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 Robert Lietz




In Faith                   

     I see you everywhere, Leroy, with scraps and scraps,
immediate and timely, and subject again,
in woods-threading breezes, hear you everywhere, in cooing
you welcome more than I as I imagine,
with so many friends away or returning compromised, so
many casts of mind, cast lines, thoughts tidied
for recording, and forgettable, given time, except as they’re said
in faith or in denial, at tables
set for them, with these cheeses, these cubed artisanal loaves
or grill-crisped flatbreads, shared
as the daylight dims and the lamps inspire singing, songs
the ways you wrote them, and the stories
behind them all, between the lines and chords
and positioning a capo, completing
the Memorial Day yard-work, now that
the season’s set
     on us, and its intentions.



The Miniatures

     Here, in this trimmed space, I could ask you yet, to make
this certain, possible, and you, Leroy,
could answer me, say what the models were, pieced, painted
and decaled, modified as kits allowed,
by blades and fillers and fine-grade papers and clean brushes,
working the marvels up, the miniatures,
recalled, this afternoon, by the spruce, and, a color match,
the chiminea siders moved, and
siders left as is when they were finished, returned again
to the deck’s edge, planned
for flag or field stone extending, attracting these bees
we hadn’t guessed, but
not the best of spots, be sure, a bee should
     trust its summer to.



Almost Visual

     Our grandson’s breakfast’s done, the morning’s done.
I’m back with the porch fan
we’ll need for the enclosure in still weather, evenings no breeze
relieves, as summer asserts its own designs
on our shared acres, and an impulsive intermittent breeze
means warmer yet, determined
and almost visual, so that it seems, you joke, you never visited,
or felt our anticipation then, with so many
words expecting just so much from company, as the branches
frown, until the winds, the availing winds pick up,
parting the leaves for the sharper visions we seem good for,
having feared the worst from politics, from
candidates retreating into air-conditioned tour-rides,
so they do not remember sweat, splashed
with cologne, to make their giddy
     selves presentable.




     As unemployed as you or I, in Manchester or Canton,
they’ll let us know, be sure of it, 
though no circus regales us, no circus colors, monuments,
and we are unannounced, no less
than the good ground under us, the earth imprinted
as if we needed it, beneath
the star-pricked dark they trade us to be going, these stars
we know don’t burn for us, over
the clear-cut acres anywhere.  And the party, we know,
does not, speaking far more certainly,
have any of us in mind, except, less surely, it may be, steeped
in some grade three, grade seven history
they mis-visit, with the cribbed, treat-punctuated fictions
she believes in, too cute, herself,
to fall for chapters as they happened, and, as she
imagines, sips, inspiring
the tea-spirited, as their spokes-gal,
     as she must.





1. So You Know

     It’s enough to enjoy the flocks, the schooling, to witness
if not enjoy, though some cannot sit still for her promotions, who
might, if asked, remember well, this meeting of birds
and fish and candidates.  And she, preferring her high-fenced yard
and the play-lists heard within, she welcomes the late
dog-walking light, without a chance she might return home
wonder-struck, but misunderstood in woods around,
where that large tree dropped and bees seek hungrily, but this is Ohio,
so you know, and this groundhog three-some suns itself,
believing they own the cracked bridge spanning a muddy cut,
the sometime dusty, sometimes creek-minding gash
between the snapper-troubled pond and the spring’s tree-wall, starting
where trim ends, the pond going green behind, though
we suggested amurs once, and neighbors agreed, demurred, so
even the heron’s shy, or will be by mid-summer, when
the green-solid disk completes itself, and becomes, be sure
of it, an invitation ignored, when new limbs green
and limbs stocked now with a season’s prolific finches
seem scores we can’t resist, as tulip poplars
lift their bright gold chalices, cupping
the light a season’s green news


2. Across Great Distances

     There’ll be time for the patience, for the urgency a well-decided summer brings to us, whatever the patron politics
played out in refrigerated card-rooms, the choices an afternoon exacts, or we, having to accept our shares in the designing.  Then
this gold-capped green-barreled Waterman, reflecting, starts me
thinking hummingbirds, drawing my gaze outdoors,
seeing through panes and screen into this moment and inflecting, through my own image say, the ways a child might,
through wings, sensing his way into and through a Chinese puzzle
his two hands seem married by, noting the others
have not quit yet or solved its secrets by their doings, these paper
or plastic characters, and the hands at play,
like rabbits, defying gravity, even as wishes must, and birthdays
exploring woods around the house, shaking
their spiders out, where all we exchange, display, or put away
for good needs no connecting, no divining adamance,
or a younger sibling’s taunts, heard across great distances,
when all you have learned from years
and miles – policed, polite, permitted, if that matters –
seems undeliverable, a caprice so absolute
     no holiday can penetrate.


Robert Lietz says: "My poems have appeared in more than one hundred journals in the U.S. and Canada, in Sweden and U.K, including Agni Review, Antioch Review, Carolina Quarterly, The Colorado Review, Epoch, The Georgia Review, Mid-American Review, The Missouri Review, The North American Review, The Ontario Review, Poetry, and Shenandoah. Eight collections of poems have been published, including Running in Place (L’Epervier Press,) At Park and East Division ( L’Epervier Press,) The Lindbergh Half-Century (L’Epervier Press,) The Inheritance (Sandhills Press,) and Storm Service (Basfal Books). Basfal also published After Business in the West: New and Selected Poems. Besides the print publications poems have appeared in several webzines. A net search for "Robert Lietz poetry" will provide a representative selection. I have also completed several other print and hypertext (hypermedia) collections of poems for publication, including Character in the Works: Twentieth-Century Lives, West of Luna Pier, Spooking in the Ruins, Keeping Touch, and Eating Asiago & Drinking Beer. I spend a good deal of time taking, post-processing, and printing photographs I have been making for the past several years, exploring the relationship between the image-making and the poems I have made and am exploring."

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