Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2013    fiction    all issues


Alysse Kathleen McCanna
& other poems

Peter Nash
Shooting Star
& other poems

Katherine Smith
House of Cards
& other poems

David Sloan
On the Rocks
& other poems

Alexandra Smyth
Exoskeleton Blues
& other poems

John Glowney
The Bus Stop Outside Ajax Bail Bonds
& other poems

Andrea Jurjević O’Rourke
It Was a Large Wardrobe...
& other poems

Lisa DeSiro
Babel Tree
& other poems

Michael Fleming
& other poems

Michael Berkowitz
As regards the tattoo on your wrist
& other poems

Michael Brokos
Landscape without Rest
& other poems

Michael H. Lythgoe
Orpheus In Asheville
& other poems

John Wentworth
morning people
& other poems

Christopher Jelley
Double Exposure
& other poems

Catherine Dierker
dinner party
& other poems

William Doreski
Hate the Sinner, Not the Sin
& other poems

Robert Barasch
& other poems

Rande Mack
& other poems

Susan Marie Powers
Red Bird
& other poems

Anne Graue
& other poems

Mariah Blankenship
Tub Restoration
& other poems

Paul R. Davis
& other poems

Philip Jackey
Garage drinking after 1989
& other poems

Karen Hoy
A Naturalist in New York
& other poems

Gary Sokolow
Underworld Goddess
& other poems

Michal Mechlovitz
The Early
& other poems

Henry Graziano
Last Apple
& other poems

Stephanie L. Harper
& other poems

Roger Desy
& other poems

R. G. Evans
& other poems

Frederick L. Shiels
Driving Past the Oliver House
& other poems

Richard Sime
Berry Eater
& other poems

Jennifer Popoli
Generations in a wine dark sea
& other poems

John Glowney

The Bus Stop Outside Ajax Bail Bonds

It’s not that they are on their way to anywhere,

although standing at a bus stop might at first

make you believe as they do that they are

more than ready to be somewhere else.

It’s a late spring day in Seattle, a little rain

on the discolored facade of the courthouse,

and on this dampened, cracked sidewalk,

as if set aside for another time, they wait:

a slender black woman, her gold-painted fingernails

glorious coins, arguing with an afro-headed man,

who flashes the white blossom of a wandering eye;

a heavy silver-haired eastern European

grandmother, the spike of a cigarette jabbed

upwards from her mouth; a clump

of over-sized jackets and baggy pants

that are three swaggering young Latino boys

next to a tall stem of a young girl

shivering in a mini-skirt, pierced eyebrow

and lip, and an ex-hippie

turned public defender, his ponytail

fraying long gray hairs. In a moment or two

the sun will break through the low clouds

as if to examine all ordinary things, and everyone

will turn and squint, their faces lit

with expectation, as if they never intended

to be so plain, as if this was a chance

for them to shine beyond themselves,

and they can’t hide their secret beauty

any more than a flowerpot

can hold back unfurling

its little bundle of petals.

A Change In Circumstance

A small good deed, I thought, to haul away

the creepers and weeds my wife had, on a Saturday

spring afternoon until sunlight ran out,

cleared and plucked from the flower beds

into an unsightly pile. I scooped bunches

of dirt-besotted stalks and leaves into a bucket,

and heard from its depths then, as if just behind my ear,

the muted persistence of a bee’s stalled flight.

My efforts had also disturbed long, fat

earthworms from, I imagined, a pleasant

slumber, or more likely, from their steady

oeuvre of eating the world around them.

They stretched like lazy, elongated accordions,

and tunneled in. But the bee, lured in by the yellow

glimmer of an uprooted dandelion, trapped lover

of unframed air and pollen’s narcotic pull,

lover of light’s many doors to elsewhere,

is now done in, denied exit. Caught off-guard

by his burial afloat, he buzzes angrily.

His little motor grinds against a root-clouded

medium, no glare of petals to steer passage out of

his clabbered milieu. His circumstance utterly transformed

at the hand of an unwitting giant,

his beautifully engineered form rendered

incompetent, his whirring gossamer wings

beat furiously into the tangled atmosphere,

row him against the fouled heavens,

carry him nowhere.

From the Book
of Common Office Prayers

Let’s go where moths go for a smoke break,

           or take a mental health day

with the accountants on pilgrimage

           among the stub ends of pencils.

Let’s schedule a vacation at the monastery

           of unpaid invoices,

or take a long lunch sipping martinis

           with penguins

singing medieval drinking songs.

           Let’s lie down

in the quiet room so we can hear

           a golden pheasant

slipping through a white picket fence

           into green thickets.

Let’s use up our sick leave

           among the last wisps of breezes,

or take some personal time

           in pollen’s sideways drift.

Let’s take a sabbatical and travel a year

           with the sawdust,

or find a cheap apartment in the neighborhood

           of the moment

the birds startle into silence

           and work

on our novel. Let’s take a cruise

           on the good ship

Two Week’s Notice.

           Dear god, let’s quit.

Learning A Trade

Taught the mercy of butchering

the lame cow,

schooled that what is not useful

is waste,

we wised up, staggered

out of bed,

began earlier,

rubbing the dark

from our eyes. We worked

sun down to chaff,

shavings, stalks

discarded, stub-ends, the peelings

fed to swine, day unbuckled

from dawn,

laid all the fields

open, let in

as much light as the fences

would take,

lugged frayed bundles

of leaves, scraped

the branches raw,

cut the dull plow

into the stony reservoir

of topsoil, stored enough

to starve in the spring.

We shouldered up

to the best cows,

milk flowing

and pulsing

into silver cans, slopped

the dregs, straddled

drought’s dwindling

ruts, roads to next

to nothing, a bog

of stinking water,

black sky floating

to its end, flies

milling above. The nub

of not enough

our rough apprenticeship.


All this beauty, billboards of women

fifty feet tall, yards of golden

flesh-tone paint. I am a prisoner of my lips

and eyes and hands and skin I said.

At the studio, they cut the lights,

gave me a shirt without buttons,

a robe without a belt.

I am lifted upon scaffolding, unfurled.

I am battered and shiny as tin.

Your ink stains my flesh.

My hair is not brushed for me.

How do I feel without clothes I ask.

Pandemonium of rush hour.

A thousand infidelities inch past.

The silk air.

All the eyes crawling over me are ants.

My open mouth, my white teeth.

The trucks on the road all night

from Detroit to Tallahassee

lathe my shape.

The moan of traffic.

The coyotes lie with me,

yellow-eyed, panting.

The moths that cover me at night,

stout, hairy bodies pulsing.

When they are finished with me,

they lower me like a corpse.

I suffer all those who come unto me.

John Glowney has practiced commercial litigation with a large Pacific Northwest law firm, Stoel Rives LLP, for over 30 years. He is a past winner of several Hopwood Awards at the University of Michigan, a Pushcart Prize, Poetry Northwest’s Richard Hugo Prize, and the Poetry Society of America’s Robert H. Winner Memorial Award. He’s heard all the lawyer jokes and has repeated most of them. He lives in Seattle.

Dotted Line