kris thacher | lament of a potter, poet, paper-maker

10 05 2012

POETRY DISPATCH No. 372 | May 10, 2012


Lament of a Potter, Poet, Paper-Maker…

36 heirloom tomatoes
to get into the ground soon,
plus two giant pumpkin plants;
a vision of a pot like a spring moon trying to surface;
three collages of handmade paper sumi-nagashi with leaves,
and sticks being arranged, rearranged, put away, taken out, rearranged;
trying to get a little book put together for the oral history project of 14 living treasures
(I will never, ever do a book by committee again!);
have to get up early to write poetry before the rest of the day
picks me up like a tornado and sets me down elsewhere;
too many invoices, too many bureaucratic forms,
too many grant proposals,
too many meetings;

–Kristin Thacher

the white bicycle

3 05 2012

POETRY DISPATCH No. 370 | May 4, 2012


The White Bicycle

In the dream
of red balloons,

of circus tents,
pied clowns and

highwire artists;
a white bicycle

takes you there.

Alan Catlin

The White Bicycle

I’ve painted my old bicycle white.
It is the white of a childhood photograph,
the white of my sister’s first communion dress,
of an awkward smile missing front teeth
and ill-fitting gloves covering mudpie hands.
It is the white of my untucked shirt frozen in mid-laugh.

Now my bicycle is ready to receive the rain.

Peter Kron

The White Bicycle

It’s lurking there in the shadows
of a granary,
ghost of a gone era
when the first farm motors
arrived on tractors
and young girls still rode to town
on two wheels
to fetch supplies home in baskets.

Its basket long gone,
its handlebars like bleached longhorns
on a steer’s deserted skull,
it awaits the coolness of night
and its occasional riders,
dead writers.

Tonight it welcomes
its favorite,
the lady in white.

Come quietly after midnight,
watch Emily pedaling
straddling the worn saddle.

Ed Werstein

Editor’s Note: These were my original directions and suggestions:

Consider this another “Good Morning or Good Day Door County” photo… BUT for poets and writers out there (and others who may be interested), consider this a challenge, an opportunity, an invitation to write a poem (mainly) or prose piece (preferably short) titled: THE WHITE BICYCLE. Send it to me via e-mail only ASAP.  Deadline: Thursday morning (before noon) May, 3, 2012. I’ll print, not necessarily “the best” White Bicycle poems, but my three favorites on Poetry Dispatch, Friday, May 4, 2012 or this coming weekend. Now get on that white bike and ride!–if you have it in you, if the photo, the white bike, something speaks to you.Norbert Blei

This was a much more difficult than I imagined. And though many have asked me to do this more often, I just can’t. The time factor is enormous.

There were close to thirty entries. I made two sets of master copies of everything (deleting the name of each writer in a way even I unaware of the writer) and forwarded one master copy to a qualified writer-friend with instructions to pick three, only three, which caught what I was after: good writing, originality, brevity, etc. This was not easy for the guest reader/writer/friend/judge—or me.

Whatever failed to make the final three, failed… No, ‘failed’ is not the right word for the majority of entries since there were so many fine pieces if work BUT…some of the poems were too long…some of the poems were soaring, only to crash with a poor last line, a trite final stanza, a poor choice of words from the beginning or image…or no image(s) at all, falling into heavy-handed prose. Some need just a little final tuning to make them hum. Some need to be re-worked, re-envisioned entirely. Many of these (with a little more thought and a bit of rewriting) would certainly find a home in various publications.

For the last 12 hours or more I kept trying to bend the rules a bit: Why not six favorites instead of three…for certainly another three…no four, are right on the edge?

Maybe a list (long) of Honorable Mentions…?

Or how about a category which, for want of a better term, I would call “The Second Wave”? I have close to nine pieces that would easily slide in there. ALL of them SO GOOD! But this would go on for pages and pages…

What about separating the prose pieces from the poetry, place them by themselves?

And what to do with these illustrated works that came in out of nowhere???

After driving myself crazy with trying to make almost everyone happy, including myself, I decided to stick with the original idea of printing the three favorites. Plus only one prose piece. And wrap it up with the three illustrated submissions because…because I wish to share them.

I also promise to print some of the works online in the not too distant future.

Thank you all.

I have attached the poem and a photo of a “white bicycle” that is a few miles from my studio. Here in NM they call the roadside memorials markers to people killed in car accidents “descansos.” I don’t know what they are called elsewhere. But families or friends put up white crosses for pedestrians or car drivers who have been killed, or white bicycles for bicyclists who have been killed on the roadside near the scene of the accident. They remind you to slow down and take care. I do not know where they are made but they are well cared for and decorated with plastic flowers. Some are even decorated especially for Christmas and other holidays! -Kris Thacher


No one depends

The white bi-

Parked in the

Behind the Descansos

Kris Thacher

The White Bicycle | Photo by Daniel Anderson