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06 April, 2017: Bane


by Eric Anderson
I like my lawn better for all these weeds;
            the violets, purple in May, get covered
by the cascading dogwood petals
            then the dandelions show up yellow and turn shock white
until the fluff drifts in banks against the walk’s edge.
                                                                        My neighbors hate me
                        but I’m not growing a golf course.
            I want what Whitman called
                        the beautiful uncut hair of graves
and by July everything is green
                        until August tinges brown. 
                                    Under the grass, grubs feast.
            I think of some friends I’ve lately lost
and miss them more and want them back.
            Such stillness in the air, like the moment before thunder.
Then everything is rain.

“Bane” by Eric Anderson, from The Parable of the Room Spinning. Kattywompus Press, 2012. Used by permission of the author.
Eric Anderson’s writing has appeared in The Sun, Artful Dodge, Belt and The North American Review. He is the author of a novella, Isn’t That Just Like You?, and a book of poems, The Parable of the Room Spinning. He is the owner of Comics Are Go, a comic book store in Sheffield Village.


In a recent New York Times interview, Paul Auster says one of his favorite books is Weeds of the West because of wildflower names like these that he cites: “Bur Chervil. Spreading dogbane. Skeleton-leaf bursage. Nodding beggarticks. Bristly hawksbeard. Tansy ragwort. Blessed milkthistle. Poverty sumpweed. Prostrate spurge. Everlasting peavine. Panicle willoweed. Ripgut brome.”
Write a poem about any one or several of these.
Bristly Hawksbeard

Daisy from the ole country
Settled to the forest of the great west
Crepis throughout the new world
Disturb it and watch it grow
4/9/2017 7:27:12 PM

Chantelle Brady
Blessed Milk-Thistle

How can something so
be so painful?
Especially when it's purple.

Its a crime for those painted-
silver leaves
to be so sharp and harmful.
To draw blood from a prick.

The purple or pink thistle
now looks red
with blood;
Because it pricked me.

This explains why
I can never find
the perfect guy.
He's too beautiful to not hurt me.
4/8/2017 11:11:00 PM

Jacobaea Vulgaris
bright yellow blooms beckon, calling butterflies, bees, moths, caterpillars, who alight, then settle and partake of pollen and nectar. we human beings give it many names - tansy ragwort, stinking willie, stammerwort, benweed. we find its odor offensive and do our level best to eradicate it. is it wildflower, noxious weed, food plant, aphrodisiac, poison? a matter of perspective, I suppose, as most things. beauty belies a benefit to some, a danger to others. one's purpose determines which it might be.
4/7/2017 9:48:46 AM

In this field of Blessed Milkthistle, Poverty Sumpweed, and Everlasting Peavine, I think about the wildflowers that grew in the yards of the houses on the prairies, The Weeds of the West. I think about the little girls that picked bouquets for their mommies, and while she hung out their clothes to dry. Nostalgia taking me over, I think about how good a life it must have been, then come to my senses just in time to know how hard life in the Old West.
4/6/2017 10:43:20 PM

N. K. Hasen
Blessed Milkthistle

Your purple conical shape draws me
I come near to see thee
Your leaves are like a dancer leaping in the air
Shiny your leaves are with milky-white veins coarsing through
Your hole being as I near; I want to touch
But, pinnate spiny edges stop me in my tracks
For to touch you, will give an ouch!
4/6/2017 8:51:41 PM

Great poem...I loved the "not growing a golf course" line...Eric Anderson was on the money in his poem and timing publishing this on the opening day of the Masters was also on the see...even man's masterful manicure of the Augusta National Golf Course cannot match or touch what nature brings to us every day in many ways even in an unattended front lawn from the daily witnessing of the life cycle of a dandelion leading to the reminiscing and longing for those close to us gone on...
4/6/2017 6:14:38 PM

Dr. Richard A. Engel
Poem resubmitted after two years:
Title: MY Last Duchess
An idyllic courtship began 1943
in Eldred Theatre cafeteria
Sixty years' happiness lately simmered down when memory faded.
We had often reminisced nostalgically
about our first meeting.
In our last weeks of waning memory
the question arose often,
"How did we meet?"
After numerous replies,"In Eldred cafeteria!",
I once answered,"In a brothel."
She laughed and asked only once more.
4/6/2017 6:14:28 PM

Beware Spreading Dogbane

Pretty flowers, pink stripes on white;
Spread out in patches to some delight.
But beware, do not break the stems.
For the sap will spill straight out of them.
Touch the sticky, bitter goo
And a bad feeling will come over you.
However, if a butterfly you may be,
And in need of nectar, feel free.
These flowers produce it with such might.
Drink up mighty insect, and take flight.
4/6/2017 4:59:47 PM

Susan Rebecca Teller
I agree with the message being sent by the poem.
4/6/2017 1:09:13 PM

Beautiful. I love that all of the poetry you're posting is homegrown. Any chance that it can be anthologized?
4/6/2017 1:04:31 PM

Driving through Yellowstone ever so slowly, just waiting,
for that perfect view, like a photographer would do.
My eyes search the grounds, the trees, the skies. All the colors seem to spark my senses. I take a deep full breath of them in, and hold it, as if I dove into them from the 3 meter board.
I now swim through a field of wild, blazing strokes of colors. They are dancing in the breeze, fast, then slowly, then they pause. As if they they heard the man from third grade picture day say "Ok, now don't move." They wait... but some colors can not contain the still. they shift, giggling at me. I just lean back against the car, and drink in all these colors, textures, and depth.
Then the dance begins again with the conductor above directing them. I shift, and drink it all in, like a fresh cup of Pikes Peak in the morning.
Then back to the car for the next field of paintings.
4/6/2017 12:07:43 PM

Great poem. And 'the nodding beggarticks' would be an awesome name for a band.
4/6/2017 10:16:31 AM

Very nice, have a neighbor who subscribes to this type of lawn
4/6/2017 9:26:17 AM

Chandrasekaran R. Pillai
"Bane" by Eric Anderson is beautiful like Whitman's "Uncut hair.."
Thank you for publishing.
4/6/2017 9:16:15 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.