Dwaine Rieves

Pine Row Issue No. 5 Summer 2022 - Featured Poet


My father never mentioned Nixon, nor

the draft, a cringe-worthy

word for called-up or a chill—news

or bodies. Never mentioned a government

letter saying low is high, my draft number like lust

for a red Camaro, base price bare bottom in a 1970

remake of the model. When I said they

might keep it to remember, he said nothing

of black vinyl upholstery, bucket seats or an egg

crate grill, chrome lips sweeping lower

than Nixon. Never thought he’d work

out a draft on his account, a bank

statement in the mail, one column red monthly.

A stick shift no less, a chrome C

on the hood, a C as in Cambodia or

college, a fine ride though he never said

the draft had anything to do with those

six cylinders in a need I never guessed

we shared. I doubt my father ever really

feared Nixon, or years he knew

we could never outrun in a hot Camaro, a chill in every

red number where my rifle should go.

Interview with Dwaine Rieves

by Pine Row Editorial Board

How did you get started as a poet?

I started writing poetry during the off-hours back when I was practicing critical care medicine many years ago. The great intensity of the work could prompt deep valleys of initial numbness and then the breeze of trying to understand what and why makes people, myself included, happen.

Favorite quote?

"On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our bottom" --Montaigne

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

Perhaps greatest challenge for my writing is the twin challenges of time and a pervasive trend toward excessive self-editing.

What would you say is your most interesting writing habit?

I have this curious tendency to compose poems during my sleep. Rarely do I remember the details in the morning, but the wake from the process lingers until I brush my teeth and full daylight takes over.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

On bedside is Horizons: The Global Origins of Modern Science by James Poskett. The author reframes the history of science in a context beyond Western Europe.

Advice to someone just starting to write poetry?

Poetry only matters to the extent you find it helpful, which is also true of writing poetry.

What inspires you to write?

The alternating rush and repose in this world.

Anything else you'd like us to know?

Please visit my website at www.dwainerieves.com

Dwaine Rieves practices public health medicine in Washington, DC. A Mississippi native, he graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in 1979 and subsequently completed training in Internal Medicine at Vanderbilt University. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, and in 2002, he was awarded a fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts. He has worked over 30 years in public health, including nearly twenty years as a medical officer in the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In addition to his advisory work in the imaging sciences, he creates a variety of non-fiction, poetry and fiction works that explore the dimensions of human imaging.