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 Richard Rensberry has returned from Hiatus as a Poet and is currently working on two books of Poetry that are slated for publication in 2015.  His poetry was published in several small reviews in the 80’s and 90’s.  He is co-author along with his wife Mary of the book Its Black and White/A Turtle Quest for the Ages/Navigating the ADHD Controversy which is available on Amazon and at other e-book retailers.  He lives with his lovely wife Mary in Oakland, California, and together they are founders of QuickTurtle Books™.

The Lost Days

We are casualties
Of the season
Like onions and potatoes
Sequestered in the damp
Recesses of the cellar.
Instead of kisses
We sniffle at each other.
We are confined
To a cough
And a sneeze… lethargic
As a pair of cats.  Projects
Sit scattered and incomplete,
Comatose and dormant
As tulip or begonia
Bulbs ’til Spring.

From The Pantry an upcoming book by Richard Rensberry


The Big House

If I were San Quentin
I would hold the key
to everything evil.
My heart would beat
with the tattooed fists
of men sentenced
into my keep, boys gone
crazy as their crimes.
I’d feel like guilt
most of the time.  I’d be a maze
of whispers and lies.  Truth
if it existed at all would arrive
in shackles, whimper and fold
on death row.
I’d have rats for eyes.
I would hold you close
and gnaw on your will
for just being alive.  Time
would stagger and fall
still as a song
written and sung
by Sarah McLachlan.
If I were San Quentin
I’d have an IQ
of ten.  I’d clatter and clank
all night long.
I’d hone my shank
and lower my pants…
I’d show you the sorriest
crack of an ass
if I were San Quentin.

From “If I were…” an upcoming book of poetry by Richard Rensberry to be Published by QuickTurtle Books™ in 2015.


On A Sunday

 Frostbite nips
the oak and maple

as pumpkins blushed
sit stark naked
against the hedgerows

thorn apples flame
as tanagers wing

a cock pheasant
wobbles and struts
bold in beauty
and berry drunk.

The Congregation
dressed in their best
hats and gloves
bob heads

where pews creak
in psalm and prayer
Gods speak

of abundance
as teens and whitetails rut
outback in the lane

behind the steeple
a snowflake flutters
and tumbles down
like manna from Heaven.



Your fingers
soft as dandilion
traverse my arms
tingling down
my ribs
and into my pants 
as the oil sizzles  
and snaps in the pan.
Perhaps, you are thinking

of knives and forks
with teeth all set
to dine, or a plate
with its gaping mouth
making hungry plaints
for bacon and eggs. 

Your intimate fingers
have since flown off
like pigeons or doves
to forage
among the onions and peppers
in the kitchen sink.  I am left
sipping coffee and hopeful
your hands can remember
what the mind forgets.

From The Pantry an upcoming book by Richard Rensberry

Hillock Hollow

I want
To make love
In a hillock
Where ferns unfurl
Their curly toes.
I want to be swallowed
By sphagnum moss.
I want to be kissed
All buttery yellow,
Sunshine naked,
Gooseberry mellow.
I want to be lost
From the internet search
Gift wrapped
In paper birch.

From The Pantry an upcoming book by Richard Rensberry



 If I were the sky
  I’d reach into the furthest
  reaches of self.  I’d find my center
  from which to reach out.
  I’d expand and contract, bend
  and refract
  all the colors of the rainbow.
  I’d be the greatest
  sculptor of light.  I’d be God’s painter
  and spread deep yellows
  like butter on dawn, I’d coax mellow mauves
  to spruce up dusk.  You’d snap my photo
  and chase my storms.  At night I would
  cradle the moon
  and spoon planet Mars… I’d fling bright stars
  into swirls and arcs.  I’d always be high.
  I’d never come down.
  I’d never need time to keep me around.
  If I were the sky I’d know my worth
  If I were the sky I’d make Heaven on Earth.

From “If I were…” an upcoming book of poetry by Richard Rensberry to be published by QuickTurtle Books™ in 2015


Evolution of the Hand

  I have always felt
  a little uncertainty regarding hands.
  They have
  been rebellious at times
  and uncooperative.  They have
  embarrassed me
  by doing inappropriate things
  at inappropriate times, especially
  when it comes to women
  and bad drivers.
  On the other hand, or should I say
  on both hands
  there’s the matter of goofing around.
  Why do they have to
  monkey with each other so much?  Why
  can’t they team up
  and work together, rather than
  having to assert themselves
  as being so far to the right
  or so far to the left?

  The left has always tended
  to be more liberal, soft and open.
  The right 
  is much much stronger
  and way more calloused, but certainly
  more constructive.  I do believe
  that they have grown
  jealous of one another.  Both
  are cold blooded.  I feel
  if they couldn't assert themselves
  they would hibernate and wake up
  rather mean.  They’ve done it
  before.  They are after all
  like gorillas… some intelligence
  but not enough.  They are too
  and look for things to target
  with a finger.  At night
  they have grown accustomed
  to a lust all their own.  They wander
  in the darkness with a fondness
  for bodies, they twitch and scratch
  at odd times.  I’ve noticed
  their nervousness
  when a fly or mosquito is nearby.

