Origin Stories – Laurie Kuntz

Origin Stories
    "The Way You Talk Me Off the Roof"
                    On My Husband learning the song If We Were Vampires by Jason Isbell
    by Laurie Kuntz

    I asked you to learn a love song with a sad chorus:
    This can't go on forever
    Likely one of us will have to spend some days alone...
    and you spent all morning
    tuning your guitar, refreshing the chords,
    getting the rhythm down, learning the lyrics—
    One day I'll be gone, or one day you'll be gone...
    then told me:  It's too sad to sing 
    about loss, about spending time alone,
    about something inevitable—
    So, we lightened the moment,
    said the song reminded us of stories
    we read to our son about a mother watching her child grow
    until the child was the parent and the parent the child,
    or the one about the tree that gets cut down 
    little by little, to gift a boy all he wants,
    and, these days all we want is not to spend
    time alone, to avoid the inevitable,
    to be vampires living under many waxing moons.

Origin Stories – “The Way You Talk Me Off the Roof”

This poem is based on a true and bittersweet story. While riding my bike and listening to music, a song I had never heard of came on my earphones. The song, “If We Were Vampires,” by Jason Isbell, brought me to a sudden stop. The song resounded with me so intensely, that I had to stop riding and listen to it over and over. This occurred the week before Mother’s Day. I went home and told my husband, with whom I have been together with for more than 50 years, that for my Mother’s Day gift, he could learn this song and play it for me on the guitar. My husband, who is not a great gift giver but a decent musician, thought this was a good deal. So, he went about learning the song. In the act of tuning a guitar, learning chords, and memorizing lyrics, this poem was born. The poem reflects on how we can gift love in all its forms—the bitter and the sweet.


Laurie Kuntz is an award-winning poet and film producer. She taught creative writing and poetry in Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines. Many of her poetic themes are a result of her working with Southeast Asian refugees for over a decade after the Vietnam War years. She has published two poetry collections (The Moon Over My Mother’s House, Finishing Line Press, and Somewhere in the Telling, Mellen Press), and three chapbooks (Talking Me Off The Roof, Kelsay Books, Simple Gestures, Texas Review Press, and Women at the Onsen, Blue Light Press), as well as an ESL reader (The New Arrival, Books 1 & 2, Prentice Hall Publishers). Her 5th poetry collection, Moment Poetry Press has published a broadside of her poem The Moon Over My Mother’s House (https://www.momentpoetry.com/) Her poems, Darnella’s Duty and Not Drowning But Waving have been produced in a podcast from LKMNDS and her poem, Darnella’s Duty is published in a new Black Lives Matter Anthology  (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1916459358).

Her two ESL books have been featured on the podcast ESL for Equality, (https://eslforequality.com/podcast/).  Her poetry has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes and one Best of the Net, and her chapbook, Simple Gestures, won the Texas Review Poetry Chapbook Contest. She was editor in chief of Blue Muse Magazine and a guest editor of Hunger Mountain Magazine.  She has produced documentaries on the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Law, and currently is an associate producer for Strangers to Peace, an award winning documentary on the Colombian peace process and reintegration of guerrilla soldiers in Colombia. She is the executive producer of an Emmy winning short narrative film, Posthumous. Recently retired, she lives in an endless summer state of mind. Visit her at:



Gyroscope Review Spring 2023 Issue Now Available

Previous Origin Stories

April 1 – Wanda Praisner

April 2 – Howard Lieberman

April 3 – L. Shapley Bassen

April 4 – Sharon Scholl

April 5 – Stellasue Lee

April 6 – Jeanne DeLarm

April 7 – Virginia Smith

April 8 – Patricia Ware

April 9 – Mary Makofske

April 10 – Ann Wallace

April 11 – Jessica Purdy

April 12 – Lakshman Bulusu

April 13 – Kim Malinowski

April 14 – Anita Pulier

April 15 – Martha Bordwell

April 16 – Anastasia Walker

April 17 – Annette Sisson

April 18 – Shaheen Dil

April 19 – Claudia Reder

April 20 – Cathy Thwing

April 21 – Sarah Snyder

April 22 – Susan Barry-Schultz

Previous NPM celebrations from Gyroscope Review

Let the Poet Speak! 2022

Promopalooza 2021

Poet of the Day 2020

Poets Read 2019

National Poetry Month Interview Series 2018

Book Links Party 2017

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