Three Poems by Jeff Tigchelaar

Poetry: Jeff Tigchelaar

There’s This Thing

and I don’t know what it is
but I haul it all around
because it’s attached to my hand.

There’s this cloth that’s wrapped tight
around my arm: bright orange cloth all the way
past my elbow and affixed
to some mesh wiring.
A lot of mesh wiring.
I have to drag it behind me. It’s like I’ve got
a giant-mesh-wire-cage arm! Sometimes I turn around
and I’m like Oh God what the—? All these years
and still it catches me off guard.
It gives me some leeway in crowds, at least.

The cage is teardrop-shaped
and large enough to house
(and does in fact house)
a five-foot, oh, how should I say it.
Starfish-squid. (As if there were some
better way!) Sometimes when I feel whimsical
I twirl it, my starfish-squid—just spin and spin
and give it the sensation of flight.
But I know
what that thing really needs is water.

—after Damia Smith, “Catharsis,” (steel, cotton, beeswax;
Kansas University, Metalsmithing/Jewelry, 2013)

Fly Frontier

I’m in a manmade capsule hurtling through the sky
so if I die I probably deserve it.
It’s early
and still dark, but Kansas City
is all lit up. There’s a yawping
wolf outside my window
painted on the wingtip,
eyes closed, muzzle up, how whimsical.
No, how foreboding. And why is it so
choppy? God, we’ve only
just taken off. Now we’re drastically tilting
and the plane wing looks like a slide.
If this were a dream, I’d step out
and plunge into the darkness of a Monday
and fall until everything was light

Strange Dream, or Dale Murphy

I was back in the newsroom, my reporting days, back
in the time of print journalism, and I’d just come to
the realization that former Major League All-Star
and Atlanta Braves great Dale Murphy, a devout Mormon,
was now, somehow, president of the United States.
It may have been by succession. Good old
Dale Murphy … it’s said that he picked up
the tabs at restaurants
for tables that didn’t have alcohol.
I was beginning to ponder all this when
my colleague at a nearby desk blurted out
“Good heavens, Mayor Shoe!” The soup
he’d been eating sprayed everywhere,
and I’m afraid it was definitely clam chowder.
He’d been on hold and hadn’t expected
to actually get through to the mayor

Jeff Tigchelaar is a former newspaper reporter, editor, and stay-at-home dad whose writing has appeared in journals including North American ReviewPleiades, and The Laurel Review, and anthologies such as Verse DailyBest New Poets, and New Poetry from the Midwest. His poetry garnered a fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council, and his first book, Certain Streets at an Uncertain Hour, published in 2015 by Washburn University’s Woodley Press, won the 2016 Kansas Authors Club Nelson Poetry Book Award. Jeff currently works at Cabell County Public Library in Huntington, West Virginia, where he resides with his wife and two children. In Huntington. Not at the library.


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