Three Poems from Digging Up the Past

Because I have no idea what I want to post this week, and because I have had, as usual, a very busy weekend, I have decided to post three poems from my first poetry collection, Digging Up the Past: Poetry from High School (1994-97). Also, I only have about five copies left to sell (plus whatever my dad still has hoarded away), so I figured this post might serve the added bonus of helping me to sell off those copies.

I’m putting these poems in the order they appear in the book, which is to say, chronologically.  I’ve picked ones that I like and that show my growth as a poet, but I’m making no claim that these are the best poems in the collection.  They are, however, some of the better ones.

If you feel so inclined to buy a book after reading these poems, instructions on how to do so are included at the bottom of this page.  I’ll even sign the book for you. 🙂

Note: WordPress won’t let me indent these poems (grrrr) so their form in this blog may be slightly different from their forms in the book.  The words and line breaks, however, are the same.

Dreaming a Prophecy


Last night, I had a dream

That I was on a path to nowhere

In a desert with no name.

At one point, I stopped and shielded my eyes

From the piercing rays of the sun

Reflecting off of the sand,

For so doing allowed me to see what was once

A magnificent city, now reduced

To a heap of rubble.

Walking towards it, I heard

A distant chorus singing

A beautiful song.

They sang, “This is the land

Of prophecy. Come here

And prophesy.”


So I entered the city

Through its large, crumbling gates,

And I saw a vision of

The world to come.


Famine fastened its bony grip on the world,

Wars ravaged the continents,

And plagues took their deadly toll on the populace.


These images swirled ‘round, intertwined,

And were gone.

I shouted out, “What does this mean?”

In reply, I heard the same ghostly chorus sing,

This is the land of prophecy.

Come here and prophesy.”


Motel


Bloodshot eyes behold fear when awake

Pondering o’er the many aspects of man

Contemplating all his fearless mistakes

Thought cut short by a falling can—


Rolled out of a drunken bastard’s hand

Who knew ne’er love nor cleanliness

Though he wander from land to land

Yet know he the darkness of loneliness.


Two floors above, the wild couple prance

Who often pranced at night before

Interlocked arms and legs in a dance

He the customer, she the whore.


Far below, the children cease play

Quarantined they are for being so poor

Heard above, the pious men pray

For redemption, their words a dull roar.


Bloodshot eyes in the lobby see all

The comings, goings, and misfortunes of them

Silent footsteps cease in a silent hall

The landlord sleeps: unequaled R.E.M.


The Sound of Rain


Hear the splatter of the rain

The pitter-patter of the rain.

Pitter-patter

Pitter-patter

Pitter-patter on the pane.


Everything is fair game

For the splatter of the rain.

Pitter-patter

Pitter-patter

Pitter-patter on a train.


Passengers inside the train

Hear the bittersweet sound of rain.

Pitter-patter

Pitter-patter

Pitter-patter goes the rain.

Pitter-patter

Pitter-patter

Softly dancing is the rain.


It sounds lonely within a train

Softly splashing a windowpane.


To purchase Digging Up the Past: Poetry from High School (1994-97), please click on this link and follow the instructions on the page.

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10 thoughts on “Three Poems from Digging Up the Past”

  1. Count me as a bona fide fan, Greg! These are excellent poems, especially the first two. I will try to buy the book in coming times. Please, if you can juggle the task of writing a novel and more poetry, do so.

    LD: Actually, one might help the other. I’ve been procrastinating on some diary entries that have to be written, which has in turn held up my novel. But yes, I will include more poetry on this blog, as I have over a hundred to choose from. 🙂

  2. I now officially worship at your doorstep.
    Haha… sorry. That sounds funny… but I have a great awe for people who can write poetry and not sound trite as I always do. 🙂 Your poems are indeed laudable. (I feel like I did not use that last word correctly. But I think I’m just imagining things. I’m going to just go with it…)

    LD: Don’t worship, just appreciate. 🙂 There are far better writers out there than I. Also, laudable: worthy of praise, commendable (Merriam Webster Dictionary).

    1. Hehe, I suppose worshipping would be a bit extreme. 😉
      True there are better writers – but there are also just as many people who can’t write to save their lives.
      Well, I did look it up. But the definition said “deserving of praise” which didn’t seem to work in the sentence when I substituted it in. That is why I was uneasy about it. 🙂 {But now, I am wondering why I thought it didn’t work… I think… I need more sleep. Or medication. Or a new brain. Or something.}

  3. I loved the third one. The other two, however, not so much.

    The first one, the repetition didn’t work. It made neither conventional nor emotional sense to me. Because you had already done all of it.
    I loved the “bony grip” of famine. Radiates madness, like something written by Lovecraft.

    The second one has many awkward lines.
    “Thought cut short by a falling can” – no grammatical relation to what comes before, subject relation isn’t strong enough to trump the former.
    “Though he wander from land to land/Yet know he the darkness of loneliness.” Very heavy handed. Your poem isn’t about the wisdom of the beggars, yet these lines comes out of such a one.
    “He the customer, she the whore” This gives the impression of being a line filler. What’s the need? I know you don’t mean to, but it also ends up sounding a bit like you are raining more judgement upon her than him.
    “Quarantined they are for being so poor” I found the segue from long syllables to short ones very awkward, especially considering it was coupled with a segue from the formalised English to the normal. I realise the latter is inevitable, but it comes out thanks to the other problem.
    “unequaled R.E.M.” Again, why? The form of the acronym hits you long before its relation to dreams.
    There are at least two more points of awkwardness but they suffer from the same problems.

    Okay, turns out third poem too. All that scrolling made me notice that these lines:

    Pitter-patter
    Pitter-patter
    Softly dancing is the rain.

    They come in the way. I suspect you included them to ease the transition, but the transition would be perfect sudden. One moment you are in a nursery rhyme and the next you are in a beautiful expression of melancholy (would make a great couplet on its own, but certainly enhanced by the nursery rhyme above).

    Don’t get the wrong idea, I would buy your poetry book in a moment, but it costs twice of what I generally buy novels for.

    Btw, why the unerring negativity?

    LD: When I was a teenager, I often wrote poems out of angst, hence the negativity.
    I have also wondered why poetry books cost more than novels twice their size. No wonder people don’t read poetry in this country! But, if you look at the going rates for poetry collections, mine is about average.

  4. Nice, straightforward–even I can understand them!

    LD: Thanks! I’m enjoying hearing what everyone thinks of them.

  5. As usual Greg, you provide insight into your world and are very brave to reveal so much. The poems were fantastic considering the time at which they were written juxtaposed within a high school students struggles.

    LD: Thanks, Jeff. 🙂

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