Archive for the ‘Texas Shootout’ Tag

Capturing the Word — Paul D. Ruffin   Leave a comment

My next poetry book from my shelves is Circling, by long time supporter and participant in the Writers in Performance Series is teacher, writer, editor and 2009 Texas Poet Laureate, Paul Ruffin. The poem I have selected, “Explaining How Dead Are Different,” literally fail out of the book (page 72) as a result of the weakened binding of my copy of Circling.

Beside the cat-struck bird she lays
the dried shell of a roach, each
with no more life than the concrete
step she has laid them on.
“They are dead,” she says
to me in her careful four-year voice.
I nod and continue with my reading.
She points to a bird angling to land
in the plum tree out from the porch.
“But that one is not.” I nod again.
“Will you explain the difference?”

The bird in the tree is trilling
and preening, from time to time
pecking a plum; below him wasps
buzz about the too-ripe windfalls.
Wind stirs lightly in the feathers
of the dead bird, scoots the hull
of the roach. “Come sit here.”
She hoists herself to my lap
and the uncertain lesson begins.

Last August, Paul’s good friend and Montgomery County Poet Laureate, Dave Parsons read their poetry at a “Good Books In The Woods” event, “Texas Shootout.” The following video contains some of their readings and will give you a taste of Paul’s more recent poems.


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