ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by J. R. Solonche

A Bird, Very Plain and Black

A bird, very plain and black, 
but not as black as a crow,
nor as lustrous, as though 
his sheen has been rubbed off,
for the third time I have seen 
this week singing on the same
spot on the wire. Hey, brother, 
haven't found a mate yet?
He keeps singing the same song 
he sang last time and the time before.
Just as strong. Just as clear. 
Shinier now than the first time.


The Odor of Lilies

The odor of lilies.
I don't know if it's good or bad.
I stop what I'm doing and concentrate on
the odor of the lilies but still don't know if it's good or bad.
I go down and put my nose down the throat of one of the lilies.
Still I do not know if it is good or bad.
So be it then.
Odor of lilies.
Neither good nor bad. Or?
Or both good and bad?
Let me tell you something about ambiguity.
I've learned this the hard way.
From more than 40 years of writing poetry.
Too little is bad for the brain.
Too much is bad for the heart.
So, yes, let us admire the tall slender white lilies.
But only as we admire the model with the mole on her cheek.


After the Movie

"See? It didn't end so badly,"
I said.

"She didn't die.
She only got married off

to that old man."
You didn't say anything.

But the look you gave me
was so deeply cutting,

it severed my balls
from the inside.


Dunkin Donuts

I asked the college kid
at Dunkin Donuts what
he was studying at college.
"Psychology," he said.
"And why's that?"  "So
I can know myself," he said.
"That's cool. A bachelor's
degree in psychology will
certainly help with that, but
do you think, honestly now,
you can make a living like
that, knowing yourself?"
"Sure," he said. "Why not?"

I gave him a $20 tip.


J R Solonche

J.R. Solonche is author of Beautiful Day (Deerbrook Editions), Won't Be Long (Deerbrook Editions), Heart's Content (Five Oaks Press), Invisible (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize by Five Oaks Press), The Black Birch (Kelsay Books), I, Emily Dickinson & Other Found Poems (Deerbrook Editions), In Short Order (Kelsay Books), 110 Poems (forthcoming from Deerbrook Editions), and coauthor of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). He lives in the Hudson Valley.



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