Free Ireland shipping on orders over €25 | Free Worldwide shipping on orders over €45
0

Hail My Attention Kindly / Stephen Roger Powers

Hail My Attention Kindly

By: Stephen Roger Powers

€12.00
Hail My Attention Kindly, the fourth collection of lyric and narrative poetry by Stephen Roger Powers, is a sweeping and bewitching tour through India, Ireland, Jekyll Island, New York City, London, Berlin, Hawaii, the Northwoods of Wisconsin, and, of course, the musical and sparkly world of Dolly Parton. Powers’ voice is both droll and pensive as it explores wanderlust and the majesty and power of the natural world. In thei...
ISBN 978-1-915022-49-3
Pub Date Monday, February 26, 2024
Cover Image Cover Photograph: ‘The Watcher’ by Michael Sergi, MD
Page Count 82
Share on

Hail My Attention Kindly, the fourth collection of lyric and narrative poetry by Stephen Roger Powers, is a sweeping and bewitching tour through India, Ireland, Jekyll Island, New York City, London, Berlin, Hawaii, the Northwoods of Wisconsin, and, of course, the musical and sparkly world of Dolly Parton. Powers’ voice is both droll and pensive as it explores wanderlust and the majesty and power of the natural world. In their twists and turns of language and imagery, these poems also delve into disability, loss, and resistance to nationalism and dogma. Like one of Dollywood’s award-winning rollercoasters, the poetry in Hail My Attention Kindly leaves the reader jolted, breathless, windswept, and wanting to go around again.


Praise for Stephen Roger Powers


“…funny and celebratory.”

          Matthew Gilbert  The Boston Globe


“…distinctive, flavor-filled, driven work.”

          Russell Gardner Jr.  Verse Wisconsin


“Aiming to tell an offbeat and original story, [Powers] brings readers a unique brand of poetry that hasn’t been seen much before. The Follower’s Tale is a choice pick for poetry lovers, highly recommended.”

          Midwest Book Review


“The poems do not sound like they are conventional poetry.”

          Books Ireland


“Not only does Powers entrance us with his humorous word-pictures, but the imagery and words he uses make us feel like he himself is writing songs to the reader, creating rhythms and roller-coasters of surprising word phrases that continue to draw us in line by line…”

          Sandra Cohen Margulius  the museum of americana


“Powers’ poems are not an escape from reality; rather, they detail the sad ache of nostalgia and the beauty of somehow knowing, even in one’s golden years, that the tarnish is inevitable and possibly already there.”

          Chase Dimock  As It Ought to Be Magazine


“Powers’ poems are intelligent and good-hearted. They’re funny, alive, and also capable of profound anger or quiet meditation.”

          Shawn Delgado  storySouth

Stephen Roger Powers

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Stephen Roger Powers has coped with profound hearing loss most of his life. He was a delivery driver and a stand-up comedian while working on his PhD in English, and he has lost count of how many times he has seen Dolly Parton at Dollywood and in concert. Powers has published three other poetry collections with Salmon Poetry, and his collection of short stories, Highway Speed, was published by Closet Skeleton Press. His writing has appeared in over 100 journals and anthologies, including 32 Poems, The Comstock Review, Copper Nickel, Natural Bridge, Shenandoah, and Let Me Say This: A Dolly Parton Poetry Anthology.


Travel Instills in Me a Certain Kind of Faith


I.

Johnny Cash said he could wake up

in his tour bus, look out, and pinpoint where

he was to within five miles. I cannot believe that,

but don’t tell me he didn’t believe the honesty

in the train’s wail over there worming

across the field like a cast-iron necklace.

He wrote songs about those songs.



II.

A town labeled Paw Paw on a map is most likely

called something else by the locals, but at least

trust the light in mid-December,

the way it tans the windburned stubble

on the cheek of Illinois, where shadows

of windmill blades sweep like razors,

which you shouldn’t deny are sharp.



III.

I believe the politeness

shown by travelers speaking

a foreign language, the way they stop

and start and search and ask in their smiles

to please understand them. No one

talks that politely in a native

one, so if you hail my attention

kindly in yours I will not believe you.



IV.

Spend five euros for an Inis Beer in a pub

on Inisheer that lacks a James Joyce Pub Award.

Do not spend seven dollars for a Guinness

in a Jekyll Island sports bar that hopes

you will believe its James Joyce Award

plaque by the front door is genuine.



V.

The easiest thing for me to believe is

the missing O in an abandoned motel’s sign

near Las Cruces. I believe the tumbleweeds

stuck in all the open doors there. I sometimes hear opera

in an airplane’s cabin noise. I want to always trust

an imagination that makes music from that.


* * *


My Hearing Aids Hear Ruby and Rupee Exactly the Same


I was once so broke I had no choice

but to eat rice that bugs died in.

I couldn’t help thinking about it

one time in India when my car broke down

outside a village. Children suddenly

surrounded it, peered in the windows.

I’d run out of rupees in Agra,

so an hour back I’d had none

for the boy attending the washroom

at a roadside hotel selling onion basmati rice.

The children begged me to take

their pictures. My phone was like a ruby

they passed around; their faces smiled

at their faces on my screen.

The driver fixed the flat,

and the children chased us

until they disappeared in our dust.


* * *


Hail My Attention Kindly


Every never mind is a cigarette burn

in my backseat because, like truckers who toss

glowing butts that land in passing convertibles,

the most obnoxious and insensitive are the hearing.

When I mispronounce words for fun, the loudest

objections also come from the hearing, who will

correct herbal with an H or term rick for turmeric,

oblivious to their biggest handicap, missing the joke

of language. My hearing aids hear barker and burger

the same. On the lips there is no difference between

journey and sure did. Last summer a lost shopper

asked where she could find Booja-Booja,

which are vegan chocolate truffles,

but I thought she wanted bookshop-bookshop.

“Never mind,” she said.

Is it a mom & mom store or a pop & pop store?

A cochlear implant is a coconut cream pie.

A man I know goes by the nickname Chitty,

but I call him Shitty. Shitty-Shitty-Bang-Bang.

Every Patrick is Patrique because why not?

Though I was reading her lips and paying

attention kindly, a tourist I encountered stopped

mid-sentence to spell a word she assumed

I didn’t hear—bog? B-O-G? bog?—and she repeated

another word—perfumery?—while pidgin sign language

spritzed herself. The hearing turn a lot of statements

into questions. The hearing are clueless how to get

the attention of someone hard of hearing.

God Bless America is gobbles America,

though godless America is how it should be.

I’ve been told to pray if I want to hear.

In an old Buick that was a boat,

my grandmother taught me to navigate

so I would never have to stop for directions.

Her compass points were orange town glow

reflected by low October clouds. My grandfather

insisted switching on the dome

light was illegal, so I couldn’t read her lips

in the night-highway backseat, but I was able to guess

she was saying “Spencer is over there”

and “Those are the lights of Stratford.”

I wanted to know if stars were still above

the clouds. An Italian doctor who learned English

as a second language accommodates me

the most kindly. Every time the motion-control

light switches off and shrouds his patio in darkness,

he gets up and dances to turn it back on

so I can stay on course in the conversation.


The above poems are Copyright © Stephen Roger Powers


Other Titles from Stephen Roger Powers

Contact us

Salmon Poetry / The Salmon Bookshop
& Literary Centre,
9 Parliament Street,
Ennistymon,
County Clare,
Ireland

Newsletter
Arts Council
Credit Cards