Thursday, September 11, 2014

Poet in the Loop: Chuck Wemple

Friendswood Public Library's off the page poetry series presents Poets in the Loop on Wednesday, September 17 at 7pm. Poets in the Loop is a Houston area poetry critique group with published and award winning poets. Join us for an evening of creative and insightful poetry. 

Chuck Wemple is a scientist and poet currently living and working in Houston Texas. Chuck’s interest in poetry began when he enrolled in a creative writing class at the University of Montana. An elective course at the end of his senior year, an afterthought at the time, the class has heavily influenced his life.  Chuck has written poetry for over 23 years; served as co-editor of the poetry review Spiky Palm; met his wife Mary at a poetry reading; and is currently exploring the world of Executive Management.  His work incorporates themes of mythology, magical realism, and the occasional circus bear.


I will cook lentils for you
Lentils with tiny bits of
Carrot, celery, garlic
Gandhi’s favorite I think
Although I cannot vouch
For the authenticity
Of the online recipe

Other famous
But dead
Will be there too
Tolstoy cradling a bowl of chickpeas
Cumin and spinach
Pythagoras so pleased
By the smooth geometry
Of stuffed zucchini triangles

I hope one of them remembers
To pull the sweet potatoes from the oven
Because I will be lost in your eyes
Watching you press your lips to the spoon
Wondering if you will ask me again
Was it worth it to mine away the mountains of Nevada
For a handful of wedding bands

But here is where the dream breaks down
Gandhi will want to know if the miners were exploited
Pythagoras will insist to hear more about the steep walls of the pit
Tolstoy will start that old story about how he finally gave up on love
Put on an old coat left his wallet at home caught a train
Caught a cold and died among strangers

The only way to flee the trappings of the past
Is to dance
And a polka is the best way out
So finish the lentils
Take my hand
The accordion the tuba are calling

~Chuck Wemple


Just down the road from where Custer died
I catch bits of nature from the wind
Blowing across the ridge
Between Bear Creek and Lodgegrass
Between you and me
And tuck them in a small elk skin bag
To weave a charm for love

Earthy taste of camas bulbs
Gnarled swirls of licorice root
Purple juice of hawthorn berries
Some of my tears
Some of my sweat
Some of my spit
Kneed for 10 minutes and let rest

Coyote tells magpie
I am singing for you
Magpie calls out the ancestors
And we all dance atop fields and fields of broken down Buicks
Ancient hillsides move
And the yellow petroleum pipeline
Groans and splinters

This time is different
This time the oilmen have sent someone who cares
Someone who won’t give traditional gifts of old blankets
And new trucks
Someone who won’t laugh
When the medicine man says
That the creek no longer sings
Someone who wears my shirt
Kisses my skin
And walks lightly on the kinikinik

~Chuck Wemple

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