Robert Lietz



    Frost-silvered lawns lead -- stoop
to barns -- among
the frost-claimed implements. I'm taking
the field in -- stubble
to stubble -- hawk in patient sepia --
part of this Monday's question
I might need another lens for -- watching
for deer -- thinking
how some lives ( missing ) suddenly
reappear -- because the season
love moves lives / scrub
and woods across the highways
/ and twenty-six degrees
/ and one with his camera say --
looking for deer
/ hawk -- for the source
of pale confusion
low places.


    And -- should the day warm up a little
as predicted -- should daylight
brighten wide Ohio air and broken budgets --
there'll be this man-child scribbling --
this news -- with its losses now
and shockwave detonations -- these
kids whose superstitions do for schooling --
two years / two hundred thousand
casualties -- and this silence finally
/ this pine -- garlanded again -- these
ornaments hung blood-red -- set off
by silver wreathing -- where somebody
put another weekend to old uses -- moved
by the pleasure I believe -- by Mondays
ahead and hours apart / and by
the newsman's blab a man can take
so much of -- preferring
the silence now -- or coaxings
of this music -- a summer
wedding love we'll have
to dream / and five
( fully! ) have


    Sunday's The Times and Boardman
afterward -- exchanging
the holiday tablecloth -- too long
we might have known --
and taking the kids' apartment in --
dressed for visitors --
with the rain and Browns uproar
we'd have to guess at -- subject
still when we pulled upgrade
into Saner's -- searching
the perfect tree ( again )
for our fourth


    And here -- in this snow-minded
in-between -- while you dream

/ turn -- you snore and stop -- I turn
and lie -- as asked

Elizabeth -- word-weighed and still --
dumbly at prayer / praise --

the regular things a carved land holds out
as attractions -- gold dust

and pulse -- clefs and cusps that rise up
with the species --

with so little time to shape the sentence
taking form -- as water and ice

reflect the urge to murder and create --
and every equal state -- each

( geologic ) moment tribes deliberate --
to say what stands behind

the native architectures -- to
fill up their own

and ( now! ) this dream-
minded / this snow-

minded crossing


    Sharpness shapelessness implode.
And clear sky
never seemed so wrong / so
altogether --
confusing this where to start --
and then
the course of synthesis --
the tallest taliban's
squirreled away
and shaved --
on shale
/ anthra-


    Remembering this ( early now )
The Band in the slot -- and
short days shortening -- bringing
me home tonight -- I think
how the twilight slows my hurry down --
away and back
so gradually -- so much
the season's flow --
not that these months-long
/ seasons-long
thoughts should
the matter --

    that cash-lacking fifty-five -- answerless
fifty-five should speak
and spin experimental codings --
musing the clockwork
/ quantum fathomings -- the cold
( if bright )
when ( once-warm ) Advent
comes together --
the physics of cold I think --
so not to be
fooled for long -- by
( voice-over )

    : Heart turns from roads
and road-reports
and travel times -- from
this week's round
of interviews -- letting the motion
draw me now -- and
her search for words -- her
well-spoken ( yes )
if yet uncertain search
to matter -- and all
I could say across this span --
her hopes / her course
of argument --
if only to tell
I might start -- and --
surely now --
where I'm


    Even as seasons turn -- as Thursdays --
a little cooler than he’d like --
remind the heart of flirts -- of stipulations
at the edge -- he suffers
the brightness there -- shining out of them --
no less combustible -- no less
he thinks -- extreme -- finding the words
men sigh -- the stars
men waste along the clef of expectations -- almost
invisible -- suffering --
some the less -- for every re-translating
of the dust-jackets -- and --
some the less -- supporting his amazement
after all -- ringing as systems chirr --
piping for each the ten dimensions of the real --
and as innocent -- maybe --
as history might seem in the collating -- as
the tulips seem to be -- holding on
for their short while -- the more intense
for that short while -- revealed
beneath the stars above triangulated places. And
these -- as someone’s
paints describe -- among the green antipathies --
defecting to feasts and cards
and addled calisthenics -- their seditions
hyper-charged -- and their shell-game
provenance -- about the only thing to stand
among the crazed and crazing layers. They
form the replete miscellany -- where seasons
correspond -- detailing seductions --
the rapturous / the withered childhoods --
and costs of meals since --
because the music’s understood -- the huge
and bird-like grip / the sumptuous
and dispatched literature -- in fractions
worked away to the heart of some percentage --
in lives aglow -- for all the living
left in them -- appealing to know
some thing / to step
and know some thing -- before
they step off to auroras.


