the rotary dial

best new poetry in form

Weeds are not supposed to grow
but by degrees
some achieve a flower, although
no one sees.

From the October Issue

MARCUS BALES

Stopping My Work on a Summer Evening


Whose pool this is my grandkids know.
They scream and shout and come and go
And splash about with swimming gear,
Their nut-brown skin wetly aglow.

Although some people say they hear
It all annoyingly too clear
For me that's just a benefit –
I love to have the children near.

The shrieks of joy the kids emit
Are well worth all the neighbors' shit;
"His grandkids screamed too loud at play":
I'll take that for a good obit.

Although the water's blue today
I smile, and work, off from the fray;
I've still got mortgages to pay,
I've still got mortgages to pay.

 

Not much is known about Marcus Bales except he lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio, and his poems have not appeared in Poetry or The New Yorker.

 

 

Buy

From the September Issue

JEAN L. KREILING

The Sportscaster

for Bill


His commentary lacks the resonance
that more mature sportscasters can project,
but he knows all the stats, and has a sense
of how timing and drama intersect.
His observations are precise and clear,
if sometimes less than true: he leaves out how
the runner steals third oak, or has to veer
around a sagging sugar maple bough.
A hit to “right field” really lands next door;
the pitcher waves off cats, not catchers’ signs;
and games are called because of lunch. The score
reports no siblings, so he redefines
team spirit: makes the plays, and calls them, too,
all by himself – and wins by making do.

 

Jean L. Kreiling is the author of the recently published collection, The Truth in Dissonance (Kelsay Books, 2014). Her work has appeared widely in print and online journals, including American Arts Quarterly, Angle, The Evansville Review, Measure, and Mezzo Cammin, and in several anthologies. Kreiling is a past winner of the String Poet Prize and the Able Muse Write Prize, and she has been a finalist for the Frost Farm Prize, the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award, and the Richard Wilbur Poetry Award.

 

 

Buy

From the August Issue

ANDREW PIDOUX

Homecoming


The garden’s quiet and furnished
With night’s upholstery.
The tree sleeps in its branches,
The branches in the tree.

It’s just as I remember it,
Before I caught the plane
Whose cockpit was this bedroom,
Whose runway was this lane.

When I closed these yellow books,
My adolescent eyes
Were caught between the pages
Like bloodless butterflies.

Now threadbare stairs go up to bed
Before me every night.
But I can’t sleep on pillows
That always dream of flight.

 

Andrew Pidoux is the author of Year of the Lion (Salt, 2010) and winner of an Eric Gregory Award from the UK’s Society of Authors. Recent poems of his have appeared in African American Review, Descant, and Punchnel’s, stories in Litro, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, and Stockholm Review of Literature, and comics in Forge, Star 82, and Wilderness House.

 

 

Buy

From the July Issue

J.D. SMITH

At the United States Navy Memorial


The shattered man proclaims a cryptic cause.
So far he hasn’t broken any laws.
While pacing in a cloud of words and smell
The shattered man proclaims a cryptic cause
As tourists pass. One says “He isn’t well”
And doesn’t stop, for all he has to tell.
The shattered man proclaims a cryptic cause.
So far he hasn’t broken any laws.

 

J.D. Smith’s third collection, Labor Day at Venice Beach, was published in 2012. Notes of a Tourist on Planet Earth, a humor collection including both poetry and prose, came out in March, 2013. He holds an M.A. from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University.

 

 

Buy

From the June Issue

JOHNNY LONGFELLOW

Like Normal People Do


Ya’ ever wanna go someplace?
I mean...jus’ disappear.
Leave ev’rythin’. But, leave no trace.
Git your ass out o’ here
To somewhere – could be far or near –
Where you’re no longer you.
Where you can dwell, year after year,
Like normal people do.

Ya’ ever stare at your own face
But still can’t see it clear? –
Ya’ struggle hard jus’ keepin’ pace,
While neighbors, they all steer
‘Tween college, marriage, an’ career,
‘Til – somehow coastin’ through –
They barbeque, an’ drink col’ beer
Like normal people do...

Ya’ ever think they won that race,
But still, fall prey to fear
Them dreams ‘n’ rainbows they all chase,
Once gone, won’t reappear?
Or, do they jus’ choke back each tear
As one beer turns to two,
Findin’ it’s Hell to persevere
Like normal people do?

