ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Glen Armstrong

Mysterious Gift

It surfaces. Uncurls. Transubstantiates on its own terms. Makes do with its own dimensions, tuning out the yellow ink and chatter, white paint and promises. It does not include batteries.

The small print hides what the large print neglects. Love's package is of similar design. Side effects may include nervous spasms, delusions of grandeur, cirrhosis of the liver, the inability to distinguish paint swatches, the inability to distinguish quality poetry.

I return from the store with Carnation Instant Breakfast and Everreadies as if each moment can be stirred into milk, as if eternity and my willingness to kiss its cheek are mathematical constants.


Second Place


I have been careless,
as was father.

The fence needs tending.
The bird with the broken wing



The rest of the world
is tied for first.

They resent that I am
the only one left

to congratulate them.


Song about Broken Glass  

Collect enough knives and soldier's hats
and you will end up

with the others,
screaming at clouds and wondering how

to get back to your militaria.
It’s clear

that I’ve tried to take comfort in that
which can never

offer comfort: drum and fife,
man and wife,

life and death.
It all ends up in conflict on the couch

while the radio prattles on
in the background

about how much it loves the sound
of broken glass.


Antonyms for "Risk"

I ask the grocer what percentage
of my Cocoa Krispies

is dead bugs and mouse droppings.
He says he can check

but it’s not very high,
not an actual health concern.

He used to study physics.
He used to raise his hand and ask

about the space between quarks.
His daughter gets that crazy

look in her eye after shaving
the sides of her head

(or so he says,)
and he wonders if that ever happens

to my daughter.
I laugh and say, "Well, yes."

I used to listen to The Clash
when I was their age.

He says we seem to have a lot
in common and could grab

a beer after work sometime
if I'd like.

I say, "Sure, but I'm pretty busy
until after Thursday."

Author Glen Armstrong (he/him) holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters. His poems have appeared in ConduitPoetry Northwest, and Another Chicago Magazine

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