Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Six Poems, by David Kowalczyk.




This word is
a forlorn distant rumbling
from the bowels of hell.


Its home is littered with
the carcasses of decapitated monkeys.


It glowers and sneers, both
gladiator and flea.


Its J. Edgar Hoover eyes
cause nightmares in most children.


It is composed of small venomous vermin
and a handful of jagged bones.






dandelion eyes
a deck of cards
a field of burning moss


as delicate as joy
its hands are spiders
and its smile a faraway shore


floats like a butterfly
and lies like
a lover




Take this word
out for breakfast
at Denny’s every
Sunday morning.


Let this word dance
upon your tongue.
Let it fox trot.
Let it fandango.
Let it polka.


Buy this word a perfectly
preserved Edsel to drive
and cartons of Gitanes to smoke.
Let it listen to The Kingston Trio
and guzzle bottles of Chivas Regal.


Let it twist
and slide and
slip and stumble
across your lips.




Sprang into the lexicon
in 1852 after a wild brawl at an
annual fair in the Irish town
of the same name.
It entered the world
with fists clenched and
a scowl on its face.


It has frothing purple blood.
Its face consists entirely of mouth.
It smokes Cohibas and wears a fedora.
Rides in gleaming black limousines.


A sweetly sinister word,
a cauldron simmering with menace,
yet possibly the most lilting
description of brutality
in the English language.


Whenever I read or hear this word,
blazing crimson splotches cover
my body.






This word causes
the stars to cry.


It turns
my eyelids to lead,
my brain to oatmeal,
and my heart to “Off.”


Ennui was born
when fallen angels
started to play with kaleidoscopes.


Ennui has anonymous eyes,
and the soul of a bedbug.





This word
has the specific gravity
of smoke.


Fragile as a doe
in the forest.
Frail as the dreams
of a hummingbird.


Keeping this word
on a page, a task
worthy of Sisyphus.
Sly, slippery, and cunning,
nailing mercury to
a wall is easier.


So is making
a statue
out of shadows.



David Kowalczyk lives and writes in the woods outside Batavia, New York. His poetry and fiction have appeared in anthologies and magazines scattered across the globe from Wales to Turkey to New Zealand to India.

His most "accessible" anthologies (in terms of being able to find them in libraries) are:  "Bless Me, Father:  Stories of Catholic Childhood", edited by Amber Coverdale Sumrall and Patrice Vecchione, Plume, New York, 1994, and "Hunger Enough: Living Spiritually in a Consumer Society", edited by Nita Penfold, Pudding House, 2004.   The other anthologies are by Penhaligon Page in Wales, Niagara River Press in Buffalo, and Letterhead Press in Buffalo. 

David's body of poetry can be viewed at by typing in the name David Kowalczyk and clicking on the option "search by poet".  You may contact him at


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