ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Richard Weaver

It’s not as if

there’s no tomorrow or yesterday where history goes to die.
And life is a televised show made entirely of outtakes,
the absence of life writ large. The catch in the catechism.

The rosary’s not so hidden thorn. My Uncle Dodo
and his stuffy wife Carole Pigeon. A featherless pair
and childless eggs as well. But fond of Thanksgiving,

especially thighs which they rubbed together with glee,
chanting a reel while jigging a jig. A pair they were
even dead they were lively. Ever lively they were deadly

when their prayers were sliced and served with giblet gravy
and the obligatory carved cranberry sauce. Oh, why dost thou
forsake the pure flesh of fruit, and antioxidants extraordinaire,

found only in acidic bogs, the flavored flower of Busy Buzzy Bee?


Indifference can’t be bothered,

remains agnostic, has no truck with the pride of ambition, but can managed on an average day an unhinged yawn or two. An onion smothered smile. An echo stuttering down a dank alley. The twitch of a glass eye. A damn not given. A sock without heel or hole. What’s left if you keep score from home. When no difference is unimportant, and doubt collects dust from inanimate objects. In deference to no one named All. A Bride requesting in lieu of returnable gifts or store-specific gift cards, newly minted large denominational presidents. No exceptions under penalty of perpetual vacuum. A void to avoid if pitfalls fail and primordial primates prowl in absentia. Absent that there can be no reason to insist presence be present. Nothing here to see. No regrets strung together like paste pearls. No matter the question the answer sleeps deep in a tar pit. Remorse remains a seven-letter word for self-pity, a compostable colostomy bag, invisible footnotes in a blank bank book. Never confused with diffidence. On medium-rare occasions considered agnostic. Give not a great god damn for Bobbie Zim who defers to no man no how. Large in quality and range of my ennui. And unanimous in that. Amble. Have read the wall-eyed Wally Stevens. Mr. Beckett and Ionesco. Able students all. Time wasted if you were to bother. What barbed-wire reason could entice a rat to care about this passing world of noise masquerading as joy? This planet where the Pope and his pathetic minions, Oligarchs and el faux Presidente’s stockpile money and weapons for the coming, be there or be a scutoid, must see, once in a lifetime, one night only, Last Call. Apocalypse for all. As if a fillip mattered to the unburied. The disposable.


Monsieur Rat twitches

his eyebrows at a damsel in distress,
distress from him in point of fact.
He has her pinned, but is uninterested
in having his ratty way with her. She, being
a variation of rat different, but nonetheless
tasty, if gnawed slowly and alternated with
bites of cilantro. Monsieur Rat hesitates, muses
momentarily about his mass ratio and BWI,
his growing girth, the fact that he has gorged
mightily, enough that squeezing into his refuge hole
of choice, has become painful and problematic.
In his prime he easily passed through an opening
the size of a quarter. A connoisseur of flesh,
he prefers it fresh, not rancid. And feeling
his mind flip, then flop, he elects (never forget,
he is a démocratique rat) to release his catch,
discovering as he does that the soft teeth of mercy
have no bite, and those of vengeance are often fierce.


The author hopes to one day to once again volunteer with the Maryland Book Bank, and return as writer-in-residence at the James Joyce Pub. Recent pubs include: After the pause, Big Windows Rev., Black Moon Mag, Blue Unicorn, ellipsis, Gone Lawn, Mad Swirl, Misfit, New South Jrnl, Shot Glass Jrnl, & Spank the Carp. He’s the author of The Stars Undone (Duende Press, 1992). He also provided the libretto for a symphony, Of Sea and Stars, performed 4 times to date. Recently, his 160th prose poem was published. He remains a founder and former Poetry Editor of the Black Warrior Review.

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