Off Map by Monique Gagnon German

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

We took a wrong turn
somewhere near Mobile
where the pretty roads preened
glistening with upkeep
and cops sat visible
under storm clouds and sun
inconceivably bold between thickets
almost every hundred feet.
We marked their saddle-shoe
insistence on old-fashioned rules
with our slowing speed. You say maybe
rehab is what you need as your eyes
keep trying to leap through the sunroof
and your hands shake
trapped squirrels
near the windows,
wishing they had wings.

Before now, we’ve never arrived
together in one conversation.
We pull over, here:
side of the road
hours oozing as we sit on a bank
overlooking water lilies
that calmly snake the unmapped lake
we found but cannot name.
We listen to hidden frogs bellowing yells
between crickets’ high pitched Kreeees.

After 30 minutes of not speaking
you ask, Are we there yet?
And we both erupt, laughing
at our utter lostness. I say, No,
between dwindling chuckles,
grabbing your sleeve but,
Maybe we are finally
at the start line,
is what I think.

 

 

If you were looking for it, you’d find Monique Gagnon German’s poetry and fiction in over 30 journals/anthologies including: Rosebud, California Quarterly, Tampa Review, Off the Coast, Califragile, and The Wayfarer. Her flash-fiction and short stories have been featured in: Kalliope, A Journal of Women’s Literature & Art, The MacGuffin, and Adelaide Literary Review. Monique is a 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee for poetry. Website for Monique: http://moniquegagnongerman.webs.com/

 

Europe as a Queen Map. Artist Unknown. 

Demographics by Monique Gagnon German

Demographics Monique Gagnon German Guatemala_city_aerial_night_b

All of the roads in Love
are spirals, switchbacks
climbing mountains
that overlook dwarfed
spruce trees, tiny rooftops
and threads of chimney smoke.

On crisp days,
far on the horizon
the golden lakes of Philosophy
can be seen shimmering
like hammered pewter
reflecting the sun gleaming autumn
like a mirage until each
lake seems to merge
into one endless offering.

From the highest roads
of Love, you might see
a swimmer or two
the size of fleas or mites
diving, splashing,
rippling the surface of
Philosophy’s heart,
unless of course the clouds
roll in from the western shore
of the island of Doubt,
where a metropolis stands
and everyone except a few
unconditioned folks
live on buses and subways
darting to and from the theater
of work and happy hour
where the servings are heaped
onto paper plates shaped
like the state of Hope, making
the inhabitants more
complacent and full
so that fewer and fewer each year
can even think of escape
anymore without immediately
forgetting why and what for.

But over in Trust,
while none of the roads
are completely paved,
everyone knows
it won’t be long
before they are done.
Brilliant, inspired civil engineers
will connect them into one
long street named Patience,
which will have no rules,
no stop signs, no lights.
Everyone will yield
to others as they come
arriving at all hours
from the fringes
of Love, Philosophy,
Hope and Doubt,
arriving by minivan, SUV,
motorcycle, and car,
headlights on
no matter morning,
noon or night.

In Trust
the population is still small,
there is unlimited room
for growth.

 

 

If you were looking for it, you’d find Monique Gagnon German’s poetry and fiction in over 30 journals/anthologies including: Rosebud, California Quarterly, Tampa Review, Off the Coast, Califragile, and The Wayfarer. Her flash-fiction and short stories have been featured in: Kalliope, A Journal of Women’s Literature & Art, The MacGuffin, and Adelaide Literary Review. Monique is a 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee for poetry. Website for Monique: http://moniquegagnongerman.webs.com/

Everyday Disciples by Monique Gagnon German

Sometimes you see one in traffic,

a Samaritan in a Mazda parting

the sea of angry commuters

so you can finally get in.

Sometimes it’s a guy in the street

who gets a hundred bucks

and immediately spends it on a feast

for other homeless people around him.

Sometimes it’s a dog who sobs

and leaps with joy

when his owner returns

from hospital or war.

Sometimes they pop up, bobbers

on the murky stream of your day:

a smile in a hallway, a genuine question,

“How are you, really?”

Some disciples hide in words,

in gratitude, in every thank you said

but also in the middle finger

of the pissed off driver behind you now,

the one behind the guy that waved you in.

We can hear them in all the voices

that criticize and approve

every failure and win. The rub: we

are their witnesses. Our job: to recognize them.

How we react is just a stone cast into a pond,

an addend in an ongoing equation in signs.

Maybe our responses are disciples too;

watch them ripple and roll over time, trying

to gain momentum, trying to sculpt our shoreline.

 

 

Monique Gagnon German is a graduate of Northeastern and Northern Arizona Universities. She is a wife, mother, a former Copy Editor of Ragazine(www.ragazine.cc), and former Technical Writer for a laser manufacturer in San Diego, CA. Currently, Monique works as a Content Developer and document QA Specialist for a small veteran owned company in TX while continuing to write poetry and stories in CO. Her poems have appeared in over 30 journals/anthologies including Rosebud, California Quarterly, Tampa Review, Off the Coast, and The Wayfarer. Her micro-flash, flash, and short stories have been featured in Kalliope, A Journal of Women’s Literature & Art, The MacGuffin, and Adelaide Literary Review. In October 2017, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for poetry so she is actively crossing her fingers as you read this. Website for Monique: http://www.moniquegagnongerman-com.webs.com/

 

Photograph by Ikiwaner,  Lausen, Gombe Stream National Park

Sky Chronicles by Monique Gagnon German

I’ve got blues
that surpass navy,
cerulean, sapphire,
cornflower, turquoise,
iridescent, eggshell
and cobalt, baby.
I know loneliness,
the length of days
and nights as they move
through me,
molecule by molecule
cataloguing the sun’s face
while it flirts
with the moon
in broad day
and I examine you
with tips of space,
tendrils upon
your trees,
chimneys,
sidewalks,
freeways,
unable to feel anything
but shapes,
blowing on you
like candles
like dandelion fodder
without wishes
for your sake.
So, don’t look
to me for answers
about the track
the ballgame
your love life
your suffering.
And when you climb
to get above me,
expect me to slap
your face.
I am best,
above your head
out the window,
picturesque
split by clouds
birds, storms,
shuttles and airplanes.
So, keep me there
at that distance
that inspires science
and faith but away
from birthday wishes
demands and property deeds.
You can’t see, can’t reach,
can’t know me,
the keeper
of the smooth
blue notes
that conduct
your weather or fate
as you stroll along
day upon day
beneath the eyes
of giant hurricanes.

 

 

Monique Gagnon German is a graduate of Northeastern and Northern Arizona Universities. She is a wife, mother, a former Copy Editor of Ragazine (www.ragazine.cc), and former Technical Writer for a laser manufacturer in San Diego, CA. Currently, Monique works as a Content Developer and document QA Specialist for a small veteran owned company in TX while continuing to write poetry and stories in CO. Her poems have appeared in over 30 journals/anthologies including Rosebud, California Quarterly, Tampa Review, Off the Coast, and The Wayfarer. Her micro-flash, flash, and short stories have been featured in Kalliope, A Journal of Women’s Literature & Art, The MacGuffin, and Adelaide Literary Review. In October 2017, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for poetry so she is actively crossing her fingers as you read this. Website for Monique: http://www.moniquegagnongerman-com.webs.com/

 

Art: Starry Night, Vincent VanGogh