Clint Bowman: Poetry

Growing up in the rural outskirts of High Point in the Piedmont of North Carolina, Clint Bowman spent much of his time in the outdoors finding inspiration in the wilderness that surrounded his childhood home. A 2015 graduate of North Carolina State University, Clint learned nearly everything he knows about poetry through a single class he attended at NC State and further self-teachings through critical analysis of poems and peer reviews of his own works by other writers.

FIVE POEMS

Tantalization

At night, my day falls apart
as I toss frantically in my sheets
rolling
left
      to
           right
      to
left
      to
            right
raising my arms each time
to catch the ceiling
falling over my head.
Pushing back plaster putty
and molding it back
as I would as a child
at the beach
with a sandcastle
drooping from disheveled waves
destroying my work
in the same way
my dreams destroy reality.


Full Count

Sitting in the tenth row
with a bag of peanuts,
baseball cap, and a beer,
my dad and I watch
the local farm league
swing away missing balls
here and there on offense
and defense that would turn
to gold if they could catch
them in the big leagues.
My dad, an older version of me,
just happy to be there
enjoying America’s past time
with his son who carries
the weight of his future dreams.
Me, sitting there thinking
of the time I played little league
and the ball hit me
right between my eyes
and I started to cry
as the head coach yelled
at me to “suck it up”
and that “pain feels good,”
all while my dad looked on.
If a good life is equal to
a good batting average,
then I guess you can say
that day was a strikeout
and right now I’m in a full count,
and this next line is
an approaching strike.


Walmart, 2017

I pull into my spot
in the littered parking lot
next to a worn down
little black car
with rusted doors
and a missing back plate.
The cardboard sign
in the back window reads
“Lost Plate.”
The driver side
door is wide open
with a heavy set man
sitting in the threshold
scalping the top off
a scratch-off lottery ticket—
not bothering to look up.
I arrive at the automatic
sliding doors painted
“ENTER” and “EXIT”
with herds coming out both.
A middle age woman
walks ahead of me
with a red stain bleeding
up the crotch of her white pants—
nobody else seems to notice,
so I don’t bother with it.
I just grab my cart and go—
ready for the low prices.
I step into the circus—
head spinning
from fluorescent lights.
A bad headache
puts bags under my eyes
making me look like an addict.
I put my head down—
eliminating eye contact,
praying no one sees.
I don’t say a word,
but the broken wheels
on my cart scream
“look at me!
I’m a drug addict!”
But I’m not.
Maybe I’m only seeing
the one bad side
of each individual
who is really just like me—
A normal human being
on a low budget
just looking for a deal.


Highway of Life

There’s a five lane highway
going each and every way—
the interstate of life
digs and twists like a knife.

Newborns on the on-ramp
and elderly by the exit,
druggies tread and tramp,
hoofing it after each hit.

Mothers in the right lane
ride safe and steady,
but are bothered by babies
and old folks that are ready.

Businessmen bolt in the left—
dodging lies to death
and passing their loves
to a quicker last breath.

I’m cruising in the middle—
on defense and yielding
to each set of treaded tires
holding me back like barbed wire.

But I guess we’re all
the fortunate ones,
with tanks full of gas
and an engine that runs.

My buddy Brandon wasn’t one;
twenty-one and never older—
white t-shirt hanging out of
a broke down ’94 on the shoulder.

Up the road, I see a wreck
and all lanes forming a bottleneck
from a car in the middle lane
that crashed from cancer of the brain.

The Story of a Skyscraper

There I stood, simple structure
with only one story to tell
of back-breaking bare hands
that rose me from this land
and could never stop working.
Story after story, my life
became a storybook.
My first story turned into
a thumb that pressed harder
and harder on the world
from the weight of myself
and the swelling plumes
of gas from bulldozers
and cranes that lifted me up
higher and higher to the
point where I could see
the pearly gates of heaven
through clouds of carbon.
Getting closer and closer
as workers kept building and
building through the noise
filled world of smoke,
the gates opened as the hands
of earth began to part
as God’s would with wine
and I began to fall with
my creators below.
Steel beams folded
and glass flew out
of windows
as a flock
to a tree
and a gust
of wind
to a
dandelion
seed.