I am a retired business-to-business PR and publishing professional residing in northern New Jersey with my wife and son and a shrinking menagerie of merry pets. I began writing poetry (not very well) 100 years ago as an undergraduate at Georgetown University, where I earned bachelor's and master's degrees in English Literature. My poems have appeared recently in Contemporary American Voices (I was the Featured Poet in the January 2015 issue), the Wilderness House Literary Review, Blue Monday Review, and Atavic Poetry. In 2013, I celebrated (mostly by smiling a lot) the publication of my first poetry chapbook, What Comes Next, by Finishing Line Press. A lifelong Giants fan (New York and San Francisco), I still can't believe I lived long enough to see them win three World Series in five years. If you'd like to see more of my work, please click on http://www.whlreview.com/no-9.4/poetry/JamesKeane.pdf.
Author's Note: Here are two poems written in response to the possibly questionable urge — encouraged to some extent by Facebook — to "reconnect" with people we haven't seen or heard from in years.
So have you wondered lately
where the turtles we buried
have gone to? I have
for some reason. In this timid season
of budding discontent (as memory
skulks away to pettier days, when
concern loomed heavily mainly over my pleasure, my
food and my rent), suddenly I remember:
In summer the couples strolling by cannot know
that we ourselves could happen by and not know
where the turtles finally, somewhere, settled in a somber
December of coffin brown, cradled by the one stream left to
trickle from the season when the park was leafy wet,
and we screamed each other down. So, night years away, do you
hanker and sway at all for the sunnier days, plinking
atop a concrete wall? Or still
consider them — as you cried out then —
“My babies!”? Or did you bury
yourself in the yawning gape of seasons stretched endlessly
relentlessly between us, where others I’ve known have
settled comfortably in crypts of upholstered poison,
leather and chrome? I hope you haven’t decided for yourself to
uncover any last-known graves. If you should
want to, let me save you. Cradle you. Kiss your face again
in a warming cup. Wait till green grass or yellow leaves return
to discover love, left for buried with the brown and the stream
and the turtles. Or . . .
forget I ever dug any of this dead stuff up.
I don’t know what became of you
and your life in the lifetime
after we parted. But suddenly
(through the miracle of Facebook)
you’re a wife, relaxed on the arm
of a chair, a cushion for the gracious
smile your husband radiates at anyone
out here. Your smile has narrowed
to steel, a stare, a lifetime beyond
the warmth of your eyes when they
froze me, nearly threw me (cowering)
over the edge in the dark
as you stood in jest
on the ledge of the bridge
over Rock Creek Park.
Credits: “In Passing” was previously published in Half Drunk Muse; “Facebook Photo” was previously published in Tipton Poetry Journal.
©2015 James Keane