Otherwise My Life Is Ordinary

By: Bobby Byrd
Spoken plainly, all of us get born, then we go away. What shall we do in the meantime, huh?
Categories: Adult | All Books | Poetry


Byrd's poems are always talking to somebody. The living and the dead. Like the legendary Japanese poet Basho or his neighbors down the street. His dead brother.

A beautiful tattooed woman waiting in line for coffee. His wife goes off to church and he talks to her. And he's okay with his negotiations with living and dying. Why not?

Growing up in Memphis , #3
In 1952 Dewey Phillips invented Elvis.
It happened on the radio.
Rock n' Roll saved my life.
In 1960 the bad guys sold Elvis into slavery.
Don't let anybody tell you different.

This Morning I Made Love with the Lettuce Picker Every year the lettuce picker plants her seeds in October.
Lettuce loves this time of the year in the Chihuahua Desert.
October passes and November comes.The lettuce grows leafy and happy.
The lettuce picker slips out to the garden in the morning.

I will not tell you how old I am.
I will not tell you how old she is.
But her legs are white, her rear endis clad in purple pajamas
and is raised like a flag planted
in the dirt
for the preservation of love.
Today is Sunday, the day of Sabbath.
A day to remember ourselves.
A day to worship all that is holy.
This is what we do when we make love.

Poet, essayist, publisher and ordained Zen priest Bobby Byrd, with his wife Lee, received the Lannan Fellowship for Cultural Freedom in 2006. He has published numerous books of poetry, including the Southwest Book Award winner White Panties, Dead Friends & Other Bits & Pieces of Love (2006). With his son John Byrd, he is co-editor of Puro Border: Dispatches, Graffiti and Snapshots from the U.S./Mexico Border and the crime fiction anthology Lone Star Noir (Akashic Books).

Check out Bobby's blog here.

5 reviews for Otherwise My Life Is Ordinary

  1. The Rag Blog
    [Bobby Byrd’s] poems aren’t obscure or difficult in the way that much contemporary poetry is intentionally obscure. Byrd means to communicate. He wants to be understood and to reach readers. … Byrd is in your face. He’d like to shock you and offend you and then be your best friend, even if you are from Austin, New York, or Memphis, three American cities that he revisits in Otherwise, My Life is Ordinary … he has taken ordinary things and people — beans and plums, the bitchy waitresses, and the haunted widow — and turned them into something extraordinary. —Jonah Raskin

  2. Eileen Myles, author of Chelsea Girls
    Byrd writes poems like a novelist. Epic ones. His lines are full of fiction, bullshit and beauty.

  3. Luis Urrea, author of The Devil’s Highway
    A hymnal to life. He adds to the joy in this new sunburned collection that digs its toes into the El Paso grit but stretches its mind into the stars. I love this book.

  4. Connie Voisine, finalist for the Los Angeles Time Book Award Poetry
    These poems devastate me with how fearless and funny they are. The big notions are contained in our smallest everyday interactions and Bobby Byrd will not let anyone forget it.

  5. Cultural Weekly
    With poems like ‘Poetry is Waiting for me in the Other Room,’ and ‘I Make a Good Pot of Beans,’ [Bobby] Byrd demonstrates his expertise at making the ordinary into something extraordinary. This poet is a master craftsmen and it shows in every poem. —Mike Sonksen

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