Wild River Review art by Christopher McCauley


Don’t Get Excited

“Poetic voice” is not a siren wail.
I’d better not let it be.
I know that now. I’m told by the literary editor.
It just doesn’t wash. It won’t take.
This poem does not go to fires that bellow,
because when they do, they oughtn’t, he says.
Those fires are too much and would coat your body
and lick your spine to soup-bones
so you wouldnÕt have stamina to write this poem.

What’s allowed is a toy pumper
(or if you need a different prop, a foot-long hook and ladder).
What’s allowed is,
you tumbled on the toy when you were two years old
so while you’re on the rug sprawled
your nose bumps against a patent leather shoe
and that slipper is your Cinderella cup of tea
to boot up infant remembrances of playpen balls
(or something like that)
and it comes to you now
that you had intimations then
that later the world would transform to blue and red spheres
in your prosody
and it’s really turned out that way, hasn’t it,
if only you can truck in the metaphors right.

Now we’re O.K.

So I’d better not tell you about when I visited Aunt Gertie
when I was so short I didn’t know my age:
the great fire-wagon roared splashing-red
out of the station-house across the street;
or when I knew my age but not my place
and the mountain barn blasted hay-cinders up at high-noon
so tall the sun confiscated them —
pumper dusting up that hill
like a bully yo-yo walking the dog;

or the other conflagrations since then,
here, there, and war-where.
I know better than that,
I know now those fires didn’t happen

I think I’m O.K. with the revision
that flash oxidation does not occur in such volume,
or sheer madness local or national, right?

Harvey Steinberg

Harvey Steinberg

Bio: Harvey Steinberg looks at himself as an artifact of the world rather than the world as an artifact of himself. Harvey submits writings, and over 20 journals in 10 states have published his poems, and occasionally other forms of literature as well. He is now writing theater works and finds this to be the most fulfilling medium (some short pieces have been staged). He will ultimately work toward the creation of quality verse plays and poetic drama. So although retired, he is not deterred.