The Many Faces of Poetry: Poems Never End

The Many Faces of Poetry


The woman is talking to her shopping cart;

or: she’s talking to the stuff IN the shopping cart, it’s hard to know.

She doesn’t have a home.  Maybe she’s talking to her home, that makes

a bit of sense.

I was there, for a part of my life.

I didn’t know where I would sleep. 

An unlocked car or truck, maybe.

It was horrible; I was always scared.

I had a friend, one friend.  You’ve got to have someone

at your back

when you’re low on the pole. If you’re lucky

that person won’t take your stuff

and vanish.

My guy was an ex and future con named Roger.  We liked the same drugs.

If I scored, Roger scored too.

You’ve got to have something to do

when you’re homeless.  Copping drugs

fills the day, occupies the role of job and family.

I was better at copping than Roger.  For him, I was a profit taking venture.

He probably wound up in jail again.  He did time at Arizona State Prison

for cracking safes.  He was bound to get busted again.

I wasn’t. I didn’t.


“We haven’t earned the right to forget”. Guy Le Cuerrec

IF you think the gate is in front of you

look to the side.

If you think the gate is behind you

look ahead.

If you think a window is closed

in your room, it may be open but

hidden inside the closet.

If you think there is a closet

think again

there is a closet.


I didn’t expect

to have to be this brave

to live in the world.

I had no idea.

I didn’t know what I would need,

how much strength it would take,

how deeply I would fail,

how inadequate I would feel.

I’m not ready.

I look at ways out;

I look at death,

I look at drugs,

I use every excuse

to flee.

I do it every day.

I didn’t expect it

to be this hard.

My imagination was not prepared

to encompass the misery,

the sheer strangeness

of what happens,

what has happened,

what I can’t make un-happen.

I thought I would be protected.

I thought it would be pleasant.

I thought it would be okay,

that I would have a good time,

be satisfied, get away free of entanglements,

leave a nice footprint

that could be seen clearly

down through time.

I am surprised by the mud,

appalled by the blood,

angry with god for letting this happen

to anyone, let alone people I know and love.

I didn’t expect to have to be this brave.

I didn’t think I had it in me;

I still don’t.  But I persist

in spite of every difficulty.

I don’t really know why.

It’s not a matter of a foolish belief sustaining me.

My belief is not foolish.  My belief is my survival.

There simply is nothing large enough,

only God the Unknowable

can hold the grand squalor,

the screaming birth,

the wriggling, enduring heart at the center

of this beleaguered world.

I have no strength, no courage,

I have nothing but strategies to avoid

agony, and they don’t always work.

I survive, for a time,

while the world survives

forever, stronger than

I can be, deeper than I can fulfill,

more powerful than my will,

defiant in the face

of my disappointment in myself.

The world and something loving that redeems

all torment,



Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at

Photos at


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2 Comments on “The Many Faces of Poetry: Poems Never End”

  1. These are very good, Art. Although I’ve never been in such a position, the first one about the homeless persons really speaks to me. We have so many homeless people here in South Africa.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. artrosch says:

    Thanks, Robbie. I had a drug problem that lasted 30 years and that led to my losing everything: home, family, career, the works. The recovery aspect took another ten or fifteen years and is never really over. STILL…I’m a writer and experiences are the stuff of literature, so I have no complaints about the speckled life I’ve lived. I still have health and that’s huge.

    Liked by 1 person

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