Tag Archives: hens staring upward

Dead Letter Radio features “hens staring upward”

I’m honored today to find another poem of mine featured on the Dead Letter Radio podcast!  Host Taize Jones offered a wonderful reading of “hens staring upward” on Episode 15 of the weekly program.  (My piece is the last that Taize interprets — it starts at the 13:00 mark in the podcast.)

You can hear the entire episode right here.  Dead Letter Radio is also available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and over at Listen Notes.  It really is a terrific show; I highly recommend that you check it out.

Thanks again, Taize!

“hens staring upward” selected for “The Flickering Light” poetry collection

I’m quite happy to share here that my poem “hens staring upward” was selected by Down in the Dirt magazine for its latest poetry collection, The Flickering LightI was honored to have this poem originally published by Down in the Dirt in its April issue; seeing it subsequently selected for The Flickering Light today was a nice surprise!

If you’d like to order a copy of the anthology, you can find it right here over at Amazon.

Thank you, Editor Janet Kuypers, for allowing me to join the creative community of Down in the Dirt!



The new issue of Down in the Dirt magazine is now available at Amazon.

The March-April 2019 issue of Down in the Dirt magazine is now available at Amazon.com.  (I shared with you guys on Wednesday that I was lucky to see my poem “hens staring upward” included in the volume.)  The print edition is a 108-page paperback, and you can order it for $10.99 at this link:

Down in the Dirt magazine, March-April 2019 Issue

(As I mentioned here at the blog on Wednesday, you can also view a free online version of the March-April 2019 issue right here at the Scars Publications website.)

Here’s a big thanks to Editor Janet Kuypers for allowing me to share my voice with Down in the Dirt’s wonderfully talented community of writers and artists!




“hens staring upward” published in Down in the Dirt magazine!

Hey, gang.  I am honored to share here that my poem “hens staring upward” was published today in the March-April 2019 issue of Down in the Dirt magazine.  You can find it online right here.  The theme of this issue is “Parallel Universe.”

Volume 163 will also be available in print over at Amazon.  (Print editions of Down in the Dirt run as 100+ page 6″x 9″ perfect-bound books.)  Issues are typically published simultaneously in print and online format, but Scars Publications explained that there was a delay with the printing; I’ll give you a heads up when ordering information becomes available.

Scars Publications also releases an annual collection of writings selected from both Down in the Dirt and its sister publication, cc&d magazine.  If I’m fortunate enough to see “hens staring upward” selected for the annual volume as well, I’ll be certain to let you know.



“hens staring upward” to appear in Down in the Dirt magazine

I received some terrific news a little while ago — Down in the Dirt magazine has selected my poem, “hens staring upward,” for publication in its March/April 2019 issue.  The issue will be released on April 1, and will be available both in print and online.  (The poem should also appear online this weekend at the Scars Publications website — I’ll post a link when it becomes available.)

Down in the Dirt is a diverse and wonderful literary magazine, and I am grateful to Editor Janet Kuypers for allowing my work to be featured alongside its many talented contributors.

“hens staring upward” was previously published by Dead Snakes and by Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine.

I hope you all are looking forward to a great weekend!




Jenny S. reads my poem, “hens staring upward”

I am so grateful tonight to the talented Jenny S. for her beautiful reading of my 2015 poem, “hens staring upward.”

Jenny has a lovely voice and a truly enviable skill for bringing a poem to life.  The video below is part of her Youtube series, in which she performs poetry readings to help authors gain exposure.

By all means, please check out her Youtube channel.  It has a wonderful selection of recent work by other poets, and Jenny expertly performs each piece.

Poet Jennifer S. will read my poem,”hens staring upward”

I received some nice news a little while ago — Jennifer S. will record my poem, “hens staring upward,” as part of her ongoing Youtube audio series.  As I’ve shared here at the blog before, Jenny is a poet herself who lends her voice talents to help other independent writers gain exposure.  (She was kind enough this past September to do a very skilled interpretation of my 2013 poem, “The Writer.”)  I recommend that you check out her wonderful audio series over at her Youtube channel.

“hens staring upward” was published previously by Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine and Dead Snakes in 2015.

