Two poems by Jeff Norman


King Today

Nondescript strips of strip malls they drift,

upon the tide of urban renewal.

Where the politician’s pledge meets the winter’s edge,

of mingled sects, classes and homes.

All dressed in a row and topped with a bow,

to camouflage the scarred earth beneath.

Dollar stores with their jingling doors…

Paved plains with boundless parking lanes…

And screams of light that stars above could never think to fight.

Yet just past the shadows, I sit alone.

Just past the shadows is where I sit…

Amongst the tumbleweed and rainbow fish.

Just off the shadow is where I lay…

In an imagined meadow while chewing on sage.

Just off the shadow, alone as could be…

I fumble through the key of D.

If lonely is real and construction was the myth,

then let the loneliest rule the day.

Put the backhoes away and the ‘dozers to the side.

And elect isolation as king today.

And I will be.

I will be the one floating.

High above the peace of mind.


Steps Away

Steps away are the simplicities of each day.

Leaps away are the dreams we chase.

Mirrored optimism adorns the ever-mornings.

While tomorrow’s pessimism darkens our numbered evenings.

It’s a preacher’s predicament that brings him resolve.

It’s the follower’s fallacies that cause him to fall.

But time is the weaver of this oft-forgotten fabric.

And love is the thread that designs us all.

So take with you ambition, take along your aspirations.

Take with you your goals and take with you yours.

But be sure to pack your whimsy, be sure to bring the simpler things…

And your daydreams.

Then go skipping into your great beyond.


Jeff Norman is a senior copywriter at Euro RSCG Chicago.


Two Poems by Brian Brooker


Thank you, Bukowski,

If Bukowski writes what he knows, I wouldn’t want to trade places with him.

Too much whiskey and heartbreak.

But I do want to take this opportunity to thank him.

Thank you, Charles, For taking me into empty hotel rooms.

For sharing your failed marriages.

For showing me your dog bites.

For letting me see the darkness when the curtains are drawn.

You plopped me down on your page and asked nothing of me.

If we had met, we’d probably have liked each other.

We would have sat on bar stools and said nothing and got along perfectly.



Heat wave

Aluminum ladders lead straight to Hell.

Roofers curse the rooftops.

T-Shirts wear like flannel.

The red-faced sun woke up on the wrong side of the universe.

August in Kansas City.

The sno-cone maker draws a crowd.

Hot hands with hot change.

Woot. All out. Windows closed.

Rain boils inside clouds.

Heat squiggles from swimming pools.

Every movement draws a penalty.


Brian is the former CEO and CCO of Barkley Evergreen in Kansas City.


Poem by Jean Robertson


Beware the men that will not dance

Once when I was young and full,

I took a man who could not dance.

He stood among the swaying crowd,

Unmoved. Lock still. Motionless.


We watched as others lost their sense.

Cavorting, twisting, turning, arching.

Surveying the crowd with serene intent.

Smug in our coupled stillness.


But now I’m no longer young and full,

And the stillness hurts my bones.

It takes more effort not to dance

And these exertions leave me cold.


Jean Robertson is a freelance copywriter in Chicago. This is her second submission to The Rogue’s Gallery.


Lyrics by Jason Fox:


In the Night


You ask me what direction

We should set our feet upon

And if you’d asked me yesterday

I’d have told you right from wrong

But the river has already changed

Its cutting ways since then

And I’m no longer qualified

To cull our joy from sin


Though we pray for passion

Burnin’, burnin’ with delight

The fire keeps on blowin’

Smolderin’, dyin’ in the night


Your name still falls out from my lips

Like honey from the hive

I pray that you’ll forgive me of

This unrequited crime

For aiding and abetting

In my whispered larceny —

A punishment as fitting as

A broken heart should be


And though we pray for passion

Burnin’,  burnin’ with delight

The fire keeps on blowin’

Smolderin’, dyin’ in the night


You’ve broken my resistance

My appeals have already been run

When all you’ve got to say is wrapped in silence

I guess I’ll do what we know must be done


Just tell me that you love me

One more time before I drop

The curtain and the hammer down

Upon this labor lost

You ask me what direction

We should take upon this road

I thought you’d figured out by now

I’ve never really known


Though we kept our passion

Burnin’,  burnin’ with delight

The fire keeps on blowin’

Smolderin’, dyin’ in the night

I’d best get back to wanderin’

With this truth burned on my mind

No flame is everlasting

Without tending in the night


“A swampy little lyric that may yet get set to music. Though probably not by me.”

