ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

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


New Poems by Geordie de Boer.


My Laptop Has Been Drinking
            …tribute for Tom Waits…

When I type
            the west is dying, seeking calm.
it autocorrects to

And when I type
            Are there any tigers roaming the forests of our nights?
it comes out
            I piss on you all from a considerable height.

When I write a poem about my life it flows like a stream
polluted by the heavy metals of my childhood,
and if I catch myself,
bend the poem toward an easier feeling,
I sound like a sixty-eight year old shit-head
polishing a silver spoon with my tongue.

My laptop has been drinking,
                                                not I,
                                                         but I‘m going to join it
right now…

(fade out, singing)       …I’ll have one more for my laptop/and one more for the road…



Let’s begin with a house, not a home,
which would start us off on the wrong foot.
There is a young-gone-old woman with
too many children to count at one telling
and not enough shoes to go around,
a man who’s frayed and angry,
a house slouching by a road that goes
to golden places, or so believe the woman
and children. I’d say “her children”,
but that would be a lie since she
doesn’t claim them, nor do they her.
She’s been forced into the house
and the children with a shoehorn. Her soul
has had a hole worn through the heel
from a poor fit. Every morning
she watches the man drive away to work, 
the children scatter across the road
like tattered dreams, and people in cars
passing her by as if she’s roadside litter.


How to Hunt Crows

    …and the crow
        Makes wing to the rooky wood.
                                   Macbeth III, 2

As light begins to burden waning night
fly to a rooky wood choked
by scrubby oak with a sedgy stream
running through. Select a root
on which to perch and eye the newts at play
along the edges of the brook.
Match their patience, like a rook about
to castle its king. When the carefree crows
come winging as incautious as guests
to their host, don’t slay them at their rest.
You’ve accomplished what you wished.


Persistence of Form

This sameness, this tenacity of shape—
the clouds, the trees, the blaming others
for the state we find ourselves in—
tricks us to think should we blink our eyes
and open them again all will remain
unchanged, the dullness of our lives,
how the tide flows in only to go out again,
how stones don’t move unless pushed
from behind. Are we blind to the camel-
shaped cloud changing to a whale,
the foam-swirl that curves to the right
rather than the left this time, the frost-
loosened boulder tumbling down the bank
to crash in the roadway before our
astonished faces? And how the face,
strained by years of painful restraint,
dissolves through fate into a shape that
only stubborn resolve insists is the same.


On the Same Page    

People share a common empathy,
view a situation the same way,
which is to say they’re…

under the same weather
over the same rainbow
by the same hook and crook
near the same miss
next to the same nothing
beside the same self
with the same malice aforethought
down the same drain
through the same looking-glass
in the same thick of things
between the same rock and hard place
from the same time immemorial
around the same corner
at the same loggerhead
for the same Heaven’s sake…

but, more likely, each reads
a different book altogether.


Geordie de Boer's. Geordie de Boer wrestles with rhythm (often thrown) and wrangles with rhyme (internal only) in rural Washington. He’s recently appeared in elimae, The Camel Saloon, and Right Hand Pointing. Visit him at Cockeyed Fits ( -- Geordie de Boer

Here is a list of his appearances in Offcourse.

Return to Offcourse Index.