The Poem Exchange: Joseph A and Gary B

A fellow member of my Poets All Call group, a bright and imaginative man named Joseph Arechavala, wrote a poem and posted it to our group yesterday. I found the poem contained a metaphor for Truth that was apt . . . and I also felt compelled to respond. So I wrote a poem too. I have Joe’s kind permission to post our exchange for all the Blogoverse to see, and that will come soon, but first I want to share a drawing I just made, based on the fact that Joe is using a Groucho Marx headshot for his avatar. I thought it would be cute to draw Groucho and one of my own personal heroes, Kurt Vonnegut, shoulder to shoulder and smoking their tobacco products of choice, thus:

2021 0225 grouch kurt


Truth is elusive
Like a woman
Standing in the distance
The sun outlining
Her beauty
A woman who
You know will
Never walk towards you
But will remain
A vaguely fair form
In the far away field
And you will
Walk towards her
But never
Come close to her
And you will weep



Let me be your wingman Joe
Truth’s elusive this I know
She knows EVERYTHING you’ve done
Stuff for spite and some for fun

She has more than one big sister
I suggest you date one mister
Luscious Evidence will show you
Family pics of Truth–you know you

Could do worse than date Deduce Me
More plot twists than I Love Lucy
You’ll be challenged to decide
If you want Truth by your side
Or for a bride
With Lies denied

One more sister makes things clearer
That is Truth’s twin sister Mirror
Gaze deep DEEP into her glass–
TRUTH–she’s HERE!!!
–to Kick your Ass.


Gary: Joe, you have captured an important aspect of Truth in your poem. I am grateful. And I hope you see, for all my clowning, an important bit of Truth in mine, mainly that showing an interest in phenomena related to Truth does bring us closer to Truth Herself.

Joe: Gary Bowers It just feels good to finally be writing again.

Gary: Joe, I would love to do a blog post on this exchange of ours. May I have your permission?

Joe: Sure. Post the link so I can read it.

Gary: Will do, my friend!
A couple of things before I go. First, Joe and many others in our group are suffering from writer’s block. I think the pandemic has something to do with it. So his comment about feeling good to be writing again is a hopeful sign to me.

Second, this is not the first instance in poetic history wherein one poem inspires another. Christopher “Kit” Marlowe wrote “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” in the 16th Century. One year after it was published, none other than Sir Walter Raleigh wrote “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd,” a fitting response (snub) to the Passionate Shepherd’s overtures (lusty). And in subsequent centuries other poets wrote poems inspired by the original, and in the 20th Century those two sly dogs Ogden Nash and Dorothy Parker both took a whack at it. So History is not by any means being made by Joe and me, but what matters to me is that the creative spark was ignited by Joe, and then I got ignited as well, for a pleasant journey to deeper digging.

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