Publication Notice: Dead Snakes features “hens staring upward.”

Well, here is some nice news today — the good folks over at Dead Snakes have published my latest poem, “hens staring upward.”  (I know that its whimsical sounding title suggests another one of my joke poems, but this is definitely a darker piece, and does contain some disturbing imagery.)

Here’s the link:

“hens staring upward,” by Eric Robert Nolan

Thanks to Editor Stephen Jarrell Williams for graciously allowing me to share my voice once again over at Dead Snakes!

“hens staring upward,” by Eric Robert Nolan

I wrote this a few months back; today it is my third entry for the 5-Day Poetry Challenge.  [EDIT: the formatting is fixed!!]


“hens staring upward,” by Eric Robert Nolan



fleeing me so frequently at Atlantic City.

It happens every night now.




over at the slot machine you occupied and only see

some strange man, finer than I am, and industrious.

All the ringing bells announce

his inauguration.

All the flashing lights

strobe his sharper features.

It makes me wake and makes me

artlessly craft a

hard discordant poetry.


Remember Atlantic City?

We took a flight despite its easy drive.

It’s a funny word, “flight.”

It can mean

to seize the sky as the cardinal might

and the hen cannot –

the conquest, the flashing red ascent to sky and space.

Or it can mean departure,

as one escapes from another.




three times a week

I am at that strange and nameless airport in my sleep

where the planes will not take flight.

High white walls vault up.

The hangars all are locked and vacant.

Clocks speed backward.

Incoherent porters

clutch and curse at suitcases.

The bathrooms smell like beer.


Other would-be passengers

harbor nascent aneuryisms.

Children chatter like hectic apes.

Their fathers all are drunk, their mothers

suffer black and scandalous sudden miracles in the airport lounge,

each reaching orgasm

at the taste of stale sandwiches.

Convulsing, their eyes roll back

Their slow moans hasten into screams,

Their slim arms raised, but

Indolent husbands with rictus grins

will only clutch at their jackets,

at hidden iron flasks.


All the long lines lead

only to exits.

All the flight announcements

are harshly lit in dead and inscrutable languages:

strange Aramaic,

or Latin’s various precursors:

embittered early Germanic and

jumbled Etruscan.

Only two words are clear:



I need to fly to you.

I need to see you in person but

the attendants in my nightmare all

are comatose at the counters.

Sleeping pilots sag in chairs.

In an airport bar,

the dead slouch over snifters.

A bartender is bones.

Down a white corridor

A stewardess in sing-song voice

will wrongly remember a verse and reduce

Dante to gibberish.

Shakespeare is made as profane

as a syphilitic kiss.

On her lips, Eliot

becomes a barking dog.

My ticket is illegible –

its scrawled words

read like the bray of an ass,

or my own words.


You left me once.

Now stay

in the various safe and certain places free of sadness found

in the attention of better men.

Please, Audrey.


It was human for you to leave me once

But cruel for you to do so

over and over and over in my dreams.

Upon waking I can only console

myself with stilted meter

and the misspelled names of cities.




unsaved by my similes,

mere alliteration and unmeasured verse in an amateur’s awkward

clutch of unkempt metaphors,

the thinly veiled and even conscious

failed emulation of Auden,

the maudlin, the guttural hen

aspiring to such song as only the cardinal is capable.




words to me are now familiar nocturnes.

Stars will nightly light your verbs.

Every waning moon will arc

over your exact nouns and careful platitudes,

Your eloquence in leaving me,

The precision in “goodbye.”

The flashing rebuke in the narrowing blue

of your eyes is concise.

The blue-black and deepening, freezing dark violet

of heaven will always observe your departure,

your ordered logic.

Its witness is the vacuum.

Its witness is the endless expanse of space.




but my words

are only hens with dull black eyes –

hens staring upward –

beholding the sky and its occasional

darting scarlet of cardinals in flight.




but my words

are only untidy, unmannered motifs –

as devoid of hope or order as

feral children in the snow, starving in a March forest.


(c) Eric Robert Nolan 2015


Photo credit: “Helsinki-Vantaa Airport departure hall 2, international terminal,” self-published work by  Antti Havukainen, via Wikimedia Commons