ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

A journal for poetry, criticism, reviews, stories and essays published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by David Kowalczyk



This raw-boned word
was born to Brunhilde
and Richard Wagner
in Bear Dance, Montana,
where it still lives.

It has the gruesome smile
of Ivan the Terrible.
Its scowl makes floor tiles
curl and smoke.

Its voice is
a slow certain rumble.
It has the starlight eyes
of a prophet.




This word was born
in Coffee Creek, California
to Charles Lindbergh
and Anne Frank.

This word is a mirror
made of memory.

This word is
constantly in search of
the connection between
honesty and magic.

This word is lost
in linear thought.




This word is a
miserable old zucchini
left to rot on the vine.

This word has a face
like a bowl of angry corn flakes.
Its eyes are the color
of split-pea soup.

It watches and smiles
as angels are beaten
to the sidewalk.
Its heart is made of concrete.

This word is frequently found
smoking cigarettes in snowstorms.




This word is
a silken cloud
in a sullen sky.

This word’s lips
are made of silly putty.
It has the lopsided grin
of a hungover hamster.

Its eyes bite like horseflies.
It has the laughter of
a small cretinous monkey.

This word is a truth
known by our bones.




This word was born during the time
of the wandering stars.
Every morning, it lifts its
eyes towards heaven.

It lives in Burracho Beach, California.
Its mother is Emma Bovary.
Its father is Ebenezer Scrooge.

This word is a cool remove
from the language of the heart.
Its mouth is small,cold, and bitter.

Its heart is buried
beneath a pile of pennies.
Its soul is a gilded cage
holding two confused doves.

Every evening this word
buries its face in its hands.


David Kowalczyk lives in the small cannery town of Oakfield, New York.  His poetry and fiction have appeared in seven anthologies and over one hundred magazines and journals scattered across the globe from Canada to Wales to Turkey 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 Books, New York, 1994, and "Hunger Enough:  Living Spiritually in a Consumer Society", edited by Nita Penfold, Pudding House, Columbus, Ohio, 2004).  Other more obscure anthologies include "Still Waters" by Penhaligon Page, Wales, 1999, "Waging Words for Peace", Niagara River Press, Buffalo, 2004, and "The Maynard Anthology", Toronto, 2008. David's body of poetry can be viewed at by typing in the name "David Kowalczyk" and clicking on the option, "search by poet".  Feel free to contact him at .

David's work has appeared in Offcourse #35, Six Poems and in Offcourse #40, Five New Poems.


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