Howard Winn – Five Poems

write2Howard Winn’s fiction and poetry, has been published recently by such journals as Dalhousie Review, Taj Mahal Review (India), Galway Review (Ireland), Antigonish Review, Literature Today, The Long Story, Pennsylvania Literary Review , Blueline, Chaffin Review, Thin Air Literary Journal, and New Verse News. His B. A. is from Vassar College. His doctoral work was done at N. Y. U. He has been a social worker in California and currently is a faculty member of SUNY as Professor of English.


DANGER

book ahead,
proceed
with caution
and
at your own
risk.
Ideas included.
Thinking
may be
involved.
Could be
painful.


AGAINST INTERPRETATION

The poem is not
a fortune cookie;
I think
it is
an onion.
Peel with
care.


OLD FRIEND

It is one of those things
about us.
So many cannot stay.
Decades passed and
he traveled.
Rock climbing,
distant countries,
exotic flora and fauna,
as well as unusual folk.
Escape from belief
and family into
mind, art, and
the married woman
next door.
He turned up for lunch
out of the blue
with the newer wife
twenty-five years younger
than he.
What would his parents
have said on that street
of workers
in Queens
who clung
to their verities,
and their church,
where he refused
to fit in.


NEIGHBOR

I live next door to a ruthless man
who clear cuts his back lot.
Trees lie across that land
like brown and black dead crocodiles,
waiting to be dissected into
chunks of firewood,
split and stacked in quantities
too great for any single woodstove.
The pile reaches for the sky that is
denied the trees he has massacred,
jumbles higher than his head.
Does he fear a new ice age
that he must prepare for
when storms freeze the roads
and he is snow bound,
or does he just like seeing
his woody possessions
dividing his land from mine?


THE STORY OF THE THIRTY DAY WIFE

He found her through the personals in a book review periodical
so he assumed she was literate and interested in writing.
Of course, he went to Texas to have the first date.
That might have warned him but he was too lonely to think.
He found her in Dallas where she lived in a gated community.
She had money from a late oil and gas baron who had died in the saddle.
They wedded in front of a justice of the peace with two witness
clerks from the outer office who looked solemn but giggled
as the newlyweds departed arm in arm as if long term lovers.
The amorous couple flew back to New York in Business Class
because she insisted she would not join the herd in cattle car tourist.
She wore snakeskin boots although he found the sharp spurs
were on her tongue and not on her heels. She smelled of horses
in his New York home and did not seem able to shed the odor.
She did not like his friends and colleagues and found them too
Eastern liberal and called them Yankees which he found something
he had not expected from a Texan, but from someone out of Georgia.
He found she liked bourbon with a beer chaser and believed his martini
ridiculous, fancy and a bit effeminate, a quality she found repellent.
She suspected friends of his to be closeted gays, even the married ones.
The women she imagined were out to haul her latest husband off
to afternoon assignations while she was out trying to fit in to this new world,
looking for a place in an unfamiliar sphere of garden clubs and DARs.
Finally after a month it all became too much for the Texas lady
in the snakeskin boots and the bottled perfume of stallions so
she went back to Dallas and a divorce. End of this chapter.

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