During the course of his life, Gary Beaumier has worked in a dizzying variety of jobs that include garbage collector, gandydancer, tutor, teacher, bookstore manager, psychiatric aide, and study hall supervisor. A high point of his employment experience — the culmination of his intertwined love of teaching and of poetry — was a recent stint teaching poetry at a women’s prison. Now retired, Gary has become something of a Lake Michigan beachcomber. He has always loved wooden sailboats and has cobbled together several. He spends a fair portion of every day at the local marina with his beloved Halman, the boat he considers “just exactly what I always wanted.” A runner when young, Gary now walks an impressive 5-7 miles a day and cheerfully admits to “compulsive walking disorder.” Of course, Gary also writes poetry. His work has appeared in numerous publications, where it has accumulated a gratifying number of honors. His first book, From My Family to Yours, was brought out in 2019 by Finishing Line Press. At present, Gary looks forward with pride and delight to the publication of this new collection Dented Brown Fedora.
For a dollar I will sing your favorite song.
Do you mind if my voice slides off the notes a bit
and if it quavers?
For five dollars we will sit in your car
in the rain
the the motor running
the wipers sweeping
overlooking the city
and you can tell me your stories
and I will refund all your money
if you come back tomorrow
and listen to me.
Then I will tell you if I were a fisherman
I would fish without a hook
just to feel mesmerized by the waves.
And you will say if you were a hunter
you wouldn’t put bullets in your gun
and only listen to the way a forest prays.
If we were soldiers
we would shout jokes at the enemy
just to hear them laugh.
Bless me for I have sinned.
Bless you for you have loved.
You will tell me some part of you is a hummingbird
seeking a little nectar in a half gale.
I will say I am a stray dog
dodging city traffic and living off scraps.
Then the rain will stop and
we will lean against the hood
to share a pull of cheap gin from my flask
while I blow cigarette smoke up toward the fleeing clouds
and you will say, “at least now we know who we are”.
So I looked for you day after day after that
but you never did return.
know me as the unclean
ring the bell
ring the bell
look for me on the off ramps
i will hold a sign that says
“we are much the same”
know my soul delivered to your doorstep
lies between the front cover and the back
if you like
use it to shore up a wobbly table
and give it nothing but your cold eye
know this voice to choke on words
know me as the shadow
that passes between you and your sun
know that embedded in every gesture
some crescendo of hope may rise above it
just to be known
and then know the cruelty of hope
someday i will inherit the sun
and paint the clouds
and set the moon upon my lap
one day you will look again and see me
and I will be nothing but words
one day you may know me