ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Peter Waldor


Character Instruction

At the punk monastery
it is not Chinese characters
in the morning and Chicago
mid-century graffito
in the afternoon
you may even see
the two styles combined
and you may see characters
you have never seen


A Novitiate

A novitiate at the punk monastery
was in his black leotard following
a swallow tail butterfly
according to the master's guidelines
but he was following too far away
out of respect for the creature
and mistook its unique striping
he ended up following different
butterflies getting lost in the
monastery's preserve
he found an old mine shaft
and sheltered in its shadow
master vicious instructed
only to follow closer

Tattoo Area

At the punk monastery the tattoo
and piercing hall is full all day
like the forge of a medieval castle
no knights waiting for gauntlets
just novitiate punks
hoping to be tattooed
and pierced by master itchy palm
one day he did two hundred eighty
piercings once he hung a
silver tear and a gold tear
from a man's nipples
one would think it would get
monotonous all the little gasps
and smiles at the end
but itchy palm is happy each day
he is just worried who will
replace him when his arthritis
is too much to bear
who will keep the punk monastery
traditions alive


Peter Waldor is the author is six books of poetry.  His latest is Gate Posts With No Gate, from Shanti Arts, a collaboration with 15 visual artists. He lives in Telluride, Colorado.

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