The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Eamonn Wall

Resistance: In Memory of Joanne Kyger


There is a poetry house high on a mountaintop
that men and women, weighed down with notebooks
of first drafts, are drawn to as if magnetically.
At AWP seminars and stuffed MFA open houses
leaders explain the process, maps are handed
out to all who pay to play the poet’s role,
only professionals need apply, no self-taught
book worms, or mothers toting babies need apply.
To reach the poetry house high on a mountain top
in New England one must first beat through
thickets, ford rivers, leave the interstates
and Starbucks for country roads and winding paths.

Along the way, you will enter caves and rooms
of terrors though if you have learned lessons
from Harrison Ford,
Mean Girls, Night of the Living
, you will survive encounters with the evil,
wicked, and the damned to hell. You will note
on darkening paths impaled poets who were
of tetrameter and secret handshake lacking. Ladders
leading the mountaintop are like laurels all
arrayed, MFA directors hold sway, they say
who is not deemed elect, one poet hurled to doom
for being deeply read in literature from
to Pope. In another dream today, I follow
Joanne Kyger to a photo shoot, Kyoto 1960s,
seat myself beside her as gets her hair transformed
into a permanent before she sets off home alone
to settle among the deep woods and sundry potheads
of Bolinas, alternatively living, hearing as Olson
had in woods outside of Ashville, a chorus
of birdsong, following folk tunes lingering
on the Aeolian harp before posing questions
to Homer, Dickinson, and Carl Jung.
Though she could not see the great poetry house

perched on the mountaintop—it’s a long
drive from California to New England as we know
On the Road—she might sense its discord
on stormy days or on visits east. In sunlight,
her cat sleeps on the porch. It’s a lazy afternoon.

In India, as Joanne Kyger listened, the Dalai
Llama in answer to Ginsberg’s query of how
many times each day he prayed replied.
“I never meditate. I don’t have too.” The Poetry
House, it is well-known to all, is always busy.



Eamonn Wall

Our Town Was Orange


Our town was orange for a day.
Two lads reached into Daly’s garden
to feast on his nasturtiums. Sexton
Smyth, ski-hat concealing close-shaved
crown, peered down New Line Rd.
at a line of streetlights, yellow
with a hint of orange. Nora Phelan

left her mother’s home wrapped
head to toe against wind and rain—
her orange purse inside an Aldi
shopping bag. All enraged, old
Robbie Dowd beat an orange flag
outside Sinn Féin HQ. In Gwalia
Stores, Rosie Dolan’s Coke
metamorphosed into Fanta Orange.
Global warming the culprit here
insisted Ken Berry to Biddy Crowe.
They saw Nora Phelan of Parnell
Drive fly gobsmacked through her
orange hall. Look, Rev. Sally Graham,
all dolled-up, crossing Patriot Sq.:
orange Hermes scarf though that
turquoise dress her coupe-de-grace.




EAMONN WALL, a native of Ireland, emigrated to the USA in 1982 and has lived in the St. Louis area since 2000. Recent and forthcoming publications of poems and essays include Poetry Ireland Review, Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, Reading Ireland; the Little Magazine; Naugatuck River Review; New Hibernia Review; Cold Mountain Review. Junction City: New & Selected Poems 1990-2015 was published by Salmon Poetry (Ireland) in 2015. He works at UMSL as a professor of Irish Studies.



Previous | Next