ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Rose Mary Boehm

Blue Blood

Richard III, last of the Plantagenets,
fell on Bosworth Field. His blood ran red.

Black blood oozed from the baddies
who met Philippe Marlowe.

In the first color films blood looked
like the ketchup it probably was.

When the death star battles with Luke’s
band of braves, Princess Leia’s blood
looks real enough, and on TV we’ve got
horrible Horatio hamming it with red blood,
darkening exactly as it should.

We see blood on the ripped-off limbs
of bomb victims in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Prime time. ‘Hey, they show Kill Bill.
Let’s have a TV dinner.’

They’ve perfected blood. Dark red, crimson,
scarlet, ruby, burgundy, spraying, drying.

With uncharacteristic prissiness
the TV refers to it as ‘sanitary napkin’.
With great care they apply
women’s menstrual blood.
In bright baby blue.



meet me at the old
Victoria station hotel
make it eleven.

hookers, lovers, trains
pass sooty windows

don’t bring luggage
just remember
how I loved you
last winter in Antwerp.

your wet skin reflects
the almost light
under these high ceilings,
bent venetian blinds hide
curtains torn by time,
the station clock
has no mercy.


Lucius Quinctius Cincinatus
or A 16-Day War

His wife brought him the toga from their cottage.
The plough was left where it fell.
The new Magister Populi crossed the river Tiber
after Rome’s defeat in the Alban Hills.

The plough was left where it fell
when the Aequians trapped Minucius's army.
The new Magister Populi crossed the river Tiber
and named Tarquitius his Master of the Horse.

The Aequians had trapped Minucius's army,
and Rome’s young men gathered at Campus Martius
to follow Tarquitius, the Master of the Horse.
Cincinatus himself led the infantry.

Between Tarquitius, Master of the Horse,
and the infantry the Aequians were slain,
and Cincinatus, who had led the infantry,
returned to the plough he’d left where it fell.


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’, once for ‘Best of Net’. Her latest: DO OCEANS HAVE UNDERWATER BORDERS? (Kelsay Books July 2022), WHISTLING IN THE DARK (Cyberwit July 2022), and SAUDADE (December 2022) are available on Amazon. A new manuscript, LIFE STUFF, will be published by Kelsay Books in February 2024.

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