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 J.R. Solonche.


While I waited there
in the terminal at Newark,
I spotted something
out of the corner of my eye.
It was a bird flying back
and forth along the ceiling,
and because I was
in an airline terminal,
I thought a small ironic
thought and smiled a small
ironic smile and made
a mental note to write
a small ironic poem later,
but just then another
passenger turned to her
companion and said,
Look at that bird flying
around trying to get out,

and her companion
turned to her and said,
No, I don’t think so.
Would you trade
all this food and shelter
for a hundred feet of sky?

So I took back my
small ironic thought,
my small ironic smile,
my mental note about
my small ironic poem
to write theirs straight
from left to right.


My thumbs hurt
both of them
more so the right
Of course
said Dr. Strober
the human body’s
most used joint’s
the right thumb joint
Then thumbs down
to prehensile thumbs
Thumbs up
you don’t need
them for golf
Was he sober?

(From a List of Related Searches)

To a skylark,
Percy Shelley is just anybody lying

on his back on the grass,
his head in some woman’s lap,

tapping a pencil against her thigh,
tah ta dah ta tah dah dah ta tah dah dah.

Percy Shelley to a skylark?
Nothing special.


They look different
from country trees,
these city trees,
and although
there are fewer,
which means you must
look at them longer,
I do not think
that’s the reason.
I think it is because
the city sky
looks different from
the country sky.
I think that is why
these trees of the city
look so different
from country trees.

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, in #45, Four Poems and in #49,


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