I have written poetry and short fiction all my life and published a lot of it. My day job is editor of a trade publication Illinois Racing News. I live on a small horse farm in northern Illinois with my husband and various animals. My latest book "Ribcage" from Glass Lyre Press recently won the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. I also am an associate editor of FutureCycle Press and Kentucky Review.
Author's Note: The "Broke" poems came about after I had an accident and sustained a severe fracture of my wrist and a totally shattered kneecap. This resulted in surgery and a couple of weeks in in-hospital rehab. To distract myself, I started writing (actually awkwardly printing with my left hand) poems on aspects of the word "broke". I ended up with about 25 poems, including the following.
Broke — 13
The New Madrid Fault
Underlies the heartland.
A century or more since it broke
The Mississippi’s commerce
Reversing the flow
The way a promise can be forsaken.
Since then, while the west coast
Renounced pacifism again and again,
Bridges and buildings collapsing
To their knees like penitent women
Whose men,away at war, write the
Just-in-case letters, since then
The Missouri farmers wait
Just in case the ancient break
Should engage the seizures
That refute the commonsense
Of a state of mind whose motto is
Broke — 14
A break, that pause where you
Catch your breath or the allotted 15 minutes
Contracted by labor. Unlike long ago
Toilers, you can take a rest
And live a decade longer,
Then it’s all breakage, going broke
With boredom on the proverbial
Porch, your accumulation of lost
Time cluttering your mind with
Crumbs of remembrance
As if reverie could compensate.
Broke — 21
First strike of the clapper
Cracked the rim. Omen of the split
Defined by Jefferson and Adams
Widening into a civil war.
Philosophical conflict to underscore
The dream of union. Blame
Placed on the London foundry,
Substituting tin for pure copper.
A divisive economy. Brittle alloy
Of the rapscallions. Or damaged in transit or
The fault of an over-zealous striker.
Always enough to mask the truth
With a fallible mixture of
Heated metals. The great bell of
Liberty damaged at the outset.
©2015 Joan Colby