If only rules would change, and I might burn
the midnight oil, my bridges, with desire,
(and yes) my candle at both ends.  I yearn
to be the errant friar, the nasty choir
boy.  To hell with temperance, let’s drink
cheap wine and fumble from our clothes, then stand
against my lighted bedroom window—pink
porn billboards for the cars that watch this banned,
unplanned sex show, your rosy nipples
pressed against the window pane.  Almost
I wish . . . but no, I can’t.  I’m held by triple
chains of father, son and holy ghost.

The fires beckon, threaten, even delude;
shall I sin, or pray for fortitude?
About William Roetzheim
William Roetzheim is the author
and illustrator of one book of poetry,
and the editor of two poetry
anthologies.  He has directed and
produced fifteen poetry audio CD
collections.  He founded Level 4
Press, a publishing company with
an emphasis on poetry.  Level 4
Press has several poetry
anthologies and collected works of
major poets scheduled for release
during 2009 and 2010.
Thoughts I Left Behind by William Roetzheim,  ISBN:
978-0-9768001-0-1, Softcover, Illustrated, 14.95, 179 pages.  IPPY
Gold Medal for Best Poetry Book,  Finalist in the London Book
Festival and New York Book Festival for Best Poetry Book, "Best
Books" National Poetry Book of the Year (finalist) and containing
poems that have won recognition in Eppie award for Best Poetry,
Milford Fine Arts Council National Poetry Contest, Writers
Challenge, Faulkner Society Poetry Award, Oberon Prize, Pagan
Poetry Contest, Saturday Writers One Page Poetry Contest, and
the Baltimore Science Fiction Convention Poetry Prize.  
In Roetzheim's poems one senses a broad
intelligence in conversation with itself: sober,
worldly, both tender and weary, measuring
itself against a lifetime of experience and
revised expectations. Whether ruminating on
old love, performing a surgical character
sketch, or journeying through space, time and
literature, Roetzheim manages to reach under
the detritus of an ordinary life to share with the
reader the uneasy truce of feeling alive.
Larry Weisman , Poet

I study books on astral dreaming,
seeking a way to be with you.
The Zen of Yardwork

I’m chopping down wild tree tobacco,
Nicotiana glauca.
The broad leaves sway overhead,
offering cooling shade,
supplication to the executioner.
Like those of old, I accept the payment
in return for a clean cut with a sharp ax.
The yellow clusters of flowers,
golden trumpets,
announce my approach.
As I pause to sharpen my ax once again,
a shimmering green hummingbird
pauses for a sip from the flower,
and the tobacco obliges.
William Roetzheim is the tour guide whose humor and imagination
illuminate each journey we embark upon with him.  Whether he leads us
along the streets of Italy, through the works of the famous poets, or simply
from room to room in his house, every door he opens takes us someplace
delightful and unexpected.  Jackleen Holton , Poet
If you buy one book of poetry this year, make it this one. —Dave Anderson,
Ibbetson Press Update

This impressive collection is a tour de force, a must have-must read for those
who love poetry that is a pleasure to read and savor. Thoughts I Left Behind is an
exceptional collection and highly recommended. “Shadow Poetry Quill Quarterly”

“unusual and powerful imagery.”— Skylar Hamilton Burris Online Book Reviews
Fertility Doll

Returning home I brought my wife some gifts,
among them was a carved figure—an ugly
woman with huge breasts and bigger belly.
Hawaiians said her name was Hi’iaka.

She stood beside our bed and watched, her eyes
reflecting red in candlelight, her shadow
dancing with obscene and naked joy
to hear Bolero by Ravel, to hear
the primitive music of need and want.
And in one month my wife told me that she
was pregnant after trying for so long.

We loaned her out to Loni, who was pregnant
that same month.  And then the breathless call
when Hi’iaka had the same results
for Betty Lou, after four years of trying,
crying, clinics too.  But now my laughing
wasn’t easy, now I found that I
was queasy when I thought of Hi’iaka’s
naked dancing, watching with those eyes
that seemed to glow.  

I know, I know she’s just
a doll and not a god, not like my god,
the western god that toppled her and all
her kind two hundred years ago, although
she dances on our wall, her shadow leaps
and falls, and quietly she plants her seeds
of pagan thought, of faith in ancient gods.
The Giant Book of Poetry by William Roetzheim
(editor),  ISBN: 978-0-9768001-2-5, Softcover,
Illustrated, 19.95, 752 pages.  "Best Books"
National Book Award Poetry Anthology of the Year
(winner); Indie Excellence Awards (winner), poetry;
Benjamin Franklin Audio Book of the Year (finalist);
New York Book Festival Poetry (finalist); Foreword
Magazine Audio Book of the Year (finalist); Bill
Fisher Award for Best New Fiction (finalist); Library
Journal recommended.
The Giant Book of Bedtime Stories: Classic Nursery Rhymes, Bible
Stories, Fables, Parables, and Stories by William Roetzheim (editor),  
ISBN: 978-1-933769-20-2, Hardcover, Color illustrations, 14.95, 800
pages.  Childrens poetry and short stories.  Finalist in the USA Book
News Best Books National Book Award, Indie Excellence Award, and
the New York Book Festival.