August 2008

James Kirk


James Kirk taught writing and literature for many years at Richard Stockton College of NJ and more recently at Atlantic Cape Community College. His book, Golden Light: The 1878 Diary of Captain Thomas Rose Lake (Down the Shore Publishing, 2003) was nominated for a NJ State Council on the Humanities Award. In 2007 he won his third NJ State Council on the Arts Fellowship for poetry. He currently lives, teaches, and writes on the southeastern shore of New Jersey.

Yard Sale, Next Left    

There was a goat chained to an almost-flowering dogwood
and a row of rickety card tables set up
like a banquet for the poor.
On one was an old wooden peg-leg
on which had been drawn in fine pen and ink detail
the bodies of naked ladies.
Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
And there was a foil ball left over from the Big War
and a cigar box full of tiny black pins,
Mourning Pins they call them,
the kind pall bearers secure their armbands with,
the kind widows use to fasten their veils.
A pair of salt and pepper shakers
in the shape of the Trylon and the Perisphere,
a guide book to the world of tomorrow.
And nailed to the tree's trunk was a hand made sign
that read: One goat ornery ugly Free.
And then there was the old man counting quarters
from his pickle jar carefully—
with his endless supply of matchbook covers
and his very fine and extensive collection
of death's-head skeleton keys.
On our way back to the car I noticed the goat
was snapping madly at flies,
which was strange, because there weren't any,
spring still a month or so to the south
of these parts.



James Kirk: Poetry
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