Gold Medalist winner of the Florida Authors and Publishers Association President's Book Awards
Living is a chaotic system that rips the Poet’s guts and splatters the entrails across the page, every mischievous side-slam and frantic headkick is an image, texts are snapping synapses, sparks from a grinding wheel. For Jeff Weddle it’s a broken world shortchanged by truth, a sensorium of failure where chaos kicks your ass, yet although we’re defeated, still these tender sparks, these true moments of grace, are the things that matter. — Andrew Darlington, author of The Poet’s Deliberation on the State of the Nation
Excerpts from Heart of the Broken World
She felt she was a saint
and though the burden was hard
having no choice
she carried it well.
Her small room had light and heat
only a few hours of the day
but she had her typewriter and paper
and there were always parties
in the way of artists and writers
and there was wine and smoke
and she enjoyed long walks
in the cold Paris evenings
bundled in sweaters
and the expectation of happiness
coming sometime soon.
Love was always available for a moment
even for a plain girl like her
but not the love
for which she had crossed an ocean.
That love had casually fled to Africa
with a young beauty
even before she arrived
and was, in any case, impossible.
She had visions of the divine
and wrote every day for hours
and kept the pages safe in big trunks
which she was certain
the world would someday know.
What became of her is a mystery
and the trunks are long vanished
but maybe she is in heaven
at the right hand of God.
This is my prayer for her blessing.
I Like to Think You Killed a Man
I remember every detail
but some things I keep
It’s not the way I want it
but you don’t like to hear
and no one else
gives a damn.
Shall we agree
that the Germans wore gray
and you wore blue?
That’s a way to laugh things off
and laughing is for the best
Sure it is.
the usual suspects
and awkward goodbyes
like train stations in the rain
linger in dreams
and in the bloody bandages
we call art.
Someday you’ll understand
but I never make plans
that far in advance.
she was in the corner
and we were all drowned
and stupid with youth
the play of beauty
on a page was everything
and she was in the dark corner
as the guests danced
and drank in the light
she was unaware, golden
sitting in the corner reading Gatsby
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Jeff Weddle grew up in Prestonsburg, a small town in the hill country of Eastern Kentucky. He has worked as a public library director, disc jockey, newspaper reporter, Tae Kwon Do teacher, and fry cook, among other things. His latest book, Comes to This, was published by Nixes Mate Books. His first book, Bohemian New Orleans: The Story of the Outsider and Loujon Press (University Press of Mississippi, 2007), won the Eudora Welty Prize and helped inspire Wayne Ewing’s documentary, The Outsiders of New Orleans: Loujon Press (Wayne Ewing Films, 2007), for which Weddle served as associate producer. His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in dozens of venues, including the anthologies Surreal South ’13 (Press 53, 2013); Pressure Press Presents (Pressure Press, 2014); Stovepiper (Stovepiper Books, 1994) and Mondo Barbie (St. Martin’s Press, 1993). Weddle is the author of a poetry collection, Betray the Invisible (OEOCO, 2010), a limited-edition, fine press book handcrafted by master book artist Mary Ann Sampson, and a chapbook of Barbie poems, Not Another Blonde Joke (Implosion Press, 1991). He is an associate professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama.
Copyright © 2017 Jeff Weddle
Cover photograph from the collection of Lauren Leja
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or scholarly journal.
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