I just discovered that my friend Paul Squires passed away in July from a heart-attack that lead an accidental fall. My heart hurts knowing he is gone. I wanted very much to remember all the good times with Paul, so I am posting the poem he loved best, as well as some of the more lovely comments he made when corresponding with me, here as a memorial to his amazing impact on my life and my work. His constant support is something that will warm my heart forever.
On Wed, Nov 5, 2008 at 7:32 PM, email@example.com wrote:
I don’t have a password for the secret peeps page and I am dying to know your secret. Are you in love? Did you win a prize? Have you found the golden goose? Did you find a publisher for your book? Is it a beautiful sun shiney day, ohohohoho I wish I had that password, hello, beautiful Bex
Bex to mcpaulus:
Is this Paul Squires?
What did you do lose the password?
mcpaulus to Bex
Yes this Paul Squires, I think I am therefore I might be. Noone is volounteering to be him so I will have to be. I don;t remember ever having the passport. You are teasing me. Please please, It is my lunchtime. I am hungry. Subway time. Please don;t tease me, I must know the secret,
Bex to Mcpaulus@gmail.com:
ishallcallyouthemoon…is the password.
Try not to pass out by hyperventilating dude!!
mcpaulus to Bex:
I shall call you the stars then, but what’s the password? Hahahaha. Thankyou. I have eaten and my tummy is full so I am a lot calmer now, in fact it feels like naptime. You are so coool,
mcpaulus to Bex:
Can I just say how perfect your rhyming couplet is as the last word, perfectly wonderful. You sound happy which makes me happy. I thought everyone in the Northern Hemisphere had the flu and SAD. I am off to the beach, yayayayaya–Paul
I wrote The Paul Poem on June 26th 2008. I wrote it with a full hearts gratitude and love because he always encouraged me in my poetry. I felt he deserved his own poem.
* cause it’s about time he had one of his own.
I can see you there
sitting in that dumpy chair
that you refuse to toss away
with a dog nearby
thumping a tail in hello
while you rustle about
making cheerful messes
and sit like a kinetic statue
contemplating the cosmos
for an hour or twenty
while the world buzzes by
and you give a sigh
waiting for the universe
to catch up.
Paul was always overflowing with good cheer which he gladly shared with other poets. I share the following comments not to toot my own horn (though Paul would be the first to tell me to do so) but because it shows just how much love Paul had inside him to share with anyone who asked.
“Bex, I will be a lifelong fan of your poetry. That ending is so precise, the contrast between the howling demons and the small trembling steps dissolving into a Taoist acceptance is absolutely perfect. Beneath the gentle surface hides great intelligence and craft.”
“This is very song like too. Is there a Nina Simone song that starts, “He isn’t much to like at..” I’m sure there is. I do that a lot, start with a song in mind and then roll off into a poem. Yours are much more tender and delicate and real than mine though.”
“You’ve tried a lot of different things in this last series of poems which is supercool, especially since they all work so well. Lots of new ideas and modes of expression. It’s like there is more confidence and strength in what you are doing. They are all great poems, careful, clear, intelligent and articulate. You rock!”
“I think perhaps you have grown more confident and relaxed in your poetic voice and you went through a period when you were exploring new themes. Your poetry now seems more complex, more mature and balanced but it retains your sparkling Bex-ness, compassion and warmth.”
“Perfect. The formal structure gives the poem momentum and direction. Most of the ideas from the previous poem s are in this one but you have got them under control. Sometimes structure is the best gift you can gift your poem. This one is excellent.”
“You did very well. I would encourage you to be even braver but that might be misinterpreted and besides the subtle sensuality in the fully dressed details in your poetry is very effective as it is. But then again, a true artist always pushes at their own boundaries so I imagine you will do whatever you want and it will be the right thing.”
“And, it is such a great relief to read poems that don’t claim to be more than they are. Your poetry has a kind of humility which gives your work grace and elegance and honesty. There is no silly unnecessary arabesques, no writing poetry to show how clever you are, but there is great skill in the observation, craft in the manufacture, honesty in the emotion. Your work may always be underestimated by the ‘proper poets’, the ‘i’m so clever’, ‘i’m so cool’ people but I hope you never listen to them, I love your poetry, reading it is a joy and it always delivers a real reward far in excess of the effort taking to read it. You should be very proud of what you are achieving.”
“Haha, I always moo at cows, even on the tv whenever one comes on, I moo, honestly. It is some kind of compulsion, and I bark at dogs, woof. It’s nice to know I am not the only one whose crazy amuses themselves. Simply be and simply do, a beautiful expression of taoist truth. You are amazing,”
“Gorgeous double portrait poem. I like your poetry more and more. It is really precise in its sentiment and feeling and it subtly elevates the everyday into something more. In it’s way it is radically different from almost all other poetry in bloggoland in that it is always more than it claims to be. Most poetry is vastly overblown and claims to be more than it is, yours is always subtle and precise and perfectly poised. I like it a lot.”
