Michael Poage

American Cleavage

Most of the loud noise came
From the student section of the bleachers.
And most of the student section noise
Seemed to be bursting forth from
The school twenty points behind
With 1:48 left to play in the game.
Denise L. wrote, “I’d call it love if love
Didn’t take so many years….”

So many years. A lifetime of questions,
Palm readings, leaning toward someone else,
The pep squad doing its best to inspire
The bodies on the field to perform beyond
Their dreams. After the game, after the prom,
Life becomes all you can fumble and foul.




On the train to Aberdeen
The young woman, travelling
With her boyfriend, was
Reading a book: I LOVE DICK.
The young man was also reading
But I could only see a part
Of the cover. It was an American
Flag but instead of stars in the blue
There were small Nazi symbols.
I wanted to talk, discuss
The books but in the midst of their reading
They were being very affectionate
With each other. I did not want
To bother them. A small table
Separated us so it was difficult
Not to watch their enjoyment
Of each other. I tried to bury myself
In my own book by Lahiri: THE LOWLAND.
Subhash and Holly were just getting
To know each other. He began
Staying at her small house when
Her son, Joshua, stayed the weekend
With his father. I read about
Their enjoyment of each other.



Codex on the Flight of Birds

This bastard child won’t be
Held down by your ancient
Rules and religions. I am a
Genius but it all seems so
Natural to me. The birds show
Us how to fly if we just
Pay attention. And isn’t that
Always the problem, we don’t
“see” the possibilities of flight
In front of us, around and
Above us. “Virgin of the Rocks,”
An earlier sketch, deserves more
Acclaim. I mentioned that
Earlier, look around, take to
Heart the risk of flight and life.
I’m the bastard child waiting
For wings and the lonely vision
As I circle far above you all.


Michael PMichael Poage was born in Virginia and lives now in Wichita, Kansas. He has had ten collections of poetry published, the most recent, HUMAN INK, is a collection of his first five books and was published by Blue Cedar Press in February. He has been appointed Poet-in-Residence at Dzemal Bijedic University, Mostar, Bosnia, for 2017-2018. He teaches English to international students at Wichita State University.