Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Starving Artist” by Terri Lynn Cummings. Ms. Cummings is a 2015 Woody Guthrie Poet. Her work has appeared in: Red River Review, Illya’s Honey, Melancholy Hyperbole, Ancient Paths Online, Screamin Mamas, and Shadows Express, and is forthcoming in Dragon Poet Review. Village Books Press will publish her first chapbook in 2016. Ms. Cummings holds a B.S. in Sociology/Anthropology from Oklahoma State University and is a retired contract grant writer. She lives with her husband and two dogs in Oklahoma City, where she writes poetry and fiction.
Terri Lynn Cummings
Santa Monica, California
Tall sails winged across the Pacific blue.
Gulls spun, dropped, mirrored on chrome and glass hotel walls.
My husband left our room for Venice Beach and then returned.
Someone offered him a cup of sand for a dollar.
I wondered if the number of poems in this world
equaled the number of grains of sand in the cup.
Further down the boardwalk, beach bums shouted bad advice
for another dollar. Such as where to find the best places to be mugged.
I wondered if masters like Tennyson and Dickinson paid for bad advice
that thinned their words like waves on shore.
I’m glad I stayed behind, filled a page with windows, and wondered
if I’d make one dollar on one poem one day.
Poet’s Notes: I flew to Santa Monica, California with my husband and friends in the summer of 2014. My husband walked in the mornings, while I sat on the balcony, pen and paper in hand. One morning, I joined my husband and friends for a stroll to Venice Beach. Entertainment galore! Afterward, this poem leaped to the page.
Editor’s Note: As a fellow poet, I certainly appreciate the sentiment here, as well as the obvious answer to the question posed--at least for 99+++% of us. I also enjoy the play on sand, dollar, and sand dollar.