Bloodied My Favourite Turquoise Blue Kicks

by | Dec 21, 2020 | December 2020 Writing | 6 comments

Please don’t feel obligated to put notes to all of these or any of these. If something stirs or moves or you see something that could help me find the next draft. I’d really like to read some work from all our peeps in here. Wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday and New Year! And thank you, Robert, for all your work and prompts and brilliance!


We were in the thick and the barley, the ghost stalks of corn, and the near-frozen clover. Nearly overcome by the just-sprouted hops two fields over. Loads of hairy cows watched us, mad-curious, from the sparse hills and rocks. The old bull paced and rubbed against the rusted-out dump. The cold, broken forge and that singular oak. The road was cut like a gash. You called me a sight of wild hair against all that backdrop; showed me how to twist the paper and set it between the logs. You are a source of light and heat when everything else is not. You read to me as a way to talk. Fucked me as a way to song. A top five day, I would tell the Angel; I would riddle the bridge-troll; I would rattle the chains and locks. And you were so careful where you had always been rough—as not to hurt me where I had cut.



The neon green of the 24-hour convenience store reflects in the parking lot puddle. A pothole in the shape of Seneca Falls, full of dirty snow and oil. It’s a Wonderful Life plays on a small TV screen above the deli counter. The part where George Bailey stalls at the kiss, tells Mary her mouth will overtake the moon. My brother, all wraith, in a t-shirt and jeans swings the door open to the sound of bells. An unlit cigarette hangs from his lips. He says, hey mister, you have the time?



When we die I want to be set apart from, then—made a constellation of descending bright—elbows tethered to knees. Twinning archers bow and mountain peaks, interlocking hands and rings; an ocean of us crescendos against the abyss. Arrive an unmade bed.



Under the window-ledge, the waters race,
—W.B. Yeats

Chased the long length of barrow, late.
First morning class. Resigned to the right-handed
wooden tablet chair, my legs full of running and sleep.

The professor was British, Indian descent,
an uninhibited shoulder-length curl in his still
dark hair. He called me, James.

Loved all things Irish. Spoke of finest tweed,
dúidín pipe, his wooly peaked cap.
For him, there was only one kind of whiskey.

Claimed the grades got kinder
the deeper he dove into drink.
Handed me my papers last.

I was diffident; made for the back corner
by the window. He broke into Yeats with the sight of me.
The view from the mound,

the tree line of Paper birch (a smoky white)
obscured the breadth of campus,
a fallen-despair parking lot in northwest New Jersey.


  1. John Steines

    Reading from bottom up, third read: I like ‘IRISH ON THE COUNTY COLLEGE RISE’ first off. ‘Ode and Wake’ feels a little less clear to me and requires more of a stretch, yet the more I read it I am lead to accept whet challenges me (elbows tethered to knees, and Arrives the unmade bed). ‘Winter Solstice…’ and Bloodied…’ are fabulous. You challenge with your combinations, and I’ll miss that.

  2. David O'Connor

    John, the first piece feels polished and ready to go out, each sentence such a lovely brick, laid just in the right place. I love the images painted, love how the word “fuck” pops in there, and jars everything open, changes tone, adds a level of sensual violence that juxtaposes with the more bucolic lines. ODE and Winter feel like snapshots, and although the sentences are polished and excellent, I wonder if there isn’t a bit you want to add, not sure what but they have space for more. Some lovely good prose poetry here, well done. Loved the IRISH verse, being Irish, placing the lyrical beauty of Yeats (and the teacher), against a parking lot in New Jersey is the stuff whiskey and poetry are made of…reminds me a bit of some of Heaney’s early poems, the ones about his father. Some really beautiful lines here, I’m a fan. Well done!

  3. jennifer vanderheyden

    The first piece makes a lasting impression. And the ending seals it. My favorite lines: “You are a source of light and heat when everything else is not. You read to me as a way to talk. Fucked me as a way to song.” I have one suggestion, and your writing is always so tight that you may have done this by choice, but I would omit some of the “the’s” in the first half. For example, “We were in the thick and (the) barley, ghost stalks of corn, near-frozen clover. Nearly overcome by just-sprouted hops two fields over.”

    “Winter Solstice…” I love every line. I just re-watched this movie.

    ‘Irish…” I also love your vivid description of the professor, told by the student. The last line was dissonant, but I imagine that’s what you were aiming for.
    Thank you for these, and all the best in 2021

  4. Sara Comito

    Ah, the first one. I know you gave us permission, but I still feel guilty not getting into the guts of your lovely others. Time is what it is. The only thing I might suggest is to remove “blue” from the title. Everything else has a beautifully clipped rhythm. “Fucked me as a way to song” might be one of the most delightful phrases ever committed to letters on a page. (I wonder if Glen Hansard of The Frames has anything going and might need a collaborator). Might you sub “bridge” for “bridge-troll” to evade cliche and invite a surprising image of one riddling a bridge? The piece has the DNA of a song that will live in a reader’s ears for days and years after. Where did I hear that tune?

  5. Martha Jackson Kaplan

    Rogan, Wishing you a healthy, productive and happy new year. We will miss you here on Roundtable. Hope to see you elsewhere when life allows. Thank you for all your comments, and your lovely work, gorgeous prose and poetry.

    Bloodied My Favorite Turquoise Blue Kicks— line and diction strong, everything ready to go, and a pleasure. You could erase the Blue in the title as Sara suggests without harming it, the loss of the extra percussive doesn’t cost. A work I’ve been reading and rereading with admiration.

    Winter Solstice–– the narrative arc on time works but I would love to see more. I want more about that brother, though I wouldn’t want the time theme weakened. Feels like you could further develop this sketch.

    Ode and Wake– feels like a beginning. I think you could do much more with this piece. I like what you do have on the page.

    As for Irish On the County College Rise— Beautiful. A poem perfect as it is, and yet, I have a thought– see what you think. What if “by the window. He broke into Yeats with the sight of me.
    The view from the mound,” broke differently, like this:

    “by the window. He broke into Yeats/
    with the sight of me. The view from the mound,”

    Thanks for all this.

  6. Robert Vaughan

    Hi Rogan, as has already been said, you will be MUCH MISSED in the BG Online RT my friend. Here is to a healthy, happy, healing 2021.

    Your first piece you must submit! All the remaining ones are terrific, your writing always is, and “Ode and Wake” probably could morph the most. Love the Irish slant in “Irish on the County College Rise.”

    Your work is always satisfying, and I can’t wait until we can sip some WHISKEY under the stars (again?) Synergia, fingers crossed in 2021.

    Big hugs, and thanks for your sweetness.

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