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Joan Colby

NEVER GIVING UP by Joan Colby

NEVER GIVING UP
by Joan Colby

The railroad museum is conducted
By retired conductors and signalmen,
Engineers and ticket takers, gandy dancers.
White haired, heavy set in striped overalls.

The steam tractor show is handled
By elderly farmers and mechanics,
Boilermen and harvesters.
White haired, scrawny in short sleeves and work pants.

Some can’t give up
Who they were, what they were up to.
No Florida trailer parks for them.
No golf, no casinos, no walking tours.

In winter, they grease the monoliths
Or assemble miniature farmsteads
Complete with wooden cows and pigs
And small green John Deere’s that work.

Seven books published including The Lonely Hearts Killers, The Atrocity Book, etc. Over 980 poems in publications including Poetry, Atlanta Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, The New York Quarterly, South Dakota Review, Epoch, etc. Two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards (one in 2008) and an IAC Literary Fellowship. Honorable mention in the 2008 James Hearst Poetry Contest—North American Review and the 2009 Editor’s Choice Contest–Margie, and finalist in the 2007 GSU (now New South) Poetry Contest, 2009 Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize, 2010 James Hearst Poetry Contest and Ernest J. Poetry Prize Joan Colby lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois with her husband and assorted animals.

OVER BREAKFAST by Joan Colby

OVER BREAKFAST
by Joan Colby

We argue about the mattress.
You prefer firm while I
Like some give. It’s the same
With textures. I want crisp
While you fancy mushy.
I insist on reason, you go for
Guesswork, yet where you’re
Precise demanding perfection,
I’ll say: good enough.

When you hear hoofbeats
Think horses not zebras

The famous medical axiom.

Your zebras run amok in the
Canyons of exception while
My horses graze in their usual pastures.

We face off each morning
Over coffee, juice, the days
Parade of controversial news.

Seven books published including The Lonely Hearts Killers, The Atrocity Book, etc. Over 980 poems in publications including Poetry, Atlanta Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, The New York Quarterly, South Dakota Review, Epoch, etc. Two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards (one in 2008) and an IAC Literary Fellowship. Honorable mention in the 2008 James Hearst Poetry Contest—North American Review and the 2009 Editor’s Choice Contest–Margie, and finalist in the 2007 GSU (now New South) Poetry Contest, 2009 Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize, 2010 James Hearst Poetry Contest and Ernest J. Poetry Prize Joan Colby lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois with her husband and assorted animals.

FOOD BANK by Joan Colby

FOOD BANK
by Joan Colby

Scrambling for donations,
They must institute new rules:
How often and how much.

A woman hauls a weary child
While an infant bawls
In its stroller.

An old man picks through
Cans of beans. The rice is
All but gone.

The volunteer says the cub scouts
Will hold a fundraiser soon
And the local bank is asking

Customers to bring in boxes
Of staples. The room is dim,
Shelves half empty.

People mull about, seeking to fill
Their sacks. A small boy says
I’m hungry.

Down the street, a pet store
Hangs a sign out
Feed the Birds.

Seven books published including The Lonely Hearts Killers, The Atrocity Book, etc. Over 980 poems in publications including Poetry, Atlanta Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, The New York Quarterly, South Dakota Review, Epoch, etc. Two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards (one in 2008) and an IAC Literary Fellowship. Honorable mention in the 2008 James Hearst Poetry Contest—North American Review and the 2009 Editor’s Choice Contest–Margie, and finalist in the 2007 GSU (now New South) Poetry Contest, 2009 Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize, 2010 James Hearst Poetry Contest and Ernest J. Poetry Prize Joan Colby lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois with her husband and assorted animals.

AUGUST MORNING by Joan Colby

AUGUST MORNING
by Joan Colby

Every morning early, the dog and I
Walk to the front pasture.
First: her ablutions, then the discourse
Of obedience. The Sit. The Stay.

Which she performs simply to exhibit
Her mastery. Then half an hour
Of finding and fetching.
This morning, we startle a large hawk

In the grass with a ground squirrel
In its talons. It hurtles up
Tweed wing-spread, rusted tail feathers
Carrying off its prize and glaring

At us with telescopic scorn.
The dog, astonished forgets to bark
Just gazes as she does
At the stunt plane practicing its stalls,
In what appears like wonder.

Seven books published including The Lonely Hearts Killers, The Atrocity Book, etc. Over 980 poems in publications including Poetry, Atlanta Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, The New York Quarterly, South Dakota Review, Epoch, etc. Two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards (one in 2008) and an IAC Literary Fellowship. Honorable mention in the 2008 James Hearst Poetry Contest—North American Review and the 2009 Editor’s Choice Contest–Margie, and finalist in the 2007 GSU (now New South) Poetry Contest, 2009 Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize, 2010 James Hearst Poetry Contest and Ernest J. Poetry Prize Joan Colby lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois with her husband and assorted animals.

AT DAWN by Joan Colby

AT DAWN
by Joan Colby

The sky grays, a developing photograph
Under our fingers in the acid bath,
The enamel pan, infra-red
Glow of the shuttered darkroom.
Like bats, slices of film hang
Suspended with clothes pins.

Here we charm the features
Of blurred landscape into particulars.
Water falling sheerly from a cliff
Over which a sky lightens
Just like this.

Joan Colby lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois with her husband and assorted animals. Publications include: Seven books published including The Lonely Hearts Killers, The Atrocity Book, etc. Over 980 poems in publications including Poetry, Atlanta Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, The New York Quarterly, South Dakota Review, Epoch, etc. Two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards (one in 2008) and an IAC Literary Fellowship. Honorable mention in the 2008 James Hearst Poetry Contest—North American Review and the 2009 Editor’s Choice Contest–Margie, and finalist in the 2007 GSU (now New South) Poetry Contest, 2009 Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize, 2010 James Hearst Poetry Contest and Ernest J. Poetry Prize

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