Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Always I Laughed

Did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything? - Mary Oliver

The grass was brown, prickly against my bare feet.
I could smell summer ending and things changing inside.
Eight years old and solitude was my favorite thing,
such a quiet sound, but always I laughed, just like my dad.

I could smell summer ending and things changing inside
the tiny house with the big back yard where apricots fell to rot,
such a quiet sound, but always I laughed just like my dad
when they squished between my callused toes.

The tiny house with the big back yard where apricots fell to rot
was a place he never lived with an overgrown field he never knew.
Apricots squished between my callused toes
and the warm morning air filled with the scent of my being alone.

This place he never lived, that overgrown field he never knew,
how the sunshine made me squint before reaching the shade,
the warm morning air filled with the scent of my being alone -
there was a learning, just then, how to watch from a distance.

The sunshine made me squint before reaching the shade.
Eight years old and solitude was my favorite thing;
there was a learning, just then, how to watch from a distance.



Shadow Road Quarterly - Winter 2012

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Poems I Admire #63

High School Boyfriend  
Margaret Hasse

You are hometown.
You are all my favorite places
the last summer I grew up.
Every once in a while
I write you
in my head
to ask how Vietnam
and a big name college
came between us.
We tried to stay in touch
through the long distance,
the hum and fleck of phone calls.

It was inevitable
that I should return
to the small prairie town
and find you
pumping gas, driving a truck, measuring lumber,
and we'd exchange
weather talk,
never able to break through words
and time to say simply:
"Are you as happy
as I wanted you to be?"

And still I am stirred
by musky cigarette smoke
on a man's brown suede jacket.
Never having admitted the tenderness
of your hands, I feel them now
through my skin.
Parking on breezy nights,
in cars, floating passageways,
we are tongue and tongue like warm cucumbers.
I would walk backwards
along far country roads
through late evenings cool as moving water,
heavy as red beer,
to climb into that August.

In the dark lovers' lanes
you touched my face
and found me here.



Margaret Hasse, originally from South Dakota, is author of five collections of poetry: Between Us, Earth’s Appetite, Milk and Tides, In a Sheep’s Eye, Darling, and Stars Above, Stars Below. “High School Boyfriend” appeared in Hasse’s first book of poetry, Stars Above, Stars Below, which won the Minnesota Voices competition 1984 and was published by New Rivers Press. In 2018, the book was acquired and brought back into print by Nodin Press. According to poet Athena Kildegaard, "Attitudes and preoccupations that Hasse returns to again and again in Stars Above, Stars Below include delight in sensual experience, understanding of life’s fragility, appreciation for the largess of memory, and rapt engagement with the natural world, especially the prairies and lakes of the Midwest.” Hasse has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry, The Loft McKnight Award, first place awards from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association, and Minnesota State Arts Board grants. She lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she is active in the area’s poetry community, teaching, editing, and volunteering, including as a board member for Rain Taxi, publisher of the Rain Taxi Review of books. 

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/margaret-hasse

https://www.writersalmanac.org/index.html%3Fp=9170.html

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Debonair

Darlin', my name is
Earl and you sizzle my
bacon. How's about you sidle
on over here onto ol' Earl's knee.
Now, don't go playin' shy. Earl
ain't gonna bite ya. No ma'am,
I's taught to treat my little fillies with
respect.



Boston Literary Magazine - December 2012

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Galleywinter #24 - Don Colburn

Mockingbirds

Don’t need a song, the overheard
will do. Rusty gate, teakettle,
alley cat, tree frog, tufted titmouse,
the blue jay’s jeer and pump handle —
all part of the mocker’s repertoire.
One in Massachusetts was said to sound
like three dozen other birds
besides himself. Yet so territorial
they will attack their own image
in a window pane or a hubcap.
A pair have nested in the holly tree,
three eggs, chicks now, three
grotesque yellow mouths
widening as their mother arrives,
a grasshopper dangling green from her bill.
All fuzz and beak, the little ones
haven’t learned to mimic the rest
of the world, or even listen.
They push out their unfledged
thin insistent artless peeps
all in a row, the pitch so perfect
you wish for a little street talk.