Ya’ see? You ain’t the first to veer
Off course. That much is true.
Or, last to lose all you hol’ dear
Like normal people do.

 

Johnny Longfellow is a U.S. poet. Previous publications include The Barefoot Muse, The Five Two, and Ppigpenn. The editor of the online street-poetry site, Midnight Lane Boutique, he has served for nearly two decades as a mentor to Newburyport, MA, high school students through the Poetry Soup reading program and print journal.

 

 

Buy

From the May Issue

GEORGE SZIRTES

Mottoes from Schnitzler



1
Talking is negotiation. Strike the deal
and go your way. Leave no grounds for appeal.

2
Innocence is a form of nagging. Lose
the pathos but be careful what you choose.

3
Sweet young bodies. See how they revolve
in the firmament. Zoom in and dissolve.

4
Cruelty is inevitable in the end.
A lover once can never be a friend.

5
What goes around comes around then goes.
The other side of your face. Your eyes. That nose.

6
Cynical? Me? Is that my eyebrow raised?
Certainly not. It’s just me looking dazed.

7
Would you prefer desire? Or call it lust?
I call it vertigo, or plain disgust.

8
Let’s break up the line. Let us instead stroll
around the park and talk about your soul.

9
I prefer a motto to a top hat. I prefer
an indiscretion. Leather perhaps. Or fur.

10
I’m going to sleep. I’m off to dream the light
inside my head where it is never night.

 

George Szirtes was born in Budapest in 1948 and came to England as a refugee in 1956. He was brought up in London and studied Fine Art in London and Leeds. His poems began appearing in national magazines in 1973 and his first book, The Slant Door, was published in 1979. It won the Faber Memorial prize the following year. By this time he was married with two children. After the publication of his second book, November and May, 1982, he was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Since then he has published several books and won various other prizes including the T S Eliot Prize for Reel in 2005.

 

 

Buy

From the April Issue

MARCUS BALES

Suddenly



Suddenly the kids, the car,
the house, the spouse, the local bar,
the work, have made you what you are.
What doesn't chill you makes you fonder.

Should you stay or should you go?
The thrill you're looking for, you know,
could be right here at home, although
what doesn't thrill you makes you wander.

If, avoiding common truth,
you dye your hair and act uncouth,
will you find your misplaced youth –
really, will you if you're blonder?

It doesn't matter if you're strong
or if you sing a pretty song,
something, and it won't be long,
will come to kill you, here or yonder.

You're human in the human fray,
and choose among the shades of grey.
No matter if you go or stay
what might fulfill you makes you ponder.

 

Not much is known about Marcus Bales except he lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and his poems have not appeared in Poetry or the The New Yorker.

 

 

Buy

From the March Issue

MARCUS BALES

Disturbing Dream


I was deep in Daryl Hannah
On the baby grand piano
With a not-yet-ripe banana
As a butt-plug when I woke.
I was out of breath and sweating
But the factor most upsetting
Was the penis I was petting
Which looked up at me and spoke:

"Daryl Hannah? Are you crazy?
Your imagination's lazy
Since you could have had Miss Daisy
On the hood of General Lee!"
And I thought "A talking penis!”
And then Daryl-Daisy-Venus
Moaned, “Don’t let it come between us,
You are not yet done with me!”

Then she grabbed at me though armless
With an urgency alarmless
And a grunt that would be charmless
In another circumstance.
Then the oriental gonger

Where’d he come from?pounded stronger,
Slower strokes that lasted longer
In that ur-orgasmic trance.

Then she finished with a pleasing
Top-fuel dragster engine-seizing
Noise that sounded like me sneezing
And I sat upright in bed
With no Daisy/Venus/Darryl,
Just a hard-on, no apparel,
And the bottom-of-the-barrel
In my stinking mouth instead.

Can a moral be extracted
From a dream that’s unredacted
Through a prism so refracted
As this poem? You may scoff.
But a dream that has no ending
Never has to stop offending.
It’s like predatory lending
Since it never does pay off.

 

Not much is known about Marcus Bales except he lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and his poems have not appeared in Poetry or The New Yorker.

