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Poetically Yours - When there's too much going on

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Provided by Paul Wheeler
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Paul Wheeler

Welcome to Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week’s segment features Paul Wheeler.

Wheeler grew up on the southwest side of Chicago. He began taking photographs as a teenager and writing poetry in his 20’s. The old Voices and Visions series on PBS was his first writing inspiration. Walt Whitman and the Beat poets were also early inspirations. He says Robert Lowell was his hero.

Wheeler began traveling as a teenager. He has a love of nature and is a reluctant observer of the human condition. These things have shaped much of his writing. He’s lived in the Illinois Valley for over 10 years and works in the Ottawa Elementary District. Today he shares “I Can’t Hear the Planets.”

Sometimes I wonder why keep this body together at all.

Pieces clattering together like shards of ancient Flint.

Remnants of atoms no longer concerned with catching buses or trains,

Conjugating and a history not entirely of its own making.

The fruit trees quiver the small red berries on like planets crowded and cold.

The children in the third grade, talk about a local robbery and a man who was shot dead trying to escape.

We are told the Lord prescribes nothing the mind cannot endure

The last person to consider this claim jump from the 18th floor of the pro aviator building dressed and nothing more than a silken blouse.

We count our blessings.

I have three.

The ceiling fan swings like a parasail

The transparent ghost of birds slipped through the barbed wire untouched.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.