Featured Poet: James Houlihan

Today it felt like I was at school for fourteen hours straight. In truth, well…I almost was. It was a long day of classes, meetings, and a pleasant but long evening of an annual spring tradition called Culture Fest. So tonight I’m posting a poem by one of my colleagues, someone whom I admire very much, the poet James Houlihan.

***

          NEWBURY

.

.          1.

.

.

.          I heard your name in Boston
.          the winter the grand snows began

.

.          They were talking of
.                                         tilting mesas
.          the funicular from the
.                                         Olympic site
.          hooked onto twisted mountain junipers

.

.          Once we saw a lightning storm
.                                                            from above
.          window and aisle seats
.                                          the clouds like a switchboard
.          one light after another
.                                          very orderly

.

.          I could draw it for you
.          look, I drew if for you

.

.

.          2.

.

.

.          I heard your name
.                                       on Newbury Ave
.          the postcolonial dome over vast marble grottos
.                        sheltering your memories

.

.          I saw them gathered there
.          as thin snow freaked the stained drifts

.

.          Your childhood memories had waited for me
.          to thread through—

.

.          your thread through time
.                                                    ours, across space

.

.          drunken gales began shaking
.          spooked dryads on the frieze

.

.          a chemical-release flag
.          had not yet announced anything

.

.          never had there been
.                 such unity
.                          between us

***

James Houlihan been a professor of classical languages and literature in California and Texas. (His Ph.D. isfrom University of California, Santa Barbara.) He has also been chief editor and writer for environmental protection companies, including some time with Enron.

Previous publications include Thirty-One Superior Poems of Our Time (Inleaf Press, 2004) and Driving Cabeza (Inleaf Press, 2000). He has translated Jorge de Sena’s The Art of Music (University Editions, 1998) and Metamorphoses (Copper Beach Press, 1991). His recent poems have appeared in RiverSedge, Poetry LA, InTranslation, Ezra, Green Hills Literary Lantern, moria, and Monkeybicycle.

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