Don Colburn is a poet and retired newspaper reporter in Portland, Oregon. He has published four poetry collections. A fifth one, Mortality, with Pronoun Shifts, won the 2018 Cathy Smith Bowers chapbook contest and is due out in March, 2019, from Main Street Rag press. His poems have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, and won the Discovery/The Nation Award, the Finishing Line Press Prize and the Cider Press Review Book Award. During his newspaper career, he was a reporter for The Washington Post and The Oregonian, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

She Went Too Damned Blonde for Anybody's Good

Her walk wiggled its way into a sashay;
her hugs got tighter, took longer,
stopped including the shoulders;
her tan-lines crept down on top,
shimmied up down below
and more men met the edges of them.
Even her laugh took a turn –
going from a guffaw
of throwing the head back with a snort,
to a bouncing giggle and a lean.
Before long, she could not remember
the meaning of certain big words.


Eunoia Review - November 2014

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Unremembering

You are drifting into the black-and-white blur
that divides reality from imagination. How long

did my hand linger in the delicate small
of your back? How deep was the green

in your eyes the first time you let me
see them all the way through? Is everything

as soft as I remember everything being?
Did the cinnamon of your breath really mix

with the hunger of my mouth upon yours? You are
a haunt to me, a fading gray of unremembering.




Eunoia Review - November 2014

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Poems I Admire #62

A Bullet Is Not a Vampire
Jimmy Pappas 

A bullet is not a vampire.
It does not need permission
to enter your body.

A bullet will not knock
on your door and say,
Bullet here. May I
please come in?

A bullet will not wipe off
a spot and ask, Will this
suffice? A little further
to the left perhaps?

A bullet does not show
its ID to the doorman,
only to hear, Sorry, sir,
but you may want
to check in tomorrow
for our Thursday special.

A bullet does not hold up
its thumb like an artist
measuring proportions.

A bullet is your slob
brother-in-law paying
you a surprise visit.

A bullet stinks
of beer and urine,
eats cold pizza
for breakfast,
and smells milk
before drinking it
right out of the carton.


First appeared in Snakeskin and is included in Jimmy's collection, "Scream Wounds."

Jimmy Pappas served during the Vietnam War as an English language instructor training South Vietnamese soldiers. He received his MA in English literature from Rivier University. He is a retired teacher whose poems have been published in over 70 journals, including Sheila Na-Gig, Shot Glass Journal, Off the Coast, Boston Literary Magazine, and War, Literature and the Arts. He is the Vice-President of the Poetry Society of NH. His poem "Bobby's Story" about the life of a Vietnam veteran won the Rattle 2018 Readers Choice Award. It is contained in his full-length book of war-related poems Scream Wounds (A15 Press, 2019). His chapbook Falling off the Empire State Building was selected as a winner of the Rattle Chapbook Contest and will be published in March 2020.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Tease

Her flirting flicks
the sharp wet edge
of his imagination
the way his tongue
longs to tease the silky
tip of her understanding.
He closes his eyes, lets
her shape curve
everything.




Profane Journal - Winter 2014

Friday, November 1, 2019

Galleywinter #23 - Don Colburn

California Gull, State Bird of Utah

Orca whales eat first the tongues
of other whales they prey on
and of sharks mainly the livers.
Turkey vultures, unlike bald eagles,
are bald. They defend themselves
by hissing and projectile vomiting. 
Oddity galore inhabits the world
even before humans get around
to renaming it, choosing, for instance,
to make the California gull the state bird
of Utah, where skyfuls of them landed in 1848
and delivered Mormon pioneers
from a plague of black crickets.
The story changes, but the teller always knows
it’s a miracle, how out of nowhere
or California or islands in Great Salt Lake 
they crowded down on half-ruined fields
to gorge themselves, disgorge and gorge again
on crickets and katydids with ornamental wings,
like hosts of heaven and hell contending,
and saved the harvest of peas and beans.


Don Colburn is a poet and retired newspaper reporter in Portland, Oregon. He has published four poetry collections. A fifth one, Mortality, with Pronoun Shifts, won the 2018 Cathy Smith Bowers chapbook contest and is due out in March, 2019, from Main Street Rag press. His poems have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, and won the Discovery/The Nation Award, the Finishing Line Press Prize and the Cider Press Review Book Award. During his newspaper career, he was a reporter for The Washington Post and The Oregonian, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing.

