Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Poems, by Ken Denberg.


My Cosmology


My owl wing wrapped around
you, I’m kissing your face
downy, tawny, brown, yellow, your
eyes - I kiss the memory of
a face, won’t you come back to me –

like a fool, I thought for sure and then
that would be enough – winter long. Gruff
opinionated wind, purple onioned
clouds, kettles, stoves, I hug you like a cold day.

The zodiac revolves opposite the moon, mars
red and hot, limbs wave in a hard blow –
this mimic, evolve, bloom into me
as I have bloomed into you –
take back what you can, like
last year’s seeds – if I move
into you I’d know.



Dog Star, Barking


What the star chart asks us to consider
isn’t there, night littered with clouds, a moon
so honest shuts the door on your last thought.
The slanted light bends in all directions
over my head, the table, your shadow.
Looking up without tilting your head, you
are lost thinking of something else less sure than
we are. And the dog of my heart knowing
only a raspy bark, for danger comes
on four legs, doesn’t give any warning
of things about to pounce in dim half light
tumble in the dirt. This dog star yelping
a little to the left of your shoulder
a reminder of my teeth on your neck.



The End of Things in B Flat


was I far more serious than you could
tell, the imaginary rules changed like
bad weather, historic in the present
were you aware I was being wary
clueless at every bird wave of your hand?
The answer to that is ridiculous.
It was snowing, you were leaving, you were
different, hair a mess, detached, a doll.

By degrees days go better, sometimes worse
than wind chill or hung-over by degree.
I drink a glass of you and hate the taste
though love the effect, and hugged like water
this total immersion, selfishly dreamt
then woke in the bright winter morning. 



Self-Portrait in Ash


Your life will not be good, nor an easy
ride, ashes or flowers, zero degrees
in mid-March. I laugh, my dogs roaring back
with me. The drugs I take oil my blood.

My hands on your face, eye to eye, waking
walking and whistling – I lean toward you
how could you be and not be – three planets
cross our path – not by waving and crossing.

A man tips his hat and says goodbye
flowers bloom on your face, your brow
a flute, a furrow, a degree of what ascends
my arms around, the belted planets descend
like you and me. Was my birthday, all fat and sassy –
Candles flick and are gone. And it was snowing.


Ken Denberg has had poems in the Southern Poetry Review, The Agni Review, Sundog Review & other journals. He has recently published five essays in Main Street News: "There's The Rub," on bbq, "Buffalo, Buffalo," "The Apple, The Farmer, and The Hailstorm," "Deer Management," & "Trout in August." He is the editor of the Snail's Pace Press. His work appeared in several issues of this journal, most recently in Offcourse Issue#21 "Solstice" then in #17 Three Poems, in #13 Two Poems and in Issue #9, Four Poems.


Comments? Tell us!

Back to Offcourse home page