Expressions of a Poet
Poems are from Routine Heaven (Texas Review Press, 2005) by Jack Myers.
Thich Nhat Hanh says
insight is always there
like a clear blue sky.
Its pleasure is to feel
it has just been born,
ours, that we have just given birth.
Like when father use to yell at me
Stop walking backward!
mother would say he’s not walking
The Achievement Test
In my dream
I’m taking an achievement test
with my students.
But I’m not doing well.
Although it’s multiple choice –
yes, no, none of the above –
all my answers feel ambiguous.
The proctor marches up to me and says
you don’t have to take this test,
you’re the teacher.
I run outside. I’m the teacher!
and wake relieved to be in real life.
I look outside. There’s the sun drifting above the clouds like
a pale moon, like a half-wrong answer.
I don’t know how to stop this test.
How Do You like My Hair?
Shampooing her hair,
my wife explains, the universe
is just a bubble floating in a
foaming mass of other bubbles
while God’s mind is everywhere
This, she says while rinsing it clean,
accounts for all the little blips
like mental telepathy and
Do you believe in ghosts? she asks while blow-drying her matted hair
into auburn cotton candy.
Yes, I say, and bend down and
at a bubble left shining on the
drain’s steel rim
where my wife and I are reflected
talking on it, talking,
before it slips soundlessly over
So how do you like my hair?
Jack Myers, professor of English, teaches poetry writing at SMU. Myers says he began writing poetry at age 12 – “that great transformative and troubling age – because it seemed the right vessel for carrying strong emotions contained within a small space (me). As I progressed in skill and understanding, and my thinking became more metaphorical and analogical, poetry became a sort of high-intensity beam I could shine on whatever intrigued, puzzled, deeply interested, eluded, or moved me. Now, in my advancing years, it again has transformed itself for me into a vehicle for inner growth, spiritual quest, and self-discovery, all of which attests to the old saying: ‘Life is short, art is long.’ Aside from my loved ones, I can think of no better companion through the years.”
The 2003-04 Texas Poet Laureate, Myers is the author of 17 books of and about poetry and winner of The Violet Crown Award, the Texas Institute of Letters Award, recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a National Poetry Series Open Competition winner, and distinguished poet-in-residence at several universities. Myers served as the vice president for Associated Writing Programs from 1993-95, as well as permanent trustee of The Writer’s Garrett, a Dallas literary center.