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  • NYS Writers Institute

Poetry Friday: "The Dandelions are Everywhere"

For today's Poetry Friday post, we're sharing a poem by Daniel Gorman.

Daniel is one more than 70 poets, writers, and artists featured in newest edition of the Trolley journal we published online in July.

Below the poem you'll find a short question and answer with Daniel.

The Dandelions are Everywhere

by Daniel Gorman






life has become a two-months-long canvas

washed in watercolor still-lifes of the same rooms

image after image bleeding one into the next over and over and over again

in perpetuity

the days are no longer demarcated by responsibility

what happened the day before

and why does it look so much

like the day before that?

every day

I go looking for hope in a fourteen-inch screen

where the news rinses and repeats headlines

laundering coronavirus briefings for public consumption

while our president pats himself on the back

as he drags goal posts down a field where the scoreboard reads 90,000 to 0

every day

I stare at screens

hoping to discover an end to quarantine

but there are no answers and little hope

and I decide that maybe what I need right now

is to add some color to the still life

before I go insane

so now I go on walks

I go on walks and I see a world wearing

a mask of normalcy,

obscuring quarantine’s subtle clues:

More dogs, more birds, more walkers, more hikers, more bikers

more patience, more distance,

more pollen collecting on the hoods of abandoned cars

more waves and nods from folks

who smile behind masks as they give six feet

of courtesy

I see basketball courts where backboards have been given nosejobs

The rims removed, a pre-existing condition covered during quarantine

Beautiful faces made ugly to encourage social distancing

There are no yards with sales, no strangers buzzing between discounted memories

like bees

nor driveways with lemonade stands

no children pulling up their boot straps to help pay the rent

its hard to stay positive, to make lemonade of these lemons

when the stands are extinct and the yards are overrun with dandelions

I sit in the grandstand

of a ball field where ballplayers are banned

not alone in my solitude

there’s a crowd already here

and it’s buzzing

and there are dandelions


golden florets blaze like a hundred thousand suns

White blow balls like supernova stars

ready to cast to the breeze constellations of seeds

a galaxy allowed to flourish in quarantine

and bees,

winning the pandemic jackpot

proliferating across

carefully neglected lawns

their honeycombs bursting with dandelion payloads

and it is here at this field,

where hope finds me

I pluck a sun and hold it to my chin

but there is no one here to read my fortune

so I pluck a cloud and remember childhood games

ask a question get an answer

Seeds like leaping dancers fly off with my wish

and I am light as a feather

my hope restored

I return home

to my still life

and everything

is the same

But not forever

I know

A dandelion told me so.


Daniel Gorman lives in Albany and graduated from the University at Albany, Class of 2010.

He's a teacher and aspiring writer has participated in the NYS Writers Institute creative writing workshop with James Lasdun as well as the poetry workshop with D Colin.

What did you study at UAlbany?

I studied English as an undergraduate. While I was there I really began to take writing more seriously thanks to Lynne Tillman's creative writing workshop, Edward Schwarzschild's "Contemporary Writers at Work" class, and Stephen North's Hard-Boiled Detective Fiction course. And I can't express how important Helen Elam's influence was in reintroducing me to poetry.

As a returning student who took ten years to figure out what he wanted to be when he grew up, I truly cherished my time at SUNY Albany, and when the world was not under quarantine made it a point to come back from time to time to visit and remember my great experiences.

What are you doing to stay creative during quarantine?

I write daily, and read as often as I can. Between journaling, short story writing, participating in writing competitions, and working on an unfinished novel (as is required of every English teacher, I believe), I have been able to keep the creative juices flowing more or less at a steady pace.

I haven't completed my King Lear as Shakespeare is supposed to have done during quarantine, but I've been able to keep busy.

What was the spark that helped you write your "Dandelions" poem?

I'd say what sparked the writing of my poem was the need for another creative outlet and a chance to leave my comfort zone. Poetry is new to me, but I am someone who enjoys being challenged.

As for the content, I go on long walks as a way to clear my head when I'm trying to solve a writing problem. I just took a notepad with me and noted how the world looked the same, but with all the subtle differences one might not notice if they weren't aware of the fact that we were in a quarantine.

You’re a teacher at Holy Spirit School in Albany, what do you teach?

I teach library and technology to kids pre-k through 8th grade. (Though as of this writing, my position at the school has been dissolved due to COVID.)

Any advice for students and the rest of us for coping with a pandemic?

Write in a journal. Keep a record of these times, and dump any anxieties you have onto the page.

Go on hours-long walks without your phone and really observe the world; it is amazing how quickly the storm in your mind calms down when you disconnect from the world for a while.

Write letters to people—it is such a more intimate way of communicating that we really need to get back to.

Read, read, read, and if you have something you want to write, whether it is poetry or that novel you've always wanted to tackle but have been too afraid to try, in the words of David Weber, "Just write the damn thing." But most importantly, write every single day.

Thank you for reading and best wishes for a relaxing weekend.

You can find more poems, essays, and short fiction at the NYS Writers Institute's Trolley journal.


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