Your Personal America, the poetry of Paul Geffner

September, 2018 – Poetry surrounds us, making us realize the slimness of the membrane between internal and external worlds.  In his book, Your Personal America, Sausalito poet Paul Geffner explores the America familiar to so many of us, as well as territory new and uncharted.  Along the way he saves Christmas, kills the Easter Bunny, and contemplates why dinosaurs speak English in cartoons.

Paul joined us Around the Table to read some of his favorite poems — his own and others. Here is an excerpt from his book, the title poem Your Personal America:



Your Personal America


It’s cold out

You’ve come further than you thought you would

and the city you brought with you

won’t shut up

You could’ve grown up in Nebraska

owned the wind and the wheat

or Utah

seen yourself across scenic gorges

then you’d have some perspective

Pennsylvania was so close

Its deep rolling green, so peaceful

You would’ve had the temperament of a fisherman

if you had been from there

Even the deserts of Nevada

a man that hollow

could fill the earth with his solitude

could drive wild animals away with his unflinching stare

Someone else chose this city for you

and now you’re stuck

with its ceaseless chatter

churning out histories

and the amibiguous yearning

to move to Florida

where the air and the temperature of the body

match perfectly



Paul Geffner was born in New York City.  He spent most of his childhood under a school desk in anticipation of a nuclear war.  He now lives in Sausalito and is a part owner of Driver’s Market with the Driver family.  He is enduring a bad hair lifetime.