3 Poems by James Rudolph

Returning to the Midwest From Key West

Rooms of refrigerated faces
judge my return the cold
slowing expression save
the small downturn of
disapproving mouths rows
of cauliflower heads
orderly, white and dumb.

For my skin smells
of the choleric of corsairs
and night heat and the messy
residue of afterbirth so
I am suspect here.


“Frosty Blackberry” image by Flickr user nmmacedo

Persephone Falters

A cold wind scrapes the morning
like an aggravation as winter insists
a stubborn squatter into March a month,
apparently, for airing discontents. There is no
place for pretty boughs of pear blossoms for
pairing bluebirds and bees on the job, not yet.

The sun drifts off course blindfolded by clouds
smudgy and undisciplined the sun listless as a
lost ambition finds itself time and again in
the wrong corners of the sky waking up
in awkward situations unable to explain itself.

An old beetle pitches and grubs on the
all brown ground in dusty pocks littered
with bits of insect wings and chips of
freeze dried blackberry leaves so with irritation
he flicks aside last year’s tired bounty heading west
in that rolling Alfred Hitchcock gait of his kind and
it’s wrong every last bit of it.


“Three Oaks, MI” image by Flickr user moominsean

Turning an Icy Heel

There are places worth deserting.

Lumpy brown and phosphorescent orange
the colors of a chemical spill this sky
presses down on a bad blood farm
extruding the horizon it is a
coming together of mistakes.

Dry rot barn fields lost to locust
the bad hygiene of farmhands disloyal
dogs are on their own and grandma kicks
an old oil can set on lockjaw as
she chews on nothing.

So let the rain of a wrathful spring sweep you
to a river’s bottom or the holocaust of a summer’s
heat lightning blacken you to char or be flung
hard and down by a twister’s lungs.
To let the end come of this.

I may not salt the earth but know
there will be no candy pink cabbage rose
for remembrance only nettles and grass burrs
to scratch your epitaphs in this lost ground.

photo (7)James Robert Rudolph is a retired psychologist and teacher having returned to old haunts in northern New Mexico after a busy career in Minneapolis.  He believes in old-style magical realism, that inspired by the Sangrede Cristo Mountains, the high desert, and the deep, broad sky of the American mountain west.  Creatively he aspires to crafting of work that expresses honest experience in beautiful language, complex or simple, as serves the work’s purpose. Recent poems have appeared in The Artistic Muse, Mad Swirl, and Poetry Super Highway, among others.