Mourning Doves

When a mourning dove loses its mate
It commits suicide, flies headlong
Into a plate glass window, lights
Immovable in a roadway, sits
Atop a high perch in a lightning
Storm. It is a myth it misses its
Lost love, a fable of the forlorn, 
Solitary sounds of loneliness
Issued with longing, misheard and
Misconstrued. They are not sounds of
Mourning heard, but the dove’s own death song, 
Cooed by one left alone, preparatory
To a self-devised destiny with death.

 

 

 

About the author, Ned Randle
My poems have appeared in a number of literary publications such as The American Poetry Journal, The Spoon River Quarterly, Poydras Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Barnwood International Poetry Magazine, The New Poet, Hamilton Stone Review and Four Ties Literary Review. "Running at Night-Collected Poems" was released April 1, 2013 by Coffeetown Press. My chapbook, Prairie Shoutings and Other Poems, was published by The Spoon River Poetry Press, Bradley University. 

I also write fiction. My debut novel Baxter's Friends was released June 1, 2013 by Coffeetown Press, Seattle to very good reviews. My second novel Cemetery Road has been accepted for publication. My most recent short story "Potential" appeared in the May 2017 edition of The Examined Life-The Literary Review of Carver Medical College, U. of Iowa. Another, "Clyde", appeared in the Jan. 2016 edition of Soundings Review-Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. "Wild Bill" appeared in Red Earth Review, Summer 2014.

Under the Streetlight in the Rain

Disinterestedly she works the
Lotion over her hands, dry as old
Loins, then places the knuckles of her
Right hand under her chin and rests from
Her inactivity.  She stares out
The window at disappearing paths
Scribed on the wet pavement under the
The streetlight by wheels rolling beyond
Her reach; yet it no longer saddens
Her to imagine all she has missed
Or is missing. They all will arrive
At the same place, she reasons, all in
Due time, she knows. And again she rubs
Her white knuckles red and rises
Slowly to walk alone toward her bed.

 

 

 

About the Poet, Ned Randle: My poems have appeared in a number of literary publications such as The Spoon River Quarterly, Poydras Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Barnwood International Poetry Magazine, The New Poet, Hamilton Stone Review and Four Ties Literary Review. Running at Night-Collected Poems was released April 1, 2013 by Coffeetown Press. My chapbook, Prairie Shoutings and Other Poems, was published by The Spoon River Poetry Press, Bradley University. 

My debut novel Baxter's Friends was released June 1, 2013 by Coffeetown Press, Seattle. My recent short story "Clyde" will appear in the Jan. 2016 edition of Soundings Review-Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. "Wild Bill" appeared in Red Earth Review, Summer 2014. Another,"The Boston Tar Baby" appeared in Prism Review Spring 2013.

Wealthy Men Love Caviar

I only read poetry written by women;
What do I care about what men think?
I am and I will be and will-
I am poor and love poetry written by poor women-
They have common sense
Salting the creases in their skin;
And small things make them happy-
I know rich women and pretty women
Can have anything they want whenever-
Poor women are less skittish about
Poor men,
               men who only have words to barter with-
Poor women, even those who are pretty
know wealthy men love caviar
Because those men can afford it-
And caviar tastes like women they
Knew when younger and less spoiled.



About the Author Ned Randle: I have published a few short stories, the most recent, “The Amazing Doctor Jones”, in Cigale Literary Magazine, Summer 2012. My poems have been published, or will be published, in a number of poems in literary publications such as The Spoon River Quarterly, Circus Maximus, Seven Stars Poetry, Poydras Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Barnwood International Poetry Magazine, The New Poet, Hamilton Stone Review (Sept. 2012) and Four Ties Literary Review (Fall 2012). My chapbook, Prairie Shoutings and Other Poems, was published by The Spoon River Poetry Press, Bradley University.

Review: Running at Night by Ned Randle

Running at Night

Ned Randle’s poetry collection Running at Night often touches upon the most humdrum aspects of life, and yet somehow Randle always manages to communicate the sheer beauty and wealth of possibilities we find in the everyday. His collected poems from 1976-2012 find the extraordinary in the ordinary, even reassurance in the grotesque, and nourishment in both simple and humble spaces.

A keen observer, many of his poems deal with matters as ordinary as the plains in his native Illinois: “I Sit in the Garden and Talk” and “Across the Table She Looks at Him”. But flowing just below the surface is an undercurrent of honesty and pain that is soothing in its reliability.

With muddy rivers full of fish, grassy banks, lazy dogs, and a cat slinking out of the barn, the sense of place resonates vibrantly in these pages. Randle creates powerful images that both dazzle and revolt. For example, the young kids in “Savages” who, like Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, lay shirtless in the grass sharing a stolen cigarette:


          we would suck the smoke across our juice stained 
          tongues and silently stare at the cloudless 
          sky thinking about the day in our future

          when we would have to buy our cigarettes
          and secret them in the starched shirt pocket
          of a lost dream dressed nattily for death

The form, its unpunctuated open-endedness, is reminiscent of that endless feeling in childhood of being immortal. Also in true immature form, they muse on smoking without even realizing that in retrospect the beauty of that moment would be where and with whom they were, not the cigarette.

