POETRY MONDAY: May 1, 2017

Terry Lucas


I’m happy to present another award-winning poet to you today. Terry Lucas is the author of two full-length poetry collections, both of which came out in 2016: In This Room from CW Books in January and Dharma Rain, from Saint Julian Press in October. He has also published two award-winning chapbooks: Altar Call, selected by the 2013 San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival for the anthology, Diesel, and If They Have Ears to Hear, winner of the 2012 Copperdome Chapbook contest and published by Southeast Missouri State University Press in 2013. Among his many other writing awards were the 2014 Crab Orchard Review Feature Award in Poetry, the fifth annual Littoral Press Poetry Prize, and six Pushcart Prize nominations.

Lucas’ poems, reviews and essays have appeared in dozens of national literary journals, including Best New Poets 2012, Green Mountains Review, Great River Review, Poetry Flash, and South 85 Journal. He has taught in the Chicago public schools as a Master Poet in the Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center’s Writing Center, and is a guest lecturer for the Dominican University Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing. A 2008 MFA graduate of New England College, he  is the former Co-Executive Editor of Trio House Press, where he now serves as an Assistant Editor in order to devote more time to his own writing as well as to his poetry consulting business.

The three poems below have all been selected from his latest collection, Dharma Rain.


                          –Irene Willis
                            Poetry Editor




We all eventually stumble into our own story.

Every big bang has an infinite number

Of smaller bangs struggling to get out.

For our purposes there are no other purposes.

Theoretically the atoms in your left hand came from a star

Different from the star that donated the atoms to your right.

Some theories are full of theorists.

And some holes are full of stories.

Black ones with event horizons big enough to hold

All the lines ever written in the universe.

But that’s another story.

Watch your step.

Previously published in Dharma Rain (2016), by Saint Julian Press (http://saintjulianpress.com/index.html).



Horse Latitudes

You’re driving I-10, somewhere between Las Cruces
and Deming. Feeling grounded. All Things Considered
on the radio, stories grazing the brown hills, voices
wet with static, licking at the sparse fence line
of automobile aerials moving west—
something about the legend of The Horse Latitudes,
the roiling vicissitudes of the Cape Horn Ocean
killing the wind, compelling sailors to throw horses
overboard to stay afloat—They found skeletons, necks
broken right next to sunken boats. In the same time frame,
the yellow stripe in the road turns
dark, widens and crosses over into your lane—
a streak of rust, then chestnut for miles. You can see it
beginning to turn again, this time coppery
in smell, and it’s damp ahead—definitely
part of your brain says best slow down, says O
God! It’s a roan in the road, lying on its side,
tied to the trailer behind a pickup truck,
hindquarters quivering. Quivering
in the blood-soaked arms of two men,
there are children crying, and a woman
is pulling a gun from the cab. As you swing wide,
one if its eyes, an unbroken egg full of white sky,
rolls back and flashes its lightning-red veins.
And in that moment you know everything
in the story is wrong—the ocean, the wind, the killing,
the men, those horses at the bottom of the sea—
they jumped.

Previously published in Dharma Rain (Saint Julian Press, 2016).
First published in MiPOesias.



New Mexico Sighting

Melanistic Canis Latrans

At first we thought you a wild dog, at least partly
fed by Navajos—your erect body, shining
like a seal’s, soaked with the afternoon
sun, was all we could make of your gaze
at two hundred yards. But when you turned
and loped into the desert, silhouetting your muzzle, your tail
swaying like a juniper bush, as much at home among the sage
as sage itself, we knew that you were not
headed to hogans on the horizon. Continuing our descent
down the plutonic spine that percolated through
this plateau twenty-six million years ago, we lost
sight of you, but still whispered as if you were the trickster
god we didn’t want to wake, a dream we didn’t want
to leave, longing for another glimpse, somehow
to confirm your presence, your mystery—and ours.

Previously published in Dharma Rain (Saint Julian Press, 2016).
First published in If They Have Ears to Hear (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2013).


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