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John Yamrus

About Poet
John Yamrus is the author of seventeen books (two novels, fifteen volumes of poetry) and has had nearly a thousand of his poems published in magazines around the world. His newest book, Shoot the Moon, is available from Selections of his poetry have been translated into several languages, most recently Romanian. He lives in Pennsylvania with Kathy, his wife of thirty-three years.

Bulowski's Property

this poem
isn't mine these
thoughts aren't
mine these
sentences aren't
mine these
mine these
lines aren't

i do
or think
or write
is mine.
it's all filtered down
through you
Mr. Bukowski . . .

and i wish
come here
take it


My Friend John

died the other day.
he was 82.

he worked hard
all his life
and had the perfect retirement.

golfing all day . . .
martinis at 5.

after his second drink
he'd start reciting poetry . . .

mostly Robert Service.

stuff he learned
and loved
when he was a kid.

poems he carried with him
all his life.

poems like
"The Cremation of Sam McGee"
or "The Face on the Barroom Floor."

i can hear him now,
"There are strange things done
in the midnight sun
by the men
who moil for gold" . . .

when he couldn't sleep,
he'd lie there,
on his back,
reciting line after line
out loud
and he'd say to Mildred,
"I'm sorry to bore you with these.
I know you've heard them before,
But I love them so much."

and she'd kiss his eyes
and she'd kiss his cheek
and they'd fall asleep
and happy
and tired . . .

of Sam McGee.


Dear John

"Concerning your most recent poem . . .
as always, it's engaging and technically correct,
but you're beginning to sound a bit
one-note to me.

How about trying a poem
that isn't about other people's poetry -
or, better yet,
a poem that doesn't even mention poetry?"

i'm writing to you
to let you know
i appreciate your concern for my literary safety . . .
but, poems are like cookies . . .
sometimes you just get cravings
for one particular type.

right now,
i'm into chocolate chip.

that being said,
in taking your comments to heart,
i went back and checked . . .
i've sent you exactly 39 poems,
13 of which are about the writer's life, or writing.

i have no real defense for that.

i'm afraid i AM a writer,
and the only subject matter i have
is me.

that still gives you
26 other poems to consider.

you can also be happy in knowing
that of those 26 poems,
there's not one mention of writing . . .

there are also:
zero unicorns
zero faeries
zero dappled daisies
zero mentions of cutting my wrists
zero use of the words "life sucks"
and zero poems titled Life, Love, or Death.

you can also
feel confident of finding poems
that talk about picking my nose,
going to the fridge for a beer
and watching my dog take a dump.

thanks for your continued interest . . .
best. . .
always . . .


John Yamrus
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