I’m trying to get a picture
of that bush warbler and after
nearly an hour on the ground
my knees screaming murder
the bird appears on a sunlit
branch and my finger is on
the shutter when three men in
suits burst from the branches
pointing at the bird and saying
“there it is!” just as the bird
vanishes into the green and
the men give themselves high
fives for being right again.
Ian Willey gave up on rhyming long ago.
I tell him there were stickleback
in this stream but the water got
dirty from all the detergent and
the chemicals people put on their
lawns so now they are gone
and this makes him sad but I don’t
tell him there is such a thing as
progress, that there were once laws
in place to prevent people like your
mother and me from getting married
at the same time the stickleback
were free to build their little nests
in the weeds along the bank.
Ian Willey really wants other people to like him, though he’s pretty good at pretending not to care.
A long time ago for reasons
I no longer remember I got it
in my head that every star in
the night sky was a note played
by Eddie Van Halen throughout
his stellar career, and now,
as I look up at this patch of dark
space my impulse is to cry out
to the cosmos, hey Eddie,
come back, you missed a note.
Ian Willey has a really hard time writing about himself in the third person.
The wine-dark velvet cloak of the prima
ballerina (it had to be she!) sweeps
over her lathe-turned calf when she lifts her
slippered, alabaster foot—arched and pointed—
into the black cab in the rain-glossed alley
adjoining the theater—as, hand gripped
by mother’s, you are swept along
with the exiting crowds—and the black door
shuts on that glimpse the years hurry you
away from towards the downward plunge,
grit gusting around your thickened ankles,
and the hot breath of the subway,
merely home and home and home.
Judy Kronenfeld is the author of four full-length books of poetry, and longing to get the fifth one, now making the rounds, out into the world.
Standing here with this mask on my face
I watch the starlings leap from wire to sky
where they swirl and circle and return
to the wires to pause before bursting skyward
and repeating their performance with stunning
coordination and speed—what the watchers call
a murmuration—and I’m gripped
by the electricity of it all,
how the birds move
like a video gone viral,
like a fear spreading
through a free society.
Ian Willey is a teacher who spends his days looking for meaning, and occasionally his sunglasses.
A Wonderful Life
It’s drizzling here in economy,
but when the curtains part I get
a glimpse of powder on the backs
of the seats of the upper classes,
and a cabin attendant who looks like
Jimmy Stewart passes out checks
to hands that rise from the seats
like the necks of swans
on a private lake.
Ian Willey has a degree in Communications with a minor in Silence.