, et cetera
(each of which, et cetera), all of us having to learn, for example, the way

the world will set itself between you and what you want, how it’s lesson
after lesson in the twin arts of ricochet and misdirection, how our mouths
shape breath into sounds that skirt the real agenda, how we speak to empty
air as if it held friendlier ghosts than the ghosts we know, how—looking

over scribbled notes in a notebook of mine—I misread “acoustic guitar” as
“accusatory gesture,” and can’t tell you if that was bad penmanship
or psychic distress, but think about it off and on for weeks, curious,
which in one archaic sense means “made carefully,” and I wonder

why it doesn’t mean that anymore, and wonder, too, what
else was on the schedule the day God knocked off for lunch in the
omnipotence cafeteria, dropped a straw into the milk carton of time,
and blew bubbles that formed, filled, swelled, and popped,

until primates came paddling from the primordial snot,
set to shaping these name-rank-and-serial-number sticks
and stones into spears, levers, gears, and suspension bridges,
set to shaping centuries into wars fought for salt

and lost for the lack of it, how, now, the mouse-squeak of wheels
pretends silence under the hum of the escalator at the mall
where people walk from window to window, dream A to dream B,
everyone wondering: if the zombie invasion came right now

what would you do, where would you go, how long would it matter?
Wednesday nights the angels give two-for-one table dances
on the head of this pin, no answers to these questions that most nights
we’re too tired to ask, and most float away when we do, but

some land, like an arrow piercing a paradox, a talon finding a mouse,
a craft just home from a long time at sea, like a kiss on reality’s cheek,
a soft song to a weary ear, the last breath of goodbye, like the first
breath of hello, kid, welcome to this story, got any questions?
Tags: introduction, just_jeff
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