Jason Fox is a CD/copywriter in Dallas, Texas, and currently has two spots on air that, by his own estimation, “don’t suck.”


Visiting hours by Jean Robertson


A full-blown manic episode.

Bipolar, I have to stay.

They’ve started medications.

Help is on the way.


Now run off and do the dishes.

Change the baby’s clothes.

I’ve got to have my tantrum

And make sure you tape my shows.


Go home and get my music,

I need my soundtrack too.

Take care of all the mundane,

I’ve got crazy things to do.


Everything is all your fault,

You put me here you bitch.

But don’t forget to hold me,

While I cry, convulse & twitch.


Jean Robertson is a freelance copywriter in Chicago. Although she enjoys poetry, her greatest ambition is to spend a year in a cave in Provence learning how to make really creamy cheese.


Grid Lines by David Burn


Spokes shoot out of a northwestern wheel.

They have names I like to pronounce:







Native paths well beaten

Once upon a time

To an inland sea.

Now the river is reversed

And our favored routes

Crisscrossed in concrete

By: Western,




Lawrence, and



Six-spoked super crossings

Hold traffic like a strainer

Over a sink.

I drain the clogs

North and west

Past the shops,

Into the trees and fields

Close by,

Right underneath.


I consider how far I might go.

All the way

To Madison,

To Montana,

To Bellingham,

Alaska, and

The Russian Far East.

A salmon will swim.


David Burn is a freelance copywriter based in Portland, Oregon. You can hear him perform the poem here:


This Southport by Jeff Norman


It’s a sweet, sweeping street – this Southport Street.
From the two-toned Novembers to the magical moonbeams of May.
Waft away, you simmering smells, on the breaths of nature’s ethereal spell.
Lie awake, you streetlight shadows, and dispel with the ‘tell me it’s okay’s…’

In the morning, when split beams of sunrise fray…
Amongst the clouds, upon which our every day’s dreams lay…
In the evening, while a hope dashed loses its way…
Just left of the minute-less meters.

Never a more avenue – this Southport Street.
East of the here-befores and just west of the nevermores.
A tied up pooch, a diner’s smooch, a sidewalk glance, a cracked window sash…
All culminate and reverberate off the darken panes of glass,
of the three-flat homes, security and loans and taverns that you pass.

In the afterthoughts, when time stands tall in a saluted city’s wake.
Amongst the gasps, for eternal “more and mores.”
In the aftertaste of an el stop, a languid baby shop or a flattened two flat co-op – just inches from truth.

A barren boulevard – this Southport Street.
Where acceptance blows like sage between a beggar’s feet.
In the sustenance of a child’s favorite sweet.
Just left of the minute-less meters is where it all meets.

Never a more avenue – this Southport Street.
East of the here-befores and just west of the nevermores.
A tied up pooch, a diner’s smooch, a sidewalk glance, a cracked window sash…
All culminate and reverberate off the darken panes of glass,
of the three-flat homes, security and loans and taverns that we pass.

“This was written on a dreary, drizzly day in my old apartment on Eddy Street – just a few steps off of Southport, in Chicago. It began as lyrics for a song, but wound up wanting to be something else.”


Jeff Norman is a senior copywriter at Euro RSCG Chicago


Viper by Steffan Postaer

A neon serpent beckons me
into a wriggling sack of screams.

Gregarious, garrulous garter snake
thy fruits aren’t what they seem.

But I’m a viper, wretched and coiled,
and I follow snake and swill.

And other snakes are just like me,
dead-eyed looped their spirits killed.


“Fittingly, this poem was written when I was a sophomore in college. Among other things, can you spot the latent copywriter?”


Walking Biscuit by Brian Gross

Sit, Biscuit, sit!

Good boy.


Be still, now,

So I can do your leash.


Okay, outside we go,

Out into the snow.


