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Don Mager

June Journal: Sunday, June 9, 2013

June Journal: Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June Journal: Friday, June 14, 2013

June Journal:  Sunday, June 9, 2013

The hurricane drives its six-engine
diesel up the coast.  Three hundred miles
behind its tight eye, loaded cargoes
roll.  In bands that stretch far west and north,
its swill of warm Gulf water rides in
hydra headed paunches. The hydrant
pressured clouds bust open and gush.  The
afternoon struggles to keep its head
up.  Streets crest into streams.  Lawns swamp down
with clogged storm drain refuse and leaves.  The
creek’s slim meander engulfs a lake
whose whirlpool churns branches and trash.  Now
knows no way to slam the brakes.  It stares
from its window and rides itself out.

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June Journal:  Wednesday, June 12, 2013 

The shower comes and goes like a bad
performance with a single clap that soundly
shows the neighborhood’s disgust.  The sun’s
disguise never fully masks its face.
It knows how shoddy the affair is
likely to turn out.  It expects a
bad review.  As if a mangle in
a cleaners that stretches three blocks jerked
straight uphill, the pavement spurts heavy
steam.  The heat scarcely misses a stride
as cars go and come, except over
across the ridge of trees, fading layers
of the rainbow, like a critic’s brief notes,
keep right on with the show’s finale.

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June Journal:  Friday, June 14, 2013

Dire sirens should broadcast a warning
before this phalanx of heat rears up
its snarl in confrontation with the
day’s noon.  Halted, the tracks scarcely make
it down the five front steps from the door.
Desire to drive withers on the vine.
Silence is stealth like the fumes from cars
boiling up into unbreathable stew. 
The tracks turn back.  The blue quartz blaze of
a Skink darts up the wall.  The door pulls shut
and drapes pull an illusion of cool
down around the room’s shadows.  Up the
hill where illusions have no trees to
hide them, asphalt is licorice glue.

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Don Mager’s chapbooks and volumes of poetry are: To Track the Wounded One, Glosses, that which is owed to Death, Borderings, Good Turns and The Elegance of the Ungraspable, Birth Daybook Drive Time and Russian Riffs.  He is retired with degrees from Drake University (BA), Syracuse University (MA) and Wayne State University (PhD).  He was the Mott University Professor of English at Johnson C. Smith University from 1998-2004 where he served as Dean of the College of Arts and Letters (2005-2011). As well as a number of scholarly articles, he has published over 200 poems and translations from German, Czech and Russian

Us Four plus Four is an anthology of translations from eight major Soviet-era Russian poets.  It is unique because it tracks almost a half century of their careers by simply placing the poems each wrote to the others in chronological order.   The 85 poems represent one of the most fascinating conversations in poems produced by any group of poets in any language or time period.  From poems and infatuation and admiration to anger and grief and finally to deep tribute, this anthology invites readers into the unfolding lives of such inimitable creative forces as Anna Akhmatova, Boris Pasternak, Marina Tsvetaeva and Osip Mandelstam.  

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