Skip to main content

Some Poems from Scapegoat Review

Here are a couple poems I published this past winter. I hope you like them, and furthermore, I hope you'll go and check out the other writers in the Scapegoat Review.

About the poems, yeah. Uh. I am nostalgic for the entropy of some aspects of my childhood.Somewhere along the way, as many of us do, I settled like silt in a pond, and these poems help me blow shit up again as I remember and redact and fake the words into remembrances/poems both real and imagined. The persona in these poems is a complex motherfucker, or thinks of himself that way. It's a good thing he's got a low-IQ translator like me.

Abandonment

I watched Uncle Walt pull a fake tittie
out of his inner flannel shirt,
present it to my father like a gift
he ought to bow and scrape for.

Dad laughed and pulled at his beer,
I went off to watch the older kids
fucking behind the old milk house
on the hay left over from years

and years of farming but the farm
had been abandoned—plows still set
in the high grass beside the stone wall,
bob-wire stuck in gray old fence posts

while my brother pumped at a red-haired
girl who threw her head back like a horse
straining at a bit only she could feel,
his white cheeks glistening with sweat.

Farm gone, girl gone, Uncle Walt gone
brother/dad unreachable for reasons known
and unknown; I look back through time
and see myself touching myself,

eight years old, consumed by guilt and fire.




How One Word Connotes a Star

Great White sang something about traveling
across your state line. You'd recently
demilitarized your zone with a razor. The idea
had some appeal. Your sunflashed dad and his short-
barreled shotgun proved us too young. I slipped
my cold hand hipward and he busted out the door
in sweatpants and a camo jacket to say
Nice night kids. Lookit that moon!
Hitched his pants skyward and coughed.
I returned my hand to your safe shoulder.
He went to bed dog-howling nervous;
the bedroom light stayed on all week.
In the night sky your navel supernovaed
to the rhythm of my probing tongue
and flared like cinnamon in my mouth.
We lit out for a galaxy of trembling we
worked all night to reach it while the stars
tittered behind their stone-white hands.

Comments

  1. I dig these. I'm still trying to put a finger on what it is in your poetry that rings true for me as a reader. I'm beginning to think it's the concreteness of it, the slab-like consistency rocking out with phrase after insightful phrase.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the kind words. I'm a fiction writer compelled to write poems--very odd feeling, that is. Sometimes I think all I have to offer in a poem are concrete details.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think that the more concrete detalis there is in a poem the more such poem has to do with metaphor as a whole

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Ed Dorn's # 22 From Twenty-four Love Poems

                                               from Jacket The strengthy message here in #22 of 24 Love Songs can be summed up in two lines: ['There is/no sense to beauty. . .' and '. . .How/ the world is shit/ and I mean all of it] What I also like about this brief poem is the interplay between the title of the book and the subject of the poems (love/anti-love (which is not hate)): it's all a mass of contradictions, like love. And I have to say that the shorter poems of the Love Songs and the last book he wrote before dying (Chemo Sábe) seem to me much better and more memorable than the Slinger/Gunslinger poems. These (generally) later poems probably attempt less stylistically, but are more sure-handed, hacked from a soap bar, maybe. Easy to use, but disappear after use. In any case, Dorn is well worth the reading and re-reading, for me, though he'll never become one of my favorites. And doesn't every poet want that, dead or alive? ;-) #22 The agony

Mike James

 The River’s Architecture for Louis McKee, d. 11/21/11 The river has a shape you follow with your whole body: shoulder, footstep, and ear- those who know how to listen hear how river wind is like breath, alive in lung and line. Mike James makes his home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He has published in hundreds of magazines, large and small, and has performed his poetry at universities and other venues throughout the country. He has published over 20 collections and has served as visiting writer at the University of Maine, Fort Kent. His recent new and selected poems, Portable Light: Poems 1991-2021, was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His last collection, Back Alley Saints at the Tiki Bar, was published in April by Redhawk. He currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Murfreesboro, TN.

Jim Daniels

Half Days My daughter, thirteen, pale shred of herself, fought an unidentified infection in her spine as it softened her discs into disappearance. I’d unread that story if she were young and still listened to lullabies. After she got discharged, I set an alarm for two a.m. each night to shoot antibiotics into her port while she slept, her limp arm resting in my hand. Her return to school: half days—follow my dotted line smearing across months of sleepless breadcrumbs— at noon I idled high, anxious in the school driveway rattling off the latest test results in the zero gravity of fear. She startled me with the brittle thunk of the car door slam, then snapped at me for staring at her friends as they strolled across the street to the cafeteria, creeping them out, she said, embarrassed by illness like hard acne or a blooming hickey, wrong music or flakey hair, or the tacky middle-school jumper she no longer had to wear. I was there to drive her to