For over ten years, Just Poets has published a collection of its members’ poems with the title Le Mot Juste (or, The Right Word). This annual anthology represents the hard work and devotion that we give to our craft, and, maybe even more importantly, to each other.
At July's open mic, a modest yet passionate audience, including over a dozen Just Poets members, came to Before Your Quiet Eyes to celebrate this year's edition, which was published, as always, by FootHills Publishing.
Also, much thanks to the entire LMJ 2016 editing team: John Roche (Editor), Gretchen Schulz (Associate Editor & Designer), with Anita, Augesen, Nicolas Eckerson, & Bart White (Associate Editors).
In the spirit of poetry and friendship, we have decided to "re-publish" the poems from this year's anthology on this blog (with the permission of the individual poets, of course).
And to start of this new tradition, here is a couple poems from LMJ 2016 that were read at July's Open Mic in celebration of the newest edition.
Like Gregory Peck
by Roy Bent
There’s a moment, in Twelve O’Clock High,
after General Savage’s arms refuse to lift him into a B-17,
he sits, catatonic, awaiting his bombers’ return.
Shadowed silver halide renders Peck’s hair the formless,
dark mass of Dad’s sandy thatch in black & white snaps;
no strand shines like those glowing behind on Gary Merrill.
Peck wears a familiar, inward expression,
Dad’s battle-fatigue stare, sitting in rehab,
their bright hands tense, curled around armrests,
lips compressed, Savage’s set jaw shadowed,
sharp, like Dad’s when a slender, younger man.
His inner war Dad kept to himself,
as well as whatever he felt for the teenager
who’d maneuvered him into the chair.
The General relaxes at last when his planes come back,
shambles to sleep, perhaps in weeks, off-screen,
recovers strength to fight some more. The audience lauds
his well fought war: a hero any boy can believe in.
But for me, never having seen him again,
Dad’s still in the chair, looking—like Gregory Peck.
Out of Water
by David James Delaney
He drags through the heat of a brilliant
morning rising on an old pier,
two stories above a postcard sea,
a new rod in his wooden hands
his tackle box undented, he stops to catch
his breath, grasps at what the hell’s happening.
He reels, feels his thickness that dims the line.
The small fish ascends, spins silver
bayonet fins in straight razor shimmer.
Others lean along the pier, once earners,
wait in sports hats, new gear, killing
time on empty hooks below.
He drags this catch over splintered boards
until he stands before those and things he does not know.
The little mackerel gasps, slaps back the treble
hook and leader clinking like a bracelet on a bar.
The fish slowly dries, it too, left unblinking