    Oblique as December is -- behind east-racing
lights and idlings -- the approaches
count -- in ( record ) coastal snows --
too bright / too awful to discover –
into the rooms sea-light inflects -- through
gates too many
and too wide to run away from --
opened to the crisp stars
elms could not

    And there -- where edges were aligning --
where ache and hospital
/ moods and means would integrate
the rosewood
and guitar strings -- it's something to see
( I guess ) besides
a boy and vehicle -- a boy's knee
and pelvis fractured
in three

    A kid ( I think ) would have no more
of such emotion. But --
in some actual far place -- waiting
our amazement --
we were ( everywhere ) unseen -- but
watched Elizabeth / immediate --
in chapters loving ( such as ours )
would bring around --
and subject to lines -- to so many
turnings inked
and looping in our favor -- in
this flattening
windless light -- this traffic
an Amish horse fits
after decades -- straining
ahead unbothered
the headlamps


    Maybe the last blue moon -- last daubs
of color mean equipment -- and
the crews called off -- an afternoon
with frosted or fire-warm
beverages --exciting some southern-bred
impatience with the season -- some
warm bright matter -- turned
in the mind until the iced way's
sensible / home's
( more or less ) day's end
/ and the shuttered
barns -- where barncats
themselves for


    Scotty's West / The Country Kitchen --
Diners shut and dark. And --
elsewhere -- in day-spattered rigs --
idling beneath high-hazard lines
and lavender autumn-painted steel --
they're dreaming of days
the large land holds in store for them --
as my windshield smears / heat
blares / my wipers ( caked with ice )
keep up their trouble -- and
one large-mittened hand -- raised now --
means worry ahead -- or staggering
after-hours business -- means shames
well-told / and shames ( may be )
that will not bear re-telling -- as
clouds the confederate stars
have hid behind
mound snow on barns / spread
ice on driving lanes
/ until this moonlight ice
and grades
taught me to long for
has had its way
with them.


    The salters run -- a little ahead
of what's to come.
I'll be home by seven love -- eased
by this one and then
another tested love-song -- even
as the Avalanche -- the F-150 --
this rig that needs my icense
for an eye-chart
exploit their hurry now -- intending
some somewhere louder
than sportsmachines and loungewear --
than this streetsmart news --
throwing the readers off -- these
pains art-prints
will not report on or belittle -- given
a creek in place -- a dark horse
roped in place beneath a carport --
and this wood-warmed trailer
moons relieve or bring to stresses --
a magnitude made bearable
/ brittler now but welcoming
these snows along the route --
falling between the gaps
/ between the skeletal beams
/ over the shelves
and bedroom texts
and scavenged


    Then the emotion concentrates : December
bills / December-ending pay
to come around to -- and spring ( maybe )
before I see these notes
the driving leaves no time for -- and poems
( maybe ) made green -- woods
edged by green and straying thorns and morning glories --
if only to say the great well-being
we are part of -- and feel your arms around --
beginning alphabets -- the language
and letters magnified -- as this broomed ice is --
where skaters had to be -- not
that their mothers could have known / have
understood their padded children
or their contests -- could say where
their brooms had been -- or how
sons' noses pressed / where
the dark shades failed
to meet at Mr. Lee's.

    No wonder the woods / the shy deer
/ the titmouse settling
and shaking off a winter limb
seem sighings this afternoon --
the woods-light magnifies -- without
which : blanks / without
which : a rib-less trace-less glow
through the creation -- as
absolutes / as certitudes mis-fire --
and we -- drawn
by the features / by the feel
of creation -- must
go on -- to be

considerably -- until it must work
( I think ) -- and must be
otherwise -- as reasonable -- and likely
love -- as inches deep
December -- as this fourth Christmas
is -- the holiday plates
and mugs and ( always ) the kolache --
as this lit fire is -- and --
nearer -- the poinsettia -- nearer
in lines at work / in
the carved and throned
and standing

    or these vans today -- these trucks
( locked in at forty-five ) --
with wills of their own to demonstrate --
and -- unrelieved by winds --
woods weighed by nights-long snows
and winter moonlight -- when
( even ) the windmill's useless blades
seem surrogates -- and
yet another week : to play
on undergraduate
resistance -- at errands
in heartland snows --
away and home by dark
/ three hundred
and more


