January 27 – February 2, 2020: Poetry from LB Sedlacek and David Holper

LB Sedlacek and David Holper

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LB Sedlacek
lbsedlacek@charter.net

Bio (auto)

LB Sedlacek has had poetry, fiction and non-fiction appear in many different journals, zines and newspapers. She is a former Poetry Editor for “ESC! Magazine” and also co-hosted the podcast for the small press, “Coffee House to Go.” She teaches poetry workshops at local elementary and middle schools. She founded and publishes the free resource for poets, “The Poetry Market Ezine.” Recent poetry books include “Words and Bones” (Finishing Line Press) and “The Architect of French Fries” (Presa Press). In her free time, LB enjoys swimming, reading, and playing guitar and ukulele. Visit LB on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by LB Sedlacek and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Word Power

Writing by candlelight
with paper and pen
no ink no feathers
no rolltop wooden desk
I write like Benjamin
Franklin or Thomas Jefferson
in the glowing shadows
candles casting off the
perfect snow it glares
and reflects through the
windows a story waiting
to be heard to
be told how we
trekked through the woods
to forage to make
snow cream to toss
icy snowballs or to
sled how we built
a snowman eight feet
high how we built
an igloo or something
like it our hands
wet and cold from
the ice the powder
a snowstorm without power
is something to write
about using pen and
paper and a few
spare words.


The Flyblown Waggish Whipsaw Charlatan
Itinerant Neophyte Gadfly

You new convert you
novice, tyro, beginner
traveling from place to
place especially covering
a circuit performing acrobats
dancers, trainers, dogs
desperately touring the country
or pretending to
have some medical skills
you fake fraud
or bites like flies
annoying persistent criticism
beset with two
or more or more
adverse unpleasant unthinkable
conditions doubly cut
double double the hurt
tainted not bright
not new but seedy
infested with eggs
you exploit for humor
a gallows bird
or maybe sorta human
prank, joke, mischief
practical prankster or not
still all of
this simply suggests the
actual presence of
flies.

 

 

 


David Holper
5holpers@sbcglobal.net

Bio (auto)

David Holper has done a little bit of everything: taxi driver, fisherman, dishwasher, bus driver, soldier, house painter, bike mechanic, bike courier, and teacher. He has published a number of stories and poemsincluding two collections of poetry, The Bridge (Sequoia Song Publications) and 64 Questions (March Street Press). His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, and he has recently won several poetry competitions, in spite of his contention that he never wins anything.  He teaches English at College of the Redwoods and lives in Eureka, California, far enough the madness of civilization that he can still see the stars at night and hear the Canada geese calling.  He was recently chosen as the City of Eureka’s first poet laureate and will be serving from August 2019-August 2020. Visit David on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by David Holper and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Seven Rides to Remember

I

The first ride that every hitchhiker needs to consider
is the one that doesn’t come. For this one, simply pretend you’re not
waiting. The desert is patient,
a dry place to rest your bones. The vultures
will likely consider that too. Try something unusual:
make a funny sign, lay down and stick out your thumb,
read a book. Later when it’s dark,
use the pages you’ve finished as kindling.
If the sun should ever arise, you might count the number
of times you can walk across the median before
the next car passes you.

II

One ride to remember is the one you should refuse.
Desperation inhibits judgment. You’ll learn that the hard way, won’t you?
Say, for instance, Tennessee in winter, 12 hours waiting in a light snowfall.
Finally, a panel van pulls over, promising warmth,
a ride all the way to Mardi Gras. Only,
there are no seats, no rug. Hours later you’ll ache
from banging your butt on the corrugated metal floor.

By dark, when the driver pulls over, just outside Jackson, Mississippi,
to pick up two hitchhikers, no one will notice
that they’re Black, one blind, his cousin’s gently guiding him.
But what you will see is the driver’s dawning horror. You’ll see, too,
how he takes them one exit before dropping them off
in the middle of nowhere. Blinded
by rage, you’ll let loose on the driver with a piece of your mind,
get out, too, regretting that you hadn’t seen
that both kindness and hatred often reside
in the same tangled corners of our hearts.

III

Remember that a hitchhiker is like a bartender.
drivers who go the distance get bored, sleepy. When they ask you
what your story is, remember to be prepared.
When you open your mouth, don’t forget to bring the fire
of imagination, adventure, wisdom, and laughter; otherwise,
you’d better start counting road crossings again.

IV

Sometimes they want you to drive while they sleep. If they do,
don’t pick up hitchhikers.

V

If the driver has been drinking or smoking something,
has the habit of pulling into rest stops and doing donuts in his panel van
trying to run down coyotes,
keep in mind that sometimes even gamblers let their winnings ride.
When he does 100 mph across the desert,
sucking down Jack Daniels, keep your cool.
Just remember that when the cop pulls him over, runs his ID,
then slaps the cuffs on him,
it’s a long walk from the middle of nowhere
to anywhere else.

VI

If the driver picks you up in a snowstorm,
tells you his name is Kissing Cousin Clem Kiddlehopper,
you have every reason to be skeptical. But when he explains
that he used to drive truck for years, and you start to see vehicles
spinning out on the ice, flipping over in the median, you might muster up
some helping of gratitude. And if the car should begin to spin out,
the passenger’s side window where you sit becoming
the front windshield, momentarily,
take a deep breath and be glad
he knows the simple truth
that steering into trouble is the best way
to ease back into balance.

VII

Last of all, should you find yourself
just outside Phoenix, Arizona one raw winter evening
and some fellow pulls over into a white sedan, says
he’s headed to St. Louis, for God’s sake, don’t question your luck.
Get in, sit down, and start talking
as the miles of white lines burn up the night.
Bless the midnight flier and the miles he will deliver to you
free of charge, even if the heater doesn’t work
even if he asks you to do all the driving,
and you spend the night chewing on your lips
in order to get the car safely through the turnstiles
For this, my friend, is the best gift that God has to offer those
who have nothing but the grace of others
speeding them through the long night.