3 Takes on Identity: Poems by Devon Balwit; art by Bea Garth

“The Itch,” pen and ink by Bea Garth, copyright 1982/2018

Portrait of a Generation

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by Devon Balwit, copyright 2018
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No wish to drive, less dating, less sex—iGen teens
cocoon, self-swaddled, with their phones, my son

among them, prone, faces illuminated, ensorcelled.
To say put it down is like demanding his arm

across a butcher’s block then smacking a hatchet.
Bleeding out, he meets my gaze, a painted martyr,

suffering and pallid. It’s sexy to be mined,
big data plumbing us so exquisitely we feel

well-used. No one knows us better than these
whispering algorithms. Ask and they’ll tell you

the words I’m most likely to (favor). The young are
pliable, saplings braided into trellises. They grow,

bearing the whole weight of the machine, not
caring they can never straighten. What do they know

of standing upright? I no longer fear cities
darkening through catastrophe. Instead, I picture

survivors staggering into sunlight, the surprising
camaraderie of picking through rubble.

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Behind the Veil

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by Devon Balwit, copyright 2018
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“The problem with routine is its way
Of concealing, behind the veil of day-to-day
Continuity, some slow, horrid
Degeneration.”
—–Brad Leithauser

Again, again, the hauling
of flesh up onto rock,
like a sea lion, massy, caged
before tumbling back
into murky slough to swim
the same slow circles.
The occasional bored child
smacks the glass as head-backs
position for selfies, traps
so artful that the ones outside
imagine themselves freer
than those within,
jetting bubbles as they swim.

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The Shovel

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by Devon Balwit, copyright 2018
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I carry a dead man’s shovel a mile, happy
to have it for a buck and change, and
unwilling to turn home on a walk just started.

Its smooth ash shaft sits in my palm, iron blade
against my neck. I try different positions,
left shoulder, right, swung across like a yoke.

I become a fairy tale in search of a task,
a worker in need of a crew. No longer just
a swallowtail, lifting and alighting, substance

rises in me equal to its weight. Indeed,
a working man in coveralls nods in passing,
and, (I’m embarrassed to say), I nod back.

Is it so easy, a prop enough to awaken attitude?
Seemingly, for once back, shovel tilted
against the side-yard chimney, we both shrink.
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——————–
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Bio: Devon Balwit teaches in Portland, OR. She is a poetry editor for Minute Magazine and has seven chapbooks and one full-length collection out or forthcoming. Her individual poems can be found in Cordite, taplit mag, Menacing Hedge, The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Fifth Wednesday, The Stillwater Review, Red Earth Review, The Fourth River, The Free State Review, Posit, The Ekphrastic Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Rattle, and more.

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Bio: Bea Garth is an accomplished artist, poet and art organizer. She has been editing Eos: The Creative Context since 2008. This last year she restarted her art career after moving back to the Pacific Northwest. She  recently had a two person show at the Gallery @ Cerulean in Portland, OR and has a painting in the Kearney Breast Center at Peace Health Hospital in Vancouver, WA.  Currently, she is president of the Oregon Women’s Caucus for Art . To find out more about her art, go to: https://bgarthart.com

 



Categories: pen and ink by Bea Garth, Poetry by Devon Balwit

Tags: ,

1 reply

  1. Yes! Maybe she’d like to read for RRRS one day… Chris Luna, whom you suggested, is reading today!!!!

    On Sat, Mar 24, 2018 at 11:40 PM, Eos: The Creative Context wrote:

    > beagarth posted: ” Portrait of a Generation . by Devon Balwit, copyright > 2018 . No wish to drive, less dating, less sex—iGen teens cocoon, > self-swaddled, with their phones, my son among them, prone, faces > illuminated, ensorcelled. To say put it down is like demanding his” >

    Like

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