ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by JR Solonche


Let them get off on it,
the philosophers, the physicists.

Let them get it on,
the Buddhists. the neuroscientists.

All I need to know is how to turn it off.
And turn it on again.


Song of Loss

I’ve lost what teachers said.
I’ve lost my place in line.
I’ve lost trees, oak and pine.
But I’ve never lost my head.

I’ve lost a poem’s thread.
I lost the blonde one, Joyce.
And Sue, my second choice.
But I’ve never lost my head.

I lost my best friend, Ted.
I lost one more to crime.
I’ve lost, oh, so much time.
But I’ve never lost my head.

Of snakes I lost my dread.
Of spiders lost my fear.
I’ve lost my fishing gear.
But I’ve never lost my head.

I’ve lost from A to Zed.
I’ve lost my shirt, the white.
I’ve lost my best eyesight.
But I’ve never lost my head.


Around Here

It depends on
the day of the week.
It depends on
the hour of the day
Usually quiet one way
or another.
But when the kids
get off their buses
and onto their dirt bikes,
and the fathers of the sons 
spend their Saturdays 
and Sundays on 
their Harley-Davidsons,
I swear I don’ know
how the birds know
where to go.

Professor Emeritus of English at SUNY Orange, J.R. Solonche has published poetry in more than 500 magazines, journals, and anthologies since the early 70s, including The New Criterion, The New York Times, The Threepenny Review, The American Scholar, The Progressive, Poetry Northwest, Salmagundi, The Literary Review, The Sun, The American Journal of Poetry, Poet Lore, Poetry East, The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and Free Verse. 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), The Time of Your Life (Adelaide Books), The Porch Poems (Deerbrook Editions , 2020 Shelf Unbound Notable Indie Book), Enjoy Yourself  (Serving House Books), Piano Music (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize by Serving House Books),  For All I Know (Kelsay Books), A Guide of the Perplexed (Serving House Books), The Moon Is the Capital of the World (WordTech Communications), Years Later (Adelaide Books), The Dust (Dos Madres Press), Selected Poems 2002-2021 (nominated for the National Book Award by Serving House Books), Life-Size (Kelsay Books), The Five Notebooks of Zhao Li (Adelaide Books), and coauthor with his wife Joan I. Siegel of Peach Girl:Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). He lives in the Hudson Valley.



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