ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Bob Stout


Happy Hour

Edging through the crowded tables, "Hey!"
and "Hi!" and "Glad t'see ya!" I sought refuge
in a corner of the fern bar's dance
expanse, a bit aglow from my first pint,

the lawyers at their corner of the bar,
jeweler, bankers in their cluster, architect,
rec worker, pot trimmer sharing lies,
little clots of liberal professors,

a few still-clinging-to-the-Sixties hippies
wearing New Age shirts and old tie-dye.
Lonely, lots of them I thought, despite
lovers, exes, wives and husbands, yet-to-bes

as though in all our high-achieving
we'd abandoned little children way back
down the line and now they clamored to be
noticed, "Mamma, mamma! Come and get me!

Tell me smart and cute and pretty!"
As the music started, partners paired off
and I nodded, wishing for warm cookies
and a snuggly teddy bear.



San José del Cabo, Mexico


frothing white
in moonlight

buy one!


time shares
jet skis

warm tortillas
cold beer

mariachi music
lonesome tears



When He Was Almost Two

he was the center of a world enclosed
by a thin row of Chinese elms, a lilac bush,
cornstalks lisping in the breeze.
He absorbed chattering crows,
his mother's laugh, his father's height
doubling down to press him
against sweaty factory worker clothes.
Years later he would hear that they were poor
—suffering through unhappy times—
but those to him just words, like words in books,
not real like throwing rocks
in the irrigation ditch or catching
snowflakes in an outstretched glove.


Robert Joe Stout's poetry reflects experiences from childhood in Wyoming, adolescence in northern California, the Air Force, college in Mexico, marriage, fatherhood, years of journalistic activity, emigration. His poems have appeared in Sublimal Poetry, The Tishman Review, Poem, Third Wednesday and elsewhere. He's been the recipient of journalistic awards including spot news writing. His work has appeared several times in Offcourse.

Return to Offcourse Index.