Martin Willitts Jr.: 2013 Co-Winner Bill Holm Poetry Contest

 

Martin Willitts Jr is one of the co-winners of the Winter in Variations: Bill Holm Poetry Contest with his collection "Lake Effect; How To Know It is Cold Enough For Winter; Snow Fall; Kambara." 

Martin Willitts Jr is a Quaker, organic gardener, and retired Librarian living in Syracuse, New York. He was nominated for 6 Pushcart and 6 Best of the Net awards. He provided his hands-on workshop “How to Make Origami Haiku Jumping Frogs” at the 2012 Massachusetts Poetry Festival. He won the William K. Hathaway Award for Poem of the Year 2012. He has 5 full-length and 20 chapbooks including national contest winning “Searching for What Is Not There” (Hiraeth Press, 2013).
 

Martin Willitts Jr.'s forthcoming poetry books include “Waiting For The Day To Open Its Wings” (UNBOUND Content), “City Of Tents” (Crisis Chronicles Press), "Swimming In the Ladle of Stars" (Kattywompus Press), “A Is For Aorta” (Kind of Hurricane Press), “Martin Willitts Jr, Greatest Hits” (Kattywompus Press), “The Way Things Used To Be” (Writing Knights Press), “Irises, the Lightning Conductor For Van Gogh's Illness” (Aldrich Press).

 

Lake Effect

 

The lake affects snow,

assuring a certain amount

of atmospheric conditions.

And when those conditions are not met,

planes weave chem trails

trying to affect the weather.

But it does not rain or snow –

a not-so-gentle reminder

weather is a form of its own making.

 

Wind affects the lake,

brushing the skim, transports it,

dumps it like a siege engine.

It completes its appointment,

ready for a return engagement.

 

Temperature affects wind.

It can drop drastically

several octaves,

a bass line never finding bottom.

Then it sits, hulking,

until it collapses.

It brings lake and wind together

into a thunder of snow

affecting us for days,

stillness stretching

where nothing moves.

 

 

How To Know It is Cold enough for winter

 

It snows penguins.

The house is buried under an avalanche

where there are no mountains.

Eskimos spend their vacation nearby.

No one watches the Salvation Army bucket.

No one comes to convert you,

although the end of times

is clearly written in icicles.

Outside is white as an empty sheet of paper.

A pattern of geese spells haiku.

It snows snowshoes and sleds.

You trade-in your house for an igloo.

Pines demand thermal-insulated blankets.

Eskimos complain about the snow and cold.

The Salvation Army bell freezes mid-clang.

The door is really a snowdrift.

Penguins wear seven snowsuits,

waddling like children unable to move

wearing so many snowsuits.

The avalanche moves the entire week into July.

A polar bear asks for directions

unable to read a compass in a blinding snowstorm.

MapQuest mistakes you address for the North Pole.

Penguins start carrying snow shovels.

Geese freeze in mid-air, and won't fall out into July.

Pine trees shiver.

Snowballs are really wadded papers of failed poems.

 

 

Snow fall

 

there are two types of snow:

the wide-out

wiping out all traces of anything

like White-Out,

no visibility for miles

hushing everything

in stillness, everything

afraid to breath.

 

The other kind

is acrobatic, light, tumbling,

restless, the kind

melts on a child's tongue,

brushed by brooms

afraid to settle down.

 

The first is the unwanted relative;

the other is the wanderlust,

fidgeting, having places to go.

 

One turned Paul Bunyan's ox blue;

the other was Paul Bunyan's dandruff.

 

I move between snowflakes,

dodging them,

moving like a zipper,

disappearing in between

lace patterns,

in a swirl, delicate as dollies.

 

 

 

 

Kambara

Based on the series by Ando Hiroshige, The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido, picture # 16

A mountain village in snow at nightfall

 

1.

 

Snow at night

deepens silence

to hear a tear drop.

 

2.

 

Three people work in snow,

covered in white

like crane feathers.

 

3.

 

Below snow mountain’s knees

it is summer,

a crocus shakes dew.

 

4.

 

A man under

half-open umbrella.

Still snow finds him.

 

5.

 

What do they find in snow

so interesting

they never hear its absence?

 

 

 

Snow Angels

 

The skies are imagined forgiveness of flint,

almost untouchable. Car headlights illuminating loss

in snow-blur, restless as breath, light within light.

 

The rest of the day is canceled early, tires grinding,

losing traction. Someone throws shovels of snow,

and wind throws it back, getting nowhere.

 

The sky is obliterated. This too will pass.

The sun is not a giant snowball. Angels fall

into drifts, you can see their impressions.

 

They brushed off snow, continued trudging

in swirl of snowflakes reflecting car lights,

until they blend into the blindness.

 

Snow and the Magpie

Based on the painting, Magpie, by Monet, 1869

 

 

A solitary magpie

knows the purpose of a gate

is to rest before continuing

as light

upon new snow

making the bluest of shadows

 

changing of light

proving shadow is not black

as the magpie

 

movement of shadow

is feathers

 

a shift of wind

a flight of light

the feebleness of atmosphere

an “education to eye’

for Monet

 

like the magpie

we see snow briefly

once

then it takes off

 

leaving everything

in a standstill

 

some may wonder

if the magpie was here

or a part of the snow effect

 

the gate

at the wattle fence

makes the blue-violet shadow

snowbound chill

forever

 

what in this world is natural?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snow and the Magpie

Based on the painting, Magpie, by Monet, 1869

 

 

A solitary magpie

knows the purpose of a gate

is to rest before continuing

as light

upon new snow

making the bluest of shadows

 

changing of light

proving shadow is not black

as the magpie

 

movement of shadow

is feathers

 

a shift of wind

a flight of light

the feebleness of atmosphere

an “education to eye’

for Monet

 

like the magpie

we see snow briefly

once

then it takes off

 

leaving everything

in a standstill

 

some may wonder

if the magpie was here

or a part of the snow effect

 

the gate

at the wattle fence

makes the blue-violet shadow

snowbound chill

forever

 

what in this world is natural?