The Shouting Grew Louder

Enough happy, sun-drenched poems, let’s go to more familiar poetic territory. Death, sex, nature, coffee. When Judy Jordan won the Whitman Poetry Award I swore I would never submit to it again. As much as I’d love to be published by LSU Press, I could never write a book as good as Carolina Ghost Woods.

Her second book, 60 Cent Coffee and a Quarter to Dance, is one long poem about the time when Jordan was living in her truck and working for Greek immigrants at a pizzeria. The poem weaves in stories about homeless people at the bus terminal, immigrant war stories, and Jordan’s own stories.

Here is an excerpt:

Move on, the policeman said, move on


when what I want is sycamores

the glass-eyed moon resting in their branches.

But here I spin in the slick sweat of an unreachable notion.

John, he spins too. Caught in the endless loop

of the ever-present past which is never made right

no matter how many times he twists the words around it

slurring again, I don’t care what they say,


I’m gonna call her someday. Drunk or sober,

gonna call her. But who will I call

when what I want is the silver branches of birch

feathered in feral light, pale buds shivering in a skittish wind


even as John slobbers on,

love my mama, gonna call her

and outside the shouting grows louder



5 responses to “The Shouting Grew Louder

  1. Hey, we each have our own brand of familiar poetry. Mine’s just close to slapstick, that’s all.

    Though Dorothy Parker has plenty of death, sex, nature, and coffee . . .

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