July 21-27, 2003: Jack Conway and Lillian Baker Kennedy


week of July 21-27, 2003



Jack Conway and Lillian Baker Kennedy


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Jack Conway
Juljackcon@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Jack Conway’s recent publications include: Rattle, “My Picnic With Lolita”; The Antioch Review, “The Robert Lowell Memorial Bowling Trophy”; The Adirondack Review, “Making Crank Calls to the Gas Chamber”; The University of Iowa Press, “That’s What Happens When You Let Hamlet Play Quarterback”; The Peregrine Review, “The Military History of a Meal”; Light, “I Found American Literature’s Wallet”; Ralph, “When Billy Collins Met Anne Sexton” and The Norton Book of Light Verse, “Clothes make the Man.” His book of poems, “Life Sentences” was published in 2002 by North Country Press.

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Jack Conway and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author

Old Dog, New Trick

How the Stooges Broke Up
Oh woe is Moe,
the act must go,
Curly’s dressed up like Shirley
and just won’t repent Larry’s tried hari-kari
and no one remembers poor Shemp The sum of the parts
is always much greater,
so please do remind me
to murder you later.


Goodbye Buoys and Grills

Summer closes like a clam Even the ocean knows Waves don’t crash as playfully They steal away instead,
like a self-made widow Beaches are deserted The wind whips across,
barren parking lots,
strewn with broken glass
and cook-out trash Flips don’t flop,
flags don’t flap,
outside cafes are under wraps Lawn chairs folded under stairs Grills still, no glowing charcoal percolates Umbrellas go in cellars
Terry cloth is boxed Straw hats stacked
Awnings rolled
Sails furled Baseballs lie uncaught Even gardens know the score
and bloom no more Summer home,
some are not Goodbye lemonade days,
lemon moon nights Goodbye buoys and grills.


Poem on the Range

Oh, give me a poem, where the similes roam,
Where the ballads and couplets engage Where seldom is heard, a non-active verb,
and show, don’t tell is the rage Poem, poem on the page,
Where the metaphors are always at play Where seldom is heard, an unrhyming word
and it all sounds like St Vincent Millay.


The Philosophical Weather Report

There were regulars, always, at the counter;
having ice cream; chewing the fat,
watching the black & white television
that was on a shelf, over the counter There was somebody with a baseball cap
that everyone called “Patch,” not for any good reason
I could tell And a fat lady, who took up two stools
and wore a nurse’s uniform I watched her 
eat two banana splits, once, without even coming up for air It was a spa; sold cigarettes, magazines,
had a soda fountain, a long mirror behind it
where you could watch yourself with red, vinyl-topped
stools that swiveled and squeaked Her name was Helen Girlie, a platinum blonde;
from Texas someone said, who wore cat glasses,
with diamonds at the points, and red lipstick
and too much make-up on her eyes Always in a tan, uniform, a colorless dress
that rustled, like a paper bag, when her legs
moved beneath it and huge, cushioned, white shoes
that squealed on the tiles behind the counter “I’m on my feet all day,” she’d say Someone said she was a dancer, during the war,
Las Vegas, New York, somewhere where people
paid to watch girls dance, who married a soldier
and stayed behind to run the store There was always
a cigarette dangling from her lips and ice cream scoop
in the front pocket of her dress We watched her
endlessly gliding and squeaking behind
the soda fountain counter, pretending to read
the comics There was a fish tank beside the
magazine rack Sometimes she’d let us feed them “Isn’t it nice,” she said “In goldfish heaven,
there is peace tonight The pirate ship’s been righted
and the deep-sea diver’s blowing bubbles again Now, get out Stop hanging around here
unless you’re going to buy something What is it you want!?”
On television, over the fountain,
Socrates gives the weather report, dressed
in a tunic, wearing a wreath on his head “Anyone who doesn’t take an earthquake personally
is an idiot,” he says Patch agrees philosophically
What is it we want? We think of the rustle
beneath her dress as we roll back out
into the atmosphere.


