ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Rose Mary Boehm



Special earphones brought me a priceless gift.
They let me hear the higher frequencies again
and with them the full range of Kiri Te Kanawa’s gentle soprano.

Easter. I am not a believer, but then there is Bach.
There is “Ach, Golgathata” and
Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder”,
the well of ache, the death of love,
the betrayal with a kiss, the sudden absence of laughter.
The hot pain of a failure, and the knowledge
that a hungry black hole had opened,
devouring what I thought we’d built.

Music breaks locks to doors I can no longer see.
My new-found clarity of hearing
makes me bee-like.
I flit from E major to G minor,
from Baroque trumpets to the Mariachi
torturing the instrument with gusto,
take a crazy dip into The Chieftains, Enya, Adiemus and
Leonard Cohen’s baritone-voice poetry of spirit and sex,
Joni Mitchell, the Carpenters, Vivaldi, Mahler, Miles Davis,
Joaquín Rodrigo, Don McLean, Roy Orbison… I am drunk.

I swing from memories of a marriage on a fakir’s bed
to the delight of holding my babies,
indulging them—just one more, Mum—
with ‘Teddy Bear’s Picnic’.
Their soft, just bathed, shining faces sleepy
in the yellow light of the bedside lamp.

I lost ‘Stairways to Heaven’ when my kids spirited
all my Led Zeppelin albums into their LP collections
before complaining that mine contained nothing of interest.
They, in turn, gave me gifts of immense value.
‘We will we will rock you…’

“There ain’t no cure for love”


As soon as he left, I cut the onion

Of course I didn’t cry.
The doorframe shook and a couple of windows protested.

His hands in his coat pockets, his collar up, even though it is a fresh,
gentle spring morning in the London suburbs.

He’d been to the market. Dumped everything on the counter.
What killed me was that chicken with all the feathers attached.

Got it from a farmer? I am not my grandmother.
Just because I’d asked him to do the shopping. What a jerk.

I suppose I was a little shrill. Like the day I found a spider
in my bed. All I needed was a frog to kiss.


Author Rose Mary Boehm is a German-born British national living and writing in Lima, Peru, and author of two novels as well as seven poetry collections. Her poetry has been published widely in mostly US poetry reviews (online and print). She was twice nominated for a Pushcart. Her latest poetry collections: DO OCEANS HAVE UNDERWATER BORDERS? (Kelsay Books July 2022), WHISTLING IN THE DARK (Cyberwit July 2022), and SAUDADE (December 2022) are available on Amazon.

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