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Editor's Note



Three Poems

by Robert Joe Stout

Today, Not Yesteryear 
No movement in the pines
or in the bougainvillea
like discarded lingerie
across a chipped stone wall.
Just sunlight,
weak and distant,
effete against the cold:
past loves, I think
that hover,
like the listless pines,
bougainvillea purple
but lacking vibrancy
a pleasant emptiness
that seeks storm-driven
gusts, limbs lashing,
cracking, blossom-flung
hurled against the eyes,
the mind,
emotions surging:
anger, exultation, lust
not calm
mere nothingness,
thought cold and distant
as the winter sun.  

Oaxaca, Not Wyoming 
Wind whips
umbrellas inside-out,
rips plastic tarps off ropes,
teenagers duck
from door to door
swiping water
from their faces,
wetly kiss
                 as though they really care…
And I,
beside my little dog,
dive into snowbanks
that aren’t there,
head flung back
to taste wind-driven cold…
Storms were fun!
(Icicles hanging from the eaves,
hot chocolate
steaming on the stove
life was great!
spring breaking up the river’s ice,
dandelion parachutes,
tadpoles growing legs
one laughed and tried to somersault
through piles
of crackly autumn leaves)…
I startle
a poor vendor
with a loud Whoopee!  

Reading Beckett
A banging in the alleyway, a shout,
then laughter floats my thoughts to Dublin
in the book I read, life squeezed down
upon itself to find a somehow point
of light so small it destroys all. Misty neon
leads the way down Grafton Street.
Shoulders hunched against the cold
I ward off beggar children lunging out
to plead for pennies how long ago?
The room returns but Dublin fog,
clanging bells, diesel stench still curl
around me. Me and someone--something—else.
A man—Molloy—but not the one
I read about. Hair like a flag
around his face, bent finger raised,
this one stands alone as he did
forty years ago reciting in his thunderous voice
the Yukon cold, the miners’ gold, tears
on his cheeks as he accepts a penny here,
a tot, applause. I sigh, let hurdy-gurdy
clamor ease away. Escape it all?
Or open up to take all in? Molloy seems lost.
Like all of us. The laughter sounds again. 

Robert Joe Stout’s fiction has appeared in Interim, The New Orleans Review, The South Dakota Review and dozens of other journals. He also has published the novels Running Out the Hurt, Miss Sally, half a dozen poetry chapbooks and the non-fiction Why Immigrants Come to America. He lives in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Copyright 2012 Robert Joe Stout. © This work is protected under the U.S. copyright laws. It may not be reproduced, reprinted, reused, or altered without the expressed written permission of the author.