Ordinary Subjects - Elizabeth Howard

I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth through the Coastal Arts Guild of Connecticut. She's a hell of poet and an all-around awesome person. I'm honored to share her poetry on ALSO THAT.

Check out her website.

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I’ve been writing poetry since I was old enough to write. When I was 8, the poems were all written in rhyming, four-lined stanzas. Now I write primarily in free verse. I write about mundane, ordinary subjects, but I find the themes of my poetry often reflect my frustration with the oppression and violence that on which our culture seems to feed. I've lived in London, Kansas City, Colorado, Iowa. I worked at Disney World, selling popcorn. We traveled to Egypt, Amsterdam, Paris, Wales and beyond. Place deeply impacts my writing. I studied poetry under award-winning poet Michelle Boisseau. Every poem I write, I am still in her class, in that circle of desks, holding my breath. In 2008, I started writing Demand Poetry: custom poetry that I usually write at live events on my manual, Italian-made Olivetti typewriter. The part of this work I love most is hearing people's stories and translating them into a piece of art. I am a journalist and a marketer, so I am always writing something. I am a member of the Coastal Arts Guild of CT and the American Society of Poets.

Old Dog You Are

Old Dog you are
Electric blue sunrise streaked with amber.
You are single leaf drifting to blacktop. You are
One blood red Japanese maple in
Bone yard row of oaks. You are
Still beauty of one
Perfectly kept lawn in
Scattered season. You are
Questions rolling like
Dryers balls in my mind and
You are
One cold, still answer.
Old dog, you are
Tow headed boy held in sepia, now
Stretched long and darker.
You are grocery list and
Drying laundry and fish scales
On stones. Old dog you

The second person reveals herself

First, take note: the zucchini is a metaphor.
In all your self-help, writer’s way, dream journal busywork
The zucchini remained.

The zucchini remained, unperturbed
In your patterings, like the possum
You absently called Beatrice.

You. Remaining absent, as if stillness
Equates to nothingness. You, in all your
EST-you-not-me patterings.

Beatrice, you are not. You skulk not pine boughs in
Darkness (as if skulking equates proceeding). You
Proceed more like a metaphor, tethered to its vine.

Beatrice sleeps. The garden bed resolves unto itself. You
Skulk in the artist’s dream along decomposing vines. Proceed on:
As if busywork remains 

And shall remain and you — the absent you belonging—
Unscrolls with the stranger’s composted dreams,
An EST-you-not-me baton to drop and run. 

Drop. Run, you -- dredged in self-help stories, you,
Along the writer’s way, along the cracking bough,
Along this hypothetical fence rail. And shall in sleep, take note: 

The second person reveals herself. In compost, its withered
Processions, as a copyeditor possum frozen.
equates nothingness, 
that  metaphor passing, from
you to me.


Out here it’s all mostly nothing.
It’s a line of scrub trees;
A chain link fence to divide that
Patch of yard from this.

Out here the horizon is a friend:
She doesn’t have much to say,
Her mind filled with a run-on, tension
Wire conversation that never ends.

Out here an oak tree is true love;
And a water tower stands sentinel
To all the children’s dreams of
Falling, and flying away.

Out here, the overpass goes to
The softball fields, and the Casey’s,
And the driving range and to
Plain spoken hellos at an amble

Here along the sidewalk
The bike path the road the drive
That heads out