 

 

Buy

From the February Issue

MARCUS BALES

Ode at a Poetry Reading


My head aches as some frowzy mum explains
   In psychiatric detail how her drugs
Have freed her and yet kept her in her chains,
   And after every poem gamely plugs
Her book. I sort of envy her her lot
   As, all too sober, I remain aware
   I have no fashionable brain disease,
         And think no odious thought
   Except my lack of sympathy for her despair
      Among such colleagues victimized as these.

Give me a draft of verse that makes it seem
   They've read more than a medicine bottle label,
And has more than a narcissistic dream
   To be about – but I don't think they're able.
Give me a stanza full of the need Keats
   Or Shelley had to write a brilliant line,
   Or Byron's wit, for poetry is hope
         And not free verse deceits
   Whose artlessness pretends that all is fine
      Descending down this well-intentioned slope.

They ought to read. And then read more. Find out
   What those up at the lectern haven't known,
A fret and fever passionate about
   The way clay, motion, hands, and will have thrown
A well-wrought urn, instead of some unshaped
   Unpolished mud that’s only set apart,
   The moderns and postmodernists exclaim,
         Because it has escaped
   The question whether it is really art
      By anyone who happens to sign their name.

Let's get away from here or else I'll hurt
   Somebody's feelings – or else let's find a drink
So if I have to listen to this blurt
   At least perhaps I'll manage not to think
Too meanly while they tenderize the night
   By bludgeoning it with language as they whine
   That poverty is bad, injustice worse,
         And might does not make right,
   As if they were the first to ever divine
      That power won't like truth in prose or verse.

The stage is bright enough I barely see
   The glass in front of me, but ah! I smell
Of piquant liquor cooling in the scree
   Of ice cubes clicking softly. Now the swell
Of voices starts to murmur where it blared
   To my annoyance only a swallow ago
   And fade as sip by sip the still-warm night
         Blurs by, and I've declared
   One swallow may not a summer make, still though
      The first one can make many things more right.

Darkly I listen, and sometimes now and then
   I note with half an ear some phrase's breath
That wanders over close to meter again
   Then sighs, and dies its leaden prose's death;
Now, more than ever, alcohol seems rich
   In promise as they pour out from their pain
   Their endless woes, a flowing golden shower
         Over the mic by which
   They amplify their voices and, in vain,
      Attempt to amplify poetic power.

Free verse was born as prose, and prose it stays;
   No hungry generations make it more.
These voices here this passing night don't raise
   The bar at all among the free verse corps.
It's just the same old therapy for free
   That AA offers all who will confess
   Their powerlessness over their addiction –
         The same except that we
   All wave the magic charm that makes our mess
      Seem less our own by claiming that it's fiction.

Fiction! Ah, the word is like a spell
   That we can use to write of witch or elf
Or spouse or child or boss or what the hell
   We please, pretending that it's not our self.
But now the host announces how he's pleased
   With such a turnout, and asks we tell our friends
   The reading schedule – the depth to which he's sunk –
         And so we're gently eased
   Outside, our memories fleeting as it ends,
      Or is that only me – who's slightly drunk?

 

Not much is known about Marcus Bales except he lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and his poems have not appeared in Poetry or The New Yorker.

 

 

Buy

 

From the January Issue

MARCUS BALES

Hamlet's Cook's Soliloquy



To soak, or not to soak: that is the question:
Whether 'tis browner in the pan to float on
the slips and slidings of a medium burner
or to fry hard amid a sea of butter,
to carmelize but yet stay soft in the center,
all hot and crunchy-chewy; to fry, sautee,
no, more – and by sauteeing say we end
the gooeyness and the thousand natural oozes
French toast is heir to, 'tis a consummation
devoutly to be wish'd. To fry, sautee,
sautee: perchance to burn: ay, there's the rub;
for in that heated pan what burns may come
when we have turned too high the electric coil
or gaseous flame that makes calamity;
for who would bear the sears and chars and scorches
before the late fork's prong’s turning prod,
the hesitating wrist, the spatula's delay,
who would fingers bare and say ow! ow!
and grunt and suck their heated digits
but that the hope of something left,
the undiscovered middle from which burned
black flakes are rasped, and looks all right,
and makes us rather eat these ones we have
than mix another batch and start again?
Thus laziness makes scrapers of us all;
And thus the naive view of excellence
is sicklied o'er with oh it's good enough,
and meals of great taste and fond enjoyment
with this regard their currents turn awry
and lose the name of breakfast.

