George Wallace is writer in residence at the Walt Whitman Birthplace in Huntington NY, professor of English at Pace University in NYC, editor of NYC FROM THE INSIDE (Blue Light Press 2022), and author of 39 chapbooks of poetry in the US, UK, India, Albania and Italy. He holds an MFA in poetry from Pacific University, and a BA in English from Syracuse University, and is creator of the Poets Building Bridges world poetry triangulation project. In 2022 he was named poet of the year for the Boao International Poetry Festival in Hainan China. Wallace’s previous honors and awards include New Generation Lifetime Beat Poet Laureate (National Beat Poetry Foundation, US 2021); Corona d'oro (Korca Literary Festival AB 2019); Orpheus Prize (Orpheus Festival, BG 2018); Alexander the Great Gold Medal (UNESCO-Salamis, GR 2018;) Centro Studii Archivio d'Occidente Award (CSAO, It 2018); Naim Frasheri Prize and Festival Laureate (Ditet e Naimit Festival, MK 2017); First Poet Laureate, Suffolk County (LI NY 2003); Poetry Kit Best Book Award (Leicester UK 2004); and CW Post Poetry Prize (Old Brookville NY 1999).
Some of His Poems:
I loved her like there was no yesterday like there was no riding off, I loved her like there was no witnesses, like every scene of every shoot em up movie was true and real and there was happy endings, the cowboy at the end of the bar was blameless and good enough and Black Bart got off easy and holding down a woman and a job wasn't goofy strange or improbable: like that was no longer me outside the bar at a quarter past midnight holding my guts in my hand like cowboy pride and my heart in my mouth wasn't beating the Tom Thumb blues;
I loved her like twelve gallons of beer in a ten gallon hat like a noose wrapped loose you could almost stop noticing you could almost be a man in clean britches, I loved her like I had seen it done before, in the cold light of black and white day, I retired my mischief and hung up my spurs in the breezeway; no more sunsets no more mountains of Montana, the Dakota's were enough and I was wearing a string tie to church and a barbershop hat;
and her folks stopped calling me Hank and started calling me Henry: and the boys stopped thinking I was dangerous, it was Henry this and Henry that and I could hear snakes in the other room and supper rattling on the plate;
I loved her and I turned my words into promises, I loved her and showed up regular, I loved her and almost forgot the taste of trail dust in the back of my throat and the smell of horseflesh, I was considerate of her friends and, tolerant of her kisses, and it had a holiness to it, like loose tobacco hand rolled by your only friend in the iceblue mist of dawn when spring is holy;
and then it was spring and it all came back to me, the smell of the campfire, ice melting in a cold running stream;
and I was restless and the mischief in my brain got stirring and I knew again exactly what my poor hide was cut from; and the world started to spin and the sun come up where it was supposed to and not where it come up for the rest of them, but where I knew it should;
and all the promises I made turned back into words; and the credits started rolling and I rode off, it was time for me to go that's all, to live with the animals on the trail who understood me and did not ask no questions, and I did not have to make excuses; i up and said good morning to the front porch swing and run back out into the world;
that's how I was raised and that's what I was meant to be, not a stay behind and somebody or other's idea of a bother or an inevitability.
ANIMAL SKINS AND BLUE TATTOOS
let’s dance in dying candlelight let’s dance the crazy dandelion dance let’s populate entire meadows honey let’s wallow in the pollen, yes! it’s valentine’s day let’s dance like stars, I don’t give a fuck if we are not perfect let's not go there okay, today we fail today we disappoint we disappear we crash we don’t even try sometimes today here's pink hearts and purple prose here’s lovers making it despite the odds on earth as it is in heaven we shine we stumble we grope blindly in the coldest recesses and backwaters of the universe it's Valentine's day let us burn unbearably over the stupidest places earth has to offer let us love the way the ancients did wearing animal skins and blue tattoos so very far from home so very far from the nearest star
PARTY WITH THE GONE AND CRAZY
I am dark matter I live in a factory I obey train whistles and traffic cops I work all day and earn my dough, I dig up death in the anthracite mines, i light the cities of men and power their terrible engines i lay me down to sleep in the mother-of-pearl dark and at night I walk out into the mother-of-pearl darkness to see what's what, cruise like a druid among tombstones and evergreens, all that fog, all that dead matter, all that dread madness, all the frenzy and disappointment that curiosity can deliver;I party with the gone and crazy and wish I was free;that's when she comes to me -- the lady with the neptune eyes, breasts like moon rockets, neck like a coral reef that rings the world; her unexceptional mouth like an underwater creature her lips singing songs of mermaid love, all the half-truths and miseries, all the outright, utterly fickle and beautiful lies dear lady of the heartless rose! these are the songs only gods and lovers know, leave the dead to lie like me in their naked beds O stream of eternal forgetfulness be slow around my breast
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