A Gentile Kaddish Sung at Dawn for All Fallen in the Sun (Written after finishing the book Spain in Our Hearts by Adam Hochschild, about those who died 1936-1939) No, son, only a lucky few of us are Jews– thick micks, Belgians, Germans– we were and are– yet proud enough to have known those earth deep people of that Tribe of Moses, or the Gente of Nuevo Mexico and the loving folk of Vietnam Louisiane, Africa, Spain– oh, any fine land where they still breathe free Afghanistan Iraq those of faith those of Allah or even the good believers in Pope or Lenin, Rastafari or Buddha, for sweet Christ's sake! even those who cherish this Fourth this weird old falling down Amerikay Hey! brother son strong fighter man I, non-Jew old man of yours yet do strive to sing Kaddish for you in this troubled land in anyway I can I do This mountain morning as I think of the fallen heroes of Spain of Gardez Base of this falling rising world May you fall softy rise gently in our holy star's blaze in our fierce moon's pull
non, je ne regrette rien (Liam 1981-2013) I guess they —my silent loved ones, far away— blame me for his death although, or perhaps because, I never was a fan of war or glory –nor was he– they buried him with all the pomp and flags and war songs the government could lay on to put their minds at rest (he already was at rest) to let them know they were the best that they could be still they fume and are not at peace as I can't explain nor reflect nor share their anger their hate it seems that they aim blame not at him nor at any faceless foreign enemy, nor at religion, recruiter, general or president but at me: a life long infidel to the military deity to whom they bend the knee if that helps them, so it must be but, really? I did not bring on his death I shared his birth in that I was in on his conception– —I don’t regret that love and life I shared his life as he grew as he walked, ran marched and flew off to war I loved how he laughed how he ran mountain wilds as a child I loved how he sang "Redemption Song” so how can I regret his death any more than his birth, his life, his song, which I can never regret? and how could one make amends for what was so good for so long, for his life that always lives on, after all? he lived and died with no regrets he gave us what he had to give he sang his song we give him honor, love, sweet memory and like him with no regrets we all should live we all should sing we are his he is ours we live with him ever and all all and ever evermore no, I have no regrets
Thorns and Blood (El Poeta Revisits New York) Alive! (Un Milagro!) Federico Garcia Lorca bursts, laughing, from the pavement in front of Trump Tower! El Maestro declaims on CNN— “Poets, like thorns, make us feel! Poems, like blood, flow. Poets' blood may flow Poets, like roses, may die And disappear into the earth So more thorns may grow So more poems may flow.” [Como no me he preocupado de nacer, no me preocupo de morir. As I have not worried to be born, I do not worry to die. —Quoted in "Diálogos de un caricaturista salvaje," interview with Luis Bagaría, El Sol, Madrid (1936-06-10)]
The old Irish ballad “Molly Malone (Alive, alive-oh!)” was the first poem Bill Nevins recalls hearing, softly sung to him in childhood by his great grandmother, Anna Kiley Eagle, (herself a proud immigrant to America from the County Tipperary). Nevins has been following that songline, more or less, ever since.
Born in August 1947 into a Stamford, Connecticut family of cops, fire fighters and military vets, Nevins attended Iona College in New Rochelle, NY on scholarship in the late 1960s and fell in with the boisterous Iona literary circle which included the likes of poets Terence Winch, Paul E. Delaney, Angelo Verga, Michael Palma, Terry Hegarty, Kevin Mallard, Leonard Poggiali, artist Suzanne Atkinson (Delaney) and “American Pie” songwriter Don McLean.
Bill Nevins served as editor of a controversial campus literary magazine and led a student literary group which brought poet Ed Sanders and then-Presidential candidate Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver to the Iona campus.
Nevins earned an MA from the University of Connecticut and went on to a varied career as educator, social worker, editor and writer. His cultural journalism has appeared in New Mexico and national publications. Nevins visited Ireland during the turmoil of the early 1970s-1980s and became a public activist for peace and reconciliation.
A grandfather and the father of two now-adult daughters (Maeve, Raven) and a son (Liam) and two grandsons. Liam, a US Army Special Forces Sgt FC, died in combat in Afghanistan in September, 2013.
Bill Nevins has always found time to write and perform poetry. His poems have appeared in many New Mexico and national and international anthologies, magazines and online sites. He has read his poetry at Telluride Talking Gourds, The Maple Leaf in New Orleans (most recently on January 1, 2017), The Bowery Poetry Cafe, Cornelia Street Cafe and Rocky Sullivan’s Pub in NY City, at Taos Poetry Circus and at poetry slams and open mics across the country.
Bill Nevins lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He has taught in area secondary schools, at CNM and at UNM Valencia Campus, where he also curates the annual Valencia Leading Edge Film Festival. He organizes the ongoing Resolana series of public poetry forums and has hosted several open mic readings.
Nevins is still searching for Molly Malone’s ghostly wheelbarrow.