April Poetry Month (Day 26): Stephen Anderson

[April Poetry Month 2015 Table of Contents]

anderson 2Stephen Anderson is a prize-winning Milwaukee poet whose work has appeared in numerous print and online journals including Southwest Review, New Purlieu Review, Free Verse, Harvests of New Millennium, Tipton Poetry Journal, Verse Wisconsin and  Foundling Review. Many of Anderson’s poems have been featured on the Milwaukee NPR-affiliate WUWM Lake Effect Program. He is the author of Montezuma Resurrected And Other Poems (2001) andThe Silent Tango of Dreams (2006 chapbook), and several of his poems appeared in the poetry collection, Portals And Piers (2012).  In the summer of 2013, six of his poems formed the text for a chamber music composition entitled The Privileged Secrets of the Arch performed by some musicians including two members of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and an opera singer. Because of a particular set of life experiences, Anderson considers himself a poet with a global perspective rather than a regional poet.




It’s 3 AM outside the 7-Eleven.
In the distance, approaching car headlights
Dot the blackness at this hour while
Inside a scrawny twenty-something sits
Behind the counter tracing a 9 mm under the
Counter with his fingers, surrounded by four lonely
Walls that contain items insomniacs seek
During black hours like these. All the cars
Pass silently except for one that booms by, its radio blasting—
A rolling boom box that shatters the still,
Vapid night air while the car’s occupants
Head to nowhere good, to their rendezvous
With the nothingness of this night rhythm
In the key of absurd loneliness.
They all seem to head toward what home
Might be, the place where eyes will later
Strain under desk lamp far into the night
Amid silver ghosts that shimmer in the dark blue
Shadows before sleep envelops them in a dream
Of star-sent angels light years from Edward Hopper’s
Nighthawks, while outside the night’s mist slowly
Evaporates as it will again and again . . . .

previously published in BRAWLER


The Privileged Secrets of the Arch

Of all of those in the park, only
The rosy-cheeked, disheveled woman saw the
Poltergeists weave under and
Around the monumental park arch, so much
So that she dropped her plastic bag
Filled with everything she owned
And cherished, thereby setting her
Hands free to applaud them as they
Set about in their anarchistic abandon
Magically whirling debris with whistling sounds,
Creating traces of colored lines that were
Utterly magnificent for this lone observer
To behold.  What a shame – she thought –
That she must relish in this free performance
Art alone.  And how blessed she considered herself
That only she could enjoy such a gift in her
Own dusty, litter-strewn amusement park while
Others there could content themselves with just
Simply staring at her.


[appeared in The Silent Tango of Dreams published by Pudding House Publications, ©2006]


On a Hot Afternoon in Jerusalem

The sun-parched face of an old Arab
crowned with a kaffiyeh,
his nicotine-stained fingers clutching
a smoking Galloise,
peers directly at the

Is this a survivor of untold losses,
of so many blood-curdling mourning wails
of Arab women,
this very same man who sips black coffee
sugared to taste from a demitasse,
a sweet companion to his cigarette,
a sure soothing balm for desperate souls
in such toxic, war-torn environments,
here during a sweltering afternoon in the
calmer, narrow lanes of a Jerusalem souk
where Arabic words dance between
walls, then flee, muted, into the open air?

Does he dream too – that Allah
will some day
gunfire forever?


[April Poetry Month 2015 Table of Contents]


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