One of the thank you gifts for our Indiegogo campaign is a poem by the iconic Youngstown poet Frank Polite printed on a letterpress broadside. (A broadside was originally a poster or flyer; in this case, a poem printed on one side of the page).
I never met Frank, but if Frank were a planet, I would be a kind of asteroid, periodically crossing his orbit. At my residency at Headlands Center for the Arts in California, I was pleased to see his name on the residency history. Here in Youngstown, we have many friends in common, Frank and I, and I love it when his son Khepri comes down to the First Wednesday readings at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts to read his dad’s work.
So it seemed a good tribute to be offering Frank’s tender poem “Tornado” as a thank you, and for this we are grateful to his wife Dorothea. The Cranky Pressman in Salem will do the design and printing on fine paper. It will be a beautiful, framable piece of art, and maybe you know someone who would really appreciate it. –Karen
Here is the poem in its entirety:
When the news report warned
of tornados, you
put on a flower-print dress
and I, the best excuse
for a suit
I could find in the closet.
That night we slept
so deep into the mattress
my suit kept its creases
and your dress its
hyacinths and roses, pressed
as a page in the book
of our life together.
One should always look one’s best
when gods arrive,
to be taken up with trees, barn,
the whole farm, and you
all at once in my arms,
a bouquet of fresh cut flowers.
If you would like to read more of Frank Polite’s work, here is a link to purchase his collection The Darkening Wood.