Home Tuesday, 28 June 2016
Rose Kelleher

Poor Dolores

read by carla martin-wood

Dolores wears her melancholy well.
It drapes in languid folds along the lines
of her long thighs, a satin black expanse,
an extravagant expense of sulks and sighs.
Each tear becomes a diamond as it dries.

Each man who meets her longs to lie beneath
the weeping willows of her hair, and hopes
to glimpse the woodland nymph who crouches there.
Shadows tremble in her collarbones
like shallow cups of sorrow, sweet and rare.

          Other women weep and no one cares;
          their ugly snuffles only irritate.
          When funerals and tumors slow them down
          their bosses yell at them for being late.
          They stand in stalls and flush to hide their cries.

Dolores, though, is differently configured.
Around her hanging head, white butterflies
flutter in a sympathetic halo.
Of all the maids that mourn with heaving breast,
poor, poor Dolores does it best.

                                                                                           © Mark Holland-Hicken

Percy Grainger

read by salli shepherd

Percy Grainger was a 20th century Australian composer and unabashed sadomasochist.

Some folks are strangely strung,
tuned to the low note’s snap and quiver,
fond of songs with a sharper flavor,
licks that burn the tongue.

They love the echoing
of conga drums and booming basses,
shivering skins that hardwood kisses,
rhythm in full swing.

Each beat’s a heartfelt thing.
The cymbal as it sways and hisses,
wailing sax and bellowing brasses,
summon up some pang

experienced when young,
some chord too often struck, forever
played in the bloodstream, over and over,
wordless but well sung.

The Voice of James O’Dwyer

read by james o'dwyer

Dear Rose,
                   This is the voice of James O’Dwyer,
the voice of all you’ve loved but never seen,
the voice of unattainable desire.
I just turned seventeen.

Dear Rose,
                   I’m red wine rising to the brim
undrunk, a plum that ripens in your hand
untouched, my color subject to your whim.
I blush at your command.

Dear Rose,
                   For 14 lines a dream of me,

my belly hard and lean, my button-flys
maddeningly loose-fitting and low-slung,

unbuttons for the girl you used to be.
We lie together now, as all art lies,                           
although you hold your tongue.

                                                                                                                              © Stef Lohstroh

Poor Dolores first appeared in Atlanta Review, and Percy Granger first appeared in Lucid Rhythms.

Rose Kelleher's poems have appeared in Anon, The Dark Horse, Snakeskin, and other publications. Her book, Bundle o' Tinder, is available from Waywiser Press.