ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Four Poems and Images by Joachim Frank

 1) Cover Girl

Cover Girl

“Cover Girl” by Joachim Frank

In her eyes the touch-me,  
the I-have-seen-it,  
the come-with-me,  
the I-know-it-all. 

Meanwhile, her arms  
cover her breasts – 
the sharp impression  
her nipples could leave  
on expecting skin  
is wasted, lost. 

Her legs are drawn up  
in the bashful pose 
of a mermaid.  Her eyes  
seek you out, but you  
are unknown to her.   
Her eyes are trained 
to give you a promise  
she will never keep. 

Consider a simple inversion:   
imagine her blind-folded, 
walking proudly,  
listening intently,  
breasts protruding  
like crescent moons,  

her pubic hair 
catching the scattered rays  
of the late afternoon sun. 

Now consider  
a theorem of algebra  
rushing through her head. 



2) My Kind of God

My Kind of God

“My Kind of God” by Joachim Frank

It rains bread  
in the neighborhood: 
at eight o’clock sharp,  
a door opens at the back 
of the neighbor’s house. 
A wrinkled hand  
fires off another loaf. 
Tails twitch  
in anticipation. 

Twenty slices  
hit the ground, 
others hit the squirrels  
head-on; sparrows,  
crows burst in,  
to snatch up crumbs, 
today’s entitlement. 

That mad woman  
behind the door 
of the claptrap house, 
whose face I’ve never seen? 
She’s my kind of God. 



3) Alpha Wave

Alpha Wave

“Alpha Wave” by Joachim Frank

The noise in my brain  
is pink, 
as the sickle of my thumbnail. 
The telephone, when it rings 
adds another wave 
to the tide of my thoughts. 

The noise in my brain 
is curled. 
The noise in my brain  
is what I hear night and day. 
The noise – 
it is hard to bear, but I like it: 
it is the sound, the ocean 
of my childhood. 

The noise in my brain  
is restless, is deep; 
the noise is noisy, is pink. 
The noise travels, it lingers; 
it wanders, it spills incessantly 
into the night. 

My brain is flooded with noise. 
My brain is wrapped in silk – 
cool leotard of my mind. 
My brain is curved inwards, 
it curls along forbidden trajectories; 
it curls as it bathes in noise. 

The noise of my brain is restless, is cool; 
it keeps me from humming at sunset. 
The noise, though it travels  
with the speed of light, 
is but a small distance away – 
noise looking out  
for more noise. 

The brain thinks of itself, 
along convoluted tracks, 
thinks of the noise in the brain 
as it thinks of itself 
for years, eons to come. 

Gray matter 
matters most to itself, 
thinks of noise to come 
for generations, 
mutters of noisy matters. 
It thinks pinkly and thoroughly 
along old tracks, and yonder. 



4) Nice Rug 

Nice Rug

“Nice Rug” by Joachim Frank

“Nice rug,” says my brother-in-law 
to my sister, as we all sit in my parents’ house 
mourning our second loss. 

The human mind 
is immensely practical; isn’t this 
how we survive and avoid being crushed? 
As earth goes back to earth, our love 
turns inward, gropes for an image,  
a token. 

For long, my mother lived the life 
of a plant, in a silence that I felt 
in my unsonly distance, across the ocean, 
in a land she’d seen only on TV. 
“Nice rug,” those two words 
invoke her presence more  
than the tolling of a bell. 
“Go right ahead, take it,” I hear her say. 
“But don’t fight.  Just for once.” 



Joachim Frank is a German-born scientist and writer living in New York City and Great Barrington, MA. He took writing classes with William Kennedy, Steven Millhauser, Eugene Garber, and Jayne Ann Philipps. He has published a number of short stories and prose poems in, among other magazines, Eclectica, Offcourse, Fiction Fix, Hamilton Stone Review, Conium Review, Bartleby Snopes, Red Ochre Lit, theeels, Infiniti's Kitchen, StepAway Magazine, Textobj, and Wasafiri. Frank is a recipient of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. His first novel, "Aan Zee," was published in 2019 by University Press of the South. Three others are still cooking. His website runs a blog about everything and carries links to all his literary work.

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