Corey Mesler - "Into and Out of the Woods," "Above Us Only Sky," and "A Short Introduction to the Neighborhood."

Into and Out of the Woods            

                           for LuAnn        

I said, the woods, when

we were small, they

were a place of treasure, mystery,

adventure. If they did

not hold the fortunes

of kingdoms gone, they held

story the way a book does, a vade mecum.

I read the woods, then, I said, its map;

we were all pirates,

conquerors, young Muirs.

She said, you say we

are out of the woods now.

You say, this is good

and it is. We are, many of us, out of the

woods. I say, yes, it

is good. The woods, though, are still, and

still in me. The inside

of my head is dark, friends. There are

things frightening to me and

this is their sovereign: the woods are me.


Above Us Only Sky  

And sometimes it’s enough,

like the blue of my

daughter’s eye, a background

for birds, a launching

pad for the flight in me.

Sometimes it’s enough, like the

space between the first

word and the second and the third.


A Short Introduction to the Neighborhood

            The blind woman next door keeps complaining about the noise.  The garbage man leaves more and more garbage, stuff we can’t refuse.  The crippled little girl is playing marbles.  The ragman draws flies.  I step out onto my porch and survey the outlying properties.  Nothing is mine, yet I feel this newborn power.  It is my turn, my rag-and-bone-shop wife tells me, to sift through the garbage.


COREY MESLER is the owner of Burke’s Book Store, in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the country’s oldest (1875) and best independent bookstores.  He has published poetry and fiction in numerous journals including Turnrow, Rattle, Pindeldyboz, Quick Fiction, American Poetry Journal, Thema, Mars Hill Review, Adirondack Review, Poet Lore and others.  He has also been a book reviewer for The Memphis Commercial Appeal and Memphis Flyer.  A short story of his was chosen for the 2002 edition of New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best. Talk, his first novel, appeared in 2002. His 2nd novel, We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon, came out in January 2006. His novels have received praise from Lee Smith, John Grisham, Robert Olen Butler, Frederick Barthelme, George Singleton, Marshall Chapman, Steve Stern and others. His latest poetry chapbooks are The Hole in Sleep (2006), The Agoraphobe’s Pandiculations (2006), Publisher (2007) and The Chloe Poems (2007). His poem, “Sweet Annie Divine,” was chosen for Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. His first full-length collection of poetry, Some Identity Problems, is due out in 2007. He also claims to have written “Dang Me.”  Most importantly, he is Toby and Chloe’s dad and Cheryl’s husband. He can be found at      

Posted on December 7, 2013 .