Sniffing in the bush.

Checking out your tush.












What’s that? Another dog!

How exciting!


Okay, now, back inside.

Let me wipe your paws.


Sit, Biscuit, sit!

Good boy.


Brian has been a writer/CD for 20+ years at places like The Richards Group and Publicis in Mid America. “I’m looking for a new job and I’m sure this poem will be of no help whatsoever. But I like it.”


Poem with visual by Barrett Condy

Love Banana

Love Banana by Barrett Condy

We meet first with eyes, then with hands
And soon to be so much more
As we dance, we’ve barely said a word
Just shouted our names to one another over the din

I fall deep into your eyes, which lead my mind, then my hands
To a place that holds more than space,
Between your thighs, and you whisper to me how
You’ve wanted this for so long.

All I can think:
My love banana will drive you apeshit.

You and I vie for the dominance of divine submission,
Where the lines of serving and being served blur until
Seen as close-up transmission.

And I can’t believe how close we’ve come so many times.
And still it seems we’ve come so much further,
Now that I don’t have to watch you leave with any other
And I have you all to myself to play with, be with,
Give myself away to in the most material way.

And you know:
My love banana will drive you apeshit.

So take me, make me yours, do with me as you will,
For I have the same plans for you.
My love, my prize,
I’ll make you my banana split, because…

My love banana will drive you apeshit.


“My name is Barrett Condy. I’m a copywriter at WonderGroup in Cincinnati, OH. I’ve done work for Mentos, Kellogg’s and Boy Scouts of America.

Besides just making me laugh, this bit of poetry hits on how deep our feelings yet how shallow our intentions during courting.”


Superior by By Zach Bonnan

Even after he hit you

After he left you for his friends

When he called you names

Wouldn’t give you anything

He told you what to do

Demanded he was right

He lied to you

Taking all of this into consideration

He went and broke your toy army soldiers too

Still, you couldn’t help

Looking up to him, brother.



“This poem is a glimpse into a certain human condition that I’m not sure I fully understand. It also demonstrates how certain phrases have automatic connotations even when the reader is unsure of whom the speaker is.”

Zack Bonnan is a freelance copywriter.


2 Responses to “Poetry”

  1. Edward Mycue said



    © Edward Mycue

  2. Edward Mycue said

    Contributors’ Advice
    Ad-vice or advert-vice remembering norman mailer’s book “advertisement
    for myself ” of maybe five decades past, a surprising and strange title to
    me. I wanted to read what he had written to fill-out that bold, as the title to
    me seemed then, beginning. It was interesting but really didn’t stay bold. It
    wasn’t news that refreshed itself nor even truly lived up to the title promising
    something wonderfully confessional—not for this reader, or certainly not for
    long. But it made me recall how not everything is interesting to everyone at all
    times—nor even interesting to everyone ever—but for some there will come a
    time when that which had seemed bland or just something that could not then
    attract your attention BLOSSOMS.
    Poetry has been that way for me. Took years to the revelation of the luminosity
    of many of W.H. Auden’s poems. May have something to do with the drifting
    orbits idea of Lawrence Fixel? How you come across persons you haven’t
    thought of in years and immediately you are back at the same place and
    pace with your compadres. And you scratch at your wonder noggin as to why,
    WHAT made the ending of what again is such easy intimacy. Try as you
    might you can’t think of a reason: no “break” or anger. What happened was
    the drifting of our different orbits. Our lives moved in different directions,
    focuses changed; we’d moved on. And no blame. And all of a sudden its
    seems you’re BACK AGAIN. (Look here you’re back again we’re back again.
    Look again at Tennyson’s 84-line poem ULYSSES; and maybe sing along
    FRIEND IS A FRIEND….) (Seem familiar?)
    DRIFTING ORBITS: In our town heartbreaks are drifting. We are each in
    our own little orbits. Ordeals pass us drifting through. “Hello” we say again.
    “Hello sudden oak death. Hello elm disease. Hello” passing. Muddle’s middle.
    Birth’s starting out our book in the middle. We go back while passing forward
    aging learning how we frame an exit window future passing and behind them
    Londonderry airs that go way back then forward as Dad sings “Danny Boy.”

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