Jon Wesick and Steve Klepetar
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Host of San Diego’s Gelato Poetry Series, author of the poetry collection Words of Power Dances of Freedom, and an editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual, Jon Wesick has published over three hundred poems in journals such as the Atlanta Review, Pearl, and Slipstream. He has also published nearly a hundred short stories. One was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. One of his poems won the Editor’s Choice Award in the 2016 Spirit First Contest. Another won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists contest. One had a link on the Car Talk website. Jon has a Ph.D. in physics and is a longtime student of Buddhism and the martial arts. Visit Jon on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Jon Wesick and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
As each vacation’s end approaches,
I’m once again a boy on Sunday night
just hours from my dreaded return to junior high.
I make the best of the time left.
Serendipity! The Portland Corgi Walk
hundreds of stubby-legged dogs, eyes shining,
ears tall as microwave towers
A sunny afternoon on Brussels’ Grand Place
cobblestones, guild halls,
Neo Gothic house of Hapsburg kings.
European TV all night
Weather reports from Turkey. Turkey!
Belgian ale and Arab pastries for breakfast
– pistachio, honey, rose water
Dublin throws me a going-away party
with a musical in my hotel – man and woman
singing about the death of their love.
Yeat’s ghost leads me around the corner
to his Abbey Theatre. A cabby
shows me his hurling stick at the airport.
Feeling like an old Asia hand after five weeks,
I climb the ramp to a 747. The boy in front asks,
“How many years you been here?
I’ve been for three.”
Hong Kong, a typhoon buys me an extra day.
“Would you like some green tea, sir?”
the valet turns down my bedspread.
“Why yes! Yes, I would!”
Steve Klepetar lives in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where he taught literature and creative writing at Saint Cloud State University. Klepetar’s work has appeared worldwide, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Deep Water, Expound, The Muse: India, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Voices Israel, Ygdrasil, and many others. Several of his poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize (including three in 2015). He has also done several collaborations with composer Richard Lavenda of Rice University in Houston, including a one-act opera, Barricades, for which he wrote the libretto. Klepetar is the author of ten poetry collections and chapbooks, the most recent of which include The Li Bo Poems (Flutter Press, 2016) and Family Reunion (forthcoming from Big Table Publishing). Download his free chapbook "Return of the Bride of Frankenstein" here.
The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Steve Klepetar and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
We had no time to fling ourselves into air,
or ride warm currents above sea cliffs.
If we had it to do over again, we might
have changed bodies with the Storm Petrel,
that flew only at night, skimming moonlight
shimmering on the surface of the bay.
But we were hurried and harried into earth
where our fingers grew to enormous size
and our eyesight shrank to a blurry frame.
We found caves and learned to listen in the dark.
We coaxed fire from stones, rubbed ourselves
with clay and ash. We smelled fungi growing
in the rock seams, and there we invented God,
who had scratched us from dirt, and towered
in our dreams like a great crow with golden eyes.
It was never about the broken
branch dangling from the last
unmarked elm. It wasn’t the arm
swinging uselessly at my side;
not lightning strikes in a late
summer storm, or the burnt
out light above the porch door.
It had nothing to do
with the copper-headed bird
pinging against window glass
again and again until I shooed
her away with a broom and tore
down her nest with merciless
hands. It might have been the heat,
I don’t know, or the fact
that my shadow pooled around
my shoes, a dark circle squeezing
head through knees. That
and the bright hole in midnight sky
through which I leapt, a silver fish
straining toward ancestral breeding grounds.
The Cowgirl Who Freed the Moon
I know a cowgirl who owns a dozen horses
out in the country not far from a small
town on the Minnesota plains. She owns
a lawnmower and a stove and goes riding
when the moon is full. Sometimes she rides
up into the stars. Coyotes watch warily,
judging distance by the angle of her ascent.
They fear the bullets in her eyes.
She rebuilds engines, strips washing machines,
changes hoses and belts, votes
for women who aren’t afraid to lose
or wear their hair in braids down to their hips.
I saw her in the mirror once, looking past
my shoulder, face like a stone angel
in streetlight glare. I offered her my gloves.
Her thin fingers seemed to stretch
as they caught the light. It was colder then,
windows thick with ice where the wind crept in.
We sat in her kitchen drinking milk she brought
from a nearby farm. It was delicious, thick
with cream. Once she brought me a cake
plastered with icing and my name stitched
in pink. I ate a piece, but it made my molars ache.
Next day we woke to see a lake in her yard,
but by afternoon it had drained to a small pond.
Late that night we looked out to see the gibbous
moon stuck fast in its frozen heart.
We had to chip for hours, almost until dawn.
Then she backed her truck out of the garage,
hooked the winch around one narrow end to set it free.