Eric Paul Shaffer

Eric Paul Shaffer Poems

A woman is liquid because she flows. She carves arcs and curves
in the vessel she forms. She is moved by the moon. She is a fluent

force that endures in all senses, for the world as it is without her

This day, we welcome you.
We teach our ways to greet you.

We are one kind among many the world encircles.

At the podium, the famous poet is having sex with his wife
in the poem he reads tonight. He uses the four-letter word.

The act is all ankles and elbows, slits and staffs, grunting,

From the road below the volcano,
the poet's house is burning.
Fire flashes from windows,
yet the next curve reveals reflections

His beat-up green pickup faces Haleakala, her thrashed
Celica toward K-Mart, on the shoulder of Pulehu Road. The lovers
stand in roadside mud, arms encircling

He borrows his house, as I borrow mine.
We are strangers where we live.

This little crab makes me think

Call them mad, call them evil,
they are men with ideas
like the ones we celebrate
on the proper occasions: God,

Today, I'm a shadowless man.
The sun calls me into the street,
and I walk alone into the light
of noon. The moment has come.

For centuries, poets have been getting it wrong.

They bring 'one perfect rose' to show their love
to their lovers, but now I think

Some favor fire to end the world.
Cold is kinder.
From life to light in flames unfurled,
some favor fire to end the world.

On the day of the eclipse, he was well on his way when the sky darkened.
The first shadow was like a cloud across the sun, but the darkness grew.
He would never reach home in time to cast the dwindling image on a sheet

Eric Paul Shaffer Biography

Eric Paul Shaffer is author of five books and one chapbook of poems. LAHAINA NOON (Leaping Dog Press,2005) contains poems of local life in the Hawai‘ian islands and received a 2006 Ka Palapala Po‘okela Book Award of Excellence from the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association. LIVING AT THE MONASTERY, WORKING IN THE KITCHEN (Leaping Dog Press,2001) and PORTABLE PLANET (Leaping Dog Press,2000) contain poems written on Okinawa during the eight years he lived in Japan. INSTANT MYTHOLOGY (Backer Editions,1999) is a chapbook of selected favorite poems. RATTLESNAKE RIDER (Longhand Press,1990) contains poems of living, traveling, and exploring in New Mexico and California. KINDLING: POEMS FROM TWO POETS (Longhand Press,1988) contains early poems by Shaffer and his long-time friend James Taylor III. He also edited and wrote a critical introduction for Lew Welch's HOW I READ GERTRUDE STEIN (Grey Fox Press,1996) . THE FELONY STICK, a chapbook of his short fiction was published in 2006, and BURN & LEARN, his first novel, will appear in late 2007 or early 2008. Shaffer is the recipent of the 2002 Elliot Cades Award for Literature, an endowed literary award presented each year to an established writer in Hawai‘i.)

The Best Poem Of Eric Paul Shaffer

She Says All Women Are Liquid

A woman is liquid because she flows. She carves arcs and curves
in the vessel she forms. She is moved by the moon. She is a fluent

force that endures in all senses, for the world as it is without her
is not. A woman appears as earth and as air and embraces fire.
Her nature, like water, rounds, encloses, encircles. None can live

without her. She is the unacknowledged strength of the world, truly
fundamental, essential in three forms, maiden, matron, and crone.

In every direction we look all we see is material, and all we touch
we call mother. She is the principle beneath the constant motion
all things communicate. She is the river within stone, and the flow

in what seems fixed. She is the first teacher, and the first lessons
of water are lessons that last: water creates as it destroys, destroys

as it creates, and creates what it destroys. One who bears water
becomes water, and ripples in rivers and tides are simple signs,
deep and profound. Water embodies change and never changes,

for a smooth surface marks prolonged and fluid craft, and she
wields the power wisely. A woman is liquid because she flows.

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