Weekend Update


Poems by

Mark DeFoe

Poetry chapbook, 40 pages, $10 cover price

 ($7 if ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore)

ISBN: 978-1-59948-117-3

Release date: 2008

***This title was selected for publication after finishing as a finalist in the 2007 MSR Chapbook Contest. ***

Mark DeFoe is Professor of English at West Virginia Wesleyan College. He has published seven previous chapbooks, the most recent being Mark DeFoe’s Greatest Hits (Pudding House 2004) and The Rock and the Pebble (Pringle Tree 2006).

DeFoe’s poetry has appeared widely in journals, anthologies, college texts, and Internet e-zines. He has shared his expertise with writers of all ages and has conducted workshops at colleges, libraries and arts centers.

His poetry has been recognized for excellence by The Atlanta Review, Tulane Review, Black Warrior Review, A Smartish Pace, Now and Then, Appalachian Heritage, Nimrod, Zone 3, New Letters and Chautauqua Literary Journal. In 1998 and 2003 he was awarded West Virginia Commission on the Arts Fellowships in Literature.

Mark DeFoe lives with his wife Jeanne, a pianist, in Buckhannon, West Virginia. He can be contacted at

All across America
Seniors are Boarding Buses

Splitting for Vegas, for Atlantic City.
Cruising the River Casinos. Slipping off
To Indian Bingo. Humping the highway
To leaf peek. Saddling up
For Normandy and Ho Chi Min City.

Lug beach bags stitched with Smirking Cats, don straw
hats big as trash can lids and jaunty ball caps
that announce-“129th Inf Psy Ops Spooks”
“Combat Wounded, “Airborne Rangers.”

Sport canary slacks and pink muumuus. Got
Pace-makers and pills to pour on the coal
Or take a serious load off.
Got tassel loafers and stiletto heels.

Pledged alliance to: AARP, Dow Jones,
VFW, Lions, Elks, Moose, Masons,
B’nai B’rith, K. of C., Rotary, Shrine
NAACP, A. F. of L.,
NRA, Viagra, Oil of Olay,
Weight Watchers, Wild Turkey, Elvis, Oprah,
Wayne Newton, the Man in Black and Lady Day.

Got Harleys, Caddies, T-Birds, Mercedes,
Vettes, vintage MGs, all buffed and detailed.

They’ll whip your ass at horse shoes and bocce ball.
Don’t take them on at poker, checkers, bridge,
Dominos, pinochle, pitch or Scrabble.

They’ve known thugs, punks, hooligans, flim-flamers,
Bimbos, gigolos, grifters, prick teasers,
Sweet talkers, scalawags, pukes, slackers, sluts,
Snobs, louts, lechers, stone wallers, nit-pickers,
Ner-do-well brother-in-laws, shit heels and
Lots of salt-of-the-earth good folks.

They wear T-shirts that say,
“I may be wrinkled, but I vote.”

The Downsized Account Exec
Is Pumping Iron and Pumping Up

He hangs tough, true to his old man’s saying,
by your bootstraps, boy. He comes from his gym
hard as flint, ready to take on the Wogs
who plundered his kids’ tuition, ripped off
his Beamer, made him pinch twenties, drove his wife
back to the arms of the church. He slaps his Journal
like a swagger stick. In the train station,

he pauses for his shine. Above the banter
of the fuzzy-headed Jamaican with his
popping rag, in the midst of calculating
his assets in reserve, his mind goes blank.
He snaps to when a trickle of wetness
drips between his shoulder blades. Next time,
towel off more carefully, he tells himself.

Weekend Update: Please Modify This Poem as Necessary

We keep on keeping on. Women slash the air
Into endless commas with new carmine nails.
Dudes in Dali Lama parkas stride the malls.
The Dow twitches; fingers inch toward panic.
Reading for Dummies hits the best seller list

CEOs pop golden chutes. With your Whopper
And fries you can get a slug in the skull.
The Networks repackage and recycle
(Pick one–Martha, Coby, Jon Benet, Jacko).
Batchelorettes cavort and teens caterwaul.

Bush does Howdy Doody with strings attached.
Congress perfects the art of pander. Muslims
Kneel to IEDs. Astronauts fall on
The yellow rose of Texas. New Orleans,
Jazzy till the end, stews in incompetence.

And in local news, from my drive-thru bank,
I see two women at the nearby franchise
On their smoke break: One stern-gray-hair-hard-as-nails-type.
One bow-shouldered Dear-Jesus-how-did-I
Ever-get-so-many-kids-type. Above them,

Smoke rises in cartoon dialogue balloons,
Bitter words unspoken. This street is a canyon.
Over there it’s Lotto Land, laid-off land,
Hostess Twinkie land and power shopping
At Goodwill. Over here it’s the abode

Of the IRA and 401-K. If I
Had words shameless enough I might walk to them.
But here money sweetens the breeze. Over here
I’m balancing my checkbook. Over there
People are mauled by their neighbor’s pit bull.

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