 

Not much is known about Marcus Bales except he lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and his poems have not appeared in Poetry or The New Yorker.

 

 

Buy

From the December Issue

GEORGE SZIRTES

The Voices


One voice was picking itself off the floor,
another was ringing bells at the front door,
a third was shouting nonsense. There were more.

The voice of the old woman on the stairs,
the voice of Goldilocks and the Three Bears,
the voice of the man minding his own affairs.

The voice that held itself like a frail glass,
the voices on the train that we watched pass,
the breaking voice at the back of the class.

It was the night. A crowd of voices. Streets
with dogs and poor, the barks and brays and bleats,
reiterations, cries, endless repeats.

We heard the voices speaking very low,
familiar voices that we didn’t know,
the voice that stuck, the voice that once let go.

Let go, the voice said. Letting go is best.
Stray lines, the overheard, the voice addressed,
and so into the night with all the rest.

 

George Szirtes was born in Budapest in 1948 and came to England as a refugee in 1956. He was brought up in London and studied Fine Art in London and Leeds. His poems began appearing in national magazines in 1973 and his first book, The Slant Door, was published in 1979. It won the Faber Memorial prize the following year. By this time he was married with two children. After the publication of his second book, November and May, 1982, he was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Since then he has published several books and won various other prizes including the T S Eliot Prize for Reel in 2005.

 

 

Buy

From the November Issue

MARCUS BALES

The Trolls



Hear the drudges and the trolls –
Flagrant trolls!
What a world of bull and lies their zealotry unrolls!
How they blather blather blather
Out in cyberspace tonight
Where they’re worked up in a lather
While the rational would rather
Get the facts and get them right;
Sending post, post, post,
As if who could post the most
Of their tin-eared fabulation in this shallowest of shoals
By the trolls, tolls, trolls, trolls,
Trolls, trolls, trolls –
As if volume were the value of the trolls.

Hear the yellow stay-home trolls –
Verbal trolls!
What a world of cowardice a chicken-hawk unrolls!
How they boast of their deferment
And the jobs to which it led
At a time when their demur meant
That some kid without preferment
Went to risk his life instead.
Wrapped in crucifix and flag –
Real Americans would gag –
They try to cheat opponents out of going to the polls
Oh the trolls, tolls, trolls, trolls,
Trolls, trolls, trolls –
By the slimy nickel-dimey little trolls!

How they slither from their holes
Slimy trolls!
And what a gush of gross self-aggrandizing little goals
How their racist views are coded
As a struggle for states’ rights,
They’re patrolling locked and loaded
As the safety-net’s eroded
Except for wealthy whites.
How they screed across the screen
Apoplectic in their spleen
In an angry flush of selfish shit from puppet-socky souls:
From the trolls, trolls, trolls, trolls,
Trolls, trolls, trolls,
All the needy greedy grunting of the trolls.

 

Not much is known about Marcus Bales except he lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and his poems have not appeared in Poetry or The New Yorker.

 

 

Buy

From the October Issue

KIM BRIDGFORD

Trains


We used to count the cars in trains;
We used to have no enemies.
We thought we’d learn what this life means.

One day, we’d know how this explains
The that of life. Like histories,
We used to count the cars in trains –

Graffiti, livestock, various grains –
Objectified the moving haze.
We thought we’d learn what this life means.

The sky-cup brims, and over-rains,
The colors in hyperboles.
We used to count the cars in trains.

Now all seems different like the scenes
Of archetypes, mythologies.
We thought we’d learn what this life means.

Add one and one and one: just ones.
The notion of a larger arc will tease.
We used to count the cars in trains.
We thought we’d learn what this life means.

 

Kim Bridgford is the past director of the West Chester University Poetry Center and the West Chester University Poetry Conference, the largest all-poetry writing conference in the United States. As the editor of Mezzo Cammin, she founded The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project. She is the author of eight books of poetry, including Bully Pulpit and the recently released Doll.

 

 

Buy

From the September Issue

CLAUDIA GARY

Royal Hotline, 1987


The Princess is believed to have suffered from bulimia nervosa, [which] afflicts millions of American women. –"Di's Private Battle," People Magazine, August 3, 1992


Soon, Princess Di, you'll lend this thing your name,
crowning a hushed disease with regal grace.
Beauty salons will buzz; women will claim
to know you. But for now I stuff my face
and then go toss my cookies at the throne
in secret. Are we sisters, who have yet
to learn this malady is fashion's clone?
And meanwhile, where's my image? I forget.

