Offcourse Literary Journal

Three Poems, by Michael Vaughn.


The Bachelor Falls in Love with Eyes Wide Open

Too often the rose
too often the heart
too often the sickly sweet buzz of
dead Roman gods I want to
fall with open eyes
stand on the ledge and
push, film-reel spokes of passing floors to the
pavement, these avenues of air
this accident of love's birth.

Spin like a star to my side
line me up like so many
steely-eyed potatoes and
slice me into your stew.

I will not blink.


Election Day 2000

"What could be the purpose of the lies we continue to tell each other?" said
the stoplight to the pedestrian. "Walk, Don't Walk; blue-chip, high-tech;
Democrat, Republican — is there anything that still catches your breath
while the sky is blue?"

The pedestrian tipped his hat and crossed the highway, narrowly missing a
pancaked blackbird. In the middle of the beach he found an abandoned
television. He looked for a remote but apparently it already was.


Liquid Jonny

Tryin to figure why
bliss and blue are so close

Livin in big fine houses
stormin the night clubs of New York who have
discovered that my hands know
the jurisprudence of rhythm

When the words rise from my mouth they
pierce something soft and warm in these folks
leaves them shakin one end,
cryin with the other

Late night wanders bring me men who
ask questions like my answer
was somethin important

And high-limbed ladies hello me with
feathered voices but
they may as well be painted-up wax dummies

We took that thing we had and
sent it down the river in a basket only
this time
I don't think they're gonna find it.



Michael J. Vaughn is the author of Painting Tacoma, a novel from Dead End Street, LLC ( His poems have appeared in more than forty journals, online and off. See his work in Offcourse Issue #15 . He's the fiction editor of The Montserrat Review. He lives in San Jose, California. Home page:


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