Tuesday Poem: Two winter poems by Bud Smith

…from a new poetry collection:


It Snows

Spout comes home
with a green suitcase
travel record player
we set it up in the pink room
next to the desk where I write
she dug around
came back with pinot noir
her eyes like little fires
I lean back in the chair
saved from the garbage
cracked all my knuckles
except the broken one
the red chair wrapped her up
the radiator sang out
and I said, “we’ll still be here
when the sun comes up,
so, take a seat”
“don’t get comfortable,”
she cooed, “though life is long”
“It’s a trick”
“yup, it is”
I popped open the wine
with a Nike shoelace
a trick I learned on the internet
she pulled out her paints
one by one by one by one
then revealed a canvas
hidden behind the bookcase
“think I’ll paint over this one”
“don’t do that”
“then buy it from me”
“I’m broke”
“I’ll take a million bucks”
she filled our coffee cups
with blood or crushed cherries
“or something,” she said
I worked a rewrite over
hunting typos as she sang
let’s spend the night together
neighbor knocking on the door
my foot stomping on the floor
“ignore the world, baby
thursday nights are for you and me”
“I know that,” she said,
pushing her long hair out of her eyes
as Ruby Tuesday came on
we noticed
that age old thing
all our teeth purple
paint all over the records
my fingers hurting from bad typing
no noise down in the street for once
and so we climbed out
onto the shaky fire escape
watched the snow falling
on 173rd street.
Commentary by Bud Smith: It’s been a snowy winter. I live in New York City and park my car on the street, so that’s a whole war that happens: digging, shoveling, searching for spots. But I love the apartment-bound days and nights with my wife Spout. Snow falling outside, coffee or beer/wine for us depending on what time of day it is, and records that we find at NJ flea markets, or from NYC sidewalk vendors playing in the room where we sit and talk, talk, talk. Most of my writing happens in the room I’m in now, right next to the record player. Her art happens behind me. Right now, she’s painting with oils, and the room stinks, but I’m happy as a clam. When he record ends, she says, “Can you start it again?” Often that’s our MO: we don’t flip side B of Sticky Fingers very often, and we are dedicated followers of side A of Dark Side of the Moon and Nilssson Schmilsson, respectively.


These things take time

things work out, they have to
days get blue, a gravel hill
taking the dog for a walk
though you don’t have a dog
find people who talk.
pass bottles, pass codes
pass all the small hope
open it up, find rows and rows of want
rewind tapes, consult charts
confessions from the bottomless
pits of the human heart
send signals with smoke,
ground-up dust from a feral rose
breathe in perfect sync
only step where I step
failed and flailed
but think we’re on the cusp
if we release a thousand birds
that don’t fly up
let’s try another coat of paint
another year in the road,
getting used to getting bruised
till everything feels good
these things take time
I wrote, you wrote
we rolled all the heavy stones
end over endless end
up towards the waiting cloud line.

Commentary by Bud Smith: I wrote ‘These Things Take Time’ while I was in the mountains, upstate New York. It was fall and somebody/somebodies had their wood burning stoves going in the small houses tucked back off the gravel road I was walking up. The hill was steep, and I was trying to get to the top because there was a log cabin up there that sold real good coffee. It was real early in the morning. When I got up to the cabin, it wasn’t open yet, so I sat down on the porch and waited for the people to come and open. I was still writing this poem when their station wagon pulled up. They thought I was just about the strangest thing they’d ever seen, between my army jacket, neon sneakers and my stupid haircut … not to mention, I was writing a poem on the back of a paper sign they’d taped to the door that said, Closed Thanksgiving Day (it was the day after Thanksgiving Day now — the sign was up for grabs I figured)! I wound up buying half a pound of venison jerky from them and the girl gave me a ride down the hill in the station wagon because I was carrying three cups of coffee, one for me, one for Spout, and one for the girl we were staying with. No one was awake there yet either. Fuck it, I woke them.


1488988_756395301044938_1457119563_nBud Smith’s new poetry collection, Everything Neon, has just been released today — March 17 NYC time, where Bud lives, and March 18 here. Nice timing for this special Tuesday Poem post. It’s not very often that I get to post a poem or two and congratulate a poet on a new collection’s arrival on the very same day. I’ve not got my hands on Bud’s collection yet, but I expect to — the cover art is the best I’ve seen in a long time, and I like Bud’s easy approach to poetry. I admire the way he seems to make it look so casual but hits you in the head, or heard. There are no pretensions in Bud’s poetry. Take these two poems here. They exude an honesty and a kind of kindness that is admirable. Here’s a poet who observes the world and the small details around us – and makes us want to do the same. I like the way the words cascade down the page, the way once you start reading you really can’t stop till you’ve reached the end. Bud Smith’s got a story to tell, something he’s seen or heard or thought, and he ain’t gonna stop. These are flashes of insight in poetry — something I can’t resist.

Plus, who can’t use a little love song every now and then, served up with a record scratching out Ruby Tuesday?

Bud Smith’s new poetry collection, Everything Neon, is available at Amazon as of today.

-M Elvy

budAbout the poet:  Bud Smith lives on 173rd street in NYC. His books are the poetry collection, Everything Neon (Marginalia), the novel Tollbooth (Piscataway) and the short story collection, Or Something Like That (Unknown Press). He works heavy construction in NJ, edits at JMWW and Uno Kudo, and really likes records from 1971 or thereabouts. www.budsmithwrites.com.


Tuesday Poem is a collective of poets who share poetry on a weekly basis across borders and time zones. At the TP hub this week, you’ll find ‘The Votive Angel’ by Moira Wairama posted by Hub Editor Andrew Bell, plus poems by the various TP collective members.  Look down the left-hand sidebar and click on each one to see their weekly contributions.

Tuesday Poem For more Tuesday Poems, go here.


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