ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

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


Four by Stefan Lovasik



People need a few things: air, water, food, shelter
and someone/something to blame.

Rabbi Abraham Twerski, M.D.

again we talk/: the typical routine of our complexes/
the pantomime of dissonant autobiographies exposing
the low burn of loss and shame/ what we now blame and paint
the mirrors of our delusions/
to reflect only the perfect ghosts of what we think we are/
our poor diamonds of expectations and perceptions of being complete over
this expanse of time/ safe in the illuminations of our amnesia/  
the comfort of our disdain/ our fever of difference/
blind in the expected labyrinths of self/:
refusing to enter these nights of the soul and now find in our rage
we are screaming/ the looping satryicon of our lies/ stepping through
these mirrors to become what we’ve always despised/:
our diseased projections/
our paralysis in these necessary arcs of becoming




Et le printemps m’a apporté l’affreux rire de l’idiot.


To Hart Crane

Your red hand on the rail,
the fullness of the grey-capped waves
lifts you to those old parapets
and the white doves you captured

and snapped through the cables:
the cinema of dawns, of Brooklyn;
the stone strings of your diapason
that fashioned you from the genesis

argument with the sea.
This passage that came in a blaze of tides,
the modern operas that forced your cry
to find the final blackened heart in this hiss

of your dark water’s liberty.




please say hello to my monkey/: my smiling monkey, brutal monkey, my funny monkey, holy
monkey. i am monkey and monkey is me/in me/with me/ always/: my monkey eyes, my monkey teeth, my monkey brain. we are the jungle blood and find impossible places to hide and dance
and seek/ during the day we eat bananas and bushes/: at night we tear flesh and toast it with
lemons and tongues/: at night we tell stories, rehearse all the myths/discuss the elements of the psyche without speaking/
we are the place where secrets are kept/ we are the language not known but felt/ the place where the opposites
disappear: the moonless jungle within of all things forbidden and desired/:
we are the shadow monkey,
we are the lovely monkey,
my complete monkey me/ our dance about to begin/
so please say hello/ we have already eaten
and we’re just lying here on our monkey bones –




i was birthed in the red clay of alabama and georgia/ men in green suits handed me
weapons/: mosquitoes and snakes
taught me the predator’s compass
to breathe
to find the opening
to draw blood/
the sway of pines and flight of crows/: the trajectory of the kill/
the swamps my altar/
i crowned myself with razor wire and walked into
the black waters to drain my blood/ shed my skin while  
they whispered one shot/ one shot one kill/: one shot one shot/ from over 800 yards i was perfect and they screamed/ they
handed me medals trophies and a beret with the assassin’s pin/
i made unspeakable sacrifices and covenants to darkness/:
i shaved my head and painted my face the colors of my altar/
filled my veins with the holy pagan waters and slithered
into dog day/ all souls day/: the days of the dead/: from the hague to chantrea to the highlands they didn’t know how the air would explode from
their lungs – the force of the ground coming up/ they didn’t know how their world would collapse – the speed at which
blood flows/ they didn’t know how their bodies would twist into cruel
angles – the immediacy of nothing/:
they will never know how their bones and blood would shake me from sleep/
they will never know how i now carry them like stones/ my black waters heart
that continues to break and moves me to this rebirth/
this absolution
i still seek


Stefan Lovasik's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Atlantic, Buffalox, Yhe Commons, Frameworks, Gravel Literary Magazine, Main Street Rag, Meat for Tea: The Valley Review, Rattle and Uppagus.
His collection, Persona and Shadow (FlutterPress), has been praised by Bruce Weigl, Jan Beatty and John Amen.
He is a three time nominee for the 2015 Pushcart Prize. This is his first appearance in Offcourse.

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