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Free Verse: Jeffrey Bean

image courtesy of Styx

Richard Newman of River Styx brings his poetic touch to St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon. He regularly selects a poem to appear on this site. It's a free glimpse into the vibrant poetry life in this area. Today: Jeffrey Bean | The Voyeur’s Blues.

This month we’re featuring a blues poem from River Styx’s upcoming anniversary issue. The blues often come in dark shades, and this one makes the speaker compelling and creepy, the scene sinister yet almost sweet.

Jeffrey Bean

The Voyeur’s Blues

At night you fold your blouses, your hands are all I see.

At night you smooth those creases, your hands are all I see.

At noon your window’s blank with sun — your window watches me.

Standing in my study, I see you argue with your man.

I lean, tired, in my study, watch you argue with that man.

If you’ve got my lust for leaving, I’ve got two tickets to Japan.

Sometimes I climb my maple tree and watch you from the air.

Sometimes I climb my maple tree, look down on you mid-air.

I’ll watch you till I look like bark and squirrels nest in my hair.

You’ve got a prickly blackberry bush — it’s blooming in your yard.

I’ll eat those prickly berries one night in the quiet of your yard.

When my mouth turns blue, I’ll talk to you like I’m praying to the Lord.

I think I’ve read about you in books of poems and ghosts.

I think I’ve read about you in poems about books and ghosts.

You haunt your window, then my head—you stick to both like frost.

I see you smiling, laughing, on the sidewalk on the phone.

I see you laugh and shake your head, talking on the phone.

I love whoever’s on the line—he makes me doubly alone.

It’s nine o’clock and raining, but the sun shines on the leaves.

It’s almost night and raining, but there’s sunshine on the leaves.

Tonight I’ll live inside your skin like rain lives in the trees.

Jeffrey Bean is associate professor of English/Creative Writing at Central Michigan University. He is author of the poetry collection Diminished Fifth (WordTech) and the chapbook Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window (Southeast Missouri State University Press), winner of the 2013 Vern Cowles/Copperdome Poetry Chapbook Prize.  Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in the journals River Styx, Southern Poetry Review, Cimarron Review, Crab Orchard Review, Smartish Pace, and Barn Owl Review, among others.

Other "Free Verse" poets: Thomas Lux, Gary Fincke, Katy Didden, Lee Upton, Annie Finch, Robert Wrigley, James Arthur, Janice N. Harrington, William Trowbridge, Francesca Bell, Joshua Mehigan, Jill Alexander Essbaum, Drucilla WallMichael Meyerhofer, Travis Mossotti, Allison Joseph, Stacy Lynn Brown, Adrian Matejka, David Clewell, Catherine Rankovic,Andy Cox, Rodney Jones, Sara Burge, Melody Gee, Christopher Todd Anderson, Andrew Hudgins, Richard Cecil.

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