http://www.albany.edu/offcourse
 http://offcourse.org
 ISSN 1556-4975

   

Since 1998, a journal for poetry, criticism, reviews, stories and essays edited by Ricardo Nirenberg.


 

Poems by Joel Solonche.

 

A PHOTOGRAPH OF MUHAMMED ALI AND MARIANNE MOORE

 

He is rubbing his chin
with his left hand, as though
rubbing a magic lamp.

Next to him, at
the restaurant table,
a little uncomfortable,

a little unhappy,
gazing off into
the nowhere between

one world and another,
she is the genie who has
just bubbled up out of his ear.

 


 

AFTER READING WILLIAM MATTHEWS AND THEN ALAN DUGAN

My eyes burn.
My mouth is numb.

My fingers drum the desk.
My dumbness is dumbstruck.

My lips open like wood:
You will never be this good.

The words fall on the desk.
I pick them up and put them back.

My lips open like wood:
You will never be this good.

I leave my words and go away.
They’ll evaporate in about a day.


 

AT THE POND

At the pond, I heard a boy
cry out,  I hate birds!, as he
came running at  the geese, and
I wondered why a boy would say
he hates birds. Would a boy hate
birds for the usual reasons anyone
hates anything? Because he envies
their wings? Because he fears their
awesome and freakish power of flight?
Because he does not understand them?
And when he is a man, will he outgrow
his boyish hatred of birds? Will he come
to hate women instead because he will
envy their wings? Because he will fear
their awesome and freakish power of
flight? Because he will not understand
them? Or poets?

 


 

AUDIENCE

Last night,
through the open window,
I heard an owl hissing.
Funny.
I did not think my dream was all that bad.

 


 

CLOUDS

I once saw
a photograph

of a cloud
that looked  

like an angel.
Other than this,  

the best I can
say for clouds  

is how they
humanize what  

would otherwise
be a sky,  

vast, pure, blue,
and intolerable.

 


 

 

THE WAY HE WROTE

Does to write the way he wrote
mean to live the way he lived?  

I do not covet it, for his life
was too complicated, his life was  

too complex, his life was an antique
pocket watch with the moon &  

the sun & the planets & the stars all
sprung & geared & cogged together,  

his life had far too many moving parts
to bend & snap, ungear & spring.  

But oh that ticking,
                    that ticking,
                            that ticking.

 


J.R. Solonche is coauthor of PEACH GIRL: POEMS FOR A CHINESE DAUGHTER (Grayson Books). His work has been appearing in magazines, journals and anthologies since the early 1970s. He teaches at SUNY Orange in Middletown, NY.

His poems appeared in Offcourse #42 and #45, Four Poems

 



Return to Offcourse Index.