I am an optimist, linguist, singer, and founder of the Broadneck Writers’ Workshop. My chapbook, World Class: Poems Inspired by the ESL Classroom (Apprentice House, 2014) is based on my experiences teaching adult immigrants. Other poetry and prose appear domesticallyand abroad in such journals as KansasCity Voices, Kestrel, Angle, and Steam Ticket.
On the list of things that I hate most of all
the one I hate most is a day at the mall
where all the offenses that rankle my brain
wage war on my senses: a full-blown campaign
to exact peoples’ cash, brains, taste, self-control,
individualism – a gluttonous toll.
Rampant consumption, pretense, bad food,
sales reps’ fake smiles all pushy and shrewd,
bass woofers blasting their arrogant noise
of play listed tunes the ad man employs,
shapeless bodies in too shapely clothes
show string thongs and cleavage as flesh overflows,
biker tattoos on ingénue skin,
spent kiddie cries in the echoey din.
Of all the “musts” the mall tries to ply
escape’s the one thing that I don’t have to buy.
-first published in The Society of Classical Poets
Prayer for the Holidays
God bless us everyone. Give us peace throughout the land.
God bless us everyone. Give us hearts to understand
that we’re really not so different underneath the clothes we wear,
underneath our flags, our skin, our eyes, our hair.
God bless us everyone with food enough this day.
God bless us everyone with shelter, work, and –Hey,
if it wouldn’t be too greedy, could we ask for one more thing?
Might we ask for just a little more ka-ching?
God bless us everyone with patience to forbear.
God bless us everyone. Make us sound as if we care
when relatives let fly with all their grudges, jokes and rants.
God grant us strength to do this song and dance.
God bless, and please grant us just one more chance.
©2015 J.C. Elkin