To fully appreciate this poem by George Drew for Brian Petkash, you may want to read Brian Petkash’s short story collection, Mistakes by the Lake. (Our authors find inspiration in each others’ work. That’s kind of cool, we think.)
Mistakes at the Table
How now, Sir John? (Again, for Brian Petkash) First: I’m sitting at the table. Second: I’m sitting at the table trying to think, but thoughts keep flitting away, like butterflies on fire turning to ashes. Third: The butterflies are real. Or aren’t they? Fourth: I’m eating at the table, crumbs littering the placemat dispossessed of any value, clumps of empty calories. Fifth: I’m watching on the table ants crisscross its width and length like trolley cars transporting crumbs on their last ride. Sixth: The ants aren’t real. Or are they? Seventh: I’m leaning on the table drinking coffee, and when I knock it over, it spills, turning the tablecloth’s pink purity muddy. Eighth: I’m twitching at the table as the coffee spreads over the tablecloth like floodwater over a street, a yard, a field. Ninth: I’m marking at the table how a lamp’s circle of light shimmers like a moon, fading outward into shade, shade into dark. Tenth: I’m still sitting at the table. ---George Drew
George Drew is the author of eight poetry collections, with Pastoral Habits: New and Selected Poems, Down & Dirty and The View From Jackass Hill, winner of the 2010 X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, all from Texas Review Press. His eighth, Fancy’s Orphan, appeared in 2017 with Tiger Bark Press. Drumming Armageddon is his ninth collection. Recently George won the Knightville Poetry Contest, The New Guard, his poem appearing in the 2017 edition, and two other poems as Honorable Mention in the Steve Kowit Poetry Contest, appeared in the 2018 and 2019 San Diego Poetry Anthology. He was a recipient of the Bucks County Muse Award in 2016 for contributions to the Bucks County PA literary community. Recently, one of his poems from Fancy’s Orphan appeared in Verse Daily. George’s biography will appear in Mississippi Poets: A Literary Guide, University of Mississippi Press, edited by Catherine Savage Brosman.
by Brian Petkash
Set in Cleveland, Ohio, from its earliest beginnings as a forested frontier to the urban blight of modern times, Mistakes by the Lake is a collection of ten thematically-linked stories spanning the many faces of the city’s history: A motorman navigates his 1920’s back-and-forth trolley until he snaps; A stockyards knocker encounters the Virgin Mary during the 1954 World Series; A wannabe wrestles his unruly mind along the flammable 1960’s Cuyahoga River; In a reinvention of Henry IV, a young man must either stick with his bumbling criminal crew or uncover legit ways to support his mother and transgender Gramps.