Sunday, February 04, 2007

Featured Poet: Michael Dunn

It is an honor and delight to introduce Michael Dunn, of Frederick, Maryland, as our first featured poet of 2007. I have come to know him as a fine writer over the past few years, and as a true and playful friend, through interview experience, poetic interchange and our humorous tongue-in-cheek exaggerated metaphorical history (more on that later). His beautiful new book Beyond Door's Threshold Light, New and Selected Poems 1995–2005, has been recently published. The collectible hard-cover, and soft cover editions are available online. His next book, poems 2005–2007 ". . . less than forty words per minute." will be available in May, 2007. See his book page for details about this upcoming book. With his permission, I have chosen some of my favorite poems from "Beyond Door's Threshold Light" and the keynote poem for "...less than forty words per minute" and presented them here for your enjoyment:

on the shelf where I used to live

within the small expanse of bookends
where I shared a life with you—

we, no longer of that compass, naïveté
smiles focused one to the other—

did time's pernicious dust gather
upon the fleeting years; until,
having had its final say,

came at last to repose
amongst shards of broken glass

in once-forgotten boxes still
full of memories when

Copyright © 2006 Michael Dunn
from "Beyond Door's Threshold Light"


Time, how insidious you are!
Staring into morning’s clouded mirror,
Through steamy shower droplets,
I recognize you!

Insatiable and inexorable horologe of fate!
You return relentlessly to your quarry—
Youth, transient as rose’s petal,
Ephemeral as morning’s dew.

Copyright © 2006 Michael Dunn
from "Beyond Door's Threshold Light"

Beyond Door's Threshold Light

When darkness settled
within my room
and tears began
to fall, for fear
of what lay hid
behind long shadows
and great walls;

and, beneath the bed,
just below my head,
some scratching and
some sighs, as
curtains blew, the shades
they grew, six arms
and ten troll eyes!

Then her voice I’d hear,
so soft and dear,
beyond door’s threshold
light, saying Hush my
darling, don’t fear my
darling, momma’s here
to make it right.

She was Doris Day,
with a Garland sway,
and soothing was her
sight; as she held me
close, I would quickly
doze, listening to
her song so light:

You may not be an angel
Cause angels are so few
But until the day
That one comes along
I'll string along with you.

Many years have passed
since those fearful nights,
and her song that soothed
my fright; but sometimes,
still, I can hear her voice,
beyond door’s threshold light.

Copyright © 2006 Michael Dunn
from "Beyond Door's Threshold Light"

C'était en Septembre

A rare hurricane torments
open window curtains
angrily leafing well-worn

pages of Balzac on a
nightstand, distracting
attention from perfumed

softness mingled with
womanly scents that rise
from anticipating, quivering

hips in their awkward
nakedness; intruding,
as eager hands, fumbling

with unfamiliarity, longing,
and desire join hungry lips—
wet, pulsating, greedy,

alive in the excitement of the
moment—speaking the language
of passion no storm can quell.

Copyright © 2006 Michael Dunn
from "Beyond Door's Threshold Light"

studying my own epitaph upon an early winter's eve

black locust’s great
moss-covered roots a soul
long-dead still lies and listens for
his muse

Copyright © 2006 Michael Dunn

All Rights Reserved.
from "Beyond Door's Threshold Light"

about me?

there's not that much




Copyright © 2007 Michael Dunn
All Rights Reserved.
from "...less than forty words per minute"


As a reminiscence and tribute, here is the spotlight feature Kath wrote honoring Michel Dunn for the former Poetry DMV, (slightly edited for present use):
An Ode to Michael Dunn (spotlight for July, 2006)

Oh Michael Dunn, he's the one, we're in for literary fun. Now he's here, now he's not, spotlight's caught him, glowing, hot.

Man mysterious, enigmatic bard, loving father, charming, modest, working hard.

His mother's words sing in his heart, his Irish blood's a thing apart. Only one month on Ireland's west coast shores, read what he's penned, you'd thing 'twas more.

For love of Ireland's rich deep soil, his heart does sing, and yearn for more. His one attempt at moving there, he found his love who lured him where?

Right to Fredrick, Maryland, the old bloke, writing technical manuals for nearby Montgomery College folk. He steals a moment left and right to jot a poem, strong and bright.

He's overcome with life's small sights, a photograph, a bug, the light. Inspired by ordinary things, nature's wonder, firefly wings.

He's drawn to forms to play and try, but his heart's own pulse he hears alive. He'll alter those to his own ear, as foremost guide, he knows no fear.

A flood of poems, every kind, all forms and styles, poetic finds since '95. From small to universal themes his verses from his days are gleaned. He'll tip the glass of Irish brew, in fact he'll make a drink for you.

For years he'd type away all day, and bartend nights and drink, he'd play guitar, and sing his songs, but now after work he pens his poems. One job's enough, his true love smiles, we're benefiting all the while!

His poetry began as prose, epiphanic stories those. Bernard Malmud, Joyce inspired, autobiograhically driven, insights given.

Unpredictability's at his soul, undone himself by traits of old. Smitten by the temporary as his rule, he'll follow no one way or school. Profoundly felt, with playful ways, his poems, his patterns grace our days.

And finally, to explain our "exaggerated metaphorical history", Here's Kath's poem that (by default) won Michael's (Irish themed) Contest last year at PoetryDMV, in which she teasingly and facetiously accused him of fathering her children, thus making him her imagined "ex" which we continue with ongling playful banter:
'Tis Michael Dunn That Done It

Now Michael Dunn, what have ya done?
Me belly's swollen tubby!
"Me Donegal lass, ' twas not me
Ye best go ask yer hubbie!"

Now Mic, yerself--their winsome looks--
Young Tim and sweet Colleen!
"C'mere Lassie now", I'll raise me glass,
"Me thinks you've had a dream!"

Now Mic me dear, a grandson hardy,
In twinklin' of an eye...
Tim's wee lad, Dylan MacKenzie, says
Now Grandad, don't be shy!

And many a lovely lass has told
This self-same story true,
They're smilin' all with Irish eyes
Set smartly right at you:

"Now true and fair as I have writ,
'Tis Michael Dunn that done it!"

copyright, 2006
Kath Wilson

1 comment:

Leanne Hanson said...

What a pleasure it is to see Michael here! This is poetry at it's most entertaining -- and that's its job, after all. Slainte, Mic.