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Poetically Yours - 'A park they can live with'

Provided by Richard Holinger.

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. Today's segment features poet Richard Holinger.

Holinger is a published author. His books include: Kangaroo Rabbits and Galvanized Fences, a collection of his newspaper columns, and North of Crivitz, a book of poetry focusing on the North Woods and Upper Midwest. His work has received three Pushcart Prize nominations, and his essay published in Thread received a “Notable” mention in Best American Essays 2018. Holinger's works have appeared in several different journals.

He lives in the Fox River Valley area west of Chicago. Degrees include a Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Today he shares his poem “Love and Death in the Trailer Park.”

The coffee sits cold in mismatched cups

Stolen from a flea market in Green Bay.

“Come around here,” Phyllis says to Mark.

The trailer humps the earth, gasps for air.

“She’s brought another one back,” the voyeur says

Who last year put up a plastic roof over his door.

“You should never,” the voyeur’s wife replies,

“have removed our wheels without asking me.”

“I thought it was settled we’re settled.”

Sitting in lawn chairs they consider things

while a holstered boy

behind flowered plastic kitchen drapes

believes them to be aliens on a mission from Mars.

Sitting on the sink’s edge, he strains to hear

His mother’s cowboy boots outside.

Why does she always come home at different times?

In blue jeans and t-shirt, his mother thumbs

At the Interstate exit where the blacktop missing

Its center line might bring work. She looks ethereal

to the Holtzes, Tom and Marie, gazing through

the tinted windshield of the Buick LeSabre they’ll trade

soon’s they find a park they can live with.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.