Explore O:JA&L’s Buttonhook Press offerings on Amazon.
Support publication of Erik Harper Klass’s forthcoming novella.
Subscribe to the O:JA&L YouTube channel.
Become an O:JA&L Member through Patreon.
Follow O:JA&L on Facebook.

Richard Widerkehr

In The Hall of North American Mammals:
Museum of Natural History

To explore more of Richard Widerkehr’s poetry, click on the pamphlet titles Deer in Fog at Twilight Near Squalicum Lake Road and Potter’s Vally Road.

Femme au chale rouge by Félix Vallotton

Writing in the cool of the morning near the diorama
of the saber-toothed tiger—
no need to tell you about my tar pit of an apartment
near the river in Manhattan or the nettles I fell in when I fled
to Day Creek.

You don’t want a woman, said the hooker
in red hot pants in Times Square. In the summer of love,
nights in Adam & Eve’s,
I nursed Stingers ‘cause that’s what Bogart drank.
And yet,
under my Vodka-and-burnt-toast breath,

I muttered, God, please take my life.

In the cool of the morning, the frozen saber tooth
beige-gold.  Sometimes, yes, I soared
like a god with his female city
in air, in fog with its/her orange-pink halo
at night over the Empire State Building,
the spire King Kong fell from,
his fist uncurling, fingers letting go,
setting down Fay Wray slowly,
tenderly,
at dawn, on her ice-gray platform,
not calling God God

 

About the writer:
Richard Widerkehr’s fourth book of poems, Night Journey, was published in 2022 by Shanti Art Press. Main Street Rag brought out At the Grace Cafe the year before. His work has appeared in Open: A Journal of Arts & Letters, Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and many others. He won two Hopwood first prizes for poetry at the University of Michigan, three prizes in The Bridge’s annual awards, and first prize for a short story at the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference. He reads poems for Shark Reef Review.

Image: Femme au chale rouge by Félix Vallotton (1865-1925). Oil on canvas. No size specified. 1920. Public domain.

OJAL Art Incorporated, publishing since 2017 as OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) and its imprints Buttonhook Press and HOT BUTTON PRESS Contemporary Issues, supports writers and artists worldwide.

Follow O:JA&L on Facebook.

OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) recommends the services of Duotrope.

 Duotrope®