Poetry Dispatch No.71 | May 22, 2006
I’ve written about Ronald Baatz before. I’ve published Ronald Baatz before. It’s my intention to continue doing both. He is one of America’s finest poets, and a charter member of The Invisible Poets, Writers and Artists Society, an underground, unheralded group of mostly accomplished little mag and small press writers and artists (some unpublished as well, unaffiliated with major galleries, agents, and publishers) founded in the 1960’s by me, dedicated to the preservation of integrity and openness n the arts (no American marketing bullshit), publishers operating on a shoestring, writers and artists who mostly give their work away (because they have to), and the common community of men and women who live their lives solely to make something of them in words and images for their own good, and possibly the good of others.
The membership of the society is secret and will remain so. Only we know who we are. Recognize this instantly. And recognize and support each other accordingly. Occasionally our identity may be revealed publicly, but we are not comfortable in the light (having been denied it for so long), and return anxiously to our shadowed home of anonymity. Enough said for now.
This is the first public statement about this group, and though it has been on my mind for sometime to acknowledge its existence, publishing Ronald Baatz this morning inspired me to finally say something about working in the dark. Norbert Blei
THOUGHTS ON A SNOWY AFTERNOON IN FEBRUARY by Ronald Baatz
I watch a woman walking her dog at the park.
I’m sure i have never seen her here before.
It could be this is the first time she has visited
this park, or perhaps she has been here at times
when i was not. No doubt i appear a stranger
to her too. Perhaps to her i look as though i live
in some other town, and i was just out for a drive
and in my travels just wandered upon this park.
She doesn’t know i come here daily to watch
trees blossoming in fog, women in bathing suits
down by the lake, men fishing through ice, leaves
beautifully rotting. But since i am a stranger
i’m sure she has few thoughts about me, if any.
The only reason i am thinking about her is because
i’m sitting in front of this blank page and i need
something to write on these endless blue lines.
I’m tired of writing haiku about birds. I picture her
home with her dog. I suspect she is not married
and she sleeps with it. I see the dog patiently
sitting by the side of the bathtub as she soaks herself.
I see her nipples floating on the water, slightly hidden
by soap bubbles. Her nipples have a warm familiarity
to me. Could it be the case that in a another life
i was her dog, and that i stopped living that life
only yesterday and at that point started living this life.
I am not on any kind of drug, it’s just that it’s freezing out,
and i am sitting in this car with the engine idling
and i am writing on this piece of paper and so there must be
these thoughts. Yes, there must be these thoughts
or tomorrow i might return to being her dog all over again.
If i have these thoughts i will remain this person in this life
and, well, at least tomorrow i won’t be out there in the cold
on a leash shitting in the snow.