Monday, April 3, 2017



He was an older man

wearing older clothes

making his way through

the Salvation Army store with

what looked to be a used stethoscope

in his hand — who knows where

he found it in the place —

by the time he got to a quiet

corner of the used books

he put the two loose ends of the

stethoscope into his ears and

the other end under his old 

coat over his heart 

and listened with

his eyes closed

Old Guys

Lots of old guys still writing poetry. Poetry nobody really wants. Old guys that don’t go to the AWP. Guys that write lots about old girlfriends, or roads not taken. Guys hiding half their faces in photographs. Balding guys with hats, caps, scarves, I know. All white guys. They once ruled the roost. Filled anthologies. Not these old guys, they came after the model white guys ruled, and in came ethnic and many colored, and women storming and true. The old guys, the ones that haven’t died bad deaths, early deaths, drink and drug deaths, blow-my-head-off deaths, now write some of the softest and maybe even sweetest poems I know. Many being insomniacs, they write these poems when you sleep. If the poems are terrific, it means you are getting something done while you sleep. These old guys will give you their poems. They’ve about given up, but not quite. Like old birds you can’t help but feed them. Talk to one, you’ll get a song.


I saw him last

before the big

snow, then we

burrowed into

the woods for

months with a

few lamps, by

spring there

he was on his

tractor and the

mud road call-

ing my name

waving an arm


Bob Arnold
Longhouse, 2013