Friday, October 25, 2019

To Job: Advice for Raising Your Second Ten

Don’t get too attached.
Rock them to sleep at night,
but hum your dirges

so they won’t learn the words
until they’re old enough
to not understand.

Tell them bedtime stories
that help them fall asleep worried
about never waking up again.

Make them eat
bitter greens and vinegar.
This is good for them.

Leave for your flocks
in the morning while it’s still cold
and everyone else is dreaming

and turning over and over in their beds.
Don’t come home until the sky is done
with its wispy red tease

of something significant about it all.
Come and go in the same darkness
that fogs your vision and makes you slouch.

Spend your evenings staring at purple clouds
as if you care which way they turn.
Drink lots of wine.

Laugh sparingly and grunt often.
Avoid eye contact
lest you be reminded of someone. 


Fifth Wednesday Journal - Fall 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Our Conversations Have Hyphens

Take, for instance, our almost weekly
the-new-recipe-was-a-bust-so-it’s-either-
Bing’s-or-Ixtapa-tonight talk via cell phones
and three-letters-or-less text messages.

Not to mention the busy little
across-the-dining-room-table-list-poem
discussions we take turns writing in thin air
while passing the salt shaker back and forth.

How long has it been since we last enjoyed
a little just-after-midnight bawdy talk that romped
its way into a half-inebriated lust of please-
don’t-ever-stop-saying-my-name-like-that?

Still, last night’s cool-twilight-laughing-
over-coffee-on-the-porch-between-silences-
that-brushed-between-us-like-hummingbird-whirrs
discussion was nice – especially the way it ended

with a me-holding-open-the-screen-door-for-you
bit of chivalry followed by the sexiest
you-taking-my-hand-and-leading-us-quietly-
into-a-one-soft-kiss-after-another shower.


Friday, October 11, 2019

So Gray

I did not know
the lighthouse was white;
it always seemed gray,
like the cold empty sea
to which it stood sentinel.
But, once, the sun danced
through the clouds
and the lighthouse beamed -
adagio of glow upon stone.
Soon, the tide ebbed;
bitter clouds closed in;
things returned to gray.
I am lonely, fearful of storms.


Burningword - October 2012

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Galleywinter #22 - Don Colburn

Opposite of Vertigo

She says her paintings have three subjects:
body, time, space. In particular, she says,
they’re about a body’s sense of itself in space.
All those big ideas make me wonder
if she’s an abstract expressionist,
a phrase I like to say out loud
as if I know what it means when all I know is
abstract expressionists hate the label.
Body, time and space more or less
covers it, except there’s the mind
or is that understood? Not that we do
understand. I may be over-thinking.
Look. On the whitewashed wall
the painter has let shapes of color
express a feeling that has no need
to be understood or named
although she calls this one “Coincidence”
and that one “Tangled Blue.”
Is that the scratch it came from,
or what became of the day after she sat down
to stare at the light, first thing?
She says it’s like the opposite of vertigo
and this time, looking back at the wall,
I get it. On the news this morning
they featured a baggage handler
who flew by mistake from Charlotte to Dulles
locked in the cargo hold. “I thank God,”
the man said. “He was with me.”
How can I not try to imagine
his body’s sense of time and space
down in the freezing dark with all that baggage
and into thin air at 35,000 feet?
I bet it felt more like vertigo than the opposite,
though maybe with God in there, both.


Don Colburn is a poet and retired newspaper reporter in Portland, Oregon. He has published five poetry collections, including four chapbooks. The latest, Mortality, with Pronoun Shifts, won the 2018 Cathy Smith Bowers chapbook contest and came out in March, 2019, from Main Street Rag press. His poems have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, and won the Discovery/The Nation Award, the Finishing Line Press Prize and the Cider Press Review Book Award. During his newspaper career, he was a reporter for The Washington Post and The Oregonian, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Haiku #23

When the fence blew down,
the neighbor-lady and I
flirted it back up.


First appeared in a handful of stones (defunct) - September 2011

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Poems I Admire #61

In Plain Sight 
Francesca Bell

By fourteen, I had transformed,
body gone from tight-fisted to extravagant.

The boys, too, had changed. Their voices creaked like screen doors,
then slammed into tones of full-grown men.

They called from car windows and sidewalks,
Big-breasted woman, I love you!

