Poetry Drawer: Greenhouse: At a Reading: Capital Punishment: Doodle by J.R. Solonche


I wonder if they know –
as much as chlorophyll
can know anything
other than the sweetness
of the energy of sunlight
and rain on its tongue —
that as they perish
into winter’s dead sleep,
these inside, these rich
relations, will live on, all
wide awake and wide-eyed,
glowing in the warm glow
of their winter palace.
I wonder if they knew,
would they then demand
their own entry there, or like
a revolution’s mob, break
every pane with bricks
and cobblestones?

At a Reading

After the last poem,
the poet, clearly drunk,
answered questions.
A student asked him
how he made a poem.
There was a wide smile
and a long silence.
Then, “Fuck the muse
and wait nine hours.”
There was laughter,
some embarrassed,
some self-consciously loud.
Then the student said,
“But Mr. C___________,
according to that metaphor,
isn’t it the muse who makes
the poem and not the poet?”
There was a narrow
smile and a short silence.
“True enough, but poetry
has always been a messy
business,” he said, a drop
a spittle dangling from
the corner of his mouth.

Capital Punishment

Should a seventeen year old
be put to death for murder?

was the question under discussion.
No, he argued, the psychologist,

because, he said, the limbic system,
which, in a seventeen year old,

overpowers the neo-cortex, so it
must be life in prison for such,

to be, without the possibility
of parole, imprisoned with his

limbic system and his neo-cortex,
to play, for life, the Play of Everyman,

to doubt, for life, between devil and angel,
to live, for life, in the capital of punishment.


The phone
at the ear
listening to
the recorded
music to keep
the temper
assuaged and
diverted while
you wait for
the customer
service rep
to help you
with your
problem to
answer your
simple question
you decorate
the number
you jotted down
on the pad
with filigree
and curlicue
with alphabets
in arabesque
with gargoyles
and this poem…
… cut off.

J.R. Solonche has published poems in more than 400 magazines and journals since the early 70s. He is the author of 22 books of poetry and co-author of another. He lives in the Hudson Valley.

Leave a Reply