Poet Spotlight: Corey Mesler

COREY MESLER has published in numerous journals and anthologies. He has published 8 novels, 4 full length poetry collections, and 3 books of short stories. He has also published a dozen chapbooks of both poetry and prose. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize numerous times, and two of his poems were chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. His fiction has received praise from John Grisham, Robert Olen Butler, Lee Smith, Frederick Barthelme, Greil Marcus, among others. With his wife, he runs Burke’s Book Store in Memphis TN. He can be found at www.coreymesler.wordpress.com.



The Horizon

Morning, seaside, we watched

as they pulled the conch

from its glass house

and beat it flat against a rock.

It did not seem a death.

Later, sunburned and famished,

I dined on fried conch

while you had a lighter pasta.

The failing sun lit your cheeks.

Still I did not think about death.

Still I only wanted to eat a

bit and not worry about

the future, out there like a coffee

-coloured smudge on the horizon.



From the Garden, Outward

            for Eve


Not being the first woman

means little

in this, the garden. There

will be more fruit

when this fruit is gone, when

the memory of this

fruit is gone, also. There will

be temptations and

serpents that speak. Some

lie and some do

the other thing, the speaking

in voices, the dream

invoked like a spell: a face

will appear to you

and you will not be able to

get rid of its eidolon

until you are pure. And you

will never be pure enough

simply because you

have eaten all the fruit and lived

to tell the tale over again, amen.



I’m Miller

“Who made you up? That was a thin disguise:

the soul shows through.”

            --John Berryman


They came as ghosts, jinns,

incubi, stars, tramps,

afreets, and aliens. Most were

the size of shrubs. Most

were wired and grubby,

on a cool night with

coats over thin concealments.

Their bright colors, synthetic

and cheap gaud, made a revelry

of the night.  We sat on the porch

and dispensed sweets and

greetings. It was the least we

could do. Some made our hearts

hurt, older than our own

children, holding out soiled

ball caps for food. Some

made us laugh, their

earnestness, their nerves,

their wee, tinkling thank-yous.

Then there was one boy,

short and compact, dressed

in the raiment of a kingdom

long gone undersea,

a mysterious masquerade.

My wife smiled at his odd

garb and asked, “And who

are you?” He gathered him-

self and stepped forward,

as if one of the guards of Oz,

and spoke in a venerable tone,

“I’m Miller.” We laughed

then and we laughed later.

And Miller stuck with us. Even to-

day I can hear his confident

assertion. Even today, in

this reflection, I

wonder at his secure sense

of self and I wonder where

he is now, an older Miller.

I wonder what he’s doing,

and whether, given the agley

twirl of the planet, I wonder if

he was able to hold onto,

what eludes me

here and elsewhere,

such a substantial grasp of identity.