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Selected Poems by
Not Fit To Print
Maury Barr's poetry collection, Bone Music, is now available.
Cost: $10.00, plus $2.50 postage.
All copies are autographed by Maury!
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Or, if you prefer to pay by check, make that out to The North Columbia Monthly and mail it to PO Box 541, Colville WA 99114.
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Thanks for your interest.
by Maury Barr
When I was living at the cabin and had chickens,
strange to snatch one out of the pen, butcher it:
the others would cluck around,
raise a momentary ruckus,
then go back to pecking in the dirt - their business;
as long as I wasn't taking them out, the chickens were fine;
they never "got it" that their turn would come.
I never once woke up to a committee of concerned
chickens at my back door with a petition
challenging my authority to take their lives.
I never saw signs of mounting insurrection -
small mounds of pebbles hidden under straw,
beak-sharpened slivers of wood in the nesting boxes.
They just went on laying eggs, going about their chicken business.
Eggs nor lives, nothing they gave me willingly -
and I was grateful for what I took.
by Maury Barr
in gratitude for Pablo Naruda
We always thought it was easy to do --
talk about leaves and sunlight
memories of surf on the rocks
sounds not lost, but not present either.
Or the way you tilted your head sideways
so your hair fell open like a curtain
around your ear, and smiled
looking neither up nor down, but even
with the eyes of the man you were looking at.
All this was easy we said.
Tombs and boulders and the weight of emptiness -
greater challenges than putting someone on the moon,
or describing moonlight.
So, for all I've done and not done,
my flowering mistakes that've never been found
by the right bees
to make them into honey,
I'll say this:
the way sunlight now drowns
these diningroom windows in fire
and outside washes the maple's leaves green
- such a small, small part of what's going on
-is greater, now, in this moment, right here
than whatever we possibly can do.
Waiting for Breakfast, I Stare at
a Wall of Elk, Buffalo, and Lots of Wolves
by Maury Barr
Poor animals in these paintings
for sale in the Golden Spoon Cafe
at the edge of Idaho
on a rainy Thursday
the contented poses of the wolves
belie their thirstiness
for life. Here, cute
as bugs' ears which
under the glass of honest inspection
who believes those ears are?
But that isn't the point, is it
to have the real life of
these animals be present with us?
More, to give us
that picture we want to have
which comforts us . . .
Poor people, caught
in this image of ourselves -
wolves, our own eyes
glaring back at us - our
toothful, fuzzy mouths formed
into a howl.
Maury Barr: I was born in Georgia. Lived in Maine, Connecticut, Iowa, Berkeley, CA, Seattle. Have traveled a bit in South America and more in Europe (which is where I'm headed now). Stayed in college long enough to earn an MFA in writing from the Univ. of Iowa in Iowa City - Writer's Workshop. Studied with Marvin Bell, Donald Justice, Anselm Hollo, David Ray, Norman Dubie and Jack Marshall.
I've been writing and teaching at the community college in Colville for the past 16 years. Before that, I did many things - a few good things, too, I hope - and lived in many places; I was writing the whole time - since I was young and wondering what art and poetry is, and how you put the sky - or "a" sky - into a poem. Or do you just attach the poem to the sky like the Goodyear blimp or a sky-writer's banner? Wouldn't having the sky in a poem make it all very airy? Well, forgive the digression but I have two children - and is that a non sequitur or just a not-so-clever disguise? When we suddenly depart from the conversation and begin talking about the language of that conversation . . . do you ever wonder what car mechanics mean when they talk about EPG solenoids? (Did I even get that term right?) Good luck.
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