Prose and poetry have been published in a variety of print and online journals that include Rattle, Water-Stone, The American Poetry Journal, ArtWord Quarterly, the Wisconsin Review, the South Dakota Review, The Drunken Boat, Blaze, 88, Diner, Eclectica, Tryst and others. His poetry also appears in the anthologies Hymns to the Outrageous: an American Poetry Sampler and The Best of Full Circle Journal.

"Whatever the Story Requires," his first chapbook, is forthcoming from Pudding House Press in 2004. He moderates the online poetry workshop at Haven and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. The founder and editor of the online literary arts journal <<three candles>>, he holds an MFA in Writing from Hamline University and lives in the Midwest with his wife and two daughters.


Nocturne #2

          Unending chorus
                    of frogs,
and the moon slowly eaten from the bottom up.

          Cool and dark
                    and somewhere
a radio playing La Cathédral Engloutie.

Soon the moon is gone,
          ghostly brownish shadow snuffed,

perhaps forever
                    this time. Half-burned candle flickering
on the table,
          a finger of merlot left in the glass.

          A secret gathers in the trees, whispers
a trail of rumors
          to the window chimes;

                    then there is light again,

with its sliver of longing.



The old jazz drummer's hands pop and jerk
     on the pew—

     …pa, badda, be bop,
bah dah, badda, be bop…

His head lolls, canted as an egret preening
     in the dark
orange minute before sunrise.


A girl steps through the door
     of Wal-mart
and twirls, her shirt sparking with light.

Her younger sister, betrayed by beauty,
     covers her mouth,
and the long war between them stalls.


A wolf spider rappels from the railing
     of a paddleboat steamer on a hot afternoon.

Soon it will begin the task of assembling a sail.


The sky is angry and yellow.

The transistor radio crackles, jazz
     flits in and out.
"Stay tuned," a thin voice says,
     and the lights flicker

and die. Outside, the wind raises its hackles.
     Sirens wail.
Hail tattoos the window.

The little girl, huddling with hands over ears,
     hears her blood whoosh
like the rinse-cycle of a washing machine.

Twenty years later she will remember this night,
while laundering clothes in graduate school.


There is a rhythm in our days.

This is what we learn after we have been cut
     and cut again.

When you have reached the edge of your endurance,
     stop the car. Listen
to the hot engine tick, the blood rush of cars on the road.

Lift your face as you did when you were young
and running was everything.


Copyright © 2004 Steve Mueske