I cannot possibly share all of the poems I would like to—it would be almost the entire journal. Nerve Cowboy is known for nitty gritty, no-holds-barred straightforward poetry from real people experiencing the pains and joys of real life. I thoroughly enjoyed the issue cover to cover. Below I am happy to share several with you:
My Brother’s Life
It was the morning after
the night I had thrown
a shot glass at a woman.
The morning after the night
I had threatened to stab.
The morning after the night
of kicked in, broken doors
that I visited my brother’s
wife, the last remnants of
a Crown Royal bottle in my hand.
There was a therapist there
playing with my Autistic nephew
quietly in the other room
as I stood in the corner of the kitchen
watching my brother’s wife wash dishes,
drapes pushed aside the little window
above the sink, the sun coming through
with a bellyful of bird chirps and golden light
to illuminate her Mexican, African, Indian face.
Beautiful. I stood in awe and
for once my lips were parted, my nose not efficient
enough to let out the small gasps
that rose directly from my heart valves.
It wasn’t just love. It was envy mixed with love
and happiness for my brother, as my nephew’s laughter
Blinked in from the other room
and I brought the bitter smooth whiskey
to my parted lips. This stupid beauty
I’ll never be intelligent enough to understand,
for after all the violent, sad, lone nights
trying to obtain something great
I envy you this, brother, today.
By: Mathias Nelson of La Crosse, WI
This poem is bold, imagine being in the poet’s shoes and confessing your admiration and love and envy for your brother’s wife? He juxtaposes his wildness against the wife’s calm, the calm sounds of daylight against his inner conflicts. I like the line “bellyful of bird chirps” because you can get a sense of the surroundings as he stares at this picturesque moment of sunlight streaming in the kitchen window as the wife washes her dishes on an ordinary day. The poet admits his faults in the poem, a very brave thing most people cannot do, and lets the world read his anguish. Of course we can assume some poetic license, but it is still a striking and bold concept, a man admitting love and envy for a brother’s wife, and the brother’s life.
In the middle of an argument,
a boy I once dated
told me I was being brash.
You don’t mean brash, I said.
Brash is over-the-top
truck driver language
spewing out through red lips.
It’s the cleavage shot that seduces
from tight black sweaters
but not always.
It’s a cubic zirconium diamond
that’s a little too big to be real.
It’s shots of whiskey
sex on the first date
tattoos and fishnet stockings.
I wasn’t being brash
I am brash
I was being harsh,
and I couldn’t want a boy
who didn’t know the difference.
By: Stephanie Brea of Jeanette, PA
This poet kicks the boy in the teeth with her argument, which makes me grin. Putting him in his place she explains the difference and leaves him in the dust by refusing him. Most women savor the moment when they can finally tell off a man who is bothering them so I enjoy posting this one.
The Hotel Lifshin Isn’t Taking Any More Guests
it needs time to recover.
the hotel can’t keep up
with demands: 17 kinds
of olive oil, seventeen
brands of de-caf coffee.
The hotel doesn’t quite
remember a season like
this. The newspaper
in the lobby shredded,
torn before 8 AM. And
the books a couch
has been propped up on for
reasons the hotel doesn’t
know, mined, unless
you like to read books
where each page is
mostly a hole.
By: Lyn Lifshin of Viena, VA
This poem spurs my imagination, there is just enough to picture but not enough to satisfy which can make a poem even better. To a point, it sounds like this is a poet’s house and that the guests of her home have not been very kind in regards to the hospitality provided. At the same time, it really could be a hotel but wouldn’t a hotel repair a couch that was propped up by books? The questions the poem brings up are intriguing—who shreds a newspaper before 8 AM? Why would someone take books from a couch that are ruined from propping up a couch for a long, long time? If Lyn Lifshin happens to stumble upon this feature I hope some of the questions could be answered in the comments section if only to say it was an idea that popped up and not an actual event. No matter what, I enjoyed the poem because of all the mysteries that crop up and trying to picture who these guests are.
I hope you enjoyed this small sample, there were many more I wanted to share but feel you should obtain a copy for yourself!
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Thank you for reading, please click in tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…