The poet writes of leaving the plains to go to some “gifted” metropolis in “Odyssey”, but much like Odysseus he would only want to return home. Rather than romanticize, the poet isn’t afraid to show Mother Nature’s more grotesque side and knowing that side is a universal certainty to take comfort in. We see this in the repurposed hearts in “Misplaced”:


          by the sight—someone has turned the heart 
          into a dry den of sticks and straw
          and the black bids inside the chambers caw.

Although misplaced, abandoned, or disowned, everything in rural Illinois finds its way back into the circle of necessity. That reassurance often requires the poet to fold a matter back on itself, turning it on its head. For instance, the reader feels the comfort of discomfort within the repetition at the close of “Insomnia”:


          opposing forces of sun and moon
          create in him a fitful soul,
          a foamy neap tide in his heart,
          a rise and fall, a rise and fall.

All these perpetuate the common thread in Running at Night that the most unlikely of places and everyday encounters are both the meat of experience and the reward in life.






About the Author Ned RandleI have published a few short stories, the most recent, “The Amazing Doctor Jones”, in Cigale Literary Magazine, Summer 2012. My poems have been published, or will be published, in a number of poems in literary publications such as The Spoon River Quarterly, Circus Maximus, Seven Stars Poetry, Poydras Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Barnwood International Poetry Magazine, The New Poet, Hamilton Stone Review (Sept. 2012) and Four Ties Literary Review (Fall 2012). My chapbook, Prairie Shoutings and Other Poems, was published by The Spoon River Poetry Press, Bradley University.

 

Misplaced

There are times when we misplace our hearts-
misplace, not lose like one might lose
his head in love or lust or anger -
misplace - carelessly resting it where it should not
have been set
                        and then forgetting it like an empty cup
or pair of worn shoes until the emptiness inside the
forsaken heart aches, like the cup aches for the heat
of the coffee and the shoe for the warmth of the
friendly foot -
                                  and all that can be done is to
wander back over the previous paths, retracing
the steps, hoping to find where you imprudently
placed it –
            but as you turn a corner you are startled
            by the sight- the heart, in its abandonment
            has collapsed into a dry den of sticks and straw
            and blackbirds nested inside the chambers caw.



About the Poet
Ned Randle: I live in Southern Illinois where I write fiction and poetry. Recently my short story, “The Amazing Doctor Jones”, appeared in Cigale Literary Magazine, Summer 2012. My poems have been published, or will be published, in a number of literary publications such as The Spoon River Quarterly, Circus Maximus, Seven Stars Poetry, Poydras Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Barnwood International Poetry Magazine, The New Poet, Hamilton Stone Review (Sept. 2012) and Four Ties Literary Review (Fall 2012). My chapbook, Prairie Shoutings and Other Poems, was published by The Spoon River Poetry Press, Bradley University. My full length collecftion of poems-RUNNING AT NIGHT- will be released by Coffeetown Press on April 1, 2013 and my novel, BAXTER'S FRIENDS, will be released by Coffeetown Press on June 1, 2013.

Muse

I cannot seem to get the words
on the paper to make sounds;
in the past they would
                       ping like middle C or
                       sing full throated like a mezzo soprano
as I arranged them in their lines;
           under the urging of the muse
           the words comprised sounds
           not just curves and slants and swirls-
           but sounds-
           the way billowing bright colors
have odors or flavors under old hallucinogens.
I suspect from the silence the muse
           has moved on,
           has another now
           to tease, and with her
took the tunes and the tones of the words;
when they would not make
a symphony anymore I surmised such,
and sadly tried to reach the muse but
there was no answer;
                                    in the dark she
giggled and whispered to her new
object that I soon will give up,
           me, who is long on negative impetuosity
and short
of attention span will quit thinking
the battery dead in her phone;
                               while standing back
looking at my number glow on the
caller identification
                      my muse dismisses
and says quietly to her consort-
                               I made him
make that number on the screen
just for the pure joy of watching it
light up our dark,
                      to see your face over the glow,
                      to wonder one last time,
                      as it make its own worn
                      sounds
like reluctant last words puling across paper,
and always true to her inscrutable nature
the muse remained mute to me.




About the Author Ned Randle: My poems also have appeared in a number of literary publications such as The Spoon River Quarterly, Circus Maximus, Seven Stars Poetry, Poydras Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Barnwood International Poetry Magazine, The New Poet, Hamilton Stone Review (Sept. 2012) and Four Ties Literary Review (Fall 2012). My chapbook, Prairie Shoutings and Other Poems, was published by The Spoon River Poetry Press, Bradley University.

Heartache

Layers of pain rot;
Compost;
The field mice breed there,
at birth
only a pin prick.





About the Author
Ned Randle: I have published a few short stories, the most recent, “The Amazing Doctor Jones”, in Cigale Literary Magazine, Summer 2012. My poems have been published, or will be published, in a number of poems in literary publications such as The Spoon River Quarterly, Circus Maximus, Seven Stars Poetry, Poydras Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Barnwood International Poetry Magazine, The New Poet, Hamilton Stone Review (Sept. 2012) and Four Ties Literary Review (Fall 2012). My chapbook, Prairie Shoutings and Other Poems, was published by The Spoon River Poetry Press, Bradley University.