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Editor's Note



Three Poems by Trent Busch

Mock Heirs

To the few who see their childhood dreams
realized, anything is possible,
a grain of sand in a bucketful,
or a beachful, and their commercials
promise us that we, too, can park
our Jeep atop the sheer monument.

Now we who have had our share of
accidents know the risk of words
that are given rein to wander
over whatever countryside,
the hairpin sleights and spins, and guess
what product is being sold here.

How easily the only bull
in the herd swats flies, genetically
groomed to be the envy of those
out of fortune, not far beyond,
whose only comfort is the mock
mounting among other mock heirs.

The bucketful knows what the chosen
grain can’t know about randomness,
living in two worlds, the promised
isle, if forever out of reach,
ever in the mind, knowing the small
chance of even this horizon.

We don’t doubt the motive, but wonder
sometimes whose words we hear, as if
deed could balance with desire
and bluster convince us to charge
our glory, as if by some slight
variance we could make it true.


So you think it’s easy
standing with a slow/stop sign
on one side of the curve,
some look-alike you don’t even know
about skirts that ride up
under seat belts on the other.

Oh, it’s easy when you’re fifteen
sweating in ten acres of dry hay
or working in your old man’s warehouse,
but when you’re a man and been one
still wearing a red-jacket halter
that was made to fit no one,
you stop and consider.

I haven’t even mentioned the boredom
or the lack of respect from anyone
curious enough to meet your eye
or the embarrassment when you maybe meet
some lady in a bar after work,
jawing to her where your living’s at:
Well, I’m a highway engineer, Ma’am.

If you think this ain’t the way I think,
come on down try her once and see.
I know there’s danger and we save lives
and it’s work that’s got to be done,
but I’ve got more sense than that—
you think I don’t, say it to my face,
you highfalutin son of a bitch.

Academic Discourse

It’s as if I, as everybody
else, know nothing, metaphors as
clean and barbless as plains of snow,

marveling at originality
in a few masters, theme sustained
for a thousand lines or pages,

and every subordinate or word
contributing (who looking at
a mountain sees a rock misaligned?).

Guessing and naïve we go to school
and teach more guessing, not sounding
the depths ourselves, not camped in a hut

on the brink where one mistake not
only sullies our lives but smears
the canvas and slanders elegance.

Will opinion be forever
modern?  Tribal leaders forgetting
the savage in their best warriors,

bare and muscular, minding paths
and spoor, untamed by the daily
business, sleeping with their spear.

Trent Busch is a native of rural West Virginia who now lives in Georgia where he makes furniture.  His poems have appeared in many journals including Best American Poetry 2001, Poetry, Hudson Review, Southern Review, Georgia Review, Threepenny Review, Shenandoah, The Nation, American Scholar, and more recently in Notre Dame Review, The Evansville Review, Agni Online, Rattle, and Boston Review.

Copyright 2011, Trent Busch. © This work is protected under the U.S. copyright laws. It may not be reproduced, reprinted, reused, or altered without the expressed written permission of the author.