Conundrum Press

Poems for Dads-Beer, Fathers, and Nosehair

June 5th, 2014  |  Published in Blog

Narcissus Trims His NosehairFor nearly thirty-seven years
I had control of nose and ears.
Smooth skin upon the conch and lobe
and nostrils clean as Manitobe.

But time and genes bedevil me.
My good health lost to revelry.
I’m sprouting gardens in these holes
profuse enough to shelter voles!

Now naked fore the glass I stand,
electric clippers in my hand,
to prune these bushes back to stumps
and check my testicles for lumps.

Exotic growths from crotch to head—
signs, at least, that I’m not dead.

-from UMBRELLAS OR ELSE by J. Diego Frey

Active Gods 
Sitting on a park bench by the Peace Bridge,
along the Niagara River, in Buffalo, New York
Stone and iron moor the bridge and while
cars and trucks chug over, water roils under,
14 miles an hour, white-capped and fierce.

When driving over, Mother’s command
to us kids was to plug our noses,
as if Dad might lose it, was sure to

careen the Galaxie wagon over the curb,
tearing through the rail, to plunge.
He was our one true god, the one

who brought us in, and, he sometimes
said, the one who could take us out.
Now, as I watch cars glide over

and reconsider the risks,
a future slowly reveals itself:
moving into an old brick house

where surely there will be a wife
and surely there will be some children
tearing the place apart, little girls

who sing of bridges in London,
cherubs who’ll weep in cars, the sun
too bright in their eyes, who’ll make bridges

out of Legos, who’ll wiggle and squirm
generally, and someday I’ll contemplate
the fluid cascade of their golden

or maybe red hair, their quick legs
pistoning across a beach somewhere,
a sandy tilted shelf I’ve brought them to,

me being their active god.
Only then will I understand current
and spindrift as the lake revels

around their ankles at the shore’s edge,
gentle waves frothing and repetitive.
And maybe that’s all this is:

a crossing over, a giving in,
hoping to find devotion and
belonging on the other shore.

-from ACTIVE GODS by Michael J Henry

Dream at the BreweryIt appears out of nowhere, a huddle of squat
brick buildings astride a stream that wasn’t there
yesterday. Fragrant smoke billows from chimneys
and stout men roll barrels up ramps one-handed,
Buddha-power emanating from big bellies.
A beautiful woman in a hop-blossom garment
greets you at the door with a half-empty mug, smiles
as if to say, Sorry, but I couldn’t wait. A wave of roasted
malt aroma washes away memories of bad beer
you drank in begrimed bars where broken bands
played poor songs poorly. Brewer-angels float
among burnished copper tuns, arms laden with
hoses, hydrometers, thermometers, flasks,
glasses of gold liquid topped with white froth.
Strange, sonorous harmonies flow, galley grunts and
ethereal choral melodies. You abandon specific
gravity and lift off, Märzen in your mouth, flying
out of the roofless room and over barley fields
where heavy grainheads bob in the breeze.


Notable News“Prayer for the moth, but also for the spider” by Caitlin Horrocks, published inMemorious, noted asPloughshare’s Best Story I Read This MonthW.S. Merwin’s Paris ReviewInterview: The Art of Poetry No. 38:
“I don’t know that a poem is going to change the course of history, but one can’t stop to wonder.”Muriel Rukeyser on why we resist poetry and how it can expand our lives if we surrender to itOver 4 hours of The Southern Reviewcontributors reading their workDid you ever wonder how a book is translated from its original language and then published? Here’s the life cycle of a book in translation

DesignSponge‘s 16 Photographers to Follow on Instragram

Some writing tips:


Inspiration and Imagination: Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer

Looking for some good craft essays? Check out The Writer’s Notebook: Craft Essays from TinHouse

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