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Friday, September 21, 2012


by Michael Brockley

He’s among friends in Arizona. Slim white men who jog every day. Men whose wives wear yellow dresses. He has fond memories of yellow, like the Dandelion and Canary crayons he used to eat in art class. And the gormless expression he aroused when he squirted mustard on that sophomore’s bowling shirt in high school. He looks at the faces of success gathered around the tables before him, his necktie knotted in a goiter knot. He sips from a glass of Tasmanian Rainwater. Someone in the audience coughs and he begins to share his ideas for separating welfare cheats from the most dangerous men in America. An aside about wearing sidearms to the State Fair, like Rooster Cogburn, earns a standing ovation. He has sweatshops that are shovel-ready in Laos. Another drink. The eyes of his constituents hunger for a lucre beyond wealth, beyond the sculpted and pliant thighs of their clients’ daughters. Behind him tower charts with yellow arrows. Testimonials from toad-like men who hint at oil wells in the San Mariana Trench. He introduces a chain letter to the world for which only the most profligate donors may purchase introductory shares. The Tasmanian water is almost empty. Behind him the slide show pauses on a photograph of the candidate playing polo. He is leaning over his pony’s flank with the mallet in follow through. He is staring toward a distant goal, the pony foaming and slobbering at the bit.

Michael Brockley is a 63-year old school psychologist who has worked in special education in rural northeast Indiana for 25 years. He has poetry publications in Wind, The Windless Orchard, Spitball, The Indiana Review, The Indiannual, The Spoon River Quarterly, The River City Review and The Ball State Literary Forum. Tom Koontz' Barnwood Press published his chapbook Second Chance in 1990, and he has lately placed work in Indiana publications such as Maize, Country Feedback, Flying Island, The TIpton Poetry Journal and Facing Poverty.  A video of Mike reading his "Hollywood's Poem" which was published in Facing Poverty can be found on YouTube. His poem "When the Woman in the White Sweater at the Cancelled Charles Simic Reading Asked If I Was David Shumate" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Barry Harris of the Tipton Poetry Journal.