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David Duer


             Gray Men

 

They have such small arms
those men in their gray herringbone suits

 

They flail their arms and gnash their teeth
those men with their gray sandpaper beards

 

They have such close-set eyes
those men with their gray briefcases and wallets

 

They bequeath such piercing looks
those men with their gray diplomas framed in ebony

 

They wear such fierce countenances
those gray men with their bespoke armor and shields

 

They have such unthinking grit and resilience
those men in their gray boats coming to our shores

 

They possess such compulsive thoughts
those heedless gray men coming to our green shores

 


Two Faces

 

In his mind
the thoughts of a young girl congregate
and then sing their awkwardly beautiful hymns
these are words he could never speak
why else does he think that boys are jerks
that video shooter games are lame
and then chooses a pony as his avatar

 

That look in his eyes admits to a lack of guile
or a recognition of how little control we have
over the world that presses in on us
like Manet's barmaid on a picnic in the woods
that she might grow up to be stalked by him
and then stabbed to death in an empty parking lot
or gunned down in some suburban shopping mall

 

In exile from the country of his mind he left behind
an ex-girlfriend suffocated and stuffed in the trunk of his car

  

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Bio: Born in Akron, Ohio, and raised by Jesuits, David Duer is an English teacher at Cedar Rapids Washington High School and the advisor for the Washington Literary Press. His work has been published in Ascent, English Journal, Exquisite Corpse, and Poetry, among others. A chapbook of his poetry, To Bread, was published by Coffee House Press.

 

Process: Holly Roberts's collage portraits are evocative. As I got to know the portraits, they sent me to interesting and surprising  places—current events in one poem, memories of my father in another. Each poem began to take on its own life and personality, although I did occasionally look back at the portraits to see what else they might be saying to me. 

All Responses:

Respond to a Prompt:

Submit your response to our current prompt(s). See our Submissions Guidelines page for details.


Bio: Born in Akron, Ohio, and raised by Jesuits, David Duer is an English teacher at Cedar Rapids Washington High School and the advisor for the Washington Literary Press. His work has been published in Ascent, English Journal, Exquisite Corpse, and Poetry, among others. A chapbook of his poetry, To Bread, was published by Coffee House Press.

 

Process: Holly Roberts's collage portraits are evocative. As I got to know the portraits, they sent me to interesting and surprising  places—current events in one poem, memories of my father in another. Each poem began to take on its own life and personality, although I did occasionally look back at the portraits to see what else they might be saying to me.