Saturday, August 27, 2016

Poems I Admire #19

On a Wet Weekend

we haul out the board games,
playing with our ten-year-old
grandson, showing a fourth
grade Capitalist how
he should manage his money.

I sit across and watch him,
a youth with innate avarice
become a Wall Street titan,
a cutthroat, ruthless landlord,
a blond Scrooge collecting
rent, fees, taxes and penalties
in a simulated life adventure,
the game called Monopoly.

Time passes in the kitchen,
hours meld into another day,
it’s marathon Monopoly
as he acquires both utilities,
buys railroads, Boardwalk,
invests in pricey Park Place,
builds houses and hotels,
a bona fide Capitalist,
a younger Donald Trump.

Landing on Park Place often,
I mortgage all, go belly-up.
Being railroaded into poverty,
content with a go-to-jail card,
I sneer at the gloating winner,
skipping around the table,
clutching his money overhead.

First published in Verse Wisconsin

John L. Campbell hasbeen practicing poetry since his retirement as a manufacturers' rep in 1995. Once a week he facilitates a writing group of seniors at the Brookfield Senior Center.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Willamette

There is a spirit here
along the banks of this sluggish
gray river, a frigid thing that floats
like fog and weeps like an eye staring
from the middle of the back of your head.

He curls his bony finger
and summons you to take his place
among the somber contemplations that haunt
these gray afternoons with moans that seep
into the mist like the sick sweet smell of decay.

This spirit is tired
of watching mumbling faces stare
at the ground in furrow-browed conversations
that walk from here to there and always, always,
always all the way back again.

First appeared in Avatar Review - Issue 18

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Poems I Admire #18

Empty Cars

You walk into the kitchen shaking the February cold
from your coat flecks of snow melt in your hair.

I stir a pot of sauce, its stream carries past Sunday
dinners at my parents’, kids playing Go Fish

in the family room. You lean against the island
and cross your arms. I am slicing cloves of garlic

when you say that empty cars, dark and idle,
in the driveway, make you sad sometimes.

I stop chopping and for the first time since the boys left,
I see you, really know you. I no longer question

what keeps a marriage together through years of northern
winters, no sun, only grey clouds, slick ice –

what moves people past the fringe into longing again.

“Empty Cars” appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of San Pedro River Review and is included in the collection, Take Something When You Go, COPYRIGHT © 2016 by Dawn Leas. Excerpt appears courtesy of Winter Goose Publishing.

Dawn Leas's work has appeared in Literary Mama, Southern Women's Review, San Pedro River Review, The Pedestal Magazine and elsewhere. Her first full-length collection, Take Something When You Go was released by Winter Goose Publishing in April 2016. Her chapbook, I Know When to Keep Quiet, was published by Finishing Line Press (2010) and is available in print and Kindle versions. A collection of her poems can be found in Everyday Escape Poems, an anthology released by SwanDive Publishing (2014). Her work won an honorable mention in the 2005 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is the assistant to the president at Wilkes University and a contributing editor at Poets' Quarterly and TheThePoetry.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Fragments of Dad

Thumbs tucked into denim pockets.
Cigarette dangling between fingers.
Thinking James Dean looked like

Green tinted lenses.
Throwing-up a blue-and-yellow pill
I got spanked for swallowing.
Nasal of Bob Dylan. Sitar of Sgt. Pepper.

Grunion hunting in the dark
on Newport beach. Fishing off the pier.
Chocolate covered frozen bananas.
Abba Zabbas. Zig-Zags.

Police at the house.
Mom crying. Me trying
to convince him
Jesus loves us.

Little sister Cindy
running and jumping
into his arms,
legs tight around his waist.
Refusing to let go.

Watching him hang-up
on Mom that one time
at Grandma Rose’s house.
Hoping for more visitation.

Steering the Bug in the desert
to his goofiest laugh.
Calling my step-dad
to his face. My face,

at eight,
as I walked past the mirror
that time he left
when I thought he would stay –
it was red and wet
and didn’t look like me.

First appeared in Yellow Chair Review - Issue 7

Friday, August 5, 2016

"The Allness of Everything" Friendly Review!

The Allness of Everything” has its first review (albeit informal and albeit by a personal friend). Enjoy!

“This is the dark side for sure, and you've explored it with keen emotional knowing – the range of people's lives that you seem effortlessly/imaginatively to have emotional access to (‘One Woman’s Confession,’ ‘On Despair and No Way Out'). ‘Normal’ logic and ‘normal’ syntax have been superseded here by language that pressures us into so many new ways of understanding what we already know.”

Robin Havenick – LBCC Poetry Advisory Committee Chair