    The Red Saloon woos dusk-drawn
traffic off the bridge-lanes --
from cushions the kids pitched
/ pissed over -- feeling
their own sweet shames --
with downtown
/ downtown grocers
gone for

    So that the Red Saloon -- given
the latest snows
and little cairns of public courage --
earns the green and change
laid down on the toweled counter --
so it's no wonder now --
that explanations
and mid-month news
must seem
like reruns / that
it's Friday
/ flush

    and they are glad as kids again --
letting the news drone
supper-hour wrecks and recent
closings -- the bakery
and shops shut down -- and one
( embarrassed ) studio --
where brides-to-be were found
/ found chilled -- in
nothing more -- the news
was sure -- than
sheer / and
maybe a green


    Then it's doubles / draughts -- it's
holidays men trust
they'll not be asked to kill for -- tribunals
and alarms -- doubles and draughts
and first half stats -- explaining the pairs
and three-somes
sorting out at closing -- their jackets zipped
or unsnapped yet -- displaying
the names they'd like to go by
and the logos -- recalling
the floors they'd run bones on
/ stairs they'd climbed
to soups / on bones
that burned


    And were it not for the faux romance
they thought outgrown --
not for the cellar floors / the sports-cards
tossed to stun -- where would they be
tonight -- would she -- with her pleasant
tarts and her dessert wines -- what
would their stories be but starvelings' tales
of creation -- and words let serve
the sway of their expressions -- half-way
we think anthems and astoundings --
worry ( we think ) let soak / among
the soaking mugs and the shot-glasses --
as the subjects changed -- and
the cold -- that could be Sarajevo
or Columbus -- pointing
the way to them -- and especially so
tonight --as the starlight
shivers / among the limbs
and on the schoolyard
/ over the roots and hollowed
trunks / the midnight
vegetables / bread
cuts / and cheeses
and straw-


    Not one the cause for acts of charity
or bloodletting! Or
so she believes / believes -- assuming
the shrink-wrapped / prepackaged
interlude and the vendetta -- whatever
he meant by all of that --
or March -- with its own green hints
of something other -- if only
this partnership / these turned sheets
or now the wind's divertimento --
and more than a kid -- too
young to think of days ahead --
will leave on plates
/ where breakfast
before breakfast
's made its


    So what should idea be -- or stories
we love retelling them --
a Saturday be -- so close -- beyond
the scope of their completing --
be at the Red Saloon -- so moved -- and
only a universe between them --
when every pulse seems promising -- when
every word they've heard before -- and
love ( as it is some days ) striding world
to dark world -- calls them from cars
and dolls the kids were meant to play with --
from the concussion now -- the noise
they believe might only be hill thunder --
leaving such aches as these --
only in part from recreation -- and
hands like their own -- that touch
across the public tables --
until the space between / and
the urge -- just speakable --
seem pure geography
/ until the centers and
the furthest edges


    The work ( she believes ) had been
/ would be enough
for centuries -- and the last collectibles --
nothing the starbright or violet semis
would deliver -- will have to do for them
tonight -- seeing
the yards some wiser men would know to drill in
/ the backboards raised
near newly tilled Ohio fields -- rattling
themselves as breezes
have their ways with them -- as the hands
of friends -- already
working meals -- and nobody's
three-on-three -- and
nobody's party cant or sports-patter
/ nobody's muddy hooves
/ and nobody's
muddy muddy udders
are more or any

Copyright © 2011 Robert Lietz

Over 700  poems by Robert Lietz have appeared in more than one hundred journals in the U.S. and Canada, in Sweden and U.K, including Agni Review, Antioch Review, Carolina Quarterly, Epoch, The Georgia Review, Mid-American Review, The Missouri Review, The North American Review, The Ontario Review, Poetry, and Shenandoah.  Seven collections of poems have been published, including Running in Place (L’Epervier Press,). At Park and East Division ( L’Epervier Press,) The Lindbergh Half-century (L’Epervier Press,) The Inheritance (Sandhills Press,) and Storm Service (Basfal Books).  Basfal also published After Business in the West: New and Selected Poems .

He  has
completed several print and hypertext (hypermedia) collections of poems for publication, including Character in the Works: Twentieth-Century LivesWest of Luna PierSpooking in the RuinsKeeping Touch,  and Eating Asiago & Drinking Beer. 

Besides the print publications poems have appeared in several webzines, including:

The Alsop Review
Istanbul Literature Review:
The Pittsburgh Quarterly Online: