ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by John P Kristofco


Singing Latin in the choir Christmas Eve…

…when I was ten,
marching through the middle of the pews,
cassock bunched around my feet,
in front because I was so short,
angelic though Babica said “hudic.”
We heard the great Vienna boys
singing at St. Stephen’s,
cherubic faces heavenward
toward  midnight’s star,
lifting perfect Latin to the sky,
smiling souls and hearts
in total comprehension of the verse,
transported to some higher place,
well above my venial thoughts of football
and the tree at home,
the lights,
the girl who sat beside me
in the room with Sister Bridget and the maps along the wall,
all these things that I would sing to
if I wasn’t busy mouthing
“pacem nobis veniamque,
erga jenus humanum.”


Lee Kaiser

I sometimes wonder what became of you
though I guessed you never made it,
whatever ‘it’s supposed to be,
slicked-back hair, pointed shoes,
cigarettes and beers in woods behind the school,
pool halls, street fights,
summer nights beyond the time
when we had given up the day,
walked our way down someone else’s path.
I hid my envy then, the fear,
pushed it back like doubts about the mysteries,
the history of always
coloring inside the lines.
So long in ‘give a damn,’
I wonder where you went.
Maybe it was jail
like my parents used to tell;
maybe it was heaven
like I thought when I was twelve;
maybe it was hell.



John P.(Jack) Kristofco, from Highland Heights, Ohio, is professor of English and the former dean of Wayne College in Orrville. He has published over five hundred poems and forty short stories in about two hundred different publications, including: Folio, Rattle, The Bryant Literary Review, The Cimarron Review,  Grasslimb, Iodine, Small Pond, The Aurorean,  The MacGuffin , Sierra Nevada Review, Blueline, Sheepshead Review, Slant, and Mobius.  He has published three collections of poetry,  A Box of Stones, Apparitions, and The Fire in Our Eyes with a fourth, The Timekeeper’s Garden, just released this March. He is currently working on a collection of short stories for publication next year. Jack has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times.

Publisher:  The Orchard Street Press
                   P.O. Box 280
                   Gates Mills, Ohio  44040

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