   At such times
   they act more like lizards
   or maybe a toad.  They dart and snatch
   with the speed of a tongue.  Other times
   they just seem bored.  They will sit
   for hours, meditate and breath
   like a crocodile… then
   go through a manic phase
   where they have a hankering
   to make fists.  They will
   violently shake themselves in the air
   and have powerful urges
   to strike.  Especially bicyclists
   that think they are cars, and yet
   obey not a single law.  Or maybe
   jay walkers who think
   it is easier to stop
   a two ton piece of metal and plastic
   than themselves.  Hands
   can be impulsive and quick
   when it comes to assholes that drive eighty-five
   in the slow lane, and those that go
   fifty-five in the fast lane.  Hands
   have little tolerance
   and no patience for this.  I know
   this to be a fact.  My hands have spoken
   of memories.  They have spoken
   of fangs and forked tongues
   of distant cousins
   before fingers were born.

Copyright 2014 QuickTurtle Books™ and Richard Rensberry



I’m tired…
Tired of breathing
Life into things
Life into houses
Life into cars
Life into moving
This to there
And there to here
I’m tired
Of going to things
Going to work
Going to get
Going here to there
And there and back
I’m tired
Of doing to things
Doing the taxes
Doing the dishes
Doing this to that
And that to this
I’m tired
Of way too much
Too much noise
Too much traffic
Too many people
And that horrible
Horrible news they make.
I’m tired
Of my own complaints.


Brain Drain

I recently went to the doctor and was diagnosed with having a swollen brain.  She said I needed immediate surgery to reduce the pressure.  I said, “Okay”, I was all for a little pressure release valve or a brain drain.  They shaved my head and strapped me in, down and around.  The only things left movable were my eyes and just to irk me they stuck a mirror in front of those.  With a little laser pointer the doctor showed me the ridge on which (x) marked the planned drill site.  My skull was a multicolored globe stuck full of probes and wires.  I looked like an angry Medusa.  I was also surrounded by a dozen or so little TV screens on which I could see and hear myself think.  Did you know that swear words have a different frequency than thinking of ice cream?  They do.  They sound similar to a car with bad valves.  They got me a dirty look from the anesthesiologist.

What I hate the most about anesthesia is that when they put me under I don’t think coherently or dream.  It is not exactly a blind nothingness because I could sense a dull pressure and discern a sound like rasping sandpaper.  It felt as if I were swollen all over and I had contracted a new disease called brainspread.  I wasn’t being drained, but buttered.  Then I had to puke but nothing worked.  I had no puke muscles.  It was weird, but I didn’t feel bodied or disembodied.  Where the hell did I go? Purgatory?

That’s about the time you start to come out of it.  I felt thankful and not thankful at all.  My brain was completely and utterly numbfounded.  Even though I couldn’t puke I had a need to regurgitate my every thought because I couldn’t talk.  My tongue was glued down.  My eyelids wouldn’t move out of the way of my orbs or maybe they cut the wrong nerve and I was blind.  I didn’t want to be blind.  I felt like I wanted to panic, but I couldn’t do that either.  I couldn’t find my panic button.  They had unhooked my brain and I didn’t have a conduit to my body.  Maybe they had stolen my brain.  I was pretty intelligent but then again I was also a smart ass.  I wouldn’t put it past them to usurp my brain for ulterior motives.  Or maybe I was just dead.

When the first wave of pain hit me I was certain I wasn’t dead.  After the fifth or sixth one, I wanted to be.  My whole head felt like a massive toothache.  I was suffering from a bad brain abscess.  I had agreed to the damn operation at the outset because I needed my brain reduced not enlarged.  Maybe that was the reason I couldn’t see, my eyeballs had popped out of their sockets.  On top of all that, there was some cocksucker screaming at the top of his lungs.  I wanted to shove a suck in his mouth.  That was when something clicked inside my battered head.  I closed my mouth.  The screams stopped.  My eyelids finally flew open.

There was  a small table beside the bed with my laptop on it.  Beside it sat a pitcher of water with ice cube remnants and a green plastic cup.  It dawned on me just how utterly thirsty I was.  My throat was parched and sore from all the screaming.  I sat up.  I was expecting nausea and pain but I felt nothing but the usual tingle behind my right ear.  I was going to be okay after all.  I had simply had a nasty nightmare.  Thank God.

I poured a glass of water and soothed my parched tongue.  I lifted the USB cable that was attached to my laptop and plugged it into the USB port behind my right ear.  The tingling stopped.  I hit download and went back to sleep.

Copyright 2014 QuickTurtle Books™



The motor runs
On high
Octane Marx,
It spits
Of discontent,
It’s like the pet
That bites his master.

Its disciples
Don’t know how
They came to hate,
They just do
And piss on themselves
And say of the smell,
It’s management.

The grumbles grow
Worse and worst
They eat
Inside the skull
Until there’s nothing
But the shell
And a crab
Instead of man.

Copyright Touchstone Press and Richard Rensberry


Elan Vital

What remains
of the apples
is cider
and the deer.
The north
is storming
with a wolfish grin
wheedled by the wind
and fury is born
in the wild-
eyed horse
flinging its mane
and rearing before it
hell shrieks and steam
wheezing from the beast
like smoke
and harried the geese
and widgeon hiss
and grappling limbs
of aspen crack
like whips on the Michigan shore.

 Copyright Midwest Poetry Review and Richard Rensberry


Last updated December 23, 2014