Poetry | ‘Eye of the needle’, ‘Fortunate Son’ – Alan Britt

Eye of the needle

Camel that slips through the eye these days,
we don’t know whether friend or foe—
hell, it could be ourselves we
shouldn’t trust or camel unwilling
to trust us.
Bristly toes of pollen whether we want
them to or not, but the universe can’t
resist us, so driven by insatiable desires
to spread chaos to nearby roses-of-Sharon
or tulip bulbs hibernating the Blizzard
of ’16, we enter the clover of better
judgement and not a moment too soon.

Fortunate son


(It ain’t me, it ain’t me,
I ain’t no fortunate one, no.)
~John Fogarty

We emerged slimy and six-legged poised
for a fight with anything and everything
that moved or promised to move
in one alternate universe or another.
We grew dorsals along our spines
and with eyes like dwarf planets we
marched down Main Street dragging
the flag through blood and mud.
Some of us sailed home in pine boxes,
others lined marble ledges
above grandmothers’ fireplaces
just in time for the holidays.
Some of us did as we were told
because we believed in the flag
being dragged through the blood and mud.
We were not senators’ sons; we
were ordinary sons, sons of mothers
and fathers who fought for freedom
in the good old days, freedom we were
taught to worship in the good old

Alan Britt has been nominated for the 2021 International Janus Pannonius Prize awarded by the Hungarian Centre of PEN International for excellence in poetry from any part of the world. Previous nominated recipients include Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Charles Bernstein and Yves Bonnefoy. Alan has published extensively in Agni, Christian Science Monitor, English Journal, International Gallerie (India), Irodalmi Jelen (Hungary), Kansas Quarterly, Letras (Chile), Magyar Naplo (Hungary), Midwest Quarterly, Minnesota Review, Missouri Review, New Letters, Pedrada Zurda (Ecuador), Poet’s Market, Queen’s Quarterly (Canada), Revista/Review Interamericana (Puerto Rico), Revista Solar (Mexico), Steaua (Romania), Tampa Tribune, Tulane Review, and Wasafiri (UK), and was recently interviewed at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem. He has published 18 books of poetry and served as Art Agent for the late great Ultra Violet while often reading poetry at her Chelsea, New York studio. A graduate of the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University he currently teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.

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