Contradiction Front CoverContradiction by Michael Boer
ISBN: 978-1-6886-0817-7

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Reading a poem makes a performer of you. You cast your own voices for the writer’s first- and third-person characters, deciding, almost unthinkingly, whether the writer’s second-person is yourself or someone else. Not always effortlessly, you sort out the scenes, images, sequences, quotations, and metaphors. You evaluate each of the writer’s assertions, accepting them into or rejecting them from the framework of your own thoughts. Poetry is a kind of source code, requiring little math but rich in context, grammar, and logical subroutines, which your mind may assemble into the mesh of your own library of eclectic grammar, logic, and contradictions.

Your reading is thus uniquely your own collaboration with the writer.

Even the Dead Dream

IMG_5779-halloween-sPrairie churchyard, 2017
Lake County, South Dakota (photo by Michael Boer)

Even the Dead Dream

Stained glass window sills,
heaped with flies and bees
who will hum no more.

I found his marker
shaded by a spruce growing
beside his parents’ graves.

Awakening from melancholia,
I recalled loaning him my watch
for a year’s final midnight countdown.

Then I saw Joseph
driving his blue beetle
toward the nearby crossroads

Seeing someone
stopped by those graves,
he swerved between shallow ditches.

He pulled a U-ey over the harrowed gravel
and screeched to a dusty halt
beside the stone prairie church.

How you been, Joe?
“Busy. Real busy. A crazy lady keeps
pestering me over some Santeria bullshit.”

Joe. I want my watch back.
Says he, scowling, “I still need it.
Until midnight, in Medellín.”

Joe. You once told me,
“I wish I could just sleep
through my whole life.”

He remembers, nodding, “Yeah,
but even the dead cannot
stay asleep long enough for me.”

Joe. What kind of shit is that?
“This? I put this on in the dark!
Does it look more like a shroud than a shirt?”

Any sharing of something as private as a dream
is imperfect, not like the way churchyard occupants
comfortably share their practice made-perfect unconsciousness.

Excerpted from Contradiction by Michael Boer, a collection of poetry, prose, and photographs, coming this winter.

Weather report

taking the bus home today
while the bike is in the shop for a tune-up
sun is shining

a couple of stops before mine,
a pounding sound is heard on the roof
like you’d hear passing under low tree branches

hard rain
I pull out my umbrella
head out the door into a shower
(no less powerful than yours)

bus pulls away
there’s my shadow on the ground
I walk home under the umbrella

there’s hail mixed with the rain
and a rainbow to the northeast

Had to stop and laugh at the beauty of the sun shining through that heavy rain.