Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Four New Poems from Deep South, by Robert Klein Engler.


Nothing new. The same outward damp and drip.

The same seasonal complaint, "The world lied."

Go for a walk. Don't mind that click in the hip.

Don't mind that red oak. What's new is inside.





Eighteen-wheelers screech to a halt at the stoplight.

A flock of pigeons shoots up from the roof of Sears,

to circle and land on the sills of the Bains Foot Clinic.

There is nothing in the sky, now, except the hawk.






Baby got his two pierced lips and baby got blue hair.

Baby wears a hoodie and shows his boxer underwear.

Baby got the white earphones wired to his new iPod,

and baby walkin' out to class with a nod, nod, nod.

Baby's cool. Baby's hip. Gives his squeeze a hug.

No way he's gonna see the light. Baby got his drug.





Men of God tell us the great pain of Hell

is the pain of separation. Sublunary lovers

know this already, or something like it

in the faint colors of everyday longing.


This morning the sun is quarterway towards

noon and pushes ahead a cerulean blue

sky with a hint of autumn in the air among

turning leaves. The color of longing is rust.


We hear when Jesus walked in Bethlehem

some had their longing cured. Others

dragged out Scripture to argue over words.

The color of longing is rust and blood.


Now, the field corn is stripped and ground.

Now, the water blushes into wine.

The saints take up their cross. It grows cold.

The colors are rust and blood and gold.



Robert Klein Engler lives in Oak Park, Illinois and sometimes New Orleans. He is an adjunct professor at Roosevelt University. Many of Robert’s poems and stories are set in the Crescent City. His long poem, The Accomplishment of Metaphor and the Necessity of Suffering, set partially in New Orleans, is published by Headwaters Press, Medusa, New York, 2004. He has received an Illinois Arts Council award for his "Three Poems for Kabbalah."

If you google his name, you may find his work on the Internet. Some of his books are available at

Visit him on the web at or write to


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