Charlie Rossiter

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Artwork by Gene McCormick

Goth Makes Sense to Me

The stone edifice towered over us,
two human figures six feet tall,
the stone wall behind them
added two or three feet more.
They were sentinel demons
in knee-length coats, high boots,
heads bowed, like benign tulips.
Hands folded they looked
like monks, except for the helmets.
They could have been Nazis
or from long before.
This was Germany, Deutschland
the fatherland.

The landscape of tombstones
stretched out for acres,
remote enough that no one
ever came upon us, a group of nerdy
teenage boys and girls, the kind
who don’t get invited to
parents-out-of-town parties.
We didn’t care;

we didn’t even drink.
We had each other and places like
the Tomb of the Unknown German.

A Freudian could have a field day
searching for meanings behind
a group of teens hanging out
in a graveyard, just as it’s easy
to overthink a kid’s piercings and spiked hair,

but it makes perfect sense to me
when I recall those feelings of isolation
and connection during long quiet hours
talking friends about ideas and
concerns, parents, classes, boys and girls
we did or didn’t like, our future selves
in futures we knew we wouldn’t share
later when adulthood ensnared us.

Artwork by Gene McCormick

Feeling Privileged Cruising Down Scenic 7A

Sun shining in the clear blue sky
over rolling Green Mountains,
I drift into the depths of satisfaction,
forget the murder rate in Chicago,
the gangs of Los Angeles,
the mess in the Middle East
AIDS, even the drug problems
buried in small town New England
out there in these lush forests

It’s a pure pleasure to enjoy
such feelings of comfort and exhilaration
after a day at the lake, and it’s sad
what the human race does to itself.
So much pain is part of being human.
Buddha was right, and so much of it
avoidable. I try to do my part.
Live well. Do no harm, or at least
as little harm as possible.
Look. There’s a roadside stand.

Fresh picked corn, tomatoes,
cucumbers, goat milk cheddar.
It’s a good life after all,
for those who can afford it.

Artwork by Gene McCormick

Confessional Poem

My pussy is always wet
the poet declares at the outset
of a long meandering poem.
Naturally curious, I lean in.
She has a butterfly,
or perhaps a spider tattoo,
it’s hard to tell,
on her shoulder,
and her faded jeans
are ripped in complicated places.
She has a good tan
for early October and
is at ease revealing herself
as the poem unfolds.
It’s a strange poem,
mysterious and metaphysical,
about an experience
involving her mother,
a train station
and fear of flying.


Charles Rossiter, NEA Fellowship recipient, hosts the podcast series (since 2015). Latest book, Green Mountain Meditations from Foothills Publishing. Partial to birds of prey.