by Martin Willitts Jr
When Odysseus returned home after twenty years,
claiming he lost his way,
Penelope took one look at that drunken fool
and the map of other women on his body,
and slammed the door on his wandering face.
Several years ago, I decided I was a love poet, although it might not be clear, since I write about nature, memory, artwork, science, math, religion, protest, silent meditation. But in order to write all those subjects, I had to love something, care for something, be focused on what makes the world so interconnected and essential. Some of my poems can be very long, because it takes a while to write some complex subject, and at other times I can narrow down into the “Presence” of some moment.
In terms of the concept of “home”, I have been homeless before, so I understand the longing and the desire for acceptance and belonging. I have been a Conscientious Objector field medic in Vietnam sending some home wounded and some in body bags. I have built over one hundred houses with Habitat For Humanity, and some of them alongside former president Jimmy Carter.
Home means different things to different people just as much as love means different things to different people. I have a project called “Poetry in the Bus” where I create signage inside local buses using poems by first-time writers, ranging from 3rd grade to seniors in nursing homes, and adult ESL students writing in 9 different languages, and one of the themes was “home.”
Martin Willitts Jr Jr has over 20 chapbooks including the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, The Wire Fence Holding Back the World (Flowstone Press, 2017), plus 11 full-length collections including forthcoming full-lengths includes The Uncertain Lover (Dos Madres Press, 2018), and The News from the Slow Country (Aldrich Press, 2018).