Friday, October 30, 2015

Jack Phillips Lowe- A Poem


Illinois’ late March lamb allows Devin, for the first time since Thanksgiving,
to sit on a park bench, savor the air and just be.

Devin is surprised to hear a red-winged blackbird trilling in the oak tree beside him.  
If the blackbird’s back north, Devin figures, there’s no more denying it—
the seasonal do-si-do between winter and spring has begun.

The Incredible Shrinking Snowbanks, revealing autumn’s muddy carnage,
had been declaring that for days already. Devin, though, easily ignored them.
In the Midwest, at any time, weather is a loaded game of chance.

The blackbird’s song leaves no doubt—and leaves Devin with a sense of dread.
Winter steals away with all of his convenient excuses—
“What if my clunker breaks down in the snow? I’ll be stranded out there.”
“Arthritis, you see. My old bones can’t work in the cold.”
“That’s warm-weather work. That business doesn’t ramp up until the thaw.”
These were ready and respectful reasons for Devin’s unemployment.
After such a long layoff, he’d come to accept his idleness.

“Soon,” however, had abruptly become “now.” The page had turned.
A blank sheet was staring Devin down, demanding words to fill it.
Wearily, he would suit up and run the gauntlet again—
apply, apply, interview, interview, follow-up, follow-up, on and on.
And at the end of that brutally infinite line? Silence or rejection.
A chill chases the thought down Devin’s back.

As the blackbird flies off, Devin stands up and heads for home.
Walking, he sends an earnest prayer to Mother Nature:
can’t Chicago, just one more time, manage a spring snowstorm? 

BIOGRAPHY: Jack Phillips Lowe is a lifelong Chicagoan. His poems have appeared in Clark Street Review, Nerve Cowboy and Poetry Super Highway. Lowe listened to "Afternoon Delight" by the Starland Vocal Band while typing this; the song is now permanently imprinted on his brain. Lowe's brand-new chapbook, Jupiter Works on Commission (Middle Island Press, 2015) is available from

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