Out of Arizona

Poetry by JG Starr from the Borderland...

JG Starr and I have known each other since the first semester of high school, longer than we've known anyone except our families. He is originally a Texan but like me, has lived the majority of his life in Arizona. We are two unlikely souls that have traversed through southern and western culture as outsiders and insiders simultaneously. That is, we are of the culture yet apart from it or more often, beyond it. We have at times been exiled to the hinterlands of the borderland state we live in for thinking out loud.

We have forty two years of mutual experiences behind us, many of which we would only recount to each other these days. We are different, yet the same. He is solitary, somewhat of a recluse, highly intelligent, well read with well thought out ideas and opinions on American history, culture, economics and much more...a poet. I am a loner who is not alone, smart but intellectually lazy, well informed with thoughts and opinions on American history, culture, economics and...a non-fiction writer. He now protests any idea of his work being read by anyone other than him. On the other hand, nothing pleases me more than to write for show. His objections are overruled in this case, since this poem of his was published in Borderlands, the Texas Poetry Review, in 1996 and already published for anyone to read. Reprinting his poem here is my tribute to his gift, as much as he demurs it's value.

So Much Like Me

How would it be to be the hated snake,
     To have to push my way face-first through life
And taste it all: the verdure and ordure raked
     In on a tongue that almost lives outside
A lipless mouth, like some french-hissing-kiss
     Of the wind, the dirt, the trail of fleeing food?
Small waving hand-to show my friendliness

And always slithering naked on my snakehood,
     Could I help but stop and coil, and hug
Myself sometime, and squeeze, delicately
     That part of me (so much like me) I've tugged
Across each novel texture crawling brought me?
     How would it be to be the hated snake
In spring and, Heaven blessed, a mated snake?
Poetry by JG Starr copyright 1996
Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review Number Eight

photograph by JR Snyder Jr copyright 2010