One I liked brought a friend to my door who chortled,
You’re right. Her teeth are terrible, but her tits are fantastic.

No blouse would button over my excess.
Nothing in the lingerie department could contain me.

The special-order minimize cost me fifty babysitting hours
and was unyielding as a harness. I believe in brazenness,

but no power was ever greater than feeling the tremble
in a surprised boy’s fingers after I removed that bra.

Oh, my God, one said. I had no idea.


First appeared in Elle
Included in Bell's first full-length collection Bright Stain

Francesca Bell's poems appear in many journals, including ELLE, New Ohio Review, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, River Styx, and Rattle. Her translations from Arabic and German appear in Arc, B O D Y, Circumference, Mid-American Review, and The Massachusetts Review. She is the co-translator of Palestinian poet Shatha Abu Hnaish’s collection, A Love That Hovers Like a Bedeviling Mosquito (Dar Fadaat, 2017), and the author of Bright Stain (Red Hen Press, 2019). She lives with her family in Northern California.



Saturday, September 14, 2019

What If

It’s a coyote howl 
against a Bloody Mary moon;

panting awake wet
from the shivering ache of a nightmare
in which you'd found contentment

a cold stroll in the dark
as footsteps not your own gain ground;

black-sooted bricks, phallic
within the smoky smolder
of everything lost;

dipping your toe into cobalt blue
and hoping for a few moonlit ripples.

It’s bumping into her,
stammering at the green in her eyes,
reminding her of your name.


Crack the Spine - Issue 76
Reprinted in Eunoia Review

Friday, September 6, 2019

Galleywinter #21 - Ciara Shuttleworth

Ocean Beach

where lighting your own cigarette
          hands cupped
close around flame and face
          is a skill         lighting
someone else’s is so damn impossible
          it’ll get you laid
even the non-smokers carry lighters
          in hopes          bonfire opportunities 
plus luck
          because there is no start or end 
to this stretch of sand          water 
          and in the dark     all the kisses
two mouths form
          like siren wails          tide ebb
gull cries 
          smoldering         come sunrise


Ciara Shuttleworth was born in San Francisco and grew up in Nebraska, Nevada, and Washington state. Her poetry has been published in journals and anthologies, including Confrontation, Hayden's Ferry Review, The New Yorker, The Norton Introduction to Literature 11e & 12e, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, and Tahoma Literary Review. Shuttleworth received an MFA in poetry from University of Idaho, a BFA in painting/drawing from San Francisco Art Institute, and a BA in studio art from Gustavus Adolphus College. She was The Jack Kerouac Project of Orlando's 51st resident at Jack Kerouac House. Shuttleworth's poetry chapbook, Night Holds Its Own (Blue Horse Press), and her gonzo prose book, 4,500 Miles: Taking Jack Back on the Road (Humanitas Media Publishing), are available. Shuttleworth is the daughter of poet/playwright Red Shuttleworth.

Friday, August 30, 2019

My First Good Beer

It was after a long day of bucking bales.
I was hot, itchy, smelled of sweat
and straw and old-truck fumes.
Pretty sure I bucked the most,
definitely bucked my share –
and all the way to the top, too!

I was seventeen, law-abiding,
and had not acquired the acquired taste.
Plus, I was kind of scared of alcohol
(I had my reasons).

I put the last bale in its place,
wearied myself to the truck
and put back the sideboards.
Next, I took off my leather gloves,
soft from hard use;
my hands smelled like saddle.
I took off my wet grassy shirt
and hosed down cold.

Everybody else had started
pulling beers from the cooler
when my step-dad gave me the nod –
I didn’t often get the nod. So,

I shoved my hand into the crushed ice,
got myself one, and braced
for the bitter. But it was good.
It was real good.

I let myself lean
on the rusty tailgate, wiped my face
with the wadded-up shirt, and savored
that goddamned nod.


Monday, August 26, 2019

Sweet Milk

Sometimes I run my tongue
around the mouth of my beard
just to remind myself
what I had for breakfast.

Just now, I tasted
sweet milk left over
from a branny
bowl of cereal
I'd poured using
light from the fridge.

I’d eaten in silence
at just before dawn 
like I was at an old
one-pump gas station
in the middle of nowhere
wondering where I was going.


