A Path Is Made By Walking
─for Mike Sleadd
Surely, this is one of the nearly extinct
avian citizens that never existed,
who never soared over the uprising
of this great city, but finds itself satisfied
to walk on three legs through
vast wilderness parks, strolling
around its wide lakes that reflect
the high stories of buildings shouting tales
of ascendance, its broad boulevards kept
meticulously clean of the debris that is
passed down from generation to generation.
So nothing new is expected as all
the exceptions are quickly deposited
in every street corner receptacle,
all the exclusions quickly excluded
so all the street signs are removed,
all directions inclusive of all other directions,
all the incongruities quickly worked into
the design of the next monumental
construction project, and all the contradictions
cancelling out further contradictions,
lost and found identical, leaving the city
a heap of rubble and this avian citizen alone
and lonely walks to the city limits toward
the destruction of the next improbable city.
In Until Next Time Walter Bargen’s quiet hand and prodigious powers of observation are formidably displayed. He wields wonder into wisdom at every turn of a page. His imagery pitch-perfect, seamless. “Evening enters us./ We dine on scarlet clouds. / Marbled waters drain to pastel.”
Bargen’s poems are universal. He connects the spectacle of nature at every scale to the grand spirit of the human condition. Mr. Bargen’s poems leave us to ponder the enormity of our world through a journey of small, exquisitely detailed pace.
Until Next Time is a collection of compellingly readable and relatable poems, holding the reader transfixed and transformed at the highest level of consciousness.
—Robert Nazarene, founding editor, The American Journal of Poetry
Former Missouri Poet Laureate Walter Bargen’s masterfully detailed new volume, Until Next Time, gazes on “gull feathers, cracked crab shells,/quartz-veined stones, withered kelp/ bladders, sinews and shoulders of driftwood”; a couple strolling “the foggy beach, their next step where the gulls and sandpipers take flight”; an ancient bird that “walks to the city limits toward/ the destruction of the next improbable city”; and the homeless who “return to doorways, to tunnels warmed by exhaust, affixed to another night.”
Bargen preserves the lost, the unseen, the forgotten and the discarded. His poems elegize the beauty of what we are losing in the natural world and in our selves while implicating our history in the potential destruction of our future. Bargen’s resonant voice strikes the right notes for our troubled times.
—Jeff Friedman, author of Floating Tales and Pretenders
About the Poet
Walter Bargen has published twenty-three books of poetry. His most recent books are: Days Like This Are Necessary: New & Selected Poems (2009), Endearing Ruins (2012), Trouble Behind Glass Doors (2013), Quixotic (2014), Gone West (2014), Three-Corner Catch (2015), Too Quick for the Living (2017) and My Other Mother’s Red Mercedes (2018). He was appointed the first poet laureate of Missouri (2008-2009). His awards include a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship (1991), Quarter After Eight Prose Prize (1996), the Hanks Prize (1996), the Chester H. Jones Foundation prize (1997), the William Rockhill Nelson Award (2005), Short Fiction Award– A cappella Zoo (2011). His poems, essays, and stories have appeared in over 300 magazines. www.walterbargen.com