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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Poem: 160 words
By Steve Deutsch

Give Them All to Me

But if somehow you could pack up your sorrows...

—Richard and Mimi Fariña*
It was the year of chili dogs 
and reheated beans 
at the encampment 
under the interstate—
between the smoldering forest fire 
and the sad little carnival 
in the supermarket parking lot. 

The year of departed parents, 
of locust and gypsy moths, 
of tearful love songs 
picked on a guitar 
held together by tape, 
with voice and harmony 
hollow with sorrow. 

The year of counting coins, 
bottles, and cans, 
and playing on corners 
for dimes and quarters. 
Dinners warmed over Sterno 
and nickel bags 
in the alley beside the liquor store. 

The year of sitting handcuffed 
in the back 
of a patrol car—
broken teeth chattering—
gigantic shadows 
in the blossoming light 
of cities burning. 

The year I helped you carry 
our brother home. 
Cares and all, 
he was less of a burden 
than starlight. 
That year he finally slept 
through the night. 



*Publisher’s Note:

Epigraph is from the song “Pack Up Your Sorrows” written by Richard Fariña and Pauline Marden (the eldest of the three Baez sisters: Pauline, Joan, and Mimi). Richard and Mimi Fariña performed the song along with others on Rainbow Quest (Episode 16, 26 February 1966), hosted by Pete Seeger. The show was taped two months before Richard’s untimely death in a motorcycle accident on 30 April 1966, Mimi’s twenty-first birthday.

(Also available on YouTube: the full Episode 16 of Rainbow Quest.)

Steve Deutsch
Issue 23 (April 2024)

is poetry editor of Centered Magazine and is poet in residence at the Bellefonte Art Museum. His work has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize. His book Brooklyn (Evening Street Press, 2023) was awarded the Sinclair Poetry Prize in 2022. He is also author of four books published by Kelsay Press: a chapbook, Perhaps You Can (2019); and the full-length Persistence of Memory (September 2020); Going, Going, Gone (2021); and Slipping Away (2023).

His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Backchannels, The Drabble, Evening Street Review, Lothlorien, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Muddy River Poetry Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Poetica Review, Red Weather, The Rush, Sangam, Santa Clara Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Sheila-na-gig, and Silver Birch.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Three Poems by Steve Deutsch at The Write Launch (August 2023): “As Charged”; “My dad”; and “One Last Thing”

Poet, in Eclectica Magazine (Volume 22, Number 2, April/May 2018)

Flotilla, first published in the anthology Weatherings (FutureCycle Press 2015), and later posted on Sarah Russell Poetry (16 June 2018)

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