The next poet in my April Profiles series is G.M. Palmer, a Jacksonville high school teacher and adjunct instructor. I first heard him read his work at the FSCJ Annual Writers’ Festival in October, 2015, and his lines have been running ’round my brain ever since.
G.M. Palmer writes literary and pop culture criticism. He plays the guitar, sings, and directs the music at the Jacksonville Church of the Brethren. With his beautiful wife and four amazing daughters, he raises standard poodles under the name Rivendell Standard Poodles. His literary influences include Eliot, Plath, Dante, Milton, Homer, Michael Hofmann, A.E. Stallings, Ernest Hilbert and Jill Alexander Essbaum.
G.M. Palmer says that poetry offers people a power to share in experiences and emotions that they may not find on their own. He says that song lyrics devoid of their context are often stripped of their power and a passage in prose is almost never as beautiful as a well-turned verse. Art is uplifting and should be experienced as often as possible. He describes his initial ventures in writing as “terrible imitations of Stephen King.” Alongside his fascination with particle physics and marine biology, he experimented with songwriting. After discovering poetry through a purloined copy of Scribner Macmillan’s American Literature (1984 edition), he continued his imitations—Pound, Stein, Plath, Williams, and Elliot. And once he discovered that girls liked poetry, he never looked back.
G.M. Palmer is currently working on a verse novel about a high school murder. Follow him on Twitter and find his book With Rough Gods on Amazon. You can also read more of his work at his website. Today he offers us 3 poems:
I Look for Love in Loss
When my daughter died,
I could have
frozen up inside;
it was a close shave.
Instead I was saved
by my daughters
who went on living; braved
by their laughter
I am living after
the loss of love.
Now that the broken raft
body was proves
her spirit has moved
to the life that’s best,
it’s the memories grooved
inside of me I miss:
how her perfect fist
fit in my hand,
the happy face I kissed
while I was her dad.
For the Homeless
I wish to God that I were burning two
oak logs on this bickering flame. It whips
in the wind as if windy arms could steal into
the heat and oxygen shine of the fire’s lips
to take embraces that leave sparks without breath.
More wood, more heat, more crackling hands that grab
the ice that flows on streams of airy death
sticking on faces frozen white and grey and drab;
faces that stare my way as I throw a scrap
of abandoned lumber on red tongues that scream
with the stench of creosote fumes. They lap
the lumber like a tepid bowl of cream.
They miss their mother’s milk of virgin wood.
I would gladly give it to them, if I could.
Pyramus & Thisbe
Entombed in stone that glints
like voices in a hall
of bright and timbred tile
we touch in broken tangents,
shaking some warmth together,
our words and glances lost,
our laughter fending off
the context and the weather.
Travel is a dream
that we can never live.
But seeing through the seam
I treasure what I’ve missed,
for nothing’s as enchanting
as your lips unkissed.
*”I Look for Love in Loss” was originally published at eVerse Radio.