Maybe I left it by the forced-air dryer
tucked in a magazine, or by the sink
where a woman's hands massaged my scalp for hire.
Wait, here's a doctor's number. Do you think
he'll help close the two decades, plus or minus,
that I've been kneeling like Your Royal Highness?

 

A 2014 finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award and 2013 semifinalist for the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, Claudia Gary writes, edits, sings, and composes tonal chamber music and art songs. She is author of Humor Me (David Robert Books 2006) and several chapbooks. Her poems appear in anthologies such as Forgetting Home (Barefoot Muse Press 2013) and Villanelles (Everyman Press 2012), as well as in journals internationally. Her articles on health appear in The VVA Veteran and other magazines. For more information, see http://www.pw.org/content/claudia_gary.

 

 

Buy

From the August Issue

KIM BRIDGFORD

Misery Loves Company


Misery is having a party tonight.
Bent-Out-of-Shape is there, and so is Malice.
Everybody’s looking for a fight.

Whose marriage has fallen? Whose field has blight?
Gossip prances in between Bitter and Jealous.
Misery is having a party tonight.

The hors d’oeuvres are laced with bile and plight,
And the wine that is served is Napa Salacious.
Everybody’s looking for a fight.

Misery is married to Just-Served-You-Right;
The children are bitchy, each argument specious.
Misery is having a party tonight.

Come in, and sit down. You’re a welcome sight.
Lust swings through the door, and hits on Curvaceous.
And everybody’s looking for a fight.

In walk Small-Minded, Cold-Blooded, and Hate.
Martinis are handed to Sterling and Cautious.
Misery is having a party tonight,
And everybody’s looking for a fight.

 

Kim Bridgford is the director of the West Chester University Poetry Center and the West Chester University Poetry Conference, the largest all-poetry writing conference in the United States. As the editor of Mezzo Cammin, she founded The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project. She is the author of eight books of poetry, including Bully Pulpit and the recently released Doll.

 

 

Buy

From the July Issue

BRIAN STANLEY

Mogul Sunset


The shrink, like all the others, is a quack
who thinks he has me pegged and pigeonholed,
that early childhood deprivation, lack

of love, caused my compulsion to enfold,
decreed in adulthood I'd manifest
an infant need by what I'd seize and hold.

It's true each acquisition spurred my quest
for more, as every gain revealed a void,
but I hoped one day, sated, I would rest

with assets fixed and round about deployed,
take stock, indulge in pleasant reckoning
and revel in fulfilment, unemployed.

A prison has its own concentric rings,
though few of us present a risk of flight:
white-collar felons, po-faced, puttering

or watching amber fade away to night,
when I will shed what's left, return to birth,
in sleep reclaim as my remaining right

the idle plenitude I lost, my worth.

 

Brian Stanley was born in Madrid and educated in French until high school. His poems have been longlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize (2011) and published in the Literary Review of Canada and Encore. He lives in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

 

 

Buy

From the June Issue

LESLIE MONSOUR

Summer Again


The ink-drop bumblebee invades
    The squashes, bloom by bloom,
Amid the beans that weave in braids
    And dangle from their loom.

The lizard, livening its bones,
    Pretends that it can print
Its belly on the blazing stones
    Beside the cooling mint,

Where cabbage butterflies perform
    A papery ballet
And dodge the garden hose’s warm,
    Rainbow-illumined spray.

The scene, familiar and brief,
    Age after age returns –
As green returns to summer leaf,
    Before the forest burns.

 

A native of Los Angeles, California, Leslie Monsour was raised in Mexico City and Panama. She is the author of The Alarming Beauty of the Sky (2005) and The House Sitter (2011), as well as the recipient of three Pushcart nominations and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her poems, essays, and translations have appeared in numerous journals, including The American Arts Quarterly, Poetry, Measure, The Dark Horse, String Poet, Mezzo Cammin, and Able Muse.

 

 

Buy

From the May Issue

GEORGE SZIRTES

The Thirties


It was the Thirties once again. Shop doors

opened on hunger and long queues for soup,
the poor, clothed by the same half-empty stores,

stood round in doorways in a ragged group;
the unemployed were drunk in railway stations,
rumours of war played on a constant loop.

