Friday, September 10, 2021

SAFE DISTANCE EDITION - Stone Soup Croutons, 9-8-21: Bill Barnum's Prison Talk

Stone Soup Croutons is a weekly poem I write using lines and impressions picked from Stone Soup Poetry's open mic readers and features. I figure out a title (and sometimes the rest of the poem) later. You can read the other ones I've done since 2015 here.

I also have a book out now collecting the best of my first year of poems. Click here to purchase it.

Meg Smith gave us a great feature on Wednesday. This summer was so rough, I forgot things like the second anniversary of Bill Barnum's death. It surprises me we haven't heard a Bill Barnum reference until Jan Rowe read an old Bill Barnum poem by James Van Looy. I just went from there.

My first Bill Barnum tribute poem was written days after his passing. He's due for another.
Disclaimer. Cats were referenced a bit during the open mic. I put that in this poem. I have no idea if Bil even liked cats, but he did write about them at least once. I also don't make any claims to Bill Barnum's philosophy. Instead, I take poetic license and create further apocrypha from Bill's larger-than-life persona.
That's all I have to say about this poem. Thanks for reading.

Bill Barnum's Prison Talk

While your self esteem 
cries Comfort me!
to your family,

Bill Barnum, 
behind bars, holds 
his high throughout,

knows how to do 
the deed and succeed,
chooses not to,
unwilling to hurt 
to break atoms in half.
Reborn as dog, Bill
sleeps on windowsill
as cat he always loved.
Bill gives inquiries 
to his wardens. Why do 
they think only strong survive?

Chickens outlasted dinosaurs!
Not all who howl
at moon are alphas.

Not everything
that's been eaten 
was under Darwin's boot.
If people are sitting
around a campfire,
they cheated to win.

Bill's cat body sits,
waits to ignore
once winner is evident.
Bill says poets need
to put down both screens
and notebooks.
Their heads are down
when the wind tries 
to talk to them. 
Scores of winters lived,
they would miss a blizzard
under their feet.
Orphaned from Earth,
the last tree touched
a ghost in a matchbook.
The crow cries for them
to leave reservation, 
lose henna face paint.
They already have 
the rest of the world.
Not exiled if never left.
If your spirit animal
isn't a horse, then lose
your blacksmith shoes!

Hey, everyone was able to read this week!

Special thanks to Mary Jennings, Jan Rowe, John Sturm, John Stickney, Bil Lewis, Carol Weston, Jon Wesick, Karen Szklany, Nancy Dodson, Chris Fitzgerald, Patricia Carragon, Ethan Mackler, James Van Looy, Margaret Nairn and Meg Smith.

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