Page last updated: January 27, 2023

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Poems by Ahrend Torrey


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Ripples invites an awakening—“the sun lifting itself, over the fence, and the tree.” As we read, “a ripple wave appears … a pine nut falls into the dark, still pond …” Dying monarchs, oily waters of the Mississippi, emaciated polar bears—the mindless rush of life is transformed through a meditation of the moment. Mindful observations allow us to see through our fears. Ask the delicate holy basil leaves why we live; watch it grow; steep tulsi; and hear “There’s not just you, there’s us.”
Shock waves of the pandemic threaten to kill our abilities to feel and see: shameful social injustices alongside connections. “Look at those two rivers … Kneel on your knees in the boat. Lean over the edge at the very touching of the two—where the seagulls shimmer off the water—where sun glimmers. … What do you see now, cupped in your palms? Not the dense brown, like first you saw, not the green-blue, but another color, another color.”
Poems that help us acknowledge the disease of fear and hatred. How do we think about race, gender, and sexual orientation? “Is our mind, our environment, / and our environment, our mind?” Who are we as a culture of individuals? Self and Other start to bleed into each other. “We paint on our face” to try to function in a society that suffocates diversity, individuality, creativity. While “one thing you can’t control / is your heart.”
AHREND TORREY is the author of Bird City, American Eye (Pinyon Publishing, 2022) and Small Blue Harbor (Poetry Box Select, 2019). His work has appeared in storySouth, The Greensboro Review, and The Perch (a journal of the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health, a program of the Yale School of Medicine), among others. He earned his MA and MFA in creative writing from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and is a recipient of the Etruscan Prize awarded by Etruscan Press. Having lived in the Deep South most all his life, he now lives in Chicago with his husband Jonathan, their two rat terriers Dichter and Dova, and Purl their cat. He is currently working on several new collections of poetry.
Read a Sample
I. Think of This
The Monarchs Are Dying
II. Twenty-Twenty
How the Pandemic Killed Me
III. America in the Twenty-First Century
Watery Dazzling Dialectic (Or a Gender Proem)
Southern-Faggot Blues
IV. How Culture Damns
Field Crickets
I. Think of This
II. Twenty-Twenty
III. America in the Twenty-First Century
IV. How Culture Damns
Copies Ship February 2023
Copies Ship February 2023

Bird City, American Eye:

Poems  and Proems (2022)

6"x9" paperback

106 pages