The Furies were running out of patience
reduced to muttering curses and the lost
were lost in their own preoccupations.

In feral offices, the running cost
of living was calculated down to pence
by those who needed least and owned the most.

Imperial glamour was the last defence.
The cinema played all-out games of doom
on borrowed power. Even our dreams were dense,

crowding us out of every empty room.
We threw each other out for lack of rent.
We were the bust remains of what was boom.

And knowing this, that none of it was meant,
not quite precisely as the world turned out
but as a fanciful presentiment,

was of no consolation. None could doubt
what was happening. The sea was emptiness
out of which light emerged. One distant shout

and it was here, the water’s fancy dress
of time as tide, the crowds along the street
jostling to hear a demagogue’s address.

Where else was all the troubled world to meet?
Why was the water rushing to the door?
At whose damp walls were the loud waves to beat?

 

George Szirtes was born in Budapest in 1948 and came to England as a refugee in 1956. He was brought up in London and studied Fine Art in London and Leeds. His poems began appearing in national magazines in 1973 and his first book, The Slant Door, was published in 1979. It won the Faber Memorial prize the following year. By this time he was married with two children. After the publication of his second book, November and May, 1982, he was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Since then he has published several books and won various other prizes including the T S Eliot Prize for Reel in 2005.

 

 

Buy

From the April Issue

J. D. SMITH

Out of Office Reply


Between the designated dates
Your note will join its inbox-mates

In transient oblivion
(A prelude to a longer one).

For now alike and equal park,
In code and unconsulted dark:

Proposals and requests for them,
A crisis someone has to stem,

Dire pleas to sign off, get on board,
Weigh in on whose ox might be gored,

A plenitude of FYIs
And some fresh score of Please advise

Along with, when all filters fail,
A boonful, perfect stranger’s mail

On how to garner instant wealth
Or boost my reproductive health

For only small considerations –
If not the day’s felicitations

From one bereaved, or once high-ranking,
Who needs my help in high-stakes banking.

This prelude to a pigeon drop
And all the epistolary crop

Must wait for me to weigh their yield
And languish in the Message field.

No exclamation point or flag
Meant to impress (or some say nag)

Will move its subject up the queue
Of tasks I have not yet to do.

By now I may have earned your curse
As slacker, parasite or worse

That you cannot browbeat or prod,
An unappeased or absent god.

To clarify this vexing matter,
I’m none of these – or not the latter.
You must find someone else to flatter

Instead of this gray office drone
Whose leave, for which he’ll soon atone

May not involve the poolside drink
And cruise ship berth that one might think,

But deathbed words, or if too late,
The settling of a slim estate.

On my return, I will correct
This little season of neglect

With all accustomed quality
And greater punctuality.

Until then, may you use these days
To find, in this desk-dotted maze

And chiefly in yourself, at length,
Some hitherto well-hidden strength.

When you are gone, may I return
The favor that I ask and learn

Which weights I can bear unassisted
But have in self-regard resisted

And which remain beyond my skill
And call for waiting, patient, still.

Then may I greet your work renewed
With something close to gratitude.

 

J. D. Smith’s third collection, Labor Day at Venice Beach, was published in 2012. Notes of a Tourist on Planet Earth, a humor collection including both poetry and prose, came out in March, 2013. He holds an M.A. from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University.

 

 

Buy

From the March Issue

GEORGE SZIRTES

Tritina



Every morning they waited for the postman.
They talked and fretted, or would go for a walk,
examine their nails or fetch something from the cupboard.

Even when there was nothing in the cupboard
it filled the time between rising and the postman
whose steps they listened for, recognizing his walk

on the gravel drive. There was nothing but the postman.
There was always the waiting, and the long walk
up the hill. There was always the talking and the cupboard,

as if the postman could walk straight through the cupboard.

 

George Szirtes was born in Budapest in 1948 and came to England as a refugee in 1956. He was brought up in London and studied Fine Art in London and Leeds. His poems began appearing in national magazines in 1973 and his first book, The Slant Door, was published in 1979. It won the Faber Memorial prize the following year. By this time he was married with two children. After the publication of his second book, November and May, 1982, he was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Since then he has published several books and won various other prizes including the T S Eliot Prize for Reel in 2005.

 

 

Buy