This comment is and always will be my favorite because it is Paul in all ways, all shapes, and all humor:
“Oh mem emmememememe i want to be on your blogroll so when you are famous for your amazing tiny wild easily read but always with something unexpected and real character and humour people will say who was on her blogroll in the early days and they will see me and think that’s wierd that blabbering mad fool,”
Because of Paul I found the strength and beauty of the Taoist faith and it has brought me more peace and joy than I have ever known before. His friendship will forever be at the core of me and my work. I hope I make him proud. I will miss him very much. I will close this post with the interview I did with Paul.
September 18th, 2008: Paul Squires
There is too much to say for me to tell you the many great things I think about when I think of the next poet. He is on my list of top 10 favorites! If you want to know my views on his style check out my poetry peeps page!
1)What is the name of your Poetry blog? Why did you choose this particular name?
My blog is called gingaTao. It’s a word I made up, a combination of
ginga which is the Brazilian word for passion, like the spirit of the
samba or of Brazilian football and Tao which is the undefinable ‘way’
of the taoist philosophy.
2)When did you first start writing, what made you feel the need to
express yourself in this way?
I started writing when I was in my teens and decided I want to be a
writer when I was 17. I really don’t know why.
3)What types of poems do you find yourself writing most? Do you have a
I write poems with have some kind of structural integrity, rhythm and
rhyme but rarely a formal or ‘named’ structure.. Anything except with
prose with linebreaks.
4)What kind of work are you most drawn to reading yourself? Do you
find yourself reading work similar to your own, or completely
I read whatever passes in front of me. In bloggoland I particularly
enjoy reading writing by people who don’t consider themselves
‘writers’. The lack of pretence and effort often makes it more
enjoyable to read than poetry whose main purpose is to assert its own
poemhood or the cleverness of the writer.
5)Have you ever been published? If so where, if not do you plan to
submit your work at some point?
This question is getting harder and harder to answer as the definition
of ‘published’ is changing rapidly on the internet. I have
independently published a collection of my work called ‘The Puzzle
Box’ and I have poems accepted by various online and print journals.
Really, (and legally for that matter) as soon as your work appears
even in your own blog, it’s published.
6)Name the 3 poems you are most proud of writing, the ones that you
personally cannot forget?
Only three? ‘Listen’ is a prose poem which kind of defines what I am
trying to achieve. ‘The Writer As Libertine’ is a favourite and
whichever the latest one is. I always like them when they are fresh
7)Do you find that readers like different poems then your own
favorites? Name your top 3 most read poems.
Yes I do, readers can be strange and unpredictable creatures. I have
no idea which three are the most read.
8 Do you also write short stories or pieces of literature? Which do
you find yourself drawn to the most often?
Yes I do. I also have a saying which I repeat a lot. “Genre isn’t dead
yet but it should be. Artists have been trying to kill it off for
9)Some poets are also active in other creative areas, what are some of
you favorite non-poetry or literature activities?
I have recently downloaded a music program and will releasing some
music as soon as I have mastered the button pushing.
10 Poets tend to have favorite poets they visit often, can you suggest
someone readers might enjoy checking out?
In bloggoland? I like your poetry, Bekki, it has a simple elegance and
sincerity that is really refreshing. Peter and the Hare is a master of
craftsman and artist. There are so many, if I start making a list I’ll
11)Many poets have different methods for their writing, some write on
paper and then transmit to the blog, others type their work out in
word and then transfer it. What is your preferred writing method?
I write pretty much everything by hand and transfer it.
12)Poets are from all over the world, where do you hail from?
I am Australian.
13)They say that to see the world with complete honesty one should
look to comedians, artists and poets, what do you think emerges
naturally from your work?
Nothing emerges naturally, my entire body of work is a collection of
tricks and artifice.
14)Do you have one poem that you almost did not post due to it being
so very personal? Did you post it after all? If so, please tell us
No, I don’t.
15)All poets have several words that come up over and over again,
words or sentences that they just can’t help but use in their work.
What are 3 of your absolute favorite words?
Arabesque, confabulate, nipple.
16)When I post my poems I have a habit of doing 3 at a time. Do you
have a special ritual that you go through when preparing to write?
Yes I do but it’s a secret.
17)Name your 3 favorite historic poets. What about their work are you
most drawn to? What about their work are you most inspired by?
Byron was the first rockstar, gotta love him. Rimbaud was mad as a cut
snake but had great colour and sound and ended his life a slave trader
and gun runner in Africa. Sappho I have recently discovered, she is a
fantastic poet, far beyond the cliché.
18 If you were given the opportunity to get published and do book
signings anywhere you wanted, what cities or countries would
definitely be on your book tour?
All of them. I wouldn’t stop. I would happily live the rest of my life
travelling and living in first class hotels at someone else’s expense.
19)What style of poetry do you prefer? ( Freestyle, Rhyming, Haiku)
“Genre isn’t dead yet but it should be.”
20)Poets are often said to be eccentric, and I support that..please
end this interview by creating 2 sentences poetic, strange or quietly
No, I don’t want to. So there.
some things are not ghosts,
June 25, 2008
so openminded had he become
that he had drifted off
and did not notice the curtains float open
nor sense her approach
and did not feel her lift the book
from his lap and place it on the table
and kiss his forehead
whispering good night
before returning to her
No Paul, Thank you.
“Life is an amazing adventure, an improvised work of art and what’s more, the only thing you have, everything else depends on it, rejoice!”–Paul Squires November 19, 1963 – July 27, 2010