The Many Faces of Poetry

The Many Faces of Poetry

Poetry Of The Gnu Age

After reaching enlightenment,

Milarepa’s first three steps

burned footprints

into the rocks of his shelter

so that today

pilgrims bow to these relics as holy icons.

The yogi’s steps were fired in the kiln

of his deep understanding.  A thousand

years have passed and his footprints remain

sunk into the bare granite.

Piano Lessons

I have ten fingers.

The piano has…really…

twelve notes plus octaves therefrom.

I tell my fingers

each day

“land somewhere new. Somewhere

you’ve never been.  If it sounds good

then lead me forward.  IF it does not.

We go again.

Ten fingers.  Twelve notes and octaves.

Fingers: spread yourselves newly.  Knuckle middle finger

rise a bit. Good.

Now…listen.  OK? 

send five left fingers to the lowest octave

teach them where they belong

repeat the patterns repeat the patterns

bring the fingers back up

then throw them like dice

at the keyboard let them fly

repeat the patterns again

repeat the patterns: over time

my fingers know things, acquire sense and pitch

before my ears know

before my brain knows

my fingers know.

And, strange as it may sound, always listen to your fingers.

Let us say, hypothetically, that I go to sleep

in just a t shirt. I have two pillows under my head

and a pillow between my knees.  As I get ready for bed

I sweep my blankets back and I sit on my pillows, not quite knowing

that I have just stuck my ass in my face. The knee

pillow, especially, is a real ass-face pillow but not

exclusively.  No.  My other pillows double duty as

butt blankies.  I don’t know when or if

I put my ass in my face.  No one does.

It is a concern, that’s all.  A sanitary consideration.

Truth is you walk around with your ass every day,

it’s on your body

and it hasn’t given you Salmonella or ebola

yet.  It’s not going to whether you sit half naked

or not.  Everyone is full of shit.  We know that. 

When some men play around in government,

they shit like water buffalos.  Who knew?

They’re all full of shit. 

And they sit on their pillows a lot.

Another thing I can stop worrying about.


It is one thing to think

“aw fuck, not again.”

Then it’s another thing to do

nothing, from a sense of overwhelm

at the misery of the world.  Many of these miseries

were created by human beings.  They are capable of un-creating them but that would take a lot of work.  Humans have

a streak of lazy when it comes to inquiry about themselves. 

One can say “My bad”

as if that dismisses responsibility.  I’ve been bad

but it’s over. That is not enough.  You can’t say “My good”

but you’ve got to do “my good”, 

you must keep making beautiful things in the face of ignorance.

Help other people with small daily tasks.

Use everything you’ve got

because in the face of this calamity,

it’s not going to be enough.

It’s just a motive to keep working so that,

some day,

it will be enough.


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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13 Comments on “The Many Faces of Poetry”

  1. artrosch says:

    As usual, Arthur, your insight is compelling.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. […] know Robbie and Kaye Lynn have a blog tour planned and I’ll share some insights into my poetry in that post. In the […]

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Baydreamer says:

    Hi Art, I enjoy your honesty and humor. Great poems in this post and in the anthology. I especially like Piano Lessons because I’ve always wanted to learn but never did. Your poem, Ukraine, is a poignant and powerful piece of writing. It’s also interesting to learn you live in one of my husband’s and my favorite town to visit, only half hour from us. Small world. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. artrosch says:

    OMG: comments! There is a reason why my writing took so long to acquire readers. I don’t know that reason but I’m grateful for feedback like yours, Lauren. Very grateful. And my piano is the great passion of my later life, which is handy to have at seventy four. Perhaps some day I’ll give a home concert and all my friends can come to listen.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. artrosch says:

    I have two Youtube channels and this is the more complete site. I have music and poems and personal readings.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. artrosch says:

    I’m gonna net -bomb this thing. “Like” the crap out of it. Why not?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. artrosch says:

    I’m gonna keep this comments section going because I want people to visit my youtube channel.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. artrosch says:

    I like your like, KL. It’s like liking something to death from likeability which I have observed is the most important quality in a stand up comedian. I have no aspiration to be a standup comic but I consider myself a humorist in the Mark Twain tradition, someone who can poke fun at shit and there is a lot of shit to poke fun at. Where’s the “i”. My keyboard doesn’t have an “i”. Oh….there it is! ‘ve been using it all along.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You may not be a comic, but you are a wonderful poet. 🙂 So honored to have your contributions included in Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships. The release didn’t go as planned, but it is going well. We are selling books. 🙂 🙂 🙂


  9. artrosch says:

    You work so hard, KL! What would I do without you?

    Liked by 1 person

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