Gary D. Swaim
2011 Texas Senior Poet Laureate

Gary D. Swaim, Ph.D., 77, professor for the Master of Liberal Studies Program, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, now lives in Irving, Texas, but hails from San Bernardino, California. The Executive Editor of Pony Express(ions) is a produced playwright, published writer of short fiction, poet and digital painter whose cardiologist calls him “The Man Who Simply Refused to Die” because Gary survived a 54-day coma in 2006 and recently came through two heart attacks after falling down a gorge in New Mexico.


THREE-PENNY NAILS
(for Pop, 9/20/05)

I should have a hammer in my hand
3-penny nails at the ready, or my fingernails
black with transmission grease from one of those
big rigs that hauls freight East down Interstate 8.
Maybe I need to shave a wood shim to keep the refrigerator
from rocking every time I open its door to get some milk.

I don’t do those things. Never been able to make my fingers
work like that very well. Mine fit slick, black computer
keys or #2 pencils – words, words, words

          that fail me now as I contemplate
          my father’s death

With him gone, after nearly ninety-one years, who will build
fences, who will be certain that window jambs are square, who’ll
fix the washing machines of the earth? I’m the only one who knows, but
the world’s at the very edge of utter disintegration.

Gary D. Swaim