Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Two Poems , by Janet Buck.


Defiant Eye

In slits of a licorice shroud,
my eyes glitter with rage and pride,
as I walk whole cities to vote.
You cannot imagine
nooses I've lived,
pillows suppressing my sighs,
minds of the tyrants writing the rules
I've silently thrust in the trash.
I've seen my sisters strung
from branches, blessings beaten
from their breasts, bleeding
through Trojan scars.

"The first thing which Allah
created was the pen."
How strange that a man,
but not a woman uses ink.
It is Qadar. It is the law.
I argue loudly with my eyes,
weeping for thin diaries,
spines of books I cannot touch,
my cheeks ungrazed by wind.

The black Black Day of April 28th,
a shot heard 'round the world.
Is anybody listening?
In neighboring Afghanistan,
November 1st, a poet dies
because she writes.
My finger is purple with proof
I exist in a world I dare not trust.
My right to choose has always been
only the muscle of dreams.


Touching the Burn

How strange for you to arrive
bearing a white poinsettia,
something living and velvet and soft
when grazing your palm
is gripping a crumbling loaf of rye.
Eight months I have suffered
without a shouldering elm or shade,
without your voice to mitigate
nagging thoughts of suicide.

You ask me which leg they removed
as if I'm a doll or a table and chairs
glue and nails could readily fix.
We fill in craters of silence with chatter;
of course the gravel never stays
in potholes so ravaged and terribly deep.
I've needed a mother for maps,
yet piled deceptions blocked that road —
fear is the plastron I'll wear to my death.
We are a kitchen of cupboards bare.

A temporary nurse and aid,
liquor will dress the wounds we've sown,
anesthetize the rawest nerve.
I wonder why I bother to cook,
peel and crush cloves of garlic,
wrestle with lavish basil leaves,
shave a brick of parmesan we can't afford —
desperate for scents, I guess,
pungent with drafts of a home.

You sit by Father's side
and play the thorn in mine —
as if you enjoy the absence of any embrace.
Later tonight, when dishes are done,
my anger will christen a poem and I'll regret
how arms strike out in constant reach.
My hands should be smarter
from touching the burn.



Janet Buck is a six-time Pushcart Nominee. Her poetry has recently appeared in Octavo, Poetry, Offcourse, The Pedestal Magazine, Facets Magazine, and hundreds of journals worldwide. This fall, her work is scheduled to appear in Wicked Alice, Kaleidowhirl, and 2River View. Beckoned By The Reckoning, Buck's third print collection of poetry, was recently released by PoetWorks Press. Her second print collection of poetry, Tickets to a Closing Play, was the winner of the 2002 Gival Press Poetry Award and was reviewed in Offcourse Issue #17, Summer 2003, by Robert W. Greene. For links to more of her work, see:

Janet Buck's poems have appeared in Offcourse in:

Issue #21, Fall 2004, The Leg Shop",

Issue #20, Summer 2004,Three Poems

Issue #19, Winter 2004, Four Poems and In the Shadow of the Globe: Where History Comes to Life by Michelle Cameron. Review by Janet I. Buck.

Issue #18, Fall 2003, Two Poems

Issue #16, March 2003, Three Poems

Issue #15, November 2002, Three Poems,

Issue #14, Summer 2002, Yolki Blues

Issue #12, Winter 2002, Love Should Play Fortissimo

Issue #10, Summer 2001, Two Poems

Issue #7, Summer 2000, "Flan" and "Obsession's Deep Obsidian"

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