Four Poems by John Walser

 

Read More: A brief interview with John Walser

Deadalus in Old Age

The seashells of my knuckles have no ants
no honey, no gossamer to thread them:

inside a skein of walls and turns, out
the trapdoor of my hide – so many times
I scald even in fall’s washtub plock rain:

rope burns an ox furrowed across the fields
of my forearms fade:
the partridge does not
ask the tool names that slough now in wood planed
curls: which is the bevel? which the awl?

This tiny axle once moved a toy called
escape is an exceedingly clever mouse:

my trammel draws twin lenses: one that fell
to be fishbone, one that fell to be feathers:

outside these parentheses blanks gutter.

 

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Around Midnight, A Late August Night, Lying in Bed, Listening to “KO KO” and Realizing That I am Now Older Than Charlie Parker Would Ever Be

When Bird was washing dishes at that greasy spoon in ‘38
what fast lines did he already hear in the clatters
and tinks of silverware and plates
in the castiron tub of the sink,
in the spray of water?

When he was lying on the Baroness’s couch –
March 12, 1955 –
for some reason I see crushed red velvet,
thick cords of twisted cream piping
around the pillows,
his bent arm propping his head,
ivy dangling spade leaves
over the back of the couch –
did the balls the juggler tossed,
the cigar boxes, the white ceramic plates
spun and tottering on bamboo shoots,
the brightly-colored scarves
distinctly shaded grey by the tv set,
did they too hang in strange notation on the screen,
bubbles and notes and keys,
the memories of spoons and knives?
Was the feigned near-drop
like saxophone clacks sloughed off but then caught
like the laughter that barbed in his throat?
 

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Chronoscope 68: After Ted Kooser’s “Starlight”

At not even five: a deep blue spill tempera paint sky:

no wonder November when it dusk rains
the slop and glaze of mud and fallen leaves […]


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Market Day

The man at the fruit shop: […]


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John Walser’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Barrow Street, Nimrod, december magazine, Spillway, the Pinch, Fourth River, the Baltimore Review, the Evansville Review, The Normal School, Lumina, Dressing Room Poetry Review and Lunch Ticket. Walser was a featured poet in the September 2014 issue of Connotation Press: An Online Artifact and have twice been a semi-finalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize. A Pushcart nominee, he was the recipient of the 2015 Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award. Walser is an associate professor of English at Marian University of Fond du Lac and holds a doctorate in English and Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

Read More: A brief interview with John Walser