First appeared in The Broadkill Review - August 2012

Friday, August 16, 2019

Poems I Admire #60

Moonflowers

Tonight at dusk we linger by the fence
around the garden, watching the wound husks
of moonflowers unclench themselves slowly,
almost too slow for us to see their moving—
you notice only when you look away
and back, until the bloom decides,
or seems to decide, the tease is over,
and throws its petals backward like a sail
in wind, a suddenness about this as though
it screams, almost the way a newborn screams
at pain and want and cold, and I still hear
that cry in the shout across the garden
to say another flower is about to break.
I go to where my daughter stands, flowers
strung along the vine like Christmas lights,
one not yet lit. We praise the world by making
others see what we see. So now she points and feels
what must be pride when the bloom unlocks itself
from itself. And then she turns to look at me.


James Davis May is the author of Unquiet Things (LSU Press), which was selected as a finalist for the Poets’ Prize. His poems have appeared in Guernica, The New Republic, Plume, and The Southern Review. In 2016, his poem “Ed Smith” won the Poetry Society of America’s Cecil Hemley Memorial Award. He lives in Macon, Georgia, where he serves as Writer-in-Residence at Mercer University.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Pococurante

Paradise wasn’t lost; it was taken away 
over a tree-turf dispute between God’s 
children and God’s pride. His eloquent 
opining about what goes before falls 
came later and was apparently a hard won 
understanding that hasn’t quite sunk in. 
Rather than let bygones be bygones 
and accept the divine wisdom of the street game, 
No harm, no foul, He takes elocution lessons 
then Pontius-Pilates His hands in a shallow bowl, 
excusing the bloody consequences as the wages of sin.


Friday, August 2, 2019

Galleywinter #20 - Ciara Shuttleworth

Red Wing, Highway 61

Flatness and corn, Life Begins
at Conception billboards. 
No bourbon sold on Sundays, but you can buy
low octane beer after noon.

Farmer on the side of the road,
hands on hips, tractor on its side
in the ditch: I’ve got a guy coming, he says.

At Bev’s, I pour hot sauce over country-fried steak,
hashbrowns, runny eggs. The waitress
laughs at the next table, I’ve got a share of vices.

Two sandhill cranes break the mist,
a mate-for-life model for the faithful.
The male’s red head, an arrow.


Ciara Shuttleworth was born in San Francisco and grew up in Nebraska, Nevada, and Washington state. Her poetry has been published in journals and anthologies, including Confrontation, Hayden's Ferry Review, The New Yorker, The Norton Introduction to Literature 11e & 12e, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, and Tahoma Literary Review. Shuttleworth received an MFA in poetry from University of Idaho, a BFA in painting/drawing from San Francisco Art Institute, and a BA in studio art from Gustavus Adolphus College. She was The Jack Kerouac Project of Orlando's 51st resident at Jack Kerouac House. Shuttleworth's poetry chapbook, Night Holds Its Own (Blue Horse Press), and her gonzo prose book, 4,500 Miles: Taking Jack Back on the Road (Humanitas Media Publishing), are available. Shuttleworth is the daughter of poet/playwright Red Shuttleworth.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Tsunami

Tragedies
like this don’t
just happen all
of a sudden. First,
there is this unseen shift;
then a shaking and a splitting
at the core of things. Next, the rush,
fast and hundreds of miles deep. From
the very first wiggle sirens sound evacuations.
Sometimes there is a scrambling for higher ground.
Sometimes there is denial, fascination with the odd receding calm,
exploration of new beauty until holding on for dear life, a few loud words,
                                                                                                     and
                                                                     being
                                swept
away.



Other Rooms Press - Summer 2012

Friday, July 19, 2019

Poems I Admire #59

Allurement

My son calls to tell me
he held the two rabbits
he’d raised and was
about to kill close

to his chest, their hearts
racing, his heart full
of the blood of necessity
and qualm, his heart

filled with a song
of holy lullaby
to calm the creatures,
their warm bodies pulsing

against his, and I think,
as he falls silent on the phone,
that he will, some day – I’m
sure of it – make a good father.


First appeared in Rattle

Athena Kildegaard's most recent book of poetry is C
ourse, from Tinderbox Editions. Her poems have been set to music by many composers, and she's currently collaborating with Linda Kachelmeier on a cantata built on the theme of immigration. Kildegaard teaches at the University of Minnesota Morris, where she is also the director of the honors program.

Friday, July 12, 2019

After Work

I walk into the eager of your arms,
lean heavy upon your bounce,
rest in the calm of your neck,
breathe you all the way in.

I cradle the fair of your face, 
search for the tender blue of you,
delight in the delicate nest of you,
rise to the joy and soul of you.

Suspended in the mercy of your smile,
I wrap my hands around the slender of your waist,
reign all of your fullness into all of my fullness,
kiss all of your kisses, taste all of your missing me.


Poetry Quarterly - Summer 2011

Friday, July 5, 2019

Galleywinter #19 - Ciara Shuttleworth

In Wind that Keeps You Leaning

Curl to protect the bird that beats
inside you. The letter that blew out
over the water only pisses you off
because your name was on it. Hope
the water melts the ink, shreds 
the paper into the current. 

You are dreaming in color again, 
and flashes stay with you the way sound seems to 
be carried in rather than on water, in the way
you remember a photo from the viewfinder, 
the printed image unrecognizable. 

In wind that keeps you leaning, you curl
to protect the bird that beats inside you. You don’t feel
like anyone else’s bad news today. What crumbles
in your hands becomes filler for tonight’s pillow.


Ciara Shuttleworth was born in San Francisco and grew up in Nebraska, Nevada, and Washington state. Her poetry has been published in journals and anthologies, including Confrontation, Hayden's Ferry Review, The New Yorker, The Norton Introduction to Literature 11e & 12e, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, and Tahoma Literary Review. Shuttleworth received an MFA in poetry from University of Idaho, a BFA in painting/drawing from San Francisco Art Institute, and a BA in studio art from Gustavus Adolphus College. She was The Jack Kerouac Project of Orlando's 51st resident at Jack Kerouac House. Shuttleworth's poetry chapbook, Night Holds Its Own (Blue Horse Press), and her gonzo prose book, 4,500 Miles: Taking Jack Back on the Road (Humanitas Media Publishing), are available. Shuttleworth is the daughter of poet/playwright Red Shuttleworth.

Monday, July 1, 2019

High School Sweethearts

That was a nasty little smirk
you failed to suppress
when you caught me bragging
about my younger days.


The minimal poetry blog a handful of stones (defunct)

Sunday, June 23, 2019

For a Moment, Purpose

I was young once and didn’t know it
was the frothy whitewater time of my life;

strong, violent and shaping sharpness smooth
before becoming gentle in dreary decline,

widening into pools where dark carp lurked
and skulked in the muck that had settled below.

Still, there was a seeping of black earth green
around me and, for a moment, purpose

until everything turned the after-harvest brown
of a tired and worn-out ground.


Big River Poetry Review - June 2, 2012 (defunct)

Friday, June 7, 2019

Galleywinter #18 - Mather Schneider

Manina

Natalia’s grandfather died
when her grandmother was 40
and granny remained in mourning
for the next 52 years
always wearing black
never going in public without her black veil.
She even had a black dog
that followed her around.
She died at 92
sitting in her old wood rocker
alone in her little adobe house
from a centipede that crawled up her leg
and clamped onto her thigh.
They found her like that
leg black and swollen
centipede dug-in
her long black hair in a braid
her notebook in her lap
where she wrote her letters to God.


Mather Schneider was a cab driver in Tucson for many years and is currently living in Hermosillo, Mexico. His poetry and prose have been published in the small press since 1994. He has 4 full length books available.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Salt-and-Pepper Villanelle


I twist my salt-and-pepper beard,
inhale the sizzle of the grill,
then turn the meat to watch it sear.

My vision’s turned a smoky blear
of birdsong echoes sounding shrill.
I twist my salt-and-pepper beard

into a braided length of weird
and wiry time to somehow fill
then turn the meat to watch it sear.

Along the back, black stripes are smeared
like lashes struck until we’re still.
I twist my salt-and-pepper beard

and wag my head until I’ve cleared
the moonshine cobwebs twice distilled
then turn the meat to watch it sear

away the melancholy cheers
of vague potential unfulfilled.
I twist my salt-and-pepper beard
then turn the meat to watch it sear.


First appeared in THAT Literary Review