Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Poems, by Tim Keane.

  St. Petersburg Duo

two dancers escape the tyranny of couples
& the upright posture of the caviar-festival,
to hold hands like self-selecting partners
on a kindergarten field-trip:
sans party dresses, disrobed,
they find dark lingerie is snow-to-cold-air
their bodies find play-haven in the empty vokzal;
speakers in their tympana provide a soundtrack
called toe-tip-and-high-five-hysteria,
they strum hips, they sway to the industrial fugue:
rhythmical accompaniment & Manchester house-music:
as they speed up, their heels get the better of their knees
but they are never beyond grace, a deft cantilever, a gentle kick
long hair swaying mad as rushers, floodwater, over-boarding:
flaxen blessings of silk tumult, toss,
toss topsy-turvy hippie flips,
far from the frame of cadres
unchecked by soul engineers
unseen by negotiating stares
unshackled from a city's conventions
they know love as kismet more than found space
ravished by their limbs' somersault-liberties
they don't feel attention as bald Lenin watches
from a back-wall frieze: an icon without audience,
material father to no dancer, fixed beyond them in dead revolution.


Litany for the Mackerel of the Moulin Rouge

Degrees are for thermometers.
Too much verse is mere apologia
For the cornfields’ academies.
A poem should not be but feel.
What thought strains to move
remains like a stanchion.
Truant from a mind’s willing,
artifice can truly bloom.
Metamorphosis is a miracle of nerves.
Desire cuts the umbilical sin
& we’re Ovid’s shapeless chaos,
swimming the current of his ages.
You can have ‘hour-jazz’
or ‘happy-stamen,’
or ‘a liquid aria, after Daphne.’
Trust elegy as rhapsody,
know the tears of lost Io.
Nightclub-satyrs double back rhyme.
Tortoise guts become a guitar
tuned for the queen of the air.
She who works toward a “purpose” for life
is slave to a master she’ll never meet.
Poetry is a champagne-rhetoric,
a syllogism on a showgirl’s earring.
Lines are sun-lit by a diamond mine
& bear witness to the mackerel who morphs
into a dazzler. She emerges from stage-boards
& passes velvet folds of birth. She’s the free-kick
redhead. In stove-pipe hat, she charts a star’s brocade.
The trapeze arcs her soul’s effects.
She’s spangles for skirts, blue Aussie seas in the eyes,
lean dancing legs, colored in silver-gray bay-waves.
There are erotic proofs for such fantasia.
Each of us is an unexpected pregnancy.
Existence is a pageantry of questions.
Form is what desire makes of the moment,
a kinky-day-glow, a recreation of flutes.
One last kiss in time teaches us to trade our faith
for flux & to live by the love of dissembling words.



a stalled front left the sky
looking like a discarded trout
until a cloud-appointed force, high on acrylics,
rounded up a palette, fastening a billowy canvas
to ranch-stakes as an easterly lifted the backdrop:
gills & rainy scales drew in nil-drapery for the sake of radiance
& green-eyed walkers grew along the cornflower,
madder-lake reds saturated the nimbus,
the sun licked Turner-flame on pristine cloth,
and falling arcs waved at bronze breakers:
a barnacle nymph reflected the satyrs
blue meridians, brackish green air
formed over-sea-under-surf bricollage
white seabream, yellow firecrest,
brown pike, gleaming malachite
and blonde grass gave up auburn flora
while a flock of low-gliding shelduck
moved over the rise of acacia & the span
of the rugged Sound, envoys & all bled colors
into the panorama of a birds-eye Bonnard.


Sidony of Oxford Street

rain and wind lash
Wardour Street sidelights
and brokers run without umbrellas—


inside, Sidony’s scarves are over-
long, draped rivulets,
circling back to what is by
means of what they will become—
to will a movement of breath & blood—
pinks invade magenta,
aquamarine melts into yellows
& yellows top magenta
to bracket pinks again—

her top is fringed
& brocaded with wind-done
stretches of gold flower—
“typhoon-flora” on sleeveless
ready-to-wear lacquer-

and what’s the name for that Asian fancy
which fans out to rock ten pendants as if they
were amulets of Eroica?

accessories are concords of noun & verb—

and a union’s controlling subjects
where regal privilege reclaims
the dominion of desire over piety
& reason: so

returning-in-a-waking-sleep, she sings

& the empire’s reclamations
come forth gently from her dreaming.



Tim Keane's book-length collection of poetry, Alphabets of Elsewhere, is coming out in 2007 from Cinnamon Press. His writing has won awards from The National Endowment for the Arts and The Bronx Council on the Arts and his poetry has appeared recently at Big Bridge, Mudlark, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore and Stride Magazine. His translation of René Char appears at Cipher. Tim lives in New York City and he maintains devoted to his writing and to his publications.

See his work also at:


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