Saturday, May 24, 2014

Overdue Poems

Poor Folk

The book on her nightstand
is by Dostoevsky, one of
his early novels. She
studied him in college,
wrote a master’s thesis on
The Brothers Karamazov, his final.

The main character works as a copyist,
frequently belittled and picked on
by colleagues. His clothes
are worn and dirty. His
cousin is from the country.
He is in love.

But a rich man
proposes. She slowly
becomes accustomed to money
and leaves the copyist
alone. His plea goes

The book goes
unfinished. She has lost momentum.
Life happens too quickly. Two
full-time jobs leave no time
for Russian novels, only
Russian vodka.


It Speaks

A book begins to speak,
tells me how lonely it is
in dusty stacks,
for a book of poems.

Only poets
read poetry,
for academic assessment
or love inspires a search for clich├ęs.

I take the poor thing home,
prove the truth it speaks,
            a poet
granting poetry
its only wish.


"Poor Folks" and "It Speaks" were published in Overdue Poems, a chapbook of work by members of the Wright Library Poets in Celebration of Libraries, Reading and Books, compiled and edited by Grace Curtis and Elizabeth Schmidt and made possible by a grant from the Wright Memorial Public Library Foundation.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Two More in Mock Turtle

Not Quite Emo

Death wears a camo jacket
and combat boots,
not much else. Her hair
is pitch over pale
eyes sharply lined and shining,
pout painted red.

She casts a gothic shadow, reaping
prolonged glances
and double-takes.

            When Death cuts,
it is not herself
the scythe slashes.

Death does not bleed.


Educational Services, East Campus, Room 6

A shark with a broken tail
hangs from the ceiling
next to the crab with only one claw.

The students are also broken—
some have twisted bodies
and shuffle sideways

through life's narrow hallways;
others are like the shark
that will bite but cannot swim.

Teachers are torn
like chum in the open sea,
so children can feed.

Some are food for others,
bones discarded, unwanted.
Few survive unscarred.


"Not Quite Emo" and "Educational Services, East Campus, Room 6" are included in Issue 9 (Spring 2014) of Mock Turtle Zine. These constitute my fifth contribution to this local Dayton journal.

My poem "The Little Nun that Could" (which is included in my chapbook The Good Parts (forthcoming from Finishing Line Press)), is in Issue 8 (Fall 2013) and "All of a Sudden, but Not" was published in the Spring 2013 issue (#7).  In addition, "Beware of Poet" and "An Ubi Sunt for the Bees" appeared in the Fall 2012 issue (#6) of Mock Turtle"An Ubi Sunt for the Bees" was originally included in issue #5.

Issues of Mock Turtle (including issues #5, #6, #7, #8, and #9) can be viewed online.