Rip Underwood has owned a dental lab for many years but has retired and wishes to devote his energies to finding outlets for my poetry – a passion he has indulged in for most of his adult life. In Austin, he has done volunteer work with deaf clients and with developmentally disabled residents at our Austin State School. He has also done service at the local women’s shelter and the Victim Services division of the Austin police department. He enjoys a good socially-directed volunteer opportunity but now wishes to explore a more inward artistic journey and to see if the work he has accumulated has a place in the world.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Rip Underwood and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The marbry darter
swam south and didn’t return
darter of the sea
Cozy from the rain
under a playhouse roof
a girl reads
The el camino
one owner, new tires, cat
grooming on roof
Bite marks noted note
remains in library book
puppy at large
Grass uncorked by breeze
like nothing else around
wakes briggs and stratton
Ball lands, rolls out
buster sniffs zadie
Centered in effect
dimensionless yet bristling
I make protractions
After retiring as curator of historic maps at Princeton University Library, John moved out to Port Townsend, WA. He has since traveled widely, preferring remote, natural settings. Since that transition, he’s published Waypoints (2017), a collection of place poems, Twenty Questions (2019), a chapbook, and Delicate Arch (2022), poems and photographs of national parks and monuments. Galápagos, a collaborative chapbook of his son Andrew’s photographs and his poems is his newest collection.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by John Delaney and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
When my heart rate hovered in the forties,
I had a pacemaker inserted.
It gave me a minimum of sixty.
When I walk up a hill now, I don’t faint
or feel dizzy, oxygen deserted.
Each second I can count as a heart beat.
The cat on my chest was a backup plan,
purring from a different kind of motor
that reliably lifted my spirits up.
That sparkling flame held in his eyes there,
truly one of life’s wonders to behold—
why I locked my hands round the loaf
of his body in the form of prayer,
grateful for him, my beating heart controlled.
My cat has many voices.
Caterwauling early in the morning
in an attempt to awaken the world.
Directed meows at dinnertime
so he’s not to be forgotten.
Much motor purring on my lap
or beside me, sometimes deeply drawn,
resonating up his throat through his nose.
A gentle, single mew when looking up
dreamily from a sleepy, comfy pose.
In his private world, though, to which
at times I’m privy, he surprises me,
talking with a toy mouse in his mouth.
Sauntering down the hallway with it,
he utters sounds with a different tongue.
He drops it and meows at it, urging
it to speak. It can’t or won’t on its own.
So he picks up the mouthful of mouse again,
lending it his substitute speech,
to find a place where maybe it can.