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My poem, “The Juvenile Bear with Gold Earrings,” is now out! Doubly Mad Journal. Summer, 2021.

https://doublymad.org/Doubly-Mad-Journal

THE JUVENILE BEAR WITH GOLD EARRINGS

I. 

We

leave strips of trimmed fat

from our pork loins, 

along with a discarded Yukon Gold,

laden with generous pats

of sweet cream, salted butter, 

and bacon crumbles as we 

flee the ashen rain at The Timbers.

The Juvenile Bear with a yellow tag in each ear 

swipes the loaded potato

with the skillful agility of a major

league catcher. 

Padded paws like mitts, no bone

china is broken.

II.

Poor men scavenge

harvested dirt rows the week before,

gleaning what the Spudnik had not pulled. 

Flour sacks heavy with worry and coup, 

their tongues click on about the measure of their dogs,

their chickens and their children. 

They lift furtive glances toward the red rim

of a distant forest fire that has driven

the bears down the mountain and wonder when 

the ferocious raiders will return.

On the dawn of a different day,

a frenzy of hungry bears tore open the belly

of a lame cow. Now shotguns are always loaded,

close at hand, in dusty Ford pickup trucks.

Poor men know what to do with thieves.

III.

The chief chef from Guadalajara at The Timbers

presses his palm against the blade’s back,

opens the tuber as fresh as manioc.

There’s a photo inside his 

flaked-leather wallet 

of his forever-little-girl 

whom he hears is all grown up in Mexico.

There’s talk in the kitchen

of a twelve-year-old whose calf was split open

on the wooded trail just above the tree line

by a mother bear.

The child survived.

Gracias a Dios.

The protective bear.

Dispuesto.

This chef knows survival is the reason

he cooks in America.

IV. 

A blaze roars in the river stone fireplace

at The Timbers. Crystal water glasses shine 

in this warmth. Four inches less snow

this season, hardly worth the price of air.

Seconds before, we were driven

in by the sudden occurrence

of frozen rain. It slashes at the blue

umbrellas.

There’s a sinking into the pleasures

of the hearth, a return to comfort

and the deserved luxury 

of buttering warm bread and tipping back wine.                                                                                            

A child’s gleeful alarm shatters this settling.

“Mommy, look. It’s a bear with gold earrings!”

We crowd the windowpane,

admire the brown beauty’s youthful.          

agility, a circus performance, a major leaguer

complete with a yellow tag in each ear.                           

We snapchat smartphone photographs,

take video with the latest generation

of Cinematix apps, and post on our Facebook Live.

Dancing from plate to plate,

the bear devours what is left of our fled feast.

We recognize its utter devotion to pleasure

and its risk of being labeled “bad bear.”

“Without his mother

he no longer remembers

how to be wild,” says

the chef, who’s emerged from

his kitchen to check on the commotion. 

“One more tag and he’ll be shot.

Waitstaff in crisp white uniforms

clap and stomp the bear back

down wet, wooden stairs

where it’s taken residence under the deck.

V. 

The bear retreats, but is drawn by the smell

of French fries, burgers, and ketchup as sweet as honey. 

Driven by hunger and insatiable desire,

it charges blindly up slippery stairs

where the memory of butter, pork, and potato 

glisters brighter than gold and fire. 


Pleased to announce that my poem, “Juvenile Bear with Gold Earrings,” has been accepted for publication in Doubly Mad Journal. Out this June, 2021.

Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com

Dear Patricia, 

We don’t normally respond so quickly to contributors, but we knew immediately that we wanted to include “The Juvenile Bear With Gold Earrings” in the upcoming issue of Doubly Mad, due out in June, 2021! Over the last few years, an amazing amount of poetry has come our way, and we often have a very hard time making our selections–but occasionally, it’s a no-contest. 

Thank you again for sharing this work with us. We are very excited to learn about your poetry! (We took a glance at your website and read your piece on O’Keefe–it is excellent!) 
Looking forward to hearing from you, 
William Welch

Doubly Mad is a biannual literary and visual arts journal published by The Other Side of Utica, Inc. with support through granting organizations and our readers.  Our aim is to publish excellent poetry, fiction, essays and visual art, with an emphasis on people working and living in Central New York, though not to the exclusion of our neighbors throughout the U.S. and around the world


A Dialogue With Georgia O’Keeffe I: Chimney Rock.


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My new short story release: Hot Springs. Published by CSU SAN BERNARDINO’S Ghost Town Literary Magazine.

http://ghosttownlitmag.com/patriciameek

HOT SPRINGS

Mary Ellen Stahl sat in the back of the old Lincoln, watching the silver Airstream follow behind, quietly pounding her chest so her grandparents wouldn’t hear the sound over the country music station. Of course, they’d already discovered her secret. It was the reason they’d decided to take the long trip from Pine Grove, Texas, to Hot Springs, South Dakota, to cure what they called an infliction with the healing powers of the water there.

The day after Mary Ellen had turned thirteen, she decided she would not grow breasts. Like many of her past birthdays, she celebrated by blowing out the multicolored candles on her frosted cake and by opening her gift. This year, she’d gotten a blue sweater, dotted with tiny rosebuds; “perfect for church” was what Grandmother Kay had said. The next morning while she was still lying in bed, she looked at the sweater draped over the chair and thought about the present her mother would have picked. If it had been a sweater, her mother would have picked red—something tight and fuzzy. She would have said something like: “The more plush, the better to hug,” or “Little Miss Mary, you just wait. You’ll have those boys admiring that figure of yours before too long.”

Mary Ellen was what her mother had affectionately called a late bloomer. Only recently had she noticed that her chest, which had been as flat as a boy’s, was beginning to grow, forming what looked like robin’s eggs. Mary Ellen had stared at the sweater, a size too big, when she imagined the rosebuds forming into a pattern, then swirling into a pool of colors. She’d cried then, and a few minutes later, she’d made a fist and brought it squarely down on her chest, hoping that her shells would crack. Although she knew there wasn’t much hope, she’d imagined that with time, and a little patience and determination, she could retard the growth and—with a little luck—avoid puberty.

Mary Ellen struck herself again and looked over at the front seat. She had to make sure that she would not be discovered. She knew all too well her grandparents’ response.

(more…)


INCARNATION WOUND

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The Crucified Bird

Redux: A Literary Journal: #59: “The Crucified Bird” by Patricia L. Meek
An invitation-only literary journal of writers’ favorite, previously published stories and poems, not found elsewhere on the web ~~ edited by novelist Leslie Pietrzyk ~~