Lillian Baker Kennedy
lilliankennedyesq@prodigy.net

Bio (auto)

I wrote my first poem in 2000 I didn’t know it was a poem I just knew it had to be written That was “Mother” (Apples and Orangeswww.aopoetry.com, November, 2001) I practice law, live in Auburn, Maine in an old cape bordered by wild roses This summer, I’m leaving home for a journey to Bread Loaf My first poetry collection, Tomorrow After Night, was released this summer It features cover art by Samuel Bak and is available on amazon.com Thanks for taking a look
Visit Lillian on the web at: www.lawyerpoetry.com

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Lillian Baker Kennedy and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author

Jack Nicholson

I want to be a poet like Jack Nicholson
with a wink that cuts straight to the nerve,
a little scheming under sighing laissez-faire My occasional unfaithfulness forgivable
even essential to who I am,
the wolf who raises eyebrows in surprise
when fate has struck the fatal blow,
then slowly, broadly grins
Previously published in Pine Island Journal of New England Poetry,
Spring/Summer, 2002), Off the Coast, May, 2003; Legal Studies Forum, 2003;
Kennedy, Lillian Baker, Tomorrow After Night (Bay River Press 2003)


Between Here and Ireland

My dentist, born on Danforth Street,
once told me he traveled to Ireland
There, returned home
I walk MacNair
past the granite rocks,
avoiding the paved path
littered with human spoor We journey further east
Here, the sunrise still speaks
though the bay is gray and flat Creidne stirs Her father, banished to night My hound, surely a Finn,
frolics in the sand, and backtalks
every effort to rein him in
The wind blistering my face,
I call upon my kin,
big Celtic women with auburn hair
flowing down to their waist Women who knew
how to dance around a fire,
sniff the air for traitors,
women who stood up to their men
who loved them for it
At the faintest hint of morning,
on the furthest edge of land,
I summon forth a company
to collect these hyacinths
strewn on the sea
between here and Ireland
Previously published in A Sense of Place: Collected Maine Poems
(Bay River Press 2002); Legal Studies Forum, 2003;
Kennedy, Lillian Baker, Tomorrow After Night (Bay River Press 2003)


Sing to Me No Words

At wakes let the women keen Let the men sit silently,
only their bowler hats tap,
tapping against their knees
I want to give birth
the way we conceived,
mud-faced pagans
guttural under our breaths Breach the mask Let loose the bare-assed wail Sing to me no words
At wakes let the women keen Let the men sit silently,
only their bowler hats tap,
tapping against their knees
Previously published in Legal Studies Forum, 2003;
Kennedy, Lillian Baker, Tomorrow After Night (Bay River Press 2003)


Baser Things

There are houses where no one knows
how to light a cigarette on a stove
There are houses where people talk
in their throats and never scream
There are houses where newspaper
is always read, unused for baser things
But those houses don’t know a mop
casually waltzed to an Old Opry beat
Those houses don’t know the heat
a woman can find in a big-bellied stove
Men in those houses come back slightly
flushed from the gym No mud is tracked in
Some houses, born low, still know the
Rough, raucous laughter of gritty souls
Some houses that hum still know how to sing
Previously published in Monkey’s Fist, 2003;
Kennedy, Lillian Baker, Tomorrow After Night (Bay River Press 2003)


You Knew Why

You took the dishwasher when you left I imagined the truck’s metal ramp
dropped like a gangplank
to the living room
You sold it along with the car All those trips Our youngest,
buckled in his car seat,
squalled You knew why
At the time, I judged you harshly I didn’t understand how
someone could strip himself
naked, then go to another coast
As I approach fifty, I understand
how someone wants to get to the skin I can understand the freedom of it
and also the return, the smaller trailer
swaying on the hitch, slowing
the progress over the hills
Previously published in Ibbetson St Press, June 2003,
Kennedy, Lillian Baker, Tomorrow After Night (Bay River Press 2003)


My Mother Dying

It wasn’t what she said
when I leaned over It was the look,
wide, unfocused,
dark, wet I looked
in that deep
sorrowing sea
of leaky boats,
sailors’ ropes
strewn out
over the clamshell
stretched out beach
Her lying in that bed
on a white sheet
it’s own beach and
her with her feet
out of water What could I do
but wade in and sink?
The undertow sucked at
my feet, my naked feet,
drowning

Previously published in Legal Studies Forum, 2003;
Kennedy, Lillian Baker, Tomorrow After Night (Bay River Press 2003)