ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by J.R. Solonche



O, open-minded one!
O, beautiful blue-veined butterfly!

I thank you.
I thank you for being here.

I thank you for opening yourself up to me.
I thank you for letting me fill your space with my inscrutability.

I thank you for your blank stare.
I thank you for your silent dare.



O, ink-arrow, O, where
would you be now
if not now in my hand?
Would you be now
writing a shopping list?
Would you be now
signing a check?
Would you be now
penning a letter
to a distant cousin?
Or would you be now
writing a poem better than
“Very Short Ode to My Pen”?



O, ink!
You are the blood of poetry!
You are the tears of the poets!
You are the blue of the sea!
You are the bottomless blue of the sea!
O, ink, I do not know where you have come from,
but you are welcome to stay here forever!
O, ink!



A myth is missing.
There never were enough.
There has always been a space.
It has always been a chasm too wide to cross.
There has always been a burning question.
It has always burned the tongue.
There has always been the gaping gap between the hills.
It has always been impossible for the moon to fill.
A myth is missing.
It should have been.
It should have been meant to explain the future.
It should have been meant to explain the origin of failure.
It should have been meant to explain how fire begat desire.
A myth is missing.
There should have been one more.
There should have been one more behind the temple door.
Certainly a myth is missing.



I had my eye on
the broken scythe
in the corner of the barn,
covered in cobwebs
next to an old churn.
I asked him how much.
It’s not for sale he said.
How did it break?
I asked. Did he strike
a stone while harvesting
the wheat?  No. He broke
it against a tree while
remembering his high school
sweetheart. It’s not for sale,
he said again. Is it all
right if I write a poem
about it? Sure, he said.
Somebody should, I guess.
Thanks, I said. He smiled.
Then waved, more or less.


J.R. Solonche has been publishing poetry in more than 300 magazines, journals, and anthologies since the early 70s. He is the 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), Tomorrow, Today and Yesterday (Deerbrook Editions), True Enough  (Dos Madres Press), The Jewish Dancing Master (Ravenna Press), If You Should See Me Walking on the Road (Kelsay Books), In a Public Place (Dos Madres Press), To Say the Least (Dos Madres Press), For All I Know (Kelsay Books), The Time of Your Life (Adelaide Books), The Porch Poems (Deerbrook Editions), Enjoy Yourself  (Serving House Books), Piano Music(forthcoming from Serving House Books), The Moon Is the Capital of the World  (forthcoming October from Word Tech Communications), and coauthor of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). He lives in the Hudson Valley.

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