Joseph O’Brien
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—for Poff 

We settled to great small talk on the back porch

Despite green skies and scratchy radio warnings;

The beer was cold and the rain came down in sheets

To simmer a stew in the gutters — Texas summer

Was wild with the life of a single weather pattern.

We smoked it, talked it, and drank away the hours… 

But your life was revolving one way, off-kilter,

With crazy winds dividing and threading through

Your attention to studies, love and betrayal.

And I was turned another way, tearing up and away

From Dallas — though at that moment friendship,

A loose roof shingle wavering in the gale, adhered.

Joseph O’Brien was born in Freehold, New Jersey, and lives on a homestead with his wife and eight children in rural Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin. He currently works as a staff writer for
The Catholic Times, newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of La Crosse, and as a freelance writer. He has published three volumes of verse with Stone Silo Press and his poems have appeared in a number of literary journals. “Cataracts and Hurricanoes” is from Departure at Hebrus, forthcoming from Korrektiv Press. The author’s photograph is by Gordon Browning. The poem is published by permission.

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CurtainCall Jan. 20, 2011 @ 1:22 p.m.

I agree with Nan. The imagery of friendship being a lose shingle adhering despite the storm of the life in this world is brilliant. Bravo O'Brien. I look forward to more.


job Jan. 21, 2011 @ 9:33 a.m.

nan, Curtaincall,

Thanks kindly for your comments.

Much obliged,



nan shartel Jan. 21, 2011 @ 4:12 p.m.

no worries job...we calls em like we sees em

this WAS a brilliant poem...the wording caught and emphasized exactly ur thoughts thruout the poem

example: "To simmer a stew in the gutters — Texas summer"

i hope they publish u here again!


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