Saturday, September 24, 2011

B.D.Feil: Four Poems



I’m A Fool

            It doesn’t matter that I know better
that I know history teaches that history teaches

that history teaches or can feel it undigested
sitting in my bones hollowed out and ignorant

or am graced with the goddamned sense
that God graced a goddamned goose

the itch becomes too great
the death of winter too new

the first green weekend of May too pulling
I dig in slap-happy in rows lost in mulch

wandering amid mounds yet frost teaches
that frost teaches that frost teaches that I’m a fool

Not This God

In my perfecting world
I would release the trees
from the woods
by first cutting the vines
that run up their trunks
and hang to the ground

what god would create the tree
only to slowly strangle it?

not this god
not this god

Giblin’s Grove

Set me down in Giblin’s Grove
the corner closest the coming storm
set me down in open wicker
let the wind sow me
beneath the redbuds

suffer me no pretensions
no need to balance the wicker
on heads of bare-breasted virgins
no hanging of black crape
no systemic scattering

only burn me let me blow
let the wind take me where it will
like the first spring light coaxes
the redbuds from wet winter woods
thirsty to be first tight purple nipples
erupting randomly stubborn to go

Korea 1950-1953

I knew the veterans of that conflict to be a bit lost
office managers filling station owners
door-to-door salesmen scoutmasters
brown shoes with drab green suits on Sunday
five o-clock shadow at eleven a.m.
tape on eyeglasses
missing gas caps
neat but incomplete stacks of National Geographic
living rooms hung with the smell of bacon
cement blocks laying around to no good purpose
Blatz Beer
Tab Cola
always the wait for checks to clear and rides to come
maybe a wife maybe not either way
owners of the ugliest dogs in America
dogs that would never come no matter how loudly called
how insistently how pleadingly
they just would not come


BD Feil has credits in New Plains Review, Chaffey Review, and Margie. He lives in Michigan with quite the brood.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Robert E. Petras


She’s neither Ginger nor Marianne,
has the face and body only a plastic surgeon academy could love,
to ask a personal question:
if stranded upon a deserted island
together, would you play footsies with her?
Not as long as carpel tunnel holds off
would I touch her with ten feet of treated lumber
you tell your office buddies.

It’s been a long day
at the desk and you drift
into a daydream, drift to the ocean,
drift into the uncharted
just you and—let’s call her Aria
because she’s been playing
solo polo for a lifetime.

A week passes in your mind,
your imagination running wild,
your wife spreading more than rumors,
your wife more than humoring the Good Humor Man,
your wife blowing her glass-blowing instructor.
Didn’t she just jack up
the life insurance on you?
Yes, you declare, yes, yes,
I will play footsies
with Aria, if only for spite,
if only for revenge.

Another week passes.
Two weeks.
Then a month blows by with the trade winds
while you consume a steady diet
of only coconuts but they could well be
brass supplements because
you are growing a third ball—
the one that counts—the inner ball.
Once off paradise
you will tell your pseudo-widow
how you and Aria shacked up
under the palm leaf thatches.

Meanwhile, on a strict Deserted Island Diet
Aria is melting away fat like a pig on a spit
and is starting to look like Kirstie Alley—
“Dancing With the Stars” Kirstie
and you and she are doing crazy things together
like making snow angels in the sand.

During the third month
she’s taken up yoga, Pilates and tantric meditation
while you try to catch fish
because you need protein
because the old staff sergeant
has been standing more at ease lately.

Your beard is growing and root black
is no substitute for Grecian Formula 44.
You lost too much weight.
and look like Christian Bale in “The Machinist,”
in need of Colgate,
in need of Old Spice Speed Stick,
in need of counseling
as Aria looks more and more like “Cheers” Kirstie,
the very image and fragrance of Coppertone
while you burn and burn, becoming
redder and redder—as red as a baboon’s butt.
She calls you pet names like my Little Baboo,
worsening your widening red shift.

Five o’clock rescues you from the dream island rescue,
returning you safely to the island of your desk,
your fortress, fortified with new knowledge,
in the now, knowing to watch out what you say
about the unwanted woman,
the one you once wouldn’t touch
with ten feet of treated Scotch pine
because she would well turn out to be a ten,
leaving you and your carpel tunnel clutching
the short end of a very long stick.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Kenneth P. Gurney: Three Poems

Late Bloomer

I was one of those slow kids
a few years before there was such a word as dyslexia.
My feet were very fast back then
and I won all the schoolyard foot races.
I am told by my doctor 
that I was one of those lefties forced to be right-handed.
My doctor is sure of this 
because I am left footed when kicking a ball.
Though I am six-feet four-inches tall
my basketball potential remains grossly neglected.
The irony that keeps me out of shopping malls
is that clothing stores put the tallest sizes down by the floor.
The earliest part of my youth that I remember clearly
coincides with the one-hundredth anniversary 
of the American Civil War.  Now you understand
my home library’s prejudice and must read my uncle’s book. 1
I was thirteen when I started exploring rebellion:
I became a Chicago Cubs fan, which drove my south-side mother crazy. 2
The oddity of my education that I am most proud of
is that I graduated four-hundred and second out a high school class
of five hundred students, yet still managed to attain
the top ten percentile in my college entrance exams.
1 my uncle, Walter Hebert, is the author of the civil war related biography "Fighting Joe Hooker".
2 a Chicago south-sider would, by geography, be a White Sox fan, as my mother most definitely was.


If you walk the road 
Dianne paints
to its very end,
you will find
that the blue of the sky
beyond the mountains
is not a hue you expect
or the same as the sky 
you see upon the canvas.
There is a deer
on the back side of the mountain
that she painted two days ago
that changed meadows
that found a field
where the butterflies erupt
from their sleeping places
once the sun clears the eastern ridge
and dries the dew from their wings.
There is a house waiting for you 
beyond the background.
A log cabin that rough brushstrokes 
placed upon the canvas
near the stream that feeds the lake
where you will fish 
and the migratory waterfowl
will land.
But you do not see these things.
You are too focused on the foreground
on the brightly colored images 
as the abstract forms boggle your mind.
Dianne explains how they form
a sky, a mountain range, a road
which viewed from twenty feet back
form a face that is your face.
But you have trouble seeing that image. 

My Sweet Away

It seems you are away again,
but your framed drawings 
nail a sense of you to the wall.
This coordinated abandonment
echoes through the ages
to mother, to the church. 
My old routines become new
without you present in our picture—
become old in two days.
The fanfare of your return 
arrives adjacent to the glitter of bagpipes
and flags and biker patriotism.
Your voice dusts the silence
off your paintings where my eyes
settled in taciturn longing.


Kenneth P. Gurney lives Albuquerque, NM, USA.  He edits the poetry anthology Adobe Walls.
His latest book is This is not Black & White.  For a full listing of his publishing credits and books
visit his website.