May 3-9, 2004: Joseph Veronneau and George Henson

week of May 3-9, 2004

Joseph Veronneau and George Henson

click here for submission guidelines

Joseph Veronneau

Bio (auto)

My name is Joseph Veronneau and I reside in Burlington, Vermont I’ve had poems appear in such publications as Poet Lore, The Aurorean, Blue Collar Review, Hidden Oak, RFD, Parnassus Literary Journal, Typewriter Voodoo, The Kept Writer, American Dissident, and many others I run a chapbook publishing company under the name Scintillating Publications, and have published 5 titles since starting in 2000 I enjoy all types of poetry, from slam to modern free verse, my heart has them all Any poets interested in having manuscripts reviewed for possible publication may submit to me at: Joseph Veronneau, 21 Russell St , Burlington, VT 05401 Please send about 5 poems as a taster My email address is:

The following work is Copyright © 2004, and owned by Joseph Veronneau and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Brain Spasms

The psychiatrist is paid to care sheepish lighting sets the mood;
he wants to know what prompted me
to get out of bed today
and I tell him it was
to come here and see him
We reflect dilemmas around
for a bit
trying to figure what kinds
of things warrant my attention
and why I give it so freely
A heavy curtain drapes the window He smiles his paid smile
right on cue
in the midst of my provoking
his mind to quiver, to think
about his own half-silence
until a truthful thought ripens.

Upon Finding My Submissions
Under The Editor’s Bed

It is dusty and dank down here;
the land of low priority
in these payless stacks Subscription money temporarily disregarded
because the envelope looks the same
as all of the rest Bugs are bitter down here
trampling one over another,
some try the edges of
envelopes; digging their teeth in
with all their might,
searching for the conclusion This humble stack
in which I sit
bleeds feelings, experiences
gone awry,
temporary beauty sifting
in assembled lines However busy the lifestyle
contains the reply,
their defense will be down,
as I appear a rare beauty
of sorts. 

George Henson


George Henson is a lecturer of Spanish at Southern Methodist University His field of specialization is 20th-century peninsular poetry, specifically the poetry of Federico García Lorca Poetry is one of the few things that George takes seriously in life French fries are another His poems, including Ode to French Fries, have appeared in numerous electronic and print journals In his spare time, he edits Wounded Pulse, an electronic art and poetry journal He lives a single but uncelibate life in the Oak Lawn neighborhood of Dallas Currently, he is entertaining the notion of wanting a boyfriend His du-jour font of choice is Verdana.

The following work is Copyright © 2004, and owned by George Henson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

White Guilt

He pushes the dust mop
with robotic-like precision,
first up one aisle,
then down the next,

deep wrinkles carved
into his swart skin,
eyes that tell of the shame
that white men have never known,

his bulging knuckles
wrapped around the long mop handle,
knuckles swollen perhaps from arthritis
or years of manual labor,

perhaps broken from countless fist fights,
perhaps with other black men over card games,
or perhaps against white men,
fighting for his life or honor. 

A new cap tops his close-cropped hair
that matches his salt-and-pepper beard,
more salt than pepper, while
his overalls bear the trademark crease
of freshly-laundered clothes
that perhaps his wife picked up at the cleaners
the night before on her way home from cleaning
someone else’s home in Highland Park. 

Perhaps she works for a white family
with children in Ivy League colleges
like Harvard or Brown,
children whose diapers she changed,
whose bottles she washed,
whose tears she wiped when they fell
out of the red wagon that she pulled
on carefully-manicured lawns
in-between washing the lunch dishes
and fixing dinner
His eyes look down,
perhaps ashamed of the menial task
he so responsibly carries out,
perhaps lost in thought,
counting the days until Social Security
will allow him to retire,
perhaps worried about
how he will pay this semester’s tuition
for his youngest son who attends community college,

perhaps counting the minutes
until he can eat lunch,
the fried chicken that his wife
made the night before,
the home-made biscuits
with butter and honey,
the peach cobbler stored with
love in Tupperware
Or perhaps his mind is clear
and the only one thinking is me,
as he pushes the dust mop
down another aisle at Kroger.

Unanswered Questions

I walked into church,
knelt, genuflected and sat
As I prayed I thought
about the faceless congregant
who sat in the same pew the week before
I imagined he was tall and able-bodied,
masculine in his gestures,
with Mediterranean features
and Italian clothes
Did he pray in silence
or in a hushed whisper?

Did he listen intently to the homily,
or did his mind wander?

Did he recite the Creed
and the Mystery of Faith?

Did he take communion
without confessing?

Where did he go after mass?
Home? Lunch? The market?

Was someone waiting for him at home,
naked and supine?

Did he make love to a woman
or another man?

I left church with these
and other questions unanswered
I drove home, masturbated
and ate lunch alone.


Ashamed she sits with her back to the street,
waiting for the 401, her monthly pass
in hand and her weekly paycheck
in the Elaine Turner Faux Crocodile tote
that her employer gave her for Christmas,
a gift that cost more than her weekly wage:

Ashamed to face the Lexus
that traverses the carefully-manicured
street in the neighborhood where
she washes clothes that she could
never afford, prepares the daily meals
in the cookware whose name her
separate-but-equal education
never taught her to pronounce;

Ashamed to show her face to the woman
who could never comprehend
the lines that 60 years of struggle
and backbreaking labor have carved
into her once-youthful, ebony skin
that she’ll clean with Noxema
before going to bed at midnight,
but not before cleaning her own house,
fixing tomorrow’s meals for her family,
and soaking her swollen ankles
in the Epsom salts that she will buy
on her way home at the 24-hour pharmacy;

Ashamed that the woman
who stops at the adjacent intersection,
who just got a facial at
a day spa, might see the
white nursing shoes she wears to
protect her calloused feet,
sore from standing 14 hours
on marble and parquet floors,
and concrete sidewalks,
from walking to and from
bus stops, six blocks each way
at 5 am and again at 7 at night;

Ashamed, she sits inside her
Lexus that cost more than she paid her maid
in the last three years,
hiding behind tinted windows,
tapping her Manolo Blahnik Keyhole Mule
(that cost more than the Elaine Turner
Faux-Crocodile purse she gave her maid
for Christmas last year) against the brake
as she stops beside the bus stop
where her maid waits for the 401.

Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter: