More news from friends

This morning I finally had a chance to start in on my backlog of literary journals, and look what I found in Indiana Review: a poem by my good friend Jeff Schultz.

Jeff and I attended the MFA at the University of Oregon together, and he's since published all over the place, won a "Discovery"/Boston Review Prize, and received a prestigious Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He lives in Los Angeles and teaches at Pepperdine University.

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Old News and the Borrowed Blues

          I’ll play it and tell you what it is later.
                              --Miles Davis


All winter the dog’s run his track around the yard’s edge
          deeper into the mud; he’s pissed on the same fence-posts,

Snorted at the squirrel between the weathered boards,
          and he circles always, as if there were a better place to shit.

I don’t think he has it in him to mind, but thing is, I can’t stop
          feeling sorry for myself and the piss-poor state of my days:

Rain and a walk to the market. Rain and the same old news,
          the anchor trying to manage a segue from seventeen burnt bodies

To ten tips to kick your shopping addiction with something like grace.
          And there are forms to fll out and co-pays to make.

There’s the institutional AC’s unwavering rumble and hiss.
          But isn’t that the thing about the blues? At bottom,

It’s always the same: One, Four, Five, One, repeat. You always know
          what’s coming, and only The Greats can make you forget

To expect it: We sleep-in on weekends, eat breakfast late,
          sit at the kitchen table and listen to the radio.

But it’s the waking I like best, whole hours of it, tangling
          and untangling our bodies, fixing on the grace of the neck

Or wrist before circling back into a dream of a day beginning.
          It used to nag at me always, I was such a child, asking,

Is this all there is? But these days together, a little sunlight
          out the window rinsing the leaf-tips of the familiar,

I tell you, Honey, we’re the richest dogs on Earth.


Jeffrey Schultz
from Indiana Review, Winter 2010