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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 5: October 2020
Poem: 167 words
By Robert L. Dean, Jr.

Doppelgänger

 

Shadow walks ahead 
I’m always chasing 
rainbows double arced 

as if it had rained here 
as if the clocks had never 
stopped saluting time 

passing through yesterday 
only a rumor tomorrow 
the train that never arrives 

whistling a Rock Island tune 
in the dripping dark my brother 
rolls beside me into sleep 

from the north room 
Grandma snores in German 
pancakes and Log Cabin syrup 

is what the sun smells like rising 
afternoon the sugar cookies bloom 
into the tick-tock mantelpiece warning 

whispers of impending chalkboard doom 
Miss Buttenhof babbling away 
signs and cosigns fractioning 

like burst cloud streamers 
blues greens magentas 
this day that day the next 

it never rains here anymore 
shadow floats ahead a mirage 
I thirst from this cross 

of streets unfamiliar now 
as always all too soon 
I’ll catch up taste what only 

shadow knows the world 
beneath my feet but this one 
violet-scented day the sky 

double arced like eyes 
in wrinkled skin 
leaks memory 

and shadow 
sizzling 
dances on 

Robert L. Dean, Jr.
Issue 5, October 2020

is the author of two books: The Aerialist Will Not Be Performing, ekphrastic poems and short fictions after the art of Steven Schroeder (Turning Plow Press, 2020), and a poetry collection, At the Lake with Heisenberg (Spartan Press, November 2018). Nominated for a Pushcart in 2019 and multiple times for Best of the Net, his work has appeared in Chiron Review; Flint Hills Review; Heartland! Poetry of Love, Resistance & Solidarity; I-70 Review; Illya’s Honey; KYSO Flash; MacQueen’s Quinterly; Red River Review; River City Poetry; Shot Glass; The Ekphrastic Review; and the Wichita Broadside Project.

Dean is event coordinator for Epistrophy: An Afternoon of Poetry and Improvised Music, held annually in Wichita, Kansas. He has been a professional musician, having played bass for, among others, Jesse Lopez, B. W. Stephenson, Bo Didley, The Dallas Jazz Orchestra, and the house band for the Fairmount Hotel Venetian Room. He grew up in Topeka and Wichita, Kansas before spending 30 years between Los Angeles and Dallas, where he worked at The Dallas Morning News. He now lives in Augusta, Kansas (population 9,389), where it has taken him a decade to finally adjust to the BNSF rumbling through every hour of every night.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Hopper and Dean: Interview and poems in River City Poetry (Fall 2017).

Metal Man, ekphrastic poem inspired by a 1955 photograph of Dean’s paternal grandfather in the Boeing machine shop; published in The Ekphrastic Review (28 July 2018) and nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Windmill, ekphrastic poem inspired by Dean’s maternal grandfather; published in KYSO Flash (Issue 11, Spring 2019) and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. This poem is among half-a-dozen of Dean’s ekphrastic works published in KYSO Flash (Issues 11 and 12).

Llama, 1957, ekphrastic haibun inspired by Inge Morath’s photograph A Llama in Times Square; published in The Ekphrastic Review (13 January 2018).

 
 
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