August 6-11, 2019: Poetry from Michael Brockley and Elsie Chambers

Michael Brockley and Elsie Chambers

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.

Michael Brockley

Bio (auto)

Michael Brockley is a retired school psychologist whose work has appeared in Atticus Review, Gargoyle and Third Wednesday. Poems are forthcoming in Red Coyote and an anthology about small towns.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Michael Brockley and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Blues Poem for a Ravaged Voice

Your mother married any man who memorized a moon ballad: Blue Moon. Moon River. Bad Moon Rising. Each stepfather told blasphemous lies about paradise and purgatory. Where an eye is taken for an eye. Where bridges are burned, not crossed. Sometime between the day the music died and your barefoot pilgrimage to Babylon, you swallowed the dark chords from a steel guitar. And quit pretending to the faith of Amazing Grace. When women, fragrant with cherishing sins, lured you to the dark end of the street, you believed they wanted sugar in their bowl and followed. You never learned how to try a little tenderness. Hallelujahs found your ravaged voice praising juke joint hookers named Josie and Louise. Red-light women with handfuls of rain. Until your songs celebrated sweet nothings uttered by your midnight rambler disguise. You used to serenade a huckleberry friend beneath a moon of rage and ruin. That well ran dry. You still miss your water. The next time you leap into the spotlight, woo the devil in a blue dress to life.


Elsie Chambers

Bio (auto)

Elsie A. Chambers is a field scientist by day and a writer by night, and is still working hard to figure out how to be good at either trade.  She is a graduate of Unity College and lives in a small, rural town in Maine working as a marine biotoxin technician for the state, currently, but that may change in six months or stay her occupation forever (she’ll figure that out someday).  Aside from writing and testing toxic sea creatures, she also occasionally finds time for dabbling in drawing cartoons and making short horror and/or comedy films.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Elsie Chambers and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Parking Lot Lights

A silhouette leaning on a cold beam
Gaze fixed like steel as I scurry
across the parking lot
Hand buried in my pocket
Searching for my knife.
Park under lights for safety
Tips for young women: how not to
get kidnapped
(or worse)
Suggested once in a magazine,
unhelpful now
As this late at night the lights attract
the crazies.
Gentle snow whirling around
Another still, late night but this time
I’m alone
(Thank god)
The light illuminates the sky around
it, reflecting off the snow.
Thinking of horror stories:
Silent Hill sticks out in my mind
As I hurry to the bank to make the
nightly deposit.
Tires sliding perilously in fresh snow
Slaloming between the lampposts of
the empty parking lot.
Slow drive.  Late night.
Early spring has me feeling like I
want to die.
Who drives with their sunglasses on
At night?
Windows down, stereo up,
bass maxed
Internally feeling like a jerk
But it’s an empty road, convincing
myself no one cares
So why should I? As I tear myself up
No one cares about the streetlights
Until they roll across matte-black
And blood-shot eyes.
Soundwaves roll through my mind:
Back and forth in stereo with the
constant overtone of rain.
Midday daydreams,
waiting patiently
No, I don’t want to go in, I’ll just
stay here

Just along for the ride, to get out of
my mind,
But here I am again.
Just me, the rain,
and the yellow wash
Of a parking lot light nearby
Trying its damned best:
A real role model in trying times.
I thought I’d be able to impress you
Or maybe even convince you to
fall in love, fall like leaves
the ones flying around us as we
drove together in silence.
Twirling around on a light pole in the
parking lot
The best impression of Gene Kelly
I can offer, serenading like I’m
drunk, making a total fool of both of
us for all to see:
But you just laugh, shake your head
and tell me to get down before I get hurt


Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter: