Thursday, January 23, 2020

Winter in Connecticut, a poem by Robert Halleck

Winter in Connecticut
        by Robert Halleck

On a cold, clear, autumn day in Connecticut
Bob's guardian angel told him he was going
to spend the winter in Florida with the Schwartzes.
Bob was delighted, filling his head with visions
of being alone in a Connecticut winter: happy hour
at the Greyhound Pub, nights watching TV sports,
more indoor tennis, lounging in old clothes.

Flashing his best cherubic smile, the angel
mentioned that on the day of his departure
a very nice lady will be moving next door.
She has dark hair, smoky green eyes, and will
be coming to Bob's house to borrow a hammer.

Robert Halleck has been writing poetry since 1958. He was briefly stationed at
Fort Benjamin Harrison as a U.S. Army lieutenant during the Vietnam War.
Poetry is more than a hobby for him, but it does not crowd out other activities
such as golf, autocross racing, and care giving through Stephen Ministries. His
recent work has appeared in The San Diego Poetry Annual, Remington Review,
HobartSt. Ann's Review, Chiron, and other journals. He is a member of San
Diego's Not Dead Yet Poets and hopes to continue as a member for a long time.
For a number of years he has attended the Kenyon Review's Summer Workshops.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Team of Disappointing Men, a poem by Michael Brockley

                              The Team of Disappointing Men
                                                  by Michael Brockley

At the misfits’ lunch table at your professional development conference, you introduce yourself to a man who grew up in a dozen American cities and a woman who earned All-State honors as a field hockey striker in Ohio. Over appetizers your group steers the conversation toward a lament about disappointing teams. The Metssays the traveling man. You offer the woeful Reds. She cuts her vegan lasagna into bite-sized cubes. Studies the afternoon schedule, choosing between this year’s empowerment lecture and a PowerPoint on malingering. 

You never called the women you met at a restaurant named for a lazy cartoon cat after you promised them you would. Once stood up a blind date to take her best friend to hear Juice Newton moan Angel of the Morning at the Key Palace Theater to a crowd reliving one-night stands from thirty years ago. But the striker slices through a sorrow more grief than grievance; a noxious cocktail of emailed erection snapshots and Instagram betrayals. Like the youth pastor who slaps a newswoman’s butt as he jogs past her during a benefit race for a battered women’s shelter. Like the man who awakens his stepdaughter to roll her over into yet another depthless night.

For decades, you’ve ridden the bench on a team of disappointing men, making yourself invaluable for all the positions you can play. Always eager with a chuckle or a nod to hear how another woman breaks down. Like the striker at our table cutting her lasagna. She never looks up. Says Men. MenA man from your team left the dark silences that shadow the striker’s eyes. A man very much like you.

Michael Brockley is a retired school psychologist who lives in Muncie, Indiana. His poems have appeared in Panophyzine, New Verse News, and Flying Island.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Threnody, a poem by Shanda Blue Easterday

by Shanda Blue Easterday

Later the same day I learn the meaning
of "threnody," which cannot be repeated
too often, this song or poem celebrating
or lamenting a life lost but well lived,
written to remember the many questions
unasked while you were living, such as "Did
you read the novels of William Coughlin?"
You read most Michigan authors, and I
find these books entertaining in a way
that you might have, to celebrate
your appetite for literature and life,
however common or exceptional,
like rules for imagists or pink petals
on a wet deep green bough.

Shanda Blue Easterday is a retired professor of Literatures in English,
current editor and contributor for Grit and Grace: A Women Writing Anthology,
and editor for Mind Vine Press. She sits on the board of a local school. Her
poems have appeared in Aesthetica, The Dos Passos Review, Dislocate, The
Louisville Review, Flying Island, and in many other places. Her poetry collection
The Beekeeper's Wife was published in 2011 as was a chapbook, From Egg to
Moth, poems about Maria Sybilla Marian.