Thirteen Ways of Looking at Your Student Teacher by Nathanael Stolte


Thirteen Ways of Looking at Your Student Teacher

                                    After Wallace Stevens 

 

 I

Neil deGrasse Tyson told me

I was born of matter formed in a distant and ancient star

So were you

Really makes me wonder that life is an absurdly precious gift


II

I found him

Still warm but not breathing

The room filled with his last labored breaths

I breathed deeply through my nose

The air was cold enough to sting

I have been holding my breath ever sense


III

The Baby Boomers are said to be losing their hearing in record numbers

Too much Rock n Roll

I wonder what my generation

The Millennials will suffer

I fear it will be our empathy

Too much screen time


IV

Be grateful I don’t teach math

Numbers are an alphabet I will never grasp


V

Daddy used to drink corn whiskey and write sermons

Thick with metaphor

Then he stopped writing

I don’t know what he does now


VI

Emoji’s are modern hieroglyphs

And no less important

I can’t decipher either

Sorry not sorry


VII

The eighteen-wheeler is on its side; the car is on fire

The gunmetal sky delivers tenacious rain

I have nothing to complain about in my

Own troublesome blessings


VIII

The Gasconade River

In the Northern Ozark Mountains

Washed me clean of troubles

But did nothing for my worry


IX

Three blackbirds are picking

At a fresh doe’s exposed ribs

They flit to the guardrail

As I drive past

I watch them return to their duty

In the backwards reflection of my rearview

This is an unfavorable omen


X

Pumpkin spice anything is the only problematic aspect of autumn


XI

I opened my eyes for the first time

Under the fixed gaze of the constellation Leo

Before they tore down the Berlin Wall

Before Los Angeles was set ablaze

The internet is a sort of wall

That’s a metaphor—

For what keeps us divided


XII

Music is the most pure way to transmit emotion

Poetry and music may not be siblings

But they have the same grandmother


XIII

On January 26, 2011

My circumstances forever changed

In a spreading pool of my own blood

It was the single best thing that has ever happened to me



Nathanael William Stolte is the author of six chapbooks most recently, A Beggars Prayer Book (Night Ballet Press, 2017) & Ramshackle American (Analogue Submissions Press, 2018) and first full length book, Shoot the Alligators Closest to the Boat (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019). Over the past eighteen months his poems have appeared in Rusty Truck, Poems-For-All, The Buffalo News, Le Mot Juste, Foundlings Zine, Iconoclast, 34th Parallel Magazine, Poets Speak Anthology, Punch Drunk Press, My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry, Mutata Re, Howling Up to the Sky Anthology, & Blue Mountain Review. He was voted best poet in Buffalo (Artvoice, 2016). He is a madcap, flower-punk, D.I.Y. Buffalo bred & corn-fed poet. He responds to emails at nathanaelstolte@yahoo.com