National Poetry Month – M. Scott Douglass

Another full disclosure, Scott is the publisher and editor of Main Street Rag Publishing – so he published my first collection of poetry. But even if he hadn’t, I’d say these things about him.

One of the attributes I admire about Scott is his honesty. One never wonders what he thinks about in politics, about life in general, about one’s poetry. Scott will be respectful, but won’t sugar-coat critique. Poets need that kind of honest feedback in order to write better. And he’s down-to-earth enough that he also expects that kind of honest feedback for his own work.

He’s generous when it comes to fellow poets and poets just getting started, encouraging and supporting through open mics and readings.

His love and admiration for his wife, Jill, is evident in just about every conversation.

All of this makes for amazing poetry, and Scott’s is. He minces no words when skewering politicians – though he often adds a bit of humor. His images are clean, with no unnecessary fluff getting in the way. When he writes about his motorcycle, it’s like riding with him in a sidecar – because Jill will be on the back! Scott’s recollections and reflections of growing up in Pennsylvania leave no doubt in the reader’s mind that the steel mills forged the poet who writes about them.

From Steel Womb Revisited, published by Main Street Rag Publishing, posted with the poet’s permission.

Victor, Colorado

I like a town

with horse shit

right on Main Street

and a hitching post

in front of City hall.

Eliminates loads

of big city pretense.


From Balancing on Two Wheels, published by Main Street Rag Publishing, posted with the poet’s permission.

On Central Avenue

Latin rhythms mamba

from the cab of the truck

ahead of me.


Several Hispanics — Mexicans,

I think — sit shoulder to shoulder

in the front seat, two more are

packed with the tools in the back.


The music is light, energetic,

and though I don’t know

many of the words, they dance

in the air with a joyful sound.


The young men in the truck

wear shirts soiled from sweating

beneath an intolerant sun, they

don’t notice me watching them.


I don’t know much about Latin music

or Espanol, but I know about sweat

and hard work and how a full day in the sun

can drain the life right out of you.


But that lifting rhythm speaks to me, it

bridges the barrier and resonates more than

the Mercedes man in the lane beside me

who shapes his lips to sing the blues.


Two Travelersfor Jill

She holds to me as if

she thinks I’m going someplace,

as if these two wheels could

take us somewhere mythical

and leave our responsibilities

at the curb.


She leans with me

as I speed through the turns,

tightens her grip and tucks

her hands in my pockets

when a winter breeze

bristles our resolve.


In Summer

on warm country roads,

she lays her arms out,

winglike, as if speed

or force of will could

lift us off the pavement.


We embrace our freedom

with codependence — two travelers

entangled in a journey, searching

for the sign post, the star,

the driveway that leads

to the promised land.


On Central Avenue was previously published in Slipstream.


I was thinking I wrote my first poem at 6 years old—in first grade—for my first grade teacher, Ms. Barber—who happened to have also been my mother’s first grade teacher.  It was about a robin. I’m not a person who likes to lose or likes to be corrected in front of a class. You know how young kids are—especially when a 6 year old is willing to debate his teacher about the physical activity of birds because he got a question wrong on a multiple choice test. But then I was thinking, Do they actually have multiple choice tests in first grade?—So maybe it was second grade. Anyway—it was a lo-o-o-o-ong time ago.

Scott co-hosts a monthly reading with Jonathan Rice, Third Friday Reading Series, held at The Third Place in Charlotte.


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